On November 8, 1965, NBC debuted the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
Over 50 years later, the Hortons, Bradys, and other Salem families have continued to draw in audiences with their daily dose of drama. But how much do you really know about the cast and characters, both onscreen and off?
Obviously, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the thousands of episodes the show has racked up since its premiere. Chances are even the biggest superfans don’t know all of the facts listed below.
For instance, do you remember which fictional Salem couple ignited their own romantic flames in real life, or what role Alison Sweeney filled before she stepped in as the troublemaking Sami Brady?
Take a look to test just how much Days of Our Lives knowledge you’ve retained over the years.
And be sure to SHARE all the fascinating facts about the timeless soap opera with your friends on Facebook!
1. It Was Created By A Married Couple
Hopefully Ted and Betty Corday, the real-life husband and wife behind the long-running series, never had to deal with quite as much drama in their own relationship as the fictional characters on the show.
2. It Was Only 30 Minutes Long At First
When it premiered in 1965, the daily installments were half as long as they are today. The change to hourlong episodes happened after 10 years in 1975.
3. Frances Reid Wasn't The Original Alice
For the show’s unaired pilot, the matriarch was portrayed by Mary Jackson, better known for her role as Emily Baldwin on The Waltons.
Frances took over by the time the show came to broadcast and remained the only actress to play Alice Horton until her passing in 2010.
4. They Had The First Real-Life Twins In Soap Opera History
Deidre Hall made her debut on the show first as the iconic character Marlena Evans in 1976. A year later, her sister Andrea joined as Samantha Evans.
Longtime fans of the show will remember Samantha as Marlena’s jealous twin who briefly stole her identity.
5. Alison Sweeney Was On The Show Before She Was Sami
Fans might have recognized the actress when Sami Brady and her twin brother Eric re-appeared on the series in 1993.
Back in 1987, Alison had portrayed a younger version of Adrienne Johnson in flashback scenes.
6. Drake Hogestyn Has Played Seven Different Roles
The actor has portrayed more characters on a single show than any other performer in not just soap opera history, but television history as a whole.
Since being introduced in 1986, Drake’s role has been morphed into The Pawn, Roman Brady, John Stevens, Forrest Alamain, Father John, Ryan Brady DiMera, and John Black.
7. Julia Roberts Is A Big Fan
While discussing the bizarre plot twists on the series back in 2004, Entertainment Weekly name-checked the beloved actress as a “Days devotee.”
8. The Show's First "Super Couple" Took Their Love Offscreen
Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes played Doug and Julie Williams, but their romance behind the scenes inspired the pair to secretly tie the knot in 1974 — two years before their fictional counterparts did the same on the show.
9. They Were The First Soap To Cast A Man In A Woman's Role
When Alison Sweeney left for her maternity leave in 2005, the series made a bold decision to cast Dan Wells as “Stan,” Sami’s male alter ego designed to get revenge on another character.
Dan played the role for six months before Alison returned again as Sami.
10. It's The Longest Running Soap Opera On NBC
The record was previously held by Another World, which premiered in 1964. After that show’s cancellation in 1999, Days became the longest running soap on the network.