Friday, February 28, 2014

Own a piece of DARK SHADOWS history

Aaron Campbell, the original artist for Dynamite's DARK SHADOWS comic series, is selling a number of his pages from the book, as well as pages from THE SHADOW and GREEN HORNET. Campbell recently shared the following message on Facebook:

Dear Friends and Fans,

First of all let me just say that I hope this is the first and last time I feel the neccesity to do something like this. Secondly, I ask that you take just a moment to read this and if you know anyone who might be interested to please forward this along. And hopefully I can keep this brief.
Let me begin by saying that early in January my family discovered that my father has a malignant brain tumor – a glioblastoma multiforme to be more precise. This is perhaps the most aggressive type of brain tumor. The last month and a half has been filled with dread and terrrible anxiety. My family and I, though, remain hopeful and optimistic as my father begins his treatment at St. Louis’ prestigious Siteman Cancer Center.

Having said that, I have understandably fallen behind on my schedule for Uncanny and am only just recently getting back on track. Though Dynamite has been very understanding and patient during this difficult time and has given me plenty of room that doesn’t stop the bills from coming in. So I’ve decided to have a sale of all my original work to help make up for what I’ve lost and hopefully provide a bit of a buffer for what will most likely be a very chaotic year ahead.

My original art can be found on (link below). All of my remaining Green Hornet: Year One and Dark Shadows pages are now just $75.00 per page. All of my other work from The Shadow, Uncanny and covers is a third (33%) off the listed price. If interested in purchasing a page you can contact me through the comicartfans site. If you buy multiple pages I’ll throw in free shipping to anywhere within the United States. Please note that because of how much I’ve discounted my work I can’t give an extra discount for purchases of multiple pages. The sale will continue for as long as necessary.

If you would like to pay full price, though, I will be donating the difference to Hero Initiative.

Here’s a link to my gallery:

If you would like something a bit more affordable I also have prints for sell through

Hopefully this wasn't intrusive and thank you so much for your time.



These pages are the original pencil and ink artwork used to create the final comics. They're gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces. If you want them, act now ... because they're moving FAST.

TGIF: "No Dark Shadow Here"

There was so much demand for DARK SHADOWS in the 1960s that national publications would print almost anything that allowed them to use the show's name in a headline. Such is the case with this photo feature from FLIP magazine, most likely published in 1969. There's not much here ... just a page full of photos of Jonathan Frid shaving in what I hope is an ABC dressing room. I'm pretty sure Frid wasn't the kind of guy to have that kind of paper towel dispenser in his home bathroom.

(NOTE: Many of the images used for TGIF: Thank God It's Frid-Day, are courtesy of Elena Nacanther, who is part of an effort to get Jonathan Frid nominated to Canada's Walk of Fame, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that recognizes Canadians who have excelled in music, sports, film, television, and other artistic endeavors. You can find the NOMINATE JONATHAN FRID TO CANADA'S WALK OF FAME Facebook page by clicking here. Please pay them a visit. You can see more selections from Elena's scrapbook each Friday here at the Collinsport Historical Society.)

Friday, February 21, 2014

TGIF: Jonathan Frid in ROMEO AND JULIET, 1966

 Jonathan Frid and Lauri Peters in ROMEO AND JULIET, 1966.
In 1966, just two months after DARK SHADOWS debuted on ABC, Jonathan Frid appeared in the National Shakespeare Festival's production of ROMEO AND JULIET in San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. Frid appeared as Juliet's father, Lord Capulet, opposite Jon Voight and then-wife Lauri Peters in the title roles. Here's what the The San Bernardino County Sun had to say about the production in its Aug. 7, 1966, issue:
"The Capulet family relationship is rounded out skillfully by Jonathan Frid, the concerned father, and Terrence O'Connor, the indifferent mother. Anthony Zerbe gives Mercutio a nasal voice and all of his extensive acting skill. When he describes Queen Mab's fairy flight he almost waves a dream spell of his own upon the listener. Geer's portrayal of the good intentioned but bungling Friar is skillful, but mechanical. Imaginative lighting by Parker Young adds greatly to the dramatic meaning of many passages. Juliet wears a brilliantly lighted white robe and stands before a velvety black stage to say that Romeo is so wonderful, he should be cut out like little stars and hung in the heavens."
Jon Voight and Lauri Peters .
Jonathan Frid  and Terrence O'Connor.
Rehearsal scene from the 1966 production of ROMEO AND JULIET. Frid can been seen in the background.

 (NOTE: Many of the images used for TGIF: Thank God It's Frid-Day, are courtesy of Elena Nacanther, who is part of an effort to get Jonathan Frid nominated to Canada's Walk of Fame, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that recognizes Canadians who have excelled in music, sports, film, television, and other artistic endeavors. You can find the NOMINATE JONATHAN FRID TO CANADA'S WALK OF FAME Facebook page by clicking here. Please pay them a visit. You can see more selections from Elena's scrapbook each Friday here at the Collinsport Historical Society.)

Big Finish provides update on new DARK SHADOWS episodes

Big Finish has revealed the cover art and trailer for March's upcoming DARK SHADOWS audiodrama, as well as a few details about later releases:

DARK SHADOWS: THE HAPPIER DEAD is written by Adam Usden, a writer new to Big Finish.“I was thrilled when Joseph asked me to pen my very own Dark Shadows tale, and especially one with Amy Jennings,” says Usden. “She’s a wonderful character - bookish and brave, but maddeningly distrustful of those closest to her, which is unsurprising given all she’s been through. And since this is Dark Shadows, we’re going to make sure she goes through a lot more.”

Listen to the trailer by clicking HERE.

Big Finish also announced that Denise Nickerson, who starred in the original DARK SHADOWS TV series as the original Amy Jennings and famously played the vile Violet Beauregarde in WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971) will be starring as Elspeth Gardner in April's CARRIAGE OF THE DAMNED and June's THE DARKEST SHADOW.

Denise Nickerson
“Elspeth is an amazing character,” says producer, Joseph Lidster. “She's an actress of a certain age who finds herself caught up in two separate Dark Shadows adventures. We've always wanted to work with Denise and were really pleased that we could finally get her on board.”
The latest episode, THE HARVEST OF SOULS, stars Kathryn Leigh Scott as Maggie Evans, and is available now from Big Finish.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dan Curtis' DRACULA (1974) coming to Blu-ray

(UPDATE: The Blu-ray edition of the DRACULA is now available for pre-order from Amazon.)

As was announced yesterday, the 1973 Dan Curtis film DRACULA is coming to Blu-ray later this year. While the product's specifics have yet to be announced, the film will likely be available for sale May 27, according to an MPI Home Video spokesperson.

The film received a Blu-ray release in France earlier this month, and DVD Beaver shared a handful of screen captures from the new transfer. The picture looks great ... probably the best the film has ever looked, in fact. Click here to see more images from the film, and to read what the site's editors thought about its restored sound and picture.

Written by Richard Matheson, the movie was originally broadcast on television in February, 1974, under the title BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, a title it held onto until Francis Ford Coppola secured the rights for his 1992 adaption of the novel. The film stars Jack Palance as the title character, Simon Ward, Nigel Davenport and, in a small role as one of Dracula's "brides," a young Sarah Douglas.

Collinsport News Bulletins

* CHILLER TV is airing an 8-hour marathon of the DARK SHADOWS 1991 "revival" series tomorrow morning, beginning at 9 a.m. EST. The day's episodes begin with the pilot, leading up to episode seven, in which Victoria Winters travels back to the 1790s. Visit CHILLER TV's official schedule for more details.

* Ryan Murphy, the creator of GLEE and AMERICAN HORROR STORY, is a long-time DARK SHADOWS fan. A number of people have sent me a link to a recent interview with him at The Huffington Post, which suggests not everybody is aware of his fan status. "I was obsessed with it as a child," he says of DARK SHADOWS in the interview. "What I really wanted to do was my version of it, where there are creatures, soapy drama, and sex. Believe it or not, I owe my career to my grandmother, who used to make me watch "DARK SHADOWS" as punishment!" Read the entire story HERE.

* An anonymous donation in memory of Jonathan Frid helped underwrite the 1st Annual LET’S BAKE A DIFFERENCE event in Dallas, Texas. The event was described as "an evening of friendship, consideration, education, and caring for others," and brought out almost 400 women from Dallas's Jewish community. Read the entire story HERE.

* Hey, remember the DARK SHADOWS DIARY? When I used to write about DARK SHADOWS on an episode by episode basis? Well, it looks like that's pretty much dead. The weight of juggling the regular website demands AND the podcast pretty much crushed that series. Also, I discovered that watching the show was more fun when I didn't have to file paperwork immediately afterward. The series absolutely had its fans, but I'm not bearing this bad news empty handed. If you want your daily does of DARK SHADOWS episode commentary, let me direct you to DARK SHADOWS EVERYDAY. I think you'll like what you'll find.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Collinsport News Bulletins

* CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has an update on the bid to win Jonathan Frid a spot on Canada's Walk of Fame. The late actor didn't make the cut during last year's campaign, but organizers hope to win him a spot in 2014.

“His Canadian identity was very important to him, and I think this would be the most important thing for him as a legacy,” campaign organizer Elena Nacanther told them. “He lived in New York for 40 years and he never got his American citizenship because he was so loyal to Canada.”

Read the entire piece at CBC-Canada.

* Joanna Going, "Victoria Winters" from the 1991 DARK SHADOWS series, has a lead part in season 2 of HOUSE OF CARDS. Going plays First Lady "Patricia Walker" in the Netflix original series, which became available Feb. 14.

Stephanie Ellyne
* Stephanie Ellyne returns in March as "Amy Jennings" in DARK SHADOWS: THE HAPPIER DEAD. The Big Finish audiodrama is written by Adam Usden and directed by Darren Gross, and is scheduled to go on sale March 31. Here's the official plot summary:

But no one is dying at Collinsport Hospital, even those who wish to. When student parapsychologist Amy Jennings is rushed into intensive care, she reluctantly begins to investigate, and soon finds the hospital morgue is anything but empty. But who is behind it? And what could they possibly want? Amy might be guaranteed to make it out alive, but she is about to discover there are fates far worse than death.

* On April 30, the world premiere of DOCTOR MABUSE: ETIOPOMAR will be held at the historic Vista Theatre in Hollywood as part of a double feature celebrating the 40th anniversary of DARK SHADOWS creator/executive producer Dan Curtis' DRACULA in a newly-restored print.

ETIOPOMAR stars Jerry Lacy, Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Christoper Pennock are scheduled to attend the event, which will also include a Q&A with the film's director, Ansel Faraj. DARK SHADOWS and DRACULA composer Robert Cobert will be present to sign copies of DRACULA's new CD soundtrack, as well as the film's new Blu-ray release.

For more information, visit the official Facebook event page.

Friday, February 14, 2014

TGIF: Meet Jonathan Frid's "mystery guest"

In 1968, 16 SPEC ran a photo feature on a party for the cast of DARK SHADOWS. Titled "Jonathan Frid's Mystery Guest," the hook for the feature was that Frid's guest was his mother, Flora. The bulk of these images come from that publication. The photo at the top shows the Frids with Edim Vane (ABC's vice president of daytime programming) and DARK SHADOWS producers Robert Costello and Dan Curtis, presumably taken at the same event.


(NOTE: These clippings are courtesy of Elena Nacanther, who is part of an effort to get Jonathan Frid nominated to Canada's Walk of Fame, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that recognizes Canadians who have excelled in music, sports, film, television, and other artistic endeavors. You can find the NOMINATE JONATHAN FRID TO CANADA'S WALK OF FAME Facebook page by clicking here. Please pay them a visit. You can see more selections from Elena's scrapbook each Friday here at the Collinsport Historical Society.)

Amazon's list of "Romantic Reads for Under $8"

Kathryn Leigh Scott's novel DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HEELS has made Amazon's list of "Romantic Reads for Under $8." Here's the book's official summary:
Former actress Meg Barnes used to have it all: tony Beverly Hills address, Amex Black card, Manolos for every day of the month. Not to mention a career as a popular TV detective that made her glittering life possible. But her lifestyle of the rich and famous has turned into a reality show for d-listed starlets. Lost in her Louboutins, she has one man to thank: her con man of a husband.

Handsome FBI agent Jack Mitchell knows a suspect when he sees one—even if she’s as beautiful and gutsy as Meg. Meg’s ex “made off” with half of Hollywood’s wealth in an epic real estate scam. And Jack thinks Meg may have been involved.
The Amazon sale lasts through March 5. Even better, e-mail your receipt for the book to and Kathryn will send you a signed bookmark!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Horror in Clay returns with the INNSMOUTH FOGCUTTER TIKI MUG

In 2012, Jonathan A. Chaffin conjured up a successful Kickstarter campaign with HORROR IN CLAY, which gave the world the Cthulhu Tiki Mug. Somehow, the world survived the return of this elder god, possibly because Chaffin was wise enough to summon Great Cthulhu in a portable 30 oz. size.

Not having learned his lesson the first time, Chaffin is once more tampering with eldritch horror, threatening us all with the tyranny of the INNSMOUTH FOGCUTTER TIKI MUG. Here's what he has to say about the latest project:
"The backstory for the mug is supported by artifacts and ephemera I designed around an outline for a romantic tragedy set in Innsmouth. This romantic tragedy flows from fan theory; if you and your beloved were both raised knowing you were special and really would be together forever, what would happen if you couldn't be?"

The project has numerous pledge levels, which include such unspeakable oddities as The Gilman House Hand Towel, Esoteric Order of Dagon Fez, a screen-printed Evolution of a Deep One shirt and more! You can read more about the project by watching the video above, or contribute by visiting the INNSMOUTH FOGCUTTER TIKI MUG's official Kickstarter page HERE.

Find HORROR IN CLAY at Facebook at, or follow them at Twitter at @CthulhuMug.

The campaign ends Monday, March 10, at 5 p.m. EST.

Monday, February 10, 2014

DARK SHADOWS-themed wedding portraits

A reader, (let's call him "David," because that's his name) sent me some terrific artwork he had commissioned for his wedding last year. DARK SHADOWS fans will recognize these images as riffs on the famous portraits of Barnabas Collins and Josette Du Pres. The artwork is by Dom Reardon, a British artist who has worked on the weekly 2000 A.D. comic, among other things.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chicago poet Tony Trigilio documents his life, DARK SHADOWS

THE COMPLETE DARK SHADOWS (OF MY CHILDHOOD) is a book-length poem (100 pages!) by Tony Trigilio about everybody's favorite gothic soap opera, DARK SHADOWS. The concept behind the book is grand: Billed as a multi-part experimental biography, the first book in the series spans the first 183 episodes of DARK SHADOWS to feature Barnabas Collins. Each episode gets a single line of text. The author is planning a later volume/appendix to cover the earliest episodes.

I haven't yet read the book yet, but it's just gone to the top of my Kindle queue. Don't expect a review, though. At least, not from me. My experience with poetry is limited almost exclusively to song lyrics written by rock stars with crippling substance abuse problems, so my opinion on the book won't have much depth.("Not enough guitar solos!" says The Collinsport Historical Society.)

"My hope is that the leaps between the real and the fictional in the book will blur the boundaries between my life and the lives of the characters in Dark Shadows, and I’m glad to hear how much this comes out in the poem," Trigilio told ZYZZYVA. "I watched the show at such a young age that I personalized everything in it. The bite marks on Maggie’s neck were my own. Victoria Winters’s exposed neck was my own. And when I got to the plotline where Barnabas stalks Little David, I could see, of course, where I got hooked as a child."

THE COMPLETE DARK SHADOWS (OF MY CHILDHOOD) is available on Amazon. If you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts about the concept and its execution.


At midnight last night, director Ansel Faraj posted a video package on Youtube that not only includes the first five minutes of his upcoming feature DOCTOR MABUSE ETIOPOMAR, but the complete short film, THEATRE FANTASTIQUE: THE MADNESS OF RODERICK USHER.  (Note: The preview of DOCTOR MABUSE ETIOPOMAR will only be available online until midnight tonight, Feb. 7.)

THEATRE FANTASTIQUE is an online anthology series revolving around tales of mystery, fantasy, and horror.  RODERICK USHER is the first of three scheduled shorts in the series, with Pennock scheduled to appear in the next two episodes, as well. Expect A DESCENT INTO A MAELSTROM and THE HAPPY HOME OF THE MURDEROUS MAHONES to hit Youtube later in 2014.

You can find these films on the official Youtube channel of Hollinsworth Productions.

Monday, February 3, 2014



That word probably conjures a distinct image for you: The unkempt, basement-dwelling virgin that's been giving fandom a bad name for five decades. It doesn't really matter that the public perception of a "Trekkie" is a myth generated by lazy journalists who latched onto the meme as a shortcut to thinking. Imagination is threatening to those who have none, so you can bet your ass that these kinds of fans will always be presented as weird and creepy by J-school hacks.

But that doesn't mean there's not an element of truth to the myth.

"The closest I've come to knowing myself is in losing myself," Kris Kristofferson said a few years back. "That's why I loved football before I loved music. I could lose myself in it. Music and drugs and rock 'n' roll — all of it is for you to lose yourself." While it looks like escapism to many people, fandom can sometimes be a revelatory experience. It's easy to know why you hate something; it's not so easy to understand why you love something. And you can't solve that mystery without sacrificing some part of yourself to it.

Whether it's NASCAR, punk rock, pro football or DARK SHADOWS, fandom will always have its share of socially handicapped men and women, people with an attention to detail that borders on absurd if you don't understand the mechanics behind their behavior. And THESE ARE THE VOYAGES, TOS, SEASON ONE by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn has an attention to detail that will make a great many people feel uncomfortable.

Documenting the making of the first season of STAR TREK, the book is being marketed as the first of its kind to rely on the show's original production files stored at the University of California, Los Angeles. THESE ARE THE VOYAGES, TOS, SEASON ONE provides insight into the show's actual ratings, the often combative creative process behind the writing of the series, the development of STAR TREK's core cast, and SO. MUCH. MORE.

Ever wondered what the top pop songs were the week MUDD'S WOMEN was shot? How about whether or not the cast and crew were able to finish shooting in time to see SPACE SEED when it first aired? What kinds of barriers did the stuntmen playing the Gorn in ARENA have to overcome when having to take a leak? How many episodes did actor Sean Kinney appear in? Well, get ready to have a lot of questions answered that you probably haven't asked.

While it might sound dismissive, I actually liked how the book's tone favors the scalpel over the shovel as its favored tool. But, THESE ARE THE VOYAGES, TOS, SEASON ONE has two crippling flaws. The first is that it doesn't go far enough in its investigation into the creation of individual episodes. The second is that it leans heavily on a rigid, often boring structure. Each chapter begins with the official episode summary from NBC, a few thoughts about the episode from the authors, character quotes, a look at what news stories were making the headlines, popular songs on the radio, and a list of dates documenting the various drafts of the script as they were submitted. The authors are so attached to this structure that they are unwilling to abandon it, and it quickly loses relevance and novelty. This structure becomes insufferable by the time you reach the season's final episodes.

It's easy to see how this happened. The original archival documents are probably exciting to review. The physical documents represent history but there's a huge difference between handling an original network memo detailing an episode's plot, and reading a transcript of it. The authors confuse the issue throughout the book, often mindlessly regurgitating data in the name of consistency. Some of this information is interesting and worth discussion, specifically STAR TREK's allegedly suppressed Nielsen ratings (which were much better than advertised.) But, I don't need to know the date that draft #3 of CHARLIE X was submitted to network executives for approval.

Still, there's some good information here. I enjoyed hearing the stuntmen and bit actors reminiscing about their time on the show, and THESE ARE THE VOYAGES, TOS, SEASON ONE takes an unflinching look at how Gene Roddenberry and STAR TREK's various producers not only meddled with individual screenplays, but pressured many of the show's writers to work without compensation. I lost track of the moral and ethical dilemmas documented in the book, and feel torn about the authors' unwillingness to pick sides. While they've got no problem telling you their opinions on the content of specific episodes, they seem hesitant to call out the producers on their bullshit.

Worse, many of these conflicts go unrecognized. Roddenberry's most famous nemesis, Harlan Ellison, was once the show's biggest booster.  During the show's first few months, it was natural for producers to reshape early scripts in order to meet their vision for the series. Many of these scripts were submitted before the first regular episode had been shot, so it was natural for the writers to miss key elements of what we think of as "Star Trek." Roddenberry's handling of these early script revisions alienated many of these writers, though. THESE ARE THE VOYAGES, TOS, SEASON ONE paints Ellison as being critical of his contemporaries early in the season, and fails to note the irony of his disproportionate response to famously being re-written, himself. I wondered what guys like Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson thought about Ellison's change of heart, but their opinions were nowhere to be found.

More troubling is the investigation into the sexual assault of Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Rand  at the start of the series before being unceremoniously dumped after shooting just eight episodes. Whitney has long maintained that she was forced to have sex by an unnamed network executive in order to save her job, and was immediately fired for her trouble. The authors seem inclined to side with Whitney, but were unable to get anyone involved with the show to comment on anything other than the "official word" that Rand had simply become superfluous to the show. The book raises the issue, but curiously doesn't mention who, if anybody, was asked to comment. William Shatner offers a brief account of Whitney's departure that seems to contradict her story, but it's left unchallenged.

Still, I managed to enjoy THESE ARE THE VOYAGES, TOS, SEASON ONE for what it is. While the writing won't dazzle many people, the book still functions as a really long, if poorly edited, collection of Internet Movie Database trivia. I learned quite a lot about the show from the book ... I just wished I'd enjoyed myself a little more while doing so.

Big Finish to revive DARK SHADOWS serial in 2014

Joe Lidster and David Darlington let slip some great news on the third episode of their podcast: BIG FINISH is reviving the DARK SHADOWS audio serials in 2014.

The series will differ in a number of ways from the self-contained audiodramas that have been at the heart of the DARK SHADOWS line during the last few years. For starters, the new episodes will be part of a longform story, made up of 13 half-hour episodes. The new series, titled DARK SHADOWS: THE RETURN, will follow 2006's epic KINGDOM OF THE DEAD storyarc.

"It will follow on from the cliffhanger of KINGDOM OF THE DEAD, but not directly, because we want to make it accessible to new listeners," Lidster said in the podcast. "So, we will do the age-old DARK SHADOWS' tradition of a woman on a train. We'll come in with a voice-over and we'll meet people in Collinsport through her ..."

The series will eventually be for sale as box sets, but Lidster didn't rule out the idea of publishing the series online as a "daily soap opera."

DARK SHADOWS: THE RETURN will be written by Lidster, Will Howells and Adam Flanagan. The series is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2014, but an official release date has yet to be set.

"There's so much going on in here," Lidster said of DARK SHADOWS: THE RETURN. "Quite a lot of characters. Quite a lot of stories. And hopefully again it will be a bit like what we did last year fun, scary, some heartbreaking stuff in there, doing some interesting stuff with the characters and interesting pairings."

For those of you keeping score at home, there's one name conspicuously left out of the conversation: BARNABAS COLLINS. Fans of KINGDOM OF THE DEAD know that Andrew Collins (no relation) played Collinsport's favorite vampire in that storyline, which was set sometime in the 1980s ... and that leaves the door open for the character's possible return to the serial later this year. While DARK SHADOWS fans famously reject anyone but Jonathan Frid in the role, Andrew Collins has a surprising number of fans, even among DARK SHADOWS fundamentalists. And that's a feat not even Johnny Depp managed to pull off.

Only time will tell if we'll see Andrew lurking the shadows of Collinsport again in 2014. Stay tuned!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...