“Happy Days,” Soap Opera Digest, May 9, 2006
Soap Opera Digest, May 9, 2006
“I think Patch’s shoes – I mean boots – will be very comfortable,” smiles Stephen Nichols, who is set to step back into them when he returns to the DAYS set next week to tape his first episodes since his departure in 1990.
The return — which viewers have been clamoring for 16 years — began with a phone call from Executive Producer Ken Corday. “Ken said that he was interested in bringing myself and Mary Beth [Evans, Kayla] back to the show,” Nichols explains. “Actually, I was surprised, because it’s been a long time coming. It almost happened two or three times prior to this and for one reason or the other, did not.”
His first run on DAYS “is a long and distant memory at this point,” the actor notes. “But I think it’ll be interesting to see where he’s been and what’s happening after 16 years. He was supposedly dead, not buried.” As for where Steve wound up after the infamous coffin switch, Nichols laughs, “I’ve always had this crazy fantasy of hanging in somebody’s laboratory, suspended from the ceiling by wires.”
He is thrilled to be paired with Evans again. The two appeared on GH as Stefan and Katherine, but DAYS has always held a special place in his heart. “It was a magical time when the two of us were together on the show,” Nichols praises. “I’m happy to be back with Peter [Reckell, Bo] and Kristian [Alfonso, Hope] and Deidre [Hall, Marlena] and Drake [Hogestyn, John], Matthew [Ashford, Jack], Billy [Warlock, Frankie], Frances [Reid, Alice], Josh [Taylor, Roman], James [Reynolds, Abe] and all the old gang. So many of the people who I worked with are there, which makes it better.”
And not to worry, he’ll be sporting his signature patch. “I am so looking forward to wearing it,” Nichols enthuses. “I got used to it. My 14-year old daughter asked me the other day, ‘Does that ever bother your eye?’ I said, ‘Honey, you sound just like a fan.’ She got the biggest kick out of that. It was so interesting that she asked the most common question I ever got.”
Chances are, he’ll have a lot more of those to answer. And that’s just fine with him. “I’m really looking forward to some exciting story and just to have some fun.” Nichols says.
“It seemed, for everybody, like it was never gonna happen,” sighs Mary Beth Evans, whose return to DAYS after a 14-year absence (and stints as GH’s Katherine and ATWT’s Sierra), is perfectly timed to coincide with that of on-screen love Nichols. “It was always not the right time or didn’t work for one of us, but this time, all the ducks were in a row and everybody wanted to do it. We never wanted to come before to just hang a Horton Christmas ball; we wanted to do something that was interesting and make it worth everybody’s while. That’s what it seems like it’s going to be, so we’re really excited.”
Technically still recurring on ATWT (where her on-screen daughter has just been recast), Evans had to give up one job for the other. “I love the people at [ATWT], so that is really a hard thing for me,” says the actress, who wasn’t able to spill the top–secret news to ATWT Executive Producer Christopher Goutman until after he’d already heard. “He always treated me with respect and kindness and always made me feel important, even though I never understood why!” she laughs. “He knows I love to work and he’s so happy that I can work out here [in L.A.]. DAYS is 15 minutes from my house. But so many of the [ATWT] cast members are coming out for the Emmy’s, so I’m hoping to get together with them to give my love and kisses, which is great because I told my husband that I would have to go back one more time and talk to everybody – I couldn’t imagine just not going back ever!”
As for Kayla, “Supposedly she went to California. She was already a nurse, so I don’t know where that’s taken her,” muses Evans, who had no input into the story, but has complete faith in the show. “I think both of us hope that somebody does the research and keeps true to the characters. That’s all we wanted when we were there and that’s all we want now, and DAYS is pretty good at that. It was a pretty amazing love story and kind of a tragic ending, so I’m really curious to see what will happen. Hopefully, they’ll take us all on a big ride.”