In three days, Days of Our Lives will celebrate 50 years on television. 50 years! In a world where shows are lucky to last five episodes, this is such a huge milestone – one that speaks volumes of the impact and significance of this show, not only for daytime TV, but for entertainment as a whole.
Last week I got my copy of Days of Our Lives 50 Years – a beautiful coffee table book by Greg Meng that chronicles this show over the past five decades. As I flipped through the book, literally page by page, I was blown away. First, as someone who has been fortunate enough to be a part of the show, it was like looking through my own family album. But more so, as a fan of the show (and I am a fan), it was an emotional walk down memory lane. I sat with that book for hours, taking in every page, and feeling such a sense of pride and honor to have been a part of this truly amazing show.
Looking at the pictures and thinking back on those early years brings such a crazy stream of memories – some seem like yesterday and others are a blur that seem like forever ago. I think for me, working in this business has been like having kids. You’re so busy and engulfed in the moment that you hardly have time to take it all in … it’s hard to imagine anything but the moment you’re in.
But some things stick out over years. Like the “Lady in Red” scene Stephen and I did . Those sorts of music/dance scenes are always funny. There isn’t really any music playing, and you’re trying to get the moves right and trying not to be too dorky. With that scene, I remember Stephen picking me up and then putting me down on this table … only he put me down on the corner of the table and it totally goosed me. (see video here at about 1:08) Watching that scene now it looks like Kayla breaks out into a huge smile, but that’s really me barely keeping the lid on.
Or some of those really early scenes – I always seemed to be wet for some reason. I remember one on the doorstep of Steve’s basement apartment. It was raining, and there I am getting dowsed with water, and by the time the door opened, all my mascara was running down my face and in my eyes. Next thing I heard was “Cut.” (see video here)
And I remember laughing. Laughing is totally a stress reliever for me, and no one makes me laugh like Stephen. Not necessarily because he’s a jokester, but him and the stress … always seem to be a perfect storm for me. Back in the day I remember Al Rabin would call over the loud speaker when we were on set asking if we needed them to move on (past) our scene and come back later if we couldn’t stop laughing. Needless to say we always pulled it together. Now, we’ll be running lines and I’ll say something and Stephen will say, “No no, that’s not proper English,” or “That doesn’t make any sense.” Or sometimes we’re running the scenes over and over and something happens and it’s like we step outside of ourselves for a second and hear what we’re talking about … it really can be so funny, and we’ll just lose it.
I’ve said it before, but I am so, so lucky to work with Stephen. He really is one of my best friends. We are so connected, and I really do believe that’s part of what makes Steve & Kayla so special. Sometimes, I’ll be so crazy memorizing and so worried that I don’t have it; but right before we go on Stephen and I will just stop, look at each other, take a breath and connect … let go of all “noise” and focus on what’s ahead in a scene. It sounds like nothing, but it makes a huge difference.
This books also reminds me, as an actor, what a gift working in daytime is. It’s so fast-paced, and while maybe with more takes we could experiment and find more nuanced performances, moving at our pace forces everyone to rise to the occasion.
Another piece of that gift is the people … the relationships you create. At Days, we have such a tremendous cast. They just seem to bring on really good, family-oriented people, and I gravitate toward that. Billy Flynn, Galen Gering, Eric Martsolf and Greg Vaughn … I love working with those guys and hearing about their families. And I always love having scenes with Kristian Alfonso or Missy Reeves – we’ve known each other so long it truly is like working with family.
And it reminds me of the amazing people I’ve gotten to work with in the past too, like Richard Biggs and Jane Elliott. When I first left Days and then got offered General Hospital, I wasn’t sure if I could do it … if I could go to a new show and play this bad girl. But I remember Jane said to me, “You know what, just do it. Take the leap and try it.” And she was so right – I ended up there for seven years. And then that led to As the World Turns, and in each one of those experiences I had the opportunity to meet and work with amazing people.
When you’re let go, it seems so terrible – you’re out in the cold and you don’t know what’s ahead. But, as I’ve shared with several of the younger cast members, all of those experiences have led me to the next thing. I always tell them, there are great things out there … great things are ahead.
This week, I’m also celebrating 30 years of marriage with my husband. It’s funny, because while we live a very non-Hollywood life, so much of our married life intertwines with my time at Days. I had only been married six months when I started at Days; and just the other day I found two old polaroids of me, on a set at our old Sunset & Gower studio, holding flowers Michael sent me for our first anniversary. Wow, 29 more since then and here I am … still at Days.
For our anniversary, my husband and I had planned a trip to Cuba. Unfortunately, we scheduled it at the same time as the Days book tour, so I was disappointed not to be able to join my cast mates as they traveled to meet our amazing fans across the country. At the last minute, our trip fell through, and while I was able to make it to the L.A. book signing, it was too late to join the rest of the tour. Let me tell you, sitting at home and seeing all of the fun Instagram photos and tweets … I was so sad not to be with them. But, I’m excited to take part in next weekend’s Day of Days celebration – and I hope to see many of you there!
By the way, I can’t tell you how much I have been enjoying all of the pictures and videos the fans have been sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I don’t always remember all of those beautiful moments from the the past, but then I see these movie clips, beautiful collages and funny videos and I’m just blown away – by the beautiful story that we’ve created and by the loyal fans who have stayed with us all of these years (not to mention our hair through the years!). Thank you all for the time you’ve taken to create and share these … I love seeing them! (In case you missed them, here are a couple great videos: A Days Supercouple tribute and a hilarious Steve & Kayla video)
And, if you haven’t gotten your copy of Days of Our Lives 50 Years, get one – it really is a beautiful snapshot of an amazing 50 years!