One of General Hospital‘s great murder mysteries had its roots in the fictional town of Laurelton, and more than 34 years later, I am here to vaguely remember it.
Why? I was tweeting this week about how someone in the real world’s political arena has a habit of “gaslighting” his/her constituents. That made me recall the first time I ever heard the term “gaslight” — when GH‘s Ginny Webber led Bobbie Spencer to believe that she had killed the abusive DL Brock, when in fact [SPOILER ALERT!] Ginny herself had done the deed, albeit in self-defense. (Watch Judith Chapman’s killer confession here. Chilling to the day.)
But GH‘s other great, long-term gaslighting involved Terry Brock, offering up as it did a multitude of red herrings, an array of colorful (if disposable) characters, two Frisco Joneses and a thrilling clifftop climax involving unlikely action hero Jake Meyer (?!).
Here are the broad strokes I remember about the Laurelton storyline — please chime in to correct me, or fill in any blanks. But most importantly, share your take on the overall storyline, as it seems to be one that longtime viewers loved or hated.
In a December 1985 episode of the ABC sudser, Bobbie’s stepdaughter, Terry (played by Texan Robyn Bernard), found herself at the bottom of the Brownstone (is that still around?) stairs, with a fatally stabbed stranger at her feet. That in and of itself was a fresh turn on the soap opera murder mystery, as we weren’t already acquainted with the victim — Neil Johnson, who like Terry, her grandmother Jennifer Talbot and the O’Connor brothers, Kevin and Patrick, hailed from the tiny town of Laurelton (in, I want to say, West Virginia?). Terry suspected she had killed the man, and despite reassurances offered by the aforementioned Jennifer, Kevin, Patrick and later Bosley/Ted Holmes — and as more dead bodies turned up — we never quite knew who was framing her.
WATCH THE LAURELTON STORYLINE BEGIN:
Fast-forward six months, and Terry and Kevin’s honeymoon in Catalina Island took a dark turn when Kevin revealed himself to be behind it all. After failing to kill Terry whilst scuba diving (watch the soap opera-budget underwater sequence here), Kevin aimed to throw Terry from a high cliff — but luckily there was a piece of rebar for her to grab onto. Bobbie’s beau (husband?) Jake Meyer luckily caught up to the duo, and a struggle ensued. In the end, Terry clocked Kevin with a big ol’ rock, sending him toppling to his death on the rocks far below (or as far as a soap opera budget could afford to throw a stunt man).
WATCH THE LAURELTON CLIMAX HERE:
Some random things I will always (and vaguely) remember about the Laurelton storyline:
* First and foremost, it introduced us to “mousy librarian” Lucy Coe, played by the great Lynn Herring. Lucy served as Kevin’s alibi at one point, and it was one of daytime-TV’s great moments when alone in her apartment she fired up “Object of My Desire,” turned her blouse into a shirt dress, let her hair down and revealed to us her saucy side (watch video).
* Kevin Bernhardt, who played Kevin O’Connor, at one point stepped in as a Frisco Jones recast, when Jack Wagner injured himself performing at a real-life concert. It was… bizarre.
* Wagner being sidelined by a sling is also why Frisco — the soap’s go-to hero back then, as half of supercouple Frisco & Felicia (Frelicia?) — didn’t wind up taking down Kevin. Instead, he was relegated to the investigative sidelines, leading Jake to be the one to save Terry.
* Terry’s big “secret” turned out to be that years ago, after sipping spiked punch at a Laurelton dance, she sashayed down the main street naked (singing “His Way Is My Way?”), sullying the reputation of Purity Water, of which she was the “face.”
Longtime GH fans, how well — and how fondly — do you recall the Laurelton Murder Mystery?