Luke and Laura's wedding, in November 1981, remains the most watched daytime television event ever, with almost 30 million viewers.
While filming on location at Mount Rushmore, Sharon Wyatt's quick ad-libbing saved the show from having to re-shoot after a fan recognized her and walked into the scene saying, "Look, it's Tiffany." In character, she quickly replied, "You must recognize me from one of my movies," and quickly moved the fan from the scene.
The role of Robert Scorpio was only supposed to last two days, but ended up staying for twelve years.
This is the longest-running dramatic serial on the ABC Network, and is the longest-running daytime drama produced on the West Coast.
Elizabeth Taylor was the first Helena Cassadine. She loved the show so much that she donated the $2,000 from her stint to charity.
John Ingle's first role was not Edward Quartermaine, but as a Police Commissioner in the mid-1980s.
After running over Stuart Damon's feet with her motorized wheelchair during a scene, Anna Lee was jokingly given a crash helmet with the name "The British Bullet".
The show debuted in 1963 but by 1978 ratings for the show had dipped so low that the network considered cancelling it. Producer Gloria Monty came aboard as producer, made the show the #1 show on daytime TV and literally saved it.
Out of respect for John Beradino's long-term contribution to the show, his face has remained in the opening credits (at least through 1997).
The British Columbia scenes from 1993 to facilitate Luke and Laura's return were filmed in Rochester, New York.
Genie Francis asked to come back short term in 2004 in order to "wrap" up the attic storyline, however, she was declined.
The exterior of General Hospital is the University of Southern California Medical Center, located east of downtown Los Angeles.
When ABC canceled All My Children and One Life to Live and replaced them with the lifestyle shows The Chew and The Revolution, General Hospital was left as the remaining daytime drama on the network. There was speculation that it would be canceled to make room for Katie Courics' new talk show. However The Revolution was a critical and ratings failure, while General Hospitals ratings improved noticeably, which has been credited to former One Life executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati who took on the respective duties at GH after One Lifes' cancellation. Th Revolution was canceled a few months after its debut and replaced by an afternoon addition of Good Morning America for the remainder of summer 2012. In the fall GH took over its time slot and Katie (2012) took over the time slot GH had previously had.
Towards 2005 and the beginning of 2006, the virus storyline brought back a herd of immensely popular characters. Rick Springfield had previously returned as Dr. Noah Drake and stayed throughout the beginning. Brad Maule returned as Dr. Tony Jones, and asked the writers to kill off his character. The presumed dead Robert Scorpio returned, bringing in additional viewers and Tristan Rogers has decided to return ornament at the end of March 06, Emma Samms returned as Holly Scorpio, also presumed dead, who held the virus cure for ransom. Bringing back old characters and actors has been such a hit for "General Hospital", they have decided to bring back John Ingle's version of Edward Quartermaine, try to get a storyline for Constance Towers' legendary Helena Cassadine, and plan in the future to bring back Genie Francis (Laura Spencer) to reunite with Anthony Geary's Luke Spencer.
Darlene Conley was in the running for the role of Ruby Anderson. However, Norma Connolly beat her out, and stayed for over 20 years.
Elizabeth Taylor was never on set during the wedding of Luke and Laura. Her scenes were edited in.
After disappearing from the Port Charles Docks, Laura Spencer returned to the show on November 14, 1983, she was being held captive on the Cassadine Island. (In real life, Genie Francis returned for a six week stint in order to facilitate Anthony Geary's exit from the show.)
John J. York was called upon to do test scenes for the casting of the character, Dominique Taub. He discovered too late that the scene in question involved him being slapped by all of the nine final actresses.
Since the cancellation of All My Children, various sets from that show have been reused on General Hospital. The Pine Cone motel became a seedy motel near the Port Charles docks. Erica Kane's penthouse became Ava Jerome's New York penthouse. The Chandler Mansion became Anna Devane's house. Ryan Lavery's cabin has been re purposed for multiple set and the Pine Valley yacht club became the Port Charles skating club.
When One Life to Live was canceled in 2012, the rights were licensed to the production company Prospect Park to continue the series as an on-line show, but financial and legal issues forced them to suspend their plans to continue the series. Former One Life to Live executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati took over the respective duties on General Hospital. Roger Howarth carried over his One Life role of Todd Manning, Kristen Alderson carried over her role of Star Manning, and Micheal Easton his role of John McBain, Easton also reprized his role from the GH spin-off Port Charles of Caleb Morley/Stephen Clay. When Prospect Park resolved their issues and revived One Life to Live a year later this led to a legal dispute over the use of the characters. The two sides were unable to come to an arrangement and the rights to the characters were lost while the actors remained under contract with the ABC/General Hospital. New roles were then created for them; Micheal Easton became Dr.Silas Clay, the brother of Stephen/Caleb, Kristen Alderson, became Lauren "Kiki" Jerome, Dr.Clays' daughter and Roger Howarth took over the role of Robert James"Franco" Frank Quartermain, previously played by James Franco.
A Martinez looked so much like the original Roy DiLucca, Asher Brauner, that the show was able to use flashbacks as Roy was introduced onto the show.
After Laura's "death" in 1982, Anthony Geary suggested that Luke Spencer commit suicide. However, Gloria Monty refused to do that to the audience.
In addition to Anthony and Victor Cassidine, there was another Cassidine brother: Mikkos' identical twin Pietros Cassidine, who was played by John Colicos and was considered the 'black sheep' of the Cassidines.
After a 14 year absence from the series, Finola Hughes returned in the role of Anna Devane on 12 May 2006.
The song "Elizabeth", which Lucky Spencer has sung to Elizabeth Webber on various occasions, was actually written by the original Lucky, Jonathan Jackson. ABC made him sell the rights of the song to them, which is why subsequent Luckys have been able to sing the song to Elizabeth.
During Steve Hardy and Audrey March's first marriage, the minister was Rachel Ames's father, Bryan Foulger.
The brooch Anna Devane wore on her wedding dress when she wed Duke Lavery actually belonged to Ian Buchanan's grandmother.
During Ned and Lois's wedding, head writer Claire Labine made a guest appearance as one of Carmine and Gloria Cerullo's neighbors in New York.
During Ned and Lois's trip to Coney Island, Rena Sofer begged the producers for a stand in on the Cyclone. However, Wally Kurth egged her on to try it just once and after thirteen takes, she loved it.
When Genie Francis was written out in 2002, Laura was originally supposed to remember her stepfather Rick molested her in the attic when she was a child. This was scrapped at the last-minute after several rewrites and Laura instead remembered she found Rick having sex with a nurse in the attic. Genie Francis has stated in an interview that she went to the producers and appealed to them for a better write-off, but they declined.
In 1990, actress June Havoc appeared in her last television performance. She was the sister of Gypsy Rose Lee and Baby June from the musical about their mother "Gypsy".
There was a point where Emma Samms was torn between her roles on this show and on Dynasty. She was playing a dual role on both shows, dying her hair red for one and back to brown for another. Eventually the Dynasty job won.
Lucas Jones, despite only being a teenager, has been re-cast four times since being aged: Evan Bonifant (2002); CJ Thomason (2003 - 2004); Ryan Carnes (2004-2005); and Ben Hogestyn (2005-2006). The role will be re-casted for an 11th time upon the next actor hired for the role.
Denise Alexander was originally supposed to return in 1993, however, that idea was scrapped and she later returned in 1997 and has been on recurring ever since.
In 1978 when ABC gave the show six months to raise its ratings by two points or else face cancellation, Gloria Monty was brought in to produce. On her first day at the job, she reviewed four episodes that had already been taped and decided they needed to be re-taped at a cost of $100,000.
When he was cast on the show Maurice Bernard was given the choice between playing Michael "Sonny" Corinthos or Damian Smith. He chose the former because it was supposed to be a 6 month job, while the role of Damian Smith was a 2-year contract role.
Eli Love's original name was going to be Apollo Love until Rick Springfield suggested the name Eli instead.The character was also made Australian as a nod to Rick Springfield's own Australian background.
On December 4, 2009, The Wall Street Journal published an article by 'James Franco' called "A Star, a Soap and the Meaning of Art: Why an appearance on 'General Hospital' qualifies as performance art" in which Franco summarized the history of Performance Art and explained his 20-episode acting stint on the daytime soap opera General Hospital (1963) as an attempt to create Performance Art of his own. About his appearance on the show, he wrote, "I disrupted the audience's suspension of disbelief, because no matter how far I got into the character, I was going to be perceived as something that doesn't belong to the incredibly stylized world of soap operas. Everyone watching would see an actor they recognized, a real person in a made-up world. In performance art, the outcome is uncertain-and this was no exception. My hope was for people to ask themselves if soap operas are really that far from entertainment that is considered critically legitimate. Whether they did was out of my hands....performance art is all about context....when I wear green makeup and fly across a rooftop in Spider-Man 3 (2007), I'm working as an actor, but were I to do the same thing on the subway platform, a host of possibilities would open up. Playing the Green Goblin in the subway would no longer be about creating the illusion that I am flying. It would be about inserting myself in a familiar space in such a way that it becomes stranger than fiction, along the lines of what I'm doing on 'General Hospital.'....If all goes according to plan, it will definitely be weird. But is it art?".
Michael "Sonny" Corinthos' name is taken from two characters in The Godfather (1972).
Judy Lewis played Barbara Vining in the late-'70s, however, as a close friend of Gloria Monty, was asked to be her assistant, and stayed until 1980.
Jack Crosby, a nephew of The Crosby tribe, was the first art director to design scenery for the new (1963) black and white television daily daytime drama series. The initial set design for a room, looked like an open book, with a right side wing joining a flat center wall, the left wing wall extending the floor plan. Openings for doors and windows were located in various positions on each set. The set's painted color was neutral middle value beige-gray hues, with no wall-paper. Any hint at wall paper, or texture, was provided by a scenic roller paint pattern which was vogue in this era. The scenery height was eight (8'-0") foot high. Usually, network soap sets are ten feet high. All the sets were shallow in depth, minimum furniture and set decoration. Usually pictures were hung across wall expanses to establish an actors movement through the set. Competition from NBC TV and CBS TV daytime drama ratings forced the producers into expanding the physical production elements of the scenery and decoration. Neither NBC TV nor ABC TV used a set decorator. CBS TV was the only network employing and assigning a set decorator to their shows. Like a summer stock theater, scenery was designed, supervised, and decorated by the set designer/art director. Assistant Art Directors were employed after production became more involved, with time management determining additional support positions. In early television, like the theater, the designer was expected to cover everything in his design area.
Maxwell Gail,who previously appeared in "Barney Miller" as Det. 3rd Grade (later Sgt.) Stanley Thaddeus "Wojo" Wojciehowicz (or "Woj" for short) in the same TV channel (ABC),currently appears as Mike Corbin.
During the original show up through the 1970s, the show primarily covered Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino) and his friend, Nurse Jessie Brewer (Emily McLaughlin). Late in the 1970s, the show was doing badly in the ratings, so a new executive producer, Gloria Monty, decided to move the show's focus away from the hospital and onto material more relevant to a younger audience than the stereotypical "bored housewife", thus bringing in Luke and Laura, (Anthony Geary and Genie Francis) and eventually having them marry in a stereotypical fantasy wedding that would not be matched until the real-life marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.