If Bill Hayes‘ brother did not come down with a case of strep throat that caused him to lose his voice in 1947, the nearly 92-year-old actor may not be where he is today.
Hayes recently relayed the tale to Soap Opera Digest in the May 29 issue, explaining how his brother Phil had written to the stage manager of Chicago’s Schubert Theater about auditioning for the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Carousel.
Phil got a card back to be there at 2 pm on a Tuesday, but strep throat kept him down and Hayes scratched out his brother’s name, filled in his, sang a song, and ended up in the chorus.
“I thought, ‘Holy mackerel, you can get paid for singing? Acting? Doing stage work?’ I had no idea.”
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The rest, as they say, is showbiz history and that history can now be viewed in the documentary World By The Tail: The Bill Hayes Story, created by Hayes’ grandson, David, and available for free at billhayesmovie.com.
Before Hayes landed his iconic Days of Our Lives role in the 1970s, he had been a regular on Your Show of Shows and even had a number one hit with the song The Ballad of Davy Crockett.
Hayes told TV Insider’s Michael Logan how hard it was to get old clips of Your Show of Shows, as well as some of the other treasures in the film.
“I was amazed at how much material Dave and Lee were able to retrieve, especially from Your Show of Shows,” he said.
“Back when we were doing that series, they made three kinescopes of every episode. One set went to Sid Caesar, one to Max Liebman the producer, and one to the NBC archives.
“NBC burned the entire collection. Caesar got rid of everything but the sketches he was in, so that meant all my musical numbers were thrown out. Only Liebman kept the entire series.”
Featured in the documentary are interviews with some old-time celebs like producers Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, as well as performers Shirley MacLaine, Elliott Gould, Shirley Jones, and the late, great Florence Henderson, Hayes’ longtime singing partner.
Of course, Hayes also talks about his decades on DAYS, and Salem cohorts also make an appearance in the form of Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, Kristian Alfonso, and Matthew Ashford. And oh yeah, Hayes’ wife, Susan, also known as Doug’s wife, Julie.
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