GH Turns 50

gh 1963“General Hospital” turned 50 yesterday. I haven’t been an avid viewer since 1990, however the milestone still meant something to me. It is the soap my mother was the closest to. She was there when it made its debut on April 1, 1963. A young girl of 14, she would grow very close to and fond of those original characters. Dr. Hardy, Jessie Brewer, her womanizing husband, Phil. Later, Audrey March and her older sister Lucille, Peter Taylor, Lee Baldwin, Lesley Williams, Tom Baldwin, and others joined the cast. Watching GH was a daily staple in her life throughout high school, college, and the early days of being a young mother. She always talked about how she and Audrey were pregnant at the same time. Actress Rachel Ames was expecting in real life. By 1973, it became more difficult for her to keep up with the storylines, and she gradually stopped watching.

By the 1980s, GH was the most watched and popular soap opera, mostly thanks to the wildly popular duo of Luke and Laura. Their wedding remains the most watched event in daytime TV history. I was at school. I found myself captivated by GH, and started watching on a regular basis. My sister would begin watching in the ’80s as well, into the early ’90s. She still peeks in on occasion. However, Mom could not reconnect with the soap she bonded with so quickly in junior high. She would enjoy seeing those familiar faces which remained on the show. She usually saw them in passing, but would sit down and watch with us on occasion, too. She liked hearing Steve Hardy read the Christmas story to the children at the hospital each year. When we became the GH watchers, we found ourselves having a special affection for the Hardys and Jessie. She transferred that to us beautifully, and with ease. Today only Audrey reappears every few years, as Steve and Jessie passed on in the ’90s.

We were able to see them again in their youth during the GH marathon which aired on Soapnet this past weekend. The first episode was shown. My sister reminded me we saw it in 1993 as well. It was a heartwarming treat, in addition to the episodes we remembered watching. The theme with the ambulance racing towards the hospital actually gives me chills when I hear it. The nostalgia is just that strong. However, there was something all the more touching about the two episodes from 1963. It was like taking a trip into our Mom’s childhood days, being able to see what she saw.

Yes, that scoundrel Phil Brewster was pretty cute. Happy 50th, General Hospital!

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~ by kmnnz on April 2, 2013.

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