Wally Kurth made a splash on DAYS OF OUR LIVES when he debuted in 1987 and remained in front burner stories until his exit in 1991. But does lightning strike twice? Please read this interview to learn Wally’s perspective, plus the status of 1 DAY WITH... and information about his award winning documentary.
We Love Soaps: There were 18 years between your last stint as Justin and coming back. Did you ever think you’d be coming back to DAYS?
Wally Kurth: No. Honestly, I didn’t. And to be honest I didn’t know how it would feel. I thought maybe I was going to have to have some major therapy. I was thinking it’s stepping back in time, am I going backwards? When you’re an actor, or in any profession, you go one step forward and move up. And I didn’t think I could go home again. But I tell you, this has been so wonderful, I feel like this show has been therapy. I’m having so much fun. Those feelings dissipated within minutes of when I arrived.
We Love Soaps: It just felt right?
Wally Kurth: Really, it totally felt right. I’m a pretty intuitive guy, I would have known if it didn’t feel right. Maybe it’s because John [Aniston] is here, Peter Reckell, the state of the soap, the tempo of it, we really cook. We do seven episodes in five days now. And we never go overtime. So this is like live theater. You go out there and you’d better thrown down because the Executive Producer is not just watching the monitor, but if you screw up they’re going to keep going. It’s awesome because I come from live theater, I come from Broadway, it an actor’s medium. And now it’s as if we’re on stage again.
We Love Soaps: When you started on the show Justin was there to prop up Bo and Hope’s exit. This time around Justin is starting again to support Bo and Hope’s story. But last time it was the springboard for Justin to have his own story, which I’m hoping will happen this time.
Wally Kurth: I was not guaranteed anything after six weeks. And here it is, six months later, and I’m still around. So they seem to be happy to have me around.
We Love Soaps: Justin really changed during his four years. During his first week he had sex with four different women...
Wally Kurth: Those were the good old days.
We Love Soaps: And then he settled down and became a family man with Adrienne [Judi Evans]. Where do you see him now? Does he still have that predator stud in him?
Wally Kurth: I’d like to think Justin is a predator, but he’s not. After twenty years of marriage and the kids growing up and his marriage dissolving, I think the last thing on his mind is going back to how he was in his early 20’s. I think where he’s at now is getting his mind and soul around the fact that he’s not with his woman that he was with for the past twenty years. The love of his life. That to me is where his head is at.
We Love Soaps: Are there any plans or hopes to revive 1 DAY WITH...? I really enjoyed that show.
Wally Kurth: I can’t believe they’re still airing it. The other day I was watching SoapNet and it was on at three-o’-clock in the morning. With Alicia Willis [ex-Courtney, GH].
We Love Soaps: For a lot of us soap fans, we appreciated that inside look. Any hopes about bringing it back?
Wally Kurth: It’s all about SOAPnet. They were very mysterious about that whole thing. We did twenty episodes, they never talked to me again. They never once said “We’re going to pickup some more,’ or “Change this, we want to do it cheaper.” Not a word. No contact.
We Love Soaps: I’m sorry to hear that.
Wally Kurth: Hey it’s up to them, it’s their baby. But they’re still airing it, obviously they liked it. It was fun. It was clever from our point-of-view. When it comes to producing reality shows and content you have to do be aware of the budget. And we called it, 1 DAY WITH..., we were really limited to one day. That was beautiful. We were able to keep our costs down. And I think with the actors, it was like, you only get one take, you don’t get to come back tomorrow. It had a real energy to it. I really enjoyed it.
We Love Soaps: I interviewed Claire Labine recently, and she emphasized how much she loved what you and Rena [Sofer] brought to the show. We were talking about the criticism that GENERAL HOSPITAL was too depressing when she wrote it.
Wally Kurth: When she wrote it?
We Love Soaps: You had Monica’s breast cancer, Stone’s AIDS, but she told me that she thought you and Rena were doing some of those brilliant comedy ever.
Wally Kurth: I got chills just thinking about Claire Labine. I just love her. I sent her the documentary that I did, I want to make sure she saw it.
We Love Soaps: What documentary?
Wally Kurth: It was about Class C Basketball. Small town girl’s basketball in Montana. It’s been winning festivals all over the country. The girls are just amazing. I spent three years of my life producing this documentary. I grew up in Montana, I love these small towns that are just barely staying on the map. These girls basketball is what keeps a lot of these towns alive.
To see my interview with Wally and Nadia Bjorlin press here.
To listen to the above interview with Wally, listen to WLS Radio #18.
For more interviews from the set of DAYS check out:
Lindsay Harltey (Arianna)
Molly Burnett (Melanie)
Taylor Spreitler (Mia)
Eric Martsolf (Brady)
Mark Hapka (Nathan)
Shelley Hennig (Stephanie)
Casey Deidrick (Chad)
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He has started blogging again at www.shouldless.com..