Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Michael Weiss: Memories of Dr. Mike on “Days”

Michael Weiss before the "T" when he played
Dr. Mike Horton in the '80s on "Days Of Our Lives".
Not too long ago I finished watching the first season of “Blue Bloods” on DVD and what caught my eye was a recurring guest star, one of the suspected bad guys. He was played by Michael T Weiss.

That name may not ring any bells for some, but I recall a time in the mid-80s when he was still just Michael Weiss, no “T” yet. He played another Michael – Michael Horton on the daytime drama (AKA soap opera), “Days of our Lives”. 

Watching Days
It really started when I was in Grade 11. At Christmas time that year, 1985, my biggest present was a brand new VCR. That summer, when I got out of school I started watching “Days Of Our Lives” regularly. I really liked the characters. So, after I figured out how to use that VCR, I started taping “Days”. I started watching it every night after school, but life got busier and busier, so I ended up watching a week’s worth on Sunday afternoons.

Pretty soon my mom was in on it with me, which was good and bad. I loved watching it with her on Sundays, but often she actually watched it during the day. Every so often she would let something she saw slip. This was long before the phrase “spoiler alert” was coined.

The show got more interesting as we watched over the next few months, as a bunch of new characters made their debut, including a mystery, bearded man with a collection of long-sleeved Hawaiian shirts.

Mike Horton with his love interest Robin Jacobs.
Mike Horton comes home
I clearly remember his first appearance. This man I know I had never seen, walks into the Horton household which is empty. He is scruffy, and a bit shady looking, as he helps himself to something to eat. This cannot be good, I thought.

Well, people return home and we quickly discover he is no stranger to Salem, but is in fact Mike Horton, a character that had been on the show since birth.

He is now a doctor, who assumes his new role at Salem General. He spends a lot of time with his sister Jennifer Rose Horton, who is still played by Melissa Brennan to this day. Soon, he takes an interest in Robin Jacobs, another doctor at the hospital. She rebuffs his advances because he can never truly be together: she is Jewish and he is a Gentile. It is an interesting story line that goes on for months and years (as they all do on a soap opera). Eventually, he does convert and I believe they do get together, but it doesn’t last.

The days after
Pretty soon, I was off to university and lost track of the plot lines of “Days”. Periodically, I did watch it, but by then another actor was playing Mike. Weiss actually played Mike Horton for almost four years, from 1986 to 1990, but I totally lost track in 1988 or so.

I would see Michael Weiss play other roles. He would go on to play a role in a short-lived summer replacement called “2000 Malibu Road”, then in the mid-90s played Jarod, who was “The Pretender”.

When I saw him on “Blue Bloods” it again showed me how soap operas can be such a great training ground for actors.

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