ABC's General Hospital will celebrate its 52nd anniversary on Wednesday, April 1 (no, it's not an April Fools joke), continuing its rank as the longest-running American soap opera currently on the air. In honor of the series' impressive run, Soap Central is listing 52 reasons why GH rocks. It's kind of like the game 52 Card Pickup, but instead of throwing cards at you, we're throwing out 52 reasons why we love GH. Get it? Okay, now go get 'em!
1. Luke and Laura
It's tough to meet a person in this world who hasn't heard of GH's Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis), the beloved couple whose wedding episode managed to draw in 30 million viewers and to this day remains the highest-rated hour in soap opera history. Though other couples came before the iconic pair, they literally defined the term "supercouple," meaning they're pretty much the most important lovers in the genre.
2. Iconic Couples
As if the pairing of Luke and Laura didn't make enough of a splash on its own, the soap has spoiled romantics with pairings like Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Brenda (Vanessa Marcil), Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) and Maxie (Kristen Storms), Anna (Finola Hughes) and Robert (Tristan Rogers), Stone (Michael Sutton) and Robin (Kimberly McCullough), and so on. It's a gift that keeps on giving.
3. AIDS Storyline
The soap got everyone's blood pumping with the groundbreaking AIDS storyline in which 16-year-old Robin (McCullough) had unprotected sex with her first love, Stone (Sutton), before he discovered he had contracted AIDS from a previous relationship. And the drama continued when Robin found out she was HIV positive just before Stone's death. It was emotion at it's absolute best.
4. The Best Bathroom Slip-Up
A rubber ducky does make bath time oh, so fun -- until your bubble-time partner slips and hits his head, which is exactly what happened when Kevin (Jon Lindstrom) tried to join Lucy (Lynn Herring) for some Bubblicious loving.
5. You Spin Me Right Round, Baby
GH spawned three spin-offs in the US (The Young Marrieds, Port Charles, and General Hospital: Night Shift) and one in the UK (also called General Hospital). And it recently spawned a different kind of spin-off altogether: GH Now!
6. Dinosaur Days
In human years, 52 isn't that old. But in TV years? It's pretty ancient. Case in point: GH is the oldest US soap still on the air.
GH is so good, it holds the record for the most Outstanding Drama Series wins in Daytime Emmy history. That number would be eleven, for those counting.
8. It's For Life
Its original stars John Beradino (Steve Hardy) and Emily McLaughlin (Jessie Brewer) stayed with the show until their deaths in 1996 and 1991, respectively. Now that's commitment.
9. Family Ties
The current families on the show include all walks of life: the always fighting and always rich Quartermaine family, the mobster crime Corinthos family, the middle class Scorpio/Jones family, the aristocratic Cassadine family, and the adventurous Spencer family.
10. Dream Team
The soap has never skimped on sexy men, though it has skimped on clothing on said sexy men, which we couldn't be happier about.
11. Royal Resurrection
GH gave One Life to Live characters, as well as the show's former head writer, Ron Carlivati, and executive producer, Frank Valentini, a second chance to shine.
GH has had some pretty famous fans, including the late Princess Diana, who sent two bottles of Bollinger Champagne to Anthony Geary and Genie Francis in time for Luke and Laura's 1981 wedding.
13. Big Bang Theory
GH features some of the best explosions on daytime, from limos to boats and everything in between.
14. Livin' la Vida Loca
Yeah, Ricky Martin made his initial mark as part of the all-boy group Menudo. But we secretly think it was his mid-90s GH appearances that paved the way for him to rocket to Latin Pop success.
Ricky Martin wasn't the only big star to sprout his wings in Port Charles. Others included Jonathan Jackson, Demi Moore, and John Stamos.
16. Fan February
The show's Fan February has put viewers in the driver's seat on multiple occasions. One viewer-dictated storyline lead to Jason (Steve Burton) and Sonny (Benard) switching places as the Quartermaines hosted a reality show, and the most recent viewer-dictated decision will see the return of a popular character (though fans will have to wait until the May 1 episode to find out who).
17. Be Our Guest
The show has boasted some awesome guest stars including Roseanne Barr, Sammy Davis Jr., Milton Berle, and Elizabeth Taylor.
18. Heart to Heart
The show brought millions of viewers to tears when B.J. was pronounced dead after a school bus accident, and Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman) and Felicia (Kristina Wagner) realized Maxie would be getting her little cousin's heart. The line "Not Barbara Jean's heart" is seared into fans' minds forever, along with the image of Felicia and Bobbie sinking to the floor in devastation.
19. Real Love
As one could imagine, Monica (Leslie Charleson) didn't exactly feel beautiful after her mastectomy and battle with breast cancer (which was beautifully handled by the writers from the get-go). But Alan (Stuart Damon) still thought his wife was a goddess, so he did his best to support, understand, and deal with the cancer... which ultimately wooed Monica back under the sheets with her man.
20. Boob Tube
There was emotional chest baring, as in the case with Monica. And then there was humorous chest baring, as in the case with Lucy (Herring), who managed to end up naked at the Nurse's Ball -- on more than one occasion.
21. Med Alert
It was pretty cold when Tracy (Jane Elliot) refused to give Edward (John Ingle) his heart medication, but it was also pretty priceless.
22. Super Serenade
GH knows how to use music for romance, including a song called Elizabeth that Lucky penned and later sung just before he and Liz (Rebecca Herbst) shared their first kiss. (Fun fact: the song was actually written by Lucky's portrayer, Jonathan Jackson.)
23. America, the Beautiful
Port Charles may be the center of GH drama, but the soap has given a lovely shout-out to our country with location shoots in places like Nashville, Niagara Falls, and Mount Rushmore. And let's not forget how the soap blew up a mountain in the Pacific Palisades and featured a snowstorm at Big Bear. Yowzer!
24. Under My Umbrella
When Sonny left Brenda on their wedding day, it wasn't clear what soaked her more: her tears or the pouring rain. Either way, it was an emotional moment that goes down in soap history.
25. Last Man Standing
Since the devastating cancellation of All My Children and One Life to Live, it's been the only ABC soap on the air.
26. 127 Hours (Give or Take) of James Franco
The show is so cool, even Hollywood hottie James Franco wanted in on the action. What's more, his real-life mom, Betsy Lou, came to Port Charles, as well. And she returned as Franco's mom with Roger Howarth in the role.
27. Say What?!
There's always something up the GH writers' sleeves, from Luke's unexpected split personality to the surprise of Dr. Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) being Britt's mom.
28. Energize With Exercise
What other soap opera can boast a history with fitness guru Richard Simmons? In fact, the show can boast creating the history of fitness guru Richard Simmons, considering his GH appearances are what led to major national recognition of the health expert.
29. It's Generally Hospital
Outside of a few occasional bouts, the show has done a pretty good job of focusing on its name and providing fantastic medical drama.
30. Comeback Queen
GH went from being critically reviewed as dull to one of the top-rated shows in the genre once Gloria Monty was brought on board (and given only 13 weeks to turn the dismal ratings around) back in 1978. Similarly, viewers of GH showed up in droves in 2014, bringing low ratings back up as the show reclaimed its mojo.
31. Oops, They Did It Again
Somehow, GH always bounces back, no matter how outrageous the storylines are. For example, there once was a storyline in which Luke, Laura, and Robert saved the town after it was placed under a deep freeze by the maniacal Mikkos Cassadine's Ice Princess weather machine. Oh, and remember the time when Robin befriended Casey Rogers, an alien from planet Lunina? Good times.
32. Seduction Retraction
The soap did a phenomenal job with the retelling of the Luke raping Laura story, which earned Jonathan Jackson, Geary, the writers, the directors, and the show Emmy Awards. "Times are different," explained then-executive producer Wendy Riche of her decision to erase the storyline's former "seduction" slant and call it what it really was: rape. "What the audience perceives and what they expect is very different from what it was 20 years ago. They are more conscious date rape is unacceptable... It was not acceptable then, no matter what the town said or the press said. It is not acceptable to take over another person's body under any circumstances."
33. Working Class Dog
The show lucked out by snagging Rick Springfield, who signed a contract with the soap as Noah Drake before knowing that his prerecorded album, Working Class Dog, would becoming such a huge success, creating hits like Jessie's Girl and I've Done Everything For You.
34. Not Exactly The WB
The show took creative license and made up its own FBI called World Security Bureau (WSB).
35. Up For Grabs
GH may not be the highest-rated soap opera, but it was able to steal a couple of actors from The Young and the Restless (which is the highest rated soap), including Michelle Stafford (Nina Clay; ex-Phyllis Newman, Y&R) and Billy Miller (Jason Morgan; ex-Billy Newman, Y&R).
36. What's Up, Dock?
Only GH has so many stories that take place on the docks, including explosions, drug busts, and more.
37. Variety of Vicious Villains
You name it, GH has got it -- especially when it comes to villains. From Jerry (Sebastian Roche) to Victor (Thaao Penghlis), Faison (Anders Hove) to Larry (Hugo Napier), Heather (Robin Mattson) to Helena (Constance Towers), and everything in between, Port Charles boasts a variety of love-to-hate bad guys (and girls).
38. The Grass Is Greener
Speaking of baddies, we love GH for bringing Rebecca Budig back to daytime and hope that her Port Charles character is just as feisty as All My Children's Greenlee.
39. Absolute Magic
The series stripped down some of its hottest stars in a fun Magic Milo and the Magic Wands performance that had fans throwing dollar bills at televisions across America.
40. Spock Before Space, the Final Frontier
Prior to donning infamous pointy ears as Star Trek's Spock, the late Leonard Nimoy popped into Port Charles as Bernie. And that's just one way GH has crossed over with the Star Trek world. For more on how the two have collided over the years, check out this fun article.
41. Port Charles Playmates
In addition to hot men, GH features some pretty hot women, too. Port Charles babes like Kelly Monaco (Sam McCall) and Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie Spencer) have even posed in the very sexy Playboy magazine.
42. Med Wars
Both NBC's The Doctors and ABC's GH debuted on the same day, but only one medical-based soap managed to make it 52 years on the air.
43. Big Blasts From the Past
GH isn't known for subtlety when it brings back former characters. The end of 2005/early 2006 brought a blast of returns from characters like Noah Drake (Springfield), Tony Jones (Brad Maule), Anna Devane (Hughes), Robert Scorpio (Rogers), and Holly Scorpio (Emma Samms). Similarly, the show's 50th anniversary brought back a slew of characters that fans had been missing, as well.
44. Obscene Mobscene
The show puts the Godfather movies to shame when it comes to mob-centric plot lines.
45. Family Affair
The show was created by Frank and Doris Hursley, a real-life married couple who began writing for radio during World War II. The duo served as head writers for GH in the early years then handed the reigns over to their daughter and son-in-law, Bridget and Jerome Dobson, in 1973. (Fun fact: Bridget later went on to create Santa Barbara.)
46. Everlasting Love
Despite the many trials and tribulations that Sonny and Carly (Laura Wright) have gone through over the years (including a defining moment when Sonny accidentally shot Carly in the head, moments before she gave birth to their son, Morgan), the couple has mostly been able to keep their love alive. It's a bit of a dysfunctional relationship, but it gives viewers hope that real love can transcend pretty much anything.
47. Secrets Galore
While it's not really the best news for soap journalists, GH does a pretty great job of keeping the lid on major plot tidbits, which is a good thing for fans who love a great surprise. Rumor has it the executive team is pretty fierce when it comes to protecting the show's secrets, which leads to juicy on-screen moments that nobody -- and we mean nobody -- sees coming.
48. Pizza Paradise
Prone to comedic fights, the Quartermaine family is often forced to order pizza for Thanksgiving in lieu of a traditional holiday meal.
49. Clink... Boom!
Every GH fan knows what the simple term "Clink Boom" stands for: the ingenious (and very heartbreaking) moment when Jax (Ingo Rademacher) and Brenda's wedding glasses struck together just as Lily's (Lilly Melgar) car exploded. It was a moment so powerful, it has its own sound to sum it up.
50. A Nice Day For a Not-So-White Wedding
The Bold and the Beautiful's Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) may have donned a black wedding dress, but GH's Lucy Coe (Herring) was the first to don such a matrimonial shocker when she wore a red wedding dress during her vows to Alan (Damon).
51. Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up
Head writer Ron Carlivati has already shown that he's capable of fabulous multiple personality storylines, having written for OLTL's DID sufferers Viki (Erika Slezak) and Jessica (Bree Williamson). So we're fairly certain that Luke's dissociative identity disorder storyline will be one for the books, as well.
52. Twilight Zone
The soap definitely values its past, something its about to show during its 52nd anniversary episode. Plans are underway for Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber), and Ryan Carnes (Lucas Jones) to appear in flashbacks as three of GH's original characters. Thompson will be taking on Steve Hardy, the virtuous doctor originally played by John Beradino. Herbst will be stepping into the shoes of Jessie Brewer, the spurned nurse originally played by Emily McLaughlin. And Carnes takes on the role of Jessie's husband, Phil, the sexy intern made popular by Roy Thinnes. To see how it all plays out, be sure to tune in to GH's special 52nd anniversary episode on Wednesday, April 1.
Certainly there are even more reasons to love GH. Right? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.
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