Days of our Lives recently celebrated its 14,000th episode, and in honor of the momentous occasion, several stars from the NBC soap opera took a walk down memory lane for Soap Central and recounted stories from their auditions, first scenes, and initial days on set. From one actor who didn't know that he needed to bring his script to work, to an actress who began taping the very day that she was hired, here are some crazy first day stories from some of your favorite DAYS stars.
Stephen Nichols (Steve "Patch" Johnson)
"I remember my first day actually working. I didn't have a screen test, because it was supposed to be a short-term role, so they just kind of called me up and said, 'Hey, go to work. The guy's got a patch and a knife, and he's kinda crazy.'... It was Doris Sabbagh who was the casting director, and she was such a great lady, rest her soul. So, she said, 'Yeah, just go ahead. Go do it. You'll be great.' She called me up personally at home! So, I remember the first day I was in the Brady Fish Market, and Hope [Kristian Alfonso] came in and somebody else, and I was kind of walking around, and... my wife saw that first episode and she said, 'You picked your nose! Why would you do a thing like that?' And I said, 'No, baby, it was like Seinfeld -- it was not a pick. It was a scratch.' But it really looked like I was picking my nose!"
Brandon Beemer (Shawn-Douglas Brady)
"I remember the first day, it was September 11, 2006, and I was given room number eleven. I was like, 'This is not good. I need to get out of room number eleven!' My first scene was at Max's garage, and I didn't know how it was going to happen, and they said, 'So, you're going to be head-down in the car, and people aren't going to know who it is, and then you're going to come up, and it's going to say, 'The role of Shawn Brady is now being played by Brandon Beemer.' And I was like, 'Okay, so you want my ass in the air, and I'm just doing stuff [under the hood]' and they're like, 'Yeah, just act like you're working on [the car], and we'll come in on you.' And I was like, 'Okay, this is a weird sort of entrance with my butt in the air!' So that was my first scene... [When] I got hired, I had two weeks to think about it and memorize the scripts, but it was a lot of scripts. I think I shot 14 or 15 episodes in two weeks or something like that. That was right when Shawn was finding out that Mimi [Farah Fath] lied about Claire being his, so I remember I had these stacks of scripts, and I was sitting there going, 'This is one week of scripts?!' And they were like, 'Yeah, and you have another week coming.' And I was like, 'Another week? Oh, my gosh! How do you do this?!'"
Camila Banus (Gabi Hernandez)
"[My first memory] was actually not on the set of Days of our Lives, it was actually on the set of One Life to Live [where I played Lola Montez], and it was the first time I saw A Martinez [ex-Ray Montez, OLTL; Eduardo Hernandez, DAYS]. This is going to sound really freaking weird, but he was a godly figure. I could see his aura. It was yellow and bright and beautiful and he, to me, was this master of wisdom. And like I said, I talk a lot, but when I was around him, I couldn't. I just wanted to shut up and watch him. That was one of the most important moments of my career."
Lamon Archey (Eli Grant)
"I just remember being nervous. It was my first day out there, I had a lot of lines my first day, so for me, it was the whole thing of the internal battle of not letting the nerves get the best of you. I still get nervous to this day over certain scenes. But I look forward to those scenes that make me nervous. I like being nervous because it kind of just puts me on the edge, and I don't want to be bored, where I'm too comfortable with anything. So, I just remember being nervous."
Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Horton)
"Oh man, this was torture, my first day. I had to be butt naked with a rock star named Cherish [Gabriella Maselli]. I had to kiss her, and I had the most corny line. She had this Australian accent and was like, 'Oh, that was amazing.' And I was coming up and kissing her neck and was like, 'That's the least I could do for the ride home from the airport.' And I was like, 'What am I doing?! Why am I doing this soap opera? This is crazy!' And I remember it was really cold, too, the set. I remember freezing and looking down at my chest and going, 'Oh my God, my nipples are never this hard! I can't believe this. This is so uncool!' And then I thought, 'Oh, I can't show that!' Because I wanted to look studly. It was hard, man! I hated it. I always hate taking off my shirt, even if I'm in shape, which I'm usually not, but if I am, then I'm always like, 'Oh, no!' So, that was weird."
Lindsay Arnold (Allie Horton)
"My whole audition process and the screen test and everything was really quick. I never screen tested, I just did a chemistry read with Casting, because I was from New York, so I had to fly out to L.A. So, pretty much what I remember from that first week, it was just such a whirlwind. I was staying in a hotel my first week on set before I found a place to stay. It was just crazy. I was flying between New York and L.A., so, yeah, it was a lot happening. So, that entire first week for me with the audition and then quickly getting onto set was a whirlwind. It was a lot happening super fast."
Martha Madison (Belle Black)
"I came in replacing [actress Charity Rahmer], and it was the middle of the Salem Day, so I had to match her. She walked out of a party, and I walked into the park with Kyle Brandt [ex-Philip Kiriakis] and Farah Fath [ex-Mimi Lockhart]. I had gotten the news that I was hired that morning and went straight to tape that afternoon... It was just so crazy. I will never forget that day. It was very intense! And I was terrible! I was horrible. I've watched it since, and I'm like, 'I have no idea how they gave me this job!' I was so bad."
Lucas Adams (Tripp Dalton)
"I didn't have a screen test... I read with Albert [Alarr, co-executive producer] and Marnie [Saitta, casting director] in the room. That was kind of a simpler thing. [They said], 'He's a bad kid. He's defying authority.' I'm like, 'Okay, cool.' And I had to be a jerk for a little bit. But my first day, though, I came without a script... and everybody was like, 'Well, did you bring a pencil to make notes of like, where you're going to be standing?' And I was like, 'No, I'm going to have to just remember it all.' And I was like, 'All right, well, I'm going to have to remember all of my blocking!' And after that, I would come with [the full script with] tabs all in my script. And somebody was like, 'Why don't you just take all of your stuff out and use your script pages only? You don't need all the other things.' And I was like, 'Oh, my God, what a genius thought! That's brilliant!' I didn't even think of that. So, that was a game changer."
Mary Beth Evans (Kayla Brady)
"I remember my pink pinafore dress that I wore and everything [for my first episode]. I remember so many things about it -- so prim! There's an Instagram that I follow called Patch and Kayla, and this woman puts up so many great old clips, and so many things that I had forgotten about, and I just love seeing all that. It's so fun to see the history that we've had, because you forget. It's like raising kids -- you're so in the moments that you're in that you don't realize it all until later, you know? And I think, looking back, we had so many great things."
Robert Scott Wilson (Ben Weston)
"When I first started in this genre, I had the luxury of starting on a soap that was going to an online platform when they brought back All My Children and One Life to Live, and at that point, I had never been a series regular... but we flew out East and [I was playing AMC's Pete Cortlandt] and I had these amazing people around me, and I was so nervous. I'll never forget: it was people like Jill Larson [ex-Opal Cortlandt, AMC], and now, come full circle, Ms. Cady McClain [ex-Dixie Cooney, AMC], who joined our show recently [as Jennifer Horton]. I spent all this time with them, and all of a sudden, I just felt comfortable, and it hit right away. And for circumstances beyond our show, I felt like we were crushing it on All My Children, doing so much work, and I was loving it. When it got cut short, I felt like I was in the middle of college and I didn't get to finish my degree! I was really learning and getting better and becoming bolder in my choices, trying to be a better actor. And when DAYS came around, it was an opportunity to finish my degree, so to speak. Day one, I got to work with Kristian Alfonso [Hope Brady], and fast-forward a few years later, and she ends up being my mother-in-law! [Ben is] still getting questioned in the investigation. That was my first scene ever -- some things don't change! That has my initials inscribed in it. It's been an incredible journey, and I'm super grateful."
Which of the above DAYS stars' first day memories did you most enjoy reading? What do you remember from the featured stars' debut episodes? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.