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Luke and Laura--Soap Opera's Greatest Love Story: The Six Greatest Moments

Updated on July 28, 2015
Janine Huldie profile image

Janine is a published author in Only Trollops Shave Above the Knees, appears on The Huffington Post and at Confessions of A Mommyaholic.

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Picture it--spring of 1977, a young mom-to-be goes on maternity leave from her job to have her first born child shortly. She turns on the TV, because she is now home during the day and begins to watch the ABC Daytime lineup of soap operas. From 12:30 to 4:30, she begins to watch religiously day in and day out, from Ryan's Hope through Edge of Night. She isn't selective, but is quite enjoying her escape in these daytime dramas.

This woman was none other than my mother and from as far back as I can remember she watched Soap Operas. It would seem while in utero, I got my fair share of soap opera watching. So began, my mom's love affair with soap operas and mine as well. We watched them back in the hay day so to speak and still do.

Back then, as I said we watched them all and did not discriminate, but of course one show and one super couple always stands out for me. The couple of course is Luke and Laura. Even if you don't know soaps, most know those names, why because their wedding alone was the most watched daytime episode back in 1981.

Both started on General Hospital back in the late 1970s. Genie Francis (Laura) was on first and was already married to good, old Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner), when Anthony Geary (Luke) was hired for a short time role, which was actually supposed to be a one day, walk-on role, but the powers that be back then saw something in him and the rest was history.

Even though they are by far one of (if not) the best super couples, they did not start out that way. For those, who didn't watch and are not familiar with them, Luke actually raped Laura. This was done off screen, but left to the viewer's imagine. This was a first in daytime TV, but somehow Laura fell in love with Luke (her rapist) and all was forgiven in a matter of speaking.

So what makes these two still so irresistible after all these years? Sit back and enjoy the six greatest moments and find out now!

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1. The Wedding of Luke and Laura

On November 16, 1981, Luke and Laura finally wed after a crazy beginning and an even crazier courtship. The headline on People's Magazine on this date was as follows: "Liz Taylor Larks on General Hospital as Luke and Laura Finally Tie the Knot in TV's Wedding of the Year".

This was truly the wedding of the decade and none other than the famous beauty herself Elizabeth Taylor was there to celebrate. Liz Taylor actually stated that this was her favorite soap and requested to be a part of it. Well, she contacted the then producer, Gloria Monty and was told she could not play herself, but the infamous Helena Cassadine, who comes on sweet—she donates millions to General Hospital to atone for her husband's evildoing (The Ice Princess Caper)—but she winds up sinister, casting a curse on Laura and Luke by the end of their wedding. Her now famous line, "I Curse You Luke and Laura", is up there with the likes of Rhett Butler's, "Frankly My Dear I Don't Give a Damn!"

The episode itself was the highest daytime ratings in TV history boasting 14 million viewers or addicts! And it earned more than $50 million a year in profits, which was double that of nighttime sudsier Dallas. This daytime wedding of Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and Laura Weber Baldwin (Genie Francis), according to People Magazine boasted the most talked about TV event since J.R. Ewing was shot.

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2. Wyndham's Department Store Dance to Fascination

Even before the actual wedding, Luke and Laura had to go on the run from the infamous mobster, Frank Smith. See Mr. Luke Spencer was supposed to marry Mr. Smith's daughter, Jennifer, but Luke had fallen madly in love with Laura and couldn't go through with his nuptials in 1980. After, he got a taste of Laura in the very infamous previously mentioned "Rape", Luke was stung and smitten. Laura amazingly left her husband (Scotty Baldwin) and indeed went on the run with Luke. They ended up settling in Beecher's Corners at the Whitakers Farm, where Luke and Laura went under the names Lylod and Lucy Johnson.

Well during this time, Luke and Laura were actually sparing (trying ever so hard to fight their budding attraction), but first had a night to remember at Wydham's Department Store, where they danced to the famous song "Fascination" and dined on cavier and champagne. When Laura had to too much to drink, she actually feel asleep and therefore yet again no hanky panky actually occurred. It wasn't until the infamous bed sheet, called "The Walls of Jericho" came tumbling down one night a bit later did they finally consummate their relationship for real this time out.

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3. Return of Laura at the Mayor's Mansion

Their was a time, when Laura actually disappeared in the fog, not to be seen for awhile (in real life Genie Francis had the left the show for greener pastures) shortly after the famous wedding of the couple. But in 1983, Laura returned in a cloud of mystery. Luke was now the mayor of Port Charles after his stint of saving the world (don't worry we will get to that with the Ice Princess storyline).

Laura's return was classic and many can never forget Luke looking out of the mansion and swearing to see his Laura and then calling her name. She ran to his open arms, but she was definitely scared and shaken, rightfully so. See she had been kidnapped by the evil Stavros Cassadine (son of Mikkos--From the Ice Princess Caper and Helena--The Curse). It will be revealed in the 1990s that while she was held captive by Stavros that Laura was forced to sleep with him and bear his child (Nicholas), but for now Luke and Laura reunite and all will be well with the world momentarily (hey it is a Soap Opera!).

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4. Luke and Laura Save the World--The Ice Princess Story

So why do the Cassidines loathe and despise Luke and Laura so? Why did Helena put a curse on them at their wedding? And why did Laura get kidnapped by Stavros? The answers lay in Gloria Monty's Spring 1981 storyline of the "Ice Princess".

What may you ask is the "Ice Princess"? Mikkos Cassadine and his nephew Tony reared their ugly heads and decided they were going to freeze Port Charles NY, the home of Luke, Laura and their family and friends. What transpired in this story was what many called campy and a bit over the top, but then again it was the land of soaps, where anything can happen and producer Gloria Monty decided that Luke and Laura did not have enough adventures yet with their Beecher's Corner stint and now would save the world from the evil Cassadines. They indeed do just that and thankfully stopped Port Charles from being frozen over.

The storyline may have been cheesy, but viewers ate it up and in the end the wedding of the decade did take place so that the citizens of Port Charles and Beecher's County too (let's not forget them) could thank both of these young people, as well as celebrate their love with them.

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5.Luke and Laura Return--The Pink Caddy

Well quite a few years have gone by and both Anthony Geary and Genie Francis were off screen for some time by this point. Anthony Geary returned first in the early 1990s as another character (Bill Eckert), but the character never completely took to fans, because they were still smitten with Luke Spencer and had a hard time taking to this new persona.

So in 1993, Genie Francis was lured back and the characters of Luke and Laura finally returned. The character of Bill Eckert was subsequently killed off during this return storyline, because Geary was to play only one character, Luke Spencer.

When we first saw Luke and Laura again, they were living somewhere in Canada with their now pre-teen son Lucky running "The Triple 'L' Diner" and were hiding out from mobster Frank Smith yet again (the more things change, the more they stay the same). Well, lo and behold, Frank Smith's goons found them, blew up the diner and the Spencers had to again go on the run, now with their young son in tow. What ensued was yet another adventure, which ended up leading them back to Port Charles, where they finally settled back down for a bit, but not before they had their infamous ride in the "Pink Cadillac". Seriously, this was a classic moment if ever.

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6. Laura Comes Out of the Coma

Poor Laura always the victim. Her portrayer again decided to leave the canvas of General Hospital back in 2000 and her send off was that she went a bit crazy so to speak when she found out her stepdad had murdered someone and covered it up when she was a teenager. Of course it was a bit off the beaten track, because Dr. Rick Webber had been a stand up guy (even though he did have an affair with Monica Quartermaine too, but never mind that for now!). So Laura ended up catatonic and in a coma for 6 long years.

However in 2006, ABC and General Hospital decided that they needed to celebrate the 25th Wedding Anniversary in style. So Genie Francis did return and the character of Laura emerged from her 6 year coma on October 27, 2006 just in time to celebrate the extremely famous nuptials and even remarry her prince, Luke Spencer again! Her re-emergence from her coma didn't leave a dry eye. It was such a wonderful reunion with Luke and her now three grown kids (Lucky, Nicholas and Lulu too).

Summing It Up..

So do you remember where you were when Luke and Laura got married on ‘General Hospital’? If you do, then apparently you’re old just like me. Because it happened 30 years ago and I too was one of those millions of people that watched it. I was only 4 years old, but seriously I remember thinking it was like a fairy tale and the princess was getting married.

I now think back on this and see it from my 3 year old's eyes every time she sees my wedding picture now and asks me, "Is that when you were a princess, mommy?" I think the reason Luke and Laura were such a super couple and millions were indeed fascinated by them was because they truly beat the odds time and time again and got their happy ending so to speak on that magical day. Isn't that what we all want to have the fairy tale so to speak? That is why soap operas are a hit, because for the most part they take us away from the reality of what is everyday life and transport us into a world where anything is possible. Luke and Laura have always been the epitome of just that. As the famous quote goes, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives and so do Luke and Laura for the masses!!


Watch Classic Luke and Laura Video Footage on Amazon:

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    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Same here with the Soap Opera Digest recaps and still remember my mom getting her weekly magazine for years. Thanks for reminding me of that tonight!

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      Daytime Divas 3 years ago from Salem, Genoa City, Port Charles...

      I started watching soap operas pretty much the same way - because my mother did. The only difference was I grew up watching Days of our Lives. I did try to keep up withal the soaps - and there were a lot through the 80's - by reading the soap opera digest recaps...

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you KT so very much seriously for not only reading this article that I wrote, but sharing wih me too about how you watched with your grandmother as a kid and now again as an adult. I, too, recently got back into watching General Hospital full-time and if I don't get to watch it during the day, love watching it on SoapNet at nighttime. Thank you gain for your lovely comment and for the share too :) :)

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 4 years ago from Texas

      Great hub, and very well written. I have always Loved the ABC Soaps. I can't even remember the first time I watched them, but I do remember watching them as young as 3 or 4, sitting on my Grandmothers lap. She was a GH fan. And that was really back in the day, even before Luke and Laura.

      I watched them through my college years, and while I was a young mother. I missed a few years when I went back to work, but then I tried to record them on my VCR. lol

      And now, I pound away everyday, writing my current manuscript - but I always take an hour off... to watch my one remaining soap, and remember those faraway times with my Grandmother. I think I will go into mourning when they finally take it off the air too. And I'm pretty sure they will, because they say it is so much cheaper to just produce another talk show. But in the mean time: Long Live General Hospital!

      Voted Up and everything else. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you so much Vinaya for reading and commenting, too. So very appreciated and hope you are doing well today :) :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      I have never watched opera on stage, but watched Phantom of Opera on DVD. My mom is a fan of Indian soap operas, and I sometimes watch her favorite show with her.

      I enjoyed reading your reflections.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Trusouldj, so do I and when I wrote this one I thought the exact same thing. Thanks you for stopping by and commenting too!!

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      trusouldj 5 years ago from Indiana

      I miss Luke and Laura and Anna and Robert and Sean and Tiffany.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh thank you so much Eddy. Glad you enjoyed my tribute to Luke and Laura. And thank you for continuing to be so supportive and kind to me :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant Janine and I will be looking through your great works to find more gems.

      Here's to a wonderful day for you and your beautiful family my dear friend.

      Eddy.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Bruce, I love that this TV couple really did touch so many, even though they were just that a "TV Couple!" Thank you for sharing your memories of them with me and so glad to have gotten you caught up a bit here. Thank you also for the share and votes too :)

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      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      Their wedding was such news back then...it is very hard to believe that 31 years have passed since that tv marriage....my high school girlfriend loved General Hospital during that timeframe and everyday after school we had to rush to a tv to watch that day's episode. The marriage was the peak of Luke and Laura ....so it was interesting to see what happened in their soap opera lives over the next 25 years....thanks to your hub I am not caught up. Voted up and shared.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Eddy, thank you for reading this article even though you never actually heard of this couple or soap opera they starred on it. It truly means a lot to me that you stopped by, read and commented too. Thank you for all your continued support, very much appreciate it!!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub Janine even though I didn't know anything about the couple before now .It didn't stop me from enjoying this story ;you really are a talented writer Janine .

      Take care and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Dianna, you aren't weird, because a big draw to General Hospital was indeed the hospital setting. A few years back, they truly got further away from the hospital as the backdrop to the stories and was very heavily basing all the action on the mob. The show became unwatchable at that point for me. They have started to write more around the hospital recently and am again enjoying it. So can totally relate. Thank seriously for stopping by and for commenting too!!

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      My sisters were such huge fans of Luke & Laura. This really brings back the memories! I watched General Hospital but I was more interested in the hospital setting and events then the relationships -- yes, I was weird! Loved this hub.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      You are not the black sheep Mary, because my mom who was strictly ABC soaps now for the last several years has watched The Young and the Restless and confess she brought me over to the dark side too lol! I am not as good with the history there though, but could probably hold my own on a conversation about that show too!! Thank you seriously for your comments and votes too!!

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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I'm a black sheep here...strictly CBS soaps with The Guiding Light and The Young and the Restless my favorites. However, having not lived in a bubble I am aware of Luke and Laura and now thanks to you I know more about them! Well done Janine.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Deborah, many people felt the same way as you about the Ice Princess stroyline and you definitely weren't alone on this. I too watched All My Children too and loved Nina and Cliff, as well as Greg and Jenny back in day. But then again I always a sucker for a good old fashioned love story. Thanks for stopping by and commenting too!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      This brought back memories. I used to watch General Hospital back in high school. But I must admit, the whole Ice Princess story line kind of lost me. That's when I switched over to All My Children.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Hecate-Horus I am very much loving hearing about everyone including yourself watching Luke and Laura . Thank you so much for kind and generous comments on my article and glad that you think I did them justice, because so tried to do that in writing this article.

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Long live Luke and Laura! I was hooked on GH since I was 6. Even though I no longer watch soaps, I'll always fondly remember the King and Queen of daytime drama. Great hub! You did them justice!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks Joseph for your insightful words here and so do agree that they started a trend with their clothing and hairstyles too. Loved how they seemed to touch so many in so many different ways, shapes and forms. Thank you again for your continued support too!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Susan, glad you were able to read and enjoy my hub article on Luke and Laura. I love that this soap opera and specifically this couple reached so many. I am also enjoying hearing all the stories of those who watched and how they either got started or watched it too! thanks again for stopping by and commenting too :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Linda, looks like our moms both got us hooked. I too stopped watching for a few years, but recently starting to watch again with being home with my own kids. Such good memories from my childhood and it looks like history may repeat itself with my kids too! Thanks for stopping by and commenting too :)

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 5 years ago from Texas

      I was an addict too... but that was Mom's fault! She got me hooked back in the 70s before Luke and Laura got married... I didn't realize it had been that long! I watched for years and years but stopped watching about 8-9 years ago.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to watch General Hospital up until a few years ago. I saw the entire Luke and Laura romance and loved every minute of it. Enjoyed your hub very much. Thanks!

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      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      I was 15 in 1997, and know of what you are saying. I was more into kids stuff. But they filled an afternoon void, for housewives and a Cold war generation. I was more into games and arcades, but Luke and Larry's marriage non Nov 16. 1977, changed so many lives and relationships. Trends were created..if you see the gruppies for the 80's starts, you can notice Laura's hair style. Luke's style was immitated by Michael Bolton and so many country stars. Great tribute Janine!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks Michelle, you are right that this plot is a main stayer for sure, even with all the storyline twists. Luke and Laura surely have always kept the viewers hooked and agree whole heatedly on that too. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting. I really do appreciate it!

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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      The plot for this one has always been a main stayer as you rightly point out, Janine!! Luke and Laura will always shave something to engage viewers with. General Hospital will have its turns and twists to keep viewers hooked!! Great sharing, Janine!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Terrye, I pretty much avoid soaps in my house growing up, my mom was addicted and obsessed lol! Seriously, I probably know more than I should know, but I guess in the grand scheme of things it could be worse. Thank you for stopping by and commenting on something you may not have had my exposure or experience with, I totally do appreciate :)

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      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I never could get into soap operas like my friends all did. I think I was busy on the rifle team, the school newspaper, hanging out with my friends, annoying my brother, etc. That and TV wasn't very dependable in Alaska while I was growing up. I don't feel like I missed a whole lot tho. Great article on the greatest love story every told in a soap opera, Janine. :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Lipnancy, I love that this was truly watched by so many people, because it really proves that soaps are not just for housewives so to speak, but for everyone. Soaps really do help us to take a break even a short one from the reality of the daily grind. That said thank you for stopping by and commenting too!! By the way if you have SoapNet, they are replaying the wedding tonight at 8pm EST.

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      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I watched it. I was 11 years old and my girl fiend was into Luke and Laura. Gosh I had not thought about that in years.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Linda, I watched both All My Children and General Hospital growing up and was an addict as well.m I too stopped watching GH until recently. I was not happy with the direction, but now they have a new writing team and seem to be trying to bring new life to this show. I have hope that Luke and Laura will be back on front and center. My fingers are truly crossed for this. Thank you so much for stopping by, commenting and for your continued support too!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      I have to tell you Josh that I really did get into this, because I have avast knowledge on soaps in general because of my mom and Luke and Laura have always been my absolute favorite. Since the Olympics have been on SoapNet is running the Olympic Moments of Genral Hospital and of course quite a few of these moments have been showcased. Starting to watch an episode last night and it was the episode where they were dancing to Fascination and LI and behold this article came to life because of that. Thanks again for always being so kind and for your support. I am truly glad by the way to include my family, because they are such an integral part of my life in general.

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      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      My mom was also a soap opera fan which got me hooked also. Now that I think about what a geek I was rushing home from school to get my daily dose of Luke and Laura! I was an addict! I stopped watching after #3, but they will always be my favorite soap couple. All My Children was my favorite soap up until I had kids in the 80's then soaps was a thing of the past for me. Amazingly awesome tribute to Luke and Laura! :)

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      Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Janine,

      I have to start out by saying that I do not hardly anything about soap operas.

      Having confessed that, I must say that this was a fascinating review Janine! You seem to have picked some crowd favorites, especially with the wedding day episode with so many public views, That is a crazy number, 14 million. WOW!

      I also enjoyed your ending and how you talked about your daughter asking you about the picture. That is so precious; I love how you inlcude your family into your hubs. I know I say that all the time, but it is true!

      Awesome review Janine, have a great day! I have shared!