Credit: ABC (3), ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (2)

On August 2, 1977, a fresh-faced newcomer took on the role of Lee Baldwin’s adopted son — and Port Charles was never the same!

When General Hospital cast Kin Shriner as Scotty Baldwin, neither the ABC soap nor the up-and-coming young actor knew that they had entered into a relationship that would last more than four decades. Heck, they didn’t even realize at first that they’d enter into a relationship, period.

The Reluctant Soap Star

There was no actual scene to read… no real audition,” Shriner said during a 2022 episode of State of Mind (which you can watch in full below). The producer “just kind of talked to me… about, ‘There’s a character that was on the show once. He was a kid, and he’s the son of the town lawyer. We want to bring him back at your age. Would you be interested?’”

At the time, Shriner actually wasn’t. “As a young actor, [if] you’re making a little dent in the town, you’ve got some guest-star spots, you’ve been under contract, you’re like, ‘Well, why do I want to do a soap?’” he recalled. “We all wanted to be movie stars. But my acting coach had been on a soap, and she told me that you will never get a better training… On camera, working every day, new material. You’re not sitting around spending six weeks rehearsing a play you’re gonna do. Every day, it’s a new scene, new stuff.”

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GENERAL HOSPITAL - Shoot Date: August 23, 1979. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)KIN SHRINER;GENIE FRANCIS scott scotty laura gh

The Rest Is History

In the end, Shriner was booked for two episodes. “It was August 2 and August 3,” he said. After taping them live, “I thought, ‘This is really fun, I’d love to do this.’ Then a couple of weeks went by, and I’m thinking, ‘Christ, this is never going to [happen].’ So then, two to three weeks in, my agent calls and goes, ‘Yeah, yeah, they really want you. They’ve got a whole big story.’ Three-year contract.’ We were in!”

From there, Shriner was moved straight to the frontburner, where his pairing with Genie Francis’ Laura Webber proved to be so popular that it helped get the show off Death Row. When the couple was broken up by the phenomenon that was Luke and Laura, Shriner was afforded the opportunity to play a whole new Scotty, one who’d been transformed into an embittered conniver by his bride’s stunning betrayal.

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GENERAL HOSPITAL - Shoot Date: June 27, 1980. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images) ANTHONY GEARY;KIN SHRINER

For Better or Worse

Miraculously, the audience not only bought it, they loved it. “I haven’t gotten any flak for being a bad guy,” Shriner told The Vancouver Sun in 1982. “People feel Scotty’s behavior is justified because of his past. How would a guy feel when his woman is raped and then becomes involved with the rapist?

“No man,” he added, “is going to be the same after that.”

In the years that have followed, Scotty has repaired his moral compass now and again but retained the mischievous edge that plays so well to the twinkle in Shriner’s eye. Viewers always know when he turns up on screen — not nearly often enough, we might add! — they’re in for a good time.

Heck, that’s guaranteed even if you do nothing more than peek inside the below photo gallery, an anniversary picture-palooza that revisits highlights of Shriner’s legendary run as Scotty. All you have to do is… Oh. OK. You’re already clicking on the gallery and diving in. Enjoy, then!

Video: YouTube/State of Mind