The last time General Hospital fans saw the likes of Sonny Corinthos’ wayward dad, he was checking into rehab after losing his job as manager of Kelly’s Diner and getting roughed up over gambling debts in a Port Charles alley. It was early 2011, and the part of Mike Corbin was played by Ron Hale. Last week, beloved character actor Max Gail, of Barney Miller and Whiz Kids fame, made his General Hospital debut in the recast role.
Highlights of the Sonny-and-his-father storyline
By the time the character of Mike Corbin appeared on General Hospital in 1995, Sonny Corinthos was a Port Charles mobster who deeply resented the father who abandoned him and his mother, Adela, in Bensonhurst many years before. Sonny, played by Maurice Benard, held his gambling-addicted father responsible for his mom’s subsequent marriage to the abusive police officer who eventually killed her.
Before GH character Mike Corbin was revealed to be Sonny’s long lost father, he was hired by Luke Spencer to work at his nightclub. Mike eventually landed a job at Kelly’s Diner, where he worked the counter until Russian mobsters set the place on fire. After the popular Port Charles diner reopened in 2008, a mysterious drifter named Dominic Pirelli rented a room upstairs. Of course, nothing in soap operas is simple, and in time, it was revealed that Pirelli was in actuality Mike Corbin’s long lost grandson, Dante Falconeri.
The character of Courtney Mathews had a different mother, but was also abandoned as a child by problem gambler, Mike Corbin. As the storyline progressed, Courtney was more forgiving to their mutual father than was the handsome mobster, Sonny Corinthos.
In 2010, a clueless Ethan invited Mike to a poker game at a Port Charles casino, and things went downhill from there. Tracy Quartermaine-Spencer threw Sonny’s father out of her gaming establishment, and he lost his job at Kelly’s Diner. Shortly thereafter, the heavily indebted gambler was badly beaten and left for dead in an alleyway in Port Charles, according to ABC Soaps in Depth.
Mike’s gambling issues are a recurring theme in the father-son dynamic that permeates the GH storyline. In 2011, Sonny Corinthos paid off his father’s gambling debts before checking him into rehab. The character of Mike Corbin was occasionally mentioned, but not seen again until Max Gail made his General Hospital debut in February, 2018.
The actor formerly known as Wojo
Classic sitcom fans are sure to recognize Max Gail as one of the personable police detectives on the long running ABC series, Barney Miller. As the title character, veteran actor Hal Linden led an ensemble cast that included Abe Vigoda as Detective Phillip K. Fish, Ron Glass as Detective Ron Nathan Harris, Jack Soo as Sgt. Nick Yemana, and Max Gail as Detective Stanley Thaddeus “Wojo” Wojciehowicz.
Set in a Greenwich Village police station, Barney Miller aired from January 23, 1975 to May 20, 1982. In Season 3, Episode 11, Wojo’s girlfriend delivers hashish brownies to the precinct and much hilarity ensues. Following is the Barney Miller hashish brownie episode in its entirety.