‘General Hospital’ Installs Pool Set to Cool Down Summer Drama

General Hospital
Troy Harvey/ABC

Recent episodes of “General Hospital” have found the citizens of Port Charles finding time during their busy day cooling down on the rooftop of the Metro Court Hotel in the new pool commissioned by hotel owner Carly Corinthos (Laura Wright), first unveiled on the Thursday, July 15 episode. As a result, the unlikeliest of characters have been interacting, amplifying all the drama one can expect to see this summer. Between family bickering, mob threats, bromances, and chit-chat, the soap has finally found a semi-organic way to cross-connect the doctors and the nurses with the cops and the robbers, the loved with the loveless, and all the hot bodies in between. Credit for the pool set goes to Andrew Evashchen and Jennifer Elliott, the show’s art designers.

In an interview published in the July 19, 2021 issue of Soap Opera Digest, Elliott noted that the show’s writers had been asking for a pool set for years but it wasn’t until executive producer Frank Valentini just up and said, “We’re doing the pool!” that work was able to begin.

“We have one other set that uses a water tank, the pier,” Elliott pointed out to Digest. “That is just deep enough to have people sort of get pulled out or fall in and do a little flailing about. Frank wanted to really make this as close to a functioning pool as possible and that created a lot of nuts-and-bolts practical challenges. Our studio is actually not on the ground floor, it’s on the second floor of our building, so when we do water tanks we need to focus on where it goes on our stage for structural reasons, and we also don’t want to build or design a set that’s so high off the ground that it becomes a problem for cameras. So there was, ‘Make the pool deep, don’t make the set too high, don’t make the walls too low so that cameras start shooting off the top of the set.’ I thought I had it all figured out until I showed the drawing to the shop and they said, ‘No, we can’t have it there, we need to drain the pool sometimes, there’s only one drain and it’s in the corner of the stage.’ There are also these crazy factors that come up, way beyond just the design.” 

For those wondering how long the pool set will be around for it looks like it’s just for the summer, which makes sense considering the season and what it means in the daytime drama world. 

“We take sets in and out all the time and this one is quite cumbersome,” says Elliott. “Frank was really good about saying, ‘We’re going to put this thing up and leave it up for the summer,’ which was really appealing to us. Leaving it up means it’s not getting thrown on a truck and put in a warehouse, which reduces the wear and tear. In the original model, the pool was slightly L-shaped; it was 278 feet wide, 3 feet deep, so that’s a lot of volume of water. But eventually, we will have to transport the pool when we put it away for winter, and we decided to just make it one long rectangle because we don’t want to put any pressure points on it when it’s being trucked or moved, and if it’s an odd shape, you can start to see leaks appearing.”

As for how the set will be fully utilized, Elliott told Entertainment Weekly, “We do a lot of scenes in the Metro Court Hotel restaurant. The pool is a great way to get our characters into a new place at the hotel while bringing something fresh for scenery, wardrobe, and story.”

With just three weeks of prep time, Elliott and Evashchen were able to piece together a 27-by-7-foot pool that is three feet deep and holds 4,000 gallons of water. “It is not saltwater, but it is filtered each day and heated when actors are in it,” says Evashchen to EW. “The blue coating on the inside of the pool gives it the color we are super-pleased with. We picked it with Frank, and the company that sprayed it on was able to match what we picked perfectly.”

If you’re wanting to purchase some of the accessories or aesthetics spotted with the pool set, Overstock.com might be the way to go. That’s where much of the furniture came from. As for those monogrammed towels, they were made by a company called Mark & Graham.

For a look at how Port Charles has been enjoying the pool so far, click on the photo below.

Troy Harvey/ABC