Days of Our Lives – One Of The Longest Running Shows Ever
American daytime soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives’ first aired November 8, 1965, on NBC and has been airing nearly every weekday since. It is one of the longest-running scripted television programs in the world.
Its familiar over-the-credits introduction, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives” has made a place for itself in television history.
The influential series has won numerous Daytime Emmy Awards and became a fixture of American daytime programming. It was created by the husband and wife duo Ted Corday and Betty Corday.
Days is a co-production of Corday Productions and Sony Pictures Television. While it started off with 30-minute episodes, the show got global success and in 1975, it was officially extended to 60-minute episodes.
Days of Our Lives
The show is centered around families and family dramas. Since it was created by a couple, it’s no surprise why that is the plot of the show. The series primarily focuses on its core families, the Hortons, and the Bradys.
It revolves around the world of dire secrets families, love, relationships, love triangles, friendships, adultery, sex, and divorce. After being celebrated for its realistic portrayal of American families, it diversified and added more supernatural and action-oriented content.
Originally, the series was set in Salem, a fictional Midwestern suburb in the United States, though the state was not mentioned until the episode which aired on May 23, 2013.
While it is constantly referenced as a town, it features more characteristics of a city; for example, it is home of the large, multinational corporations DiMera Enterprises, Titan Industries and Basic Black, Mythic Incorporated, as well as a full university and an international airport.
The show has had numerous plot twists that have kept it at the forefront of daytime soap opera entertainment.
One legendary one was when Dr. Marlena Evans character played by Deidre Hall was featured in a supernatural possession storyline in 1995. The controversial move was unfamiliar in soap operas back in the day and drew a lot of attention to the show.
Soap Opera Digest editor Stephanie Sloane said the story “completely changed the face of daytime storytelling in the 1990s”, but Entertainment Weekly called it “The Dumbest Soap Plot Ever”.
“Remember, The Exorcist was only about 25 years old at the time, and [writer] Reilly walked into my office and said we’re going to do a storyline with Marlena possessed. And I said we’re going to do The Exorcist? He said, “That’s right.” I said, “We’re going to do a feature film?” And he said, “No, we’re going to make it great. It’s a serial.” It was supposed to last three months, starting somewhere around Halloween and ending with a Christmas miracle.
And he dragged it into Easter, and he ended it literally with John Black just standing over her saying one “Our Father,” and that story was over. People remember because the effects were so strange.
Here’s this wonderful, goddess of beauty, wisdom, and light, and she’s floating around with green eyes doing horrible things. That’s an eye-opener,” Ken Corday revealed in 2010.
Over the years of its existence and running, the series has had quite a number of new faces as cast members have frequently changed. Many actors have left the show with some sometimes returning.
Suzanne Rogers, who played Maggie Horton since August 20, 1973, is the longest-running cast member and undeniably one of the longest-tenured actors in American soap operas.
Original cast member, Frances Reid, was previously the soap’s longest-running cast member, portraying Horton family matriarch, Alice Horton, from 1965 to 2007.
Actresses Susan Seaforth Hayes and Deidre Hall, who portray Julie Olson Williams and Dr. Marlena Evans, are currently the second and third longest-tenured actors on Days of Our Lives, joining in 1968 and 1976, respectively. On October 16, 2019, at 88-years-old, John Clarke, best known for portraying Mickey Horton on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” died due to complications of pneumonia in Laguna Beach, California.