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General Hospital at 25: Accent on Youth Irks Veteran Actor Berandino
by Sherry Stern, The Register 4/3/88

trio5.jpg (16601 bytes)"There they are on the cover of this magazine- Tristan Rogers, Finola Hughes, and Ian Buchanan- the handsome actors in the middle of a love triangle on ABC's General Hospital.  And each is a decade or two removed from the show's premiere 25 years ago this week.

So why, when GH is celebrating its silver anniversary, is the network offering magazine pictures of the younger stars?  John Beradino wants to know.

'Each time we come up an anniversary, it seems to me the publicity department has become so youth-oriented.  They concentrate on publicizing the young generation and not the elder group, the core of the show.  This infuriates me,' Beradino says.  When anniversary time comes, we expect our due.'

Beradino is one of the show's few constants.  On the April 1, 1963, debut, there was General Hospital, in all its black and white fuzziness.  And there was Beradino as venerable Dr. Steve Hardy and Emily McLaughlin as vulnerable Nurse Jessie Brewer.

That's of little resemblance to the General Hospital of today.  Like any soap worth its time slot, GH has kept up with the genre's technology and growing financial importance.  The emphasis, like everywhere else these days, is on youth. Berandino remembers a few years ago, when it was even worse. 

'We almost got ignored to the point where we were insulted, just as we are being insulted now. They cut our number of guaranteed shows, which reduced our salaries- I suppose in the hope they thought we would quit.  I decided to outsmart them and outwait them.  So they all left and I'm still there along with my cohorts.'

Times were just as rocky for the show itself.  Little more than a decade ago rumor had it GH was this close to being canceled.

After a turnaround known even to people who never watch soaps, GH skyrocketed in the ratings.  Adventure and fantasy was pumped into the storyline, a Elizabeth Taylor guest starred and Luke and Laura made the cover of Newsweek.

Through its years, GH presented many performers who found life beyond soaps, among them:  Rick Springfield, Demi Moore, Daniel J. Travanti, Tyne Daly, Doug Sheehan, Emma Samms, John Stamos, Roy Thinnes, and Jack Wagner.

Beradino says he never wishes he also had reached for the fame and fortune beyond daytime.

'My lifestyle suits me.  I'm married and have two children, so I get to do a lot of things with them I wouldn't do if, say, I was was on a movie on location or working in a night prime-time show... And I'm not so terribly overworked.  This month I'm doing five shows two different weeks and then I slack off to one a week.'"

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