A Tribute to General Hospital’s Frisco Jones On the 39th Anniversary of Jack Wagner’s Debut in the Rockin’ Role
There’s a part of us that’ll always be a bit of jealous of Felicia for snagging the original teenage dream.
The year was 1984, and Port Charles had a potentially devastating problem on the horizon. It was so big, in fact, that the powers that be realized there was only one man for the job: Frisco Jones.
No, the problem wasn’t world domination, superspies or lost treasure. It was Blackie Parrish. After two years as the adorably gorgeous rocker, portrayer John Stamos had decided it was time to leave daytime for a crack at primetime.
These things happen, but General Hospital was going to need a heartthrob transplant, stat.
Now every good doctor knows that you don’t wait until the patient’s dead to perform a transplant; just ask Maxie. So rather than bring someone in after Stamos left, the writers figured it might be smarter to introduce a new character while he was still around and ease viewers through the transition. So they hired actor and musician Jack Wagner to play Frisco, and on January 27, 1984, he showed up on our screens as the new singer for Blackie’s band, Blackie and the Riff Raff.
“Teenage girls are gonna love him,” band manager Steffi declared to an increasingly jealous Blackie. Boy, was she right. Teenage girls, their mothers, their grandmothers, their brothers — everyone was gonna love Frisco Jones.
Except for Blackie, that is. This upstart had talent, looks and charm, which was everything Blackie brought to the band, not to mention our screens. No one was going to steal his spotlight. It wasn’t Frisco and the Riff Raff, and it never would be! (You can rewatch their introduction below.)
“This is a powder keg,” Frisco warned their manager, “and you’ve got me sitting on top of it having a smoke.”
Little did we know at the time, but apparently that kind of danger was exactly what Frisco liked!
That particular powder keg, though, was one of the few in Frisco’s life that never went off. All that early tension gave the writers a way to play out viewers’ concerns over replacing Blackie, then eventually get the stamp of approval from the departing character himself. Blackie and Frisco made peace and became fast friends, even rooming together at the hotel.
Well, they became fast friends for about two months before Blackie accidentally killed a woman and was sent off to prison never to be seen again… but that was kind of the point.
The heartthrob transplant worked, and viewers fell in love with their new rocker. After all, no one’s talking almost four decades later about ’80s super couple Blackie and Felicia. (Don’t feel bad for Stamos, though. We hear that primetime thing might have worked out for him.)
As for Wagner, he even got a record deal thanks to some General Hospital connections and began his own music career in earnest. That’s right, all of the songs Frisco performed on screen like “All I Need” and “Sneak Attack” were Wagner’s.
Once the band broke up thanks to Blackie’s jail sentence, Frisco needed a new hobby. He found it when he met-super-cute with Aztec princess Felicia Cummings, who was looking for lost treasure. Suddenly, we had a budding supercouple on our hands, and Frisco had a budding addiction to adventure.
He didn’t completely abandon the musical spotlight, though. How else to woo Felicia but by serenading her with “Lady of My Heart”? Hell, it worked for us. (Press PLAY on the video below at your own peril; swooning is almost mandatory.)
Still, once Frisco got mixed up with Robert Scorpio and Sean Donely, life was never the same. He joined the PCPD, then the WSB. As Felicia settled down, he was living it up, running around the world, saving us all from threats we could only imagine. He died in the line of duty, came back to life — ya know, as one will — and had two kids with Felicia, Maxie and Georgie, who he barely saw.
Frisco’s handsome, charming and a genuinely nice guy… but he never really did grow up. Once he joined the WSB, that always took precedence. He came back for Maxie’s heart transplant, then again shortly after Georgie’s birth, but by that point, Felicia had pretty much given up on him. She told him to go save the world until he was ready to give up the job, so he did.
For 18 years.
Frisco last returned back in 2013, still, to no small degree, that same fresh-faced kid who refused to give up his glory days. He reconnected (or would it be connected?) with Maxie and tried to win Felicia back, even hopping up on stage at the Nurses Ball to perform his biggest hit, “All I Need” (which, ironically, had been the song he used way back when to entice future sister-in-law Tania Roskov, not Felicia).
Felicia had moved on with Mac, though, so Frisco skipped back out of town as suddenly as he’d arrived, leaving us with bittersweet memories of when all we needed was Frisco Jones singing his way into our hearts.
While you’re here, why not check out the below photo gallery, in which we rank General Hospital’s all-time greatest characters. You can bet Frisco made the cut… but at what number?