Days of our Lives 40th Anniversary

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It’s 1965 Again with Days Celebrating 40 Years on the Air


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by Lori K. Wilson

You've seen NBC's coverage, and Days official site coverage, now let Soapdom take you inside the bubble...

Ryan’s Hope, Santa Barbara, Loving, and Port Charles.  What do these soap operas have in common?  All four shows have come and gone during the forty years Days of our Lives has flourished into one of the most popular daytime dramas.  Why has DAYS remained such a phenomenon while others have become only a memory?  Could it be all the love, family and adventure? Whatever the key ingredient, fans, and even the actors, have remained loyal to the show they’ve called home for the last four decades. 

To commemorate this milestone and honor the 40th anniversary of the popular show, the Palladium on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood was transformed into a 1965 airport.  On Friday, November 11, 2005, sixties style cars, flight attendants and pilots were on hand to welcome the stars, past and present, for a night of what Steve Blackwood (Bart) previewed would include “Lots of drinks, lots of eating and hopefully dancing.”  

As the stars walked the red carpet, they had two stops to make before getting to the press.  First, each actor signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans.  Next, they chatted with Jerry Penacoli from Extra who was the host of the red carpet extravaganza.   Finally, they reached the press line where they were blinded by flash bulbs and pelted with questions.

Of course not all of the actors wanted to be interrogated.  For instance, Kyle Lowder (ex Brady) didn’t want to walk the press line because “I’m not on the show anymore.”  Lauren Koslow (Kate) also forwent talking with the press and headed straight for the party.  Then there were the DAYS stars from the past who only posed for photos. However, it was a treat if only just to see Wally Kurth (ex-Justin), Mary Beth Evans (ex-Kayla) and Stephen Nichols (ex-Patch) show up to celebrate with their former castmates.

While there wasn’t time to talk with each actor that came through, several of them stopped by to discuss their experiences on the hit show. So why exactly has DAYS enjoyed such longevity?  Peggy McCay (Caroline) had some ideas on this subject.  “I think it’s astonishing that the show has run so long and maintained the fans and is fresh.  It changes all the time, very adventuresome.” 

What highlights have stuck out in Peggy’s mind?  “I died this year and was resurrected!  I think I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of television shows, but that has never happened to me.”  Another favorite through line for her has been “when the story started with Victor coming back for me out of nowhere.  And then fifteen years later we’re on an island together. So it’s sort of a romance never fulfilled, but that’s more interesting in a way.”

As for her son on the show, Peter Reckell (Bo) weighed in on what he thinks the key to the soap’s success has been. “I think the good thing about DAYS is we don’t change.” He went on to add, “Obviously the storylines have gotten a little more adventurous…but we still base our story around romance and family and that’s why the fans are so passionate.”

Does Reckell have a favorite moment over the years?  “When I first came back to the show this time about ten years ago, I had an amazing storyline with a couple of amazing actresses.  One of those traditional triangles.  I had a great time.” 

Unfortunately, Reckell wasn’t as forthcoming when it came to discussing his character’s future.  However he did let us know this, “We have some amazing story coming up.  The owner of the show, Ken Corday actually called [me and Kristian] in to tell us of this crazy story that’s going to happen in January.”  Any details?  “Nope.  He swore us to secrecy.” 

Speaking of Kristian Alfonso (Hope), she has her own ideas about why the show is so popular.  “Overall, I think the show just continues to grow and move with the times.  I think that’s what keeps the viewers, [as well as] what made the show, and that’s family.”

Does she have a favorite storyline from her past 15 years?  “I have to say there isn’t one moment.  There’s been so many great moments, so many great storylines.”  However, there is one story that presented a huge challenge to her.  “I think one that really sticks out in my mind of course is…the Princess Gina storyline, an unbelievable storyline.”  What made it so memorable?  “I was scared to death! It required so much.  There were so many lines.  There were things one character didn’t know, but the other character knew.”  Kristian continued to gush about her favorite times on DAYS.  “I also love the love story.  There were so many love stories.  The Princess storyline. I got to ice skate on the show.  I loved the island.  There’s so many.”

With so much great material for Alfonso, could there possibly be anything left to play?  “You know what, when I think they’ve done it all they always come up with something incredible and I’ve never been let down.  So I leave it in the hands of the writers.”

As for another staple in Salem, Josh Taylor (Roman) has been on DAYS on and off for 17 years.  That’s a lot of screen time and can be difficult to recall years later.  “You know sometimes I see things in magazines and I almost had forgotten about that storyline.”  Even though he may not remember everything he’s done during his time on DAYS, he is grateful for the job.  “For an actor, whatever show I’ve done or storyline I’ve done is always my favorite. Because acting is still fun to me and it’s always so exciting when you get that call from upstairs that says you’re on the set.  It’s kind of like kick off time.”

Is there anything he would like to see happen with his character in the future?  Josh replied, “I’ve been around and worked with most of the people around there.”  However, he did add that “Arianne (Zuker, Nicole) and I had a fun scene a couple of years ago and I think that could be fun because we both got some humor and we both got some heat.”

It’s easy to see that these DAYS vets love their jobs.  So what about the newbies? Well you can’t exactly call him a newbie, but John Ingle (Mickey) is new to DAYS.   According to Suzanne Rogers (Maggie) John is “A hoot!  He’s wonderful, lovely, charming.  He wants to be there so he’s happy about it.  He’s so thrilled to be there and I’m so thrilled to be his wife.”

Apparently Ingle is just as thrilled.  “I’m having a ball on this show with Bonnie and Maggie [fighting over him] and all the rhinestone cowboy stuff.  It’s so not me.”  However, he hasn’t forgotten his time as Edward on General Hospital. “I miss my friends on GH, but I talk to Damon Stuart (Alan, GH) everyday and Billy (Frankie; ex-A.J, GH) and I reminisce, and now he’s here.”

As a veteran of the soap genre, has there been a favorite moment?  Well, he may not be able to single out just one, but his wife was quick to point out her favorite scene.  Grace-Lynne Ingle told him the one that sticks out for her is from his General Hospital days.  “One of the lovely moments you had with Lila, when you said ‘I’ve grown accustomed to your face.’”  John continued this memory reminding us, “They showed clips of her through the years when she was younger and began to age.  It was very moving.”

And now, from a recast to a returning actor.  Christie Clark (Carrie) stopped by to share with Soapdom what her return has been like, what she’s been up to and why she chose to return to Salem.  First off, she came back at a good time. “I came back, I went to the Rolling Stones concert (as part of her storyline) and in about a month’s time we’re off for Christmas.”  But that’s all she was allowed to say about her return.

So what made her decide to come back?  “Well, I love it.  I mean I grew up there, that’s my family.  I miss Carrie. I dream about it all the time.  It’s like that high school dream, [where] you go to school naked, but [instead] you go to the set naked [and] you don’t know your lines.”  It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a solid job.   And since she lives in San Francisco, “I was really bad about auditioning; you know flying down for those five minute auditions.  I wasn’t into it.  I just want that steady good gig.”

While you can look for Carrie’s return to shake things up around the first week in December, there will be no shortage of drama until then.  Since the last forty years have included New Salem, supposed aliens and demonic possession, just imagine what the next forty will bring!  If you’re anything like us you’ll be glued to your TV to find out.  And you can be rest assured Soapdom will be along for the ride to keep you posted on all the behind the scenes action!