Days of Our Lives
This page was last updated on October 5, 2004.
Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.
This is the epigram that has opened every episode of Days of Our Lives since it premiered on November 8, 1965, and it contributes to an opening that has to please hard-core traditionalists more that any other current soap opera logo. Through all the changes soaps have undergone in storylines, production values, etc., Days has maintained a consistent opening visual image (the hourglass), as well as the same theme music, throughout its entire run. And as long as the Corday family is in charge, Days will continue to uphold its intrinsic Main Title and theme music traditions for years to come.
The first version of the famous hourglass opening of Days of Our Lives was wholly videotaped and featured a shot of the hourglass set against a studio cyclorama made up to look like a blue sky. The title of the show appeared straight across the screen in Latin Bold type.
At the very beginning, however, the familiar opening epigram was NOT recited by MacDonald Carey. Instead, an in-house NBC announcer recited that piece, followed by "Days of Our Lives, a new dramatic serial starring MacDonald Carey." MacDonald Carey didn't start doing the opening voice over until no later than the summer of 1966.
The theme song, by Charles Albertine, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, was arranged in the C Major key for a small chamber string ensemble augmented by woodwinds and guitar. There was also a glockenspiel for the "chimes." The original theme arrangement recordings were used in the opening until June 18, 1993.
While the same 1965 recording of the familiar theme is used for this opening, which debuted by no later than 1972, the visual features new lettering for the title logo. The lettering introduced by 1972 continues to be used for the title logo to this day.
This opening, which was filmed instead of videotaped, starts with a full view of the hourglass. Then the camera slowly zooms in on the bottom part of the hourglass as MacDonald Carey utters the familiar "sands through the hourglass" epigram.
This version of the hourglass opening, which ran until June 18, 1993, had "Copyright 1972 Columbia Pictures Industries" at the bottom of the screen until well into the 1980s.
End credits remained in the Latin Bold type of the 1965 title logo lettering until the early 1980s, at which point it was changed to a modern sans serif style that prevails today.
The updated version of the hourglass opening debuted on June 21, 1993. The theme music is the same as always, but it's in a re-recorded arrangement that is augmented by synthesizers and other electronic instruments.
The familiar hourglass is there also, but it slowly revolves as if on a turntable and the sky background is more realistic. The opening version features a sunrise that is reflected in the glass of the hourglass as the sky becomes bright and blue. The closing version has the sky gradually darken as it does at sunset.
Said Ken Corday of the 1993 opening: "We've used the same narrative, the same music and the same logo, and reshot the opening using current state of the art techniques." (from Soap Opera Weekly. June 22, 1993: page 9.)
In late 2001, Days of Our Lives went to a “squeezed” end credits format during its NBC broadcasts.
Days of our Lives. Their last ending theme was a continuation of the 1993 update. It started zooming out from the hourglass and would then have the class in the center spinning while the sky turned from blue to an orange sunset. With Ariel text center scrolling credits in yellow face. At the end of each closing was the Days logo spelled out on the screen in the logo's font face only 1D yellow, like the other credits, followed by a Corday Productions copyright.
That was changed in late 2001. When NBC shifted DOOL over to it's side scrunched style. They stopped making the hourglass background credits with the full theme song which was seen by Canadian viewers when the episodes originally aired along side the USA, and also in foreign markets in delayed broadcasts (ranging from 6 months to 4+ years behind). They now are an all black background closing with flashing credits instead of scrolling credits.
The credits are center aligned and the text was changed to a bigger size. Instead of featuring the Days theme, the credits continue with the last piece of background music played over the credits. They now also define the contract and recurring cast more clearly, instead of crediting "With: Deidre Hall as Marlena Evans" after all the cast, the credit her after all the contract cast and then continue with the recurring and guest cast on the next and following screens.
In the spring of 2004, Days briefly experimented with a much more orchestral arrangement of its long-running theme music that I thought sounded a little overblown. The 1993 arrangement of the theme was quickly reinstated after about a week.
Cruise of Deception
I've been informed by Days fan Rachel Shuster that the show used an alternative opening sequence between June 11 and June 25, 1990 for a heavily-hyped storyline known as the "Cruise of Deception." In that story, Ernesto Toscano, played by Charles Cioffi, lured several major characters onto a cruise ship for the purpose of killing them. According to Ms. Shuster, the alternate "Cruise of Deception" Days opening sequence went like this:
Instead of hearing MacDonald Carey say, "This is MacDonald Carey, and these are the Days of Our Lives," the tight shot of the hourglass and the Days of Our Lives title card dissolved to a shot of a computer-generated ocean, which was dark and ominous with a blue hue. The words "Cruise of" scrolled from the right-hand side of the screen while the world "Deception" scrolled from the left side simultaneously. The words scrolled into the correct word order on the upper half of the screen, while the words "Days of Our Lives" appeared in smaller lettering below the above story title. Also, a man (whom many have said was Charles Cioffi) said, "The story continues on 'Cruise of Deception.'"
Also, Ms. Shuster described the music as being calm and ominous, and the piece reached a climax with a brief drum solo followed by an organ playing one note after the above "Cruise of Deception" announcement. A frame grab from that "Cruise of Deception" opening can be found at the following web address: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Studio/4780/cruise.html.
I thank Ms. Rachel Shuster for this information.
The following titles are for the 1993 remix arrangement of the long-running Albertine, Boyce and Hart Days theme of 1965.
Dustin's Days of Our Lives Page at http://www.soapoperafan.com/days/
Peeeepers' Days of Our Lives Megasite at http://www.geocities.com/~peeeepers/
Official NBC Days of Our Lives Homepage at http://www.nbc.com/days/home.html