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Wendy Riche on "If the AIDS story on GH originally was told through A.J. Quartermaine!

What if the character of A.J. Quartermaine would have been the main character that  drove the thrust of  the AIDS story that ended up being told through the love story of Robin and Stone on General Hospital back in the early 90’s? That is something that is discussed in part two of Wendy Riche’s interview at We Love Soaps.

Riche, the former executive producer of General Hospital, who was at the epicenter of many of the fantastic socially relevant stories in GH’s deep history, admitted that their originally was a bit of a dispute between then GH, head writer, Claire Labine, and Riche, as to what character would lead the AIDS story.   Here are some compelling excerpts!

Riche: “I wanted to do a story about AIDS when I first got to GH.  AIDS was on the rise, a non-discriminating disease that didn’t care who it attacked.  I felt it was an issue of great importance and wanted to find a way to interface many of the characters of Port Charles with the hospital.  At first, I thought it could be a story for A.J. Quartermaine.  I thought, what would happen if A.J. had another drunken night in college, one of many, and explore what would happen when a friend, a male friend, from college shows up at the Quartermaine mansion wanting A.J.’s help since his family threw him out because he had AIDS.  And A.J. doesn’t remember who had sex with who, and what he did during so many drunken orgies.  They could have both had sex with a woman who was a drug addict. The intention was not to make them gay, but the implication might have stirred up a lot.  We could have asked, “Why does everyone care so much if he was gay? Why does he care? How would Edward Quatermaine react and what would Lila do to bring the family back together?”  We could have looked at it all.  But it wasn’t about being gay, I didn’t want to be, “Oh those gay people, of course they screw around so much…” of some B.S. like that.   AIDS is a non-discriminating disease, it doesn’t care who you are are or what your sexuality is.  If you do stupid things, have unprotected sex, you risk getting it.  If we had done it with a gay character we would not have gotten the message of urgency across.  So the intention was to have a smart person who was not gay but made stupid choices get AIDS.  I didn’t have Claire at the time, and I don’t know if Claire would have even wanted to do it that way, but the network did not want to do that story. They didn’t want A.J. to be in question of having AIDS, or maybe not being 100% heterosexual, they just didn’t want to go there because he was a Quartermaine, which of course, is exactly why I wanted to go there.

I talked to Claire about this, and she came up with Robin and Stone.  She was not ready to do this story at the beginning of her run on GH.  But one day, a year later, we were at a company retreat dinner and she looked at me with that twinkle in her eye, learned over, and whispered, “I think I’ve got it.”  She told me the story in two lines and I loved it.  It was everything I hoped for.  We were so excited, we told Pat [Fili-Krushel] right then and there and she said to go with it.  Claire and I had driven up to Connecticut together for the retreat and what was wonderful is that we had the long trip to talk about it.”

So what do you think if the story had gone to A.J. instead of Robin and Stone?

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Finn Tells Violet That Gregory Passed, While Elizabeth Sees He Has Been Drinking

The raw emotions continued on the Wednesday, May 22nd episode of General Hospital as Finn (Michael Easton) and Chase (Josh Swickard) try to come to grips with the death of their father, Gregory (Gregory Harrison).

In story, Gregory passed away in his sleep and his battle with ALS came to its conclusion. In the pick-up, Finn now has to tell his daughter, Violet (Jophielle Love) that her grandfather had passed when she returned home from school.

Gingerly, Finn does his best to explain to Violet what happened. Finn tells her that her grandfather’s heart stopped beating, and he wasn’t in pain. Violet bursts into tears saying that she wants Grandpa to still be here and runs into his room calling out for him. Then, in very touching scenes, Finn follows Violet. She asks her dad where her Grandpa is. Finn explains the paramedics took him away. She cries that she didn’t get the chance to even say goodbye.

Courtesy/ABC

Next, Finn hugs Violet and tells his little girl that life is so beautiful, but sometimes it’s unfair. He carries Violet back to the living room, but passes by the bottle of booze. He sits her down on the couch and tells her there will be a funeral in a few days so they will get to say goodbye to Grandpa together. When Violet asks where her Grandpa is now, Finn says he is in heaven.

Later, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) shows up and hugs Violet and Finn. She can see right away that Finn has been drinking, especially after eyeing the glass, and the bottle on the counter. Getting Violet out of the room for a moment, Liz tells Finn she can’t even imagine the pain he must be in right now. So, he should go to a meeting and Violet will come home with her for the night.

Courtesy/ABC

Finn puts his foot down that Violet will stay with him. He just watched two total stranger, the paramedics, take his dad away. He says he took one drink to ease his pain. Finn stands up to Liz and says he thinks given the circumstances he has a right to do whatever it takes to get through the day. Next, Liz says she can’t stop him, but she will not have him get drunk with his daughter in the apartment, and so, she is taking Violet with her.

Elsewhere, Chase (Josh Swickard) and Brook Lynn (Amanda Setton) decide at the airport to head back to the Quartermaines, and not take off for their honeymoon, since Gregory died. When they show up at the Q’s, Chase says he wants to be with his brother, but he is giving him time to tell Violet. Next, the newlyweds are greeted by Ned (Wally Kurth) and Lois (Rena Sofer). They tell the two the truth, leaving everyone stunned or in tears. Chase heads out to find Tracy.

Meanwhile, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) is holding on to her good luck charm from Gregory as her reinstatement hearing begins. Little does she know, he has passed away. Alexis finds out she is in a court battle with Fergus Byrne (Lane Davies), the brother of the late Neil Byrne.

So, what did you think of the performances of Jophielle Love and Michael Easton in the touching scenes between Violet and Finn? Will Finn end up on a complete bender? Will his brother Chase show up in time to help him? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Daytime Stands Up/Stand Up to Cancer Live Auction Continues Through May 26; Bid Now on DAYS Set Visit and Video Call with GH Leading Ladies

As announced on last Thursday night’s livestream event Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up To Cancer … We All Have A Story, the live auction where you can bid on several soap opera related items is continuing now through this Sunday, May 26th.

Now is the time to get in your online bid in for a good cause to help fund vital cancer research.  Items up for grabs to the highest bidder include: a set visit to Peacock’s Days of our Lives where you can go behind the scenes and meet the cast at Burbank Studios, in Burbank California where the soap opera is taped.

Another main item is a 15-minute call one-one-one video call with three of the leading ladies of General Hospital and all Daytime Emmy winners: Laura Wright (Carly), Cynthia Watros (Nina) and Maura West (Ava).

Photo: JPI

In addition, Y&R and ATWT favorite, Colleen Zenk (Jordan, ex-Barbara, respectively) is also offering up a video call to the highest bidder, and so too are Robert Newman (ex-Josh, GL) and Vincent Irizarry (ex-AMC, GL, DAYS, B&B et al).

Want an autographic script from The Young and the Restless, Guiding Light or As the World Turns? They are also three of the items up for bids for a good cause and more.

Photo: JPI

Check out the entire auction and place your bids here.

Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up To Cancer featured live interviews and conversations, musical performances and on-location segments featuring daytimes biggest star who shared their personal journeys with cancer and more.

In case you missed it, you can watch the entire show below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Michael Easton Pens Touching Farewell to Gregory Harrison

Following the on-screen death of his on-screen father, Gregory Chase played by Gregory Harrison, longtime soap vet, Michael Easton (Finn, GH) shared his feelings on a touching Instagram post.

Easton summed up getting to know Gregory Harrison, and to play emotional scenes with him for the last three years. In story, Gregory succumbed to ALS, a disease in which there is no cure.

Sharing several photos of himself with Harrison. Easton expressed, “Gregory Harrison. One of the finest actors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with and an even better human being. I learned so much from you, my friend, and it was an absolute honor to get to share a stage with you these past three years. Your talent, grace and powerful presence will be greatly missed around the studio. @gnhsurf @generalhospitalabc #gh #fathersandsons”

Photo: ABC

In addition, Josh Swickard (Chase), Harrison’s other on-screen son told Soap Opera Digest on Gregory’s exit, “Sometimes when you’re working on a show like this and someone plays your dad, it spills over. He really felt like a father figure to me in so many ways. Still does. He’s such a good human being. He’s been around the block in life, in Hollywood, and then some, and he’s just a wealth of knowledge. And he’s a humble human being.”

Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) also took to X and shared her sentiments on her time working with Harrison. Grahn said, “Was hard to say good bye to working with my friend, Gregory Harrison. What a treat to share the stage with this guy, and getting to know him was a gift. I truly love & respect everything about him. And I know he’s seeing this. He doesn’t post, but likes to read mine.”

Courtesy/ABC

Fans of GH caught on the Monday, May 20th episode some very heart-tugging scenes between Gregory and Finn, where they each tell the other how proud they are to have been each others father and son.

Watch below the heartbreaking moment and the touching portrayal by Michael Easton when Finn finds his father has passed away.

So, what do you think about the words written by Michael Easton and he says farewell to the exited Gregory Harrison? What did you think of his performance on today’s GH? Comment below.

 

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A post shared by Michael Easton (@iammichaeleaston)

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