Oh yeah, Luke and Laura! Ok before we go on, yes you know who Luke and Laura are, and yes you watched it like all of the rest of us did, so don’t even try to play it off, ok!
Luke Spencer and Laura Webber are by far the most famous day-time soap opera couple there ever has been. I should know. During the height of the show’s popularity in 1981, my Dad had broken his arm at work and was spending his days firmly planted in his easy chair. Each day when I got home from school, he had the TV turned on to ABC and there was General Hospital.
The first time I walked by and saw what he was watching, I asked him if he had broken his head as well. Didn’t he know he was watching a soap opera? I was going to make him turn in his “He-man Woman Haters Club” card if he kept this up! He told me to sit down and he would explain what was going on so I wouldn’t be lost as I watched it. I complied but was sure I would spend the next hour making fun of it.
Not quite. I was hooked. Back in 1981 the budgets for soap operas seemed to be far greater than they are today. In 1981 alone General Hospital shot in places such as Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota; Niagara Falls; Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Big Bear and Avalon (Catalina Island), California; and San Antonio, Texas. Today, they never seem to leave the studios and all the sets look alike.
Of course the major storyline happening at the time I was watching was the wedding of Luke Spencer and Laura Webber. This was your typical Romeo and Juliette storyline if there ever was one. Luke was from the bad side of the railroad tracks. He was into drugs and was generally thought of as a thug. Laura was the daughter of the best doctor in Port Charles and was about as pure and saintly a character as there was. So here is where I got a little more education than I thought I would. My Dad went on to tell me that “This marriage is doomed to failure son. Luke there decided he just had to have Laura no matter what anyone else thought about it, including Laura. Turns out that he had pushed himself on her against her will in the disco in the biblical way. Laura was initially rightfully sickened by Luke after the attack but soon realized that although she told him no, she really meant yes!”
That is just a little bit much to thrust upon a 13 year old, but my Dad spared no information that he felt I needed to know! This was actually a blessing in disguise for me because I was hooked on the late night TV soap opera Dallas as well, and after this description, much more of Dallas was making sense to me.
Luke and Laura’s wedding was both the most anticipated hour of television in TV history and at that time, the most watched hour of television. I know I sat there glued to the screen as the event took place, and of course, not without a few fights and unexpected visitors, including one Elizabeth Taylor, who herself begged to be on the show because she knew the numbers that it would bring.
Luke and Laura, like all good soap opera stars, and came and gone from the show over the years. Each time they come back, it is always covered by the media, and those of us who loved them the first time around always seem to tune in again.
Many other famous stars soon started to pass through the halls of General Hospital after the huge success of Luke and Laura. Look closely here and you will see Mr. Rick Springfield and Ms. Demo Moore:
General Hospital was my gateway drug into my lifelong fascination to my all time favorite television show Dallas. So thank you Luke and Laura, your both always welcome in Dallas at anytime y’hear?