An Oklahoma City University alumnus who is now the executive in charge of production for NBC’s longest-running scripted series, “Days of Our Lives,” recently released a photography book marking the 45th anniversary of the show.
The book is titled “Days of our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos” and features more than 250 pages of photographs from the show’s set, behind the scenes and other glimpses not normally seen by the television audience.
Greg Meng, who is also senior vice president of Corday Productions, compiled the photos along with television and film art director Eddie Campbell. Meng graduated from OCU with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance. He started as a page for NBC in Burbank, Calif., and became manager of Television Business Affairs before joining Corday Productions Inc., the company that produces the show.
The book was released Nov. 8, 2010, which was 45 years to the day on which “Days of Our Lives” premiered in 1965. The photographs are ordered along a timeline to “take readers on the set for a typical day starting with the first cup of coffee in the morning to the director yelling ‘it’s a wrap!’ at day’s end, and every juicy moment in between,” Meng said.
“The book was actually story-boarded. Literally each of the new photos was laid out to tell the story in photos,” Meng added. “Also, I wanted to use photos both new and old that ‘broke the fourth wall,’ photos that showed cameras, cue cards, dressing rooms, etc. In the book, Kristian Alfonso (Hope) greets us and gently walks us through the day, ending with her solo on a dark stage in the spotlight.”
Meng is currently accompanying cast members on a six-city tour around the country promoting the book, which includes stops in New York, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Houston.
“Days of Our Lives” premiered as the story of a family of doctors and was praised by critics as the highest quality of its genre as it went on to become the first soap to land on the cover of TIME Magazine, won several Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Awards and racked up high-profile fans like Julia Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
“‘Days’ has survived because we have created a production model that cut our costs in half, and we continue to deliver a show that is current,” Meng said. “‘Days’ has been in our viewers’ living rooms for 45 years, so I thought it might be interesting to bring fans into ‘our living room’ to see behind the scenes how the show is put together.”