Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
General Hospital
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

General Hospital

For the ITV soap opera which ran from 1972 to 1979, see General Hospital (British television).

to 1993.]]

, 1993.]]

General Hospital is the longest-running daytime soap opera on the American ABC television network, and has been airing since April 1, 1963. The show originally aired for a half-hour until the network expand it to 45 minutes in 1976, and then to an hour in 1978.

The first stories were mainly set at a general hospital in Port Charles, a fictional New York town, and revolved around manly doctor Steve Hardy (John Beradino) and his nurse Jessie Brewer (Emily McLaughlin). Another nurse, Lucille March (Lucille Wall), brought her sister, flight attendant Audrey (Rachel Ames) to town; slowly but surely, she romanced Dr. Hardy. While there was no overt tension, Jessie was disappointed as there had always been an air of sexual tension between the two. It was never acted upon, as they remained close friends until Jessie (and actress Emily McLaughlin) died in 1991.

The show was glacially paced and low-rated in the earlier years, save for one relatively high-rated and fast-paced plot in 1972 in which Jessie was accused of murder. Faced with cancellation threats in 1976, ABC brass brought on Gloria Monty to write the show. Monty had much experience in the genre from directing The Secret Storm for years. Under her tutelage, General Hospital bounced back from the brink and subsequently became the highest-rated American soap opera, from 1979 to 1988.

Thanks to Monty, the show is perhaps most famous for the supercouple pairing of Luke Spencer and Laura Webber (Anthony Geary and Genie Francis). The show has also created other popular pairings in Holly Sutton and Robert Scorpio (Emma Samms and Tristan Rogers) as well as Duke Lavery and Anna Devane (Ian Buchanan and Finola Hughes).

While General Hospital has always had somewhat preposterous plots (the town of Port Charles was going to be placed under a deep freeze by maniacal Mikkos Cassadine; luckily, Luke and Laura saved the town just in time), arguably, the most tired plot among fans today is the constant emphasis on the mafia and character Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). He, his wife Carly (Tamara Braun), his confidante Jason (Steve Burton), and his sister Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) have received the lion's share of airtime for years now. Fans have been deeply divided by this turn of events, as many like the four characters while others resent their constant use.

ABC aired its 10,000th episode on April 17, 2002.

See also