Combining frivolous drama with scintillating moments of suspense and medical challenges, the team behind General Hospital seem to have the recipe just right, in terms of creating engaging content with a wide reach. At the same time, they have created a soap opera which appears to have stood the test of time, being America’s longest-standing soapie.
The popular series has kept viewers enthralled for over a half a century and while it has endless ardent fans, there are certain things that even those most dedicated to the show don’t know. Here are just 10 of the hidden details about General Hospital (which viewers would do well knowing)!
10 Husband & wife step up
General Hospital is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Frank and Doris Hursley. It first premiered on 1963's April Fool's Day but, going by its ratings and its longevity (56 years), as well as its 13 Emmy Awards, it is safe to say that the show is far from a joke.
The first stories were filmed on the 7th floor of a general hospital, hence the name of the series. The husband and wife team viewed the series as a big wheel, with the hospital at the center and the characters as spokes.
9 Spotlight on opening
It's often the unassuming, seemingly trivial details which stir up warm sentiments in the hearts of viewers. For General Hospital, such a detail is the front gates featured in each episode. If you have watched the series, you will know all about the front gates which are the focal point of the opening sequence of the series.
These are the gates of the LAC+USC Medical Center and not the gates of a typical hospital. The gates have become a well-known landmark and due to the popularity of the series, many people travel to them to have their photo taken in front of them.
8 Sister power
General Hospital has, or rather, had a sister soapie. The soap, called The Young Marrieds, was started in 1964. It didn't, however, do as well as General Hospital and was canceled just two years later due to low ratings.
Clinching to the success of another series doesn't always pay off, as ABC realized through The Young Marrieds. Still, you have to Selmur Productions credit for believing that anything is possible, as the studio developed both The Young Marrieds and the considerably more successful General Hospital.
7 56 & going strong
General Hospital celebrated its 55th anniversary on the 1st of April, 2018. It is the longest-running soap opera currently in production in America. During its half-century, it has won numerous awards.
Among these is the prestigious Daytime Emmy Award, which General Hospital has won 13 times! This is definitely a record for soapies and a feather in the cap of the team which refuses to back down!
6 Onwards, to one hour!
Originally, General Hospital began with 30-minute episodes. These were neat, action-packed chapters; however, as far as fans and the production team were concerned, the episodes ended too quickly. Still, it only took until 1976 for ABC to extend the run time to 45 minutes per episode.
Fifteen years after the show was launched and two years after it was made into a 45-minute drama, the show was extended to a full hour per episode. This came to the delight of viewers who could now enjoy a full TV meal of soap opera goodness.
5 A rose by any other name
General Hospital was initially called Emergency Hospital by the creators. There was no big reason why the name changed - its creators just thought General Hospital sounded better. Most fans would agree they made a wise choice, although the initial title might have caught viewers' attention more easily.
Still, General Hospital has a more personable and less intense tone than a title as dire as Emergency Hospital. With the series being over 50 years old now, it is hard to imagine the show being called anything other than General Hospital.
4 On a budget
The General Hospital team is on a strict budget. This means that funds get allocated cautiously and expenses are curbed and monitored. This is also true for the sets of the award-winning series.
To give an example, the series has used the same set for over 30 years. Sets also get reused. The set of one TV show might be reused for another series. At the end of the day, practicality brings order and business is business!
3 Here today, gone tomorrow
Remember Anna Devane's scar? Viewers most than likely don’t, or if they do, might find it difficult to remember when exactly the scar disappeared from the Special Agent's face.
The long scar was distinctly there when the series began and fairly noticeable. Eventually, the scar was revealed to have been a fake, a byproduct of Anna's career as a double agent. In a moment of passion, Robert Scorpio removed the "mask" to reveal the real Anna.
2 From Bunny to big time!
Actress Jacklyn Zeman, who plays Bobbie in the series, used to be a Playboy Bunny in the 1970s. Reports state that she worked for the NY Playboy Club.
While there is not too much information on how she ended up becoming a Bunny, Zeman likely worked in this role for around a year. Eventually, she made the decision to embrace a role on General Hospital and prioritized acting over modeling.
1 The hospital's location
Port Charles wasn't revealed as the location of the hospital until much later in the series. For as long as 13 years - over a decade - nobody knew where the actual hospital was situated. It could have been anywhere, as far as viewers were concerned.
It was only when the episodes of the series were extended to 45 minutes that the team behind all of the action chose to reveal to audiences that the setting for the hospital was Port Charles.