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60 Years Of General Hospital: A Lifetime Of Escape With Familiar Old Friends

General Hospital isn’t showing its age as it continues to be incredible viewing.

general hospital laura, bobbie, nina, and sonny dressed upGeneral Hospital is celebrating 60 years on the air and in our hearts.

I’ve been a soap opera fan for as long as I can remember being alive, but I wasn’t always a General Hospital fan. Of course, that eventually changed in a big way.

It All Began With Luke And Laura…In The 1990s

As a kid, I was an NBC soap fan, introduced to them by my mom, who also introduced me to soap magazines. That’s where I learned about General Hospital, and that’s how I knew I had to watch the biggest event in soap opera history—Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura’s (Genie Francis) November 16, 1981 wedding. (Nineteen years later, I got married on that same date — which was quite honestly purely a coincidence.)

While that didn’t make me a diehard fan, it did introduce me to the show, and I wasn’t averse to watching with friends while still staying loyal to my NBC shows I recorded each day on my 1980s VCR. Still, it was Luke and Laura who eventually did get me hooked thanks to a friend who insisted I watch their 1993 comeback. That little story at the Triple L Diner made me a fan for life. A little over a year later, my brand-new journalism degree got me my first full-time job on a soap magazine — Daytime TV, the first one my mom had introduced me to when I was in elementary school.

After a college internship at Soap Opera Weekly, I was so thrilled to be in the thick of it, with a little TV on my desk in a Manhattan office watching GH each day, interviewing my favorites from across the country on the phone, writing my thoughts, and still escaping the troubles that come with being in one’s 20s by being entertained each day by the best of the best.

My true love for GH came at an incredible time in the soap’s history with Claire Labine writing groundbreaking stories like BJ’s heart and Monica’s (Leslie Charleson) breast cancer. I couldn’t get enough of Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Brenda (Vanessa Marcil), laughed at the antics of Kevin (Jon Lindstrom), Mac (John J. York), Lucy (Lynn Herring), and Felicia (Kristina Wagner), cried buckets when Stone (Michael Sutton) died after being able to see Robin (Kimberly McCullough) in his last moments, and took pride in my hometown of Brooklyn represented with Lois (Rena Sofer) and the Cerullos.

Always Checking In On General Hospital

GH followed me through different chapters of my life. While I dropped the afternoon soap habit for a few years after getting married and having children, Soap Net was there for me in the middle of the night when the babies would wake, and I never had to miss the stories I wanted to see. I made sure to catch any Brenda return because she will always be Sonny’s endgame for me, was sucked in again when Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) had cancer, and never understood why Carly (Laura Wright) and Sonny kept getting married when they were so bad for one another, and couldn’t help but tune in to see James Franco whenever he would appear a character named for himself.

By 2013, the kids were in school, and I’d settled into life as a freelance writer, and turned on my soaps again each day, choosing GH as the one to reintroduce me to my daily fun. A year later, I got the completely unexpected opportunity to help create this website, and it was a dream come true to once again write about every single aspect of Port Charles life. It’s been almost a decade of being back with these old friends each day, and thank goodness for YouTube for helping to fill in the blanks.

To 60 More Years Of General Hospital

Life hasn’t always been easy over the last decade, but I doubt I would have made it through still smiling if GH wasn’t with me every step of the way. From those YouTube rabbit holes that can last for hours to those 60 minutes each day when everyone around me is told to be quiet (so I can enjoy but also type and recap what I am watching), GH seems more integral to my life than ever. I watch it differently now than I did all those years ago, and even when I see things going wrong like pacing and continuity at times, I can also find so many things going right. Anna (Finola Hughes) feels like an old friend thanks to getting to know her better on All My Children, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) is the girl I watched grow up and become a mom while I did the same, and Laura is as clever and feisty as ever.

Of course, there are plenty of new(er) characters to cheer on to help keep things fun and messy. There is nobody quite like Ava Jerome (Maura West), you will always see me defend Nina Reeves (Cynthia Watros), and yes, I want Esme Prince (Avery Kristen Pohl) to stick around because she is never not entertaining. GH is a lifeline for me and so many others, becoming an extension of our lives, and a part of our daily existence. No other scripted television show in broadcast history can say it has done that every weekday for six decades, but GH can, and every fan should be proud of that. We are all a part of it and even when we gripe, we can’t stay away.

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