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50 November 19th, 2017 General Hospital Was ‘The Dope’ That Helped Wrongly Accused Man Through 13 Years In Prison!

Courtesy/ABC

Never underestimate the power of soap operas.  We have been saying this for decades.  For many, the lives of the characters we love, or love to hate, give us our daily fix and connection to feeling emotions, and provide us comfort.

Last week, a story circulated via many soap opera notables that emanated from NPR (National Public Radio) in their fandom series of interviews via The Morning Edition.  In it, former accused murderer, Chris Scott, opened about about his love and connection to General Hospital.  Scott spent 13 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.  Chris knew that if he had any chance to get out of the slammer, if he was proved innocent, he had to stay out of trouble, and it seems like the story of the citizens in Port Charles helped him, and other inmates do just that.

Here are some excerpts below from the NPR interview in Chris’ words edited with clarification by NPR.

Chris on how he got hooked on GH: ”The first time I watched the soap opera in prison, I walked to the day room, and they was watching soap opera. And they was like, “Hey dude, this is the soap opera side of the day room, where people watch soap opera” — and I was like, ‘oh, this is the side that I need to be on.  I got a crew of men that, in the world of society, was killers.. These were some of the hardest-core fighting guys — but when that soap opera came on, you can hear a pin drop on cotton. It’s like all eyes — don’t nobody want to blink, because if you feel like if you blink, you gonna miss something.  We gave General Hospital a new name. We didn’t call it General Hospital no more. We called it “The Dope” — because it was addictive. We walked down the hallway, they shouting, ‘Hey — did you see ‘The Dope’ yesterday?’… Watching these love stories in a day room full of guys, you know they made the snide remarks of, ‘it’s pretty much for women and females” or whatever the case may be. But we didn’t care about that — because they knew the guy that was watching the soap opera probably can kick half of the cellblock he lived on’s butt.”‘

Chris on shedding tears during GH’s emotional story beats: “The soap operas really, it resonated a lot about missing home, missing the arguing you heard your mom and dad have every now and then. You miss the sisters fighting over the bathroom. You miss the brothers going outside shooting basketball in the backyard. So yeah, it resonated hard and heavy.  Like, just say, holiday seasons. You see the soap opera people, they got the big Christmas trees. They dress nice in red and white and all these pretty Christmas colors. And it made you want to be a part of that. … And seeing it on TV, I tell you, I didn’t want people to see me cry or shed a tear, but every now and then that happened. So I had to go in my cell. And I used to hang a sheet up, and the sheet would cover my whole cell, and I just used to go in my cell and have a big cry about it.  Wasn’t bad tears, it was good tears, because I knew I still had a heart. Because being falsely imprisoned, sometimes it hardens that heart to where you don’t want to show a sign of weakness. I know watching soap operas helped me with my dilemma, and we all can learn a lesson about how we choose not to judge people about what they think or what they watch because we all need something to hold on to.”

Chris’ story will be featured in an upcoming PBS documentary True Conviction.  He is out of prison and has stared his own detective agency, and still checks out GH every single day  .. a soap fan for life!

So, what do you think about the power of soaps and how it helped Chris, and others get through difficult times? Comment below!

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  1. Kevin C says:

    No matter what people say about soap operas, if one starts watching and become HOOKED and with the soaps that have good character human stories, it really touches all of us in some form of fashion…for instance it’s like music, it touches all of us…I have loved my soaps for the character’s feel like family especially for us that don’t have family…I myself have been blessed with friends that are my family instead of blood relatives that can turn on you in a heart beat…we all have heard the saying, you can pick your friends but you cannot pick your family, blood related that is… lol…THAT’S why I love my soaps aka daytime dramas…On another note that’s why I think TPTB with soaps really need to listen to the fans and give us what we want for we are the one’s that really keep our soaps going and we care like family…

    Reply

    Celia replied

    Truth, Kevin….I am addicted….have been as far as I can remember. I may carp once and again, but I love my soaps and I would never stop wstching just because a storyline is not to my liking.
    Soaps are ‘home’ to me—warm and comfy.

    Reply

    Kevin C replied

    Celia, I use to be addicted but not any more but I totally understand…

    Kevin C replied

    Oh Celia, don’t get me wrong, I STILL LOVE MY SOAPS…

    Celia replied

    Oh, Kevin, my friend….I am so sorry….Oopsies….that came out wrong. I meant YOU speak the truth, as I feel exactly as you do. I agree with your every word.
    It is an obsession to be addicted to anything, LOL….. I guess ’tis better to be addicted to soaps than to more harmful ‘substances’, yes?
    I may be addicted, but not a slave to soaps….then again, I wonder if I would be if it were not for DVR’s, LOL. Would I re-arrange my schedule so not to miss my soaps as my grandmother used to do? Hmmmm.
    Mr. Fairman’s sites are just as addictive, LOL.
    Later, Kevin.

    Reply

    Celia replied

    Oh, and Kevin? My soaps got me through the most debilitating, painful time in my life….other than my husband and family, thst is.
    So, this is why your words are so poignant to me…….they ring true as they reflect those emotions that may seem dormant, but are so close to the surface; …..always at the ready to emerge, at any given time.

    Reply

    Emily replied

    Yes Kevin my grandma got me started way way back when the soaps first started and i have been hooked ever since. It is so much fun to see what is going to happen every day. Some days better than others but we would be lost with our our soaps!

    Reply

  2. Llanviewer717 says:

    What a beautiful story. He is so right about them being addictive. Thank heaven I’ve never been in prison. But, I watched GH from April 1, 1963 until 2005. I was a kid when it started and I found it fascinating. I watched One Life to Live from July 15, 1968 until the last online episode and would be watching it now if someone would put on air. You develop such a deep personal connection to the characters and many of the stories. Yes there are many outrageous situations and problems depicted in soaps. And things are frequently overdramatized. But, the interpersonal relationships and family and professional relationships mirror the lives of people in the real world. I can see how someone stuck in the cold, stark world of prison would try to hang onto something tangible from the real world. A soap opera was probably as close as he could get. Good for Chris. He sounds like a man who was bright enough to find a way to survive an awful situation. Thank goodness he was finally proven innocent.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    Well said!

    Reply

  3. James R. Poissant says:

    Soap operas are for everybody. The story we just read about is one good reason why they can never end. if the day comes where all the shows are gone, I can honestly say my life won’t have much purpose because the characters on the shows are real people to me and they are the ones I love no matter if they portray good characters or evil. It’s still my getaway from the hassles i deal with in life.

    Reply

    Soaphound replied

    James, I agree with your heartfelt post. I went thru a bad breakup in 1984 and the Reva suicide story on GUIDING LIGHT helped me reclaim my life and self respect. Also, as a lifelong fan of great acting, I’d put the work of Laura Wright, Jane Elliot, Maura West, Genie Francis, Michelle Stafford, Billy Miller, Roger Howarth against any prime time actor AND most movie stars. They make soaps a light in my life as well.

    Reply

    Kevin C replied

    Soaphound, I think our daytime actors/actresses beat night time by a long shot and they master their craft all year long…LONG LIVE SOAPS…

  4. Jimh says:

    Soap operas are are escape from the real world…no other genre has that kind of affect on the viewing audience!

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hey Jimh..
    So right you are–
    ;;Soap operas are are escape from the real world;;

    But yet, many bitch whine and moan when it’s not exactly like Real Life..
    They tear little things apart to analyze them as to why they are not real..
    DUH things in soaps are not from Real Life..
    So– seems they don’t want an escape into a make believe land, they want reality.

    BWAHAA! go figure!

    Reply

    Jimh replied

    I know…im one of them but it is fun to bitch and moan about something-lol

    Barbara Jacobs replied

    I so agree they are an escape from the real world and that was why everyone was glued to the radio back during the first days they were created. It took them away for a short moment in time to be elsewhere and not think of what was going on. With times the way they are now we need them more and more of them not just 4. They give us something to look forward to especially Cliffhanger Friday!

    Reply

  5. rebecca1 says:

    wow! what an interesting perspective! many times soap fans are disrespected because the genre probably is, to some extent, disrespected. seems like you have to “admit” you watch a soap…and then make some excuse like it’s my “guilty” pleasure. so to hear how much GH got this man and others through their days…particularly in that he was innocent and this allowed him the escape (that’s TWO jail puns…not intended!) he needed, is a testament to the genre.

    TV, even non-soaps, is such great escapism. Getting familiar with fictional characters, that ability to suspend disbelief…it’s great we’re all able to do so.

    Reply

    Soaphound replied

    Yes, Rebecca, so true and with the quality of theatrical movies in a steady, heartbreak decline, soaps are really shining these days. Looking forward to the return of NASHVILLE also.

    Reply

    rebecca1 replied

    Did you read Michael Fairman’s post…Nashville is cancelled! Will only be back for the remainder of the season…

    rebecca1 replied

    Hi Soaphound…wanted to add (regarding Nashville)…though I’ll miss the characters…I didn’t take to CMT’s version as I’d hoped I would. I loved it when it was on ABC; every episode, every character. It wasn’t the same after they killed off Jeff…then omitted Layla and Luke from the CMT…Connie left…new characters introduced. Just wasn’t feeling it.

    With that said I’m surprised it was cancelled because last I read on it the show garnered the highest ratings for oringinal programming on CMT. Wonder what happened…

    I’ll miss the characters…particularly Deacon, Gunner, Avery and Will. Sigh…lose a show, lose “people” we love.

  6. JasonLovesGH says:

    Sweet story! :)

    Reply

  7. Satan says:

    Speaking as the “warden” of the biggest supermax prison in the universe (Hell) I can confirm that GH is popular with many of the prisoners down here as well.

    Reply

  8. Kelly Publicover says:

    Soap Operas like GH help keep you sane when real life sucks. It’s an addiction that won’t harm your health or kill you. I’ve had this GH addiction for over 30 yrs and it’s not going away any time soon! #LongLiveGH

    Reply

  9. rose says:

    I guess Michael Fairman will know why I am really impressed with this story. And I echo the comments on this story.

    One of Chris’s comments I kinda chuckled at was his reference to Sonny Corinthos…”He ran the whole town, and he had a bunch of businesses everywhere, but his main business was coffee importing. This was a kind of inspiration to me, so I need to watch this guy and get some knowledge. This was kind of like that entrepreneurship I learned form watching soap operas.” And since being released Chris created a detective agency looking into other innocence cases.

    I do wonder if their viewship numbers are factored into the ratings. They would add viewers to all four soaps.

    Also it would be nice to have their comments on Michael Fairman.

    Reply

  10. Debra m says:

    I always felt the soaps were a good escapism from reality that we all need at times. Have to watch that PBS special, sounds good.

    Reply

  11. su0000 says:

    OK–
    here is thing.
    What years of his 13 years in prison did he watch GH??

    The link article was extremely weak..
    did not mention the year he was incarcerated or the year he was released or how old he was when he entered prison..

    However; I’d imagine it was the high power years when GH was actually great, the years of the Mobsters, when the cast actually had mobsters characters doing mobster crimes, shootings and like the real deal..
    .GH use to be the type of soap that would interest imprisoned people and not what it has become.
    I’d guess he entered the prison late 80′s to early 90′s .. when all the mob Families were in action)

    //they surely wouldn’t have gathered to watch during the past years boring blah junk tv it has been// getting much better now..

    Reply

  12. Natalie Rios says:

    I’ve watched GH when Luke and Laura was the story!! How the rape scene was done,it was a big thing then during the disco era!! Watched the,Ice princess story,Hrlrna and her crazy sons… Then I stopped for awhile got back to it,then it was Stone and Robin watched Emily get killed off etc… Now,I’m happy that Steve Burton is back Jason don’t like the story at the moment!! Confusing!! But,hoping Sam will go.back to her real Man!! LOL GH Forever!!!

    Reply

  13. Matthew says:

    Great story!!! I’m a forty seven year old man who is proud to be a huge GH fan for life. I’m busy during the day but I cozy up to the laptop every night to escape this world for my favorite alternate universe- Port Charles, NY. Can’t imagine what life would be without the joy I get from this production. It’s easy to understand how the show got him through prison because it sure takes me away. Thank you ABC for the best show ever made!

    Reply

  14. Marina says:

    I watch days of our lives and young and the restless I grew up watching soaps I remember watching all my children then watching passion for life until they both went off the air and you know I never been in prison and not planning on being there I have heard story’s,. they are horrible and sometimes touching depending on which side you want to look at it, I have read your story I must say took courage to stay strong even in the most weekness points and I commend you for that,. Stay strong and keep doing what your doing , looks like you will have a bright future ahead of you.

    Reply

  15. Skeptic says:

    Why would anyone think the monster storylines were the greatest years of GH? It was never, ever what the show was about, and it ruined it. Sonny, in particular. He’s like a violent version of Fonzie from the old Happy Days sitcom. For every fan that loves Sonny and the psycho-phant robot killer Jason, two people are turned off. The ratings for GH were highest during Luke and Laura in the ’80s. Luke was mob-related at first, but mobsters were not the focus of the show. Luke broke free of Frank Smith. The bad guys got weirder than the mob with the Cassidines. The Quartermaines had bad sides to them, while eing a respectable wealthy family. The hospital always had bad people, but not Mafia killers. It was on a human scale.

    Reply

    Jamesj75 replied

    I totally agree with you, Skeptic, regarding any misguided allegiance to Sonny and the mobster storylines. Thank you!

    Reply

  16. heidi says:

    How about this week… we just say thank you for keeping GH on the air all these years so that those of us who love it can enjoy it? Let’s be happy we still have our show, with all of the incredibly talented actors and actresses portraying our favorite and flawed characters who bring us pleasure and more!

    Great story Michael!

    Reply

  17. Steve says:

    When it’s at its best, GH is addictive as dope (as the return of Steve Burton shows). Sadly, as this summer proved, it can also be like Dramamine.

    Reply

  18. Timmm says:

    People will laugh at you for being a soap fan but these are the same people who watch “Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones.” What the difference? They are stories and just like soaps, some are good, some are bad and some are ridiculous!

    Reply

  19. Judy says:

    Chris… youve got all my love ,respect and congratulations… my son too was in for a year plus… but… he too found that was one thing helped get him through it all… hope to find out time of your upcoming PBS… thankful greatly for your success!!!

    Reply

  20. Diane L says:

    I know a lot of guys who watch General Hospital. My significant otherMike watches. I’ve been watching since I was in elementary school. I’d say it’s been about 44-45 years! I’ve been with Mike for almost 32 years so he’s been watching since then off and on…mostly on. He does like what’s been going on these past couple months loving the story line. When I miss it he tells me I better go watch it now! He records GH every day for me.
    I’m so glad Chris got some relief while in prison. 13 years for something he didn’t do…wow! I don’t know if I could do it! Good Lick Chris in all you do! #GHFOREVER #JASONISTHEBEST #LoveMeSomeSonny

    Reply

  21. Troy Turner says:

    This once again goes to show that the male soap fandom is woefully misrepresented

    Reply

  22. Aria says:

    I’ve been a loud addict since I was 7 yo it’s been 30 years and I’m not close to bored with the show.

    Reply

  23. M says:

    Does anyone remember the disco song “I just can’t cope with out my soap “General Hospital”!!!!??????

    Reply

    Llanviewer717 replied

    Yes, I do. Not the finest contribution to the genre; but, it did demonstrate how significant GH was in American society of the day.

    Reply

  24. Jamesj75 says:

    It’s very disappointing that my thoughtful post on adulation of the prison population for the character of Sonny was deemed unsuitable for publication. I was merely addressing the elephant in the room: Because the character of Sonny gets away with crimes, including murder, with virtually no jail time, it’s no wonder he is considered a hero to the prison population.

    Some want to make this story about the condescending notion that men can be soap fans, too. It goes deeper than that. I’m sure Mr. Fairman appreciates those who toe the party line and serve as perpetual cheerleaders for all soaps despite any hypocrisy or flaws.

    Reply

    Celia replied

    Hey, James…if it makes you feel any better, I did echo your sentiments and my post was trashed, as well.
    Must have been a Sonny lover who happened to decide if our writing was worthy …..LOL.

    Reply

    Jamesj75 replied

    Yes, my dear Friend Celia, it does make me feel better: that I wasn’t solely singled out. But I question the wisdom of anyone who would trash any post by you… And I originally used the word “thoughtful” about my own post, not to toot my own horn, but to convey that my point was at least logical.

    Speaking of logical, your theory on the “Sonny lover” sure makes sense to me.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Celia! :)

    Shay replied

    @CeeCee…If your “Sonny Lover” theory is correct, then I have to assume that there are also Alexis and Nina “lovers,” as well. Would explain so much why many of my posts are also given a one-way trip to oblivion!!!

    Celia replied

    Thank you, my friend….and, a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, as well. Enjoy….!!

    Reply

    Jamesj75 replied

    Thank you, Celia!

    Jamesj75 replied

    To whomever else replied to me and explained that no “rhyme or reason comments don’t go through,” please try to reply to me again, here or elsewhere. I did read your interesting reply via my e-mail and I truly appreciate your response — but I don’t know who wrote the post. Somehow the post doesn’t appear in this thread where the link takes me… Very unusual…

    Reply

  25. Andrew Hass says:

    Soap Operas i think can help people get through hard times in their lives because soaps can be a escape for them.

    Reply

  26. Mo says:

    WOW! That is amazing. Good TV can transcend and entertain and help. Soap operas are escapism.

    Reply

  27. Nik says:

    The so-called Powers to Be want folks to underestimate Soap Operas but they have proven, for decades, they are worth watching on so many levels.

    Reply

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