Saturday, July 7, 2012

House on Widow Hill, Terror at Collinwood among rejected titles for Dark Shadows

"Vivid Dream Inspires TV's Dark Shadows"
The Winnipeg Free Press — March 11, 1967

Dark Shadows is the stuff that dreams are made of, and Dan Curtis is the colorful, husky producer whose subconscious created it for ABC-TV, weekdays, 3-3:30 p.m. on Channel 12.

The series is a daytime drama of eerie suspense, murder, and occasional ghosts,and because all of it came during a big sleep in upstate New York. Curtis has got to rank as a true dream merchant in network television.

"The dream was extremely vivid ," recalled Curtis. "I saw a girl on a train, huddled against the window and looking out into the brooding night of small New England villages. She was a quiet, pensive-looking girl, and her hair, long and flowing, fell back over the top of her coat. I remember watching her reflection in the window and hearing her whisper: 'My name is Victoria Winters. I am going on a journey that will bring me on a strange, dark house on the edge of the sea at Widow's Hill. There, I am to be to a young boy and the companion of a mysterious woman.'"

Curtis' dream has now been realized in Dark Shadows, the first television series ever styled on the lines of the Gothic novel. Greed, desire, innocence and murder stalk the great halls of Collinwood. It is a sinister vortex that Curtis has created, and ABC has housed it with a cast headed by Joan Bennett.

"Actually, my wife is responsible for getting the show on the air," said Curtis. "Later the next morning, after turning the story over in my mind. I began to sour on the idea. But my wife, insisted it would be unique to television. So I went to ABC and they bought it at the first telling."

With the story told, a title worthy of the spooky daytime series had to be found. Bandied around were suggestions like The House on Widow Hill, and Terror at Collinwood. Then, inadvertently. Curtis stumbled on the answer. "Maybe," he aughed, "I should go to a museum and film some dark shadows.'

To look at him. Curtis would have to be chosen the man least likely to develop a show called Dark Shadows. He is a tall barrel-chested man who talks big, moves fast and bares, on occasion, the toothiest smile in television. He is also the golf nut who created the CBS Golf Classic, and one can usually find him putting balls across his green-carpeted New York office.

"Things weren't always like this," said Curtis. "A few years ago. I was paying $75 a month for a small studio office. My desk was two boards laid on top of the radiator."

All of this happened long before Curtis had his dream about a brooding New England night. That imagery has proved so successful that Curtis has now devoted all his thoughts toward suspense shocker . Next spring, the producer will be in London to film for ABC-TV the classic horror chiller, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

1 comment:

retzev said...

Nice find, great article

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