Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Luke Legacy

 


End of an era they say. "He's not really dead, they comment"... "Luke was a rapist"... "Luke saved GH"... "Luke and Laura were the 'IT' couple" ..."Luke and Laura were the perfect example of a horribly toxic relationship". And the beat goes on. With all the headlines and bickering, hindsight is 20.20. 





I was THE target audience General Hospital was trying to pull in when Genie came on the show in 1977. Teen, female.. the perfect demo. When she came on, the canvas shifted a bit because she was very much a 'teen of the era" right down to carrying her 3 ring binder hugged to her chest. There was an actress before her yes, but Genie just fit into Laura Vining like a glove. We were very very free in the late 70's. As teens we just cruised around and did what we wanted; the drinking age in NY was 18. Sex was everywhere. Laura was a teen and  was also the woman we thought we wanted to be.  Laura went to Monica for birth control pills so she could sleep with Scotty. Did you ever ask your mother about that? Hell no. Did anyone question the age difference between Scotty and Laura? Well, yeah, just for a bit so they could make Laura wait until she was 18 to marry him.  Back then falling for an older guy was the norm; we saw them as the prize.  Laura and Scotty were the lovers who were kept apart by the mean law and older folk. She saved for his law books and we ate it up. 


Of course that brings us to one Luke Spencer. Unless you lived it, you will never know what this meant. I was so ready for that story. I was fed bodice rippers and saw Scarlet O'Hara carried up the steps by Rhett (beaming with love in the morning). "Rape" was the buzz word because honestly, it wasn't really talked about let alone on TV. Gloria was raped on All In The Family and it became a national discussion. By the time soaps got to it, it was a plot point to shock and get the viewers to tune in. Throw in a Campus Disco, cool clothes and music PLUS the fact it was a person she knew? Welp. It wrote itself. 


What Gloria Monty didn't count on was the popularity of Tony and Genie together. When he was in agony apologizing after the rape,  the chemistry oozed off the two of them. I see many people say now they couldn't stand him or their relationship but getting your photo on the cover of People and Newsweek was no small feat. Millions of us saw them as something new in the vein of the old 40's banter movies. Then there was back tracking, there was Genie leaving...coming back and then the two of them going away. 1993 locked them in as the "cool family" still on the run from the bad guys. 


GH went from a boring, stale old daytime drama to something new. Couple on the run and James Bond type spy stuff.  Did Laura go to college? HELL NO..she ran with the big kids and saved the world!! Did her mom and dad stop her? Um.. NO.. because at 17-18 back then, you were grown. Does that excuse the whole rape story? Surely it doesn't. Did I buy the redemption? Hook, line and sinker because I wanted to see where the story went. 



The years crept by and after the revisit of the rape with Lucky and Elizabeth's story, L&L lost some luster due to us being more "woke" and seeing what a troubling story it all was.  As Luke would say, once they settled down and were 'domestic" it was just dull. We had all grown up and our POV changed.  Then Genie left the show, came back...left and they just fell apart. Tony Geary continued on and although his acting was always top-notch Luke became the troubled old guy we thought nothing could touch. Sometimes it's best to leave heroes buried. 

I did enjoy Tracy and Luke. His second act had some charm but it ran too long. Not going to get into the whole TG exit interviews but let's just say I was glad when he went. Laura is in a much better place without him. Now that even is specter is gone, maybe it can all be put on a shelf. 
Well...until we hear "Rise" again. 

Killed by a Cassadine. Isn't that a kicker? 

9 comments:

  1. Wow, yup everyone loved Luke and Laura back in the day. I had a coworker who called in sick for the wedding so she could be home to watch. I am glad things have changed/ are changing. Back in the 80's they didn't consider it "rape" unless it was some stranger. Sexual harassment was the norm and not even remotely a crime. THE ADVENTURES were the fun part. Yes, we were the target audience but our mothers, grandmothers and fathers were watching too. My friends father would come home for 3:00 from his job so he could watch too. For the most part I wanted to be Laura. She was gorgeous, cool, had loads of fun, disobeyed her parents etc. To this day Genie Francis is my all time favorite (followed closely by Finola Hughes who I also would have like to be like: LOL). They were both kick ass and gorgeous in 2 different ways. There would be no Luke and Laura without either one of them IMO. The actors had so much fun and chemistry together back then.

    Killed by a Cassadine (if he really is dead). That sure is a kicker since Luke was so invincible.

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  2. Loved them back in the day but I strongly disagree that it was Luke and Laura that saved the show. Certainly their pairing led to the meteoric rise in ratings that will probably be never achieved again. But there was one plot already in place that had viewers hooked and began to turn the show around - Heather’s machinations trying to recover the baby she gave up for adoption on the black market. I believe when Heather was on the run from Cal Jameson and lost her second baby with Jeff, that was the show’s first ever location shoot.
    Luke and Laura’s split is believable because the characters are so different today - they evolved, Laura grew up and Luke became darker as he revisited the demons from before he was even on the show. As likeable as Laura is and always has been, she was a bit of a spoiled brat when she first came on the show with Genie in the role. It would behoove the writers to remember that as she deals with Spencer.

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    1. Yes, Heather and also the Monica/Alan/Rick triangle was a big pull but to get in younger viewers, I really think it was done around Laura and Bobbie; Campus Disco etc

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  3. Like Lindie said, wow! Great synopsis of L&L Wubs, and I was in that same age group as you. We gathered around the TV in my college dorm room (skipped classes, too) to watch their wedding. It was "the thing" to watch that day. Like you, I was happy to see Luke go. Still adore Genie, and is Luke really dead? Puhlease.....this is GH, no one dies! LOL!

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    Replies
    1. No one dies except the ones we don't want to lose. No one dies; just look at Peter.

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  4. Lukes not dead yet...lets get real here.... theres money to be made... Tony will need money to live on in his retirement and the powers that be will always need Tony Geary...i even believe helana might show up again if tony does....another cassidine story is in the works..I love my GH and always will...Come on GH wrighters bring em back baby...GOOD SOAPS

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  5. I have ALWAYS loved L&L!!! They had massive chemistry!!! The rape was a HUGE mistake, yes but they were going to kill Luke off. He was only temporary! Then something happened and L&L was born. :) They became a supercouple! I will always want L&L to get back together. Sure I love Doc and Laura a lot. I'm glad they are together, but when GH finally gets cancelled, I want Luke and Laura back together!

    "Did anyone question the age difference between Scotty and Laura? Well, yeah, just for a bit so they could make Laura wait until she was 18 to marry him."

    She was 17 when she married Scotty. She worked at Luke's club, but couldn't serve alcohol until she turned 18.

    "Of course that brings us to one Luke Spencer. Unless you lived it, you will never know what this meant."

    Oh you are so right about that!!!!

    "What Gloria Monty didn't count on was the popularity of Tony and Genie together."

    I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) It just happened! That's what chemistry gets you. :)

    "As Luke would say, once they settled down and were 'domestic" it was just dull."

    I don't think they were EVER dull. Storyline after storyline came to them. Sure they were domesticated, but there were so many things happening to them. Including Nik! Luke was furious and hated Nik. Then Lucky and Lulu found out about the rape! UGH! Okay Lucky finding out fine, but did they really have to have Lulu find out? It was just so repetitive. Luke had to rehash the whole thing. Lulu really didn't need to find out. Then Nik finds out. I'm glad Luke and Laura didn't have more kids together or Luke would have to rehash it again and again.

    "Well...until we hear "Rise" again."

    Hmmm I wonder if we are going to hear it. :)

    "Killed by a Cassadine. Isn't that a kicker?"

    ROFL! Yes it is! :)

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  6. Luke had some good storylines over the years and some bad storylines but, for me, it comes down to this: Anthony Geary created a one-of-a-kind anti-hero in Luke Spencer, and it was the sole reason I became hooked on "GH" oh so many years ago.

    Here's the mark of a good actor. Even when I didn't like a particular storyline that Luke was in, I couldn't wait until Geary was on my screen. He was always fascinating and fun to watch.

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  7. Although the L&L story line was a hit, especially with female viewers, I think it was the appearance of Robert Scorpio that clicked with the growing 20-something male viewers. At least it did for me as it brought a cool super-spy vibe to the show. It was also at a time when Australian actors/movies were becoming very popular. Does anyone remember Robert calling the Quartermains the "Quarterbrains?"

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