Claire Labine’s Magic

The magic of the 1990’s era of GH has stayed with Sonny and Brenda fans because of the seamless way the tales were written. Sure, we are S&Bers but along with that, we are Claire Labine fans, always.


Claire Labine wove tales that captured our hearts, had us falling in love and took us on adventures that would break our hearts, give us hope and ignited passion on our tv screens. She wrote stories within stories, used all the cast, from old-time vets to the newest of newbies and intertwined them all so the stories would unfold and affect all of Port Charles. It was magical because it caused the fans to enjoy ALL of GH, not just select couples or characters.

Claire introduced us to the feisty Brenda Barrett first. She was a spitfire who had been stuck in a few European boarding schools along the way and suddenly showed up on her sister, Julia’s doorstep. From there, she meddled in her sister’s love life, fell hard for Jagger Cates and struggled to find where she fit in. She became friends with Robin Scorpio, Ned Ashton and AJ & Jason Quartermaine. Finally, Brenda was coming into her own and had a place to be herself in Port Charles. Our favorite heroine was on the fast track to being one of the greatest female characters of all time. Vanessa Marcil had mad chemistry with EVERYONE!

Next, Claire introduced us to the brooding mobster, Sonny Corinthos. He came on the scene running the very seedy, Paradise Lounge and coaxed the very vulnerable Karen Wexler into becoming a stripper. He fed her need for pills and got her into bed. Maurice Benard’s role was only meant to be short-term at that time but, Maurice’s on-screen presence, and crazy chemistry with others, destined him to something more on the show. His character was brought on more and began interacting with some of the other already established characters. Claire also wrote a best friend for Sonny in the new character of Stone Cates. They were two outcasts working their way into the hearts of the citizens of Port Charles and the viewers at home.

Once Sonny and Brenda met and connected, their love story was written in the stars and captivated our hearts like no other couple. They flirted, bantered, eyes met from across rooms and we fell for them hook, line and sinker! General Hospital struck gold with the pairing of Sonny and Brenda! They leapt off the screens and into our imaginations for almost 20 years. They were passionate, sexy, bold and daring!  Sonny and Brenda are soulmates and meant to be together.

What happened next was the treat of watching 3 different couples fall in love and over come the obstacles placed before them. Claire wrote the love stories of Sonny and Brenda, Stone and Robin and Ned and Lois simultaneously, slowly and seamlessly. The way they were written was amazing and the viewers at home were taken on the path to love along with the characters. The viewers saw all 3 couples flirt, go on dates, argue & make up, have fun with their friends/families and deal with different nay-sayers about their relationship. Claire wove stories. Made them realistic and memorable. So much so, most of us fans from that era enjoy watching those clips on Youtube over and over again. 

Obviously, we are big Sonny and Brenda fans. We love their love story, undeniable chemistry between Vanessa and Maurice, the genuine friendship both the couple and actors have for each other, the history the characters have; separate and together and the amazing loyalty they have inspired in their fans. S&Bers have been loyal to Sonny and Brenda as a couple & to their characters individually. We are also quite loyal to the actors who portray S&B, too. We fell in love with the whole package and never wavered.

Claire Labine left an imprint on GH and on the viewers hearts. We thank her for the powerful, amazing and fun stories of that time. We would love to see some of that amazing storytelling come back to our show. We would love to join the journey of couples falling in love, over coming all odds and see adventure, drama and fun back on General Hospital.


TTFN xoxo~Ro

*I wrote this for the Sonny and Brenda, Always project run by @slygirlSnBFF . If you haven’t gotten your paragraph, art or S&B quotes yet, please do so soon. She needs everything by January 16, 2012. Please tweet her or DM her if you have something to contribute! xo


13 responses

  1. One note…. Claire did NOT introduce us to Sonny. Sonny Corinthos originated during the final weeks of Bill Levinson’s regime as head writer, in August 1993 (just prior to Levinson’s replacement by Claire Labine).

    Info from Wikipedia(dot)org. I know that info from that page isn’t ALWAYS accurate, but I remember reading that last yr and felt that I needed to say that. Now, maybe Claire DID make up the character, but if she did, she didn’t do it as headwriter. (I hope that made sense).

    Sylvia Sadek – thanks for sending me to this story!

    Guza tried to absolutely MURDER S&B during Brenda’s last return to General Hospital. It’s a shame that he was FIRED sooner.

    • Really? Wow. I thought she created the character of Sonny. But he was introduced during Claire’s run and almost a full year after Brenda landed in PC.Thanks!

      • Sorry, my last post reply was intended for Lauren because she said that the character of Sonny was “specifically cast for Brenda”.

        And yes, I do agree that S&B were Claire Labine’s babies. I wonder what she thinks of Brenda’s return and their whole story last yr. She was probably cringing and crying while cursing up a storm during the whole event.

        Sonny wanting to go all out for Carly and help her w/ HER kids (Michael & Josslyn) even though he knew it would damage his marriage to Brenda??????????????????????????????????????????????????? Then, saying to her he didn’t regret it?? If Claire was still writing for the show, there is NO WAY ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH he would even care what Carly was doing NOR would he jepordize his marriage to Bren for her or any other woman.

        And him leaving Brenda for power of the organization?????????????????????????? LOL!!! These people are delirious to believe that if they had watched back in the day.

        See, I knew I shouldn’t have said too much. Now, I’m getting so mad, I can’t WAIT til’ GH is OFF THE AIR!!

    • This is true, but Riche was EP, and from what I remember, Sonny was specifically cast for Brenda. Maurice screen tested with Vanessa because the character was intended as a potential love-interest for Brenda, who was ready for a leading romantic story by then. Levinson was more like an interim writer during his 7/8 month HW position. He had previously co-HW the show with Maralyn Thoma. This was a rough time for GH after the much-hyped return of the Monty’s had not turned out well at all and Riche, who was still a new EP following the legendary Gloria Monty, was looking to revamp GH with the younger ingenues. She hit gold with Labine who came on in Aug. ’93 and they created a stellar GH with strong character development and story. So, Sonny was probably conceived by Riche and developed by Labine. It really takes a visionary EP working with a skilled and creative HW to make everything click. Oh, and GH has the great Casting Director, Mark Teschner, who has found legendary talent with unique chemistry like Vanessa Marcil and Maurice Benard. The rare “Magic” of S&B is a collaborative effort and it hasn’t been duplicated since.

      • Are you sure Sonny was cast SPECIFICALLY for Brenda?? I doubt it, being that Maurice said in an interview that the role of Sonny was only supposed to be a six month long contract. How could they have developed a love interest for Brenda if they knew the role of Sonny was originally set up as a six month role? I DO think that after Maurice decided to stay, THEN tptb had the idea of him pairing up w/ Brenda. I actually remember reading that, maybe a couple of days ago. And if you check wikipedia (searching for Sonny Corinthos NOT Maurice Benard), it says that Bill Levinson created the character of Sonny. If you go to where Sonny’s (Maurice’s) picture is and scroll down. It will say “Created by – Bill Levinson”. I know I’m making a stupid big deal of this… I’m just letting you know what I read.

      • I didn’t think he was created for Brenda. I always thought it was supposed to be a short run for him (maybe a 13 week stint), like what you wrote, Anitra. I also know that the character was created during Claire Labine’s run, whether her pen created him or Bill Levinson did, it was during her tenure & she had to approve the character.

        Either way, Sonny and Brenda were the babies of Claire Labine and her writers. We have loved them and held them in high esteem since their inception. We are a very lucky fanbase to have original actors playing the characters still connected after all of these years.

        I love all the responses and how everyone remembers things.

      • Technically, MB had an initial short-term contract because, yes, if the things didn’t work out, he could be cut loose. That’s standard. It’s a testing period. And, technically, Sonny was introduced during Levinson’s final weeks of his short stint as HW. Like I said, Levinson was the interim HW during that transitional period as Riche was settling in as the Exec. Producer. Riche wanted to focus more on the younger cast and had Labine develop character and story for them. Mark Teschner, the Casting Director, screen-tested MB with VM. There is an interview with them talking about the screen test. They were screen-testing potential leading men for Brenda, because that’s the direction in which Riche wanted to go, re-focusing the show on the younger characters and Brenda needed a leading man. During that time, the character of Sonny was a minor role. He was not developed until Labine & Co developed the character a short while later. Most of that development came from the slow and deliberate story and relationship between Sonny and Brenda.

        So, basically: Riche wanted a leading man for Brenda, the VM/MB chemistry was evident during the screen-test, they tested the characters out on the show and flirted the potential (pairing B with an older, sketchy strip-club owner was challenging, but they were both outsiders), and then built the characters and relationships from Labine’s involved story. This is why they are the last of the super-couples; because soaps don’t build them like that anymore. Some of it is luck, but it wasn’t accidental. It was deliberate and crafted.

        Wikipedia is full of inaccuracies. Looking at multiple sources and show history is a better way to go.

      • I can’t find that interview about the screen-test, but I thought Teschner saw tape of MB and brought him in to test with VM for chemistry. I know Sonny came on the canvas for Karen’s stripper story and then Labine started changing and giving him layers, eventually partnering him with Brenda not long after. If he tested with her, it would have been for a potential pairing.

  2. OMG !!! Girly you hit the nail on the head with the way Claire did everything slow and sultry ha ah lol !! The ways she had Ned and Lois going at it with her italian accent, Sonny and Brenda with her being the model and him being the mobster in hidding! Loved Robin and Stone and Lucy Coe with Kevin their was just so much the way Lucy fiercy protected Brenda and loved her and was standing on her side when she was left on the altar. Loved Lucy being their for brenda and her tears coming down as Brenda was having a breakdown, she was hurting and so were we! Loved the girl friends she had in Lois, Robin and Lucy they were faithful and loyal!!! Thank you Claire Lablaine for all you have given us in Sonny & Brenda and the amazing era in the 90’s that we still yearn for today !! Love you ladies and your passion for our Sonny & brenda and nomatter what these new writers write today they will not rewrite history and make it as if they didn’t love each other. Claire Lablaine did us a favor and it has gone down it history that the man who tried to mess up Vanessa Marcil’s comeback and Brenda and Sonny’s reunion got fired while Claire Lablaine goes on as the women who brang these together. Thanks girly for writing this !

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