“Coleman just kind of slides in and out, like a harmonica in music. He weaves in and out when you least expect it,” admits Blake Gibbons, who was initially brought on for a six-week run as the shady strip club owner in 2002.
Three years later, the questionably-coifed, husky-voiced, go-to-guy has become a fan favorite and the calls from GENERAL HOSPITAL keep coming. “I never know. Sometimes when I get done, that could literally be it,” marvels the actor. “I never know unless they call. It’s kind of been an unexpected blessing that way. To be honest, to start out where I did and still be around the way I am is pretty unusual.”
Longtime viewers can attest that starting out in the red light district often means there’s nowhere to go but up. First the Oasis, now Jake’s, could a penthouse and loyal henchmen be next?
But Gibbons doesn’t begrudge his alter-ego his position behind the bar. “The dirt comes out on the other side of the tracks over at Jake’s,” he laughs. “Any time anybody new comes on or you need some story told, that’s where it’s done.”
And of Coleman’s story, he admits that while “it would be cool to be there two or three times a week because then you get to develop your character more,” his character’s life is “an open book” and “I feel that I’m really lucky that way.”
He points out, “There’s no ties to anybody in town. It adds a little mystery, a little ambiguity.”
And like any mysterious and ambiguous bartender, Coleman is always happy to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on to his patrons. And, sometimes, other parts of his body as well. “He’s a man about town!” One who will do just about anything for money — “and love! Don’t forget love!”
“The future is always up for grabs in Sin City,” he muses. “There’s definitely some interest there in Tracy — it’s a nice allure, being with an older woman. And then to get back together with Skye has been kind of cool. It’s been a long time since our shotgun escapade,” he observes, alluding to the characters’ explosive encounter at Skye’s lake house in December of 2002. And of the short-lived pairing’s other memorable dalliance, he chuckles, “There’s no reunion on the pool table. We might shoot a little pool but that’s all we’re doing on that particular pool table.” For now…
Of course, there’s one woman who isn’t up for grabs: Courtney. “She’s the one I started with,” says Gibbons of Alicia Leigh Willis. “A lot of water under the bridge,” he sighs. “I think Coleman looks at her a little bit differently than the other ladies.” And, no that’s not just because of their “elevator reunion” after Courtney’s wedding to Jax. Regardless of how many times he sees Courtney in silk and lace, Gibbons maintains that Coleman’s feelings for his ex-employee are strictly “sisterly” and “protective.”
“She was trying to protect her husband, who wouldn’t step up to the plate,” he says referring to Courtney stripping at the Oasis to keep AJ out of jail after he drunkenly plowed his car into the club. “She’s like a bird. You want to hold her and make sure she’s okay. I think Coleman would more stand up for her than try to be anything other than gentlemanly and kind.”
“Gentlemanly” certainly wouldn’t describe the legendary Luke Spencer’s feelings toward Coleman at the moment. “I thought it would always be cool to have those two guys in a room together,” he murmurs. But the odds of time in that room being civil are slim. “[Luke] has got his feathers ruffled a little bit,” laughs Gibbons. Thanks to Coleman’s entanglement with both of Luke’s current ladies, “there’s a lot of high school antics.”
“He’s a funny dude,” says Gibbons of Anthony Geary (Luke). “Obviously, I knew Tony Geary was from the Luke and Laura days but I never knew who was who until I actually got on the show and started getting into it and watching it. He’s a great cat about town,” he raves.
“It’s a great group of people to work with,” he continues. “There’s really wonderful actors. It’s cool to hook up with new people as well as old — which is what this last go round was about.”
And if Coleman had his choice, who would he hook up with: Tracy or Skye? “You know what I always thought would be interesting, is to be with Bobbie,” enthuses the actor, surprising even himself. “I never thought of that but she’s the first one that kind of popped into mind.”
“Bobbie’s kind of a sweetheart. She is a sweetheart. I think that would be an interesting pairing. She seems kind of…not quite as judgmental.” And, indeed, the character wouldn’t be — not with a brother like Luke.
“I didn’t even know that! Oh, Man!” exclaims Gibbons, mournfully—no doubt anticipating more ruffled feathers. “That’d be bad news!”
But it would be good news for fans, who always seem to be clamoring for just a little more love and blackmail from Coleman.
And Gibbons is always happy to oblige. “I love coming back. It takes a little bit to get back in the groove,” he confides. But don’t worry — “I’m fine when I slip my gold chain and watch on.”