By PATRICK McCRAY
July 4, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 16
Victoria waits pensively in the drawing room of Collinwood. The phone rings. It’s Bill Malloy with news that Roger will be all right. Liz remains shaken; she’s not sure it was an accident. Burke’s arrival cannot be a coincidence. The brakes failed. Bill has more news to come. The good news is that Roger was not seriously hurt. This time. The clues point to Burke. He invited Roger out. He knew he would be driving. And Victoria saw him loitering near Roger’s car earlier that evening. Another phone call. It’s Roger! He is all right and will give a full report. And at the Blue Whale, Burke buy his drinks for Joe and Carolyn, perfectly happy that Roger seems to be late. Joe remains agitated. When he leaves, Burke shows intense interest in Carolyn. She asks why he left Collinsport, and he suggests that she asked her uncle. Carolyn admires that Burke lives as he wants to, unlike Joe. As for Carolyn’s needs? She’s not quite sure. Joe returns, and Burke goes to feed the jukebox. Back at the house, Liz phones Matthew, and tells him she will wait in the kitchen for him, despite the lateness of the hour. Vicki enters first, and they discussed the fact that Matthew had an accident in the same spot as Roger with his brakes at another time. Later, Matthew visits the kitchen, looking for Liz. Instead, he finds Vicki. Liz arrives and asks when the last time was that Matthew checked Roger’s car. She asks if he likes Roger. No. But he wouldn’t harm him unless he meant harm to the household. But the only way that the brakes would’ve failed, in his estimation, is if someone had tampered with them. Back at the Blue Whale, Caroline and Joe wrap up a dance, with Joe not enjoying it one bit. She tries to get Burke to dance, but the beat is a little too wild. As they begin to break up, she invites Burke to the movies with the two of them, infuriating Joe, who bolts out. Burke and Caroline gather their things, and he announces that they’re going to find Joe. (What a guy!) At Collinwood, yet another phone rings. It’s a reporter, calling to bug Liz. Matthew returns from having inspected the car. With nothing conclusive, Liz dismisses him. Some time passes. Liz receives a phone call telling her that Carolyn left the Blue Whale in the company of Burke, not Joe. The clock strikes as Liz ascends the stairs.
Arch-nemeses of George Mitchell and fans of Thayer David can both rejoice. For better or worse, this is George’s last episode as Matthew Morgan. If it were April 1, I’d try to convince you that he also played Victoria between Alexandra Moltke and Betsy Durkin, but it’s not.
July 4, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 280
Its party night at the Old House! Willie is stunned that everyone is willing to participate. Barnabas feels like this will be like seeing his family again. We begin to learn about the family politics of 1795. Naomi was his mother, and resembled Liz. Roger, his father, Joshua. And Burke, Jeremiah… his avuncular arch nemesis, husband to Joesette, and the one man who stood in the way of his happiness. At Collinwood, Carolyn is worried about the politics that could break out in her own family. Especially with Burke Devlin there. Liz is similarly ambivalent, but Roger seems excited about the evening. When Vickie enters, it’s like seeing a picture of Josette Collins. The family proceeds to the Old House, leaving Vicki behind awaiting Burke. In Josette’s room, Barnabas gazes at a portrait of his one-time bride, hoping that this time, fate and love will smile on him. Willie enters and continues to be a downer, criticizing Barnabas for planning to give Vicki the music box, accusing him of coercion. Barnabas restrains himself from choking the shisha out of Willie and goes downstairs. As the family waits for Vicki, they wonder where she is. They also marvel at their resemblance to people from the past. Barnabas contradicts Carolyn when she observes that history paints Josette and Jeremiah as great lovers. Vicki arrives and Barnabas is even more smitten. Then, inevitably, Burke enters, raining on the parade of passion. Having assembled the group, Barnabas toasts the past with claret cup for all! Vicki remarks that she feels as if she really were in the past. Church bell rings. The candles flicker. Everyone feels an eerie presence in the room. Liz feels a hand touching her shoulder. Barnabas is understandably alarmed. Roger wonders if it were a ghost. He suggests that they hold a séance to contact it. There are various objections. Vicki however thinks that they could try it. Roger arranges a table. Barnabas reluctantly participates. Roger, having suggested it, leads the ceremony. He seems to have no luck, and just as they are getting ready to break up, there is a chill. The candles extinguish themselves. The doors blast open, and Barnabas begins to sweat. Suddenly, Vicky goes into a trance.
Welcome to one of the most interesting, almost self-contained, and classic episodes of the entire 1225 chapter story. There is romance, envy, hope, worry, nostalgia, and of course, a mysterious blend of the paranormal. If you know a hater of the show, this is one of the episodes that will contradict all of their assumptions. Given that the 1795 storyline is right around the corner, they could have costumed everyone exactly as they would later be dressed in the flashback. Wisely, they did not. Everyone is just a little bit off, giving the production team a surprise to prepare for the audience. Barnabas has more baggage than O’Hare on Christmas eve. Nevertheless, he pours a mean draught of claret cup, as my friend Peggy remembered with fondness. What is it? Dig:
Instructions: Combine all ingredients, except club soda, in a shaker tin with ice. Stir until well chilled and strain into a highball glass with fresh ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with cucumber, mint and optionally strawberries, blueberries or other fruit.
- 3 oz Bordeaux Style Red Wine
- ½ oz Sherry Wine
- ½ oz Triple Sec
- ¼ oz Maraschino
- 1 tsp Simple Syrup
- ½ oz Lemon Juice
- Dash Angostura Bitters
- Top Club Soda
Now, if you wanted to do the ultimate claret cup garnish you could use the petals of the claret cup cactus. The flowers of this cactus are edible and so is the highly prized fruit the cactus produces. (ripped off from www.artofdrink.com)
July 4, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 540
Nicholas has high expectations for what Angelique can accomplish by midnight. If she doesn’t, he will destroy her, something he demonstrates by transforming her hand into his skeleton’s. She bandages it, and Nicholas applauds her sensibility. But why didn’t Barnabas revert to what he was before the dream? Angelique reasons that Willie Loomis knows everything that happened, and that he would be an excellent source of information on Barnabas. But Nicholas states that she must do it on her own and by midnight. At the Old House, Willie answers the door to find David waiting for him. David wants to see Julia and play her the strange message of the tape recorder. David repeats the basic information from Lang’s instructions on the tape. He knows that Adam and Barnabas have a connection. Willie nervously kicks him out. At the same time, Angelique summons Willie from across the estate. He is to go to the terrace at Collinwood. She asks if Barnabas had the dream, and what happened to him. Willie explains they found him and buried him, according to Barnabas’s wishes… but when he got back to the Old House, there was Barnabas, alive. That is the extent of his knowledge, and it’s not enough. Nicholas, listening in, chides her. Was it a failure? She found out a great deal, she counters. Barnabas died. Barnabas was buried. But how did he rise? She needs time to find these things out. She begs for more time, and he agrees not to destroy her at midnight. He’s going to give her less time, instead. She has one hour. She might want to prepare for the moment of her destruction. Time passes, and her hours almost up. David sees her in the foyer with the tape player and he asks if she knows much about Barnabas. Specifically, his affliction. This arouses her interest in the tape, and she insists that he play it. As Dr. Lang speaks, she knows that she has the information she needs to save her life. The clock strikes, and she calls for Nicholas.
Skeleton Hand Episode Alert! Angelique’s bony appendage is more symbolic of a special effect than a real one. On DARK SHADOWS, everything was possible because nothing was affordable. This is a key example. It’s like they knew that they’d never have the budget to make it look good, so they might as well just do it anyway and not conform to cinematic expectations. The episode works as a tight chamber piece, although in retrospective, we can see the magician’s caboose sticking out of the curtain when it becomes clear that it’s only coincidence that brings David downstairs just in time to play Lang’s tape for Angelique. And narration fetishists take note; it’s John Karlen’s first time at the mic for the opening.
July 4, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 795
1897. Quentin is the prisoner of Petofi and Aristede, tied up in the old mill. Aristede visits. Quentin admits that he does not have the hand, and Aristede says that he knows it. That does not stop Aristede from lowering a giant pendulum. A church bell rings, and Quentin realizes that it’s the same night, and they saw his transformation. Not only that, but they can affirm that his face is healed. Aristede is not quite sure how. At Collinwood, Barnabas summons Angelique from outside. He needs the hand from her. A gypsy at the Old House can use the hand to end the curse. The gypsy’s price is to keep the hand. Angelique says that the answer is no. Reconsidering, she says that she will help him if he will rescind his threat to keep her away from Quentin. He agrees. At the old mill, Aristede straps Quentin to the table. Aristede says that his life now depends on someone else and the measure of their love. He gags Quentin and begins the pendulum mechanism. Back at the Old House, Barnabas brings Julianka the hand. She will discuss no terms until she sees it. She ends up stealing the hand, but Barnabas knows that it is hardly goodbye. In the woods, a bat approaches her and transforms into Barnabas. This sight persuades her to help him. Outside Collinwood, Aristede motions for Angelique to follow him. At the Old House, Julianka says that she simply needs Quentin in her presence for her to cure him. In the woods, Aristede receives Angelique. He wants to talk about her fiancé, Quentin. The future depends on it. He only has 30 minutes left to live. She demands to know where he is. He says that all he needs is the hand, and Quentin will live. As she contemplates her options, the blade inches its way toward Quentin.
More Diana Davila! I can’t get enough of her. I have conferred with all of DARK SHADOWS’ other straight, male fans (we met at a small booth in a diner outside of Tarrytown), and we agreed that Davla is the most enchanting woman to ever grace the earth with the imprint of her tiny foot. And yet, her voice has an oddly grating and vacuous sound. I chalk it up to a character choice. Davila was a sharp performer with a fine Broadway resume. She appeared in Joe Papp’s musicalization of THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA with Raul “I’m no John Astin” Julia, Stockard Channing, and Jeff Goldblum. For you Two Degrees from Collinsport fans, she was also in Stuart Ostrow’s Broadway play, STAGES in 1978 with William Duell. Ostrow produced and Duell acted in 1776, alongside David Ford and Virginia Vestoff. Saltpeter!