A strong new trend is now discernible in prime time television. Side by side with the Lavish Variety shows, the Violence, the Torture, the Western and the Action series, viewers are gravitating by the millions to shows of a semi-serial nature -- shows like Bonanza, Hennessey, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke and others.

All of these night-time semi-serial shows have one thing in common: they are based on the experiences of a small, permanent central group of characters. The individual weekly segments of these shows stand on their own as complete stories -- but by bringing back the same basic cast each week after week they retain the loyalty of their huge audiences. In this respect, they resemble the better daytime serials. They lack, however, a very important audience-building ingredient of daytime serials: their characters do not grow or change with time, and there is no attempt to tell a continuing week-to-week story.

The success of these night-time semi-serial shows indicates that prime time television programs, which take the next step and offer night-time viewers the added proven dramatic values of complete serialization, would command and hold even larger family audiences. The long range pulling power of superior daytime serials can be matched in prime time programming -- and with emphasis on drama and character rather than on pratfalls, laugh tracks, and inflationary spirals of star names. The closest approach to the serial technique has only been seen in comedy night-time -- but the test in drama has yet to be made.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES is a continuing weekly dramatic story centering around and springing from a central family, the Hortons. Most of them live in or around the bustling prairie city where the family originated. Each story in our program will be about, or involve, one or more members of the Horton family, and will be complete in itself, with its own beginning, middle and end. Additionally in each episode we will plant in dramatic situations the "teasers" for the following week's episode to hold and at the same time build the greatest possible continuing audience.

Although the stories in our program will be fiction, they will live for our audiences as stories of real people in contemporary and universal situations: people active in their professions, their industries and their homes; living, recognizable, understandable people.

The members of the Horton family are all people with whom millions of viewers can identify. But even the most imaginative of the Hortons would be astounded to learn that the endless story of the many individuals and families who make up the Horton clan is in the rich tradition of great family stories like The Forsythe Saga, Whiteoaks of Jalna, and the sprawling 'serial families' bequeathed to world literature by novelists like Dickens, Wolfe, Cronin and Galsworthy.

Charles Dickens, the first giant of the popular serial story and godfather of all that is good in contemporary serial writing, would recognize the people of the Horton family circle as ideal grist for his mill: humble in origin, spread out over town and country, united by bonds of love, hate, and that curious chemistry of love-and-hate which nourishes many a healthy family tree, never too rich, never too poor; wise and foolish, giving and taking, strong and weak, often courageously pursuing a spectrum of destinies as varied as life itself -- and as fascinating.

Galsworthy would have discovered that the saga of the Hortons, for all their lack of crests and titles, is a continuing story of innate nobility which manages to survive, and from time to time even to prevail and change the lives of all it touches.

While the weekly stories of the Hortons and the people who move in and out of their worlds will be complete in themselves, the individual members of our family will grow and change as the events of life, time, and their own dramatic experiences change all people. Many of the stories we tell will be centered exclusively around the members of the family themselves, but many will feature only one or two members as they become involved in the lives and destinies of outsiders.

Each story will, generally, open on the home hearth of the sprawling frame home of Tom and Alice Horton, or one of their children. As often as possible, this opening scene will contain a twist of further payoff to last week's show - using a character of the preceding story to help start the new episode, just as near the conclusion of each episode we will introduce dramatically, the audience hook for next week's show -- not as a trailer but through our characters as an integral part of the story.

The question of length is, at the moment, an open one. DAYS OF OUR LIVES can be done in either the one-hour weekly or the half-hour five-times-weekly format. The half-hour length is, of course, a proven length for the once-a-weel semi-serial shows, but for more complete character development in dramas of universal human experience we point to the advantages of the one-hour once-a-week period. Here, we can carry our stories through, developing our permament characters and at the same time unfolding each story through rich-full-bodied dramatization.

No one has utilized these techniques in night-time television. Audiences are ready and waiting for DAYS OF OUR LIVES -- a program that has good stories to tell about characters with whom everyone can identify; characters who can win and hold the continuing love and loyalty of large family audiences across the board in daytime and additionally or on its own in night-time.

Present plans call for DAYS OF OUR LIVES to be produced live-on-tape, with certain exterior location sequences on film as needed.

The advantages of this technique are many, from lower costs, to greater speed of delivery -- but the primary benefit is that it will permit us to build complete scenes that rise to fully developed dramatic climaxes without sacrificing any of the quality of best fil production.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES carries with it the stamp of Irna Phillips and Ted Corday, the most successful trail-blazing daytime team responsible for the top-rated "The Guiding Light" and "As the World Turns", now joined by Allan Chase whose background as a succesful novelist, and writer of motion pictures and television promises even greater success in this new venture.


In Salem City -- a city large enough to support a municipal college and yet not quite large enough to attract a major league baseball club -- TOM and ALICE HORTON are living out the days of their lives.

They own their own home, a forty-year-old frame house that has become old-fashioned and even a little anachronistic in the changing neighborhood.

Tom has two jobs. He is professor of internal medicine at the medical school and staff internist in the University Hospital. Too young to have been in the first world war, he saw a great deal of service with the Medical Corps in the South Pacific during the second war.

An obscure man, little known outside of the confines of Salem City, Tom was once something of a minor celebrity in many cities. That was during his college days when, as a young husband and father, he also followed two callings: his main calling, as a student of medicine, and the more lucrative job he kept to pay the family and university bills. That job was as a baseball player on a top minor league club, and he was a sensationally good player.

Despite the blandishments of many major league club owners and the pleas of his own wife, Tom Horton quit baseball cold the day he received his medical degree -- for that was also the day he started his internship at the old Friends' Hospital in Salem City.

He has never regretted walking out on what fame and fortune might have awaited him had he remained in baseball. Tom always had a peculiarly old-fashioned idea that money is only a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Dr. Thomas Horton, as a grown man, was never able to earn as much money in his chosen profession as he had been offered for playing a children's game while he was still a very young man.

He could have earned more money, perhaps. Good internists are very rare. But, because they are, and because Tom is a natural born teacher, he found his destiny in teaching younger men to become internists, and in serving on the staff of the University Hospital for a stipend that was little more than nominal. He went into internal medicine as a student, remained as a teacher, and never once did he put his profession to more economically rewarding uses. The only time he ever left the campus after his student days was to serve in the Army Medical Corps during the second world war.

He has now been a teacher long enough to have become a 'second father' to generations of individual students. Often, years after they have become parents and doctors themselves, his former students will return with new pleas for help, or even for sympathy, as they find themselves in situations they cannot resolve for themselves.

Tom is neither saint nor superman; he has had to learn, the hard way, that mere advice will never keep young people -- and young parents -- from making their own mistakes. Yet he never stops trying to help people, particularly young people at the thresholds of life.

Tom's strongest passion, outside of his own family, is for the new molecular biology which, since 1950, has brought the scientific world to an historic new understanding of life itself -- and to valid new hopes of conquering most of the life-destroying diseases of mankind.

He envies all of the young people who are just now starting out in the life sciences; young in heart, he wishes he were as young in body so that he could participate in the great scientific dventures he knows will take place in the next forty years.

He tries to infect all of his young students with his own missionary zeal for scientific research, to win recruits for the low-paying, generally unsung and unheralded armies of scientists who are probing the unknown secrets of life for all humanity. In this personal crusade for recruits to the calling of pure research, his most formidable antagonist is his own wife, who feels that Tom does not have the right to deter younger doctors from putting their talents to what she sincerely believes to be 'more practical' uses.

Tom's wife, ALICE, is still a strikingly handsome woman. It is easy to believe that she turned down the offers of more than one wealthy young man in order to marry Tom.

Alice had the normal American girl's dreams of comfort and affluence when she married Tom Horton. Even then, as a young ball player, he was making more money than the average family doctor. Alice understood that the time and the earnings Tom invested in his medical studies were both investments in the family's future.

The Horton family never missed a meal, or a mortgage payment. Neither did they ever move out of the rambling frame house the young ball player-medical student bought for his bride. The Horton family has never been able to afford the luxuries enjoyed by the wives and children of most of the other doctors Alice knew.

At first, Tom's lack of 'practical' values was the cause of great distress to Alice. She resented his failure to 'get ahead' - but, being Alice, she kept these resentments to herself. Later, as her children began to grow up, and some of them began to complain that other doctors' children had more good things than they had, Alice found herself defending Tom with all her heart and soul.

In her own mind, Tom had become a noble, visionary creature to whom science and academic honors would always mean more than money. She loved and respected him for it - but she was not about to let any of her children grow up to be as 'impractical' as their wonderful father. She was going to give her children 'firmer goals' in life, 'stronger values.'

'Values' mean different things for Tom and Alice. To Tom, values are things moral, spiritual, and intellectual; one exists to give of oneself to life and to all people, strangers and brothers, who share this life. To Alice, values are tangibles measured by the yardsticks of the market place: life consists of taking all that life and other people can be forced to yield. However, she is not a taker for her own sake: for herself, she is quite content, but for her family she wants money, prestige, comfort, security. Alice would be truly astounded if she ever found out that, deep down, she and Tom want the same things.

Above all things, Alice wants her children to be 'practical.' Tom has never learned how to be 'practical,' and Alice rarely tries to 'keep his feet on the ground' as she used to when they were first married. Tom is forever bringing home impractical and wildly extravagant gifts for his wife and his children and his grandchildren. The fact is, as their daughter MARIE once observed - that, in proportion to his income, Tom has probably spent more money buying gifts for his wife than any doctor in Salem City. Alice kicks up a fuss with each such display of Tom's extravagance - but she is also frank to admit that she would miss them if Tom 'reformed.'

Now, in the third decade of their marriage, Alice is Tom's most ardent defender - against the world beyond the family circle. She feels he is entitled to far more honors, respect, and fame than he has yet received - and, in her own way, she does what she can to make the world look up to her husband,

On their 30th wedding anniversary, one of their children proposed a toast that summed up the story of their lives together. It ran: "Here's to the marriage that never was supposed to happen, never supposed to last, never supposed to bring a moment of happiness to either of its partners - and this child of that marriage will go to his grave swearing that never has there been a happier marriage in the whole cockeyed history of matrimony."

The Hortons have brought five children into the world. Their first children were twins, Dan and Adelaide, born in 1926 when the parents were barely more than children themselves. Dan was killed in Korea in 1951, leaving a wife, Kitty, and a young son, Bobby.

KITTY and her boy live in Denver, where she works in a bank. She is very friendly with her dead husband's family, and she and Bobby visit Salem City at least once a year. Ever since she and Bobby have lived in Denver, Tom has found all sorts of excuses to 'drop off for a day or so in Denver' on his way to and from medical and scientific meetings in various parts of the country: to Bobby's doting grandpa, Denver is a way station on the way to California, New York, New Orleans and Seattle.

ADELAIDE (Addy), Dan's twin sister, is married to Ben Olson, the owner of a flourishing business. She was the first of the Horton children to move out of Salem City -- but she did not move very far. Her husband's business is an old Salem City enterprise, established by his grandfather, and Ben's father was one of the founders of the exclusive suburb established some twenty miles out in what was then the open country. Originally built around some gentle, wooded slopes, it was named Wycliffe Hills by its incorporators. Addy's father never calls the place anything but Wuthering Heights.

Wycliffe Hills or Wuthering Heights, it is a stately community for upper-income families: a smaller, more exclusive Pasadena-of-the-Prairies. Here, Addy and Ben are raising two teen-age children, sharing in the leadership of the community's social and civic life, and being very happy. Sometimes, Tom feels, Addy is scoring her social triumphs at the expense of her children -- but in this he can always get an argument from his wife and daughter. Ben is an easygoing man who accepts Addy on her own terms, and gives in to her in nearly everything. Sometimes, however, Addy's social ambitions make life a little perilous for her children.

MICHAEL (Mickey), two years Addy's junior, is a lawyer who practices in town, and lives in a bachelor apartment in a new modern building. Ambitious, often ruthless, he is in apparent revolt against all his father stands for -- and yet, like his father, he will donate his services to cases other ambitious members of his profession are unwilling to touch. An eligible bachelor, he circulates willingly in circles of unattached femalres offered up for his consideration by his own and other interested mothers of Salem City. He assures his parents that one of these days he'll find a girl and give them a few more grandchildren to spoil.

Alice chose the names of the first three children; Tom had his way about picking the names of the two youngest. MARIE, born in 1931, was named after Marie Curie. BILL, born in 1933, was named after Sir William Osler.

MARIE is the brightest of the Horton children -- and the apple of Tom's eye. As a child, as if in fulfillment of Tom's dreams, she was the mascot and darling of his laboratory. But Marie never became a scientist. She started out to be her father's kind of girl; then, suddenly, she quit college, went to New York, and became her mother's kind of 'success' in the fashion world. She now lives in New York, alone, an enigma to herself as well as to her family. She sometimes 'escapes' to the family hearth for a long weekend; her stylish apartment in New York is 'home away from home' for Tom, Alice and all other Salem City Hortons.

BILL is, of all the Horton children, most like Tom in tastes and nature. Yet Bill, too, is living his own life in his own way -- and if this is a way Tom cannot object to, it is still a long way from the career in medical research Tom envisioned for his youngest child when Bill elected to study medicine.

Now a graduate of the medical school in which Tom teaches, Bill is serving a year's locum residency under a country doctor about a hundred miles from Salem City. Bill is going to be there for a year, at the end of which time he is, in his mother's words, going to become 'the first practical Doctor Horton' by settling down to build what everyone feels will be a lucrative general medical practice in Salem City. To Tom, Bill's decision to stay out of 'impractical' research is a sad mistake, but not a fatal one. He thinks Bill is going to be one spanking good -- and rich -- doctor.

Bill is engaged -- if only informally -- to the Vassar-educated daughter of a well-to-do Salem City merchant family. TONI HULL has a small but comfortable private income. She is a sunny, outgoing girl, exceptionally pretty, and with an infectious zest for living. During Bill's locum year, Toni drives out to visit him in the country whenever she can, which is quite often.

Early in the course of our program, Toni and Bill marry, and become the happiest newlyweds this side of Paradise, until, as it has a way of doing, life complicates things.

Kitty's son, Bobby, will come to live with his grandparents and will fit into the new life he finds in Salem City as if he had always owned it. There is not only Tom - who introduces him to the fascinating worlds of science and helps him become a star baseball player - but two bachelor uncles who return the abundant love he offers them.

He will, within a year, be torn between two new and conflicing ambitions: Bobby will want to be both a great baseball player and a Novel Prize-winning medical scientist -- and Tom will help the boy foster both dreams. And then, as it comes to all men at fourteen, Love will come to Bobby Horton, rendering him unable to concentrate on either sports or science, let alone school lessons and homework.

Geographically, the members of the Horton family are so located as to allow us to point our camera to the cities, the suburbs, and the rural areas where they live and grow. For what we are creating, in DAYS OF OUR LIVES, is more than the story of one family: it is, as well, the story of a highly personalized world of many faces, a world to which all audiences can respond -- because, at one point or another, it inevitably mirrors the private worlds of their own lives, their own triumphs, their own setbacks, their own secret dreams.


Tom -- born 1905 -- now 56

Alice -- born 1908 -- now 53

They were married in 1925, when Tom was 20 and Alice 18.


Daniel and Adelaide, twins, born 1926. Adelaide now 35-36.

Daniel married Kitty, 1947.

Adelaide married Ben Olson, 1946. Ben born in 1924.

Daniel killed, Korea, 1951.

Michael (Mickey) -- born 1928 -- now 33-34

Marie Curie Horton -- born 1931 -- now 30-31

William Osler (Bill) Horton -- born 1933 - now 28-29


To: Dan and Kitty:

     Robert (Bobby) -- born 1949 -- now 12-13

To: Ben and Addy:

     Julia (Julie) -- born 1947 -- now 15-16
     Mark -- born 1948 -- now 13-14