Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Days of our Lives
|Executive Producer||Ken Corday|
|Head Writer||James E. Reilly|
|Senior Cast Member||Frances Reid|
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Premiere Date||November 8, 1965|
|Runtime|| 60 minutes|
(30 minutes from 1965 to 1975)
|Alternate Titles|| Des Jours et des Vies (France)|
Päivien viemää (Finland)
Våra bästa år (Sweden)
Days of our Lives is a long-running American soap opera. It debuted on November 8, 1965, and can still be viewed weekdays on the NBC network and around the world. Originally, the show had the Hortons as its core family. The serial is set in the fictional village of Salem.
The first episode
The first episode revolved around teenager Julie Olson (first played by Charla Doherty ; since 1968 the role has been played by Susan Seaforth Hayes) stealing a mink stole from Bartlett's Department Store. She lied about her last name, telling the store detective that her name was Julie Horton. As a result, her grandfather, Dr. Tom Horton (Macdonald Carey) and his son (Julie's uncle) Mickey (then John Clarke) were called down to the police station to resolve the matter. At home, Dr. Tom's wife Alice (Frances Reid) was lamenting the reality of all her children leaving her; her daughter Marie (at that time played by Maree Cheatham ) was going to be married to Tony Merritt (Richard A. Colla ).
In the beginning, when the story did not revolve around either Tom or Alice, the love lives of their five children were put on display. Their daughter Addie (Patricia Huston , then Patricia Barry ), married to Ben Olson, had much trouble raising their rebellious daughter Julie as well as their son Steven. Tom Horton, Jr., presumed dead in Korea, came home with a disfigured face and a new identity. Unknowingly, his sister Marie fell in love with him. When they learned of each other's true identities, Marie was so ashamed that she went to live in a convent. Tom and Alice's other children, Bill and Mickey, fought over the affections of lovely Laura Spencer, played by Susan Flannery. The Bill/Laura/Mickey triangle lasted for nearly a decade and included insanity, rape, amnesia, and the introduction of crippled farm girl Maggie Simmons (Suzanne Rogers), who ended up marrying Mickey when he called himself "Marty Hansen". Mickey and Maggie would go on to become a Salem mainstay for three decades.
Since then, the show has moved from its roots in telling stories revolving around the Horton clan. The show extended to an hour in 1975, giving the show more time to develop new characters. At the time, the popular characters were Dr. Neil Curtis (Joseph Gallison), Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), and Don Craig (Jed Allan). Marlena was first romantically involved with Don, who she bore a son (D.J., who died of SIDS). After her marriage to Don ended, she became involved with Roman Brady (Wayne Northrop, then Drake Hogestyn), but not before a much-ballyhooed storyline that ended with Marlena's supposed "death" by the Salem Strangler. The fan outcry from this result was very loud, and it was written into the show that it was not Marlena who died, but her twin sister Samantha (who had been played by Deidre Hall's real-life twin Andrea for five years).
Days courted controversy when the first interracial romantic pairing was seen on daytime television. David Banning, son of Julie Olson, first fell in love with Valerie Grant, a black woman from a more middle-class part of Salem. The relationship was not to be, however, as there were many roadblocks. His former girlfriend Brooke Hamilton (Adrienne La Russa) tried to kill herself in an attempt to gain his sympathy and love. When that didn't work, an old fling, Trish Clayton (Patty Weaver ) announced that she was pregnant with his child. He married her for the baby's sake, Valerie left Salem to attend medical school, and the pairing of David and Valerie was over.
Another controversial moment occurred during a mid-70's flirtation with bisexuality. Julie befriended a married woman named Sharon Duval. Julie got to know the couple, and one day Sharon confessed that her husband was very attracted to Julie...and so was she. Due to fear of backlash from viewers, DAYS wrote Sharon as unstable (the couple eventually left town after Sharon attempted suicide twice, but not before she wrote Julie a heartfelt goodbye letter, and leaving her a treasured cameo).
In the 1970s, Julie reformed due to her marriage to the much older Doug Williams (Bill Hayes), a lounge singer. Doug was first introduced as Bill Horton's cellmate in prison, when he was convicted of manslaughter against Tommy Horton's wife Kitty. While in jail, Bill accidentally tipped off Doug to the fact that Susan Hunter (Denise Alexander) had come into a big inheritance as her husband was recently deceased (she had killed him, but was allowed to have the money as it was proven she was temporarily insane). After he was paroled, Doug came to town, intent on wooing Susan and getting his hands on some money. Susan would have no part of it, instead having him date her rival Julie instead. After some soul-searching, she realized that she could not pay off Doug to date Julie, but he told her that she couldn't back out. In time, however, Doug truly fell in love with her.
Doug and Julie had a rough time getting together, as Doug had once married her mother Addie (at first he was only using her for her money, but then they fell in love, even though he still loved Julie). Addie's bout with leukemia cemented his bond to her, and she bore him a child named Hope while she was in a coma, near death from cancer (Addie was over 40 during her pregnancy; women giving birth late in life was a plot element generally left undiscussed in the early 1970s. In the story, Addie had assumed that she had started menopause, but found out otherwise). Not long after, Addie died; she was hit by a truck as she pushed her young child's stroller to safety, but even then, Doug and Julie were not free to be a couple. Julie was trapped in a loveless marriage to Bob Anderson, and although she did not want to be wed to him, he gave her security. Eventually, Doug was fed up and went back to his ex-wife Kim (she had tricked him into coming back to her by saying their divorce was never final). En route, Doug was involved in a car accident and Julie rushed to his side. Julie was divorced quickly and the two were married within weeks (in tune with the viewers' collective clamor to have the characters finally wed).
In an example of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, her child from a previous marriage became of legal age by the time her character was supposed to be just 26 years old. She became a grandmother by the time she was in her mid-thirties. By the late 70's rumors began to spread that Susan could not stop feuding with any female costar who appeared as Bill Hayes' love interest.
For 20 years DAYS was supervised by Betty Corday (her husband Ted Corday created the show but died a few years after the premiere), with her son Ken taking an increasingly large role in production. The show's initial storylines were co-written by the Cordays and Irna Phillips but the first real success began in the late 60's when Bill Bell took over as headwriter. He created the Bill/Mickey/Laura triangle, a popular rivalry between Julie Olson and Susan Hunter, and was considered such an integral part of the program that when he left the series in the early 70's to create The Young and the Restless, NBC sued him to make him stay. Bell agreed to provide story outlines which would run up to 1975-1976. With Bell's absence, Pat Falken Smith became headwriter, focusing much of her attention on headstrong heroine Marlena. Falken Smith left in the late 70's over a contract dispute and turmoil gripped the cast and crew. At one point Susan Seaforth Hayes' mother was headwriter. The executive producer at the time began to phase out people he viewed as contributing to an atmosphere of "negativism". In 1979 and 1980, nearly a dozen characters were written out of the series, including longtime favorites Bill and Laura Horton. In the story, Laura had become mentally unstable as the result of over a decade of secrets and fears. While taking care of Julie, who had her face badly burned after opening a malfunctioning oven on Maggie's farm, Laura became hysterical after seeing her face, and encouraged a devastated Julie to divorce Doug and leave town for Mexico. Later, her mind slipped further when she accused Marlena of stealing patients' files, berated Mike into giving money back that he had owed, and finally (and arguably the last straw) putting her small daughter, Jennifer Rose, on a bus alone. Later, she would see visions of her dead mother, Carrie (herself a victim of dementia), who convinced her to end her life. She overdosed on pills and tried (but failed) to hang herself with a bathrobe sash. Bill found her in time and had her committed to Lakewood Sanitarium in 1979. The next year, he went to work there so he could keep an eye on her. Young Jennifer Rose was to be raised by his parents.
To the surprise of the show, fans were not impressed by the characters who took their place. Nearly one million viewers defected between 1980 and 1981, and of the nine characters introduced in that year, only chanteuse Liz Chandler (Gloria Loring) gained a following, while her brother Tod, also introduced during this time, was seen less often. Falken Smith was again hired as headwriter and her Salem Stalker storyline, along with the intense focus on Marlena and Roman, propelled the show to a revival. Falken Smith left again in the early 80's due to another contract dispute. Perhaps the only low point in her era was a storyline where Doug's long-lost wife Lee (Brenda Benet ) agonized over her child's extended hospitalization and illness. Falken Smith did not realize Benet's own child had recently died. Benet performed the scenes without complaint, but one day in 1982 she committed suicide. DAYS dedicated Lee's remaining episodes in memory of Benet, and said Lee left town.
In the 1980s, the show became most famous for its supercouples, the most popular being (but not limited to) Bo and Hope Brady (Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso), Patch and Kayla Johnson (Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans), and Shane and Kimberly Donovan (Charles Shaughnessy and Patsy Pease). So much focus was put on the young faces that the Hayes' quit the show in disgust in 1984, although they have returned several times since then. As the show moved into the 1990s, the pairing of John and Marlena Black (Drake Hogestyn and Deidre Hall) proved to be very popular. During the 80's, Hogestyn played Roman Brady. When Wayne Northrop returned in 1991, the show placated confused viewers by revealing Stefano had kidnapped the real Roman and had brainwashed a man named John Black (Hogestyn) into believing he was Roman. But the show was reluctant to re-team Hall and Northrop in a romantic fashion, due to her popularity with Hogestyn, and they made Roman into the third wheel before firing Northrop in 1994 and sending Roman off the canvas. In 1997 the character was killed off and quickly revived by actor Josh Taylor, causing considerable irritation among longtime viewers who remembered Taylor's 1977-1987 run as popular character Chris Kositcheck.
In the 1990s, storylines drifted away from the traditional due to new stories from head writer James E. Reilly. One of his first acts was to have one of the show's heroines, Dr. Carly Manning (Crystal Chappell) be buried alive by evil Vivian Alamain (Louise Sorel). DAYS caused controversy in 1993 around this time as they fired 3 of their most popular actors, Chappell, Michael Sabatino (Lawrence Alamain, Carly's love interest) and Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux; Ashford would return in 2001). Some of his other storylines included having another one of the show's heroines, Marlena, possessed by the devil, which although controversial, garnered the show a ratings increase, and a new generation of soap viewers. In a bizarre turn of events, good girl turned evil Kristen Blake (Eileen Davidson) ended up playing four other roles in addition to the one she was originally hired for. Reilly depended upon constant flashback sequences, repetition of story details, and static story progression for years at a time, but most of the stories had a major payoff as he prepared to exit in 1997.
In the 2000s, Greta von Amburg (Julianne Morris) learned of her mother's death, which meant she would be crowned princess of her country. In a bizarre turn of events, she and her love interest, Austin Reed (Austin Peck), were transported into a "virtual Garden of Eden". The story was panned by soap columnists and viewers alike as too "out there", even for a show like Days. Other unpopular storylines at the time included Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo) brainwashing Hope and John into regressing into former personalities (the personalities even had Swedish accents for one episode before the show nixed the idea). They had sex on a submarine at this time, which many fans decried as being a form of rape, since neither Hope nor John were in their right mind at the time. NBC and DAYS began a much-publicized campaign asking fans to decide who should be the father of Hope's child - John or Stefano. John won, but many fans wanted Bo, Hope's husband, to be the father, and after a change in headwriter, the show rewrote history to reveal that Bo was the father after all.
The show continued on with plotlines involving space aliens Cassie (Alexis Thorpe) and Rex (Eric Winter) in tin foil underwear who weren't really space aliens in 2002, and other such ideas. Reilly returned in 2003, and his major storyline of the 2003-2004 season was the Salem Serial Killer, which claimed 9 victims and was revealed to be Marlena. However, the victims have been revealed as alive and are all trapped on an island replica of Salem, named, appropriate enough, Melaswen (New Salem spelled backwards). The show had climbed upward in the ratings and demographics during 2003, but as the island adventure dragged on and Marlena was only sporadically seen, the ratings fell.
The serial was satirized on the sitcom Friends when one of the principals, Joey Tribbiani (played by Matt LeBlanc) got a job as Dr. Drake Ramoray on the show. All storylines shown on Friends (with guest shots by Days of our Lives stars) were fictional and did not represent what was really going on in the soap opera itself. Joey's fictional stint on the show ended when he angered the writers, and his character was killed by being thrown down an elevator shaft. Later, his character was brought back to life, in a further spoof on the show (no less than thirty-six characters have been "brought back" from the dead on Days). In the new sitcom Joey, Joey was nominated for "best death scene", in which he was stabbed while performing surgery.
Days of our Lives has one of the most iconic opening sequences in television history. Almost completely unchanged since the show's debut in 1965, the titles show an hourglass, as time slowly trickles to the bottom. In 1966, the focus moved from the entire hourglass to the bottom, with the time trickling away as the theme played. In 1972, the current title lettering was introduced (before then, the show's title was in generic caps).
In 1993, a computerized version of the visual was made, with completely redone sound effects and music. In this version, the hourglass starts focus at the bottom-half, overlooking the dawn. As the sun rises, the focus is zoomed out, and the audience sees the entire hourglass.
Current Cast Members
- Kristian Alfonso (Hope Williams Brady)
- Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux)
- Steve Blackwood (Bart Biderbeck)
- Kyle Brandt (Philip Kiriakis)
- Jason Cook (Shawn Douglas Brady)
- Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Roberts)
- Judi Evans Luciano (Bonnie Lockhart Horton)
- Farah Fath (Mimi Lockhart)
- Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans)
- Drake Hogestyn (John Black)
- Brody Hutzler (Patrick Lockhart)
- John Ingle (Mickey Horton)
- Renee Jones (Dr. Lexie Carver)
- Lauren Koslow (Kate Roberts Brady)
- Kyle Lowder (Brady Black)
- Martha Anne Madison (Belle Black Kiriakis)
- Rhasaan Orange (Tek Kramer)
- Thaao Penghlis (Tony DiMera)
- Julie Pinson (Billie Reed)
- Peter Reckell (Bo Brady)
- Melissa Reeves (Jennifer Horton Deveraux)
- Frances Reid (Alice Horton) Original Cast Member
- James Reynolds (Abe Carver)
- Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton)
- Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady)
- Josh Taylor (Roman Brady)
- Arianne Zuker (Nicole Walker)
Recurring Cast Members
- John Aniston (Victor Kiriakis)
- Ashley Benson (Abby Deveraux)
- Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane) Special Guest Star
- Daphne Bloomer (Eugenia Willens)
- Tanya Boyd (Celeste Perrault)
- Christopher Gerse (Will Roberts)
- Garrett, Spencer & Mitchell Gray (Zack Brady) Special Guest Star
- Bill Hayes (Doug Williams)
- Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Olson Williams)
- Chase & Tyler Johnson (Theo Carver) Special Guest Star
- Peggy McCay (Caroline Brady)
- Frank Parker (Shawn Brady)
- Alexis Thorpe (Cassie Brady) Special Guest Star
Coming and Going Cast Members
- Mandy Musgrave (Chelsea) (until summer 2005)
- Austin Peck (Austin Reed) (returns in June 2005)
- Billy Warlock (Frankie Brady) (returns in June 2005)
- Eric Winter (Rex Brady) (until spring 2005)
† Cast Members
- Brenda Benet (Lee DuMonde Williams), 1982
- Richard Biggs (Dr. Marcus Hunter), 2004
- Macdonald Carey (Dr. Tom Horton) Original Cast Member, 1994
Officially Sanctioned Websites
Cast and Crew Guides
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