Kin Shriner returned to GENERAL HOSPITAL as Scott Baldwin for the show's 50th anniversary earlier this year. Shriner has come and gone from GH since he first debuted in 1977. We Love Soaps recently caught up with Shriner by phone to discuss Scott's return, the state of GH and resuming his role as Jon Prescott in Martha Byrne's GOTHAM. The day he called the office TV happened to be on an episode of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR man he guest-starred in. Read our new interview below:
WE LOVE SOAPS: I was just watching you in an old episode THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN. It was a Bionic Christmas.
KIN SHRINER: I was a contract player at Universal Studios and one of my jobs was on SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN. I had to say something that he overheard with his bionic ear. The girl I did that scene with (Ann Dusenberry) became a movie star for a while, I think. That was like 1975!
WE LOVE SOAPS: Outside of soaps, what was the favorite thing that you ever did?
KIN SHRINER: Anything that wasn't a soap was kind of a favorite because it was different. I did a couple of low budget movies where I played cops and different types of people that were far away from the soap business, which is a whole different thing in itself. In movies what you can say in two words takes a page and a half of dialogue in soaps.
I did a movie of the week with Finola Hughes which was fun. We did a ghost movie for USA called The Crying Child. I had a good time doing that.
WE LOVE SOAPS: So welcome back to GENERAL HOSPITAL. I think this was the longest amount of time you were ever away from GH.
KIN SHRINER: It was.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you expect to be in the middle of all the 50th anniversary hoopla?
I kind of thought somehow wiley DA Scotty Baldwin would work his way back into Port Charles, especially with the 50th anniversary. I figured they would have to come up with something to bring some of us back to salute the time served.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Scott Baldwin is a character that dates back to almost the beginning.
KIN SHRINER: When we did KATIE she had a trivia question that asked who was the longest running character on GENERAL HOSPITAL. They got it wrong because the character of Scott has been around longer than Monica Quartermaine!
WE LOVE SOAPS: That question was weird. Maybe they meant to ask about the longest running actor who hasn't left. I think Monica, or Leslie Charleson, was the answer to a question even if it wasn't that one. So now that you're back on GH, do you notice a different vibe on the set since the last time you appeared in 2008?
KIN SHRINER: The last time I was there it was not the place that it is now. People are much happier. Frank [Valentini, executive producer] is very hands-on and is on the set like the old days with Gloria [Monty]. He puts as much energy into your scenes as he does everybody else's scenes, so you feel like there's a guy there who's paying attention to the overall show. Which is a hell of a lot more fun than feeling like they really only care about Sonny and Jason, and the rest of us don't matter. That's kind of the feeling that permeated down there for years. Those guys were 90% of the show so the rest of the actors felt like it was fluff, fluff...Sonny, Jason...fluff, fluff.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Every time a daytime soap gets away from being an ensemble and focuses on one or two characters, it's usually a mistake. It's too much.
KIN SHRINER: Nighttime television shows, which are all really soap operas now like REVENGE or RED WIDOW and even TRUE BLOOD, are the same way. They are all soap operas and are all at their best when they are an ensemble and you're involved with all the characters.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Fans have loved Scott with so many different women over the years including Laura and Bobbie. I just spoke with two of the actresses, Lynn Herring (Lucy) and Robin Mattson (Heather). What is the secret to your success with so many different love interests and relationships?
KIN SHRINER: I try to play to their strong points. I really like those girls and I'm friends with all of them. When actors like each other or get a kick out of each other, that will always come across on screen. It will look like those two are having fun and enjoying each other, so the audience will have fun watching. That's kind of the key to the whole thing. I've never worked with anyone where I thought, "I hate her!" The key: fun!
WE LOVE SOAPS: There have been rumors for a while that Serena Baldwin would be coming back at some point. Do you like playing a dad?
KIN SHRINER: I think it's inevitable that you'll end up in some kind of parental story on a soap. There was some talk of her coming back. I hope that she comes back because she could be a real powerhouse character. She's got a lot of money and probably has Lucy's sensibilities, and dresses like Lucy, because she brought her up. She could be a fun character that would be fun for all of us to play with, especially if she had something to do that was pretty good.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Do you know how long you are sticking around at GH?
KIN SHRINER: As long as there's something for us to do, we're there. It's up to them to keep throwing us story. As long as there is a story nobody is going anywhere. I think there's still a lot of story to be told with these characters with all their histories. There's a wealth of history for everyone in the town, as well as Laura (Genie Francis), Scotty, Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman) and Lucy. They've been there long enough to know where the skeletons are buried.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Do you do stand-up comedy like your brother, Wil?
KIN SHRINER: I only steal from his act. [Laughs] But I have done it with my brother before. With most comics, if your material is strong and your jokes are strong, it's easier to be up there knowing the jokes are going to work. Comics develop these acts for years and years so it's not like they're getting up each night saying, "I was really funny last night but have nothing tonight." It's an act. As every comedian says to the question, "How did you do last night?" "I killed them. I slayed them."
WE LOVE SOAPS: I'm excited that you are going to be doing more episodes of GOTHAM.
KIN SHRINER: Yes! I'm looking forward to this GOTHAM thing with Martha [Byrne, GOTHAM creator and star] because I'm crazy about Martha. Whenever that gets going it's going to be fun.
WE LOVE SOAPS: I know you're a big movie guy. Are there any must-see films out right now?
KIN SHRINER: I haven't had much time lately. I'm usually so up on the movies that I'm scraping the barrel for a movie to see. I probably shouldn't pay to see some of them because it's probably no good and will end up on cable, but if I have time between shows I'll go see anything. But I'm behind right now so I have the choice between the Redford movie (The Company You Keep), the 42 movie, and The Place Beyond the Pines. There's a bunch of movies for me to see.
WE LOVE SOAPS: You worked with Jeanne Cooper when you did THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Cooper passed away on May 8.)
KIN SHRINER: She was a tough one. And a fun woman. I've worked with her and gone on trips with her. They don't make them like her anymore.
Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals. He appeared in FRANCOPRHENIA and the documentary SOAP LIFE in 2012.