By PATRICK McCRAY
July 25, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 31
As Roger asks Burke where he got the valve, he also has to stop David from escaping the drawing room. Burke explains that he found the valve on the road where the accident occurred, and that David helped him find it. Burke takes David outside, and Vicki confirms that it’s the valve she found in David’s room. Outside, Burke explains that he lied because he likes David, but his father could have been killed. David proclaims his innocence, but Burke doubts him. Burke saw him with the valve in his hotel room. David apologizes for trying to frame Burke, and Burke explains that he knows what it’s like to be trapped. Burke works out of David that he removed the valve to avoid being sent away by Roger. As Roger ponders this, he receives a call revealing that David had been with Burke far earlier that day. Later, David brings Burke a photo of himself with his mother, who is in the hospital. David cites Roger’s cruelty as his motive for sabotaging the car. He wants his mother back and Victoria gone. Victoria found the valve, and he’ll get even with her for it. Burke is summoned by Roger, and is accused of colluding with the boy. Burke says that he hid the truth to sidestep Roger’s temper. And maybe the boy was just curious to see the monster and realized that Burke wasn’t such a bad guy. Burke cites the source of Roger’s anger -- that Burke is not the guilty party. Upstairs, Roger and David meet. Meanwhile, Burke assures Vicki that Roger won’t hurt David. It’s Vicki who should be frightened of David’s grudge. She should go home, and Burke only tells her because he likes her. But the mystery of her past keeps her in town. Burke will show her his detective’s report if she’ll have dinner. In Vicki’s room, Roger violently threatens to send David away. The boy runs to Burke, but he’s powerless to help. Burke is vaguely amused, calling it the judgement of the gods. He reiterates his warning to Vicki to stay away from open windows as he leaves.
A classic Burke/David episode. Honor among thieves and all of that, with Burke one step ahead of the lad all of the way. Easily the best chemistry on the show, it does all but point to Burke with a massive neon sign that says “David’s Actual Father.” It is a moving and legitimate friendship, although Burke is manipulating the hell out of David. Whenever Burke and David head for the stairwell, watch it. Mitch Ryan gives some of the best acting on the show. Do you think the mood, storyline, and cast carried DARK SHADOWS before Barnabas? Wrong! It’s was Mitch Ever-Lovin’ Ryan.
(Episode 21 airs on this date.)
July 25, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 554
Jeff and Barnabas search for Vicki in the woods, and Barnabas is stymied by the howl of wolves… a sure portent of the vampire. Jeff finds him and redirects his search, bewildered by the expression of feral emotion on Barnabas’ face. Elsewhere, Nicholas stands over a coffin in an iron doored room. As he exits, he encounters Tom Jennings, his handyman. He wants to inspect for structural flaws and finds the coffin. Nicholas feigns ignorance as to its origin. Tom, frightened, exits. Afterwards, Nicholas suggests that the worst is yet to come for Tom. What might that be? Someone approaches him and Jeff hears Tom’s screams. He finds Tom dead, bite marks on his neck. Nicholas, from afar, says that it begins. The coffin was Angelique’s, and the suffering is just beginning. At Collinwood, Barnabas sits in shock and terror at the sound of the wolves. He knows that something must have happened that night, and the possibilities horrify him. Nevertheless, he must search for Vicki. Barnabas explains to Julia that Adam is holding her hostage so they will make a mate for him. Adam is now highly advanced and more dangerous than ever. Julia also states that Adam knows who and what he is. Someone must have told him about himself. Barnabas moves to call the police, but
Julia stops him. It will mean exposure. Nicholas enters and claims that he saw Barnabas in the woods earlier, running away. Jeff then also enters to call the police to report Tom’s death. It’s clear that another vampire is loose.
Barnabas reluctantly begins to ponder the loss of his cure. What more appropriate force could make him a vampire other than another vampire… at last, Angelique. Nicholas is a crafty SOB and he deserves a lot of thanks for the irony. Also notable in this one... we have one of the first encounters with Tom Jennings. It's so odd to see Don Briscoe as a redneck, but he plays it well, and yet again proves that he is one the best actors on the show. It's my opinion that 1970s cinema would have looked extremely different had Briscoe survived. As it stands, he is the sad Brian Wilson of DARK SHADOWS. When I did the DARK SHADOWS experiment in 2012, I dedicated it to Briscoe, much to Mission Control’s understandable bewilderment in the post-mortem toast. Because, for some strange reason, my heart just went out to Mr. Briscoe. I’ve even calculated how long it would take to get to Memphis and his grave. There is a strange soulfulness and is acting that moves me tremendously. Pay attention. Perhaps he'll have that effect on you. Oh, and some people think I look a little like him also.
(Episode 544 airs on this date.)
July 25, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 807
1897. The possessed Jamison roils in jail as Tate labors on the painting of Quentin with Charity in the room. Staring into it as Tate putters away, she screams as it becomes the wolf! Tate reasons with her that it was just her imagination, but was it? They return to Collinwood. In the jail cell, Jamison tries every trick he has to manipulate Magda with little success. Speaking with Aristede, Tate is clearly chafing under the count’s control, and we learn that his talent is a gift from Petofi. We also learn that the count has a matter of weeks to find the hand. Success means immortality. Failure is death. No good deed goes unpunished as Aristede later goes to the count’s cell to help him, but is trapped within by Barnabas. Later, the count finally succeeds at getting Magda into the cell, where he hypno-kisses her and convinces her that she is the cause of all of Collinwood’s woes. But she might get off the hook if she shows Petofi where the vampire sleeps.
Another weirdness-packed adventure to 1897. If you even want to introduce someone to the show, get thee to this storyline. This is the hellzapoppin madness that took me from loving DARK SHADOWS to seeing it as my favorite series ever. Sure. Now they throw in magical portraits that turn into werewolves. Why not, at this point? In art, The Powers That Shouldn’t Be revel in saying ‘no’ to anything with imagination. I’ve been on the business end of that, many times. Here, though, it’s as if Dan Curtis said yes to everything. The result? Some of the most entertaining television of the 1960’s, led by, of all people, David Henesy, who never misses a beat. In the words of my ex-girlfriend (who welcomes you to all CHS podcasts), “God, I love that kid.” She was right.
(Episode 805 airs on this date.)