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The Days of our Lives : The True Story of One Family's Dream and the Untold History of Days of our Lives
On a November day almost forty-five years ago, the first episode of Days of our Lives appeared on the NBC Network, NBC's first color soap opera broadcast. Eleven thousand episodes later, millions excitedly tune in every weekday to watch one of the 260 original one-hour episodes produced each year. What few know though is that the show started as the dream of one family, the Corday family, who still owns and runs the show to this day. These are the days of their lives.
The Days of our Lives is the first insider account of the history behind one of our most beloved soap operas. It is about the family who believed in it, conceived it, and sometimes seemed to live it along with millions of viewers, as they struggled to emerge from nowhere to create and produce one of the most successful and enduring television shows in history.
Ken Corday reveals the triumphs and tragedies behind the scenes over the years, a moving personal story of a family facing everything from death to mental illness, the ever-looming threat of cancellation, and the struggle to keep their dream alive. It is also the story of an extended family--actors, producers, and crew--who formed a bond of love that went beyond just creating a show to establishing a legacy.
You will discover for the first time the true stories behind the show, a story of living a dream and raising a family while things all around you, even fate, seem to conspire against you--and succeeding against all odds.
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March 31, 2010
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Excerpt from The Days of our Lives by Ken Corday
Still dressed in her nightgown, the old woman slowly climbed the stairs to the roof of her Manhattan apartment building. In a dream that was rapidly becoming a nightmare, she had left the confines of the twelfth floor and the pain of another long, despairing weekend to reach her destination at last. It was a clear, bitterly cold Monday morning. She had not eaten in three days, but she had been drinking all the while.
She looked down from the top of the building, fourteen floors to the street below, Central Park West, and thought that she had chosen the right time and place to do the deed (as much as anyone really thinks in such a moment). Cars were starting to pile up at the stoplight on the corner of Ninety-first Street, but there was still little foot traffic. She looked down and, knowing the street was clear, walked to the edge of the roof without hesitation and jumped.
At exactly the same time on that winter morning, a fourth-grade boy, late for school, emerged from the building's lobby and made the most fateful turn of his life. He walked out from under the entry awning and felt the sudden rush of freezing air numb his face. He was aware that something else was not right...something above him had gone haywire. He looked up as he was about to reach the corner, and what he saw indelibly changed his life.
A naked blur of skin and hair whooshed by as she passed him and landed headfirst on the car parked nearest to him. She left most of herself in a splatter of red and pink and gray, and some of herself on his nicely pressed school blazer, white shirt, and tie. He stopped and couldn't move. Moments like this seem to move frame by frame, over in a matter of seconds, but then they last an eternity. She was dead, immediately out of her pain, but his had just begun.
As the police and ambulance sirens began to be heard in the distance, he stood mesmerized. The doorman found him and ushered him back inside. The boy went up to his apartment and rang the doorbell. My mother and I answered the door. We looked out on a face of shock, one that had aged years in the minutes since my older brother had left for school. He explained what had happened. It was only after noticing the residue on his clothes that our mother stopped doubting his story, which at first had seemed to be another excuse for truancy. She ran to the front window of the apartment to see the truth for herself. The truth was hideous.
Spread out over a large bloody circle were the remains of the jumper, now covered by a dark gray New York City Morgue blanket. Even from the fifth floor, the smell of the disinfectant and street cleaner was pungent and sweet at the same time. Like cold cream mixed with Lysol...a smell that would forever haunt us. For the rest of our lives, those smells would stop us and remind us of "the incident," as our mother later referred to it in psychiatrists' offices all over Manhattan.
"Oh, God, Chris...Christ Jesus." She hugged him close to her.
"Are you all right?" she asked. Of course he wasn't, as he recounted the entire experience without really saying what he felt. He was emotionally scarred for life.
Our mother, for one of only a few times in her forty years, was dumbstruck, without any words or, for that matter, comprehension. What had happened to her elder son? Why had this nightmare been visited on him, he who was in need of care, love, nurturing, and above all else, really in need of being dealt some new, good cards?
A lot of expectations had been placed on my brother as the firstborn son. But he was always a problem child, tormented by God knows what and always in need of better experiences. He seemed to live under his own storm cloud, and my mother, my father, and I never truly understood why. He was bright and talented but was never really happy with his soul.