Laura Spencer, A History: The Luke Effect



Accidents happen. The romance of a television lifetime was an accident. When feisty nursing student Bobbie Spencer called in her thug of a big brother, Luke, to help her get rid of rival for hunky law student Scott Baldwin's affections, the part was meant to be short term. Luke was supposed to get Laura's probation revoked so that she would be sent to reform school and then break up Rick and Leslie's marriage. A funny thing happened though. Chemistry sprung up between unlikely parties.

Anthony Geary, playing street tough Lucas Lorenzo Spencer, could have come and gone from the canvas without much fanfare, as could have Genie Francis as headstrong, spoiled princess Laura Webber. If someone behind the scenes at General Hospital had not recognized the overwhelming chemical reaction these two sparked when they were together on screen, that is exactly what probably would have happened.

Instead, they started a chain reaction that resonates down through the decades. The phenomenon known world wide as Luke and Laura might never have come to be if there had not been someone paying attention to what was coming across our television screens at home. The story played out in front of a fascinated audience that grew steadily as the magic built.

Desperate, Bobbie Spencer tried to edge rival Laura out of the game by faking pregnancy, but her scheme was found out and the wedding of Scott and Laura was a high point of 1979. Trouble began for the newlyweds as soon as they returned from their ideal honeymoon, though. Scott graduated from law school and was trying to pass his bar exams, working long hours for low pay at his father Lee's law firm. Flighty new wife Laura quickly grew bored of staying at home. The situation was exacerbated by Scott's insistence that they live on a budget and within their means.

Pampered and overindulged since she had come to live with her mother, Laura chafed at the ridiculous restrictions. The couple fought for the upper hand, with Laura convinced that there was no reason for them to have to struggle to live on Scott's meager salary when they both came from wealthy families and Scott equally as determined that he would be the only one supporting his family.

Unhappy and bored with the way adult life was playing out for her, Laura decided to help pay off her and Scotty's debts and buy him an expensive set of Law books for his practice. Seeking the help of acquaintance Luke Spencer, she asked him to hire her as a waitress at his club, The Campus Disco, and Luke agreed.

Suspicious, and not nearly as naïve as his wife, Scott didn't trust or like Luke. Much to Scott's dismay, Laura quickly came to like her older, darker, slightly dangerous boss. They developed an easy relationship that blossomed into a friendship. "My life and Bobbie's," he confided in her, "it's like we have always had to settle for second best and I am sick of that."

"You're a pretty special person…" Laura told him with wide eyes and dazzling smile, "You never let anyone down, ever."

It didn't take long for Luke to realize that he was in love with her. For Luke, the unrequited love soon became an obsession. Unrestricted by the cloying rules that polite society played by, outsider Luke encouraged Laura to blossom. She tried out for the Port Charles University cheerleading squad, and her supportive new friend then secretly photographed her and spent hours staring at the pictures and fantasizing about her.

Developing an uneasy fascination for the "adventure seeking rebel", Laura began to spend more and more time at her place of employment. Eventually, after hours at the disco, Luke began to divulge his feelings to a stunned and uncomfortable Laura. Spilling his guts to Laura, Luke was sadly crushed when she gently explained to him that they could never be anything but friends. Hurt but understanding, Luke promised his young friend that he would respect her wishes and would not make her uncomfortable by acting on his unrequited love,

Serious problems were about to be visited upon our anti-hero, Luke. Mob boss Frank Smith had taken an interest in Luke and Roy. The first of many mob related storylines had reared its ugly head in Port Charles. Luke and Roy tried to keep Frank Smith out of their lives and run a legitimate business, but could not hold out against organized crime. As an initiation rite into the Smith Cartel, Frank demanded that Luke kill Mitch Williams on election night. Roy and Luke know that it is a suicide mission, and that Luke was marked for death whether he did the hit or refused. The stage was set for controversy on election night when, at Laura and Scott's little love nest, they quarreled bitterly over her exceeding her credit card limit again. Laura went to the disco to work that night positive that her marriage was over. She flirted outrageously with Roy and as the evening played out, became more and more fatalistic about her marriage. As she waited for Scott to come and pick her up, as he had promised, closing time came and went and she sank into a pit of despair.

As the employees left the disco, a drunken Luke came in. Luke told Laura he would be dead in a month. In an unbridled display of love, frustration, jealousy and lust Luke poured out his feelings for Laura. Laura was frightened by his intensity, but at the same time she was fascinated. Laura tells him they cannot be together, but Luke says he can't die without holding her at least one time.

"Dance with me." He begs.

They dance to the sexy song "Rise" by Herb Albert. As Luke becomes even more intense, holding her tighter, she becomes frightened by his fierceness and tries to pull away from him saying "No, Luke. No." He pulls her to the floor with him and with the disco lights flashing in strobe and colors dancing, with the sultry wailing of brass and the pounding beat of the unforgettable song, the camera pans away and the scene fades to black. When the camera returns to Laura, her clothes ripped and her body bruised, she is running, crying, from the disco.

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