Thursday, February 04, 2010

Whither Salem?

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

One day, you're a kid sitting in front of a 1962 Magnavox watching Julie and Susan go at it, while Tom and Alice Horton try to hold Salem together single-handedly. The Magnavox is the only TV in the house, and Days of Our Lives is one of Mama's "stories."

The next day, it seems, you're middle-aged, sitting in front of your home computer
(Holy George Jetson, Batman!) noting the passing of Frances Reid -- a.k.a., Alice Horton -- hours ago at age 95. She had been on Days of Our Lives since the beginning in 1965 and made her last appearance in 2007.

Which spanned most of the days of my life.

THE NEWS broke early this morning on Twitter, when Days cast members began tweeting the sad news, along with their tributes to "Grandma Horton." In a sign of how much the world has changed during these days of our lives, the "mainstream media" has yet to catch up to social networks in the delivery of this latest news.

Next with the story was
Born in Wichita Falls, Texas to banker Charles William Reid and Anna May Priest, Frances Reid grew up in Berkeley, California. Though an accomplished actor before stepping into the world of daytime, Reid's role on NBC's Days of our Lives is the role that would make her a household name. In her early years, Reid played a man in a thirty-minute play in grammar school. Reid attended and graduated from the Pasadena Community Playhouse, where she majored in acting. She began her professional acting career in her mid-20s with a bit part in the movie Man-Proof. The following year, Reid made her Broadway debut as Juliette Lecourtois in Where There's a Will.


Reid's first soap role came in 1954 on the 15-minute Portia Faces. Reid quit after six months, saying that the workload was "exhausting." In 1959, Reid took another shot at daytime serials, joining the Procter & Gamble-produced As the World Turns. For the next three years, she'd appear as Grace Baker. A few years later, she appeared on The Edge of Night. Then, it was back to primetime, including a numerous appearances on Wagon Train.

When Ted Corday offered Reid the role of "Alice" on a new soap opera he had developed called Days of our Lives, Reid reportedly was hesitant at first to sign on. Reid eventually accepted the role because she enjoyed working and realized that roles for women over 40 were not plentiful. In November 2009, Reid marked her 44th year on Days of our Lives.
GRANDPA HORTON (Macdonald Carey) died in 1994, and now Grandma is gone, too. Lord help the woebegotten city of Salem -- who knows what will happen to the Hortons, and the Bradys, and the Williamses now?

We now return you to
Days of Our Lives.

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