It's been over 30 years since Kin Shriner and Robin Mattson first teamed for crime and romance on General Hospital and now they've been reunited on the ABC soap in the most unexpected way: It's been revealed that their characters — district attorney Scott Baldwin and nutcase villain Heather Webber — are the parents of serial killer Franco (Roger Howarth)! TV Guide Magazine took the longtime pals to lunch at one of their favorite Beverly Hills restaurants, La Scala, once the hangout of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, just as Heather's current reign of terror has come to an end. Will she be back? Can the Heather-Scott spark be reignited? And then there's the question we're dying to ask: Did Shriner and Mattson ever get it on in real life?
TV Guide Magazine: Were you as shocked as we were by the freaky Franco twist?
Robin Mattson: When I found out Heather and Scotty had a baby my first thought was, "How the hell did that happen?" But [head writer] Ron Carlivati brilliantly found a window of time in GH history when it was possible.
Kin Shriner: And if you're gonna give Franco some parents, why bring in two new people? Robin and I have a flare for comedy. So does Roger. It makes sense.
Mattson: [Laughs] Yeah, we're one big, funny family — even if Franco did stab Heather in the stomach and bury her alive! Now it's a love-hate thing. She hates her son but it's for his own good. [She notices Shriner has pulled out his cell phone]. Kin, what are you doing?
Shriner: Shall we take a picture?
Shriner: It's for tweeting. Don't you ever tweet?
Mattson: Certainly not in a nice restaurant when we're about to have a meal!
Shriner: Well, I'm not going to tweet it right now. It's for maybe later. I'm stockpiling! It's just a PT. Possible Tweet.
Mattson: [Cold silence]
Shriner: Okay, okay! [He puts away the cell phone] Now where were we?
TV Guide Magazine: We were discussing Carlivati's brilliance.
Mattson: Yes! He created a scenario where years and years ago Heather was out and about one night and went into Kelly's Diner, which was always her favorite place to hide the pain and grab a BLT. And, lo and behold, there's Scotty, crying in his drink! And he says, "C'mon, Heather, it's you and me. Let's go upstairs. Let's do this! " And then they both pretended like that little one-night stand didn't happen.
Shriner: But a baby was born out of those hijinks! This happened in a period way before Scotty and Heather had their huge fling later in the '80s when they were hot and heavy and took over the waterfront. They were involved in all sorts of shenanigans back then, none of which I can remember now. But this Franco thing is great, and it does make sense, historically.
TV Guide Magazine: How do we know that Heather and Scott are for sure Franco's parents? After all, it was Heather who dropped the bombshell. Aren't we just taking her word for it?
Shriner: Wasn't there some DNA test done?
Mattson: Heather did happen to have some paperwork... conveniently.
Shriner: Even if they do open up that can of peas — are they really related? — these three characters have still forged a relationship that's strong. Scott's got two dead kids, Logan and Karen, and who knows where Serena is? I think he's realized that he needs to seize the moment with Franco and try to step up in some sort of parenting way.
TV Guide Magazine: So, Robin, who's crazier? Heather Webber or your character from All My Children, Janet from Another Planet?
Shriner: [Whispering into his menu] Or Robin?
Mattson: I may be crazy but I'm not deaf!
Shriner: Jeez....sorry. [He shrinks down into his seat and peruses the menu]
Mattson: And don't forget Gina from Santa Barbara. She was pretty out-there, too. Gee, I don't know who's crazier. That's a tough one. It's a close call.
TV Guide Magazine: You're so good at playing whackjobs it's hard to believe you kicked off your soap career as sweet, innocent heroine Hope Bauer on Guiding Light.
Mattson: That was my image back then! I had just come from playing wholesome, virginal Hope — Hope springs eternal! — when I went to meet with Gloria Monty about playing Heather. I thought, "There's no way they're going to cast me as this crazy bitch!" I knew I had it in me but I never thought they'd go against type. [Laughs] And, boy, did they!
TV Guide Magazine: Why are you so good at playing bad?
Mattson: I guess I just have access to those deepest, darkest thoughts, those strange impulses that a lot of people can relate to but never have the nerve to act on.
Shriner: Plus she looks good in orange!
TV Guide Magazine: You also give Heather an old Hollywood spin. Don't you throw in a little...
Mattson: Bette Davis? [Laughs]
Shriner: "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte!"
TV Guide Magazine: Heather must finally pay for her crimes this time, right? Hasn't she gone over the line, even for a fun villain?
Mattson: This time it does look pretty bad. But she's not incarcerated yet. Anna Devane [Finola Hughes] brings Heather in and interrogates her — and takes her down with a BLT!
TV Guide Magazine: Well, there's karmic justice!
Mattson: But you know what? Scott's the D.A. now! He could help Heather with her legal problems. Remember when she was accused of murdering Diana Taylor? Scott got her off then. He can do it again!
TV Guide Magazine: But isn't she as much of a danger to him as to everyone else?
Mattson: Yeah, but Heather has dirt on Scott! Ron Carlivati always finds a way. It's, hopefully, far from over. My return to GH was initially only supposed to be a couple of episodes. Ron continues to reinvent Heather and she continues to survive no matter how many times they throw her off a building or bury her alive. Maybe she can be redeemed if there's a way of controlling the monster within.
Shriner: It would be great if Heather went away for a minute and came back reformed and rehabilitated as a hot, sexy woman who's more grounded in reality. It would be great to turn her into a viable love interest. I can certainly see that love reigniting between Scott and Heather. [Laughs] With the right meds.
Mattson: Maybe Heather has a brain tumor! Like mother, like son? Is that hereditary? It would be great if she and Scotty could rekindle what they once had. It was extremely passionate.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you two ever have a thing in real life? Because that was the buzz.
Mattson: [Looking horrified] No!
Shriner: Hey, that's not the way I remember it. I seem to recall...
Mattson: I think Kin's imagination is running wild.
Shriner: The true story is that I had a big crush on Robin when I saw her in Return to Macon County, you know that movie with Nick Nolte and Don Johnson? This was long before we met on GH. I thought, "Wow, this is a great girl!" I really flipped for her. Then one day I saw her shopping in a department store and I sort of, well, watched her. She was so wild and crazy.
Mattson: What do you mean wild and crazy? I was just trying on clothes. That's the way I shop!
Shriner: She was very spirited! I just had to keep watching her from afar.
TV Guide Magazine: So, basically, you were stalking her.
Shriner: Nooooo! I was merely observing. This was 35 years ago. They hadn't invented stalking yet.
TV Guide Magazine: What happened when you two met officially?
Shriner: That was about a year later. I came back to GH after doing Texas on the east coast and Robin had just started on the show. At first she didn't care for me. She didn't understand my appeal. She kept saying, "I don't get him."
Matson: It's true. I didn't get him.
Shriner: That happens to me a lot. That's why I'll never be on Days of Our Lives. My manager keeps telling me, "Ken Corday just doesn't get you."
Mattson: It's just that the buildup was so huge. Everyone kept telling me, "Oh, Kin Shriner is coming back to the show! He's so fun! He's so quirky! He's so in the moment!" It took a year for them to make us a team but once we started working together we got a little chemistry going. Then I realized what everyone was raving about.
Shriner: That's when the fun started. That was the golden age of GH.
TV Guide Magazine: Don't you miss those great old days?
Mattson: It was the best! Things have certainly calmed down since then, haven't they, Kin? They were always sending us out on the road to do public appearances, flying us here, there and everywhere, and always first class. We really helped the network sell the show back then and we got to see the country in the process. We'd go do a country fair in Billings, Montana, and I'd be up at 5 a.m. to go out fishing and eat fresh trout right from the stream.
Shriner: And while she was doing that, I was just getting in from the night before. I'd go out carousing all evening and then have to get it together because I was booked on one of the local talk shows, like, Good Morning, Montana! Those were the days. We were young. We could get away with it. Well, not always. We were asked to leave a few establishments.
Mattson: Remember that prestidigitator I became friendly with in Chicago?
Shriner: It's all a blur.
Mattson: Only for Kin. I remember it all quite clearly.
Shriner: We used to get recognized all the time. Now I get mistaken for Bruce Willis. I don't know why. Personally, I don't see it. It must be my Die Hard hairline.
Mattson: A while back this girl came up to me and asked for my autograph. I happily gave it to her and she looked so disappointed. Finally she says: "I thought you were Madonna." What can you do but say you're sorry?
TV Guide Magazine: So after all of that pampering in the old days, how are you dealing with the realities of the new soap world — the budget cuts, the lowered salaries, the breakneck shooting schedules?
Mattson: It's very different and so demanding. It's hard to keep up with it sometimes, especially when you're given pages and pages of dialogue from three, four, maybe five episodes at once and it must all be shot in a day. It's trial by fire but I love it. I was very grateful that Ron and [executive producer] Frank Valentini brought me back to the show.
Shriner: All us oldtimers are grateful! Robin, me, Jackie Zeman [Bobbie], Lynn Herring [Lucy]. We're like orphans in Oliver. "More! More! Please, sir, we want some more!" We're always on the phone talking about how happy we are.
TV Guide Magazine: Are you still calling people at the crack of dawn just to blab?
Mattson: Kin looooves to talk on the phone!
Shriner: I don't know why, but it always seems like I have 40 minutes to kill. I can always call Lynn because she's up at 4 a.m. with the chickens on that ranch of hers. But Jane Elliot [Tracy] got mad at me because I called her at 7 a.m. She sleeps in like a school girl.
TV Guide Magazine: So, before we wrap up, you never did definitively answer the question. Were you guys ever romantic?
Mattson: Kin and I were never what I'd call involved even though we were very close and had a lot of fun and there was a lot of speculation about us in the early '80s. People just assumed.
Shriner: We vacationed in Europe together. Germany. France. Remember when we went to Mexico?
Mattson: Remember that time you gave me a ride on your motorcycle and the photo wound up in the National Enquirer and they said we were boyfriend and girlfriend? I did spend a lot of time at Kin's house.
TV Guide Magazine: And...?
Mattson: Our relationship was pretty platonic...most of the time.