The 51 Greatest Moments in "General Hospital" History
In honor of "General Hospital's" 51st anniversary today, I've decided to celebrate by making a list of the 51 greatest moment from the shows first 51 years of being on the air. These moments are some of the most talked about, well remembered, romantic, hilarious, or flat-out bizarre things that the series has ever done.
51. Luke and Laura's Dance At Wyndham's (1980)
There is no good reason that this iconic 1980 moment is so low on this list. I just wanted a great moment to be the first one mentioned, but it could easily break the Top Ten. Luke and Laura are on the run and spend the night at Wyndham's Department store. They put on formal wear and dance to the song "Fascination", it's very romantic and one of the best remembered scenes in the show's impressive history.
50. The Death of Baby Ariel (2013)
This humorous moment from July 2013, only comes before the number 50 solely because of the coverage it received from outside the soap community. The scene featured Britt attempting tot make peace with patrick's family, and picks up Emma's baby doll, Ariel, and accidentally throws it onto the barbecue. I'm still not entirely sure if the hilarity of the moment was intentional, but either it provided some much needed comic relief in an otherwise pretty bland summer.
49. Anna and Duke Dance the Tango (1986)
This dance has become the symbol of the Anna/Duke relationship. Passionate, intense, and steamy, the scene perfectly incapsulates the couple. The dance has also been reprised by the couple numerous times over the years.
48. Sonny Tears Up Brenda's Letter (2011)
In another recent moment, Brenda leaves Sonny, claiming his life to be too dangerous to raise a child in, and explains her reasonings in a letter, which she has Robin give to Sonny. A distraught Sonny rips it up without reading it, leaving the contents a mystery (until 2013, that is).
47. The Introduction of Jasper Jacks (1996)
In 1996, Ingo Rademacher debuted as corporate raider, Jasper Jacks, and the "GH" canvas was never the same. An enemy for Sonny and a love interest of many over the years, Jax provided many opportunities for stories and drama until he was written out of the series in 2011.
46. Helena Shoots Her Own Daughter (2012)
In late 2011, Ethan Lovett becomes fascinated with the mysterious, nameless girl running around Wyndermere. The two begin a peculiar love affair, despite exchanging only a few words together. In March 2012, the girl (dubbed "The Woman in White" by fans) is revealed to be Irina Cassadine, the previously unheard of daughter of Helena, getting close to Ethan as part of her mother's master plan to take down the Spencers. After Irina confesses she really does love Ethan, Helena, in a particularly cold move, orders her shot dead. Am I the only one who sees some wasted potential here?
45. "GH" Gets a Spinoff (1997)
On June 3, 1997, "GH" fans rejoiced as they got another half hour of PC drama to enjoy each day. "GH" mainstays Lucy, Kevin, and Scott helped launch the spinoff "Port Charles", which would ultimately last until 2003. In 2000, "Port Charles" was restructured into self-contained story arcs, and would include vampires, magic spells, and more.
44. Monica's Breast Cancer (1995)
The 1990s featured a multitude of socially aware storylines, including Stone's AIDS, AJ's alcoholism, and Monica's breast cancer. A especially touching arc, lead to Leslie's Charleson's fourth Emmy nomination, and helped the series win the prize for Outstanding Drama Series.
43. Kate is Shot at the Alter (2008)
Megan Ward's introduction as Kate Howard caused quite the impact on Sonny (more on that later), and when the pair found their way back to each other after decades apart, no one was expecting their wedding ceremony to end in a pool of blood. Anthony Zacchara, Sonny's arch nemesis, pulled the trigger in the middle of the September 2008 celebration. Luckily Kate survived, unfortunately her relationship with Sonny did not.
42. The Train Wreck (2005)
In 2005, much of the cast of characters were involved in a major train derailment, as part of a major sweeps storyline. The wreck, caused by Manny Ruiz, was the sight of Molly Lansing's birth, and Reese Marshall's death. Whether, it's remembered for its long-lasting effect on story, or as a poorly orchestrated attempt for ratings, it's remembered nonetheless.
41. Lisa Niles Takes Over the Party Boat (2011)
Another event that's either loved or loathed by fans, an innocent celebration on a boat in October 2011, turned deadly when Lisa Niles took control. Hellbent on getting revenge on Patrick and Robin, the man who rejected her and the woman he did it for, Lisa was determined to put an end to everyone's happiness. The story was surrounded by controversy, after a scene where Lisa attempts to inject Patrick with his wife's blood, and thus injected him with the HIV virus. Ultimately, Lisa was stopped, and while it was sad to see the insanely talented Brianna Brown depart the series, it began one of the only actual whodunnit stories the show has done in years.
40. Thanksgiving (2010)
This jolly holiday episode in 2010 was by far the best episode of a pretty mediocre 2010. The holiday spirit was in the air, and the Quartermaine mansion was full of people. There's no real reason this one is better than all the other classic Q Thanksgiving episodes, but I wanted to chose just one to represent them all on this list.
39. The Introduction of Ava Jerome (2013)
2013 got off to an amazing start for "GH's" 50th season, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. By mid-April, the show had become unrecognizable, given the awesome winter they had. But the addition of double Emmy winner Maura West, as the seductive Ava Jerome, is one of the best decisions the show has made in years. West is irresistible, and Ava is proving to be a bottomless pit of story potential. I would be very surprised if West didn't pick up her third Emmy this year.
38. Luke and Laura Return (1993)
Legendary supercouple Luke and Laura hadn't been on screen together in almost nine years, when they were brought back in 1993. Their return episode was a bit bizarre, but it sure was memorable, and introduced their son, Lucky, who has been a fan favorite ever since.
37. Lila's Funeral (2004)
Despite Anna Lee's unbelievable firing in 2003, Lila Quartermaine wasn't written out until after Lee's unfortunate passing in 2004. But the tribute was nice, and brought back several familiar faces including Lucy and Kevin, and served as the last appearance for many long time characters, including Gail Baldwin and Amanda Barrington.
36. Michael Murders Claudia (2009)
This was a tough one for me. I was either going to include this, or Michael getting shot. I ultimately decided to include this one, if nothing else but for the offscreen events that surrounded it (mainly Sarah Brown's candidness about the direction of the character). So, Claudia ordered a hit on Sonny, it went wrong, and Michael ended up taking the bullet, ant into a coma, woke up, and put together what really happened. He tells his father what his wife did, and Sonny unleashes at her at her birthday party no less. The scenes were gripping and intense, and caused poor Claudia to go off the deep end and run away, with a pregnant Carly as an insurance policy. Michael hunts them down and as sons as he sees Claudia, he grabs an ax and wacks her over the head with the handle. A bit harsh, wouldn't you say?
35. Twist of Fate (1994)
In 1994, in order the capitalize on the success of the Spencer/Cassadine story going on at the time, the producers decided to produce "GH's" only primetime episode to date. Airing on Saturday December 14, 1996, and special took place right after the events of Friday's episode. I think another primetime episode is long overdue, and the 50th anniversary would have been the perfect opportunity to do so.
34. Franco Begins His Reign of Terror (2009)
Movie star James Franco shocked us all once again by appearing on the soap, as psycho serial killer Franco. The appearances were sporadic, puzzling, and intriguing, and it kept us wanting more. That was in the beginning, so what happened after that?
33. Anthony Blackmails Tracy Into Marriage (2012)
Anthony Zacchara provided some much needed comic relief in the pretty grim early months of 2012. And the subplot where he blackmails Tracy Quartermaine into marrying him was the perfect outlet for some hilarity. A great use of history from Tracy's stint on "The City", the story was expertly pulled off by (Primetime) Emmy Winner Bruce Weitz, and the incomparable Jane Elliot. Another memorable moment came a few months later when Anthony's son, err make that grandson, Johnny murdered him in cold blood. That was truly shocking moment.
32. Roseanne appears as Jennifer Smith (1994)
Comedienne Roseanne Barr was a fan of the series, when she appeared in two episodes in 1994. She played, of course, the infamous ex-finace of Luke Spencer, Jennifer Smith. Her then-husband Tom Arnold played Jennifer's con-man husband in their bit story that called for them to play off of Luke and Laura. In return, Tony Geary and Genie Francis appeared in a scene of "Roseanne".
31. The Death of Georgie Jones (2007)
The death of a beloved character is never easy, but was necessary to pull a story like this off. Strangled at the hand of the notorious Text Message Killer, Georgie's death shocked all of Port Charles. A young, quiet girl, it was way too soon for Georgie to go.And that's why she had to go. The TMK story would have meant nothing if the only people getting killed were background characters. But Georgie's death, and then funeral had profound impact on her loved ones. Her sister Maxie, uncle Mac, mother Felicia, and crush Spinelli all had emotional growth because of the tragedy. Spinelli's line, 'Someone beautiful has died", and Maxie throwing Felicia out of her own daughter's funeral have now become iconic moments in recent history.
30. The Introduction of Kate Howard (2007)
Meet Kate Howard. World famous fashion editor. Wealthy socialite. And the love of teenage Sonny Corinthos' life. But then she was known as "Connie Falconeri", her birth name back in Brooklyn, where she grew up with Sonny. So apparently they dated in high school, planned to elope, but Connie never showed up. She instead had gone to Greenwich, Connecticut, bought a new wardrobe and went to Yale. So her turning up by chance in Sonny's office all these years later, certainly put a wrench in her plans, to say the least. Played by the great Megan Ward, having a built-in epic romance with the show's most prominent character, would undoubtedly lead to oodles of storyline potential in the many years to come, right?
29. Kristina is Abused by Kiefer (2009)
When teenage Kristina Davis was being abused by her boyfriend Kiefer Bauer, fans were pretty much shocked. No one was expecting the story about a Sonny and Alexis' daughter and her jerk boyfriend to take such a dark turn. But, unfortunately, things like that are all too common in the world today, and the story brought new awareness to the problem, in a way stories fom the '90s used to.
28. Frisco and Felicia's Wedding (1986)
What can be said to accurately sum up the relationship between the WBS agent and the Aztec princess? An fantastic love story that represents the best of '80s "GH", their wedding was the perfect culmination of the couple's adventure together.
27. Edward Dies (2012)
When John Ingle sadly passed away in September 2012, most fans were expecting the show to recast the iconic role of Edward Quartermaine. But, instead, the character was retired, in a tribute to both the character and the actor. An entire hour was dedicated to Edward's memorial, and saw the return of Skye and Ned for the occasion, which happened to fall on Thanksgiving. Ingle passed away before the scenes could be shot, so his actual last scenes aired on September 11, 2012, and were incredibly poignant. Edward refused the only cure for the poison ravaging the town at the time, and instead gave it to little Emma Drake. The thumbs up he gave Emma, and tracy's tearful apology will be as remembered as the actual memorial. That episode ended with Edward and Lila's spirits ascending the Quartermaine staircase one final time. Perfect.
26. Maxie and Spinelli's Non-Wedding (2010)
When Spinelli proposed to Maxie Jones, everyone knew she wasn't ready to settle down, well everyone except Spinelli. She was going to go through with it to not hurt his feelings, but Spinelli eventually got clued in, and told her they didn't have to get married, in the middle of the ceremony. So, they decided to stay together, and for everyone to go the reception anyway, and lived in non-wedded bliss, for at least a little while. What made this particular supercouple rank so high on the list, is the impact of things like Twitter, and Youtube that really show how strong their fan base grew to be.
25. The Death of Emily Quartermaine (2007)
See Number 31.
24. The Wedding of Lucy Coe and Alan Quartermaine (1991)
Lucy and Alan's affair was legendary. Lucy was a known husband-stealer, and Alan happened to be the husband of one Monica Quartermaine. Lucy managed to break up the fan-favorite pair, and wed her way into the Q family. And she did so wearing a red wedding dress. Talk about a statement.
23. Laura Wakes Up (2006)
Laura had been in a catatonic state for four years by the time she temporarily got better in 2006. And just in time to catch up with her three kids, all of whom had went to casting shake-ups since 2002. This stunt was in commemoration of Luke and Laura's 25th wedding anniversary, and had a re-wedding ceremony. The ceremony was very sweet and cute, even though Luke was married to Tracy at the time, they decided it was best to not tell Laura that part.
22. Brenda Wears a Wire (1995)
This 1995 plot was created to breakup the super-popular pairing between Sonny and Brenda. Brenda wore a wire to try to get information from Sonny. When Sonny found out, he was furious. The scenes with him yelling at Brenda and them ultimately breaking up and are some of Maurice Bernard and Vanessa Marcil's best work.
21. The Introduction of the Nurses' Ball (1994)
The Nurses' Ball was a cherished event that fans looked forward to every year. The cast came together and preformed skits and musical numbers all in the name of charity, which was AIDS awareness. The Ball was discontinued in 2001, but luckily was revived just in time for the 50th anniversary.
20. The Affair Between Laura and David Hamilton (1977)
When David Hamilton tried and failed to seduce Lesley Webber, he moved onto her much younger daughter, Laura, and the two embarked on an affair that was considered scandalous by many, and eventually lead to Laura accidentally causing David's death, which Lesley would later take the fall for.
19. Luke's Intervention (2011)
It's rare for a soap to devote an entire episode to a single story, but that's what "GH" did in the summer of 2011, when the full hour revolved around an intervention for Luke. After Luke was the main reason for little Jake's death, it became apparent that Luke's drinking wasn't funny anymore. Something had to be done, and luckily the characters, mainly Lucky and Lulu, realized it too. The hour was striking and poignant, as Luke's loved ones went around and spoke about how his drinking affected all their lives. Truly touching.
18. Dominique's Death (1993)
This was a bittersweet moment, as Dominique, Scott Baldwin's wife, succumbed to the brain tumor she had been battling, but not before hearing the heartbeat of her and Scott's baby, who was being carried by surrogate mother Lucy Coe. She died peacefully in Scott's arms, and their baby, Serena, was born a few months later. This was the turning point for a lot of people's stories, mainly Scott and Lucy, and set up a ton of stories that were revisited on "Port Charles" a couple of years later.
17. Ric Kidnaps Pregnant Carly (2003)
This plot from 2003 involved Sonny's brother, Ric Lansing, kidnapping Sonny's pregnant wife, locking her in a panic room, and attempting to give her baby to his own wife, Elizabeth. It was one of most talked about, and memorable stories from the early 2000s. The plot also led to Emmy nominations for Tamara Braun and Maurice Bernard, and a win for Rick Hearst.
16. Jason's Accident (1996)
In 1996, brothers AJ and Jason Quartermaine were involved in a car accident, where Jason was never the same. Before the crash, Jason was a successful student, studying to become a doctor, but the crash left him with irreversible brain damage and memory loss. Not long after, Jason Quartermaine was gone, and Jason Morgan was born. And he proved to have far more story potential, as one of leading players for well over a decade.
15. Jason and Sam Marry (2011)
It was the moment fans were waiting for years. The pairing had survived a lot, and now had found their way pack together, and now it was time to tie the knot. Heavily promoted by ABC, JaSam finally wed in the back garden of a Chinese restaurant. The ceremony was very romantic and extremely memorable. If only their happiness could last...
14. The 50th Anniversary (2013)
"GH" celebrated the 50th anniversary of the show's premiere on April 1, 2013. And it was an occasion to remember. The longest running daytime soap currently on the air, "GH" made a comeback for the ages. Many didn't expect to see the show make it to 50, but it did. Returning stars, celebrity cameos, the return of Nurses' Ball, bombshells, adventure and more surrounded the event. The cast made media appearances and Twitter exploded with congratulations. A wonderful tribute.
13. Elizabeth is Raped (1998)
This was one of the most heartbreaking stories the show has ever done. The incident, which occurred in February 1998, as Elizabeth was walking through the park on her way to a Valentine's dance. The scenes, especially were Lucky finds her in the park, were considered controversial at first, but the story of her recovery received significant praise from critics and audiences.
12. Robin Returns from the Dead (And Breaks Up Patrick and Sabrina's Wedding) (2013)
When fan-favorite character Robin Scorpio Drake died in February 2012, it was emotional and heartbreaking. The scene where Robin says goodbye to Patrick via the glass door in the lab, before it exploded, almost beat out this one for a spot on this list. When Kimberly McCullough decided to return to the series in 2013, fans everywhere rejoiced. After a couple months of of being detained by a bunch of supervillians, Robin was eventually able to return home to her family, just in time to break up the wedding of her husband and his new (almost) bride, Sabrina. This was the moment that everyone talked about, and saved the second half of 2013 from being a total disaster.
11. Luke Rapes Laura (1979)
This controversial story from 1979 probably wouldn't have made the list without the history between Luke and Laura that would come later on. Luke rapes Laura on the floor of his club, and despite her being traumatized by the event, eventually forgave Luke. When the two became a couple and people were angry at the show, the produces revised the rape to a "seduction".
10. The Metro Court Hostage Crisis (2007)
So this was more of a month, than a moment, but it still counts. Told in retrospective, where the first part that the audience saw was the big explosion at the end, the story then went back to how the night became. With a bang, that is. Robin was shot, and so much action happened after masked gunmen took over the lobby of the Metro Court hotel. Another sweeps story, this one was incredibly well done and an amazingly long-lasting impact on the series.
9. Luke and Lucky Talk About Stone's Death (1995)
Stone's death was a powerful story, but more on that later. The scene where Luke tells Lucky that Stone is dead, and the father and son have a conversation about what happens when you die, is one of the most profound and contemplative things the series has ever done. If only scenes like that were possible today...
8. Tracy Withholds Edward's Heart Medication (1980)
This was another great scene where Edward came up with a will that would disinherit his daughter and decided to test her loyalty. Before he could sign it, he collapses on the floor, pretending to have a heart attack. He begged Tracy for his heart medication, and she refused to give it to him until he promised not to sign the will. And Edward appropriately responded by kicking Tracy out of the family. Jane Elliot, unsurprisingly, won the Emmy. Well deserved.
7. Luke Learns Laura is Alive (1983)
This moment, where Luke finds out that Laura is not dead, like he had been lead to believe, and shouts "Laura!", and runs to her. One of the most iconic moments in the two's history, but nothing compared to what's to come later on this list.
6. Clink...Boom! (1996)
While this isn't the official name of the moment, this is how its remembered by fans. This moment is where Jax and Brenda toast to their marriage, just as Sonny's wife, Lily, dies in a car explosion that was meant for Sonny. So, it's really two moments rolled into one, which is great for the purposes of this list, each moment on their own would have definitely qualified.
5. The First Episode (1963)
This is the moment that started it all. This episode originally aired on April 1, 1963, and introduced us to Steve Hardy and Jessie Brewer, two of the best remembered and loved characters in the history of daytime.
4. BJ Dies/Maxie's Heart Transplant (1994)
This story from 1994 is incredibly sad and historic. Eight-year-old BJ Jones's school bus was involved in a crash and unfortunately passed away, at the same time Maxie was in need of a heart transplant. BJ became the donor and Maxie recovered. The story was very emotional, particularly the scene in which Tony, BJ's father listened to his daughter's heart beating inside of Maxie. Heartbreaking.
3. The Ice Princess Saga (1981)
The is probably the most well-known storyline in the show's history. Mikkos Cassadine attempts to freeze the town with an Ice Princess weather machine. Luke, Laura, and Robert Scorpio work together to bring him down. Perhaps one of the most absurd stories in the history of daytime, and one of the best loved stories for the same reason. The plot was also credited by bringing "GH" to new highs in the ratings.
2. Stone's Death from AIDS (1995)
This was a pretty groundbreaking story. The AIDS epidemic was certainly in full swing, and this story portrayed the horrible disease in such a way that received near universal acclaim. Despite some offscreen drama, the storyline, in which Robin Scorpio had to deal with Stone's death, and later learning that she is HIV positive, was devastating for fans to watch. The scene is which Stone actually passes away was one of the best and most powerful scene in soap opera history.
1. Luke and Laura's Wedding (1981)
I don't think this will come as a shock to anyone. The 1981 wedding between Luke Spencer and Laura Webber Baldwin elevated "General Hospital" from daytime soap to cultural phenomenon. Almost 30 million viewers tuned in the see the pair wed. This made it the highest rated episode of any daytime soap in history. They were in newspapers, magazines, lunch boxes, Luke and Laura were everything. College campuses, families, celebrities, everyone fell in lie with the two. Heck, even Elizabeth Taylor wanted to appear (She originated the role of Helena Cassadine, who'd become one of the show's main antagonists). It was the kind of special event that is near-impossible to recreate. Luke and Laura's wedding has become the standard all soap events have been measured against, but none of them have come even close to this iconic sensation.