60 Years Of General Hospital, America’s Biggest Soap Opera


You may be looking at the calendar seeing April 1st, but this is no April Fool’s Day prank. Sixty years ago on April 1st, 1963 one of America’s longest running and most popular soap opera television series General Hospital hit the airwaves. To this day it is still considered one of ABC’s top original programs. 

The series was originally conceived by husband and wife duo Frank and Doris Hursley who had previously written for CBS on the series Search for Tomorrow. ‘General Hospital’ originally revolved around Doctor Steve Harvey (Played by: John Beradino) and Nurse Jessie Brewer (Played by: Emily McLaughlin) as its principal characters. 

The show would be a modest success for years, but as the 1970s came the series faced cancelation. In 1978 Gloria Monty was brought on as executive producer and was given thirteen weeks to help improve the ratings. Monty was credited with adding more adventure and drama to the series which helped it become one of the most-watched soap operas of the time. 

Over the years the series has seen many different iterations with various storylines and characters. Due to the series airing a new episode every week, writers have to be ready for anything in the real world affecting the story such as a cast member leaving the show or falling ill, or even passing away. 

General Hospital is considered one of the last soap opera series as many in the genre have already ended or died out. The show has become a cultural phenomenon inspiring many other medical series/dramas and has even been parodied countless times.

In June of 2022 the series aired its 15,000th episode making it the second longest-running American drama series behind Guiding Light (which concluded in 2009). At any rate, it looks like General Hospital will continue for a while longer, and maybe even break that record. That is if it can compete in the era of the internet.

What were your favorite memories of General Hospital? Do you think it will be able to survive the internet age?

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