ABC’s sole remaining soap opera, General Hospital, celebrated its 50th anniversary today. The series, then running thirty minutes, premiered at 1PM on Monday, April 1st, 1963. More than 12,700 episodes have been broadcast to date, making it the third longest-running soap opera after Guiding Light (CBS, 1952-2009) and As the World Turns (CBS, 1956-2010). The UCLA Film & Television Archive has some 2,000 episodes of the series in its collection, including virtually every episode aired between 1963 and 1970, plus a 1962 pilot.
General Hospital premiered the same day as two other soap operas: The Doctors and Ben Jerrod, both on NBC. The Doctors remained on the air through December 1982. But Ben Jerrod, the first color soap opera, was a spectacular failure and lasted just three months. Do any episodes of that series still exist?
Also premiering on April 1st, 1963 was NBC’s game show You Don’t Say!, which in its original run aired through September 1969.