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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Books about TV: "Days of Our Lives 50 Years"

Below is a review and my thoughts about "Days of Our Lives 50 Years" by Greg Meng. (This entry will reference the 45th anniversary book as well, since I did a review of that book five years ago.) This coffee table book is nearly 400 pages and retails for $34.99 in the US.

This book is separated into sections and for ease of discussion, I will base my comments on each area. The introduction has some photos along with a very basic background data page, explaining how Days first aired on November 8. 1965. It also has a list of the main families currently on the program, which will help with how the book is set up in later chapters. Family is the first regular chapter and starts with the Hortons obviously. (Throughout the book there are some captions written in first person to sound like Julie Williams, who is the only original character that still appears on the show.) Each of the families who get their own entry list the parents and the decedents through the generations. So for the Hortons, we have the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren mentioned. The lists are not in chronological order or alphabetical order, but only someone who knows the family trees well would realize it. They have the grandchildren in a particular order, and the great-grandchildren are in order based on the parent, so since Lucas is the youngest grandchild who has kids, Will and Allie are listed last even though Will was born before Zack, Ciara and JJ. The next family listed are the Bradys. In their family listening, the children are in order, the grandchildren are by parent, and the great-grandchildren aren't complete. I'm guessing Tate wasn't born when this section was created or else it is a major oversight though they do mention Carrie's unnamed child with Austin, though not Sami's adopted child Grace. The Dimeras are considered bad, and while Benjy's son and Chad's late daughter were mentioned EJ and Nicole's late son was not. The Kiriakises are next and mentioned as not-so-bad...not-so-good. The order of grandchildren is sequential after SORAS as Brady was born after Shawn-Douglas, but SORASed to be older than his cousin. Victor and Maggie's wedding gets a feature in this portion too. The next chapter is on Tradition: Christmas at the Horton house, going to the hospital on Christmas to read the story, Alice's donuts (including the recipe) and patriotic parties are shown.

The next chapters are all about couples. Young love has a short summary of different young couples told in one or two sentence form. Unfortunately not every couple mentioned gets a photo in the section. Also couples that lasted beyond youth are mentioned like Shawn and Belle. The early days of Bo and Hope's relationship get a few pages. In the two montage pages, there is a Jack and Jennifer photo, though Jennifer and Frankie are the couple discussed in this part. Sami and Austin are shown, but not mentioned in this part either. Tantalizing triangles mentions some triangles, but then goes into more details with captioned photographs. There is a 40 page section on Supercouples. Most of the photos are from weddings and some of them have short descriptions at the start of the chapter. The last of the couple related chapters is called Wedding Interruptus. Only a book on Days could have so many pages with more than five occurrences.

The next group of chapters are about characters and careers. Unstoppable Men and Unstoppable Women focus on characters on their own. There are pictures and a summary of each character for the women: most of them are members of core families except Marlena, Kate and Nicole. Of the men listed, only Bo and Lucas are core families though the men only get photos, some of which are shirtless, with no descriptions. Bad to the Bone is about villains of all types. Many killers, rapists and that like get a bio with no picture. There is a summary of Marlena being possessed, EJ and Abe election woes, and Eve and JJ. This was an odd collection. Next is spies and cops and each of the major characters in either profession got a bio, though Bo was only listed as a cop and John as a spy, while both worked in both sectors.

The next group of chapters were about story lines. High adventure wrote and showed pictures of remotes and other stories that took place outside of Salem. Some of them were filmed on location, while others were not. Shocking twists has summaries of some stories again, not all are pictured. Some were family dramas like Bo finding out he was Victor's biological son, while others were shocking in another way like Vivian burying Carly alive. Greta's coronation gets pages of coverage showing many of the gowns. Some serial killers get coverage as does a Basic Black fashion show (with no notation as to why). The Salem Stalker aka Marlena kills people, but they aren't dead gets 50 pages. While the plot is notable, this was extremely long coverage for a story that many loathed. Seeing Double was about twin stories some were biological twins, while others just happened by random chance. Heartbreaking is about the sad stories of Salem though I don't think Mickey and Maggie were ultimately sad. Good times has silly pictures for events like Halloween and much of it is in montage style with no captions. Groundbreaking has historical stories that were first in daytime like Will and Sonny's marriage.

Like the 45th anniversary book, not all the photos are labeled by character name. At least though some are in family sections, so one can at least attempt to guess the identities if not mentioned. The characters who were forgotten in that book are in this one. (There are photos of Belle, Shawn, Mike and Wayne Northrop's Roman Brady. Some people are missing, but considering this book is a lot longer, I didn't have a visceral reaction about it.) The index is done alphabetically by actor name, so if you know the actor names you're good though the characters are mentioned afterwards. If someone played more than one role and they are pictured as both they have two entries like Kristian Alfonso. Otherwise, IMDB and the book would be needed. The end of the book has a page from Billy Vick, a Days fan from the first episode.

Due to the amount of photos in the book, it didn't take me all that long to read through it. So if you like historical pictures primarily from the last 5-30 years of Days, you should look into this book. Happy Reading and Happy 50th Birthday Days of Our Lives.

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