By Mark Edward Wilows
Picture it. The year was 1965. President Johnson was in office. The Beatles were all over the music charts. The Huntley-Brinkley report and the first televised football game are broadcast in color. And Julie Andrews first TV special airs on NBC.
Then, on November 6th out of TV sets blared the words "Like Sands Through The Hourglass, So are The Days of our Lives," and now, over four decades later and celebrating its 12,000 episode this past January 11th , those words are immortalized.
Times have changed. Technology has changed, and keeping up with it all the show has blended right in with the fabric of America, making it one of the most watched daytime TV shows. Several years ago the show had a teen hangout called "DotCom."
Days of our Lives has maintained a loyal following and some viewers would call it their "second family."
"Oh without a doubt. I laughed, I cried, I went to weddings and funerals," said Mabel DeVries, (a 40 year viewer in Illinois) "I feel like I raised the Horton kids and grandkids, and guess what? I baked Alice's (Frances Reid) donuts."
Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures said, "We appreciate the support over the years and, as the show celebrates this significant milestone, we are thrilled that the show will continue to be part of the NBC family." (Incidentally Days was picked up into 2014).
Ken Corday, executive producer, said "After so many years in the homes and hearts of our loyal fans, I'm both humbled and elated to say it's 2013 and we're still going strong," he said. "I'm equally proud that the sense of family which my mom and dad established in our show 48 years ago, is still what drives it today. (Betty and Ted Corday created Days). As we celebrate our 12,000th episode with an amazing cast and great support from our network (NBC), we look forward to what's yet to come!"
Days of our Lives is known for its romantic storylines, and in the world of soaps where couples come and go, somehow the show manages to keep some couples together. One in particular is Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Doug and Julie).
In fact, they fell in love on the show, got married, and in real life took the storyline with them and tied the knot and remained happily married for decades. They were and are so popular that in 1976,Time Magazine put them on the cover.
"Fans with a long Days experience still respond to Doug and Julie's love story," said Susan Seaforth Hayes. "It's those precious flashes of real emotions that make our characters' lives a magnet for the audience that believes true love exists, and--dare I say it--lasts a lifetime."
Deidre Hall (Marlena), a veteran of the show and a household name, is so popular with viewers that in the 1980's when the storyline involving the Salem strangler struck leaving viewers to believe he killed Marlena (it was her twin) the country protested and it made local news.
"The loveliest part of playing such an amazing character is meeting women who are quite like her, sensitive, educated, spirited, friend and family orientated," Hall said. "I have met many of these amazing women in my travels, and even have the great pleasure of being social friends with a few."
Galen Gering (Rafe) a relative newcomer to the Days cast, but a soap veteran (Passions, Luis) said "As an actor, it is always great to have a job, but to have been hired by Days and to be part of the NBC family is an honor."
The show has intertwined their lives for viewers with everything from storylines dealing with incest, death, marriages, divorces, and a character even being possessed by the devil, but it always leaves the viewer coming back for more, and making conversation in the local coffee shop.
Bill Hayes elaborates, "It's all heart and soul! Doug and Julie met in 1970. Since then, we've spent thousands of hours in homes across America and other countries, too. Like a great sprawling family we all are linked forever--actors and viewers--our souls united in a unique mystical way," He said. "When Doug and Julie exchange a kiss of love, somewhere out there hearts beat faster right along with us. Heart and soul! What's more important to life than that?"
David Aldridge of Denver, Co., said that he has been glued since the 1970's and not ashamed to admit it. "I'm not! I'd shout it from the mountain top. It's like I'm out of the closet. Guys love this show as much," he said. "I am a professional and I have arranged my schedule for my day around Days. Honestly...somehow I believe this show made me a better husband, father, and even better able to cope with the death of my dad. It was like Mrs. Horton was guiding me."
Melissa Reeves (Jennifer) grew up as a Horton grandchild before millions of viewers, and from a little girl has blossomed into a stunning woman. "It was like growing up with a real family. I consider Days my second family. I couldn't have imagined a better way to spend half my life," she explains. "I have watched so many wonderful people here get married, have children, walk through triumphs and tragedies. We're like a real family, so I do feel very blessed to have been a Horton all these years."
Young viewers like 17 year-old Shawn Davis of Indiana loves the show with all his heart. "I cry at those love scenes. I love the stories. Even Will (Chandler Massey and Sonny (Freddie Smith). They may be gay, and I'm not, but still to see two people care about each other like they do is remarkable. I also love the young beautiful girls that I can relate to, and the problems they have are very close to mine."
Casey Deidrick (Chad) is one of the young people on the show. "I have so much to be thankful for. Days has changed my life in many ways, starting with being able to work with some of the most talented people in the soapdom. I got to travel to places I have never been to, and meet so many amazing people along the way. I've grown up quite a bit since I first started the show, and I will never forget this chapter in my life."
So as the hourglass continues to run, and time marches on, Days of our Lives will always go down in history as having touched someone's' life in one way or another, and with each new episode, continues to take us through the days of our lives.
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