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24 March 29th, 2013 L.A. Times Looks At The Phenomenon That Is General Hospital As It Turns 50!

Courtesy/ABC

Today, there is a wonderful article in the Los Angeles Times that talks about, that as of this coming Monday, April 1, 2013, when General Hospital turns 50 years young, it ramains is the longest running soap opera currently in production – after 12,776 original episodes!  The L.A. Times piece takes a look at the historical successes, near cancellation threats, and how GH is probably the one soap that is the biggest cultural phenomenon of them all!

Here are some excerpts from the Times piece:  “A year ago, fans fretted that ABC would cancel General Hospital following the demise of the Walt Disney Co. network’s two other signature soaps, All My Children, and One Life to Live.  Show producers, however, accepted the challenge, introduced some younger and more diverse characters and downplayed story lines that revolved around the mob bosses of Port Charles, N.Y., the show’s fictional setting. The result has been a ratings revival.  The show, which averages 3 million viewers an episode, is on track to have its best season in five years. It has experienced a 19% boost in viewers compared with last season, and a 44% increase among women ages 18 to 34.

General Hospital was the soap opera that brought young people to daytime television,” said Ed Martin, television columnist for MediaPost Publications. ”Other soap operas like ‘Young and the Restless’ and All My Children dabbled in it, but  General Hospital was most aggressive.”

General Hospital changed the mold for soap operas. It became one of the first soaps to go on location for shoots, they introduced younger characters and they tackled sensitive issues like cancer, AIDS and rape,” said Karen Herman, director of the Archive of American Television part of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. The archive has collected oral histories of nearly a dozen actors from the show, including Genie Francis (Laura) and Anthony Geary (Luke).

So soap fans, do you think GH is the soap that most impacted our culture?  Let us know!

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  1. su0000 says:

    well,
    There is no doubt that among all the soaps GH is indeed unique
    GH is a different breed of soap opera and there is none better than GH, and that includes the humdrum Y&R which rarely changes from its’ theme of ‘business and family problems, little change with Y&R..

    At times while watching GH, as last Wed, it looked much like prime-time viewing.

    BRAVO!!! to the FV, RC, and ALL the staff at GH..
    (GH would not be here today without your great work)

    I love the new feel and direction of GH and I believe GH is here to stay.

    Reply

    jim replied

    And i agree…

    Reply

    Melinda replied

    ITA! GH, the GH of old, is back in all its’ glory. It is must see TV and the respect that RC has for the history of GH is evident. Mentioning Amy Vining this week was incredibly sweet (RIP Shell Kepler) . There have been so many exciting moments in the past year. And so much character development. I’m so glad it is averaging 3M viewers. This show deserves it. And these show runners deserve it. OLTL increased viewership in its last year to what, 2M? I had hoped it would be enough to save the show to no avail. I’m so happy for GH and hope it continues to thrive. I will keep watching! More excitement lies ahead.

    Reply

    heidi replied

    Agree completely!!! LOVE GH!!! It is a unique soap in all that it does! I wouldn’t say it is the one that dealt with the most impactful story lines and I would say that is a good thing for it! I like that it has more adventure and intrique and mystery than the others. I also think they do comedy more and better than the others. I think they have the best cast hands down and on most days the most watchable and exciting storylines than the others. There isn’t a day that I am bored or can’t stand all of the story lines. There are a few of course but they are usually balanced with good and great stuff! Congratulations GH!!!

    Reply

  2. Mark says:

    Actually All My Children was the first soap to go on location shooting when they went to St. Croix for Erica and Tom’s honeymoon in 1977.

    Reply

    jim replied

    Sorry, but your also wrong. Hawkins Falls in the 1950s did location shooting years b4 AMC, and so did Dark Shadows in its first year in 1966.

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    Troy Turner replied

    While you are correct that AMC was the first to go on location, GH was the first soap to make it “cool” to do so

    Reply

  3. kellie says:

    well of course it is the best soap . I have been watching for 33+ years . I have watched through the good the bad and the ugly have stayed with general hospital. I can say this past year has been the best. I look forward to watching every day and can not wait for the next day to see what is going to happen. I can honestly say I have not felt like that in years. love general hospital

    Reply

  4. angelal says:

    No doubt about it. GH was the soap that broke the mold. They made watching soaps cool. I remember I watched before Luke & Laura and my friends made fun of me for watching. Then came L&L and they were hooked. It changed alot of people’s perception of daytime tv. Here’s to 50 more!

    Reply

  5. moshane58 says:

    All the ABC soaps weaved big important soaps into there stories.It a shame ABC didn’t get them notice instead of cancelling them.They needed someone in there who knew how to do the soaps right instead of destroying them like Frons did,But that was Anne Sweeney’s dream to get them all cancelled.

    Reply

  6. Linda says:

    I started watching GH in 1963 and am thrilled it has survived Frons and Sweeney’s attempts to get rid of it. Gloria Monty brought GH back to life in the 80′s and Frank and Ron have done the same thing today. Bravo!! No if only Sweeney will leave GH alone!!!!

    Reply

  7. jim says:

    Hawkins Falls was the first daytime soap( it started in primtime then like a year later moved to daytime) in the 1950s to do location shooting and Dark Shadows also did location shooting its first year in 1966 long b4 GH or any other soap. Dark Shadows also brought alot of young people to daytime long b4 GH, and so did the mystery crime drama The Edge Of Night. Dark Shadows had three movies based on it, 2 failed primetime revival attempts and tons of merchadise connected to the show still being made today. But anyway GH is the current best soap opera on the air and except for a few minor story flaws, im more addicted to it than i ever was. Some fans will criticize the show and complain how horrible the writing is but FV and RC must be doing something right to generate all this publicity and save it from cancellation by improving its ratings which hasnt been this good in years!

    Reply

  8. Sherrie Shearer says:

    I have been watching since 1964 at age 9– I would be lost without it! I have weathered every bump & twist in the road to Port Charles & lost some favorite actors & characters along the way. Some plots I love, some not so much– but I would never give up on watching!!!

    Reply

  9. udhoop says:

    GH in mind introduced the SUPERCOUPLE ala Luke & Laura but followed it up with Frisco & Felicia, Robert & Anna, Sonny & Brenda, Jax & Brenda, etc etc. But my personal fav…Sean & Tiffany come back to us please!

    Reply

  10. Aria says:

    GH is simply the best!

    Reply

  11. jay says:

    Love General Hospital….

    Reply

  12. su0000 says:

    The one thing I luv the most about GH since FV&RC took over is;
    The fast moving stories, the suspense, excitement and the often surprises.
    And, the lighter side , yet deep, twisting love stories..

    Put it all together and mix is intriguing ..

    Reply

  13. tarlyfan says:

    GH is the best. Thanks to FV, RC, and the writting team for a superb job. Without you guys, we probably have lost the show. Please keep up the great work!!!

    Reply

  14. Nikki says:

    So happy GH is getting the media attention it rightfully deserves! Not only has this soap been woven into television history unlike any other (30 million people watched for ONE episode!), but lately, it has been better than it has in year! Thankfully, ratings are also reflecting how the show has increased in quality! I used to complain about some of Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati’s choices on OLTL, but on GH, they have truly saved this show from certain “death” (aka cancellation) and I give them all of the props they deserve! Some say that “oh they only brought back vets for the anniversary”, but that is not true. The incredible Finola Hughes, only used as a guest from time to time during the past regime’s tenure, was put on contract! Ian Buchannan was brought on for months before the 50th! Actors like Genie Francis or Jack Wagner, who were “tough sells” for the last regime, came back in full force! Not to mention, AJ was brought back from the dead in direction of redemption as the rest of the Quartermaines also were brought back to the front-burner like they deserve! Every day I am excited to watch the show and cannot wait for the next one. Here’s to the 50th and 50 more!

    Reply

  15. ces says:

    Loving this GH Marathon so far!! Gonna have to pry me away from the tube this weekend. I remember SO much of this stuff (making me old!).. especially always loved Thaao Penghlis as Victor Cassadine. YUM!! Thanks SoapNet! Here’s to many more years …. btw, check out Jaclyn Zeman with a normal face ;)

    Reply

  16. Gamblerchick says:

    GH is the best, now as it was in 10 years. That’s how long I watched, General Hospital. I grew up watching Sonny and Carly, but I can’t Explaine it. But I have more memories of watching Luke and Laura. I have my own special 50 years list of my memories of Gh. And at the top are Luke and Laura. Anyway there are more stories, of the current day. To like and to post. There were too many stories, that were my favorites. And my top couples: Nikolas and Emilt, Sonny and Brenda.

    Reply

  17. liz says:

    I have been watching since 1975 and love this show,I just wish this past year was Patricks bad dream .Come back Robin please.

    Reply

  18. CTwildheart says:

    I am a long time soap watcher. While I am thrilled GH has made it to its 50th, I don’t want to pit one show against the other or say which soap I think affected society the most.

    Reply

  19. Susan says:

    GH always has the most amazing talented actors and actresses!!! LUV GH keep on Rockin another 50!!!

    Reply

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