General Hospital goes retro in 52nd anniversary episode

Long-running daytime drama General Hospital, recently nominated for 28 Daytime Emmys, will commemorate its 52nd anniversary in its April 1 episode — 52 years to the day that the series debuted in 1963.

Note: Spoilers are contained later in this article.

It’s a collision of past and present with the episode. Acknowledging its past, the episode will revisit key scenes from the very first GH episode, played out by current cast members. Legendary character Dr. Steve Hardy will be portrayed by Jason Thompson (Dr. Patrick Drake); Nurse Jesse Brewer will be played by Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber); and Ryan Carnes (Lucas Jones) will play Dr. Phil Brewer. John Beradino, Emily McLaughlin and Roy Thinnes originally played the characters.


The episode will also satisfy fans of present-day storylines, as the long mystery surrounding Luke Spencer’s (Anthony Geary) mental break will be explained. Dee Wallace made her first appearance as Luke’s long-lost sister Patricia this week, and she seems to hold a key to Luke’s issue.

“For all fans that love General Hospital, this is an episode you will not want to miss,” said executive producer Frank Valentini. “We will revisit that night on April 1, 1963, and expand the story, shedding new light on the past and addressing questions that GH fans have been dying to have answered.”

Valentini (and a “surprise guest”) will be live-tweeting during the April 1 episode using the Twitter hashtag #GH.



In a well-done episode that straddled past and present, we saw what happened in the Spencers’ old house on Elm Street on April 1, 1963. Luke’s angry, drunken father Tim (also played by Tony Geary; a bravura episode for him today) was terrorizing the family, and it appeared that he struck Luke’s mother, Lena (played by current cast member Laura Wright). This led to the trip to General Hospital, where we saw Dr. Hardy, Nurse Brewer and Dr. Brewer. Over the course of the episode it was revealed that, upon learning of his mother’s death at the hospital, Luke struck his father with the baseball bat we saw him wielding a few months back, killing Tim. Luke has slowly been remembering this after he visited the Elm Street house. Unfortunately, when Tracy, Bobbie and Patricia show up at the house with him, Patricia tells him there is more to remember. Shockingly, Luke finally remembers something his cousin Bill Eckert told him before he died — that he must forgive himself for what he did to his mother. It was Luke who struck his mother, accidentally with the bat while trying to protect her from his father, and sent her to the hospital, where she died. Patricia has kept it a secret all these years, and she also had Bill — who she met for the first time at the hospital after her mother’s death — help them hide Tim’s body (could that be the corpse Luke strapped a bomb to earlier this year?) Luke breaks down as his family gathers around him. The ghosts of his past also gather around him, as we see the young versions of Luke, Patricia and Bobbie also comforting him (kudos must go to the actors who played young Luke and Patricia — Joey Luthman and Chloe Lanier).

The episode was a nice way of commemorating General Hospital‘s past and linking it to the present, both in terms of story and in the technical way the filming of the past scenes recalled the glory days of soap operas. Sure, the “Fluke” storyline may have been played out to some fans a while back (and has even seemed to strayed from where it started) but it certainly gave Anthony Geary a chance to display his acting range. It will be interesting to see where Luke goes from here, now that his past is out in the open.

General Hospital airs weekdays at 2pm ET/1pm PT on ABC. The 52nd anniversary episode airs April 1.


ABC/Rick Rowell


    • It was SO sad when Patricia died at this April 2nd shows end.

      Why did that have to be.
      Couldn’t she live for a bit longer so the family could get to know her?

      So sad. 🙁

  1. best show ever. black and white . . . except for Tim’s blood – that was red . . . Nurse Brewer offering the distraught daughter a tissue . . . Anthony Geary playing Tim and Luke to a fine contrast, the final scene with the young actors posed around Luke – best show ever

  2. Thsi was the best episode in years! I wish the writers would return to the human drama of things like this instead of the stupid mob wars, crazy people in and out of psyche wards, and Casidines! This human drama today had me watching the entire episode., I usually record it, and fast forward until I see something that might be intersting so for the most part, I watch an hour long show in 15 minutes! Today, the writers did well

    • I totally agree, Marie. I started watching in the late 70s and quit after the Ice Princess storyline. Tried watching again when the cancellations of AMC and OLTL were announced. I too was turned off by the mob storylines. Once OLTL was gone, I found myself watching because of the three actors who transitioned over and to get my soap fix. I started watching Y& R when Gina Tognoni (Kelly OLTL) was cast as Phyllis. April 1st was 1st episode I watched without fast-forwarding. One of the reasons I fast-forward is Lucas’s gay storyline. While I have several gay friends and even a relative and support their freedom to choose, I think showing men kissing men and women kissing women is totally inappropriate to show during the time of day children can view.

Comments are closed.