Friday, November 7, 2014

DOLL SHADOWS: A Gothic Toy Story

One fan’s childhood obsession comes 
to life in custom DARK SHADOWS dolls

Lindy Mumade discovered DARK SHADOWS when she was seven years old. Following her parents’ divorce, she had just moved with her mother from Cleveland to Los Angeles, and first saw the series while staying with a neighbor after school.

This was early in the run of DARK SHADOWS, before the introduction of vampire Barnabas Collins. The series was still trying to find its voice and audience, a situation that made Mumade’s first encounter with the series fairly brief.

“I got interested because there was a little boy who was kind of bad, saw ghosts and had a mom who wanted to burn him up,” she said. “Unfortunately, the show was moved from 4 to 3 p.m. and I didn't get to see the debut of Barnabas."

The ghost of Josette.
This led to some confusion later on. When she was home from school for the Memorial Day holiday, Mumade said she was baffled by what appeared to be a living, breathing Josette walking around the Old House. It was an easy mistake to make: the ghost of Josette was played by Kathryn Leigh Scott, who also played Maggie Evans … who was then kidnapped by Barnabas Collins in an attempt to brainwash her into believing she was the reincarnation of Josette.

“I tried faking sick as often as I could until summer vacation, when I found that Maggie was no longer dressed as Josette, but instead was a prisoner,” she said. “Me and all my school buddies were hooked and were so glad when it switched back to 4 p.m. so we could watch during the school year.  From then on, we were the stereotypical kids who ran home from school each day until it went off the air in 1971.”

Mumade said she often played with her Barbie dolls while watching the show, recreating scenes with her toys. About two years ago, she came across DARK SHADOWS on Netflix and was inspired to revisit her childhood habits on a more sophisticated level.

“My sister gave me a ton of material scraps, and my best friends gave me a sewing kit and some doll patterns,” she said. “The first doll I made was Victoria Winters in the red dress. Since then I have ‘completed’ 40 dolls (yikes!).  I have three in progress, ten on deck (dolls and material ready) and ideas for endless more.”

Victoria Winters

Mumade has an eye for detail. Not only are the dolls' costumes and make-up specific to individual scenes from the series, many of her creations wander far afield from DARK SHADOWS' major story arcs. Her Facebook page includes photos of dolls based on the ghost of Hallie Stokes, Roxanne Drew as a vampire, and even "crazy" Carolyn Stoddard from 1995.

She said Charity Trask and Pansy Faye have been her favorite characters to recreate.

Carolyn Stoddard
“The dolls started out identical but ended up very different, of course,” Mumade said. “I am pretty in love with Leticia Faye, and of course love the creepy dolls like Angelique the vampire, Jenny Collins and Carolyn in 1995.  I am very excited about starting Maggie Evans when she was hypnotized into being Josette.”

It’s not just a matter of creating costumes: Each character requires the appropriate doll. Because of a lack of variety of male dolls in the Barbie line, this has lead to her creations being focused on the female cast of DARK SHADOWS.

“I was struck by the resemblance of two dark-haired Barbies to Maggie and Vicky, the older ‘90's blonde Barbies to Angelique and so on,” she said. “I haven't yet found any Ken dolls that resemble Barnabas, Quentin and the rest.”

She mostly tailors the clothes for dolls in the Barbie line, but said other dolls are “cheap knockoffs.”

“A few are actually only doll torsos used to make Barbie birthday cakes, but I stuck them into a Styrofoam base instead of a cake skirt,” Mumade said.  “They just looked so much like Laura Collins, I couldn't pass them up.”

Some of the costume items are off-the-rack Barbie accessories.

“I wish I could take credit for the leather coat and stockings ‘Biker Carolyn’ wears,” she said. “I always indicate on my page when I didn't make an item.”

For Joan Bennett’s characters, Mumade relies on Rosie O’Donnell dolls, and has yet to find the right doll for any of Grayson Hall’s characters.

Laura Collins, Sarah Collins and Elizabeth Stoddard-Collins.

Laura Collins from the 1897 storyline has proven to have the most challenging costume to recreate.

“No matter how hard I try, I still can't get that one right,” she said. The beading and fringe on Kitty Soames’ dress from that same story has also been difficult.

Victoria Winters
“It is really fun to be able to learn how to make clothes of so many different styles and eras,” she said. “Early mod ‘60's vs psychedelic late ‘60's, Regency styles in late 1790, Victorian ...  Other than the Buzz Hackett period, Carolyn's clothes are very preppy and conservative compared to Maggie's micro-miniskirts.”

Once the costumes are complete, Mumade uses fine-tip markers to “embellish” the dolls’ facial features.

“I style their hair and cut it if necessary,” she said. “I found the perfect punk hair goo to hold all those long ringlets in place.  Needless to say, I had to jam Angelique the vampire’s fangs into her mouth.”

So far, she hasn’t created any DARK SHADOWS dolls for other people.

 “I have made special dolls for two friends as gifts to their daughters, dressed and styled like them,” she said. “ I don't feel as if my sewing and hairstyling techniques are polished enough to charge cash.  Plus I have this pesky day job.  But who knows how my skills will shape up by the time I retire.”

Find Lindy Mumade on Facebook at the DARK SHADOW BARBIES page.


ALPHA.MALE said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...