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DAYS: Jason47's From the Vault: The 1964 proposal...Tom Horton is introduced

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Jason47 Presents...The "Days of Our Lives" Proposal, 1964...PART ONE

Coming over the next few weeks, a look back at the "Days of Our Lives" proposal, written 50 years ago in 1964. The 16-page document is a general overview written about Salem and its characters, and was used to help market the potential series to various production companies. Screen Gems ended up buying the idea on September 15, 1964. NBC liked the idea enough to have a pilot episode made in July 1965, and Macdonald Carey and Mary Jackson were hired to play Tom and Alice. When NBC viewed the pilot, they decided to make the pilot into a series, and Frances Reid was hired to replace Mary Jackson in the role of Alice. And now, as "Days" fans get ready to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary next year, here's how things all began, when "Days" only existed on paper...

In Salem City -- a city large enough to support a municipal college and yet not quite large enough to attract a major league baseball club -- TOM and ALICE HORTON are living out the days of their lives.

They own their own home, a forty-year-old frame house that has become old-fashioned and even a little anachronistic in the changing neighborhood.

Tom has two jobs. He is professor of internal medicine at the medical school and staff internist in the University Hospital. Too young to have been in the first world war, he saw a great deal of service with the Medical Corps in the South Pacific during the second war.

An obscure man, little known outside of the confines of Salem City, Tom was once something of a minor celebrity in many cities. That was during his college days when, as a young husband and father, he also followed two callings: his main calling, as a student of medicine, and the more lucrative job he kept to pay the family and university bills. That job was as a baseball player on a top minor league club, and he was a sensationally good player.

Despite the blandishments of many major league club owners and the pleas of his own wife, Tom Horton quit baseball cold the day he received his medical degree -- for that was also the day he started his internship at the old Friends' Hospital in Salem City.

He has never regretted walking out on what fame and fortune might have awaited him had he remained in baseball. Tom always had a peculiarly old-fashioned idea that money is only a mean to an end, and not an end in itself. Dr. Thomas Horton, as a grown man, was never able to earn as much money in his chosen profession as he had been offered for playing a children's game while he was still a very young man.

He could have earned more money, perhaps. Good internists are very rare. But, because they are, and because Tom is a natural born teacher, he found his destiny in teaching younger men to become internists, and in serving on the staff of the University Hospital for a stipend that was little more than nominal. He went into internal medicine as a student, remained as a teacher, and never once did he put his profession to more economically rewarding uses. The only time he ever left the campus after his student days was to serve in the Army Medical Corps during the second world war.

He has now been a teacher long enough to have become a 'second father' to generations of individual students. Often, years after they have become parents and doctors themselves, his former students will return with new pleas for help, or even for sympathy, as they find themselves in situations they cannot resolve for themselves.

Coming soon: Tom's introduction story continues, and we get to learn about his wife, Alice, for the very first time!

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