Mike Corbin returned to the Port Charles scene just about a year ago — and it turns out, in this case, a year really is a long time.
That’s because the story was originally intended to be a short arc of just three months, according to GH Executive Producer Frank Valentini.
So, what has kept this poignant and heartbreaking story going past it’s original end date?
Well, it’s a combination of two things, according to Valentini — the chemistry between actors Maurice Benard and Max Gail, as well as audience reaction.
“When we get an overwhelmingly positive response we get to take more time with the story,” Valentin said at the recent GH fan weekend at Graceland.
It was during Gail’s screen test with Benard that the soap knew it had something special that just might outlast the original three months planned. Valentini said Gail ad libbed asking Sonny out for a cannoli and then kissed Benard on the head.
“[We] knew Max was the one and this was a home run,” Valentini said. “[There’s] not a day on the set that Mo and Max are working that we don’t end the day with a tear in our eye.”
Newer fans may not realize that Gail is a recast, with Ron Hale playing a younger Mike off and on for 14 years. He left the soap in 2010 when he retired from acting and fans were surprised when the character was suddenly mentioned again last year.
The soap got lucky to find someone who fit the role so perfectly for this story and Benard explained the unique chemistry between he and Gail.
“He looks like my dad,” Benard said. “Put him in a jacket my dad bought ten years ago…a hat like my dad…[at times] when I touch him, it’s my dad.”
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.