Friday, July 29, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: JULY 28


July 28, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 34

Vicki meets with Burke to find out what his detective found out about her past. Burke presses for dinner at the Blue Whale and the detective report in his hotel room. Vicki wants to skip to the hotel room. (Wowza!) At Collinwood, Joe comes to, not knowing how he got there. Ninety minutes have passed, but he’s sobering up. Carolyn reveals that he made an enemy in her, but she’ll get him coffee, anyway. He has no memory, and blames what he said on the hooch. He’s incredibly sorry. He reveals that he was emotionally shattered over the loss of the boat. He’s wildly apologetic. In Burke’s room, he reveals that he was curious about Vicki. She wants answers more than he does. Back in the drawing room, Carolyn is helping Joe. She’s worried about him, but suggests he apologize to Burke. She reveals that Burke had nothing to do with the accident, but his real anger is at Burke making a pass at her. They kiss and put it in the past, but he still won’t apologize to Burke… that man wants to hurt the family. Elsewhere, Vicki sees that Burke’s report tells her nothing new. No one at the foundling home had ever heard of Collinwood. Burke offers to keep helping. His feelings for Vicki are separate from the Collins clan. She fills him in about the letter left with her when she was an infant, as well as the monthly checks for $50 until she turned 16. Burke suggests that thing will get worse at Collinwood. If she won’t leave, he’ll have to protect her. As she goes to the washroom, Joe arrives to pay off the bar bill Burke covered. Vicki sees Joe pay him and leave. Vicki leaves before dinner, but not before accepting a rain check.

Sometimes an episode exists to tell us what happened in the last episode.  This is that episode. I think the most remarkable moment is when Vicki almost-more-than implies that she’s ready to sleep with Burke to get the information she’s after. Trying to get a fix on 1966 standards and practices is a tough endeavor. Beyond that, though, it’s even tougher to get a read on Vicki. She’s a city girl, no matter how little she claims to understand. I think Vicki sees an exchange coming, and Burke’s comportment is a wonderful rebuttal to that assumption. So, chalk one up for the good guys.

(Episode 24 airs on this date.)

July 28, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 812

Quentin is awakened by Edward, under a hex and believing himself a criminal, strangling him. Trask and Nora interrupt the strangulation. Trask takes Edward away so that Quentin and Nora can speak. Trask chastises Edward as if he were a servant and sends him to the tower room. Quentin assures Nora that he’s going to break the spell on Edward. Quentin is resolved to find Tim Shaw and the hand. In a fine hotel room, a dandified Tim Shaw looks at the hand under lock and key. A woman comes to his room... one who cites his many secrets. The woman is Amanda Harris, who never wishes to speak of the past. He has a special mission for her, and he also wants her to hide the hand. Meanwhile, he plans to meet Trask with a vengeance. Amanda goes to Trask and explains that her circumstances are dire, soiled dove that she is. She claims to be the victim of a strong, controlling, willful man, almost a disciple of the devil! She can’t keep running. Quentin enters and is introduced to her. She says that she is at the Collinsport in. Trask will be with her tomorrow. Trask reveals nothing about the departing Amanda and goes upstairs. Back in Tim’s room, Amanda returns in victory to Tim, but chafes at his insistence that she keep a low profile. Quentin, meanwhile, arrives at the Inn having followed Amanda. Still, he sees her leaving with Tim. While they are out, he ransacks Tim’s room. The couple returns, with Amanda none too pleased with how boring Collinsport is. Quentin hides as Tim finds his room a shambles. She returns with the box containing the hand. Tim takes her locket and leaves with the hand. Tim goes to visit Nora with the box containing the hand. He gives her the locket and asks her to hide the box. After he leaves, she begins unwrapping the box.

Tim Shaw. He must ascend in fortunes so that his tragedy can, well, be tragic. Or something. You get what I mean. Not only is he looking fine, in the best outfit 1897 has to offer (don’t tell Aristede), but he’s dating Amanda Harris, who is, well, kind of a jerk. But he’s no paragon, either, and there’s the painful irony that he leaves the hand with Nora, who immediately starts to unwrap it. The quest for power is a, well, a euphemism for Amanda Harris that rhymes with “itch.” What I really like in this episode is how firmly Quentin mounts the white stallion to calm Nora’s fears about her cra-cra father. It shows an outstanding and credible evolution of Quentin, and the influence of Barnabas is clear. Also, David Selby’s sideburns are completely natural by now, and this leads to a DARK SHADOWS corollary to the DEEP SPACE NINE/“Bald Sisko Rule.” In DEEP SPACE NINE (a show that is Mycroft Holmes to BABYLON 5’s Inspector Clouseau -- and I say that with the simultaneous request that you keep Jerry Doyle in your thoughts, because I just found out he died, and he was a nice man), you can tell a good episode from an iffy one by whether or not Avery Brooks is bald. If he’s bald, it’s a good episode. With Quentin, if he has real sideburns, he’s developed a moral compass. Important, also… welcome Donna McKechnie, on her way to making a sensation in A CHORUS LINE. Along the way, however, she would appear in 1970’s COMPANY, a musical that would redefine the medium of American musical theatre the way in which BIRTH OF A NATION redefined narrative film. But without the Klansmen. If you have any interest in theatre or art or music in the twentieth century, put COMPANY alongside PET SOUNDS and DANZIG II: LUCIFUGE and FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY as an absolutely essential work that will give you nothing but pleasure and insight into being human. Oh, and probably something by Rachmaninov and Gershwin. But Sondheim? It doesn’t get any better.

(Episode 806 airs on this date.)

July 28, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1071

1995. Gerard’s spell on Julia broken, she and Barnabas seek a means of escape from 1995. Finding a door, they arrive in 1970, where Hallie Stokes demands to know who they are. She looks like the girl in the playroom, but is not the same. They realize they’ve traveled through time on the stairs. She reveals that she is Stokes’ niece, living at Collinwood since the death of her parents. In the drawing room, Quentin tells Liz that a strange woman was in the flaming Parallel Time room. At the moment they doubt the survival of their friends, Julia and Barnabas reenter and explain what had happened. They also tell of the trip to 1995, where they explain the impending catastrophe. They tell of the six events in Carolyn’s note. Quentin tries to dismiss it, but Barnabas is adamant. Hallie listens in on the conversation. Later, Barnabas and Julia pour over family histories. In the books, Barnabas finds that a Daphne Harridge was a governess at Collinwood in 1840. They go to the cemetery to find out the year of her death. Later that night, Hallie visits Quentin with eerie premonitions about Barnabas and Julia, wondering if they are good people. Quentin is astounded that she found them in the west wing. She has a feeling of impending doom, and he assures her that they are fine people. As for her trip to the west wing? An uncontrollable urge. In the cemetery, Barnabas and Julia find that Daphne died at the age of 23, and not of natural causes. They see that Gerard is buried next to her. Later, Barnabas is summoned to Quentin’s room. Both have questions for the other. Quentin wants to know how Barnabas arrived via the west wing rather than the east wing containing the PT room. Barnabas has no idea how or why. Quentin is stunned to hear of a playroom in the west wing. Neither man know of such a thing. But someone appearing to be the ghost of Hallie led them there in 1995. The ghost led them to a door with a staircase. Beyond the other door at the end? The west wing, 1970. Barnabas goes off to show Quentin the playroom. In the drawing room, Julia questions a nervous Hallie about odd events or a “Rose Cottage.” Hallie says no and goes to bed. In the west wing, the door that Barnabas takes Quentin to is a linen closet. And on the other side of the wall? The outside. But the camera takes us to a playroom, nonetheless.

And so what I refer to as Ragnarok truly begins. What a series. Now, everyone is in on the impending doom, making the stakes as high as they’ve ever been on DARK SHADOWS. It’s interesting to see Quentin so galvanized into being “on the team,” even if he can’t corroborate Barnabas’ findings. When I was a kid, it was impossible to gather much information on DARK SHADOWS. The show was shown in tiny chunks of syndication, if at all. No home video. No YouTube. No internet to ask. People hoarded Marilyn Ross novels, so you were SOL, there. So, I always wondered who the hell Quentin was. People had to reach back to memory, only, and that was hazy. I’m especially talking about the days before the invaluable MY SCRAPBOOK MEMORIES OF DARK SHADOWS by Kathryn Leigh Scott. So, yeah, one of the coolest-designed characters in all of hair, makeup, and costume history, but was he a good guy?  A bad guy? Did he and Barnabas team up and fight crime? The answer I’d get, “Um, sort of, I think, maybe, it depends.” Which was actually pretty accurate. It’s in an episode like this that I see them as the action team of occult investigation that I always dreamed of. If it’s not too out of place, I’m really grateful to DARK SHADOWS. Wallace is a journalist. He has to be “fair,” “accurate,” and “objective.” I have no idea what those words mean. I’m just his goofy pal. And as such, I have the leeway to say that I just love this show to a gobsmackedly nutty extent. Episodes like this are reasons why. Equal parts peril and heroism with the best fighting the worst under circumstances they can’t possibly comprehend. But does that stop them? Hell no. So say we all.

(Episode 1067 airs on this date.)

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