It’s not easy being Ken Corday. On one hand you have the pride and burden of carrying a family legacy for over two decades. On the other, you are constantly living in fear of a cancellation ax being wielded upon said legacy, as well as the knowledge that you sacrificed your own artistic hopes and dreams in order to make your parents’ creation thrive.
These are just some of the challenges shared in the new book “The Days Of Our Lives: The True Story Of One Family’s Dream And The Untold History of Days Of Our Lives”. This is an illuminating and powerful must-read for anyone who has ever watched DAYS, or for that matter, anyone who has ever put a family business in front of their own aspirations. Say what you will about Ken Corday (as dozens of critics have). But after reading this book one cannot deny the integrity, determination, and strength demanded of him to keep DAYS on the air, and keep network interference to a minimum.
In the first half of the book, he traces the fascinating love story of Ted and Betty Corday, a star-crossed supercouple in their own right, who overcame great obstacles to marry. They embraced their relationship in a time when it was unpopular and challenging for two people from different religious backgrounds (Judaism and Christianity) to be together. Together they lived through a world war, financial struggles, and external pressures in order for Ted to succeed as producer of THE GUIDING LIGHT and director of AS THE WORLD TURNS.
What they could not overcome was the Hodgkin's lymphoma that tragically overtook Ted’s life shortly after producing two new shows for NBC in 1965 (MORNING STAR and DAYS). After his death, Betty took over the role of executive producer for DAYS, which was near cancellation by that point. Raising two teenage boys and an infant soap was no easy feat, but Betty heroically and resiliently rose to the task.
In the second half of the book, Corday traces his beginnings on DAYS, and his ambivalence and insecurities about assuming the role of Executive Producer. He reveals the details behind the show’s near-cancellation at the end of 1979 which led to firing a slew of popular actors in early 1980 (and which fans still refer to as the “Valentine’s Day Massacre”). He shares how numerous network “sharks” were invested in taking over DAYS once his mother stepped down, and makes a strong argument explaining how the show would have unlikely survived if NBC had taken over. One can’t help but root for the young executive underdog who is trying desperately to keep his family’s dream afloat.
So if you have ever enjoyed DAYS, have any interest in learning more about the complexities of running a soap in the 21st century, or simply enjoy a enduring and triumphant family story, then this book is highly recommended. It certainly adds an emotional layer to this beloved soap, and will increase your viewing experience tenfold.
Be sure to pick up your copy of “The Days Of Our Lives: The True Story Of One Family’s Dream And The Untold History of Days Of Our Lives" here.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City at Mental Health Counseling & Marriage And Family Therapy Of New York. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve.
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