Almost 40 Years After Her General Hospital Debut, We Look Back at Kristina Wagner’s Introduction as Felicia — and Boy, Did She Take Us by Surprise!
ABC, ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (3)
What’s more, she’s been keeping us on our toes ever since!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 37 years since Kristina Wagner made her very first appearance on General Hospital as Felicia Cummings, sneaking into Port Charles even as she snuck into our hearts. In fact, it’s almost as hard to believe as the fact that when she first appeared on September 7, 1984, she was a he!
The erstwhile Kristina Malandro’s first day on the show, she was virtually unrecognizable — which is exactly what Felicia wanted. We never got the name of the valet who helped the pop sensations the Riff Raff unload their band equipment at a charity ball, but it was clear from the start that there was something off about the “kid,” as Frisco called him. By that night, when the valet slithered out from under Frisco’s bed to try grabbing a ring from the nightstand, we were all intrigued — as was Frisco when he caught the would-be thief red-handed!
There was no name that first day, and Wagner didn’t even have any lines, but once Frisco started interrogating the boy he‘d caught, things took off at a breakneck speed. It was only when the valet spilled coffee on himself as he tried to make a run for it that Frisco started to realize that he might have been mistaken. The cry was not very boyish.
Frisco put a stop to the escape attempt, yanked the kid’s hat and… “Well, what do you know,” he marveled at the long hair that spilled out.
“Satisfy your curiosity?” the girl spat at him after a few beats of glaring.
“Baby, I’m getting more curious by the minute.” And so was the audience.
The beginner thief told Frisco that her name was Felicia, but that was about the only straight answer she’d offer for some time, instead inventing a few different backstories as to why she was trying to steal his ring. In those first few scenes, Felicia’s defiant determination crashed into Frisco’s laid-back amusement in a dance that was nothing short of enchanting to watch. And that, of course, was just the beginning — their instant chemistry, we’re pretty sure, could be seen from space. (Not for nothing, but Malandro and Wagner would eventually marry in real life.)
By the time Frisco whisked Felicia off to General Hospital — she’d tried making one last run for it, only for him to trip her up and hurt her ankle — we were hooked. It was the start of a globe-trotting adventure full of excitement, betrayal and Aztec treasure. Frisco found his “Aztec princess,” and their mesmerizing push/pull relationship continued for decades as they became one of daytime’s most beloved supercouples.
By the time they’d had daughters Maxie and Georgie, of course, Felicia had realized that Frisco would likely never grow beyond that amused boy, hungry for adventure and ready to run off at a moment’s notice. Eventually, adventures with him and the WSB just didn’t hold the allure that they used to, and Felicia settled down to build a life with Mac Scorpio. There were a few bumps along the way, as you’d expect, but even the strongest of relationships have those, right? And they don’t come much stronger than the one that Felicia and Mac have built.
Through it all, Felicia’s never lost that defiant determination, and it’s helped her survive everything from paralysis and Cesar Faison to the one thing no parent should ever have to face: losing her daughter, Georgie. Refusing to be tied down to one man, she’s shown us time and again that she makes her own fate, even as her portrayer has shown us that she shines no matter what’s thrown Felicia’s way. Love, loss or a boyish valet, we’re just thankful Felicia’s been in our lives for nearly four decades. And we’ll always eagerly be awaiting what comes next.
If this little stroll down Memory Lane has left you in a nostalgic mood, go ahead and indulge it by perusing the below photo gallery of the show’s most iconic characters of all time.