Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: JUNE 14


June 14, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 2

At Collinwood, Victoria and Liz meet over tea. The house has 40 rooms and only one manservant for the heavy tasks. As Victoria looks from the drawing room into the crashing sea, the credits roll out. She’s told it will be a difficult assignment. Her own daughter dances with abandon as Devlin and Strake look on. She relaxes for a drink with Joe Haskell, who worries about her drinking and reckless flirting. A fistfight breaks out, finished by Devlin. Burke Devlin. He insists she go home. But before Joe leaves, Devlin tells him to return. Vicki loves her new room; it was Liz’s prior to the wedding. Liz lies to her, telling her the foundling home recommended her. But no such call had been made. Carolyn bursts in downstairs, pouting. Liz tries to comfort her, but she says she’s so tired of trying. LIz says that she worries about her. Liz loves the house, but Carolyn needs to find her brightness outside. Joe is likable, but not the white knight she wanted. Carolyn just wants Liz to stop trying to marry her off. And Liz won’t be alone; now there’s Vicki. Vicki explores the grounds and meets Roger on Widow’s Hill. Roger charms her with a mordant edge. Vicki explains that she met a man at the train station: Burke Devlin. Roger bolts away in fear and fury. Vicki comes home to find Liz playing terribly sad music at the piano before collapsing. And it’s not even the end of day one.

Notice how many episodes it takes to get to Vicki’s second day. It’s like it’s happening in real time. It’s a leisurely episode, but never dull. However, they can no longer afford to rely on atmosphere alone.  The unsung hero of the episode is the character of Carolyn, who is introduced as the series first, truly multifaceted character, torn with conflict between a wild life and Joe, between intense loyalty to her mother and natural wanderlust. It’s the one-day anniversary of the shooting of episode 1 and they celebrate by having announcer Bob Lloyd tell us that it’s been a Dan Curtis production.

June 14, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 263

The madman who killed Maggie has attacked another woman. Vicki wants to check on Sam; Carolyn, Joe. They marvel that this is their first period of friendship in days. It doesn’t last when Vicki says she’s going to be Liz’s legal witness, sending Carolyn into a rage. At the cottage, Sam speaks with Woodard, happy that Maggie is alive and hidden. Vicki arrives at Sam’s. She offers to dispose of Maggie’s things, but Sam demurs. Carolyn visits with Joe, who rebuffs her sympathy. He asks of her marriage to Buzz. She feigns happiness; he feigns approval. She apologizes for any cruelty she showed him. Furthermore, she admires his bravery in the face of Maggie’s death. She wants to hurt Liz, even if marriage to Buzz is less than ideal. Back in the drawing room, Carolyn marvels to Vicki about his strength. His level headedness is everything she is not. She turns to see the violets that Jason gives her mother every day. Again, this propels her toward Buzz. At the Evans place, Sam reports to Sam that Maggie is secretly at Windcliff, under Dr. Hoffman’s care. Her life must remain secret. The manic must be found.

Carolyn and Vicki show true friendship by alternating between deep affection and wanting to throttle each other. And I really mean that about a demonstration of true friendship; that happens because people care so deeply for each other. Vicki has a secret she can’t tell. Carolyn misinterprets that. Liz gets defended and the obvious is again pointed out about Buzz. The Jason McGuire story isn’t about Jason, it’s about Carolyn, and it’s a good thing they had Nancy Barrett in the cast. She is a talent that goes into the red, and I wonder how the seventies would have looked if she’d stuck with the craft.

(Episode 253 airs on this date.)

June 14, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 526

Nicholas summons Angelique back from the underworld. NIcholas suggests that her love makes her weak, but now she swears nothing but vengeance. At Collinwood, Jeff Clark arrives late at night to be met by Roger. He must see Vicki, and Roger refuses. Jeff is adamant. Nicholas returned her to life because of their “bargain,” which means more to him than anything. In the grand hall, Roger returns to tell Jeff that she’s not there. Jeff remarks that the front door was open -- she may be out there, somewhere. They agree to go looking together. As Roger starts out, Cassandra greets him, to his delight. She says she left on impulse, and is sorry. Roger assures her that everyone will accept her.  In the woods, Jeff finds Vicki, who is dazed and clutching a button. He takes her back to Collinwood. Nicholas, already ensconced at Collinwood, greets Cassandra merrily. He sternly tells her never to wander off to their childhood home of Philadelphia ever again. Nicholas is given an extended invitation to stay. Jeff brings Vicki back, insisting on taking her upstairs. Nicholas must do something about Vicki’s suspiciousness. Upstairs, Vicki confides that Cassandra looks exactly like Angelique. Jeff swears that he’ll never leave her. Why was Jeff there to seek her so late? He knows who he is: Peter Bradford. His past came back in a dream. He recalls the oath he swore just before she went to the gallows. Jeff begins to babble madly about shooting Nathan Forbes’ ghost, bringing his sanity into question. Vicki doesn’t necessarily believe him. It’s from what Vicki told him. Perhaps Stokes can help him under hypnosis. Jeff agrees. Nicholas enters her room to check on her. When he does, Jeff sees that Nicholas is missing a button that matches the one found by Jeff.

As an actor, Humbert Allen Astredo might as well wear a cape and leap tall buildings. He’s the thinking man’s force of nature, brutality, and charm that the series has lacked since the departure of Dennis Patrick. But another man emerges as well -- pure and optimistic where Nicholas is cynical and complex. It’s Roger Davis, now fully convinced that he’s Peter Bradford. Davis is one of the most controversial actors on the show, drawing mixed reviews from many fans. And he was allegedly a handful to work with. I think he’s just grand. When the series needed someone as pure as Vicki, he’s wholly credible. He also stands out because he breaks the “Curtis type” with light hair and a higher voice than many of the dark pated baritones who populate the cast. Davis has a straightforward dedication to Vicki played with such commitment that I buy it, wholly. Is his style flamboyant? Yes. Does that add irony and energy to the show when it needs it? Yes again.

Today is also the anniversary of Chris Berneau’s death. Rest in peace, good man.

(Episode 514 airs on this date.)

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