Monday, November 5, 2012

David Selby looks back on Quentin Collins, 1984

Confessions of a Werewolf
Collectibles Illustrated, Sept/Oct 1984


The house is a rambling California mediterranean bordered by towering shrubs - a far cry from the brooding mansion on the Maine coast inhabited by television's Collins family of "Dark Shadows." When the doorbell rang, the door was flung wide by none other than six-foot-three, ruggedly handsome actor David Selby. "Hello," he said pleasantly in the resonant tones of that daytime serial's reluctant werewolf, Quentin Collins.

"Please come right in."

No thunder rumbled from the sunny sky. And not a hint of spectral mist or clinging spider webs. Only the romantic strains of "Quentin's Theme - Shadows of the Night" filled the rooms, furnished by a record from Selby's own collection of "Dark Shadows" keepsakes.

Quentin was sort of an anti-hero; a lovable rogue, that is, until he assumed his werewolf incarnation. Actually, the part of the werewolf was played by Alex Stevens, a New York stuntman. The fact that the two looked nothing alike and were not even the same height never caused any problems.

"The show was terrific, the people were great, and Quentin was a good character. We show in an old studio on 53rd Street in New York with three tape cameras and two directors. The set was beautiful with real antique props.

"Looking back, I remember it as a good time, but it was also a lot of hard work. Five days a week we'd start at seven or eight in the morning and wouldn't get out until 5:30 or six at night. We'd rehearse the show and go down and block it on camera. Then we'd shoot it in the late afternoon. After we'd finished taping and changed back into street clothes, we'd go in an read the next day's script. Every day when we'd leave the studio, there would be crowds of children waiting for use outside. I had no previous idea of the power of television."

In March of 1971, Selby came down with appendicitis. "I was in the hospital for the last two weeks of the show. When I came out, the show had ended." But Selby had little time for remorse. "We went right into the making of the show's second full-length movie, 'Night of Dark Shadows,' on location at the famous mansion in Tarrytown, New York. Then the whole thing was over."

Today, the show is in syndication and still enjoys a loyal following. "I'm just surprised that the show still pops up and that's it's still running in various pockets around the country," said the actor. "It refuses to fade away. I still get fan mail and people sometimes send me things. I suppose it's the fan clubs that are largely responsible for the continuing interest. I've been to some of their conventions."

Since his "Dark Shadows" days, Selby has appeared in television roles on the mini-series, "Washington: Behind Closed Doors," the TV movie "Nightrider," and more. He currently plays Richard Chandler on "Falcon Crest."

But to this day, Selby believes people remember him as Quentin, the man possessed by a canine demon. Said Selby, "I wouldn't mind seeing Quentin return. If might be fun if they were to tape a 'Dark Shadows' reunion someday. But I don't suppose it's going to happen."


Melissa said...

I never noticed that the stunt performer wasn't the same height as Selby because of the crouching posture. And it JUST dawned on me that it was probably the same performer portraying both werewolves.

Anonymous said...

Love Quentin Collins what a brilliant storyline THANK YOU!!!

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