Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sam Hall's DARK SHADOWS postmortem, 1971



One of the great things about used books are the occasional prizes you find stashed between their pages.

Above is a copy of the famous essay written by Sam Hall  head writer for DARK SHADOWS during its final years — and published six months after the show aired its final episode. I found photocopies of this article in the pages of a DARK SHADOWS fanzine purchased off Ebay a few years ago, which was terrific luck. In the essay, Hall outlines where the series might have gone had it not been cancelled. Granted, there were other writers on the show to contend with (as well as producer Dan Curtis and the demands of its cast) but it makes for interesting reading.

Below is a transcript of the article.

From left, Grayson Hall, Sam Hall and Jonathan Frid.

In Case You're Curious ...
Here's What Really Happened to Barnabas & Co.
By Sam Hall
TV Guide,October 9, 1971

When Dark Shadows recently went off the air, the audience was left with all of the troubled characters  and many questions as to their fate. We had certain long-range plans for most of them  but what the characters would do with the rest of their lives can only be fantasy. However, after three years of living with them, I feel I know moments of their future.

Elizabeth Collins Stoddard remained the matriarch of Collinwood. After the sudden death of her brother Roger, she was determined to hold the Collins' family empire together until Roger's son David was old enough to take over and she did with the help of an elegant, very bright man from Boston to help her and with him she finally found some personal happiness.

Roger Collins, just before this death, discovered the secret that his cousin Barnabas was a vampire, but he told no one, and vowed to end Barnabas's unhappy existence. Armed with a stake and a hammer, he discovered Barnabas's coffin during the daytime, but Angelique appeared and killed Roger. She forced Willie Loomis to carry Roger's body to the woods, where it was found. Death was attributed to a heart attack.

Shortly after the funeral, Mrs. Johnson was cleaning out Roger's room. She swore later that a cold hand had touched her. At first everyone felt she was simply hysterical. But one night, Carolyn saw Roger's ghost standing in the great hall. The ghost pointed a spectral finger at the portrait of Barnabas Collins. When Carolyn implored the spirit to speak, it disappeared.

Carolyn, with the aid of T. Eliot Stokes and Julia Hoffman, attempted a seance to find out why Roger's spirit could not rest. But the seance was unsuccessful. It is known that on certain stormy nights Roger's ghost can be seen coming down the stairs, staring at the portrait of the man who caused his death.

Carolyn Stoddard found herself more and more interested in the world of the occult. She knew that with the death of her husband Jeb Hawkes one part of her life was finished and she was determined to understand the unknown forces which had taken him from her. She began studying with T. Eliot Stokes and then went to a large university which had a department of psychic research. While there she discovered that she herself was the reincarnation of Leticia Faye, a woman who had lived at Collinwood during the 19th century.

Working with various mediums she became a psychic-research investigator. She published many books on the supernatural and established a foundation to examine the existing evidence of the world beyond. She continued to regard Collinwood as her home and established a mother-daughter relationship with Amy Jennings which contributed greatly to the stability of that confused and very scared young child.

Years later Carolyn re-met Adam who had loved her so deeply. He had become a successful and sophisticated man, and he wanted to marry her. But she knew she could not go back in time. They parted warm friends.


As time went on Quentin Collins found living at Collinwood more and more difficult. He was unable to forget his love for Daphne, though both she and Gerard were finally at peace. And he was afraid to love again  afraid that his own secret would be discovered. For, as long as Charles Delaware Tate's portrait existed, Quentin would not age. And he well knew that if he destroyed the picture, he would suffer the awful curse of the werewolf.

Finally, he left the town of Collinsport to roam the world  Athens, Alexandria, India ... always hunting some solution for his existence. And with each country, he became more and more withdrawn. He became more aware that he could never become close to another human being.

Often he was tempted to return to Collinwood, destroy the portrait and kill himself before the full moon could cause him to change into the wolf man. But some slight hope stopped him from doing that. For, at the beginning of his travels, he had heard rumors that there existed a man  a man with a wooden hand and miraculous powers. A man who had transcended time  a Count Petofi. And so Quentin kept on, looking for the Count, knowing that if he could find him again perhaps the Count could take pity on him and help him find peace at last.

Maggie Evans, who left Collinwood with Phillip [sic] returned a year later a divorced woman. She moved into her father's cottage and began working at Wyndcliff, the private sanitarium. There she remet her former fiancee, Joe Haskell. With her help, Joe managed to regain his sanity. He left the sanitarium with no memory of Angelique and the circumstances which had caused him to lose his mind. Joe and Maggie married. He returned to the Collins' fishing fleet. They lived happily in Collinsport.


But Chris Jennings and Sabrina Stuart did not have Maggie and Joe's luck. For they found they could not run from the curse that afflicted him. Though they had a few days of happiness when they left Collinsport they were both aware that time was their enemy. For soon the moon would be full and Chris would become the werewolf again. They constructed a cell to lock him in. But when he became the wolf man, he broke out of it and killed Sabrina. Her brother found her body that same night. The following morning, Chris returned to their home. When he discovered what he had done, he committed suicide.

Barnabas was deeply affected by Chris's death. He and Julia Hoffman had tried desperately to help Chris. Barnabas identified with him very much. He began to feel that it was only a matter of time until he too would become a victim of his curse. When he learned from Angelique that Roger had discovered his secret, his depression deepened. Again, Barnabas felt that he had brought new tragedy to those he loved at Collinwood. He knew that his vampirism would be discovered.

Julia and Willie Loomis decided they must get Barnabas to leave Collinsport. They were both willing to sacrifice their lives and travel with him. He finally agreed to go, but just before they were to start, Barnabas became very ill. Julia was astonished. She knew that Barnabas could not, because of his vampirism, have human ailments. Yet the mysterious fever so ravaged him that Julia feared for his very existence.


She suddenly realized that there could be only one explanation for Barnabas's illness. Adam. She remembered the mysterious link which began to exist when Barnabas helped bring Adam to life. At the time Adam disappeared from Collinwood, they knew that if he died, Barnabas would, too. Julia knew she must find Adam, wherever he was. Adam must have the same fever. He had to be cured if Barnabas were to be saved.

Enlisting the aid of T. Eliot Stokes, she did find Adam  in the Far East. She managed to cure him, but in the course of the treatment, she contracted the illness herself. She was near death when Barnabas  well now  came to her. He realized how he loved her, and promised her that if she lived, they would marry.

They were married in Singapore. Barnabas felt they must never return to Collinsport. Angelique must not find them  for she would never allow Julia to live. So they stayed on. Julia began working with an Asian doctor and experimented with a new treatment which she was positive would take away the curse of Barnabas's vampirism. They began the treatments. They were successful. Barnabas Collins at last could walk in the light of day  walk with the woman he loved, but walk with an ever present fear  a fear that Angelique would find them, and destroy the only happiness he had had in his life.

No audience will see these stories playing out. But for those for whom the characters were real, these are merely signposts pointing the direction the characters might have gone.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was from an issue of TV Guide right after the show left the air. I actually have the pages I cut out and kept.
Nice site!

Cousin Barnabas (The Creep) said...

I had read it first appeared in TV Guide but didn't know if these scans were reprints or if they were the actual TV Guide pages. The layout didn't look familiar.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The true ending of Dark Shadows, as far as I'm concerned. So much better than the 1841 parallel time tripe we saw on-screen.

Cousin Barnabas said...

That's a wonderful ending! But poor Willie! He still never got to have his own life outside of Barnabas.

Cousin Barnabas said...

Thank yo so much for posting this!!

Cousin Barnabas said...

This also appears in the 26th and final volume of MPI's DVD sets.

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