Friday, November 21, 2014

Barnabas Collins and the Lost Podcast

Last year, the Collinsport Historical Society recorded a podcast that never saw the light of day. The idea was to record some friends playing the offbeat "Barnabas Collins/Dark Shadows Game" produced in 1969 by Milton Bradley. These were people who knew nothing about DARK SHADOWS except for the things they saw on my Facebook feed, and I thought it might make for a fun podcast episode.

As it happens, it was a fun night. The game (not to be confused with the "Dark Shadows" board game produced by Whitman) is pretty strange, and more than a little morbid. For starters, there's no board. Players spin a wheel and compete to be the first person to complete their hanging skeleton from the pieces stored in a cardboard coffin. There are "advanced rules" that even allow for players to challenge each other via "vampire duels." The game isn't entirely successful, but I appreciate the effort involved in trying to create something different.

I recorded the session using an app on my phone. The sound quality was more than good enough for a podcast; all it needed was an introduction, a little editing and it was good to go.

Then a funny thing happened: I synced my phone to iTunes, which proceeded to add and remove whatever apps last recognized by my computer. I lost the the app used to record the game, as well as the recording.

If you're interested in playing the game for yourself, it's not especially difficult to find online. If you're missing parts, there are even a handful of vendors on Ebay selling everything from the individual skeleton parts to the wooden stakes (used to keep score in the game.)

Below is a television commercial for the game, which is interesting for a variety of reasons. First, it's the only commercial made by Jonathan Frid to promote something that wasn't specifically for the DARK SHADOWS series. The commercial was also shot on the ABC set in New York City. The commercial is also weird as hell, made even stranger by the awkward, uncomfortable performances by the child actors.

In other words: It's a real gem. My thanks to whoever located this commercial and shared it on Youtube.

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