NBC's Days of Our Lives won't technically celebrate its 50th anniversary until November 8, but venerable suds bible Soap Opera Digest is getting the celebration started early!
SOD has released a special "Days of Our Lives Turns 50" edition in honor of the Corday family soap's milestone. I caught up with editor Stephanie Sloane to get the scoop on the magazine's labor of love.
Daytime Confidential: Your Days of Our Lives 50th Anniversary special edition is such a great read! How long did it take to put it together?
Stephanie Sloane: Thank you so much! It took six weeks from start to finish.
DC: The book has interviews with pretty much every bold-faced name who ever appeared on the soap. Was it daunting assembling the list of actors to chat with?
SS: I wouldn’t say daunting, but it is pretty incredible when you look at how many daytime icons and popular stars are/were on this show. Whenever we thought the list was complete, we remembered someone else who needed to be included. I am happy to say that everyone was so responsive and generous with their time and memories. It was actually daunting to have to cut/edit to fit on the page because we had so much great material. As someone who has watched the show for over 30 years, I have to admit that I got chills at times when I was interviewing some of the actors because DAYS has been such a huge part of their lives, and their appreciation of it was really heartwarming. I had quite a few actors who got choked up remembering their co-stars who had passed away or when they would try to put into words how much DAYS has meant to them. It was a very sentimental experience, and I think I can speak for everyone here when I say it was also a real labor of love. The real daunting task was cutting down to to the 14 covers that we put on the last page!
DC: One aspect of Soap Opera Digest I've always loved are the timelines. It's such a head trip to see how a show's identity changed year-after-year. DAYS started off in 1965 as this angsty drama about a doctor's family. It went on to include everything from a brother raping his sister-in-law, to people being buried alive, possessed by Satan and "alien" twins arriving during a meteor shower! From a journalist's perspective, how do you think it's managed to survive and thrive during so many incarnations?
SS: I feel that many DAYS fans like myself started watching the show during the time when it was less outrageous, and more traditional, and developed such affection for the characters and the supercouple romances that you couldn’t help but want to follow along when the show detoured into its more headline-grabbing tales. Marlena (Deidre Hall) had already been on the show for almost 20 years when she was possessed by the devil, so the audience knew Marlena, and was very invested her. If they had done the same story with a newer face at the time, I don’t know that it would have been as successful. For people who started watching in the 90's, that kind of storytelling was their expectation, in a sense, so they’ve been satisfied on that level for over two decades. But when people talk to me about DAYS, it’s usually about their favorite couples, old and new, and there’s a passion there that has kept them watching. It’s also interesting to note that other than B&B, DAYS is really the only remaining show that is still tracing the journey of its original core family.
DC: SOD chose to publish their 50th anniversary DAYS edition in the winter of 2015, yet the anniversary isn't until November. What made you decide to do it so early?
SS: Digest publishes one special a year, and this is the time it was scheduled to be on sale. We’re getting the party started!
"Days of Our Lives Turns 50" is on newsstands now.