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Genie Francis Reflects on General Hospital's Golden Days for The Story of Soaps

Genie Francis

General Hospital's Genie Francis (Laura Webber) is opening up about the golden years in soaps. She and Luke Spencer (Tony Geary) set the world ablaze with their star-crossed romance; the actress reminisced in time for the premiere of The Story of Soaps

Francis told TV Insider about her rise to superstardom:

At the time, it pretty much went over my head. It was shocking. The bigness of it all was intimidating and scary. It was like being caught in the middle of a tornado. All of a sudden your’e [sic] riding around in it. It was lightning in a bottle. When I was going through it, I was trying to keep up, keep dancing, and keep rising to the occasion that was being asked of me at 17, 18…even 16. The whole nation was [watching].

She added:

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Most of my memories of that time were feeling scared. Then, there were also these super-fun times. Doing the actual work, playing the scenes were an actual joy. [The late, legendary producer] Gloria Monty was a great director and a great story teller so it was great to work for her [and with] Tony [Geary, ex-Luke]. But the bigness and the press of it all and being in a speaking position for the show -- that was scary.

It was such a craze. It was like the Beatles. There was a TV Guide Magazine cover called TV’s Greatest Moments. One was Princess Diana and Charles’ wedding, the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, the moon landing, and us! When something is that big and that hot for that period of time – it’s an out of body experience!

Though things have changed since then, Francis is still an advocate for the genre she loves. She noted:

The world and our lives have changed so much. I think right now is a fantastic opportunity [to get back into soaps], to be honest. People are home in the afternoon and they want a distraction. It’s so incredibly hard. It all really changed with the O.J. [Simpson] trial. People broke the habit there. Also, we became a world in which everyone worked. 

She added:

Yes, but we have Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH), who is a wonderful producer. He knows what this about. He came up through the golden years. He knows what he’s doing. That’s what it takes -- someone who knows this industry.

Don't miss The Story of Soaps, airing May 19 at 9 PM EST on ABC!