DAYS OF OUR LIVES
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
They own their own home, a forty-year-old frame house that has
become old-fashioned and even a little anachronistic in the changing
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.'
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.
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
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.
(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.
(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
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
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 --
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.
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
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
Tom -- born 1905 -- now 56
-- born 1908 -- now 53
They were married in 1925, when Tom was 20 and
Daniel and Adelaide, twins, born
1926. Adelaide now 35-36.
Daniel married Kitty, 1947.
married Ben Olson, 1946. Ben born in 1924.
Daniel killed, Korea,
Michael (Mickey) -- born 1928 -- now 33-34
Horton -- born 1931 -- now 30-31
William Osler (Bill) Horton -- born 1933
- now 28-29
To: Dan and
Robert (Bobby) -- born 1949 -- now
To: Ben and Addy:
Julia (Julie) --
born 1947 -- now 15-16
Mark -- born 1948
-- now 13-14