49 years ago yesterday, “General Hospital” debuted on ABC.
Originally created by Frank and Doris Hursley, the show premiered as a half hour and aired in the 1PM EST time slot. The original cast featured John Beradino & Emily McLaughlin (who both stayed on the show until their deaths in the 1990’s), and Roy Thinnes, to name just a few rising (at the time) superstars!
After 49 years, it’s credited by the Guiness Book of World Records as the longest-running television soap opera, currently in production, in American television history.
From 1979 to 1988, General Hospital had more viewers than any daytime soap opera. It rose to the top of the ratings in the early 1980s in part thanks to the monumentally popular “supercouple” Luke and Laura, whose 1981 wedding brought in 30 million viewers and remains the highest-rated hour in American soap opera history.
From all of us here at Pop Culture Madness, we want to wish the cast & crew of General Hospital a VERY happy anniversary!