By PATRICK McCRAY
June 15, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 3
Roger arrives at Sam’s in a sporty Mustang to bang and yell belligerently to no avail. At Collinwood, Vicki’s journaling is interrupted by slamming shutters and a nightgown-clad Carolyn. She welcomes her, but warns her that life there is no fun. Carolyn is thrilled that she’s going to stick it out. Carolyn tries to fill her in. She has no idea about Burke Devlin, and then goes into a pseudo-Freudian rhapsody about dreamy Uncle Roger. Meanwhile, Joe meets with Burke at the Whale. At the same time, Roger visits Maggie at the Inn, claiming that he has a buyer for Sam’s painting and asking about Burke. Burke has hit it big with money. But her dad, despite being fond of Burke, hasn’t mentioned him in years. In the drawning room, Vicki gets a history lesson, including a description of family founder Isaac Collins. At the mention of his name, the doors open mysteriously. Carolyn tells her to get used to it. As Burke grills Joe, he knows all about his struggles. Carolyn will never be his as long as she’s stuck in Collinsport. Burke wants to give him $2373 for Joe to buy a boat in exchange for information. At the Inn, Bill Malloy, fleet operations director, enters, demanding an audience to tell Roger that Burke is back. Roger plays it calm. Ten years has surely mellowed out an ex-con like Burke. At the same time, Burke tells of getting a proposition in a bar in Monte Video, and that gave him his start. It’s time for Joe to take a similar risk. Bill Mallow interrupts the bribe by sending Joe home. Malloy asks him to leave the family alone, but Burke is determined to dig up the skeletons at Collinwood to give him back the time he’s lost. Back in Vicki’s room, she finds a letter she’d been writing on her bed… after she’d secured it in a drawer.
It’s still only day 1 for Vicki at Collinwood, and she’s finally in a nightgown. This is a very strange episode, as if from an alternate universe. Carolyn gives the family history, and points out that the portrait in the drawing room, Isaac “Your Dynasty’s Bartender” Collins, is the founder of the family, although no other mention is made of him. What’s stranger is her long, weird rhapsody about how dreamy Uncle Roger is. I wonder how long it took them to change that? Probably about ten minutes. And that brings us to the subject of Bulgaria. No, really. One theory I have has to do with the fact that the voice and mannerisms of Louis Edmonds very accurately read as what we think of as gay. Especially the voice. Back around the turn of the 20th century, in fact, when performers with the sing-song inflection associated with many gay men would appear on stage in travelling shows, it would rile up the local homophobes. So theatre companies took to saying that it was actually a foreign accent. They were actually “Bulgarian,” so the showmen would say. And the rednecks bought it! Don’t believe me? Get thee to Amazon!
The change from Roger-the-Dreamboat to temporary villain to friendly-if-arch Uncle Roger may have had something to do with it. I'm a Kentuckian, and even I find incest creepy. Beyond that, I think that, on a subconscious level, Roger simply read better as... sexually vague. In both of his marriages, there's no sense of lust or passion. Can you imagine Lara Parker's character telling Mitch Ryan's character that the honeymoon will be delayed again? Me neither. I'm not saying that the character of Roger is gay. I'm just saying that he doesn't exactly exude desire for the women on the show with whom he's paired up. Edward? A little more credible. Joshua? Certainly. Roger? Not so much. That comes across. Having Carolyn continue to desire someone who reads to everyone but her as a confirmed bachelor is a whole other story that I don't think they wanted to tell as much as tales of ghosts and blackmail.
It’s also the first appearance of Bill Malloy, Liz’s eyes and ears at the cannery. Malloy is a rough, tough, no-nonsense character who Gets Stuff Done. He’s also a humorless, grating bully. He’ll get killed off, largely because storylines would be over in ten minutes had he remained alive to beat up, intimidate, and bellow at anyone in the way of the Collins family. If you exposed Burke or Stokes to intense gamma radiation, Bill Malloy is who they’d become if angered. Fran Schofield played Malloy with passion and conviction. His career is noted for nighttime television and soaps, with the sole exception of appearing as Senator Lane in THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES.
June 15, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 264
Roger vows to stop Jason, who begins laughing like a Bond villain. They declare mutual enmity. Roger is drawing up papers to prevent the marriage and Jason’s grab for the power of the Collins fortune. Meanwhile, Willie reports that the evidence of Maggie’s presence has been cleared up. What now? No one counted on her dying, and Barnabas doesn’t know the cause. WIllie says it’s the stress they induced. They debate Barnabas’ culpability, and the vampire ends it with a threat on Willie’s life. Later, Roger visits the Old House and brings him up to date with the McGuire situation. The family is disintegrating. Although Barnabas says he doesn’t like to get involved in family matters, he might investigate. However, in this case, he’ll make an exception. Elsewhere, Sarah appears to Willie once more. He tells her to scram although she doesn’t know where to go. She indicates that she lives in the Old House, but Willie insists on taking her back to town. She promptly vanishes. Barnabas visits Collinwood and engages Jason McGuire in a subtle battle. Jason brags that it will ensure happiness for Liz. Barnabas knows more about Jason than the others, based on his own interaction with Jason. He wants the estate to remain intact and not fall into the hands of an unscrupulous person. Jason demands his accusations. Barnabas is amused by his attempts at self-righteousness. Jason turns the tables by asking what Barnabas does, and why he would possibly hire Willie. Barnabas states that it’s his business. Jason says his wealth is mysterious for a man with no bank account, who’s never seen in the daytime. Barnabas returns home to find that a little girl was seen outside and claimed to be from the Old House. It strikes him as disturbingly significant.
The showdown between Barnabas and Jason begins, and we see the glimmers of the hero within. In Joseph Campbell tradition, he reluctantly answers the call, saying that he doesn’t like to be involved in family business (how that will change), but this must be dealt with. The storylines FINALLY converge and DARK SHADOWS -- as I know it -- officially begins. The Barnabas I love solves problems more than he creates one, and this problem is about to be solved with his bare hands. And for those who join me on the stock footage safari, we get Roger walking to the Old House, which is far more massive on the outside than the set would indicate -- like a reverse TARDIS.
(Episode 254 airs on this date.)
June 15, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1041
1970PT. Angelique strangles a statuette, causing Bruno to choke in his cottage as Quentin is found over the body by the inspector. Bruno is dead. How did it happen? Quentin is baffled. He saw him strangle mysteriously. Inspector Hamilton remains convinced that Quentin is a suspect and arrests him. At Collinwood, Angelique hides the statuette and strangulation scarf in one of Maggie’s drawers. Alone with “Alexis,” Maggie shares doubts of Quentin’s innocence. Quentin finds the statuette as he’s gathering things to take for his night in jail, but remains mum. As he leaves, Quentin eyes Maggie with suspicion. At the police station, Barnabas visits Quentin. His innocence must be proved. Quentin confides that he found the voodoo token that was used to kill Quentin. Barnabas vows to prove who really killed Bruno and clear Maggie’s name. Back at Collinwood, Julie concludes that if they kill the body or hurt “Alexis,” they’ll have no way to bring the real killer to justice. With Maggie, “Alexis” subtly suggests that Cyrus’ notebook insinuates that Quentin is a killer and could kill again. After the autopsy, the inspector puts Quentin under arrest without bail; there are marks on Bruno’s neck. This brings Angelique’s death into question -- the body is to be exhumed. Maggie later tells Barnabas that Alexis gave the authorities Cyrus’ journal. With Quentin, “Alexis” affirms her belief in Quentin. Outside, the inspector hears a scream. When he runs into the room where Quentin and “Alexis” were speaking, Quentin leaps from a corner, karate chops the inspector, and escapes. Yes, karate chops.
What is it about Parallel Time that seems… irrelevant? Maybe because it’s Parallel Time. But things are finally happening, and Barnabas and Julia’s presence finally gives pertinence to the proceedings. You know what I say about this one? KARATE CHOP! If I had a Quentin action figure, this action would be non-negotiable. Guest star Colin Hamilton rounds out the cast as Inspector Hamilton. He would also play a doctor in the famous “lost episode” of DARK SHADOWS, 1219, where he announces that Catherine is preggers with Bramwell’s child. Bramwell is different than Barnabas! Hamilton had a rich TV and movie career, appearing in everything from FLASHDANCE to WONDER WOMAN. On the latter, he appears in “The Deadly Dolphin” with Michael Stroka and that blue, Wonder Woman swimsuit that played such a pivotal role in my journey into questionable taste and understanding of basic, human anatomy. He did not wear the swimsuit, however. Oh, by the way, KARATE CHOP!
(Episode 1036 airs on this date.)