Raise a glass of scotch for Days of Our Lives this weekend, as the surreal soap will be celebrating its whopper 50th anniversary on Sunday November 8. I was lucky enough to visit the studio set in LA the other week, and got talk to a few of the cast members who have survived the show through instances of flesh-eating bacteria, evil twins and plane crashes. But what are their absolute favourite bonkers plot-lines of all time? Take your pick of any of these from the last half century of mayhem.
Billy Flynn (Chad DiMera)
“Oh, definitely the alien arrival storyline. That was real crazy stuff, stuff that wasn’t in the realm of normal human life.”
What Billy is referring to here is the story of twins Rex and Cassie Brady, who arrived in Salem during a meteor shower on the fourth of July. Naked and afraid, their neon-coloured chrysalis slowly opened to reveal their slimy bodies, not unlike the gross fuel-cells in The Matrix. Over time it is revealed that they are actually humans held captive by a mad scientist, with DiMera family tattoos and everything. What a way to make an entrance though, eh.
Vivian Joivani (Ciara Brady)
“I always loved the big cruise ship scene. There was a bomb onboard, and Bo had to throw everyone in the water. I remember people talking about it and I couldn’t believe how cool it looked.”
Vivian’s favourite storyline of all time is the Titanic of Days of Our Lives: the great ‘Cruise of Deception’ storyline from 1990. One of the most ambitious cliffhanger stories ever dreamt up on the show, this ill-fated cruise was billed as a miniseries and even given a special theme tune. So, what else happened before a whole lot of people nearly drowned? Someone died in a vat of acid (that turned out later to be a magic trick), someone slowly poisoned someone else, and someone found out their Dad wasn’t their real Dad.
Casey Moss (JJ Devereaux)
“I love the serial killer storylines, and I love what the latest one is going to turn into”
Eat your heart out Ferndale Strangler, Days of Our Lives was the pioneer of the batshit serial killer story, an excellent example of which was in 2004 – the height of the Salem Stalker storyline. How to even describe what happened here? People started dropping like flies around Salem in various extreme ways such as being mauled by a tiger, or death by donuts. Except – none of them actually died, and were found months later on an island called Melaswen (New Salem). It’s arguably more confusing than Lost, made even more so when you hear the characters themselves try to explain it.
At the moment, Days of Our Lives is in the throes of a new necktie-based killer, stalking the unsuspecting victims of Salem with a silk tie of his or her choosing. They’ve already killed off the beloved Will Horton, so who knows what’s coming next?
Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker)
“Take your pick: I’ve been in a coma, I went to jail, I’ve stolen children, I gave my best friend a flesh-eating bacterial disease, I’ve married a man for money”
Nicole Walker has certainly had one of the more dramatic lives on the show, bar being buried in a sarcophagus and resurrected like Suzanne Rogers. As a fan has lovingly composed, the above video shows her stealthily stealing a local baby, before dyeing her hair and taking on a new identity.
Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady)
“Probably the Princess Gina storyline. was playing many different characters – a princess, not a princess, young and aged. It was a real rollercoaster.“
From what I can gather, there was a period of time in the early 2000s where Kristian Alfonso played two characters – Hope DiMera and Princess Gina Von Amberg. She was trained art thief and forgery expert, who found herself locked in the turret of a castle after falling into a deep depression. Descending into madness, she gets plastic surgery to look like Hope and then moves to Salem to impersonate her. Like a terrifying version of The Parent Trap.
Galen Gering (Rafe Hernandez)
“My favourite storyline has got to be Marlena’s possession – that was pretty funny”
That’s right, even the Devil himself has made it to Salem at one point or another. 1995 saw the first ever demonic possession storyline in a soap opera, and lucky Marlena stepped up (and into the air) as guinea pig. Captured by a criminal mastermind, Marlena is fed brain-bending drugs and slowly loses her own personality – making room for the devil himself. Levitating high above her bed with a gravelling male voice and white eyeballs, a priest is promptly called in to exorcise this new breed of soap demon. Look out Chris Warner.
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