By PATRICK McCRAY
May 19, 1967
Taped on this day: Episode 242
Burke asks Dave Woodard for help with the distraught Sam. Nothing. But Woodard is getting closer to a theory. He’s bringing in Hoffman -- one of the best men in his field -- to help. The blood slides show a skirmish between her red and white corpuscles. But something else is going on in there, too. Woodard thinks he might have found something beyond the rational, and hopes that Hoffman will clear it up. Burke drives at an explanation full of mystery. Woodard thinks the implication might be frightening… maybe impossible.”Impossible” is a concept that Woodard, an intensely scientific man, resists. Science may be replete with unknowns, but not impossibilities. At Collinwood, Roger confronts Liz about Jason, implying blackmail. Liz begs him to leave her alone. She consults Jason, explaining that the money is running out. He has something else in mind as a reward. Liz later reports to Roger that Peterson straightened out the accounts. Woodard arrives back at his office with Burke. It’s been vandalized and the slides are gone. It’s clear that the perpetrator must be the same person who kidnapped Maggie. Woodard finally calls the case the one thing he dreaded it being: impossible.
Hello, Dr. Hoffman. Today marks the first mention of… “him." Originally intended as a man, it’s not hard to figure out.... “Van Helsing… Hoffman… Van Helsing… oh, I get it!” I always thought that it was Sam Hall pulling strings to get his wife a job, but it was the other way around. Looking beyond the unintentional hilarity of calling Dr. Hoffman a man… over and over and over again… this episode verges on the near-Star Trekkian in its dogged devotion to the purity of science. No mysteries, Woodard explains to Burke. Just unknowns. This would have been a substantially different, arguably better (at least faster-paced) show if Burke and Dave had lived and stayed at the center of the mysteries. I know that may be blasphemous, but I really enjoy the chemistry of these two actors and their characters.
(Episode 235 aired on this date.)
May 19, 1969
Taped on this day: Episode 761
1897. Nora and Jamison remain trapped in the fire. Barnabas teleports in and the fire dies out. Edward is baffled by the vanishing fire. Quentin drunkenly visits Evan, demanding a cure. Evan reluctantly agrees to try a third time. In the drawing room, Edward wants to know how Barnabas got into the room. Barnabas bluffs that he climbed around on a ledge and through the window. But what of Laura? It seems impossible that she burned to nothing, but Barnabas says that it’s true. The children must be convinced that their mother is gone. Later, Jamison waits up for Quentin, and asks to be his friend again. Why? Laura’s dead. Quentin calms him, telling him he’ll never leave. Evan has a solution; summon the devil! Quentin says that he’ll pay the devil anything to make it happen. Edward later finds Nora, grief stricken. He asks to to think of other things as Reverend Trask calls. He hangs up and calls in Quentin. Edward wants to reconcile, to battle the unnatural elements afoot. Quentin grows distant and bolts off. At Evan’s, Quentin boozes it up as Evan prepares to summon the devil. Over Evan’s objections, they begin the satanic ritual. French doors blow open. The wind howls. A figure appears in the window and Quentin passes out.
Although they still couldn’t bring themselves to say “Satan,” at least they have the guts to say, “the devil,” rather than “Diabolos.” I can only imagine how terrifying this must have been for conservative parents at home in those days. These are grown men conjuring the devil, for chrissakes. This is one of the more exciting episodes of the show, and I love the fact that fans of Eeeeevil Barnabas can bite it. The man is a teleporting superhero with a Mistress of the Black Arts for a semi-girlfriend, so deal. This is what 1897 is all about.
(Episode 756 aired on this date.)
May 19, 1970
Taped on this day: Episode 1022
|Barnabas Collins in Atlanta, Ga.|
Most importantly, May 19 is the birthday of Marie Wallace. Of the Major Babes of Dark Shadows, Marie had the least airtime, and she made up for it with an intensity that could have lit up Detroit. In her audition for Eve, she really ratted up her hair and went to town, and actors take note… that’s what directors want to see: actors who make bold choices and commit to them, 100 percent. Oddly enough, my favorite performance of hers was as Megan Todd, because it was her most subtle. It was great fun to see her go full-tilt at the outer edges of extreme characters, but it was also fascinating to see her pull back and show that much nuance. Megan also had an arc, and I think it offers us the performance with the greatest range. In any event, happy birthday!
(Episode 1017 aired on this date.)