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My Sands Through the Hourglass

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.

blog43_3Last 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)

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Always laughing with Stephen

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.

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My Days family: I am grateful to work alongside these amazing, talented and loving people.

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.

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Flowers from my husband on our first anniversary

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.

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Then and Now. #loveeverlasting

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!

 

30 Comments

  1. I have enjoyed the Steve and Kayla storyline ever since my kids got me hooked on DOOL. Since I worked and they were to old for a sitter I gave them the money I would have given the sitter (keep in mind $$ is nothing like it is today) and of course I added more household chores that had to be done for $$$. They watch DOOL. My big concern is that the writers will muddy up the relationship with affairs etc. That is not how S&Ks relationship has been. Their love is supposed to be endearing with statements that were made in the storylines such as Steve saying Kayla, I’ll neve love anyone the way I love you /If you die I die /we’re connected. These are statements I think are glue to this relationship. I also must say the music they played on the show in the 80’s helped in the storylines. It was beautiful. Not so in today’s music.. Thanks to both of you for doing such a great job in your craft. I wish they wouldn’t destroy Adrian and Justin with Eve and Lucas.

    • Stephanie Stehl

      Steve and Kayla’s story means so much to me. Coming of age in the late 80’s watching that onscreen romance made me expect nothing less in a relationship and I am proud to say I have it. The hubs watched growing up too and we are HS sweethearts, grew up around the corner from each other. He calls me sweetness 😍

  2. I have followed Kayla and Steve’ story, from the first time they made love on the roof and have been a follower ever since. I would not have been, accept my children were to old for a babysitter, so I paid them the babysitter allowance to take care of themselves with of course a few added chores at home and they told me I needed to watch DOOL and of course the S&K story especially. I was hooked after that.

    I do hope they don’t muddy up the relationship with affairs etc. as I would like to see the couple be true to their feelings and love such as Steve always telling Kayla they were connected, he would never love anyone else the way he loved her and if Kayla dies he dies.

    You both do a great job with your craft. Thank you so much.

    Barb

  3. Hi Mary Beth, thank you for your tour de force performance on today’s episode of Days…Kayla breaking to Bo the news about his tumor. Incredibly genuine and deeply moving the love felt between two siblings. How did you prepare for this? There was also a moment just before letting Steve hold you in your grief, you gave a brief look that read…”am I really going to let him hold me?” You could see the history of your distrust of Steve in that tiny moment but you didn’t hang on to it, you just let go. You could have left that look out as an actress but it wouldn’t have had the added layer of contextual complexity. Love the subtleties you all bring to the table.

    I was also moved by Bo’s confrontation with his own presumably eminent death and the caring and love expressed between Steve and Bo. You almost never see this level of affection and deep love between straight male friends expressed on television or in the movies (unless it’s a war movie and someone’s buddy is dying on the battlefield). I’d better call my friend with whom I had a falling out! Making me feel guilty now…

    Thanks again for your deeply touching scenes today. The stories are getting good, my heart has been in my throat for the last several episodes.

  4. Mary Beth,
    Thank you for the wonderful blog post. Your memories and experiences bring a smile to my face. I remember going home for lunch, as an elementary school girl during the 1960s, and watching Days with my mother. Almost 50 years for me!
    I saw other comments about people having VCR tapes of shows. I’m sure I still have VCR tapes of the early Steve and Kayla days.
    Congratulations to you and the rest of the cast! Best wishes!

  5. Mary Beth,
    Thank you for your opennes and honesty about your life and especially your time at DOOL. I discovered Days as young girl thanks to my older sister. I was 8 when she introduced me to Days that’s even before your time on the show. I was 11 when you started on the show and I loved you and Steve from the first. Steve and Kayla’s wedding was my favorite, and the way you and Stephen played the deaf storyline prior to it was well done. Much of that storyline inspired my language choice in college, ASL. I was already familiar with sign language at the time, but I chose to further pursue my knowledge of ASL in part due to the deaf storyline.

    By the time you both left I was in high school and until recently didn’t realize how much your final storyline together influenced and affected me. I can’t honestly say I remember watching Steve’s death, but I know I must have. I’ve spent the summer rewatching all the old storylines on YouTube. I realized as I watched the death of Steve that life had imitated art in my own life. My husband of 15 years passed away June 1, and with a friend’s help I made all the decisions concerning the funeral service. And this is where the story gets a little weird at least to me. When I watched Steve’s death storyline, I realized that I chose the same casket that Kayla chose for Steve, same color, same design, brown with simple lines, nothing fancy for Steve or for my husband. I also chose yellow roses to be placed on the casket, 5 to be exact, one for each member of our little family. The resemblances were uncanny and as I tried to watch the whole storyline, I began to cry all over again.

    I just want to say thank you for all your effort that you put in as Kayla. You and Stephen have made an impression on my life. I gave up watching once I got married and started my own family so it wasn’t until recently that I realized Steve and Kayla had returned to DOOL in 2006. I wasn’t going to miss this time, though, and I’m enjoying every scene even though I’m still trying to figure out some of the relationships and who people are. My faves are still Kayla and Steve, and I can’t wait to see you back together again. Thanks again for all you do as an actress for your character and for your fans.

  6. Mary Beth, what a lovely remembrance. I’ve been eating up the anniversary with a spoon. It’s so nice to see your Kayla sharing scenes with Nichols’ Steve again, and to have a real storyline.

    I love how well you’ve played Kayla’s doubt where Caroline’s intuition is concerned, as well as Kayla’s skepticism about Steve’s commitment, and Joey’s growing pains.

    You’ve figured in so many of the stories I’ve loved over the years (I also loved you as KB on GH). Thank you for sharing your memories. It’s obvious you and Stephen have a great acting partnership.

    I just celebrated my 21 anniversary. I was a kid when the Kayla character was introduced, and when you joined as a recast. When I see Kayla on screen, I feel like she’s a friend I’ve yet to meet — that’s because of your genuine performance.

    Please congratulate this writing team on bringing it for the anniversary. The cast has, always, really gone all in. You’ve all reminded me why I’ve watched Days all the days of my life (really have).

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  7. Mary Beth, I finally got to read yesterday’s blog, It was amazing as always!! Thursdays are my favorite days because of PLANK!
    Yesterday morning, I walked down into the lobby of the hostel I am staying at in Berlin, and Lady in Red was playing… which naturally made me play the scene of Kayla and Steve dancing in my head. I found it really funny when I read this post because you mentioned it. Patch and Kayla have always been two of my favorite characters on days, and recently because of the 50th and the reunion of you two, I have gone back and watched alot of the scenes from past years and they never fail to make me smile!
    Such great memories, Thanks for posting!!!

  8. jennifer

    Mary Beth,
    I LOVE this blog!! Thank you so much for sharing both your personal and professional life with your fans. I just received the Days 50th Anniversary Book as a birthday present. Such a great book!! It was so neat to look back through all the pictures and remember the storylines. My 12-year old- came and sat by my side and I was telling her all about the different stories and characters, and any behind-the-scenes info I could remember.

    I think that the writing now is just as good or even better than it was in the 80’s. I can’t remember laughing out loud at a daytime drama since the early days of ‘Steve and Kayla.’ I am thrilled that it is great again!

    Another birthday present is a girls trip to the Day of Days celebration and the brunch next weekend!! My best friend and I are so excited to meet you, Stephen, and so many others from Days!

    Congratulations on your 30th anniversary! That is an amazing accomplishment, especially in this day and age where so many give up at the first sign of a rocky road. Marriage isn’t always easy, but so worth the time and effort you put into it.

    Thank you again for the blog down memory lane. See you next weekend.

  9. Stacey Griffith

    I started watching Days shortly before you came on the show. I remember taping it on those VHS tapes…hoping desperately that no power outages would stop the recording. The Steve and Kayla story grabbed me and I followed it all the way to the day he “died”. Ugh..hated it. I stopped watching when life got crazy-busy with babies and work.

    Two years ago, I was stuck in bed recovering from major back surgery. One day, I turned on the TV to find a soap playing. I thought about my favorite supercouple and Googled your name. To my surprise, I found a vast collection of the old tapes on YouTube and watching them and connecting with other fans helped fill up lots of lonely hours.

    To me, that’s what soaps are all about. Watching them is the perfect escapism. My 11-year old just watched the music video with me and said: “I think that guy looks really hot with the eye patch.” I couldn’t agree more. The next generation of fans are out there…

    Thanks for the memories Mary Beth.

  10. Mary Beth, I have been watching Days since day one, I was 3 yrs old. It was a lunchtime event in my house. My grandmother and my mother watched faithfully everyday and anyone who knew them knew not to call or visit during Days. When I started working I had to record the show and would watch while I ate dinner. I have loved watching you grow up on the show and am happy that you are back. I wish you continued success and look forward to many more years of Kayla and Steve storylines.

  11. Iris Cohen

    Mary Beth,

    You and Stephen Nichols are the reason why I started watching Days of our Lives in 1986. You both are amazing actors and such genuinely gracious human beings. Your characters have meant so much to my life. I hope that does not come across as odd. But it is true. The “Steve and Kayla storyline” has enriched my life and provided so many moments of happiness, sweetness, and excitement; not to mention angst, anxiety, sadness, and frustration at times. But even those moments are okay since I always know those characters belong together and will be together eventually. That is a credit to you as actors.

    I have been privileged to meet you twice (once at Stephen’s farewell luncheon at the Sportsman Lodge and once one year at Day at Days at Universal, City Walk.) There is no way you will remember because I was always super nervous that I could barely get out a few words. I just want you to know that you truly are such a beautiful person and so, so kindhearted. I really admire how happy you are in your life and how you are so devoted to your family and friends.

    I was tremendously upset at Days the first time they decided to rest the character. It was such a poor decision. I even wrote to Soap Opera Digest to express to Ken Corday my disappointment and gave him storyline ideas for “Kayla”. (I have never written a letter before for any actor or show. I have never even written a fan letter.) But you are such a wonderful and talented actress and I could not understand how the show did not make an effort to keep you there at any cost. I knew when Stephen left it was his choice. Though I was sad, I understood. But for some reason, your departure was just not right since I knew it was not something you wanted at the time.

    Yet I was so glad you found other roles and I followed you periodically. Though it just wasn’t the same. I wanted the show to realize what it had lost.

    I was so thrilled to hear that you were going to come back to the show and that Stephen was coming back with you. Then Days made another mistake and wrote out your characters again. Another major incoherent mistake. I even stopped watching for a time. That was a huge deal since I never could imagine not watching Days.

    Thank goodness, Days rectified its error and is back to writing for you and Stephen again. It has been so much fun to seeing you and Stephen again playing your roles. I am so excited again to watch Days and a major reason is because of you and Stephen.

    I wish I was more articulate and able to express how much your characters mean to me. I just want “Steve and Kayla” to be happy and I truly wish you and Stephen only good things. The show needs those characters and more importantly Days needs both of you to be part of the show as long as you wish to be on. Hopefully forever! 🙂

    I concur with the other fans who would love Days to come out with compilation videos of the most important Steve and Kayla scenes. I still have many of my VCR videos with Days episodes stored in the garage and I just can’t part with them. Recently a friend in Australia made me some S & K Cd’s (circa mid to late 80’s) and they are amazing to re-watch. I just wish there was more time in the day.

    Congratulations to both you, Stephen, and Days of our Lives! Happy Anniversary. May the best still be to come.

    Thank you for being so nice and generous with your fans. I really enjoy reading your blogs. You deserve every happiness in the world.

    Sincerely, Iris

  12. susan blackman

    I’ve been watching Days since 1986,I love the show and I love steve and kayla always and forever. I received my Anniversary book today and I am so happy with it. Mary Beth I love your blogs and you are such a wonderful classey lady.

  13. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To another amazing blog. I have watched Days since 1986 when I was 12 years old. I still have all the old VCR tapes my mom recorded for me. Crazy! Steve and Kayla have and will always be my #1. Thank you for all the great pics, interviews, tweets and my personal favorite Instagram takeover. I feel like I’ve been celebrating the 50years along side you. MB&SN are perfection!

  14. I loved on how you saved Bo.

  15. Linda Gibbon

    Iv have been waching this show for a long long time and i would not miss it for the world.If i now im not going to be home i tap it.Love each and every one of you.You all are the bom.best ever

    • Thanks for sharing so many special moments with us. So many can connect to a specific story line and you have been an amazing story teller. Congrats and continue to enjoy the ride.

  16. ronald mikell

    i have seen days since 87 and love it its been great the last few months how can i get a copy of ur 50th book

  17. Mary Beth I love how you say you are a fan of the show too. This post really shows that. For better or worse, the show has been a part of over half my life and it does mean a lot to me. I love the recent changes as well-it really is great again. Thanks for the links to those great fan videos too. They remind us a little bit of why we love the couples on the show and why we love feisty Kayla!

  18. Traci Whiting

    Angie, that would be AWESOME!!!

    Mary Beth,
    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this weeks blog!! I had never seen the hilarious Steve and Kayla vid and it was just that, hilarious!!! I would’ve gone to the Denver book signing if you had been there. I’m just glad I got to meet you in Cañon City, CO back in the early 90’s. I was still in high school. I’ve adored you since then, thanks for always being so great to your fans!

  19. I am one that has watched from the beginning. Terrific post. Thank you Mary Beth!

  20. I’ve been a Days fan since the 80’s.

    Steve & Kayla have always been & will always be my favorite couple. You & Stephen made them what they are…loved & adored by so many.

    You have such chemistry & your friendship just shines through.

    Hearing you both speak about Days not only as actors on the show but real fans, too, make me love it even more. Stephen is so sweet sharing pics & videos for those fans not able to attend the book tour. He didn’t want anyone missing the fun. :))

    I’m excited to be a viewer & celebrate Days50 with you & so many fans on Twitter. It’s a giant party. We all have our love of Days & S&K in common & it’s so much fun to see everyday the pics & tweets celebrating our favorite show & couples.

    Thank you for another great blog & letting us share this special time with you. ( personal & professional )

    Congratulations to everyone involved in making such an incredible show!!

    • Diane Toscano

      Dear Mary Beth,
      I have been watching Days since the beginning. Due to school and then work, I wasn’t able to catch a lot of the episodes in the early days (no VCRs, DVRs, or internet back then). So I would rely on Mom to fill me in each night on what I missed.
      I was a young married woman and stay-at-home Mom when you and Steve came on the show. You both stole my heart, and have been my favorites ever since. Heck, my daughter is named Kayla. “nuff said.
      Thank you, Stephen Nichols, and everyone at Days for 50 memorable years! Here’s to another 50!
      Fondly,
      Diane

  21. Dear Mary Beth,

    THANK YOU for sharing your beautiful heartfelt post. I just had a wonderful trip down memory lane via the links you included. I am SO enjoying the recent story lines and the Bi-Centennial remembrance of all the LOVE in Salem through the years.

    Thanks for taking time from your busy, fulfilling, and active life to share with us, the fans of DOOL and especially of Steve/Patch & Kayla, and of course of yours and Stephen’s.

    I was at such a different point in my life when your love story began on DAYS back in the 80’s….a more similar point to you personally (we recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary), and now we are empty or nearly empty nesters! It will be a joy to watch as the writers bring you and Stephen closer and show us a mature love story of characters in their 50’s, parenting nearly grown or grown children.

    Please thank your cast mates who gave up personal time to travel around the country with the book tour and to meet their fans. I’m not in an area where they toured but enjoyed all the social media posts. My daughter has a lot of friends in NYC and I’m trying to encourage folks to get out and listen to Dyllan at her upcoming gigs in the city.

    Thanks and love to all the Writers/Directors/Cast for making the DAYS 50th Anniversary such a memorable one! My 85 year old Dad is really enjoying it….too bad my mom’s dementia prohibits her from doing the same.

    Best Always,

    Cindi

  22. Donna Mackie

    MARY BETH..I LOVED MEETING DOUG & JULIE AND ABE…& RECONNECTING WITH DEAR ERIC (GREG VAUGHAN☆ my fav) NICOLE. JJ, BRADY, GABI IN PHOENIX..I MISSED YOU!! Good luck at DOD..fans will LOVE meeting you♡♡

  23. Susan Nolen

    Wow!…a great blog this week!….I have watched Days since 85 and in 86 just fell in love Patch & Kayla!…I just adored you & Stephen then at age 15 and still adore you both now at age 46!…what a wonderful show Days has been and I’m proud to say I am still a big fan of DaysofourLives and definitely still a big fan of you Mary Beth & Stephen too!…oh and of course will always be a big fan of Patch & Kayla! I want to say thank you to Days for 50 yrs of great tv and say thank you to you Mary Beth for 30yrs of your wonderful brilliant acting and your sweetness you show to all your fans!

  24. Patricia K

    What an incredible couple weeks you are having. Your 30 year Wedding Anniversary with your husband-Which in itself is amazing. Congratulations – May god bless you with at least 30 more . And now the celebration of 50 years of Days. It must be the most incredible feeling.
    Us Days fans are so thankful to have you and Stephen back in a SL together and we thank you for never hesitating to share with us. Cheers to you and to Days50

  25. Love you, love the show, love the book♥ Thank you so much for bringing the fans along for this wonderful journey!
    p.s. Love plankblog too!!!

  26. Hi Mary Beth,

    I know just how you feel! As an East Coast girl I was thrilled to hear the Days cast would be a short (and worth it) 5 hour trip to NJ. I bought my book and counted down the days. But unfortunately, my husband was unexpectedly hospitalized at the last moment. It was devastating to me as I was so looking forward to it but I know I was where I needed to be.

    Enjoy next week. I keep telling myself I’ll make the west coast trip “one of these Days”!

  27. LOVE seeing all the old videos. I wish Days would release a compilation of all the S&K stuff as a collectors set so we could all enjoy them with better quality & sound.

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