Soap fans won’t want to miss tonight’s airing of The Story of Soaps, a two-hour special that looks back at the significant and cultural impact that soaps have made — and continue to make — on society. Emmy-winner Genie Francis (Laura, General Hospital) is among the many stars interviewed for the program.
Genie Francis Looks Back
“I’m glad they’re doing this,” Francis told TV Insider. “We could use the boost, frankly. It’s nice to give daytime serials a nod and celebrate them. It’s a pretty incredible part of our society really. And it has been for a long time. I want to keep it going. I want it to stay alive and be well.”
Soaps are part of Francis’s heritage. The actress’s late father, Ivor Francis, played Joe, the son of Ma Perkins, on the radio drama Ma Perkins. “They have been on for so long and are a reflection of our society,” Francis says. “We should be able to find ourselves somewhere on the screen. Soap operas go on for generations. I get letters from fans who started watching with their mothers when they were 6-years-old.”
Francis had a unique experience on daytime. When she joined General Hospital in late 1976, the show was not at the top of the ratings, but a few short years later, thanks to producer Gloria Monty and head writer Douglas Marland, and later, head writer Pat Falken Smith, the ABC serial skyrocketed to the top.
In the early 1980s, Francis graced the cover of TV Guide, and later, Newsweek and People Magazine. On the latter two, she appeared on the cover with co-star Anthony Geary (Luke). Elizabeth Taylor (ex-Helena) appeared on the cover of People with the supercouple.
“It was such a craze,” Genie Francis recalls. “It was like the Beatles. There was a TV Guide Magazine cover called TV’s Greatest Moments. One [moment] was Princess Diana and Charles’s wedding, the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, the moon landing, and us! When something is that big and that hot for that period of time – it’s an out-of-body experience!”
The Story of Soaps airs tonight on ABC from 9 to 11 p.m. ET on ABC. General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check local listings for air times.