No doubt few tissues were left this week in the homes of General Hospital fans after one of the show’s most loved characters, Franco (Roger Howarth), was shot and killed. The tragic scene ended up only being the trailer, though, for the featured waterworks to come.
After Franco visited Cameron (William Lipton) in a dream to let him know how much it meant to be his dad, we felt an even deeper loss for one of the closest father/son relationships we’ve seen evolve on daytime.
General Hospital – Not My Father
Some of the greatest bonds in soap history started with major resistance, and Cam definitely put up walls when it came to accepting Franco in his mother’s life, much less as a father figure to him and his younger brothers.
Aside from the whole brain tumor-induced psychotic behavior that Franco once unleashed on Port Charles, Cam too suffered from his own dim history of not having a father stick around in his life. The void created not only anger but also a major resistance to trusting any man who got close.
Cam never knew his bio dad, Zander (Chad Brannon), and then Lucky and Jason (Steve Burton) both disappeared from his life too, creating a cycle of good men who loved Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and the boys but ultimately disappeared.
That combined with the fact that Franco never wanted to have children, left the chances of a close father/son relationship quite slim.
Memory Map Bonds
Everything changed, though, when Cameron was kidnapped and was about to be implanted with Drew’s memories in his brain. Franco found him and insisted to the captors that he take Cam’s place.
Franco’s selfless act not only protected Cam, but it shifted their entire relationship from one of friction and resistance to openness and bonding.
United in Hair
Franco and Cam both sported good-looking hair. It was kind of their thing. That’s why we all sighed when Franco’s hair started falling out from cancer treatments. Desperate to show his support any way he could, Cam decided to shave his hair in solidarity — and to show his younger brothers that hair loss isn’t scary.
This was one of many examples of selfless acts and moments the two have shared, which makes us even sadder that we won’t be seeing more of this tender bond and chosen father/son moments.
Save The Best For Last
Little did Cam know that while he was plotting with his grandpa, Scotty (Kin Shriner), on a plan to keep his stepdad feeling more empowered to fight his brain tumor, Franco was dying in Liz’s arms.
Urged by Joss (Eden McCoy) to not let anything go unsaid, Cam picked up the phone and left a heartfelt message for Franco, thanking him for all he brought to his life and to please come back home. Tragically, Franco never got the message. It was too late…or was it?
As Cam waited for his mom to come home, he fell asleep on the couch and dreamt about Franco, although it felt very real to him, like it was playing out in actual time. A very healthy and alive-looking Franco walked in the door and told Cam that he too didn’t want to leave anything unsaid.
The scene that followed will go down in soap history as one of the most heartfelt moments that a father and son have shared. Blood and history didn’t matter – just pure love and admiration for the other.
Franco told Cam that he never really wanted kids before. He didn’t think he’d make a good father, and he worried about his past catching up to all of them. Having Liz and the boys in his life changed everything, and he couldn’t love him more.
The GH writers, Lipton, and Howarth took this death and loss to a spiritual level and solidified our hope that those who we’ve lost, will find a way to connect with us from the other side and help heal our broken hearts.
As Johann Friedrich von Schiller said, “It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.” General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.