Centenarian Arden Vie has been an ardent fan of the soap opera Days of Our Lives since the 1960s.
At age 101, the Pasco man still is watching the show. And because of that devotion, the show's producers recently invited him to the set.
Vie can't remember what attracted him to the soap all those years ago, but once he started, he was hooked.
"I started watching the show when I was principal at Mark Twain Elementary," Vie told the Herald via email. "I'd come home on my lunch break and watch it. The show was only 30 minutes then. Not sure why I started watching it. I guess I turned on the TV and there it was."
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Vie took a trip to Los Angeles in January to visit his son Greg, and was surprised when he discovered his son had arranged for him to meet the cast.
Greg Vie had written a letter a year earlier to the show's executive producer, Ken Corday, but never heard back. Then he met Deidre Hall, one of the stars of the Days of Our Lives, at an autograph session, and gave her a copy of the letter he sent to Corday.
"In the letter I had included a photo of Dad reading the book Days of Our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos, which was co-authored by Greg Meng, a co-producer of the show," Greg Vie said. "Deidre immediately texted Greg telling him about Dad. Later that week, Greg called and wondered if he could get Dad to the set on his 100th birthday."
Unfortunately, the elder Vie already had had plans to spend his 100th with family in the Tri-Cities.
"Six months later, I met Greg at a Days of Our Lives event and reminded him of our conversation about Dad," Greg Vie said. That led to another invite to Arden Vie to the set of the soap opera to celebrate his 101st birthday.
"I thought it would be great to get Dad on the set while he was visiting here in L.A. in January," Greg Vie said. "We were picked up from my L.A. condo and driven in a town car to NBC studios in Burbank."
As for his dad, meeting the stars of the show he has been watching for a half-century was a great birthday gift.
"At my age, it's hard for me to get excited about anything," Arden Vie said. "But this was an unexpected treat. I enjoyed meeting the cast very much, especially Alison Sweeney, Suzanne Rogers, and Kristian Alfonso. I was disappointed, though, that I did not get to meet Deidre Hall, but she was not working that day."
Arden said what he liked about the show was that it had a good story line and interesting characters.
"The show also took my mind off the problems of the work day," he added.
His visit to the set and lifelong devotion to the show also will be featured in Soap Opera Digest magazine later this month, Greg Vie said.
"Dad was also featured (earlier this month) in a two-page article in Soaps in Depth," he added.
The elder Vie will return to Pasco next week with plenty of fond memories and stories to share with family and friends.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal