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James E. Reilly Tribute

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My Tribute to James E. Reilly

I just wanted to talk about my favourite Jim Reilly stories and characters, and say something about the man who got me into watching soap operas and has been a reason why I love this genre so much. It was the summer of 1993, and I was 11 years old, when Jim Reilly wrote one of his most memorable storylines - Carly is buried alived. It was something I’ve never seen before and I thought it was so crazy! I was immediately addicted to the suspense and drama and the anticipation of what’s going to happen next. I’ll never forget moments like Vivian rolling and laughing on Carly’s grave, or Vivian taunting Carly through speaker system inside the coffin, or Bo finally seeing Carly alive again. Thus began my fascination with Days Of Our Lives and soap operas!

In the fall of 1993 I had to go back to school and at the time I didn’t know how to program my VCR until late 1994. Thankfully, I did, because it was just in time for probably Reilly’s popular, and hated, yet most talked about storyline he’s ever written - Marlena’s possession by the devil. Yes, storyline had all the typical Reilly craziness (the moon and stars falling, the panther, the bees, the devil pretending to be Isabella) that he was known for, but I saw it as a love story between John and Marlena, and so did Reilly.

Love was something he always tried to implement in his stories.
“Love is the answer, always,” Reilly notes. “The women on Days of Our Lives are loved by men who will do anything for them. When a women is loved, she is his queen. He will walk through fire for her. Love is that important.”

When the storyline ended, John and Marlena still weren’t together! I was a John/Marlena fan and he tortured us by not having them become a “couple” but he always played the love, the sexual tension, the longing between them and I loved it. Jim Reilly was really good at that, as he did the same thing for many of his couples (Carrie/Austin, Sheridan/Luis, Ethan/Theresa, etc). In fact, some of Reilly’s best John/Marlena stories were when they weren’t a couple: The Affair, Maison Blanche, the Possession, Aremid, Lady in a Cage, the Secret Room.

Triangles and quads galore.......Everyone knows Jim Reilly loved writing those! I, of course, enjoyed most of them, especially his triangles/quads in the 90's at DAYS which were the bases of pretty much all of his stories.

- Roman/Marlena/John
- Tony/Kristen/John
- Marlena/John/Kristen
- Peter/Jennifer/Jack
- Billie/Bo/Hope
- Sami/Austin/Carrie
- Vivian/Victor/Kate

Each triangle had their time on frontburner and that one of the things I liked with his writing in the 90's.

With Passions:
- Kay/Miguel/Charity
- Grace/Sam/Ivy
- TC/Eve/Julian
- Luis/Sheridan/Antonio
- Theresa/Ethan/Gwen

Of course there were many...many more (:lol:) but those were his big ones.

Jim Reilly’s humour.......I got it...I got his humour.....I think we had the same sense of humour because I laughed at a all the outrageous and hilarious things he wrote. Let’s face it, the dude was nuts! He must’ve been to come up with what he did :lol: And he didn’t mind making fun of himself too! On Passions there was Judge James E. Reilly who takes bribes, and characters would always bash him. LOL Or sometimes characters would praise him: Rebecca: “That judge Reilly is worth every penny that we pay him. He always delivers, day in, day out, with such passion.” LOL!! Or this scene here with Julian who’s in the hospital after getting his penis chopped off, then re-attached, but he he’ll die if he has an erection.......

“What sort of sick mind comes up with this stuff? It’s got to be some reclusive hack with too much time on his hands.”

Of course there was also Timmy/Tabitha, Norma/Edna and Precious the monkey....I mean orangutang! And all the fantasy and dream sequences that he came up with.

Jim Reilly had such a hilarious imagination. There was absolutely no boundaries when it came to his humour.

Another aspect I loved about Jim Reilly’s writing was his slow, his extremely slow (;)) stories.
I didn’t mind that the took years to tell a story because I all needed was to be entertained, I didn't care how long it lasted.
“the audience likes the stretch of a story that has an energy to it. It cannot go so fast that they can’’t savor the flavor of how delicious it is to see so-and-so walk into the room. Moments are built up to. Our audience must be psychologically prepared for what’s about to happen. For example, Maison Blanche paved the foundation for the Stefano-Marlena infatuation and the middle of the night visits through her armoire in Salem. DiMera’s passions, his interest was aroused as never before. It didn’t pay off for about six or seven months, but it made sense when it did. Likewise, Gina was introduced over a year before she was revealed as Hope. We had to have the audience fall in love with her while the Bo and Billie wedding excitement had to hold. The energy must be up, but every beat of story must be played. Anticipation must be played where it counts, not over everything. And there’s always focus on the emotions.”

I thought Jim Reilly was amazing at building up stories and then having these huge climaxes. He was especially good in the 90's! It was the conclusion of the Secret Room storyline that came within .3 of Y&R in the ratings. Everything that happened during that climax was Jim Reilly at his best. There was suspense, humour, action, huge revelations, secrets coming out, cliffhangers!

Weddings.......Reilly was one of the best at writing weddings.....whether they happened or not. LOL He would use these weddings as a place where secrets come out, so you always knew that something was gonna go down! If there was a wedding on a Jim Reilly show, you had to watch it! Some for example.....Sami stopped Austin/Carrie’s wedding in (1995?) when she revealed that she was pregnant with Austin’s baby. John/Susan’s Elvis style wedding (the flying teeth!!! :lol:) during the conclusion of the Secret Room.

Carrie knocking out Sami at Sami/Austin’s wedding and the revelation of Will’s true paternity.

Here are more of JER’s weddings from DAYS. I kept this post by blueeaglex from the Passions Coffeerooms board which was posted on March 7, 2002:
As an examination of the weddings JER has written in the past will show, there are two rules for his soap weddings.
(1) Good couples do NOT marry. They walk down the aisle--but they don't end up as husband and wife.

(2) Bad couples DO get married. For every good couple, at least one of the two WILL marry someone else.
A look at JER's weddings at Days of Our Lives confirms this.

(A) Peter and Jennifer. Peter was a criminal hiding his true occupation from Jennifer. Jack loved his ex-wife Jennifer and wanted to get back together with her. Jennifer was wavering towards Jack until, shortly before the wedding, she learned that Jack had slept with her mother. Peter and Jennifer were married, and remained husband and wife for a year.

(B) Bo and Billie. Bo loved Billie, but the return of his not-so-dead-wife Hope created problems for them. Within months it was obvious that viewers were meant to root for Hope...who wasn't sure if she was Hope or not. Bo married Billie anyway.

© Bo and Hope. Happy and in love, about a year after the end of his marriage to Billie. They didn't think anything could tear them apart. Billie's mother, Kate, hired Franco to break them apart. He stranded Bo and Billie together on an island, and Hope caught them together in bed--on their wedding day!

(D) Bo and Billie. Bo was working undercover to bring down a druglord. Billie stumbled on Bo's plan, and Bo was forced to claim that Billie was his girlfriend. To test Bo's claims, the druglord had Bo and Billie get married--and Hope served as the witness! Afterwards, Hope learned the truth about the marriage, but when she returned to reunite with Bo, she found him in bed with Billie!

(E) Tony and Kristen. Viewers were supposed to be rooting for John and Kristen, as Tony was the son of John's greatest enemy. Kristen's affair with John had ended because she believed her father was dying, and he wanted Tony and Kristen to get married before he did so. Kristen told John that, if she could prove Stefano was a killer, she would leave Tony. Instead, Stefano made it appear that John had accidentally killed him. Kristen married Tony.

(F) John and Kristen. By the time they became engaged, Kristen had become an evil villainess, while John loved Marlena. Though she had miscarried her and John's child, she hired a pregnant woman, Susan, to pose as her. Susan--dressed as Kristen--went into labor. John married Susan--believing she was Kristen. It would be months before the truth came out.

(G) John and Marlena. With the truth about Kristen's evil exposed, John proposed to Marlena. But, on the day of their wedding, Kristen surprised the happy couple by bringing in Roman, Marlena's presumed dead ex-husband. He was dying, and still in love with Marlena. John and Marlena did not marry.

(H) Roman and Marlena. With John off in the jungle, Marlena spent more time with Roman, despite being in love with John. Roman wanted to marry Marlena before he died, and the two started a wedding ceremony. They did not get married, but JER has said that if he had been sticking around, they would have tied the knot--and then Roman would've been cured.

(I) Victor and Vivian. Victor loved Kate. But Vivian was still harboring feelings for Victor, her ex, who felt nothing for her. The solution? Vivian took a job as Kate's wedding planner. She brought a minister in, told Victor that she was doing a wedding rehearsal without Kate, and married Victor without him ever knowing it!

(J) Austin and Carrie. They loved each other dearly. In the middle of their wedding, however, Carrie's sister Sami stormed in and announced she was pregnant with Austin's child! Needless to say, the wedding was called off.

(K) Austin and Sami. Scheming Sami's wish to become Mrs. Austin Reed came true after their child, Will, was kidnapped and brought to Paris. The French authorities refused to give the child back to parents who were unmarried. Austin and Sami tied the knot and remained married for about a year.

(L) Austin and Carrie. Austin and Sami were set to get married once again. But Carrie burst in with proof of Sami's lies! Austin dumped Sami, and proposed to Carrie! The two were married. This was the only HAPPY wedding in five years of JER's work at Days. It was his going-away present, as JER was leaving the show to create what we now know as Passions. And it wasn't even a completely happy wedding, as Carrie had been developing feelings for Mike in the months leading up to her marriage to Austin.

On Passions, Ivy driving into the church to stop Ethan/Theresa’s wedding. Or the 2002 quadruple wedding.

Julian and Theresa’s drunken wedding. :lol: And of course Ethan/Theresa’s wedding from the last episode of Passions.

How to create buzz with huge storylines.......Jim Reilly knew how to do it! I believe he called it “banging the drum”......and he sure did.....very loudly! He would create these larger than life stories that would be the talk of the industry or message boards or even at school! The big 2 were definitely The Possession and The Salem Serial Killer. And whether you hated it or loved it, you were definitely talking about it and that’s what he wanted.
"I don't want my show to be nice and boring. I want it to get under people's skin."

When Reilly consulted for Sunset Beach in 1998, you could definitely feel his presence there. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 1998 was Sunset Beach’s best year. There were huge storylines like Terror Island, Shockwave and The Cursed Jewels. Did Reilly come up with those storylines? Maybe not. But I like to think he had some hand in those storylines. :)

I definitely wish I could've seen his GL era.

More favourite Reilly moments.........Tony framing John in Aremid. I thought this was one of JER’s best plots ever.

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Here’s a beautiful montage of this storyline. Damn, DAYS was so gothic back then. Loved it!

At Belle’s Baptism, Marlena confesses about the affair: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsTxZaRliCE

I think the John/Marlena affair story was the best all around story Jim Reilly ever wrote. It was pure human drama about love, betrayal, lies and family. I do wish he wrote more stories like this.

Here’s a thread I create a while go.....The Best of James. E Reilly: http://boards.soapoperanetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=21940

There were so many other great moments! I can go on and on and on about Jim Reilly, as you all probably know, but this is all I can come up with right now.

I just can’t believe that he’s gone now. I’ve always dreamed of meeting him, just wanting to talk soap operas and pick his brain on all the things he wrote. He brought so much entertainment and joy to my life for the past 15 years. I was so proud of him, proud to be a fan, proud to be “JimReillyJr”......... And I hope he now knows how grateful I am for all the things he's done. Thank you, Jim! You are my passion for life. Rest in peace.

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Indeed. A brilliant summing-up of the man's career.

And I certainly think his touch helped make GL what it was in the early '90s. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was something unmistakably Reilly about it...

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EXCELLENT tribute, Toups! Well said.

It James that got me hooked to Days with the SSK storyline. I enjoyed it a lot. I was glued to my tv at 1PM waiting to see who will die. I remember my mom telling me it had to be Marlena killing those people and I told her it couldn't be her. LOL

I LOVED Passions! Always have, always will. Loved James' humor. He was a funny man.

R.I.P James E. Reilly. You will never be forgotten. You will forever be missed.

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Such a lovely tribute Toups, and I can certainly see that it came from the heart. Love him or hate him, JER left an impact that will never be forgotten.

As someone who did watch GL during the time he was there, I could definitely see some Reilly-isms in hindsight. Especially with the great stuff that happed in 1992. I know in particular the 1992 Springfield blackout was Reilly's creation and it bore his mark, though in a more traditional way. That event was used to bring to a climax several storylines, as well as a vehicle to create new ones (most of which would be carried out when he was gone). That was what JER was good at, for every climax, there is a beginning.

And come on, who else would come up with a storyline where Bridget putting on her blowdryder leads to the total colapse of the electricity in an entire city? I see a lot of the foundation in Bridget for what later became Sami on DAYS as well.

I also think one of the 1992 blackout epsidoes was submitted along with the Jan 1993 episode of Maureen's funeral that landed GL that writing Emmy in 1993, JER's only Emmy.

I'll always look back on this time of GL with great fondness, even if I give Curlee and Demorest the most credit for it. I'm glad JER at least has some contribution in making me a soap fan. If I didn't fall into GL somewhere in early 1991, I wouldn't be a fan of the soap genre right now.

I also found amusing, as I brought up in a another thread that both JER and JFP worked on GL in the early 90's. Two very controversial and polarizing soap opera figures, perhaps the two most controversial soap people from the past 20 years.

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And I certainly think his touch helped make GL what it was in the early '90s. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was something unmistakably Reilly about it...

I think the big climactic events from 91 and 92 bore a great Reilly stamp. The stories were built up and usually exposed in a big way, something JER would later be known for. Also, Bridget Reardon, though undoubtedly Curlee and Demorest created (they had much more knowledge of the Reardon family, having been there longer) had a lot of Reilly-esque qualities that I would later see in Sami Brady. Bridget, though only created in 91, was a pivotal part in many storylines from that era.

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Reilly's big successes cannot be faked, every head writer has tried to be like Reilly in some sense and only he could pull it out. Reilly was great at GL and alot of that writing was very much continued with DAYS. OMG when Reilly took over for DAYS it was a mess in that it was at the bottom of the ratings. He took it over and within 1993-1994 ratigns magic took place and continued. His climax's like the Marlena posession, Sami's comeupannce or his biggest the revelation with Susan-Kristin. Actually DAYS hit a 7.0 and almost overtook Y&R for number 1 during that week. Just utterly amazing his ratings successes were just fabulous. He made NBC daytime a fortune. The only reason why AW was on for 7 more years then it should have was Reilly's high ratings were able to keep that show on longer. He consulted for Sunset Beach and did the whole earthquake/tsuanami. Then he created Passions which was all Reilly and was a success until Reilly was doing both shows. It affected both shows. I am so glad Reilly got to write Passions last episode and finish it. I will just conclude no matter what anyone says this man left a HUGE MARK IN THE DAYTIME WORLD. He is a genius on several different levels. I heard that he never meet the actors, he only wanted to know them as the characters. I also heard Reilly would wakeup in the middle of the night and write all his dreams on paper. The man had such a creative vision in his writing. He will be missed. He was a very rich rich man but he earned every day. What a loss for daytime especially during such a bad patch. Reilly will be missed, I did not Reilly was in such bad heath but they better pay tribute to this man. He left such a legacy.

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A lovely tribute Toups!

I also will never forget his first couple of years on DAYS. I will never forget how exciting Carly buried alive was.

The one story I think about most though, is the Roman/Marlena/John storyline. From the begining of the affair, to the end of Marlena's marriage to Roman, and how that contributed to the posession, it was a good 2 years of drama, and every moment on the show was worth watching for me.

One of my favorite Reilly Days moments is the often mentioned return of Belle, who Sami had kidnapped, to Marlena at the church with O Holy Night playing. I still get chills.

My heart belongs to Claire Labine's type of storytelling, but I was thrilled by Reilly in those days too. Right writer, right cast, right show.

I am revisiting his tenure on GL thanks to Youtube, and I see Reillyisms all the time, his fingerprints are all over several storylines.

When was he on GH? I'm thinking it was during the end of Monty's first tenure right? Guza was there too if I remember a quote by him correctly. I'm thinking Reilly was during Robert/Anna time, not Luke/Laura.

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Wonderful Tribute Toups.

While I wasn't always a fan of his work, two of JER's storylines brought me to viewing Days over the years, the buried alive story while in college and the SSK story a few years ago. When JER was good, he was GOOD.

Rest In Peace

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I came to DOOL very very late, 2004 to be exact. I was an ABC watcher but at that point has given up on all three ABC soaps and aol had on their front news page that greets you a window telling you the TV highlights. And there it was, "see who the salem serial killer is" so I clicked it and saw Tony spitting at Marlena.

I of course knew who Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes were and then I remember reading he was killed off. I decided to tune in and see what the show was all about. I gave myself a week to make up my mind, and I loved what I saw. It was so dramatically different from the horrible abc soaps with their star system and lack of stories, I was so impressed with Days unrelenting adherence to plot and not just a fetish for couples.

Then I remember came the day when I think it was Marlena was pushed off a terrace and landed right on Sami. :D I knew the show was unlike any other. Jan Spears. How can anyone not love Jan Spears? Then came the whopper that had me regressing back to a kid watching Flash Gordon serials shown latenight on PBS: The island of dead people. I loved it. My favorite story and I know I am probably alone in that. But an island of dead people trapped by a forcefield with skeletons smoking cigars, volcanic eruptions, literal cliffhangers with Jennifer, John about to be diced by a giant fan...I felt like this was Batman 1966 (and that I mean as a compliment).

If there was any twist, no matter how crazy or how corny, JER took it.

Days led me to Passions. Alistair and his chalice. I love my villains extra evil, and Alistair fit the bill.

In my opinion Days has not been as entertaining since he left. I was hoping he would wind up on another soap.

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Bridget, though only created in 91, was a pivotal part in many storylines from that era.

Not to mention Nadine, a character type Reilly would use again in Judi Evans' Bonnie.

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