How Days of our Lives' Horton house fire gave Susan Seaforth Hayes a gift to remember

Posted Monday, February 26, 2024 5:53:05 PM
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Susan Seaforth Hayes weighs in on the devastating Days of our Lives fire that claimed the Horton house.

It felt like the end of a Salem era when Days of our Lives' Horton House went up in flames two weeks ago. The iconic set was featured on the very first episode of the soap on November 8, 1965, and remained as a mainstay for nearly six decades.

As we learned in a series of re-created flashbacks, Tom and Alice Horton bought the house in the 1930s. In 2024, their granddaughter Julie and her husband, Doug, lived there with Julie's cousin Abigail's widower, Chad, and his two children, Thomas and Charlotte. Susan Seaforth Hayes spent decades on the Horton house set with her late husband, Bill Hayes, who will still appear as Doug for several more months.

The scenes in the Horton house before and after the fire were extra special for Seaforth Hayes because they were some of the last with her husband, as Bill Hayes passed away on January 12.

"He had difficulty moving at that point," Seaforth Hayes told Michael Fairman TV. "So, they restricted his movement a lot. Bill always enjoyed coming to work a lot, and it was extremely difficult for him because he was blind, and didn't move very well. And now, to do a scene with people who may or may not, have rehearsed with you, who may or may not, give you the exact cue, and when they are attempting to have you look each other in the eye, you can't see who's eyes they are, that was the hard part.

"The easy part was working with him, which was lovely and was a gift," Seaforth Hayes admitted. "It was a gift from Corday Productions that he was able to work within three weeks of his death, which I thought was super and extraordinary."

Seaforth Hayes also has fond memories of her first time on the Horton house set and revealed a little secret about the early days of DAYS when the show was filmed as if it was live television.

"I noticed that it was a strange shade of green," she said. "It was explained to me that that dull color meant that your face would pop on color TV. I understood that. I loved the little window up the staircase. I've always loved that. And at one time, there was a model of the house that sat on the set on its own little pedestal, a little playhouse of the exterior of the house. Whenever the house was on (and remember this is when we were a half-hour and practically live, but not live, because there was no editing), there would also be the sound of a barking dog whenever we reached the Horton house neighborhood. We never saw the dog, but I'm sure his name was Spot and I'm sure he belonged to someone."

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