By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 245
At the Old House, Woodard takes Willie’s sample as Barnabas plies him with liquor and rhapsodizes about the romance of sacrificing blood. Willie tries to explain what the true Barnabas asks to see the slide and swaps it out with a fake as they speak of the beauty of blood. Barnabas learns that Woodard is seeking every connection possible between Willie and Maggie. Barnabas warns him that the man who broke into his office is of dangerous strength. Woodard says it’s both a beast and a man. Barnabas mournfully describes the villain as more than a man and less than a man, and someone he loathes very deeply. Later, Barnabas reveals to Willie that he switched the slides. At the Blue Whale, Woodard reveals that Willie’s blood is normal, but Maggie’s was terrifying. There was a substance that should have been rejected. Instead, he saw and unholy union in her veins. It was as if Maggie were accepting into her blood something inhuman. The wolf continues to howl in the distance.
Today marks the first solo piece for writer Joe Caldwell. Joe had teamed up on prior scripts, but this was his solo debut. It shows, in the best way. The language is poetic and evocative. Barnabas has moments of self-loathing and ambiguity that are gorgeously, hauntingly phrased, and the same can be said for Woodard’s exploration of science and mystery. Caldwell, also a novelist, professor at Columbia University, and Rome Prize for literature winner, considered vampirism to be a metaphor for compulsive sex. “Stop me or I’ll suck more,” he said was a way of phrasing it. In an interview with Open Road Media, he said that the secret to Barnabas was to write him very straight with very real emotional challenges. In that sense, he’s picking up a cue used to great effect by writers like Shakespeare and Stan Lee when dealing with humanizing characters of tremendous abilities.
On this day in 1967, the painfully unfunny Neil Simon had a hit with the inexplicably popular film of his witless and predictable play, BAREFOOT IN THE PARK. Now considered a shorthand for the nadir of “classy” romantic comedy of the era, it remains terrible because I have still not been cast in a regional production of it.