General Hospital is the longest running television drama in history. For 50 years this outstanding show has been hitting our airwaves. I wasn’t around for it’s first episode on April 1st, 1963, I wasn’t even around for it’s 10 year anniversary in 1973. As a matter of fact, I was only 1 year old when the show hit it’s 20 year mark in 1983. It wasn’t until a little after that 3rd decade that I could actually start to really understand what was going on. In the early 90’s I was a pre-teen/teen with a Mom and an older Sister who watched religiously. I too, began rushing home from school to prepare a snack and wait for 3 O’clock for what would become my most favorite show of all time.
To many kids my age in the early 90’s, flannel shirts, Nirvana, Tupac Shazur, and Guess Jeans were huge. In my world, Jagger, Brenda, Karen and Sonny were my main focus when it came to extracurricular activities. I remember when Jagger, Karen, and Jason got stranded on the island. I can still recite lines from those scenes. I can still hear Jagger’s authentic Italian accent taunt Jason with sarcasm while trying to figure out survival tactics, “Oh I think um, we can order take out, whaddaya say?” And in response to Jason wanting to make spears to kill fish Jagger says, “Why don’t we make a gun, and shoot ’em?!” Those lines play in my head as if it were yesterday. But we all know it wasn’t yesterday. It was almost 20 years ago when I got hooked on General Hospital. 20 years of laughter, excitement, drama, tears, anticipation, and falling in love with my favorite characters and couples. 20 years of bonding with my Mom, Sister, girlfriends and husband. My husband has been watching with me now for about 10 years. I got him interested when Ric Lansing had Carly chained to a wall in a panic room in the house he shared with Elizabeth. That may be one of my favorite story lines still today. Not just because of it’s intense excitement and unpredictability, but also because during that time GH formed yet another bond between myself and someone else who could share in the show’s greatness. Not long after that my husband really got into the Sonny story lines with the mob. A guy in his late teens to early 20’s watching General Hospital? Well when the mob is involved, why the heck not?!
A few years later introduced the couple that would change my view on soap opera super couples forever. In case you don’t know who my all time favorite couple is, it is Jason and Sam. Or as we fans like to call them, JaSam. Jason and Sam were like no other couple on TV. Sure they had their typical break up, make up, and love triangle issues as every good daytime couple did. But they had something more. First of all, they were the epitome of “badass.” Excuse my language but that word bests describes the adventurous side of Jason and Sam’s relationship. Even though Jason was Sam’s protector, Sam could hold her own and as a team they got things done. Aside from JaSam being completely “badass,” many aspects of their relationship felt real, as if it hit close to home. Their laughter, their nights in ordering take out Chinese, they way he protected her, the star necklace he gave her, and near the end when he gave her his Grandmother Lila Quartermaine’s ring as her wedding ring. Those are things the real life couples do together. I will never forget the way these two actors/characters touched my life, and the memories of watching them grow on screen will forever remain in my heart.
Fast forward to this week’s 50th Anniversary celebration. I have to express how outstandingly well everything came together. Not only were the surprises like Ethan, Alan, Emily, and Rick Webber enough to send fans into excitement induced hyperventilation, but the over all emotion of the show was positively overwhelming. Dr. Patrick Drake was the perfect person to talk about the history of General Hospital. A strong, brilliant doctor much like Dr. Steve Hardy was, Dr. Drake has become a legend and anchor at General Hospital. His relationship, marriage, and life he built with the great Dr. Robin Scorpio reminds me of those that came before them, Steve and Audrey and Alan and Monica, and set the stage for this wonderful American tradition to continue.
Throughout the years I have stuck by GH’s side as a devoted fan. I am a lover of the history and all it stands for. I cherish the characters old and new and hold a special place in my heart for something that I was able to share with my Mom for so many years. I know that if she were here today to see General Hospital turn 50, we would be celebrating together and reminiscing of all the characters and stories that have come and gone.
I want to congratulate each and every person who has ever been a part of General Hospital on this monumental milestone and thank them for finding a way to move in and take up residence in the hearts of their truest fans. Happy 50th anniversary General Hospital.