The last time Rick Springfield walked the halls of General Hospital, Ronald Reagan was President, Arnold Schwarzenegger was Conan the Barbarian, and you were wondering if painter pants made you look fat.

With a nod to its past, and without apparent regard to how the move might make certain viewers feel really, really old, ABC has announced the return of the former Tiger Beat staple to its top-rated daytime soap. As he did during his original 1981-83 stint, Springfield will play Dr. Noah Drake.

"I guess there was a reason why they didn't kill Noah off in the '80s," Springfield, now 56, said in a statement. "This should be fun."

Springfield is scheduled to make at least four appearances, beginning Dec. 2, ABC said.

According to the network, the good Dr. Drake will return to help the good Dr. Robin (played Kimberly McCullough, another recent blast-from-the-past General Hospital rehire) diagnosis bad-boy Jason Morgan (Steve Burton).

There was no word if the good Dr. Drake was to reunite with drama-queen nurse Bobbie (the still-around Jacklyn Zeman), whom he romanced in the 1980s even though Bobbie once pretended to be blind in order to keep Dr. Drake as her own personal love slave.

While Dr. Drake might not have contributed to nurse Bobbie's mental health back in the day, the character worked wonders for Springfield's music career.

Within five months of joining General Hospital in 1981, Springfield, an Aussie-born rocker who'd had some chart success in the 1970s, ruled radio and MTV with the Grammy-winning hit, "Jessie's Girl." In his early 30s, he was a teen idol.

"Probably General Hospital had more to do with me getting known physically than MTV did," Springfield once told PopMatters.com.

Springfield probably was right. In 1981, MTV was a fledging cable experiment; General Hospital was, per a Newsweek cover story, "TV's hottest show," owing to the phenomenon that was Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis).

Springfield's General Hospital stay lasted about two years. In 1983, Dr. Drake departed for Atlanta; Springfield left to pursue hit records and hit movies. Chart-wise, Springfield never equaled "Jessie's Girl"; box-office-wise, few equaled the dud that was Hard to Hold.

Dr. Drake, however, was forever.

"Thirty, 40 times a day I must get questions when I'm on the road about General Hospital or Noah Drake. It's constant," Springfield once told Soap Opera Weekly. "It amazes me that it's still so prevalent in the fans' minds."

Springfield's most recent album, a collection of cover tunes, was released in July. Its title: The Day After Yesterday.

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