The Great Salem Un-SORASing Project, Part 1

I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but I have way too much time on my hands and a fairly reliable case of insomnia. I got this bug in my head a few weeks back and couldn’t shake it out, so during one of my too-awake nights, I opted not to wander through the Town Square or drop by a rival’s house to antagonize her, but instead to try and work out this little equation in my head.

A few years back, I came across a thread at Daytime Royalty, started by longtime poster Matt, entitled “Days of our Un-SORASed Lives.” Matt’s goal was to review the history of Days, year by year, and figure out when key events would have had to happen if no characters had been rapidly aged. For example, Hope (born in 1974) couldn’t have actually married Bo until the early 90s, not 1985 like happened on the show. Eventually, Matt realized that the various shifting continuities of the show made this nearly impossible — if Hope didn’t marry Bo until 1995, and Shawn D. wasn’t born until 1997, Shawn and Belle couldn’t have had Claire until the mid-2010s (but even that’s pushing it, because Belle was born in 1993 — see?!). What Matt wound up with, however, was a running history of Days, broken out into weekly summaries from the beginning through 1995. In the process, he also did a remarkable amount of legwork in sorting out birthdates and family trees.

What I’ve done here is revisit that project, but from a different angle. A lot of what has made Days what it is has been the timing of certain castings, couplings, and events, and if, for example, you shift the beginning of Bo and Hope’s romance to the early 1990s, you don’t have the magic of Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso playing a young love story that was distinctly of its original era. What I’ve tried to work out is how you could preserve a Days of Our Lives that tracks very similarly to the one we know — familiar actors, same big tentpole events and general stories — but by utilizing characters whose natural ages fit the given timelines. To stay with the Bo/Hope example, then, Kristian Alfonso couldn’t have been playing a teenaged Hope Williams in 1983, but she could have been brought on as a different character with connections to the same people, who eventually had a great love story with Bo. What follows is, in essence, a rewriting of the entire history of Days, with these changes made so that no SORASing is ever necessary.

A few notes:

I’m going to break this project up into several posts. Part 1 will take us through the first 15 years of the show, which are far simpler than what comes afterward. For the rest of the history, I’ll probably tackle it in decade-long chunks, though we’ll see how it all goes. At any rate, let’s get started…

1965

As it happened: When Tony Merritt is diagnosed with a rare blood disease, he calls off his wedding to Marie Horton and hides out in Boston — without telling her about his illness. A heartbroken Marie attempts suicide but survives. Troubled teen Julie Olson is caught shoplifting and has conflict with her high-society parents, Ben and Addie, who move to Europe with Julie’s brother, Steven. Julie stays in Salem to live with her grandparents, Tom and Alice. Marie finds solace in an unlikely place: Craig Merritt, Tony’s father.

Revisions and notes: No weird aging stuff yet! Easy.

1966

As it happened: Marie marries Craig. Healthy once more, Tony returns and is devastated to learn about the marriage. Tony briefly dates Dr. Laura Spencer. Marie miscarries Craig’s child. Julie gets involved with David Martin, but he conceives a child with her friend Susan during a drunken one-night stand. David marries Susan, with a plan to divorce after giving the child up for adoption; David and Julie continue their relationship in secret. Laura becomes involves with Dr. Bill Horton.

Revisions and notes: We’re still in the clear, though not for too long.

1967

As it happened: Craig divorces Marie and leaves town. Marie and Tony reunite, but they are unable to make it work, and he, too, leaves Salem. Susan gives birth to a son, Richard (Dickie), and decides she wants to keep the child and remain married. Julie is furious. After Dickie dies in an accident at the park, Susan blames David and shoots him dead. Bill learns he has to have surgery on his hand, which could end his dream of being a surgeon himself. Dejected, he leaves Salem — and Laura. Mickey enlists Laura’s help in defending Susan, who is found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. In the process, Mickey and Laura fall in love and marry. Bill returns to Salem with Korean war vet Dr. Mark Brooks, whom he has been treating, and sees that Mickey and Laura are together. Julie reveals that she is pregnant with the late David’s child.

Revisions and notes: This year introduces Sandy Horton onscreen. Since Sandy has to have been conceived before Tommy went off to the Korean War, the latest possible birthdate for her would be 1953-54. Based on the ages of the actresses cast as Sandy in the 60s and the fact that she moves into a dorm at Salem U in a few years, I believe they were playing her as a teen. Since her age isn’t especially relevant to this story, let’s say that she is 13 at the time of this first appearance, which will be useful down the line.

billlauraLaura Spencer (Susan Flannery) and Bill Horton (Edward Mallory)

1968

As it happened: Julie gives birth to a baby boy, who is adopted by Scott and Janet Banning. Marie helps Mark Brooks in his recovery, and they fall in love — only to be shocked when he turns out to be her oldest brother, Tommy, with amnesia! Marie leaves town. Tommy attempts to reunite with his wife, Kitty, to raise their daughter, Sandy. A jealous Bill rapes Laura, who winds up pregnant. Laura and Tom know that Mickey is sterile, meaning that the child — a boy they name Michael — has to be Bill’s. Laura, Tom, and Bill agree to keep the secret.

Revisions and notes: This year gives us the first two characters whose ages will become problematic not too far into the future. Nothing needs to change yet, but as both births are very clearly tied to important storyline for their parents, the 1968 birth year for both David Banning and Mike Horton will be significant as we move forward. The fact that this is when Marie leaves town is also key, because this offscreen time will later be used as the window for her affair with Alex Marshall in New York, resulting in the birth of a daughter.

1969

As it happened: Janet dies of a brain tumor, and Scott becomes involved with Susan Martin. Julie discovers that Scott’s son is really her baby and sues for custody. She wins and convinces Scott to marry her to give the child a home — causing him to break up with Susan. Tommy finds out that Kitty is having an affair, and she is diagnosed with a heart condition. Kitty tries to blackmail Bill over the truth of Michael’s paternity, and in their struggle, she succumbs to her condition. Unwilling to reveal Laura’s secret, Bill goes to prison for manslaughter in Kitty’s death.

Revisions and notes: Still all good.

1970

As it happened: In prison, Bill meets fellow inmate Brent Douglas, who comes to Salem calling himself Doug Williams — with his eye on Susan’s money. She sees through him and pays him to seduce Julie. She falls for Doug and plans to leave Scott. Bill is released early, and Laura is moved that he went to prison for the sake of the family. Mickey grows jealous of their closeness and begins an affair with his secretary, Linda, who also casually dates Bill. Marie returns and reveals that she has become a nun.

Revisions and notes: Marie is back and has already become a nun, so the child she has given up for adoption has to have been born in 1969.

1971

As it happened: Linda gives birth to a daughter, Melissa, whom she tries to pass off as Mickey’s, but the father is really her ex, Jim Phillips. She marries Jim. Mickey and Laura decide to stay together for Michael’s sake. Julie stays with Scott because she fears losing custody of David to him. When Julie’s father, Ben Olson, dies, her mother, Addie, returns to Salem. Addie learns of Julie’s affair with Doug and tries to intervene by hiring a P.I. to dig up dirt on him. A distraught Susan is brought to the hospital and comes to recall that she was raped while walking through the park.

Revisions and notes: Since Melissa’s birth is tied into key storyline, we’ll have to contend with that when her young adult storylines begin. Everything at present is still all right, though.

hortongroupThe Horton clan in the 1970s.

1972

As it happened: Susan opens a free clinic and meets Dr. Greg Peters. They fall for each other, but she learns that she is pregnant as a result of her rape. When she meets Greg’s family, she recognizes his novelist brother, Eric, as her attacker. When she confronts Eric, he explains that he thought the encounter was consensual; Greg later attacks Eric for what he did. Susan has Eric’s daughter, Annie, and they try to make peace. Michael overhears Laura and Bill discussing their feelings and runs out of the house, where he is hit by a car. He survives surgery, but Laura is guilt-ridden. Bill begins to date Mary, the daughter of Bob and Phyllis Anderson. Addie confronts Doug about his shady past and winds up falling for him. Planning to elope, Julie and Doug argue over David’s place in their lives and have a bitter fight. Doug elopes with Addie instead.

Revisions and notes: Michael had already been aged several years by this point, but it’s still plausible that a young child could have become upset after witnessing a close moment between his mother and uncle and run out to the street, so we don’t need to change anything story-wise… yet.

1973

As it happened: Addie buys a nightclub for Doug to run and perform at, which they name Doug’s Place. Julie longs for Doug and again plans to leave Scott, but he is tragically killed in a construction accident. Doug and Addie happily learn they’re expecting a baby, but Addie is diagnosed with leukemia and chooses carrying the child to term over treatment. With Addie dying, Julie and Addie finally reconcile. Julie gets engaged to attorney Don Craig. Michael learns of Mickey’s affair and explodes at him, causing Mickey to have a near-fatal heart attack. While everyone is at Susan and Greg’s wedding, Mickey suffers a stroke. He awakens with amnesia and leaves the hospital. Calling himself “Marty Hansen,” he hitchhikes and winds up on a farm run by Maggie Simmons, a young woman who lost the use of her legs in the accident that killed her parents. “Marty” works on the farm and falls in love with Maggie. Back home, uncertain whether Mickey is even alive, Laura and Bill finally give in to their feelings but learn they will have to wait seven years for Mickey to be declared dead so they can marry. Suffering from a midlife crisis and enchanted by Julie, Bob Anderson divorces Phyllis.

Revisions and notes: As with the prior year, Michael’s role in the Mickey/Laura/Bill storyline warrants closer examination. I don’t think a five-year-old would have railed at his father for having an affair — but Michael could’ve seen something that caused him to accuse Mickey of being a bad guy, or he could have blamed Mickey for Laura being upset, pushing Mickey over the edge. So we’re still in the clear as far as broad story beats.

1974

As it happened: Addie gives birth to a daughter, Hope, and then goes into remission. Julie breaks it off with Don but impulsively marries Bob. A crazed Phyllis tries to shoot Julie but instead hits Mary, who survives. Addie is struck by a car and killed while trying to push Hope’s stroller out of traffic. “Marty” and Maggie marry. She discovers the truth of Mickey’s identity but keeps it from him. Tom tracks Mickey down on the farm, but “Marty” remembers nothing. He grants Laura the divorce and returns to farm life with Maggie. Bill and Laura wed. Mickey and Maggie remarry, legally this time. Julie files for divorce from Bob, who has continued to support Phyllis in her recovery. Greg goes into private practice with Dr. Neil Curtis, who is in debt due to a gambling problem and having an affair with married Amanda Howard. Amanda’s older husband finally dies due to his health problems. Greg grows close to Amanda, and Susan continues to bond with Eric. Doug hires a new singer, Jeri Clayton, whose abusive husband Jack lavishes attention on Jeri’s teenage daughter, Trish.

Revisions and notes: Hope’s 1974 birthdate will obviously become an issue down the road. For the time being, though, she just exists as a kid. In this timeline, however, the intro of Trish Clayton is troublesome because of the characters who are supposed to become her love interests very shortly. For that reason, I’m instituting the first major revision to the Days timeline, which is that in 1974, Jeri Clayton comes to town with a son, Trent Clayton, played by Wesley Eure (who was actually cast as a SORASed Michael Horton in 1975).

ee6ef01070e3730c3eed88b65a6b32a0
Wesley Eure was a SORASed Mike Horton,
but we’re repositioning him as Trent Clayton.

1975

As it happened: Maggie has a surgery that allows her to walk again. Linda, now widowed by Jim Phillips, takes advantage of Mickey’s amnesia and claims that Melissa is his child. Michael runs away from home and gets an apartment with Trish. Neil (hoping to pay off his debts) convinces Amanda to marry him, but the night before their wedding, she catches him with a prostitute and attempts suicide. Neil sets his sights on wealthy divorcée Phyllis. Amanda wants to reunite with Neil, but he doesn’t receive her messages and instead marries Phyllis. Amanda is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Julie learns that she is pregnant with Bob’s baby and returns to him. Her adult son, David, comes to town with his girlfriend, Brooke Hamilton, seeking his inheritance. As Julie and David bond, Brooke spreads a rumor that Julie’s baby is Doug’s. Doug hires a nanny for Hope, a woman named Rebecca North, and enlists Neil to find a surrogate so he can give Hope a sibling. That surrogate winds up being Rebecca, who needs money for her fiancé, Johnny. Robert LeClair, a singer at Doug’s Place, takes an interest in Rebecca. David gets the wrong idea about Doug and Julie and speeds off in Doug’s car, driving off the Salem Bridge. He is presumed dead but is taken in by the Grants, a black family; he and the Grants’ daughter, Valerie, fall in love. Upon finding out David is alive, Julie takes a fall and goes into premature labor. The child is stillborn, and she and Bob finally divorce. Brooke learns from her mother, Adele, that Bob is her biological father.

Revisions and notes: Annnnnd we’re officially off the rails now. However, my thought in repurposing Trish Clayton as Trent was that the entire young adult storyline that began during this year could be overhauled with different Horton characters. Instead of a young adult Mike Horton, then, we’re going to use Sandy Horton, who was off the canvas at this time. She would be played by Patty Weaver, the actress who played Trish; through the new Sandy/Trent pairing, we still have Wesley Eure and Patty Weaver as platonic roommates running from troubled home lives. The aging of David Banning is also, unsurprisingly, a major issue — albeit one with a simple fix. Instead of Julie’s adult son showing up in search of his inheritance, it is her younger brother, Steven, who resents Julie for having been Ben’s favorite and wants access to the trust fund of which Julie was given control. He is played by Richard Guthrie, who played the SORASed David. The show wrote it that David came to Salem with Brooke, who conveniently turned out to be Bob’s daughter, but in our revised version, Julie and Bob hire Brooke as a nanny for young David, and she has specifically targeted them because Adele has told her that she is Bob’s daughter and she wants to get close to him. When Steven Olson comes to Salem, he stays with Julie and Bob, and in the process, he becomes involved with conniving Brooke.

Trish_Clayton_APatty Weaver played Trish Clayton on the show,
but in our world, she’s playing Sandy Horton.

1976

As it happened: Mickey and Maggie begin the process of adopting a young girl, Janice Barnes. Susan divorces Greg and takes Annie to be with Eric in California. Trish goes to Arizona to meet her biological father. Laura gives birth to a girl, Jennifer Rose. Mike is injured in an accident on the farm, and blood tests reveal that Mickey can’t be his father. Mickey’s memory comes racing back, and he confronts Bill — and shoots him in the arm. Mickey is institutionalized and fixates on getting revenge against Laura and Bill. Mike learns the truth about his paternity. Amanda consents to brain surgery and survives; she and Greg later marry. Doug’s ex-wife, Kim Douglas, turns up and tells him their divorce wasn’t finalized, as she tries to come between him and Julie. Julie again plans to marry Don, but they split, and she finally weds Doug. Johnny dumps Rebecca, who has decided to keep the child she’s carrying, and she marries Robert. She has a son, Dougie. Mickey’s care is handed over to a new therapist, Dr. Marlena Evans, who begins seeing Don Craig. Mike has an affair with Linda. David and Valerie become engaged, but when she waffles, he has a one-night stand with Trish. Phyllis becomes pregnant with Neil’s child, but the baby, Nathan, is born premature and soon dies.

Revisions and notes: An eight-year-old Mike could still be injured in a farm accident, so that plot point stands. We can reconfigure the Mike/Linda affair so that it’s Trent Clayton who has a brief affair with Linda, which serves as an obstacle for him and Sandy. Since Steve was the one who drove off the bridge and was taken in by the Grants, he is also the one who gets involved with Valerie Grant, thereby preserving Days‘s first, controversial interracial pairing. Now things get stickier, though: Steve and Sandy can’t have a one-night stand… because they’re related… so we’ll turn that fling (which has historical relevance, or it wouldn’t matter) into Sandy and Trent finally crossing the line and sleeping together. I’ve also seen it referenced that Janice was supposed to be the same age as Melissa (and looked very similar to her) when she was introduced, but since Janice could be useful come the early 80s, let’s just make her 10 years old here, which is still perfectly viable for a young girl whom Maggie and Mickey might adopt.

1977

As it happened: Neil has an affair with his stepdaughter, Mary. Phyllis catches them and vows to get back at both of them. Mary reluctantly gives in to the charms of Chris Kositchek. Greg Peters is named Chief of Staff, and a disappointed Tom Horton has a stroke, which brings Marie home to Salem. Alice has a cancer scare. Brooke, fleeing Salem after she’s caught stealing from Anderson Manufacturing, picks up a hitchhiker on her way out of Salem and appears to perish in a fiery crash. Jack Clayton stalks Trish, and she kills him in self-defense. She develops multiple personalities, so Mike takes the fall to protect her. Trish remembers killing Jack and clears Mike. Trish discovers she’s pregnant as a result of her tryst with David. Valerie’s parents are against her engagement to David. She goes off to medical school, and David marries Trish, who has a son named Timmy (later renamed Scotty). An upset Mike rebounds with Margo Anderman. A woman named Sharon Duval confesses that she is attracted to Julie and, feeling rejected, attempts suicide. Sleazy Larry Atwood has it in for Doug and gets the liquor license for Doug’s Place pulled, sending the club into ruin. Linda plays Tommy Horton and Bob Anderson against one another, hoping to marry Bob. Rebecca leaves Robert for Johnny, taking Dougie with her. Bill and Laura grow distant, and he becomes close to anesthesiologist Kate Winograd. Marlena’s disturbed twin sister, Samantha, has her locked up in  the sanitarium and takes over Marlena’s life. Samantha’s plot is eventually uncovered, and Marlena reunites with Don.

Revisions and notes: Lots of Mike/Trish/David stuff to rewrite here. The story in which Jack Clayton terrorized his stepdaughter, Trish, needs some adjusting, because the undertone there was that Jack was attracted to Trish and became fixated on her. Instead, let’s say that Trent has never regarded Jack as a father and hates the way Jack treats Jeri, and Jack gets violent when he believes Trent has turned Jeri against him. Sandy takes the fall for Trent, who develops multiple personalities, and once the ordeal is over, Sandy discovers that she is pregnant. We’ll let that child keep the name Timmy. Instead of a Trish/David marriage for the sake of their son, Sandy marries Trent even though she’s begun getting close to Mark Anderman (a gender-swapped Margo). Steve, who’s playing the David Banning role, would be robbed of some storyline because of these changes, but luckily, there’s a fix coming up.

1978

As it happened: Crooked Larry Atwood rapes Julie and then is found dead. Jeri is arrested and attempts suicide, but Julie stands trial. Her rape comes out in court, but she’s cleared when Atwood’s lackey, Arlo, is found to be the killer. With his marriage to Laura crumbling, Bill teeters on the brink of an affair with Kate Winograd. Margo is diagnosed with leukemia, and Mike marries her. Trish takes the baby and leaves Salem to sing elsewhere. Linda marries Bob but has an affair with Neil. Bob later suffers a heart attack. Stephanie Woodruff comes to do PR for Anderson but is really Brooke with plastic surgery, out for revenge. Julie’s brother, Steve, becomes her partner in an antique shop but siphons her money into his own account. Janice Barnes’s biological mother, Joanne, tracks her down and kidnaps her; later, she hangs around Salem and bonds with Janice, which drives Maggie to drink. Maggie is arrested for drunk driving after a minor accident with Janice in the car. Joanne wins custody and moves to San Francisco with Janice. Don, running for State Senator, is blackmailed by ex-lover Lorraine Farr Temple, who claims her daughter, Donna, is his. Don loses the election. On Don and Marlena’s wedding day, he falls out a window trying to save Donna but recovers. Donna becomes pregnant by Neil’s nephew, Pete. Don discovers Donna really is his daughter. Greg takes a high-paying job in Chicago, and Amanda leaves Salem with him.

Revisions and notes: We have to make some more adjustments to the young adult crowd, so we’ll say that Trent, a singer, leaves Salem for an out-of-town engagement after he becomes aware of the attraction between Sandy and Mark. Sandy marries Mark, who is diagnosed with leukemia. The Steve Olson in our revised timeline has been playing the David role, but at this point in the real story, Steve returns and goes into business with Julie — so our new version of Steve can do the same, only with some more history behind his and Julie’s relationship. Voila! Meanwhile, we’ve now met Donna Craig, who was being played as 13 or 14 at this time (based upon summaries). She’s kind of a footnote in established Days history, but her existence will be of major use to us in just a few years.

1979

As it happened: After Rebecca dies in a plane crash, little Dougie comes to live with Robert. Doug learns he is the boy’s father. Linda suffers amnesia and then fakes it to hang onto Bob. Chris and Mary split. Though he is in love with Amanda, she returns to Chicago with Greg. Neil and Phyllis finally divorce, and she becomes involved with shady Alex Marshall. Sister Marie returns and recalls a long-ago past with Alex; she also remembers giving up a baby for adoption before she entered the convent. Stephanie gets involved with David and avoids fingerprinting by burning her hands in a cast-iron skillet, but she later begins to reveal her true identity to people. Mike gets into financial hot water trying to provide for Margo and becomes involved with a loan shark. Steve uses Chez Julie (the antique shop) as a front for diamond-smuggling, and Trish gets mixed up in it. After her mother’s death, Laura becomes more and more irrational. She puts little Jennifer on a bus alone and winds up institutionalized. Marlena and Don marry and learn they are expecting a child, but Donna begins stealing. Julie is badly burned in a kitchen fire, and when her skin grafts are unsuccessful, she divorces Doug. Doug’s lookalike brother, Byron Carmichael, passes away and leaves Doug his fortune. Byron’s widow, Lee, cozies up to Doug and gets him to marry her.

Revisions and notes: Stephanie (really Brooke) will get involved with Steve again instead of David, while Steve is working his diamond-smuggling scheme through Julie’s shop. Trent, who needs to provide for his young son, gets mixed up in that scheme, while Sandy is the one who gets into hot water with a loan shark (let’s be progressive here — all genders can be financially irresponsible!) to provide for an ailing Mark.

And that brings us to the end of the first 15-year period of Days of Our Lives. I’ve often seen 1965-80 referred to as the show’s first “era,” because as soon as the 80s kick in, there’s a whole bunch of cast turnover. New families appear, lots of familiar faces are gone, and the story hangs heavily on some majorly SORASed characters.

In our reworked version of the story, David and Mike are still preteens, Julie hasn’t been needlessly aged up by having an adult son, and Sandy Horton has had more significant story than the character ever really got in the show that aired. When we return with 1980, there’s going to be a whole lot more to rework…

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31 Comments on “The Great Salem Un-SORASing Project, Part 1”

  1. Robin Says:

    I have been watching DOOL’s since 1967ish… I was 5. The 1st Major SL I remember was the Birth of Hope in 1973-74. I remember Addie getting killed & my little 10-11 yr old mind being worried she wouldn’t have a Momma. I also remember when Jennifer Rose was born… 1976ish… Births are a Highlight for me. Then Marlena was pregnant with Sami & Eric while I was pregnant with my son… I remember my Mother, Brother & Cousin talking about we will REALLY get to keep up with the SORASing. He is now 30; This of course was 1985-86 when all you had was Soap Digest & way before Google, FB or any other information online… I truly Love this “blog” mykleraus & Jason47 as well! Keep up the VERY Entertaining & informative updates!

    • mykleraus Says:

      Oh wow! I can only imagine having watched for that long and actually having seen that stuff. So much of it is a mystery to me. It’s funny tracking real life against the SORASing — Brady should be several years younger than me, but he’s at least 8-10 older than me now. I was in high school when the Last Blast teens came on, and now Shelle have a damn teenager!

      Thanks for your kind words, too — I hope you continue to enjoy it here!

      • Robin Says:

        Hahaha… I left out the part about all of the FaceBook pages that are so entertaining! Some of those folks get down right scary hateful if anything critical is said about the character or the actor… It is very humorous!!! My Standard reply comment when they start getting close to Riot stage …
        This is a TV Show Folks… FAKE people living FAKE Lives working FAKE jobs (occasionally) in a Fake City in a Fake State; they fall in love, have illegitimate babies switch paternity so may times they have NO Idea, get married, have affairs get divorced, have affairs. Then NEVER Cook, actually eat, grocery shop, clean, do laundry or any other REAL LIFE things because it IS FAKE…
        Hahahahaaa… I think that usually shuts them up pretty quick or they respond with WE KNOW…
        BTW are you on FaceBook??? I know I would enjoy your page if you have one!!! Keep up the good work!!!

      • mykleraus Says:

        I haven’t made a Facebook group for this site yet, though I’ve considered it. Part of me worries that it would take attention (mine and others’) away from actually coming here to converse — but there’s also the thing you mention about how the fans on Facebook seem to be INSANE. There’s a real disconnect from reality with way too many of them! I like your way of shutting them down.

      • Robin Says:

        Very true… I will continue to receive this email for sure… I always share them with my Cousin & Brother… we have all carried on the “Soap” tradition from our Mothers & Grandmother… I LOVE this & can’t wait for the next Un-SORASing installment!

      • mykleraus Says:

        I’m working on the 80s now… and it might drive me to drink! 🙂

  2. Susan Judy Says:

    I appreciate your going back and recapping the story lines. It brings back great memories for me. I’m 69 yrs. old and my mind is beginning to forget. I have watched Days since the beginning. I remember a lot of the stories and characters from the first half -hour shows. Thanks again

  3. Robin Says:

    I’ve said for several years , that it is ashamed that “Cable” or Netflix, the Internet or something couldn’t be set up to “re run’ from the beginning… How cool that would be! I would so be into that!!! Hahaha! I missed quite a bit, I was in school, had to depend on my Mom, then in the mid 70’s Soap Opera cam out… That was helpful… Not till the 80’s we had VHS now the DVR… It’s fun to go onto YouTube as well…

    • mykleraus Says:

      I would LOVE if they were to do that. There’s some random cable channel (RetroTV or something?) re-running the old soap The Doctors from the beginning. And Corday/Sony have tapes of ALL Days episodes.

  4. Shea Says:

    I am not a writer and I am somewhat envious of your imagination and creativity (not to mention your amount of free time..lol) but also your passion to even undertake such a challenge. It is a bit hard for me to follow mainly because I have no point of reference for a lot of these early characters but since I started watching around 1981, I am really looking forward to the 80s installment.

    My first reaction to reading this was thinking about how far the show has strayed from it’s Horton-centric beginnings. I know we have Horton descendants but Will’s death left us with only 2 people on the canvas carrying the Horton name…Jennifer and Lucas. I forget Lucas exists half of the time and I forget he is a Horton versus a Roberts the other half.

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Bradys and they certainly should be a huge part of the show but we need a younger Horton male to keep the name going. (This may be the first time I really admit that killing Will was a total mistake because I have always said the recast and writing were so horrible that I needed him to be gone but now it’s making me sad when I think about the Horton name disappearing.)

    • mykleraus Says:

      Re: the free time — insomnia and unreliable freelance employment will drive people to strange ends! 🙂

      It was really glaring to me in reading those old novels how quickly the Horton focus dropped away. And in doing these recaps, it’s clear that the late 70s and early 80s were basically just stories about random people, and they’d either find ways to cram in Hortons or they’d toss in some new Hortons for a few years. The Bradys are definitely an important part of the show now, but I imagine in the 80s it was a little weird for longtime viewers to have this new family thrust front-and-center.

      That’s my thing with killing Will — it isn’t like they have an endless supply of Horton males to carry on the name and take center stage in story. With Will gone, it would really behoove them to recast and reset Jeremy Horton and/or create another son for Mike or Lucas.

      • Shea Says:

        I’ve never really thought of how the long time viewers would have viewed the arrival of the Bradys. I started watching when Roman came to town and even though the Bradys were slowly introduced over a period of a few years they felt like they always belonged. I guess you could say they propped them up a bit making the point of saying Shawn and Caroline were dear friends of Tom and Alice’s. They also had this added layer where Roman and Marlena were Tom and Alice’s next door neighbors. They used to keep an eye on each other’s homes and you would get scenes where Alice would comment about something suspicious going on over at Roman and Marlena’s and they would check on each other the way our real life neighbors did when I was growing up. I guess it was the pairing of Bo and Hope that solidified the Bradys spot in Salem.

        The thought that the future of the Horton family lies in the hands of Jeremy Horton is horrifying! Whenever I think of him the word bonehead immediately comes to mind. I guess Nathan is the other possibility and at least Nathan is a doctor.

      • mykleraus Says:

        I think the difference is that the Bradys were really strong characters with interesting dynamics, and they were pretty much all placed in compelling pairings. But it’s really striking to go year-by-year and realize how secondary the Hortons became to them (especially once Hope left in ’87).

        That Jeremy they brought in in 2007 was a terrible character, though I’ve liked the actor elsewhere. I liked how, that Christmas, his ornament broke and Alice goes, “Oh well, we’ll get a new one!” It felt like they were talking about what a flop Jeremy was. They could pretty much do whatever they wanted with him and/or Nathan at this point, if they wanted…

      • Robin Says:

        They do need to bring the Horton Family back to the forefront. Jeremy & Nathan would be a good start…

      • mykleraus Says:

        I think I’d even go along with a “EJ faked Will’s death to spare Sami” rewrite — as long as they had a new actor as Will!

      • Robin Says:

        Oh that would be a GREAT Idea… but could we go ahead & bring EJ back???

      • mykleraus Says:

        Fine by me, as long as JS wants to come back! (Though I honestly thought the guy who played Xander was wasted in that role and could’ve been a totally viable EJ recast…)


  5. […] can find Part 1 (1965-79) here. This time around, we’re tackling the […]

  6. Robin Says:

    I’m not sure I agree with that… I personally don’t think that particular Actor had the same “swagger & class” of James Scott… But since you mentioned him… Did he get killed, go to prison or get sent back to Greece??? I can’t seem to recall how that SL ended… LoL

    • mykleraus Says:

      I thought he had a lot of potential, but the role was written so broadly that it was hard to get a good feel. EJ would be a really tough role to recast, though, I agree with that.

      Xander went to prison because Theresa framed him for (attempted?) sexual assault. It was really gross and written quickly during the writer transition.


  7. […] Part 1 covers 1965-1979, and Part 2 spans 1980-89. In Part 3, I’m taking on the first half of the 90s, because things are complicated now. As with the last edition, I’ll start with a summary of what actually happened in a given year, followed by my thoughts on what SORASing issues exist and how I think we can solve them, and finally, I’ll include a revised version of that year’s summary with SORAS-related changes made in italics. […]

  8. Dan Says:

    Have you seen Jason47’s episode synopses? The show provided daily episode listings for the first five or six years. They are pretty fascinating. For instance, I didn’t realize the show wrote out the Olsons in January, 1966, but kept Julie around because she “had a new boyfriend [David Martin].” This opened up a series of stories. The first year is a series of ups and downs. For a while, it looks like David might go to Vietnam (maybe that was part of the impetus for sleeping with Susan?) and there was the environmental story involving water and the chemical company (NBC was ditching similar stories on their flop “Paradise Bay” at the same time.)

    Also, I didn’t realize how long the Merritts stayed around. Craig and Marie divorce, I believe, in the fall of 1966, but Craig is involved in an airport project, which Tony eventually takes over. Later, Craig is in Rangoon in early 1967 before he sort of disappears from the story. I wonder if the plan was originally have Craig locate Tommy Horton and bring him home. Also, it is clear that the Merritts have a bit of money. I wonder if Kitty Horton would have gone after Craig Merritt, which would have tightened the Marie – Tommy – Kitty situation. Or it’s entirely possible I’m taking this too far. Also, the show could have continued to play Tony and Laura for a bit as either friends or a potential ‘father’ when it was revealed Mickey was sterile.

    For the most part, your story works with Steven in the David Banning role. Steven would have similar issues with Doug and Julie as Doug was his former stepfather. All of that could still be played. Steven would still have the issue with parents, his were dead, which would help fuel things between Brooke and David. Overall, it’s probably one of the few changes that can be made without any major impact on the side plots.

    With Sandy in the Mike role, you lose a lot of the angst between Mickey, Laura, and Bill that was probably playing out between major beats. I think Sandy would still allow a lot of hand wringing on Tom and Alice’s end since I believe Tommy is practically a ghost during this period. It would be interesting to see Bill attempt to fill that father role for Sandy and the angst that would develop given Bill’s role in the death of Sandy’s mother. On the other hand, Sandy could also become determined to learn the truth about Bill’s role in her mother’s death leading to Sandy learning the truth about the paternity. This, in turn, would be an interesting beat to play when Sandy was accused of murder. Again, it’s not a bad thing, but it would have a major impact on the day to day writing between the major beats.

    Trent Clayton is an admirable twist, but a lot is lost. Trish Clayton was the first time daytime told a multiple personality story by the book: sexual abuse history and more than one identity. I think you lose something with a male in the role. There’s no way NBC would allow Trent to be the victim of sexual abuse. Also, I think you lose to longterm potential, which never was touched. Would Laura encourage Mike to be with a woman with such a severe psychological problem? As a psychiatrist, Laura would be aware of the struggles Trish would endure. What impact would that have on her relationship with her son, Mike? Or Trish’s relationship with her own son, Scotty? I think the MPD issue was intended to have a larger impact than it did.

    Also, if you get a chance, look at Matt’s latest attempt at DAYS history. The material surrounding the Jack Clayton’s trial is stimulating. A lot of the minor beats would be lost. Mike turning to Mickey for legal help upsetting bio dad, Bill. Bill becoming angry because Mickey and Laura are working together to save Mike from jail. Mickey pleading with Linda to use Mike’s feelings for her to open up about the murder. Mike realizing that Linda played him at Mickey’s suggestion. These beats are more powerful because of the history between the characters which becomes lost with others in the roles.

    Another thing to consider. If Mike is still a child before his paternity comes out, there would be a custody battle especially since Maggie wanted to have a child. There is no way that Mickey was just going to give up his child. This would also allow pressure on the secret. Bill isn’t going to allow his son to be raised by his brother when he is so close to having his happily ever after.

    By the 1977, everything falls apart. A roundelay of head writers means we don’t get any strong long story for any period of time. Elizabeth Harrower probably gives us the best by introducing Lee Carmichael, but nothing else really develops despite the potential. Keeping Donna Craig around in the 1980s seems like an obvious move, as you proven. The Alex / Marie / child (initially Cathy, later Jessica) worked well, but I don’t think it ever really popped.

    When Pat Falken Smith departs, the show goes into a five year transition ending with the return of Smith and the end of the Salem Stalker storyline. Once Roman Brady and Stefano Dimera arrive, the show moves from Horton-centric to super couple-centric for the next decade or so.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Great post. Thanks!

      This project really only holds up in a broad-strokes sense, for sure. If I were, say, going back and rewriting the daily synopses or scripts, it would change the day-to-day fabric of the show way too much. The only reason the Trent/Trish switch works at ALL, really, is because Trish is basically a footnote in the larger history of the show — like you said, they never touched the longterm potential there. And her stint really peters out in the early 80s. She’s just kind of involved with random people and reacting to David’s stuff. (I have a fun payoff for Trent down the line, but it’ll take a while to get there…) I hadn’t really thought in-depth about the Bill/Sandy angle that you mention, but it could’ve been fascinating to dig back into Kitty’s death for that.

      I hadn’t thought about Mickey and Maggie possibly pursuing custody of a younger Mike, which would’ve been really interesting. I get why they SORASed Mike, but it also feels so jarring and wasteful. They could’ve gotten similar story value by making him 10-12 instead of 16-17; he’d have been aware enough to know what was going on and have an opinion, but he’d still be a kid. It’s even more of a shame because they never really established him as a strong adult character after that. Weiss’s version was popular but was ALWAYS a B-level player, and I liked Critchlow, but until the Carrie pairing, he was just there. I find it so jarring to read even the synopses and think of Laura having a 16-year-old around the time it all came out, because the characters didn’t feel that old and it didn’t feel as if THAT much time had passed.

      The summaries from the late 70s were exhausting to get through. There are so many names that ultimately mean nothing to Days, and a lot of what’s happening doesn’t seem to have a ton of purpose beyond filling screen time.

      I’m dying to know what it was like for people watching in 1980, to have so many 70s characters just flung offscreen and to have the Chandlers, early DiMeras, etc. just be plopped right into Salem. It’s sort of a miracle the show survived that period.

      • Robin Says:

        I have been watching since 1967ish… I was 5! LoL… Of course I really only got to watch in the summers & depend on my Momma, & GMomma for daily updates, needless to say there is a whole lot that got left out & I have NO recollection of due to the fact that they weren’t taking notes… Until the mid/late 70’s when the Soap Opera Digest began… That was HEAVEN!!! I would walk about a mile 1/2 to the grocery store to read it there, since I was 11-12 yrs old, I didn’t have Money to buy it… LoL Of course by the Late 80’s I was married, had kids, missed several years 88-98ish & had a VCR & would record it, tried to keep up,to no avail, 2 kids, 45 hour work weeks etc. My biggest shock was once I was able to return to Salem & all the mayhem… All of the sudden Chris Kostechech was Roman Brady! I was so very confused… I have pretty well kept up for the last 10 12 years thankful for the DVR… And honestly I get the biggest kick out of the blogs & FaceBook pages dedicated to DOOL’s… My Momma & GMomma (RIP) would absolutely LOVE it as well…

      • mykleraus Says:

        Ha, I remember reading the SODs at the store while my parents were shopping before I got a subscription. (I was obviously a really cool kid, hahaha.)

        A big part of me continuing to keep up with the show has been the online community and the friends I’ve made because of it. I don’t know what it would be like to watch without that element. And it was a major reason why I started a blog — to create a place for reasonable discussion (and mocking the show, of course).

      • Robin Says:

        Well I greatly appreciate it AND the Mocking as well! LoL… Some of the FaceBook pages are so dang sensitive! I love it… I am usually a couple of weeks behind Thank God for the DVR, for instance I’m just now watching the Funeral episode… WHY would you have a memorial in a BAR for a renowned surgeon that was killed by a drunk driver??? SILLY! Then there is Jennifer with extreme back pain wearing stripper stiletto’s looking like she just got back from the Caribbean All Tan??? Really??? I really thought the Horton Square Memorial was lame as well… Ok… I know I am way behind but thanks for letting me vent! LoL… You are the Best mykleraus !!!

      • mykleraus Says:

        The fact that people were drinking at Daniel’s memorial was INSANE. No one found that to be in poor taste?!

      • Robin Says:

        Hahahahaaa… Good that wasn’t just me & being OLD… I can’t remember the exact way Maggie phrased it, but for her a recovering alcoholic to make that announcement “drinks & reflect & visit” or something to that effect… just really struck a bad note for me… But as I tell everyone else when they nit pick… It is just a FAKE show… LoL! However I am quite concerned about Jennifer & the possibility that she may be suffering “Tanarexia” She looks like she got caught up in an orange paint spray paint fight… and LOST… & for goodness sakes take those stripper heels off & relax…

      • mykleraus Says:

        It was even weirder that it was Maggie, a recovering alcoholic whose son had just been killed by a drunk driver! What happened to coffee and tea?!


  9. […] installments of this headache-inducing endeavor can be found at the following links: Part 1 (1965-79); Part 2 (1980-89); Part 3 […]


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