Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Local newspaper addresses DARK SHADOWS timeslip, 1969

In my days as a newspaper jerk, I got a lot of strange telephone calls. Sometimes they were benign. Other times, not so much.

Exhibit A: While covering a misconduct trial about ten years ago, I returned to the office to find a voice mail waiting for me. The caller took me to task for my (accurate) depiction of testimony from one of the prosecution's witnesses. In this case, the witness was a troubled young woman who claimed she had sex with a deputy while in custody at the county jail.

Her accusations were nothing compared to the voice mail message, though, which told a story that involved more sex and drug abuse than a Russ Myers movie. The message was left by a "friend" of the witness who wanted to set the record straight. In this case, "set the record straight" translated into "throw her friend under the bus."

It wasn't all sex and violence, though. Sometimes people just called the newspaper to find out who won the previous night's election, hoping to save themselves a couple of quarters and a trip to the nearest paper box. We also received calls from people had just moved to town and wanted help locating their correct utility providers.

I mention all of this to provide context to the following: In 1968, a New York resident wrote a letter to The Bridgeport Post asking for some clarification on the current DARK SHADOWS storyline. The letter, which you can see to your right, was published June 9, 1969. The writer explains he'd been away from the show for a while, and returned to find the cast "running around in 18th century costumes" with "different names." This was clearly a matter that should be addressed by the local newspaper.

It's easy to forget that DARK SHADOWS was never intended to air in reruns. Daytime entertainment, whether it was a game show, soap opera of whatever the hell DARK SHADOWS was, aired once before receding into memory. The writer must have been away from the show for a while, because the day the letter was published, the 1897 storyline had been in full swing for four months. Episode 771 aired on June 9, 1969, which also saw the return of actor John Karlen to the series after a 47-episode break. It was only his fifth turn as the dapper buffoon Carl Collins, which probably threw the writer for the loop if he was expecting Willie Loomis.

This episode was also the first appearance of character Pansy Faye, possibly the most un-DARK SHADOWS character to ever appear on the show.

You can read more about the episode at the Dark Shadows Wikia.

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