DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Kristian Alfonso, Peter Reckell bo hope gallery
Credit: NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

When Days of Our Lives alum Peter Reckell stormed onto our screens as Bo Brady on May 3, 1983, we really had no idea what to expect. We certainly didn’t have a clue that we’d be still be seeing him 40 years later! Well, that’s perhaps not entirely accurate. Most of Bo’s return from the dead was as a mind-altered Bo Kiriakis… But the good news is that he did come back to his senses and give us our beloved Bo Brady — just before being put into a coma!

Was it exactly what fans wanted for the actor’s 40th anniversary return? Not entirely. But the fact that there was so much debate and discussion over it is, Reckell insisted recently, a good thing. It means people are just as passionate as ever. And coma or not, Bo’s back from the dead and the actor hopes with all his heart that he’ll be able to return to continue his famed character’s story.

Back on the 35th anniversary of his debut, Reckell tweeted that “On this day, what seems like a lifetime ago, I realized I was the luckiest man on Earth! What a gift, what a ride, it was amazing!”

At the time, of course, he had no idea that Bo would ever return. His heavenly adventure, resurrection and brainwashing were all still years away. But still, it was clear that those first 35 years of Bo were more than Reckell could have dreamed.

It was one heck of a ride, from Bo’s entrance, riding his beloved motorcycle and rocking a leather jacket. It all just screamed rebel. And really, that makes it a bit more understandable that after being brought back from the dead, Bo would want to rebel again — even if it was against the man he used to be!

But that was all still decades off. Back in 1983, fans weren’t quite sure what we were supposed to make of this dashing young man with the roguish smile and enough charm to make a nun blush.

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Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long for Bo to meet Hope so we could learn what to make of him.

Now picking up a lady who’d been drinking alone could easily be a recipe for disaster — especially when you start out by telling the bartender you were going over to the table with “the little girl attached to it.” Eek! #MeToo cautionary tale, here we come.

But what unfolded upended all our expectations. For one thing, Hope has never been the damsel in distress. She began their meeting by trying to con Bo into buying her a beer, only to be shut down by those who knew better. Undeterred, Bo offered to show her a good time… on his motorcycle.

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Hope jumped at the chance, but when she stumbled over the name of her school, Bo put the pieces together and realized the beautiful girl he’d almost instantly fallen for was actually a high school student. (No wonder he became a detective!) Still, he’d offered her a ride home, and being the gentleman he really was, he made good on that promise and took her safely back to her parents.

And that’s really the story of Bo’s life. Not the Bo and Hope part, though, honestly, they’re so intertwined, it’s downright hard to just say one of their names without immediately following it with the other.

That first meeting could have easily moved him from rebel to sleazeball, but the goodness in his heart won out, as did the easy charm only Reckell could bring to the role. Bo was a hero through and through. And that’s no small feat for someone who turned out not to be the son of good guy Shawn Brady but Victor Kiriakis!

When the mobster found out his torrid affair with Caroline had borne a son, he tried his damnedest to sway Bo over to the dark side. When he refused, Victor disowned him. But of course Bo refused. Even though we knew he would always go his own way, we never doubted that he’d go that way while doing the right thing.

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Eventually, Bo traded his motorcycle jacket for a police uniform, but he never lost his rebellious edge. It’s why, even though Reckell would come and go over the 31 years he was on the show, we never stopped loving Bo. And it’s why, years after Bo died in his beloved Hope’s arms, we never stopped holding out for our hero, hoping that Reckell might someday bring Bo back to Salem.

“It was an amazing time,” he told Soap Opera Digest when he left the show, “and I’m a very lucky guy to have been able to play this amazing role for as long as I had.”

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Well, though his latest stint has come to an end, the amazing time isn’t over. As we noted above, Reckell still has high hopes that Bo will be back. And this next time, we’ll get Bo Brady, the man legions of fans fell in love with four decades ago. And that’s something we can all cheer on!

Take a look at our photo gallery of Bo and Hope’s epic romance on Days of Our Lives