General Hospital’s Kin Shriner and Jacklyn Zeman Drop Bombshells From Daytime’s Golden Age: Death Threats, a $250K Bribe and the Dinner That Turned Out to Be So Much More
Oh, the stories they could (and do!) tell!
Maurice Benard’s State of Mind podcast has been going strong for a few years now, but this past Sunday it veered into new territory when the General Hospital actor interview not one, but two folks at the same time. On top of that, rather than get too deep into talking about mental health, the actors spend their time in the hot seat talking about their early days in showbiz and the Golden Age of daytime.
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More specifically, they got into the Golden Age of General Hospital! Benard admitted to being fascinated by the topic and wanted to hear all the stories from the days their show was on top of the world. Zeman and Shriner had plenty to share, and as they got into some truly jaw-dropping tales, it quickly became apparent that all that glitters is definitely not gold!
Things, of course, started out innocent enough with a meteoric rise to fame. Once, Shriner recalled, about a year or so into their time on the show, he and Genie Francis were in a restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale.
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“It was just a soap opera,” he shrugged, “we didn’t know anything. And we were sitting in the restaurant and the waitress came up and said, ‘Um, there’s a couple people that’d like to say hello to you guys.’ And we said, ‘Oh, OK.’”
“Just” a soap opera or not, meeting and greeting the occasional fan was part of the gig. No biggie. Ha, not quite!
“We looked over and there was a line of people all the way down the stairs and out the door and down the block,” he continued. “I swear to you. And I turned to Genie, and I said, ‘Genie, I think we might be on to something.’ It made me realize that ‘Wow, people were watching this show.’”
He explains that Gloria Monty was given the edict to fix the show in six months or the show would be cancelled. So she pivoted younger with Scotty, Laura and Bobbie and it took off like wildfire. They shot up in just a year from the 16th place in the ratings to first. That was beyond astronomical! Which might explain the extreme lengths rival networks tried to go to in order to shut it down.
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“I had a network offer me $250,000 not to re-sign my GH contract,” Zeman recalls of the efforts to peel eyeballs away from the juggernaut that was General Hospital. “Didn’t even have to do anything. Just not re-sign it for a year.”
Though Zeman’s a true professional and didn’t mention which network, seeing as how there were really only the Big Three back then, there’s probably a 50/50 chance of guessing which one it was!
“It was crazy in those days,” Zeman noted. And the fans could get a little crazy too. OK, a lot crazy.
“I had fulltime FBI bodyguards on me for over a year,” she recalled. “Two each time, two shifts a day. They would sit in a car outside, guard the house.” They’d follow her into restaurants, into the ladies room (if they were women, if not, they’d stand just outside it).
“The death threats,” she clarified. “Bobbie was a naughty girl back in those days.” Folks were sending death threats in through the US mail, and once that happens, it’s considered a federal offense. Hence the FBI guards.
Shriner joked that she was trying to break up that wonderful couple, Scotty and Laura. How dare she! He, though, saw the bodyguards as more of a challenge.
“One time, I took her on my motorcycle,” the actor recalled. “I said, ‘Let’s go to lunch.’ And she says, ‘Well, I got the FBI detail.’ I say, ‘Let’s see how good they are.’ So we shook ‘em!”
Thankfully, nothing terrible happened, but those were clearly wild, wild times!
Take look at our photo gallery of Scotty’s wild, scheme-filled life!