Friday, August 6, 2010

review: the days of our lives by ken corday

In The Days of our Lives, Ken Corday tells the touching story of how his father created the long-running daytime soap and how his mother took over the show when her husband succumbed to cancer. Although Betty Corday had her own radio experience, assuming the helm of Corday Productions was quite the feat, especially, at that time, for a woman. Impressively Betty convinced “NBC that running this show—keeping it on budget and growing more productive—was not much different from running a successful household, which she had done for the past twenty-five years.” The picture Corday paints of his parents shows them to be determined, intelligent, and basically people I would’ve liked to work for (I work in television).

After giving the history of his family and how Days of our Lives got its start, Corday discusses his own path to executive producer (a role he didn’t really want) and briefly touches on the tragic story of his brother, Chris. He reveals that Chris is the reason the show has not had a character commit suicide despite having many outrageous storylines.

There is one particular outrageous storyline that has left me as a viewer with questions and is addressed in the book. That one is the case of the Salem Stalker. Corday claims that then-head writer Jim Reilly knew all along that all the killed off characters would be alive on the island of “Melaswen” (that would be New Salem backwards), but I have doubts as I recall things like Jack’s organs being donated. If the plan was always to have everyone be alive, it seems the “deaths” would have been carried out in such a way as to leave open the possibility that everyone was alive. Furthermore, as Corday admits, the fired actors (with the exception of matriarch Frances Reid) were not told they would be rehired for the reveal which means there was no guarantee they would return. But as Corday is still executive producer and doesn’t want to burn any bridges with people he may work with again, I understand his going along with the official story.

The mix of family history, show history, and the happenings of the present-day ratings game and budget cuts is perfect. Even as a viewer of more than a decade, I learned quite a bit about Days of our Lives. I consider this a must read for fans of the genre and those interested in the history of television.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Sourcebooks.


  1. I use to watch As The World Turns. Sadly, I never got in to Days of Our Lives. Still, I would love to read the book. The review is very interesting.

  2. ATWT is one that I've never really watched; now that it's received the cancellation notice I don't see a reason to get into it. Days is actually pretty good right now. I'm enjoying the mess Nicole has gotten herself into once again (of course, I could just like her for her name!).