Happy 50th Anniversary Days of our Lives
Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives.
November 8, 1965, the scene opens to a panning shot of a store clerk handling a fur stole at Bartlett’s Department Store. Teenage girls appear at the display case which holds another mink stole and Julie Olson’s friends egg her on as she steals it, giggling. The first episode of Days of our Lives cast included Macdonald Carey (Dr. Tom Horton), Marie Cheatham (Marie Horton), John Clarke (Mickey Horton), Dick Colla (Tony Merritt), Charla Doherty (Julie Olson), Frances Reid (Alice Horton), Geraldine Lawrence (Diane), Simone Pascal (Carol Proctor), and Robert J. Stevenson (Detective Mike). The sets included the shots at Bartlett’s Department Store, the Police Station, and an exterior and kitchen shot of the Horton house. Life was seen as simpler in 1965 and so were the storylines which focused on family drama. Days of our Lives was created by husband-and-wife team Ted and Betty Corday and has remained with the Corday family ever since with Ken Corday acting as an executive producer today.
Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) debuted in 1972 while Suzanne Rogers started her role as Maggie Simmons (Horton) in 1973. Both are present on our screens even during this week. The only actress to appear on the show throughout all six decades is also still a presence. Susan Seaforth Hayes was cast as Julie Olson Williams in 1968, just a few years after the show’s inception. This week, in fact, Julie dispensed advice on shoplifting to Ciara Brady (Vivian Jovanni), which reminded us of that pilot episode when Julie herself, then played by Charla Doherty was caught shoplifting the mink sole at Bartlett’s Department Store. It’s that type of rich history of the show that reminds viewers why they still watch. It’s pulling at the heartstrings of those who have watched since its inception, November 8, 1965.
TV Guide tweeted the original listing for Days of our Lives on the first airdate. Notice that they referred to the town as being in New England when the town is now based in Salem? As well, Frances Reid was not referred to as Alice, but as “Horton’s wife,” and Marie Cheatham as “their engaged daughter.” A tell of the sexist times that women were thought of in terms of being tied to a man.
— Michael Logan (@TVGMLogan) November 5, 2015
On October 28, Days’ Deidre Hall, Susan Seaforth and Greg Meng made donations to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian will showcase memorabilia such as the original hourglass, and some of the Christmas ornaments. In fact, Days fans will watch the original Tom and Alice, Mickey and Addie’s ornaments hung on the Horton Christmas tree for the last time in December 2015. The Christmas ornaments in 2016 onward will be replications.
It’s fitting and telling that the ratings for the week of November 2 were the most-watched since March 2014, averaging 2.658 million viewers for the daytime ratings week of October 26 – 30, which is the best for “Days” since the week of March 3 – 7, 2014 (2.717 million). We anticipate the numbers continuing to grow well after the celebrations die down and some of the past characters have retreated.
Soaps.com spoke with Ken Corday on the Daytime Emmys red carpet April 26 about what was to come with the show’s 50th Anniversary and what the show turning 50 means to him. We’d love to hear what the show and the milestone means to you.
Various present and past stars of the show partied Saturday November 7 and we’ve got a gorgeous Days of our Lives photo gallery from the night to regale you with!
Find out who is returning to Days of our Lives for the 50th anniversary and don’t forget to get your Days of our Lives Anniversary book to commemorate five decades.
Photo credit: Howard Wise/JPI
* Please enjoy the random cross-section of “Days” photos in the gallery provided by Jill Johnson and Howard Wise.
– Christine Fix