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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19, 1996

It's time for the third scheduled break in the retrospective that I've had going on all month long.  It's another regularly scheduled Tuesday Timeline entry, and the only clue that I will give you is this...

Think you've figured it out yet?  Well, we'll get to that in a second.  In the meantime, today is the nineteenth of May, and I found that a lot of things happened on this date in history.  Have a look!

1499 - A marriage by proxy takes place when 13-year-old Catherine of Aragon marries the twelve-year-old Prince of Wales, Arthur

1536 - Anne Boleyn is beheaded for adultery, incest, and treason

1568 - Queen Elizabeth I orders the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots

1743 - The centigrade temperature scale is developed by Jean-Pierre Christin

1780 - At 10:30 in the morning, heavy cloud cover and thick smoke causes complete darkness to fall over New England and Eastern Canada

1911 - Parks Canada is established as the Dominion Parks Branch under the Department of the Interior

1925 - American activist Malcolm X (d. 1965) is born in Omaha, Nebraska

1941 - Director and screenwriter Nora Ephron (d. 2012) is born in New York City

1951 - Singer-songwriter Joey Ramone (d. 2001) is born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York

1962 - Marilyn Monroe sings "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in New York

1963 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is published in the New York Post Sunday Magazine

1984 - Michael Larsen appears on the game show "Press Your Luck", where he won over $110,000 in cash and prizes, thanks to his memorization of the light patterns on the game board

1986 - The Firearms Owners Protection Act is signed by President Ronald Reagan

1998 - Four months after his death, Sonny Bono is awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, along with his former wife, Cher.

2001 - Jazz singer Susannah McCorkle dies at the age of 55

I hope you're ready for a long list of celebrity birthdays too, because it seems as though a lot of them are celebrating May 19 birthdays today!  Happy birthday to David Hartman, James Fox, Bobby Burgess, Tania Mallet, Peter Mayhew, Pete Townshend, Grace Jones, Dusty Hill, Archie Manning, Jimmy Thackery, Victoria Wood, Phil Rudd, Steven Ford, Bill Laimbeer, Gregory Poirier, Sean Whalen, Maile Flanagan, Jodi Picoult, Polly Walker, Kyle Eastwood, Jason Gray-Stanford, Jenny Berggren, Dario Franchitti, Kim Zolciak, Jessica Fox, Eric Lloyd, and Sam Smith.

So, as I explained in the last couple of Tuesday Timeline entries, my idea was to have all the Tuesday Timelines in May and the first part of June fall between 1981 and 2015 - as those are the only years that I've been alive.

And, we're going to be going back in time one day after my fifteenth birthday.  The date?  May 19, 1996.

Now, you probably might have figured out that based on the "General Hospital" credits that I posted up above, you're thinking that the Tuesday Timeline is linked to that show.  And, certainly it is.  The show's been on the air for fifty-two years, was the show that had the number one watched wedding in television history, and it's also one of the few soap operas to film an episode completely live (as the show recently did for the May 15 and May 18, 2015 episodes). 

But, May 19 isn't the actual anniversary date for the show.  The show actually debuted on April Fools Day, 1963.  But May 19, 1996 was a very sad day for cast members who were on "General Hospital" at the time, as they had to bid a permanent farewell to one of the show's original characters, as well as the actor who played him.

Here.  I'll show you an updated version of the "General Hospital" credits - these ones aired between 1993 and 2004.

Now, I want to draw your attention to the very first cast portrait shown, as well as the scenes which show a doctor bringing a patient into the emergency room.  That man was John Beradino, who for thirty-three years played the role of Dr. Steve Hardy.

Dr. Hardy was one of the show's original characters, and during his time on "General Hospital" he saved countless lives on the program and experienced the same things that other standard soap opera characters did including romance, betrayal, secrets, and scandal.  He wasn't the longest serving character on "General Hospital" - his 33 year record has since been broken by Jackie Zeman, Leslie Charleson, and Rachel Ames.  However, during his tenure, he was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards, and appeared in approximately 4,300 of the show's episodes.  And, he was also one of the few soap actors to earn himself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, receiving the honour in 1993.

But to simply dismiss John Beradino as a daytime soap star would only be scratching the surface.  And while he eventually carved out a permanent place in "General Hospital" history, he did much more than that.

Giovanni Beradino was born in Los Angeles, California on May 1, 1917, and graduated from Belmont High School.  And, one thing that Beradino was very interested in from an early age was sports.

In particular, baseball.

You see, John Beradino didn't start off as an actor.  He began his career as a baseball player.  Don't believe me?  Have a look at this!

I'm not exactly sure when this photo was taken (and yes, his name was spelled incorrectly - and reportedly was for several years!), but if this isn't proof of Beradino's baseball past, I'm not sure what is.  And to Beradino's credit, his baseball career lasted quite a long time.  Aside from a three year break between 1942-1945 (Beradino served in the United States Naval Reserve during World War II), he played as a major league baseball player between 1939 and 1952, and played shortstop and second base for such teams as the St. Louis Browns, the Cleveland Indians, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

TRIVIA:  Believe it or not, Beradino was part of a team that won the World Series.  He was a part of the Cleveland Indians when they emerged the victors in 1948.  Now that would have been such a tale to tell!

Now, it was right around the time that the Indians won the World Series that Beradino began to take an interest in acting.  And he did appear in a couple of bit parts in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  But it wouldn't be until he had suffered an injury on the baseball field that he made the decision to act full time, as Pittsburgh had released him from their roster because of the injury.

Now, if you watch the films "Suddenly" and "North by Northwest" very closely, you might be able to spot Beradino.  He had cameo roles in both movies.  He also made guest appearances in various television shows and dozens of B-movies, but nothing really made him stand out.

At least, not until he landed the role of a lifetime.  Dr. Steve Hardy.

And, I imagine that during his time on the show, he made an impact, not just with his co-workers and crew members of "General Hospital", but with the fans who watched "General Hospital" every weekday afternoon.  And, well...sometimes videos say it best.  Here's the tribute that an awards show gave him the same year he passed away.

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