Happy 55th Birthday Days of Our Lives!

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November 8, 2019 marks the 55th anniversary of Days of Our Lives.

DAYS began as a half-hour family-based soap opera in 1965. If Alice Horton were alive today, she might not be happy with what her family is doing now, but she would still welcome them with open arms.

Read on for our tribute to NBC's longest-running (and sole surviving) soap opera.

Happy Anniversary Days of Our Lives

Family has always been the foundation for Days of Our Lives, and let's hope that continues!

The series kicked off in 1965 with Alice lamenting that she had an empty nest, hoping that her children and grandchildren would still need her.

Related: Days of Our Lives Classic Couple Spotlight: Alice and Tom

Tom Horton passed away in 1994 along with the actor who played him, and Alice has also been gone a long time. 

But, the strongest scenes Days of Our Lives has to offer are still family scenes, whether it's Doug worrying about whether Julie will survive her heart condition, Jennifer trying to convince JJ to give Jack a second chance, or Maggie trying to talk Sarah out of leaving town.

(TALL) Lani's Wedding - Days of Our Lives

The Horton family has grown and changed in many significant ways.

The original Hortons were supplemented with their close friends the Bradys, who arrived in Salem in the 1980s and today's younger generation includes several Horton/Brady matchups. 

Even more importantly, Salem has grown in its diversity.

Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis made daytime history with their wedding and continue going strong, while Julie welcomed her mixed-race grandson Eli with open arms in 2017.

Will and Sonny's wedding was another example of groundbreaking storytelling on Days of Our Lives. 

The soap has moved away from the groundbreaking nature it once embraced, sometimes telling stories that are not worthy of its long history of addressing social issues via entertainment.

Days of Our Lives: Why Social Messaging Matters

However, in the 1970s, Days of Our Lives was the first serial to feature an interracial marriage as well as the first to feature a wedding between two male protagonists in 2014. 

And it has addressed topical issues such as immigration reform and police shootings of late, though the jury is out on how well it approached the issues.

(TALL) A Double Wedding - Days of Our Lives

One item that many Days of Our Lives fans want to see more frequently is the love and romance that once drove the narrative.

The 1980s are often considered the Golden Age for Days because of the romantic storylines in which opposites not only attracted but overcame all odds to get married in fancy, over-the-top ceremonies.

Days of Our Lives' budget is smaller nowadays, but that doesn't mean romance is dead. 

Jack and Jennifer and Doug and Julie are two couples that still share the same chemistry and romance they did back in the day, and many viewers are excited about the romance between reformed serial killer Ben and good girl Ciara.

(TALL) Xander Comforts Sarah - Days of Our Lives

Fans are also excited about the potential Xander/Sarah romance.

Sarah could follow in her half-sister Melissa's footsteps by allowing Xander into her heart. After all, once upon a time, Melissa once fell hard for bad boy Pete Jennings and didn't care what anyone else thought.

The two are fun to watch, and Xander's desire to be a better man for Sarah is sweet. 

It's certainly more interesting than Eric/Sarah, no matter what Marlena and Maggie think!

(TALL) Princess Gina Returns - Days of Our Lives

There have been many cases of mistaken identity over the years, beginning when Marie Horton failed to realize the soldier she'd fallen in love with was her brother, Tommy Junior, who got amnesia during the war.

Present-day Days of Our Lives takes the mistaken identity thing to extremes.

Marlena, Adrienne, Nicole, and Hope have all gotten replaced by doppelgangers -- in some cases, more than once. 

Jack returned from the dead with a serious case of amnesia, and his daughter, Abigail developed Dissociative Identity Disorder and molded one of her alternate personalities after Gabi.

(TALL) Kristen's Latest Bombshell - Days of Our Lives

The doppelganger epidemic has gotten out of hand, but one doppelganger that's always fun is Andre Dimera.

Right now, uber-talented Thaao Phenglis is playing Tony, but 99 percent of the time, Tony turns out to be Andre in disguise.

Andre is one of the most fun villains because you never know what he's going to do next.

In the past, his outlandish schemes have included making it appear as if half of Salem had gotten murdered. He was secretly holding the victims captive on Melaswen, an island that looks just like Salem.

With Dr. Rolf in town wreaking havoc with Princess Gina, it would be fun to resurrect Andre to revisit his crazy antics.

For 55 years, Days of Our Lives has combined realistic, emotional storylines with over-the-top nonsense such as doppelgangers, crazed kidnappers, possession, and mad scientists who can turn people into each other or gain mind control over them.

Now the balance is more towards the over-the-top plotlines, but it would be great if it shifted back towards the types of stories viewers can relate to on a personal level.

But either way, Days of Our Lives has done what no other NBC soap has done and survived for 55 years.

Happy birthday to NBC's flagship soap, and may the sands in the hourglass run for a long, long time.

What are your favorite Days of Our LIves moments from the past 55 years? What would you like to happen in Salem?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Want to chat more about Days of Our Lives? Check out our Days of Our Lives reviews and Days of Our Lives Round Tables discussions.

Days of Our Lives airs on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.


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Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Days of Our Lives Quotes

Vivian: You have made a good impression, and I don't make compliments lightly.
Eve: Then I'll return the favor. You look good for someone who's been dead for two years.

Gwen: Did you get your old job back?
Claire: Nope.
Gwen: Why not?
Claire: They are under new ownership. My old boss Fran is still there, but she said they were looking for a 'more sophisticated type of employee.' You know, saving her from the embarrassment of telling me to my face that they don't want a psycho pyromaniac waiting tables.
Gwen: Well, that's too bad. You know, you should have told them that you can serve the hell out of bananas flambe!