The Great Salem Un-SORASing Project, Part 2

And we’re back with the next installment of The Great Salem Un-SORASing Project, or as it’s sometimes known, “Michael Could Really Use a Full-Time Job.” The goal, for those who missed the beginning of the series, is to go back through Days history year-by-year and, while trying to preserve the tentpole story developments, couples, etc., revise the story so that no characters are rapidly aged — which requires subbing in age-appropriate characters for some major ones.

You can find Part 1 (1965-79) here. This time around, we’re tackling the 1980s.

I’m modifying the format a little bit to keep things as clear as possible. I’ll post a brief-as-I-could-possibly-manage summary of what happened onscreen during the year, followed by my notes on what changes un-SORASing will require. Then I’ll reprint the year’s summary, but with those changes made (and noted in italics).

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Troubled Donna Craig (Tracey Bregman) plays
a larger role in our revised history of Salem.

1980

As it happened: A pornographer takes advantage of Donna Craig, who is humiliated and goes to live with Don’s mother. Marlena gives birth to a son, DJ, who later dies of SIDS. Bob plans to reunite with Phyllis but dies during Mary’s wedding to Alex Marshall. Stephanie/Brooke is killed in another car crash. Linda takes Melissa and leaves town. Bill accepts a job at a hospital out of Salem so he can be closer to Laura’s facility. Margo dies of leukemia. Doug opens a casino, and Neil gets himself into gambling trouble once again. Powerful Kellam Chandler arrives in town with his grown children. Liz Chandler dabbles with Neil but has an affair with Don. Marlena takes in a foster son, Johnny, and ends her marriage to Don. David does covert work for Alex and then goes on the run with his son, Scotty. Doug’s wife, Lee, arranges to have him and Julie killed, but Lee has a stroke and manipulates the situation to hold onto Doug, who wants to leave her for Julie. Marie discovers that nursing student Jessica Blake is the daughter she gave up for adoption and finally tells Alex that he is Jessica’s father.

Notes: This was a weird, transitional year for the show, which you can tell even from this abbreviated summary — it’s just familiar faces exiting and new people showing up. We’re finally at the point at which we have to deal with the child Marie had offscreen in 1969. What’s maddening about Jessica is that she was retconned into the show and still got SORASed! There’s no way to give Marie and Alex a daughter who’s in the 18-21 range, but Jessica’s existence is too important to ignore, so we’ll bring her in as a preteen. Also, this was the year Donna Craig was written out, but for our purposes, let’s keep that troubled teen in Salem, living with Don.

The revised story: A pornographer takes advantage of Donna Craig, who is humiliated and goes to live with Don’s mother. Marlena gives birth to a son, DJ, who later dies of SIDS. Bob plans to reunite with Phyllis but dies during Mary’s wedding to Alex Marshall. Stephanie/Brooke is killed in another car crash. Linda takes Melissa and leaves town. Bill accepts a job at a hospital out of Salem so he can be closer to Laura’s facility. Mark dies of leukemia. Doug opens a casino, and Neil gets himself into gambling trouble once again. Powerful Kellam Chandler arrives in town with his grown children. Liz Chandler dabbles with Neil but has an affair with Don. Marlena takes in a foster son, Johnny, and ends her marriage to Don. Steve does covert work for Alex and then goes on the run with his son, Scotty. Doug’s wife, Lee, arranges to have him and Julie killed, but Lee has a stroke and manipulates the situation to hold onto Doug, who wants to leave her for Julie. Marie discovers that foster child Jessica Blake is the daughter she gave up for adoption and finally tells Alex that he is Jessica’s father.

1981

As it happened: Doug divorces Lee and remarries Julie. Lee’s younger sister, Renee, arrives in Salem. Kellam Chandler rapes Marlena and is later shot and killed during a struggle. Marie leaves the church and gets engaged to Alex. After she divorces David, Mike and Trish also become engaged. Jessica considers becoming a nun but is kicked out of the convent. She develops multiple personalities; “Angel” takes up with Jake Kositchek, Chris’s brother, who is also seeing Hope Williams. Marie stops Jessica (as Angel) from marrying Jake and has her hospitalized. Jake and Josh later compete for Jessica. Alex is shot, leaving him paralyzed. David is accused of the shooting and goes on the run. Sergeant Abe Carver becomes involved in the investigation. Alex has surgery to regain the use of his legs. Maggie joins a surrogacy program that Neil is running but wonders whether she might want to keep the baby; the father is Evan Whyland, son of new hospital administrator Stuart Whyland. She gives birth to a daughter, Sarah. Neil and Liz get engaged, but she eventually marries Don — only to have Count Antony DiMera come to Salem and reveal that she is still legally his wife. Lee is secretly working for Tony’s mysterious father. Valerie Grant, now a doctor, returns to Salem and helps David hide out. Marlena receives disturbing calls on her new radio talk show. Women in Salem begin to be strangled to death. Tod Chandler is seemingly caught trying to strangle Marlena, but another woman is killed while he is in police custody.

Notes: We’re getting to something that resembles the modern era, with the introductions of Abe and the DiMeras! The big problem in this year is that Jessica carries a boatload of story. In our new world, though, Jessica is only 13 years old. My solution is to rewrite history so that Jessica’s adult storylines — the relationships with Jake and Josh, the multiple-personality disorder — go to Donna Craig, who’s had no shortage of trauma in her life already. On a day-to-day level, the younger Jessica also needs to have some trouble, because that’s a big part of Marie and Alex’s story. And there’s also the matter of Hope, who was aged to a young adult (with Tammy Taylor playing the part) briefly before Kristian Alfonso took over the role. Her part in the Jessica/Jake story is really minimal, so let’s just say Donna has a friend, Jill, who plays that role and can be promptly forgotten next year.

The revised story: Doug divorces Lee and remarries Julie. Lee’s younger sister, Renee, arrives in Salem. Kellam Chandler rapes Marlena and is later shot and killed during a struggle. Marie leaves the church and gets engaged to Alex. After she divorces David, Sandy and Trent again become engaged. Donna considers becoming a nun but is kicked out of the convent. She develops multiple personalities; “Angel” takes up with Jake Kositchek, Chris’s brother, who is also seeing Donna’s friend, Jill. Don and Marlena stops Donna (as Angel) from marrying Jake and have her hospitalized. Jake and Josh later compete for Donna. Jessica runs away, and Marie has to track her down and takes her in. Alex is shot, leaving him paralyzed. Steve is accused of the shooting and goes on the run. Sergeant Abe Carver becomes involved in the investigation. Alex has surgery to regain the use of his legs. Maggie joins a surrogacy program that Neil is running but wonders whether she might want to keep the baby; the father is Evan Whyland, son of new hospital administrator Stuart Whyland. She gives birth to a daughter, Sarah. Neil and Liz get engaged, but she eventually marries Don — only to have Count Antony DiMera come to Salem and reveal that she is still legally his wife. Lee is secretly working for Tony’s mysterious father. Valerie Grant, now a doctor, returns to Salem and helps David hide out. Marlena receives disturbing calls on her new radio talk show. Women in Salem begin to be strangled to death. Tod Chandler is seemingly caught trying to strangle Marlena, but another woman is killed while he is in police custody.

Roman-and-Marlena-days-of-our-lives-15060727-409-600Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) and Roman Brady (Wayne Northrup)
in the early days.

1982

As it happened: Salem PD officer Roman Brady sleeps on Marlena’s floor to protect her from the Salem Strangler. Mary is strangled to death but, before she dies, unmasks the killer: Jake Kositchek! More murders occur. Mary leaves Anderson Manufacturing to her mother, Phyllis, and stepsister, Melissa, who has run away from boarding school and returned to Salem. Tony’s father, Stefano DiMera, buys Phyllis’s half of the company and blackmails Alex into working for him. Stefano turns in Stuart Whyland, who’s been in his employ and later dies in prison. Eugene Bradford is accused of being the Strangler, while Jake stalks Renee as his next target. Lee is determined to keep Renee and Tony apart; after leaving town, she reveals in a letter that Stefano is Renee’s father. Stefano pressures Liz to stay with Tony, and when she learns she is pregnant, she pretends the child is Tony’s. Alex and Marie split; she takes up with Neil. Roman’s sister, Kayla, dates both Mike and David briefly. Jake appears to have killed Marlena, but it’s really her sister, Samantha. Jake confesses and dies in a gunfight with Roman. Jessica marries Josh, and they leave Salem together. Marlena has to return Johnny to his biological mother. She and Roman fall in love, but his presumed-dead wife, Anna, shows up with their daughter, Carrie. Renee marries David — and then Tony learns that Stefano isn’t his biological father, meaning he can be with Renee. Mike leaves to attend medical school. Abe dates Valerie before she leaves again. Trish departs from Salem. Maggie and Mickey sue for custody of baby Sarah; lawyer Gwen Davies represents Evan. Maggie and Mickey win. Gwen begins seeing Don. Sandy Horton returns as a doctor and gets engaged to Evan Whyland, but she is framed for his murder after injecting him with penicillin, causing him to die of an allergy. Mickey goes to South America to investigate Stefano and winds up his prisoner; the people of Salem believe him killed in a plane crash. Maggie grows close to Don.

Notes: Notice how the summaries are getting longer? The show became much more intricate and incident-driven during this time. But the Bradys are here (which is great because they’re a big part of Salem history and also because they’re brought in as adults, which cuts down my headaches). Carrie Brady is five years old when she shows up, so we’re going to stick with a 1977 birthdate for her, which will cause issues down the line. The Melissa who shows up here was played by Debbie Lyton, the actress who played her during the late 70s, so she hasn’t been aged into a young adult yet and we don’t need to revise anything for story purposes. Per earlier updates, Donna gets Jessica’s happy ending with Josh, and Steve gets David’s new storyline. There’s also a little trickery here regarding Sandy, who actually returned as an adult character (a doctor) for a brief stint during this year. I’ve amended things below to give her more of a throughline.

The revised story: Salem PD officer Roman Brady sleeps on Marlena’s floor to protect her from the Salem Strangler. Mary is strangled to death but, before she dies, unmasks the killer: Jake Kositchek! More murders occur. Mary leaves Anderson Manufacturing to her mother, Phyllis, and stepsister, Melissa, who has run away from boarding school and returned to Salem. Tony’s father, Stefano DiMera, buys Phyllis’s half of the company and blackmails Alex into working for him. Stefano turns in Stuart Whyland, who’s been in his employ and later dies in prison. Eugene Bradford is accused of being the Strangler, while Jake stalks Renee as his next target. Lee is determined to keep Renee and Tony apart; after leaving town, she reveals in a letter that Stefano is Renee’s father. Stefano pressures Liz to stay with Tony, and when she learns she is pregnant, she pretends the child is Tony’s. Alex and Marie split; she takes up with Neil. Roman’s sister, Kayla, dates both Steve and Trent briefly. Jake appears to have killed Marlena, but it’s really her sister, Samantha. Jake confesses and dies in a gunfight with Roman. Donna marries Josh, and they leave Salem together. Marlena has to return Johnny to his biological mother. She and Roman fall in love, but his presumed-dead wife, Anna, shows up with their daughter, Carrie. Renee marries Steve — and then Tony learns that Stefano isn’t his biological father, meaning he can be with Renee. Sandy leaves to attend medical school. Abe dates Valerie before she leaves again. Trent departs from Salem. Maggie and Mickey sue for custody of baby Sarah; lawyer Gwen Davies represents Evan. Maggie and Mickey win. Gwen begins seeing Don. Sandy Horton returns as a medical student to intern under her grandpa, Tom, and gets involved with Evan Whyland, but she is framed for his murder after injecting him with penicillin, causing him to die of an allergy. Mickey goes to South America to investigate Stefano and winds up his prisoner; the people of Salem believe him killed in a plane crash. Maggie grows close to Don.

annatony2Roman’s ex-wife, Anna (Leann Hunley), has a passionate,
on-and-off relationship with Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis).

1983

As it happened: Marlena and Roman wed, but Stefano kidnaps her and Liz. They are rescued, and Liz has Neil’s daughter, Noelle. Stefano seemingly dies of a stroke. Liz gets her divorce from Tony, but Neil has eloped with Marie. Anna gets a drunken Tony to marry her, while Renee is desperate to stay married to David for a year so she can claim her inheritance from Stefano. David divorces Renee, who rigs a boat explosion that causes Anna to miscarry her and Tony’s child. Liz, who is having an affair with Neil, accidentally shoots his wife, Marie, and goes to prison. Neil and Liz plan a prison wedding, but a jailbreak interrupts it, and Liz winds up with amnesia, thinking she’s still married to Don. Liz is granted early release. Mickey escapes the island and is stunned to find Don romancing Maggie. Mickey conspires with Gwen to separate Maggie and Don. Teenaged Melissa returns and exposes Mickey’s plot, causing Maggie to dump him and become engaged to Don. Hope Williams returns from boarding school and has a crush on Roman, but she eventually falls for his brother, Bo. Melissa develops feelings for street tough Pete Jannings. Alex seduces and marries Renee to get the DiMera money. When she finds out, she publicly exposes him — only to turn up murdered. David is a suspect but, once cleared, leaves Salem. As Renee’s husband, Alex inherits the DiMera fortune. Eugene Bradford marries Marlena’s cousin, Trista, and fears his family is cursed. Trista becomes another of the killer’s victims, along with nurse Kelly Harper; all the victims are found with a raven’s feather beside them. Marlena and Sandy see Roman stab a prostitute, Daisy, and he is arrested for the murders. Alice Horton helps Bo break Roman out of prison, and he goes on the run with Anna, determined to clear his name.

Notes: Here come the SORASed Horton girls! Both Melissa (in the form of Lisa Trusel) and Hope (Kristian Alfonso) are now teens and, for all intents and purposes, adult characters. Melissa should only be 12 at this point, so a romance with Pete Jannings isn’t going to work. Luckily, we have Janice Barnes in the hopper, and she has a similar connection to Maggie and Mickey, so we can sub her in. That’s who Lisa Trusel is playing in our alternate reality. Hope is a little trickier, because she goes on to be such a major character, and there aren’t really any obvious substitution possibilities. This is probably the one where I’ve taken the greatest liberty, then, in creating a new half-sister for Julie, still portrayed by Kristian Alfonso, who comes to Salem in search of family and winds up involved with Bo. This year also marks the final appearance (ever!) of David Banning on the show, so away Steve Olson goes, and we still have a younger David awaiting story when he grows up a bit more.

The revised story: Marlena and Roman wed, but Stefano kidnaps her and Liz. They are rescued, and Liz has Neil’s daughter, Noelle. Stefano seemingly dies of a stroke. Liz gets her divorce from Tony, but Neil has eloped with Marie. Anna gets a drunken Tony to marry her, while Renee is desperate to stay married to Steve for a year so she can claim her inheritance from Stefano. Steve divorces Renee, who rigs a boat explosion that causes Anna to miscarry her and Tony’s child. Liz, who is having an affair with Neil, accidentally shoots his wife, Marie, and goes to prison. Neil and Liz plan a prison wedding, but a jailbreak interrupts it, and Liz winds up with amnesia, thinking she’s still married to Don. Liz is granted early release. Mickey escapes the island and is stunned to find Don romancing Maggie. Mickey conspires with Gwen to separate Maggie and Don. Teenaged Janice Barnes returns and exposes Mickey’s plot, causing Maggie to dump him and become engaged to Don. A mysterious figure watches Julie and Doug, and they realize they’re being followed. When they confront the person, it’s a young woman named Olivia — who claims that she is Ben Olson’s daughter from an affair he had in Europe and wants her fair share of Ben’s estate! Olivia causes trouble for Julie and Doug, but they all warm up to one another. Olivia has a crush on Roman, but she eventually falls for his brother, Bo. Janice develops feelings for street tough Pete Jannings. Alex seduces and marries Renee to get the DiMera money. When she finds out, she publicly exposes him — only to turn up murdered. Steve is a suspect but, once cleared, leaves Salem. As Renee’s husband, Alex inherits the DiMera fortune. Eugene Bradford marries Marlena’s cousin, Trista, and fears his family is cursed. Trista becomes another of the killer’s victims, along with nurse Kelly Harper; all the victims are found with a raven’s feather beside them. Marlena and Sandy see Roman stab a prostitute, Daisy, and he is arrested for the murders. Alice Horton helps Bo break Roman out of prison, and he goes on the run with Anna, determined to clear his name.

f170166d413989e5448bf25b5aecfb72Kristian Alfonso comes on not as an aged Hope Williams,
but as Olivia, Julie’s illegitimate half-sister.

1984

As it happened: Doug suffers a heart attack after finding Hope about to get intimate with Bo. He and Julie sell Doug’s Place to Liz and leave on a cruise. Bo and Roman fake Roman’s death to smoke out the real Salem Slasher; meanwhile, Tony is working for someone named “Phoenix,” who turns out to be a very-much-alive Stefano. The real Tony is being held captive by Stefano, and Tony’s cousin Andre (the real killer) has had plastic surgery to look just like him. Marlena secretly sees Roman but, upon finding out she is pregnant, fakes a marriage to Eugene to maintain Roman’s cover. Stefano tries to have Roman killed but again appears to die when his limo goes off a bridge; Tony escapes and sets out after Andre. Believing that Bo is still in love with his ex, Megan Hathaway, Hope accepts a marriage proposal from D.A. Larry Welch. Bo kidnaps Hope from the wedding, but she eventually has to marry Larry anyway because of a death threat. Megan makes Bo believe that she had his child years ago; Hope pines for Bo, while Larry has feelings for Gwen Davies, but needs to stay married to Hope for his political career. Sandy has a brief relationship with Chris Kositchek but leaves to work in Africa. Liz regains her memory and finally marries Neil. Anna goes into the fashion design business with kooky Calliope Jones. Bo and Hope finally make love in New Orleans. Melissa swears off Pete after he accidentally shoots Mickey during a gang rumble. They come back together, though, and Pete secretly works as a stripper to earn money for their future. The mysterious “Madame X” comes to town and is secretly the alter ego of Melissa’s mom, Linda. Pete drunkenly sleeps with Madame X, not knowing who she is. Maggie departs for New York to sort out her life. Roman and Bo’s sister, Kimberly, returns to Salem and secretly works as a hooker. She catches the attention of mysterious Shane Donovan, who has several Salemites under surveillance. Kimberly confesses that her uncle, Eric, molested her. Megan’s father, Maxwell, is after some prisms — which are also wanted by Megan’s biological father, the again-resurrected Stefano, to cure his brain tumor. Maxwell blackmails Neil, who is really an ex-con named Alan Jackson, given a new identity after he testified against other criminals. Neil’s secrecy pushes away Liz, who is attracted to Carlo Forenza — but Carlo later dies of a brain hemorrhage. Marlena gives birth to twins, Samantha and Eric. When a plane en route to Haiti crashes, several Salemites wind up on a tropical island, where Tony meets an island woman, Jasmine, and Andre seems to perish in quicksand. During a fight with Stefano, Roman goes over a cliff and dies, but his body disappears. Bo vows revenge. Hope calls Bo and Abe’s bluff and joins the police academy.

Notes: Nothing too crazy to untangle for 1984. Obviously, all Hope’s story goes to the newly created Olivia. It seems very creepy for Doug to have a heart attack because his wife’s half-sister is about to do it with some guy, but we can still say he suffers a heart attack because of general stress and leaves to travel with Julie. In some ways, it actually makes more sense for Doug and Julie to be out of Salem if it’s Olivia who stays behind, rather than Doug’s daughter. Melissa’s story also goes to Janice, so “Madame X” isn’t Linda Anderson, but Joanne Barnes (and that story sounds like it was really stupid, anyway). This year also marks the birth of Sami and Eric, and that will give us more work to do in the 90s…

The revised story: Doug suffers a heart attack after finding Hope about to get intimate with Bo. He and Julie sell Doug’s Place to Liz and leave on a cruise. Bo and Roman fake Roman’s death to smoke out the real Salem Slasher; meanwhile, Tony is working for someone named “Phoenix,” who turns out to be a very-much-alive Stefano. The real Tony is being held captive by Stefano, and Tony’s cousin Andre (the real killer) has had plastic surgery to look just like him. Marlena secretly sees Roman but, upon finding out she is pregnant, fakes a marriage to Eugene to maintain Roman’s cover. Stefano tries to have Roman killed but again appears to die when his limo goes off a bridge; Tony escapes and sets out after Andre. Believing that Bo is still in love with his ex, Megan Hathaway, Olivia accepts a marriage proposal from D.A. Larry Welch. Bo kidnaps Olivia from the wedding, but she eventually has to marry Larry anyway because of a death threat. Megan makes Bo believe that she had his child years ago; Olivia pines for Bo, while Larry has feelings for Gwen Davies, but needs to stay married to Olivia for his political career. Sandy has a brief relationship with Chris Kositchek but leaves to work in Africa. Liz regains her memory and finally marries Neil. Anna goes into the fashion design business with kooky Calliope Jones. Bo and Olivia finally make love in New Orleans. Janice swears off Pete after he accidentally shoots Mickey during a gang rumble. They come back together, though, and Pete secretly works as a stripper to earn money for their future. The mysterious “Madame X” comes to town and is secretly the alter ego of Janice’s mom, Joanne. Pete drunkenly sleeps with Madame X, not knowing who she is. Maggie departs for New York to sort out her life. Roman and Bo’s sister, Kimberly, returns to Salem and secretly works as a hooker. She catches the attention of mysterious Shane Donovan, who has several Salemites under surveillance. Kimberly confesses that her uncle, Eric, molested her. Megan’s father, Maxwell, is after some prisms — which are also wanted by Megan’s biological father, the again-resurrected Stefano, to cure his brain tumor. Maxwell blackmails Neil, who is really an ex-con named Alan Jackson, given a new identity after he testified against other criminals. Neil’s secrecy pushes away Liz, who is attracted to Carlo Forenza — but Carlo later dies of a brain hemorrhage. Marlena gives birth to twins, Samantha and Eric. When a plane en route to Haiti crashes, several Salemites wind up on a tropical island, where Tony meets an island woman, Jasmine, and Andre seems to perish in quicksand. During a fight with Stefano, Roman goes over a cliff and dies, but his body disappears. Bo vows revenge. Olivia calls Bo and Abe’s bluff and joins the police academy.

1985

As it happened: Tom Horton faces a malpractice suit after the death of gang member Speed Selejko’s father, but Alice helps clear him. Megan rigs a hot tub to kill Hope, but she’s the one who dies after Larry pushes her. Shane and Kimberly fall in love as she helps him with an ISA mission. Pete dates Speed’s sister, Ivy, and Melissa gets involved with her married parole officer, Ian Griffith. When Ivy gets pregnant, Pete marries her. The last prism is found during an ice skating show. Stefano kidnaps Marlena’s twins; Marlena shoots Stefano, who falls to his death. She goes on trial but the charges are dropped. Eugene wants to marry Calliope (who is the real brain behind Anna’s designs), but his mother objects, so he marries Madeline Rutherford instead. Hope is shot and goes into a coma; she and Larry divorce, and Bo proposes. Tony doesn’t want Jasmine modeling for Anna DiMera Designs. Anna has a fling with Prince Nicholas Arani, who is murdered by an assassin called The Dragon — who also killed Shane’s first wife, Emma. In London, Emma turns up alive, and when Bo and Hope capture The Dragon, they are rewarded with a royal wedding. Don Craig disappears from Salem. Tony and Anna marry, but she is accused of murdering art dealer Claus Van Zandt. Tony discovers the truth about the murder but vanishes; he later writes Anna to ask for a divorce. Claus, who is alive, is conspiring with Emma Donovan and is later killed for real. Larry Welch goes to prison. Alex and Linda collude to buy up valuable waterfront property. Tod Chandler returns and works with Savannah Wilder; they are after some microfilm that is accidentally given to Liz. A mystery man with an eyepatch (“Patch”) tries to track down the film for Savannah. Bo knows Patch from years before, when he caught Patch with his girl and they fought, causing Patch to lose his eye. Pete and Melissa go on the run with photos that Savannah needs for her boss, powerful Victor Kiriakis. Caroline Brady has a past with Victor and is upset when Kimberly, suffering dizzy spells and possible blindness, turns to him for comfort, as Emma refuses to let Shane go. Abe’s brother, Theo, works with Bo to find out the truth about Savannah’s operation. Mike Horton returns to Salem as a doctor and is concerned about his teen sister, Jennifer. Maggie is attacked by a hospital rapist. Ivy gives birth to a son, Charlie, but Pete divorces her and gets engaged to Melissa. Kim reunites with Shane but discovers that she is pregnant — and the father could be either him or Victor. Shane, Victor, and others look for “The Pawn,” a mysterious figure.

Notes: This year isn’t bad at all, from a SORASing perspective. No way could Mike Horton be a doctor by now, but I’d buy that a Mike who shows up in the fall of 1985 is a college student on the pre-med track. So we can actually keep Mike at his real age but slide him into the story here, and he can have the actual story the character had. (He couldn’t be played by Michael T. Weiss, who was in his late 20s by this point, but luckily we don’t really have to deal with that.) His sister, Jennifer, on the other hand, can’t be a troublesome teenager, because she’s only 9 right now. However, that also means Melissa Brennan (now Reeves) has shown up to play someone — so let’s have her arrive as a teenage Melissa Anderson, who will wind up having the stories that the SORASed Jennifer had. Also, if I had my way, I’d give Don Craig an actual exit besides just going to mail a letter and never being seen again — not really the point of this project, but that has always driven me insane!

The revised story: Tom Horton faces a malpractice suit after the death of gang member Speed Selejko’s father, but Alice helps clear him. Megan rigs a hot tub to kill Olivia, but she’s the one who dies after Larry pushes her. Shane and Kimberly fall in love as she helps him with an ISA mission. Pete dates Speed’s sister, Ivy, and Janice gets involved with her married parole officer, Ian Griffith. When Ivy gets pregnant, Pete marries her. The last prism is found during an ice skating show. Stefano kidnaps Marlena’s twins; Marlena shoots Stefano, who falls to his death. She goes on trial but the charges are dropped. Eugene wants to marry Calliope (who is the real brain behind Anna’s designs), but his mother objects, so he marries Madeline Rutherford instead. Olivia is shot and goes into a coma; she and Larry divorce, and Bo proposes. Tony doesn’t want Jasmine modeling for Anna DiMera Designs. Anna has a fling with Prince Nicholas Arani, who is murdered by an assassin called The Dragon — who also killed Shane’s first wife, Emma. In London, Emma turns up alive, and when Bo and Olivia capture The Dragon, they are rewarded with a royal wedding. Don Craig accepts a D.A. position in Chicago, which allows him to be closer to Donna and Josh, and leaves Salem. Tony and Anna marry, but she is accused of murdering art dealer Claus Van Zandt. Tony discovers the truth about the murder but vanishes; he later writes Anna to ask for a divorce. Claus, who is alive, is conspiring with Emma Donovan and is later killed for real. Larry Welch goes to prison. Alex and Joanne collude to buy up valuable waterfront property. Tod Chandler returns and works with Savannah Wilder; they are after some microfilm that is accidentally given to Liz. A mystery man with an eyepatch (“Patch”) tries to track down the film for Savannah. Bo knows Patch from years before, when he caught Patch with his girl and they fought, causing Patch to lose his eye. Pete and Janice go on the run with photos that Savannah needs for her boss, powerful Victor Kiriakis. Caroline Brady has a past with Victor and is upset when Kimberly, suffering dizzy spells and possible blindness, turns to him for comfort, as Emma refuses to let Shane go. Abe’s brother, Theo, works with Bo to find out the truth about Savannah’s operation. Mike Horton returns to Salem as a pre-med college student and is concerned about his younger sister, Jennifer, who’s acting out because of their parents’ absence. Maggie is attacked by a hospital rapist. A teenage Melissa Anderson returns to support Maggie. Ivy gives birth to a son, Charlie, but Pete divorces her and gets engaged to Janice. Kim reunites with Shane but discovers that she is pregnant — and the father could be either him or Victor. Shane, Victor, and others look for “The Pawn,” a mysterious figure.

1986

As it happened: Mickey and Maggie remarry in a double wedding ceremony with Melissa and Pete. Mike Horton clashes with Dr. Robin Jacobs, the new head of surgery, but saves her from the hospital rapist — who turns out to be Ian Griffith. Ian targets Melissa. After reconstructive surgery, the Pawn takes the name “John Black” and protects Marlena from Ian, whom they help catch. Eugene and Calliope wed, but he seems to die in a time machine he has built; later he contacts Calliope and tells her he is being forced to work for a mad scientist. When Bo is accused of treason, Hope and Patch go to Stockholm to clear him. They discover Britta Englund alive and rescue her brother Lars from the KGB, so Britta clears Bo’s name. Pregnant Kimberly is horrified when she learns that one of Caroline’s children was fathered by Victor, but it turns out to be Bo. Emma makes it look as though Victor is the baby’s father. Kim has a son, Andrew, and Emma kidnaps him and puts him up for adoption. Robert LeClair returns and turns out to be Robin’s uncle. He has a longstanding feud with her father, Eli. Robert, Mike, and Robin capture Dr. Fred Miller, a Nazi war criminal who has assumed a new identity. Doug Williams returns to Salem. Bo and Hope move into Victor’s mansion and have tension over Bo’s relationship with his father. Hope suffers a miscarriage. Marlena fears that John Black is really Stefano, but he turns out to be Roman, and they renew their vows. Tod dies in a drunk-driving accident, and Liz tries to blame Pete for over-serving him, but she realizes Savannah is really to blame. Liz eventually leaves Neil and Noelle behind for a Hollywood career. Abe gets involved with Marlena’s college friend, Tamara Price. Mickey is elected D.A., but Doug loses the mayoral race to Alex. Emma and Alex marry. Patch (a.k.a. Steve Johnson) tails Kayla, but their relationship turns to actual attraction. Patch and Kayla help street kids Frankie and Max, and Kayla is impressed when Patch gets mute Max to speak. Jennifer dates troubled Glenn Gallagher, but Frankie develops feelings for her. Melissa falls for ballet dancer Lars. She and Pete finally split, and he leaves town. Robin, who’s Jewish, marries Dr. Mitch Kauffman, but the marriage fails and she leaves him for Mike. Kim and Shane work together to find baby Andrew. A couple named Paul and Barbara Stewart adopt the baby and name him Teddy. Bo, Steve, and Britta’s tattoos prove to be the key to some missing treasury bonds, sending everyone to Stockholm again. Britta is shot and killed. A criminal named Orpheus wants revenge on Roman for killing his wife in a shootout, and Marlena appears to die in an explosion set by Orpheus. Hope worries about Bo’s allegiance to Victor and discovers she is pregnant again. Kayla feels betrayed when she learns that Steve was paid to tail her. A mystery girl, Adrienne, follows Patch. Emma dies of an apparent drug overdose — but is it really murder?

Notes: We have to age down the whole Mike and Robin story so it’s appropriate for college students, but the broad beats can remain the same. You know, a subtle college romance about Nazi war criminals (what a weird story to bring Robert back for, by the way). Here’s where things get a bit confusing, too — we’ve given Real Melissa’s story to Janice, and Real Jennifer’s story to Melissa (who’s being played by someone named Melissa). You’ll also notice the brief mention of Abe’s relationship with Tamara Price; that one sentence is what we have to blame for Lani in the present day!

The revised story: Mickey and Maggie remarry in a double wedding ceremony with Janice and Pete. Mike Horton clashes with Robin Jacobs, a fellow pre-med student assigned to the same research project, but saves her from the hospital rapist — who turns out to be Ian Griffith. Ian targets Janice. After reconstructive surgery, the Pawn takes the name “John Black” and protects Marlena from Ian, whom they help catch. Eugene and Calliope wed, but he seems to die in a time machine he has built; later he contacts Calliope and tells her he is being forced to work for a mad scientist. When Bo is accused of treason, Olivia and Patch go to Stockholm to clear him. They discover Britta Englund alive and rescue her brother Lars from the KGB, so Britta clears Bo’s name. Pregnant Kimberly is horrified when she learns that one of Caroline’s children was fathered by Victor, but it turns out to be Bo. Emma makes it look as though Victor is the baby’s father. Kim has a son, Andrew, and Emma kidnaps him and puts him up for adoption. Robert LeClair returns and turns out to be Robin’s uncle. He has a longstanding feud with her father, Eli. Robert, Mike, and Robin capture Dr. Fred Miller, a Nazi war criminal who has assumed a new identity. Doug Williams returns to Salem. Bo and Olivia move into Victor’s mansion and have tension over Bo’s relationship with his father. Olivia suffers a miscarriage. Marlena fears that John Black is really Stefano, but he turns out to be Roman, and they renew their vows. Tod dies in a drunk-driving accident, and Liz tries to blame Pete for over-serving him, but she realizes Savannah is really to blame. Liz eventually leaves Neil and Noelle behind for a Hollywood career. Abe gets involved with Marlena’s college friend, Tamara Price. Mickey is elected D.A., but Doug loses the mayoral race to Alex. Emma and Alex marry. Patch (a.k.a. Steve Johnson) tails Kayla, but their relationship turns to actual attraction. Patch and Kayla help street kids Frankie and Max, and Kayla is impressed when Patch gets mute Max to speak. Melissa dates troubled Glenn Gallagher, but Frankie develops feelings for her. Janice falls for ballet dancer Lars. She and Pete finally split, and he leaves town. Robin, who’s Jewish, dates graduate student Mitch Kauffman, but the relationship fails and she leaves him for Mike. Kim and Shane work together to find baby Andrew. A couple named Paul and Barbara Stewart adopt the baby and name him Teddy. Bo, Steve, and Britta’s tattoos prove to be the key to some missing treasury bonds, sending everyone to Stockholm again. Britta is shot and killed. A criminal named Orpheus wants revenge on Roman for killing his wife in a shootout, and Marlena appears to die in an explosion set by Orpheus. Olivia worries about Bo’s allegiance to Victor and discovers she is pregnant again. Kayla feels betrayed when she learns that Steve was paid to tail her. A mystery girl, Adrienne, follows Patch. Emma dies of an apparent drug overdose — but is it really murder?

491ece8036dde986cda9e7fff7718d88Pete Jannings (Michael Leon) marries Janice Barnes (Lisa Trusel)
in our new version of Salem history.

1987

As it happened: Kim stands trial for Emma’s murder and is found guilty, but before Barbara Stewart dies, she admits not only that baby Teddy is really Andrew, but that she tried to kill Emma that night. Kim gets Andrew back. Victor fights for custody, but Andrew is proven to be Shane’s. Shane’s partner, Gillian, later admits to killing Emma. Gillian’s twin, Grace, dates Neil. Mike considers converting to Judaism for Robin, and they get engaged. Victor’s nephew, Justin, is jealous of Bo. Hope and Bo welcome a son, Shawn Douglas, and set out on a world cruise. Orpheus is holding Marlena captive. Roman sets out to save her and kills Orpheus, but he watches a plane carrying Marlena crash. Calliope reveals that Eugene left her. Maggie is diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Alex goes to jail for starting a fire to collect insurance money. Abe has a romance with his new police partner, Lexie Brooks. Abe’s younger brother, Jonah, pals around with Carrie Brady. Bill Horton returns and has an affair with a grown Janice Barnes, who is attending medical school. Adrienne turns out to be Patch’s sister and reunites him with their mother, Jo, and abusive father, Duke. When Duke assaults Adrienne, she shoots and kills him; Patch takes the fall when she blocks it out. Adrienne interrupts his trial when she remembers, saving him. She wants to search for the brother, Billy, whom Jo gave up for adoption. Justin has a fling with Anjelica Deveraux, wife of Senator Harper Deveraux, but dates Adrienne. Someone is trying to kill Mike’s old friend, Diana Colville. Robin is shot when a thug comes after a computer disk she has. She breaks up with Mike and leaves town. Many people are after the disk, including Diana’s mother, Serena, who steals it from Victor. Diana begins a relationship with Roman but agrees to marry Victor to keep Serena out of prison. Roman kidnaps her from the wedding. Caroline and Shawn Brady officially adopt Frankie and Max. Frankie and Jennifer become secretly engaged. Steve and Kayla finally make love. Kayla’s old friend, Jack Deveraux, comes to Salem and is treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Melissa falls for Jack, who has eyes for Kayla. Steve discovers that Jack is really Billy Johnson. Since Jack is dying, Steve pushes Kayla away, and she marries Jack. Justin and Adrienne marry, but he gets involved with organized crime and hides it from her. Pimp Nick Corelli recruits troubled teen Eve Baron, who believes she is the daughter of Shane and Emma. Eve accidentally runs over little Sarah Horton in a stolen car and gets probation. Shane’s ex, Gabrielle Pascal, arrives and turns out to be Eve’s true mother. Kim becomes pregnant again. Eve gives Shane and Kim hell. Harper Deveraux tries to poison Kayla, but Alice and Steve get her an antidote. Harper launches a presidential big and frames Melissa for the poisoning. Steve tells Kayla why he left her, and they reunite.

Notes: Nothing too nuts, aside from swapping out the usual names — aside from the return of the actual Janice Barnes, who has something of a love triangle with Bill and Mike Horton (her former adopted uncle and brother/cousin, ugh!). Since that Janice is pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, and also since Mike is younger in the revised story, let’s just make that character a medical student named Lisa who isn’t related to anyone (and the fact that Mike knows her as a fellow student could cause tension between him and Bill). This year also includes the birth of Shawn Douglas Brady; I say he can keep that name, since our newly created Olivia has come to see Doug as something of a father figure, which she’s never had before, and thus wants to honor him by including his name in her son’s.

The revised story: Kim stands trial for Emma’s murder and is found guilty, but before Barbara Stewart dies, she admits not only that baby Teddy is really Andrew, but that she tried to kill Emma that night. Kim gets Andrew back. Victor fights for custody, but Andrew is proven to be Shane’s. Shane’s partner, Gillian, later admits to killing Emma. Gillian’s twin, Grace, dates Neil. Mike considers converting to Judaism for Robin, and they get engaged. Victor’s nephew, Justin, is jealous of Bo. Olivia and Bo welcome a son, Shawn Douglas, and set out on a world cruise. Orpheus is holding Marlena captive. Roman sets out to save her and kills Orpheus, but he watches a plane carrying Marlena crash. Calliope reveals that Eugene left her. Maggie is diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Alex goes to jail for starting a fire to collect insurance money. Abe has a romance with his new police partner, Lexie Brooks. Abe’s younger brother, Jonah, pals around with Carrie Brady. Bill Horton returns and has an affair with a medical student named Lisa, who is a friend of Mike’s. Adrienne turns out to be Patch’s sister and reunites him with their mother, Jo, and abusive father, Duke. When Duke assaults Adrienne, she shoots and kills him; Patch takes the fall when she blocks it out. Adrienne interrupts his trial when she remembers, saving him. She wants to search for the brother, Billy, whom Jo gave up for adoption. Justin has a fling with Anjelica Deveraux, wife of Senator Harper Deveraux, but dates Adrienne. Someone is trying to kill Mike’s old friend, Diana Colville, a woman whom Mike knows from his time away from Salem. Robin is shot when a thug comes after a computer disk she has. She breaks up with Mike and leaves town. Many people are after the disk, including Diana’s mother, Serena, who steals it from Victor. Diana begins a relationship with Roman but agrees to marry Victor to keep Serena out of prison. Roman kidnaps her from the wedding. Caroline and Shawn Brady officially adopt Frankie and Max. Frankie and Melissa become secretly engaged. Steve and Kayla finally make love. Kayla’s old friend, Jack Deveraux, comes to Salem and is treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Janice falls for Jack, who has eyes for Kayla. Steve discovers that Jack is really Billy Johnson. Since Jack is dying, Steve pushes Kayla away, and she marries Jack. Justin and Adrienne marry, but he gets involved with organized crime and hides it from her. Pimp Nick Corelli recruits troubled teen Eve Baron, who believes she is the daughter of Shane and Emma. Eve accidentally runs over little Sarah Horton in a stolen car and gets probation. Shane’s ex, Gabrielle Pascal, arrives and turns out to be Eve’s true mother. Kim becomes pregnant again. Eve gives Shane and Kim hell. Harper Deveraux tries to poison Kayla, but Alice and Steve get her an antidote. Harper launches a presidential big and frames Janice for the poisoning. Steve tells Kayla why he left her, and they reunite.

1988

As it happened: While rescuing Eve from a john, Kim loses her baby. Jack realizes that Kayla loves Steve and rapes her. During a fight with Steve, Jack falls off a roof, and Steve donates a kidney to save him. When Kayla presses rape charges, Jack pleads guilty. Jack discovers he is really Billy Johnson. Eve tries to come between Jennifer and Frankie, who has a fling with his advisor, Paula Carson. Justin breaks ties with Victor when Adrienne becomes pregnant, but she miscarries. Melissa is cleared of poisoning Kayla and becomes infatuated with Justin. Diana inherits a newspaper from her father and gets into a publishing war with Victor. Roman goes undercover to bust the Torres crime family, and Abe helps him fake killing Diana to prove his loyalty. Abe competes with Dr. Marcus Hunter, Steve’s childhood friend, for Lexie Brooks’s affections. Jo undergoes surgery for breast cancer and harbors feelings for Neil, despite his engagement to Grace. Former gang member Emilio Ramirez steals a brooch from the Kiriakises but later bonds with Adrienne. His sister, April, steals cancer meds to help their mother, Rosa. During a rift with Adrienne, Justin sleeps with Anjelica again. She becomes pregnant. Eve is attacked by a knife-wielding assailant and left with a scar on her face that she fears will be permanent. The Riverfront Knifer also attacks Gabrielle, who is comforted by Shane, and then kills Janice. Bill leaves Salem to move closer to Laura’s hospital. The Knifer kills Grace, but her attacker turns out to be a copycat. Harper Deveraux turns out to be the Knifer but later breaks out of jail and flees. Anjelica insists that her baby isn’t Justin’s and marries Neil. Kayla is trapped in a fire and left deaf and mute. She gets her divorce from Jack and plans to marry Steve. At the wedding, her hearing and speech return. During their honeymoon in the Orient, they meet deaf child, Benjy Hawk, whose mother, Ellen, turns up dead in Salem. Roman has Pawn flashbacks and goes into trance states; he meets a kung-fu master, Orion, who allegedly trained him. Orion is Benjy’s grandfather. Shane’s twin brother, Drew, turns out to be a key part of Roman’s mystery. Benjy’s father turns out to be none other than the resurrected Stefano DiMera, who lures a group of Salemites to his private island and taunts Roman and Diana with hints that he has Marlena captive. It turns out to be an imposter. Mike gets involved with April and is a suspect when someone pulls Rosa’s life-support plug; it turns out that it was April and Emilio’s dad, Monty, who goes to jail. Adrienne has an affair with Emilio. Jealous Justin rigs a barn explosion to kill Emilio, but Adrienne is trapped inside and Justin is left paralyzed. Emilio and Jennifer get closer. Carrie Brady gets to know Emilio and April’s younger brother, Julio. Tom and Alice learn that their marriage was never valid and have a remarriage ceremony. Max’s abusive father, Trent, leaves him with the Bradys. Jack plays dirty in a State Senate race against Mickey. He gets engaged to Melissa for political purposes, but she dumps him at the altar and leaves town. Nick Corelli is presumed dead after his car goes off a cliff and explodes, but later Steve meets a burned man (The Phantom) and discovers it’s Nick.

Notes: For anyone who was watching back then: did these stories feel as convoluted onscreen as they read? I worked off weekly recaps, which I then condensed way down into these, but the action still feels so overly complicated. Anyway, it’s Lisa, not Janice, who is killed by the Riverfront Knifer. Carrie Brady is only about 11 at this point, but nothing about her little sub-story with Julio Ramirez really needs to change in terms of the general idea. We also meet Benjy Hawk, who’s a child here and will prove useful later on. Mike’s story has sort of leveled out and works just as well for a 20-year-old as it would for a 30-year-old, so we’re in the clear there.

The revised story: While rescuing Eve from a john, Kim loses her baby. Jack realizes that Kayla loves Steve and rapes her. During a fight with Steve, Jack falls off a roof, and Steve donates a kidney to save him. When Kayla presses rape charges, Jack pleads guilty. Jack discovers he is really Billy Johnson. Eve tries to come between Jennifer and Frankie, who has a fling with his advisor, Paula Carson. Justin breaks ties with Victor when Adrienne becomes pregnant, but she miscarries. Janice is cleared of poisoning Kayla and becomes infatuated with Justin. Diana inherits a newspaper from her father and gets into a publishing war with Victor. Roman goes undercover to bust the Torres crime family, and Abe helps him fake killing Diana to prove his loyalty. Abe competes with Dr. Marcus Hunter, Steve’s childhood friend, for Lexie Brooks’s affections. Jo undergoes surgery for breast cancer and harbors feelings for Neil, despite his engagement to Grace. Former gang member Emilio Ramirez steals a brooch from the Kiriakises but later bonds with Adrienne. His sister, April, steals cancer meds to help their mother, Rosa. During a rift with Adrienne, Justin sleeps with Anjelica again. She becomes pregnant. Eve is attacked by a knife-wielding assailant and left with a scar on her face that she fears will be permanent. The Riverfront Knifer also attacks Gabrielle, who is comforted by Shane, and then kills Lisa. Bill leaves Salem to move closer to Laura’s hospital. The Knifer kills Grace, but her attacker turns out to be a copycat. Harper Deveraux turns out to be the Knifer but later breaks out of jail and flees. Anjelica insists that her baby isn’t Justin’s and marries Neil. Kayla is trapped in a fire and left deaf and mute. She gets her divorce from Jack and plans to marry Steve. At the wedding, her hearing and speech return. During their honeymoon in the Orient, they meet deaf child, Benjy Hawk, whose mother, Ellen, turns up dead in Salem. Roman has Pawn flashbacks and goes into trance states; he meets a kung-fu master, Orion, who allegedly trained him. Orion is Benjy’s grandfather. Shane’s twin brother, Drew, turns out to be a key part of Roman’s mystery. Benjy’s father turns out to be none other than the resurrected Stefano DiMera, who lures a group of Salemites to his private island and taunts Roman and Diana with hints that he has Marlena captive. It turns out to be an imposter. Mike gets involved with April and is a suspect when someone pulls Rosa’s life-support plug; it turns out that it was April and Emilio’s dad, Monty, who goes to jail. Adrienne has an affair with Emilio. Jealous Justin rigs a barn explosion to kill Emilio, but Adrienne is trapped inside and Justin is left paralyzed. Emilio and Melissa get closer. Carrie Brady gets to know Emilio and April’s younger brother, Julio. Tom and Alice learn that their marriage was never valid and have a remarriage ceremony. Max’s abusive father, Trent, leaves him with the Bradys. Jack plays dirty in a State Senate race against Mickey. He gets engaged to Janice for political purposes, but she dumps him at the altar and leaves town. Nick Corelli is presumed dead after his car goes off a cliff and explodes, but later Steve meets a burned man (The Phantom) and discovers it’s Nick.

7bafec466ae94d49d713108d451ebabfAn unlikely supercouple forms with the pairing of
Jack (Matt Ashford) and Melissa (Melissa Brennan Reeves).

1989

As it happened: Roman and Diana’s plans to marry hit a snag over having Marlena declared legally dead. Benjy leaves Salem to live with Orion. Jack takes a controlling interest in Diana’s paper, The Spectator. Caroline Brady suffers two heart attacks. Adrienne dumps Justin after finding out he planned the barn “accident.” Anjelica has a son, whom Victor strong-arms her into naming Alexander. Victor manipulates Neil back into gambling. Cal Winters arrives and claims to be Diana’s husband, though she denies it. Roman is shot during a struggle; Cal is accused, but Diana undergoes hypnosis and remembers shooting Roman. She leaves town abruptly. Eugene Bradford returns but fears for Calliope’s safety. Nick hides out in an abandoned mansion, but his former associate, kidnaps Eve and stashes her there, too. Nick reveals himself to her as The Phantom and keeps her safe. He helps Shane rescue her but is stopped before he can leave town. Robin Jacobs returns with Mike’s son, Jeremy, and squares off with April over Mike. April and Nick marry. Robin accepts an out-of-town job and leaves with Jeremy. Nick becomes terminally ill, and April stands by him even when he lapses into a coma. Victor slips Justin drugs to render him impotent. Kim gets a radio talk show but is stalked by her assistant, Adam; Cal saves her. Shane goes missing while on an ISA mission. Jennifer wants to help Sally, an old classmate who gives birth in jail, and fosters her baby, Hannah — with help from Jack. Preacher Saul Taylor comes to town with his daughter, Faith, who goes blind when Saul’s tent collapses. Marcus searches for his parents. Steve has eye surgery so he can go undercover sans patch, but Colonel Jericho’s men kidnap him and toss him in with a kidnapped Shane. Marcus remembers that Saul and Jericho bombed a black church when he was a child. Saul and Jericho are killed in an explosion. Tom and Alice’s great-great-grandson, Scott Banning, arrives and shows interest in Faith — both for her singing ability and otherwise. Emilio and Jack are both interested in Jennifer, but a drunk Jack confesses to Jen that he doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. Shane is presumed dead but has amnesia; he’s taken in by a woman named Rebecca Downey and tries to protect her from her husband, Arthur. In Salem, Kim and Cal try to help a lost girl, Patty, who turns out to be Rebecca’s stepdaughter. Rebecca learns Shane’s true identity but keeps it from him. Shane makes it back to Salem, only to find Kim with Cal. Justin hires hooker Yvette Dupres to seduce Victor. She develops a bond with Roman, who is shocked when he learns she’s a hooker and lets her accept Victor’s marriage proposal. Adrienne lies about being pregnant to reunite with Justin, but scheming Anjelica outs the lie. A mysterious woman turns out to be Steve’s presumed-dead wife, Marina Toscano, and she coerces him into coming to Italy with her to find a key she lost. Kayla discovers she’s pregnant. Victor shows up in Italy and wants the key, too. In the fray, Steve’s eye is re-injured. Jack becomes curious about Marina’s sister, Isabella, who is locked up in Bayview Sanitarium. Victor threatens to harm Kayla if he doesn’t get the key. Marina is found murdered.

Notes: This year presents some of the biggest SORASing fuckery in the history of Days of Our Lives: the introduction of a young adult Scotty Banning, Julie’s grandson, who should only be 12, while his father, David, should be about 21 now. Luckily, the simple fix is to say that Rick Hearst, who played Scotty, is playing David at his actual, chronological age. We also have the start of supercouple Jack and Jennifer, who in our alternate reality are Jack and Melissa. Oh, and Mike is actually old enough to have a kid, so Jeremy Horton’s 1988 birthdate can stand.

As it happened: Roman and Diana’s plans to marry hit a snag over having Marlena declared legally dead. Benjy leaves Salem to live with Orion. Jack takes a controlling interest in Diana’s paper, The Spectator. Caroline Brady suffers two heart attacks. Adrienne dumps Justin after finding out he planned the barn “accident.” Anjelica has a son, whom Victor strong-arms her into naming Alexander. Victor manipulates Neil back into gambling. Cal Winters arrives and claims to be Diana’s husband, though she denies it. Roman is shot during a struggle; Cal is accused, but Diana undergoes hypnosis and remembers shooting Roman. She leaves town abruptly. Eugene Bradford returns but fears for Calliope’s safety. Nick hides out in an abandoned mansion, but his former associate, kidnaps Eve and stashes her there, too. Nick reveals himself to her as The Phantom and keeps her safe. He helps Shane rescue her but is stopped before he can leave town. Robin Jacobs returns with Mike’s son, Jeremy, and squares off with April over Mike. April and Nick marry. Robin accepts an out-of-town job and leaves with Jeremy. Nick becomes terminally ill, and April stands by him even when he lapses into a coma. Victor slips Justin drugs to render him impotent. Kim gets a radio talk show but is stalked by her assistant, Adam; Cal saves her. Shane goes missing while on an ISA mission. Melissa wants to help Sally, an old classmate who gives birth in jail, and fosters her baby, Hannah — with help from Jack. Preacher Saul Taylor comes to town with his daughter, Faith, who goes blind when Saul’s tent collapses. Marcus searches for his parents. Steve has eye surgery so he can go undercover sans patch, but Colonel Jericho’s men kidnap him and toss him in with a kidnapped Shane. Marcus remembers that Saul and Jericho bombed a black church when he was a child. Saul and Jericho are killed in an explosion. Tom and Alice’s great-grandson, David Banning, arrives and shows interest in Faith — both for her singing ability and otherwise. Emilio and Jack are both interested in Melissa, but a drunk Jack confesses to Melissa that he doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. Shane is presumed dead but has amnesia; he’s taken in by a woman named Rebecca Downey and tries to protect her from her husband, Arthur. In Salem, Kim and Cal try to help a lost girl, Patty, who turns out to be Rebecca’s stepdaughter. Rebecca learns Shane’s true identity but keeps it from him. Shane makes it back to Salem, only to find Kim with Cal. Justin hires hooker Yvette Dupres to seduce Victor. She develops a bond with Roman, who is shocked when he learns she’s a hooker and lets her accept Victor’s marriage proposal. Adrienne lies about being pregnant to reunite with Justin, but scheming Anjelica outs the lie. A mysterious woman turns out to be Steve’s presumed-dead wife, Marina Toscano, and she coerces him into coming to Italy with her to find a key she lost. Kayla discovers she’s pregnant. Victor shows up in Italy and wants the key, too. In the fray, Steve’s eye is re-injured. Jack becomes curious about Marina’s sister, Isabella, who is locked up in Bayview Sanitarium. Victor threatens to harm Kayla if he doesn’t get the key. Marina is found murdered.

We made it through the 1980s! Here’s where we stand: Mike Horton and David Banning are both their real ages and involved in story. Hope Williams is a teenager, while Olivia is off sailing the world with Bo. Melissa is on the verge of supercoupledom with Jack, and Janice is getting all the B-level stories that went to Melissa in the real story (but at least she didn’t sleep with her uncle and then get murdered!). Jennifer is also still a preteen. That actually wasn’t as painful as I imagined it might be — but the 90s are going to be one headache after another.

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8 Comments on “The Great Salem Un-SORASing Project, Part 2”

  1. Shea Says:

    “For anyone who was watching back then: did these stories feel as convoluted onscreen as they read?”

    That is difficult to answer. In my opinion, in the late 80s the storytelling on Days was a true work of art. The storylines would be woven together so masterfully and seamlessly with so many layers, twists, and turns. (Perhaps they were doing this before 85 but 85 was the year I got my VCR and started recording the show to watch every afternoon instead of just catching it on school breaks and sick days so that is when it became evident to me.) They used existing relationships between characters to help weave the stories together. The problem that happened in 1988 (which is the year where you specifically asked the above question) is that they introduced so many new characters that they no longer had as many of the existing connections between characters to work off of so the stories started to feel a bit more isolated than before. To be fair, Marlena had “died”, Bo and Hope had sailed off into the sunset, and Robin had broken up with Mike and left town. So you had just lost 2 super couples and another very compelling love story from the canvas so there was a bit of a re-setting going on in that 87-88 time frame. They did a good job of introducing that many new characters and linking them to existing characters on the canvas but there is a limit to how many of those relationships you can manufacture and once the character is introduced you still have to find a way to weave them into the stories on the canvas…and that is where it feels a bit convoluted.

    On the current show, as opposed to the show we had in the 80s, the characters and stories feel totally isolated and the storytelling is much more simplistic than it used to be. I miss the storytelling of the 80s. They managed to give us long range storylines that seemed like they would never end but along the way we would get so many smaller story arcs that it kept things moving along so masterfully that you didn’t even realize how slowly the other story was unfolding.

    I am sure I will add comments later after I read it all again but this has all been very entertaining. Thanks.

    • mykleraus Says:

      That makes sense. Thanks. I definitely agree about the storytelling having become much more simplistic. I think that started in the mid-90s (the JER era), where the central conflict of the story — “Will Kristen’s lies be found out?” “Will Gina turn out to be Hope?” — was basically ALL anyone talked about for months on end, rather than those things pulsing in the background as a more contained arc played out in the forefront. I also think the lack of long-term planning really hurts; the shorter arcs are just shorter arcs, and if we’re lucky, they get referenced later on, but it’s been a long time since one story flowed seamlessly into the next, and that one into another, and you realized that it was actually all one BIG story.

      Another drawback of using and writing recaps instead of watching, of course, is that a lot of the nuance is lost. There’s a lot more attention given to the action about the disk or the bonds or whatever than there is to the emotional undercurrent of what the characters were doing.

      • Shea Says:

        I have said for years that I don’t think the younger viewers that make up the ever important target demographic, have the attention spans required for the old style of storytelling. Considering how fragile the future of daytime is nowadays it would be very risky to try it now.

        It’s interesting that you point to the mid-90s as the point where the storytelling style shifted. As I have said I started watching on school breaks around 81 and became obsessed in 85 when I had the ability to record and watch every day. I was watching all of the NBC soaps at that point but Days was always my show of choice. I admit that when Steve died in 91 I lost a little of my overall passion for the show but I still watched religiously until 95. In 95 I graduated from college so I joined the real world and I guess watching Days started to become less of a priority but after Marlena’s possession my interest really started fading. I kept watching pretty regularly until probably 98 or so but Stephen Nichols had joined General Hospital in 96 and I had started watching GH…plus Days had become the Sami show and I just couldn’t take it so GH became my show of choice at the time.

        I was only an occasional viewer from 1998 until late summer/early fall of 2015. If they would just star putting the natural connections between characters to use in the story I think it would be an improvement. We still haven’t had a scene between Steve and Adrienne since his return and we have no indication that he knows that Jo or Adrienne has had any kind of health scare. But I guess we would have to see Adrienne more than once a month for that to happen. If they would just stop isolating characters and use the connections and relationships that already exist between the characters we would have a much more cohesive show even if we never get the woven tapestry of storytelling we used to have.

      • mykleraus Says:

        One of the things I actually enjoyed about the 2009-2011 and 2012-2015 regimes was that those interactions DID happen. I remember being shocked in 2009 when people were suddenly interacting with people outside their storylines all the time. Some of it was probably a function of budget and logistics — “We have to use these people because we don’t have anyone else!” — but it really opened the writing and made some not-so-great stories way more tolerable. My enjoyment goes way, way down when everyone’s trapped in his or her own storyline bubble. The current Hope stuff is ridiculous. She hasn’t had any sort of reaction to the New Year’s car accident. She must know it happened by now, but we haven’t seen her check on Jennifer or express concern for Eric or reflect on how she also lost Zack because of a careless driving mistake. It’s bad writing.

      • Shea Says:

        Hope did visit Eric at the hospital right before he was released. He said something like “I took a life, I deserve to be punished for it” and we saw Hope have a look of guilt on her face. Then we had Joey call Steve saying he was drunk and after remembering what happened with Eric he didn’t want to ride his motorcycle drunk. So at least last week the bubble broke for a few minutes.

      • mykleraus Says:

        Oh, I forgot about that Hope/Eric scene. I did appreciate that, but it was such a random blip — “Gotta get out of the house while my kid throws a party, so I’ll put on this leather halter and go visit my nephew who’s going down for vehicular homicide!” But yeah, they did at least touch on it.

        I meant to reference this in a post and didn’t, but I really appreciated Joey’s reference to Eric. That was the kind of crossover I’d like to see more of!


  2. […] 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 […]


  3. […] 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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