Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: MAY 31


May 31, 1967 
Taped on this date: Episode 253

Maggie awakens in a prisoner’s robe in her cell in the Old House basement, clinging to her true identity. Her memory is fuzzy. Barnabas enters the cell as she begs him to stay away. He wants to make her a vampire so they may stay together forever. He insists that she is Josette, and advises her to cooperate. He brings the music box to help jar her memory. She reluctantly allows him to leave it. But is she playing along? Maggie agrees to cooperate if her father be given her ring so he won’t worry about her. Barnabas refuses, based on common sense. But if she becomes his bride, he will. Willie, later, is easier to persuade. Meanwhile, David sneaks into the Old House to see Josette. Willie catches him sneaking upstairs, to Josette’s room, and upbraids him. David says he knows what Willie and Barnabas are up to; they are trying to make her leave.  Willie bodily throws him out. In doing so, Willie drops Maggie’s ring. David tries to give it back, but Willie will have none of it. At Collinwood, Vicki sees the ring with David. She sees an inscription inside… a name or mysterious initials. Barnabas arrives. Barnabas owes David an apology to David for Willie’s rudeness.  Barnabas recognizes the ring and finds that it fell from Willie’s pocket. It was being given Willie to sell, so says Barnabas. Back at the Old House, Maggie plays the music box as Barnabas approaches. Maggie puts on the mask of cooperation. He shows her the ring, knowing the jig is up. He gloats at having foiled her plan.

The ghost of Josette is strangely absent. To a great extent, I totally grok why David is so concerned. Josette’s ghost seemed far more concerned with Matthew Morgan than Barnabas.  Kathryn Leigh Scott’s performance gets better and better. Her secret is that we see a character bent on survival, not suffering. Put a bad actor into a frightening story, and we will simply watch them bitch, moan, and “be scared.” Scott is far, far too smart for this. Jonathan Frid is also mastering incredibly difficult material.  Most actors would chew the scenery and leer with unsubtle abandon. Barnabas, for all of his anger and frustration, seems sincerely motivated by love.  I think this is what made the women of America swoon. He mixes a passionate force of personality with a tender desire to win her over with as little brutality as possible. And he’s no one’s fool.  This day also marks the thirtieth day of marriage between Elvis and Priscilla. As far as I know, Elvis never shot a TV showing DARK SHADOWS.

(Episode 243 airs on this date.)

May 31, 1968 
Taped on this date: Episode 506

The ocean churns as we hear Lang’s instructions that Adam must live for Barnabas to survive  as a man. Willie and Barnabas search the rocks. Barnabas is certain that Adam lives. Adam must have run away out of self-preservation. But where? The abandoned root cellar at the Taylor farm, where he once secreted Carolyn. All Willie wants to do is tell Carolyn the dream, but Barnabas orders him to return to the root cellar. In Carolyn’s room, she defends Adam to Liz, explaining that he was more like a child than a maniac. After she goes to bed, Willie sneaks into her room, desperate to tell her the dream. He only gets partly through it before she bites his hand, screams, and forces him to jump out the window. Liz enters and hears what happened. Carolyn thinks he meant no harm. He was more terrified than by anything else in his life. Carolyn is afraid to sleep, especially of the dream. She’s afraid that if she has it, she’ll die.

In a show of evolving and complex characters, there is none more so than Willie Loomis. DARK SHADOWS is replete with characters whose golden hearts have been painted with lead. The joy of the show is watching them find the gold within. Usually, they are celebrated for it. But Willie is a man who can’t get a break. He is forced to learn compassion. The only problem is that his first impression is never forgotten… completely. This makes him the ultimate Everyman. Class issues bubble around the edges of DARK SHADOWS like the unacknowledged Chairman Mao in the room. Willie truly is Exhibit A. Both of these episodes richly portray that.

(Episode 505 airs on this date.)

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: MAY 27


May 27, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 514

Bad days at Collinwood. Barnabas is bricked behind a wall in the Old House, Liz is fixated on dying, and Maggie feels more and more drawn to the past. Joe and Maggie get ready for the evening. As Joe gets ready to pick up Sam from the Blue Whale, he wonders if Stokes is a thief. After he leaves, Maggie again dons the earrings and Josette’s theme plays. After she exits, we see Adam looking in through the window. Maggie enters the Old House in a strange reverie. Willie greets her, and she has no idea why she’s there. However she hears a noise. Little do they know it’s Barnabas trying to get their attention. Willie takes her appearances as a cue that she has romantic interest in him. Willie just warns her not to wear the earrings. Is he worried about Barnabas? The moment she takes the earrings off, the trance is broken and she must get to the Blue Whale. Without the earrings, she senses there is something off about the Old House. At Collinwood, Liz leaves, fixated on the man who jumped from Widow’s Hill, and goes to the Old House to see Barnabas. She tells Willie that the police called, reporting that a man matching Adam’s description has been seen vandalizing the neighborhood. Liz then falls into a dark meditation on death. She then hears the knocking from behind the cellar wall. She knows someone was buried alive. Liz runs out wishing that “she” would kill her and get it over with. In her absence, Willie observes that, “She ought to see a doctor.” At the Evans cottage, Joe returns reporting that Sam wants a search party to look for Adam -- he’s a friend in need. Joe further reports that Sam is hostile, and Maggie wonders if it’s frustration over his blindness. She sends Joe back to the Blue Whale. Outside, Joe sees Willie headed inward. Joe warns him away, not knowing that they’ve made peace. Willie says that Joe is just jealous, and Joe responds by beating Willie unconscious. Going back in, Joe reports to Maggie of his meeting with Willie. Maggie explains that Willie meant no harm; when he was shot there, he was trying to warn her from danger. And of her visits to the Old House? She doesn’t know. Joe grows more and more belligerent in his questioning. He angrily exits, giving an ultimatum that she has one day to give him the truth. Willie staggers in, beaten. Adam follows Willie in, reporting, “Willie bad!” He seizes Maggie and she screams for all she’s got.

Lemme tell you, it’s only going to get stranger. 1970 is shot wildly out of sequence, but that’s nothing compared to what’s coming up with 1967. Hoo boy. I feel like Billy Pilgrim. This episode seems to initiate the Fall of Joe Haskell. I have a theory about this sad, alien part of the mythology' they could only afford so many actors, and Quentin was being eyed as The Next Thing After Nicholas Blair. Law of Conservation of Money.  Just my theory. They knew that Quentin was coming, and there was only so much Hunk Money to go around. That’s just a pet theory. In any case, it gave them an opportunity to take a very kind character down an unexpectedly dark road, creating the precedent for what would happen to Maggie and Quentin. Maggie implodes because she is too inflexible to explore the occult. Quentin, because he relies on it too much. Barnabas, however, calls upon humanity whenever possible, and Angelique embraces it as her final act. Just my theories.

(Episode 501 airs on this date.)

May 27, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 767

1897. Hearing of Jamison’s dream of David’s death, Barnabas is stunned. He must speak to Jamison. Judith brings him down. While waiting, Quentin enters and learns that Jamison is upset. Quentin feels that Barnabas is a strange observer with an odd plan. Barnabas explains that his conversation is deeply tied to Quentin’s good. Quentin wants to know more about Barnabas and the people who will allegedly shape his destiny. Judith orders Quentin out so that Jamison and Barnabas may speak alone. Jamison explains his dream. He was in the cellar of the Old House, seeing Barnabas in his 1969 I Ching trance. Upstairs, Carolyn and Roger plan David’s birthday. She taunts Roger with a puppet, saying that David will have to learn of his impending death. Liz shows David down to his birthday party. David won’t cut the cake without Barnabas and Quentin. No one will answer if Barnabas will be at his next birthday. And Quentin? Roger looks for him in a family record and can’t find a Quentin. They insinuate there’s a surprise. Quentin’s ghost appears, but only David sees him. Carolyn keeps suggesting that the birthday is David’s last. They light the candles, but the thirteenth candle -- the one to grow on -- is missing. David won’t blow out the candles, seized by fear. David makes a silent wish and blows out his candles. When he looks up, the family is missing. Quentin is still there, pledging to remain with him even after he dies. Quentin reports that David has the right to know he’s dying. The family couldn’t see Quentin because he’s dead, and David will soon be joining him. Quentin comforts David that his death will be painless. But he’ll never be alone; he’ll be with Quentin. Quentin didn’t want to die, but three things led to his death. Averting any of them could have saved him. 1. The discovery of a silver bullet. 2. The murder of the one person who could have kept him alive. 3. The only person he loved turned against him. Quentin cuts the cake, but David finds that it’s a prop cake. A make believe cake for a make believe birthday. Carolyn ends the dream by taunting him with “happy birthday.” And then David was dead. The only other thing Jamison remembers is that everyone was dressed strangely except for the dead Quentin. Jamison thinks that Barnabas knows the significance of the dream. Later, Charity speaks of the walking wolf and Judith offers a reward for his killing. Judith will also set up a scholarship for the late Dorcas. Quentin flies into a fury, saying that the animal is just that, and has no idea what he’s doing. Barnabas enters and reports that “David” is simply a way of Jamison dealing with his mother’s death. The funny clothes suggest that Jamison is putting a mask on reality. He’s simply upset. Edward enters, shaken: he discovered a silver bullet. Only two more things remain that will lead to Quentin’s death.

This may very well be DARK SHADOWS strangest episode. If the show is bizarre, anyway, a dream sequence in it is even more so. And unlike the dream curse, this actually feels like a nightmare. Strange conspiracies. People withholding information. Horrible truths uttered only when it’s too late. Nancy Barrett with a puppet.

Although he never appeared on DARK SHADOWS, today is the birthday of Vincent Price, a spiritual incestor to Clan Collins if ever there were one. So go watch one of his movies tonight!

(Episode 762 airs on this date.)

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: MAY 26


May 26, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 246.

Family attorney Richard Garner visits and is pleased when Liz asks him to finally file for divorce from Paul. She denies that she’s planning on a future marriage when Jason barges in and introduces himself. When Garner leaves, it’s clear that Liz will be marrying Jason whether she likes it or not. Roger glides in later saying that they’re understaffed -- everyone is staying home due to the attacks. Roger relates that the law still has no lead on Maggie. Liz relates that she’s going through with the divorce. Roger is delighted until Jason enters, acting like one of the family and dropping insinuations that he’ll be her next husband. Carolyn asks Vicky to drive into  and town with her, lamenting the disappearance of Maggie. Who will be next? Roger enters the study and reports his suspicions about the upcoming prospective marriage. The three are outraged. Carolyn suspects blackmail. The room in the basement must be the connection. Roger reveals that Liz wears the only key around her neck. Carolyn is determined to get it. In the drawing room, Jason holds the threat of exposing Liz as a murderess over her head. Carolyn enters and asks for the key. Liz refuses. Carolyn will break the door down if need be. Jason tells Carolyn that he can get the key, and Carolyn says that she’ll have him thrown out before then. Jason responds that it may not be so easy.

It’s always a pleasure to see one of the Garners, voices of reason in the early part of the series. This would be his last appearance in that role after representing Roger against Burke and in the investigation of Bill Malloy’s death. Richard Garner (father of Frank, another lawyer) was played by Hugh Franklin, a fascinating man. Not only was he husband to Madeleine L’Engle, a fine speculative fiction writer herself. Franklin was an accomplished Broadway actor, having appeared in numerous plays, including THE DEVILS, although he did not play a bone-brandishing nun.  This is the kind of episode that reminds us how dull the competition was back then with similar potboilers. Thank goodness for the wit and craft of the cast, especially Dennis Patrick, who manages to be the most charming and most threatening character on the show.

(Episode 240 airs on this date.)

May 25, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 766.

1897. The wolf has been shot! Barnabas attempts to exact revenge on Magda, but is held at bay by the threat of silver bullets. The wolf is only wounded, and they move him to the Old House. For the sake of the children, and the curse that is carried onward, she will do what she can to help. As the cock crows, Barnabas goes to sleep and exacts a promise from Magda that she will explain that they want to help. Barnabas asks for the gun and he finds that a silver bullet is missing. She must have dropped it. Barnabas remains suspicious, although she claims she dropped it while loading it. He assures her that if Quentin dies, Magda will as well. After he retires, the wolf revives and dashes out. Under the sun’s rays, Quentin reverts in the woods. He hears weeping and becomes distraught. The voice continues as Quentin realizes it is the ghost of Dorcas Trilling. He continues to hear her accusations of murder as she appears in his mirror. Quentin reports the appearance to Judith, but orders her out before providing more details. The sun sets and Barnabas rises. He learns that Quentin is still unaware, but Magda reports that she knows a gypsy, who turned Petofi into a wolf, may be able to help… or rather her daughter, Julianka, can help. She was part of the Romana family, and King Johnny is in Boston and would know. She’ll go to Boston, and senses that Barnabas knows the fates of Quentin’s children. Barnabas visits Quentin and explains that he knows the secret and is here to help. Quentin resists, suspecting that Barnabas means some kind of harm. Barnabas insists that his fealty is genuine because Quentin’s survival is key to the survival of his loved ones. He cites possible solutions, and that he is researching more. Barnabas will let him know more when Magda returns. Quentin asks that he kill him if no cure is available. As Barnabas leaves, Judith reports that Jamison is disturbed by a name -- “David Collins.” He awoke from a dream screaming, “David Collins is dead!”

Quentin and Barnabas are half of the way to trust and friendship. The other half will come when Barnabas exposes his own strengths and vulnerabilities. And this is the rug that ties the room together and where DS goes ape. Quentin and Barnabas are teaming up, Magda is contrite, we have the promise of the beautiful and inexplicable Julianka, and hints at King Johnny and Petofi. For viewers who thought that DARK SHADOWS had shown them the fantastic, they were in for a surprise.   Especially interesting was the link between Jamison and David. The point of all of this was to save to David. So, for Barnabas to discover that he’s already a goner? Truly, one of DARK SHADOWS’ most shocking and poignant moments. Those are moments of real horror.

(Episode 761 airs on this date.)

May 25, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1027.

1970PT. Angelique, outed, knows that Barnabas is not human. Barnabas demands that she stop her plans against Quentin and Maggie or be destroyed. She says she has powers, as well. He leaves and she calls her father, Stokes, who believes she’s Alexis. She says she has information about Angelique. Upon leaving, Quentin and Barnabas meet, and Quentin reveals he’d never met Alexis before her death. Stokes arrives, with no love for Alexis. She reveals that the experiment was a success. Alexis opened the coffin, and Angelique used her warmth to come back. She needs his help against Barnabas. She thinks he may be from Parallel Time. He expounds on the theory to her. Quentin returns to Maggie, explaining that she was in Angelique’s dress, and that Alexis gave it to her. Quentin wants to start over, but Maggie is unsure how. Stokes is searching Loomis house -- he and Stokes were friends -- and is found by Barnabas. They greet one another, and Stokes introduces himself as the stepfather of Alexis and Angelique. Meanwhile at the lab, Cyrus is distant from Sabrina and she asks if there is someone else. It’s Maggie. She wants advice from Cyrus who says that Quentin may always be stuck on Angelique, and she should look to other men. Cyrus begins to collapse. Maggie leaves and Cyrus transforms before Sabrina’s eyes. He rises as Yaeger. He dresses to go, and forces Sabrina to meet Maggie, who has come back to check on him. Sabrina lies and says that Cyrus is gone. Quentin also enters seeking Cyrus. Quentin insists on waiting. Maggie and Quentin eventually leave. Upon Quentin’s return to Collinwood, he laments to Barnabas about Maggie’s fixation with Angelique. Upstairs, Maggie sleeps, observed by Yaeger.

Finally! An episode where Things Really Happen and the Series is Not the Same Again! We meet a deliciously sleazy Stokes, learn that he’s the mad scientist behind Angelique’s resurrection and Alexis’ sacrifice, hear “Parallel Time” referred to on the other side of the mirror, witness Sabrina finally learning that Cyrus = Yaeger, and see another Angelique/Barnabas standoff with all cards on the table. When a justified Barnabas quietly gloats, it’s a thing of true beauty. Thayer David inaugurates his sixth character on the show, which is a stunning record. He had been gone for 54 days, thanks to HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, although at this time, he was also very busy as an actor in Hollywood, etc. He had just shot an episode of THE WILD WILD WEST and was gearing up to shoot LITTLE BIG MAN. A busy guy. His portly appearance made him seem older than he was. At the time, he was only 43.

(Episode 1022 airs on this date.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: MAY 25


May 25, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 248.

Sam insists that he saw Maggie, and Burke believes him. Outside, as Maggie wanders through the fog, a hand grasps her neck. Later, Patterson interviews Sam, who reports that her dress was of another century. Patterson suspects he was drinking, but they’re searching anyway. At the mausoleum, Barnabas ushers Maggie into the secret room, despite her protests. She now shows terror and resistance, and he shows nothing but panicked force. Barnabas attempts to reprogram her. Sometimes it seems to take. Barnabas rescinds his threat to punish so they may return to their house. He sees her holding Sam’s pipe, and Barnabas flies into a rage. She passes out as he carries her into the secret room. She awakens in a coffin as he seals it on her. When Willie opens the coffin some time later, he tells her to do exactly as he says. He leads Maggie into the night and back to her room at the Old House. She thinks of her time in the coffin as a nightmare, but then realizes it was real and becomes inconsolable. Willie tells her to try to become Josette, for her own sake. He even plays the music box. It calms her, temporarily. At Sam’s, Patterson reports no progress. All Patterson found was a dog. Patterson says that it may be his imagination. Burke is inclined to agree. In her room, Maggie plays the music box and begins to repeat that she is Josette Collins. Her reflection, however, reawakens her knowledge that she is Maggie Evans. She tears about the room, stating that she is Maggie Evans.

Up to now, was it clear that Kathryn Leigh Scott was a capable actress? Yes. But this is the point in the show where Maggie is pushed to such extremes that she overwhelms the show in the best way. It’s a performance brimming with powerful authenticity, and decidedly not the kind of acting we expect from daytime drama. This moment has been coming, and it pushes everyone to new extremes. Frid responds with a feral fusion of genuine fury and an angrily broken heart. Most importantly, this was the final day for actor Mitch Ryan as Burke Devlin. Mr. Ryan’s alcoholism in that period was legendary and led to his departure from the show. The good news is that his recovery was relatively swift, and his career rebounded. The sad part, other than it marking a dark period for a good man, is that the show lost a virile, charming, polished, street-tough force that most reminds me of Dan Curtis, himself -- almost Curtis’ surrogate. (The two men shared a resemblance both physically and in force of presence.) Anthony George is a perfectly serviceable actor, but not the primal actor that was and is Mitch Ryan. The show would continue for nearly a thousand episodes after his departure, but the absence is always felt because his presence so firmly established the emotional and moral core of the program.

(Episode 239 airs on this date.)

May 25, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 248

1970PT. Maggie wanders into Angelique’s room to hear Angelieque’s voice taunting her, comparing them as common versus glamorous. Quentin doesn’t love her, she says. The window flies open and Angelique’s voice enthuses her to jump. Liz tries to stop her, but all Maggie wants to do is die to escape Angelique. Liz talks her down by insisting that jumping would ruin Quentin. Hoffman reports to Angelique that it almost worked. Hoffman reports that Maggie will leave Quentin over his treatment. Angelique needs to realize she has won. Liz shows a shaken Maggie into the drawing room, and Barnabas enters. Maggie relates the events of the night, insisting that Angelique is still with them. Barnabas says she may be more right than she knows. Later, Liz calms her, despite her fatalism. Liz refuses to believe that Angelique has won. In interviewing Hoffman, Barnabas asks why she might own books on witchcraft and promise to return after her death. Hoffman says it was mere metaphor. “Alexis” enters and accuses him of being too much of a romantic. She taunts his thoughts of witchcraft. Barnabas said it would be of interest to her. Such as fire… the one by which she’s sitting. She had said she had an attraction to fire. Aesthetic or more? She says Barnabas is preposterous. Barnabas takes it in stride and excuses himself. Later, Angelique tells Hoffman that Barnabas is nothing to worry about. And they can take care of him if he becomes trouble. In Maggie’s room, Liz and Barnabas comfort her. In Angelique’s room, Barnabas stares into the eyes of the Angelique portrait, demanding the truth. Across the estate, Angelique senses being observed. Her eyes are burning! Barnabas commands her to come closer and closer until she runs into the room, screaming. She knows. And he knows. And she knows that he knows. And he knows that she knows that he knows.

Today is the birthday of the memorably menacing Erica Fitz, who played Leona Eltrich and Danielle Roget. She put in a wicked, strong performance as the evil spirit of Eve.  Her career wasn’t terribly long, but it wasn’t dull. Not only did she welcome Arnold Schwartzenegger to the USA by co-starring with him in HERCULES IN NEW YORK, but she also sexed up the Broadway farce, THERE’S A GIRL IN MY SOUP, co-starting the Third Doctor, himself, Jon Pertwee! There’s a joke about his UNIT in there, but I’ll leave it to you to complete it.

(Episode 1021 airs on this date.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: MAY 24


May 24, 1967
Taped on this day: Episode 247

Patterson arrives at Sam’s, but he has no news of progress. The official opinion is that Maggie might be dead. Burke arrives and remains optimistic. Sam can’t paint. Has no appetite. Burke needs him to take care of himself. Burke suggests he finish the portrait of Barnabas. At the Old House, Willie tries to dissuade Sam from entering. He does briefly, and leaves his pipe behind… found by Maggie, still hypnotized as Josette. She begins to question her identity with Josette. The brainwashing is wearing off. She fears the very mention of Barnabas’ name. After she flees upstairs, Willie descends into the cellar as Barnabas opens his coffin. Willie reports that Sam entered, and Barnabas grabs him by the throat and warns him that no one may enter. Maggie finds the pipe. Knowing that she is not Josette, she leaves to take the pipe to his owner. At Sam’s, Burke brings Sam a ham and swiss. At the Old House, they realize that Josette is missing. Outside Sam’s, Maggie appears. Sam runs after her, but she’s vanished.

David Ford left the show relatively early, giving us an incomplete appreciation for his acting, but he brought a gritty and intense authenticity to everything he did. To see his range and appreciate his strange charm, this is a great episode to study.  It’s also good for some firsts. Team Curtis keeps taking chances, this time in the form of actually showing Barnabas rising from his coffin in the new set of the cellar.

(Episode 238 airs on this date.)

May 24, 1968
Taped on this day: Episode 504

Carolyn comes to in the root cellar to find the door locked. At Collinwood, Vicky tries to bolster Liz’s optimism. The sheriff calls and explains that Adam’s been arrested. Liz and Vicky go to communicate with Adam, as Carolyn fears that she may starve to death, Adam has the same fears, but is unable to articulate them from his cell to Liz and Vicky. Back at Collinwood, Liz believes that Barnabas is connected… after all, he once left a note saying that they should welcome his nephew, Adam Collins. Cassandra enters and makes a plea for sympathy to Vicky. Later, Vicky tells Liz that she may have been wrong to associate her with Angelique. Liz admits that she has no trust for Cassandra at all. At the jail, the cruel jailer threatens Adam with a gun from within. Enjoying it, he enters the cell.  Adam strikes him down in self defense and flees.

In the realm of broad performances, the jailer may take the cake in all of DARK SHADOWS. If he were any crueler to Adam, he’d be firing a firehose at him, forcing Adam to finally say, “It’s a madhouse… a MADHOUSE!" He was played by Clifford Pellow. Pellow also appeared in THE HUSTLER alongside, Stefan Gierasch,  the needlessly wasted Dr. Woodard in the 1991 DARK SHADOWS revival. (Curtis and co. redeemed themselves by giving him Joshua to play.) He was a highlight of the show, mixing the stern with the satirical in wisely modulated measure.  He gave an authentic performance that really humanized the show. This is also the first and only episode directed by Jack Sullivan. Thereafter, he was credited as Sean Dhu Sullivan. Lastly, Alexandra Moltke returns after a 14 week break to continue not understanding things.

(Episode 500 airs on this date.)

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: MAY 23


May 23, 1967
Taped on this day: Episode 245

Barnabas is allowing Woodard to take a sample of Willie’s blood, but Willie is resistant and fearful. With Burke, Woodard voices his hope that Willie suffers from the same disease as Maggie, and that could lead to the perpetrator. Burke wonders if if could have been a rabid dog or wolf. But who stole a slide? Willie? Woodard doubts it. 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 stakes are but is sent away. 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. At the Blue Whale, Vicky and Burke dance, but she grows uneasy as a wolf howls. At the Old House, 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.

(Episode 237 airs on this date.)

May 23, 1968
Taped on this day: Episode 503

Willie, haunted by the dream, is awakened by Julia, who knows exactly what he feels like. He recounts the dream to her. Willie is compelled to find Carolyn to tell her the dream, but Julia explains that it will harm Barnabas. Julia hypnotizes him to forget, but instead it taps into a psychic connection he has with Carolyn. He sees her “under the ground,” which is exactly where Adam has taken her… an old root cellar. She’s frightened and confused, and despite himself, Adam uses excessive force to keep here there. Eventually, the hypnodisk works as expected, It erases his memory of the dream. Or so Julia believes. But it doesn’t work. The only clue is that she’s underground. Slowly, Carolyn realizes that he may not mean harm. She teaches him to say, “friend.” In the excitement, he accidentally knocks her unconscious and leaves the cellar, sealing her inside for safety. The police arrive at the Old House, looking for the maniac they once saw near the house. And he wants to know why the maniac can say, “Barnabas.” The officer suddenly sees Adam peering in the window. He chases him out, discharging his gun. Adam isn’t fatally wounded, but with the help of twenty men, the sheriff captured him. After the sheriff leaves, both Willie and Julia are seized by fear.

Hidden in this episode is an interesting twist to the role of hypnosis in the Collinsverse. Through the dream curse, Willie now has a bizarre connection to Carolyn. If the DS writers committed any sin, it was forgetting or ignoring these powers. But then again, they were in the odd position of spicing up events with cool abilities, but not having them be so ubiquitous that stories took ten minutes to solve.

With Dana Elcar gone, we now have another Sheriff Patterson, Vince O’Brien. O’Brien was a successful character actor, appearing in films like ANNIE HALL and QUIZ SHOW. O’Brien would leave DARK SHADOWS in several months to act on Broadway in Burt Bachrach’s musicalization of Billy Wilder’s THE APARTMENT: PROMISES, PROMISES.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Frid’s tour of the USA continued in Flint, Michigan. Photographed with the great clown, Bozo, it’s uncertain if he met with Flint’s other great clown, Michael Moore. I kid, I kid. There were 5,000 people at the airport to greet Mr. Frid and 12,000 at a supermarket in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Fort Wayne is also the birthplace of test pilot and ANSA legend, Col. George Taylor, lost in the mid-1970’s along with Stewart, Brent, and Landon on the ill-fated Liberty I mission.  It’s unclear if Mr. Frid and Col. Taylor ever met up.  

(Episode 499 airs on this date.)

May 23, 1969
Taped on this day: Episode 765

1897. Quentin prowls as the wolf. Barnabas phases into Beth’s room, asking about her order of the pentagram. Barnabas bites her for both sustenance and control. He asks her who the werewolf is. Beth explains about Magda’s curse on Quentin and all descendants. This includes a baby boy. It all adds up. Barnabas must protect him and his secret. Barnabas intuits that she loves Quentin. He knows how it will end but not when. Meanwhile, Magda stands outside Collinwood, loading a gun with silver bullets. She tells Judith she’s there for Beth, and will wake her. Judith sends her away, but Magda sneaks in, anyway. She overhears Beth and Barnabas, and is angry that he knows all. Her only way to end the curse is to shoot him. Magda also finds that Beth has been bitten. Disgusted, Magda leaves and continues loading the gun. Quentin approaches Collinwood as the wolf. Beth finds her room a shambles. Judith leaves the drawing room to find the werewolf leaping down from the upper railing. Beth enters and frightens it out with her pentagram. Outside, Barnabas hunts and Magda observes him, gun in hand.  On the phone, Beth asks the sheriff to send men to guard the house. Recovering, Judith wants to know how Beth got the wolf to run. What does she know? This was no ordinary animal. Outside, the beast prepares to leap onto Magda, but she shoots him and he collapses.  

A fine episode… and a pivotal one. Barnabas learns that Quentin was a father, suggesting the Chris Jennings connection (by extension, making Joe Haskell a Collins, too). Magda also becomes the NRA as Alex Stevens does a spectacular stunt, leaping down from the second level of the great hall only to be shot by her.

(Episode 760 airs on this date.)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Can you name that Dark Shadows tune?

There are few television programs that have been pored over by fans as much as DARK SHADOWS. Pound for pound, I'd speculate that this show has been studied, dissected, cataloged and fanfic'd by its fans with even more tenacity than the notoriously obsessive Trekkers. I mean, anybody can fixate on a paltry 79 episodes of a television show, which is all STAR TREK racked up during its initial run. But it takes a true maniac to lend that same passion to a series with more than 1,000 installments.

An the sheer volume of episodes here can be intimidating. There are many long-time (and extremely knowledgeable) DARK SHADOWS fans who have never even seen the entire series. Meanwhile, folks like our own Patrick McCray make it a point to scale fandom's Kilimanjaro as often as possible.

Nicholas Mooneyhan is another of these intrepid explorers. He's written episode guides for both DOCTOR WHO and DARK SHADOWS, proving he's not a man that believes in passing fancies. So it was flattering when he asked me a few weeks ago on Twitter if I could identify a piece of music in an early episode of DARK SHADOWS.

Unfortunately, I could not provide him with an answer.

The music can be heard during episode 266 during Liz Stoddard's nightmare. Mooneyhan says this piece of music isn't included in the sprawling 8-disc collection of composer Robert Cobert's score for DARK SHADOWS, which contains 490 tracks and runs for more than seven and a half hours. There are a few possible explanations:

1: It's a licensed track that wasn't written by Cobert
2: The recording has been lost
3: The selection was simply overlooked when compiling the soundtrack

You can watch the episode below, courtesy of Hulu. If you have any ideas about the origins of the music, feel free to chime in below or on Facebook.

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