Friday, August 26, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: AUGUST 26


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 571

Although Tom chokes Barnabas into unconsciousness, the sun forces him to retreat into his coffin. When Barnabas comes to, he wastes little time in staking Tom, only briefly wondering if anyone had ever stood over him this way. Simultaneously, Julia is cured and comes to, the wounds gone from her neck. Meanwhile, Roger finds Liz cowering behind a chair in the Old House. She swears she’s seen a coffin, and agrees to go back to Windcliff if it can’t be found. Meanwhile, Nicholas Blair visits the convalescing Julia, arming himself with irony, a smart floral bouquet, and a smile. None of it takes. At the site of Tom’s coffin, Barnabas and Roger find nothing. Roger is ready to lock Liz away for good when Julia insists that she may be better cared for at home. Alone with Julia, Barnabas concludes that the staking of Tom was only the beginning; the person who turned him is still a threat.

This is one of those grand places where Barnabas gets to spiritually atone, exorcise the demons of his past, vicariously destroy the worst in himself, and yet show a strange sympathy to his quarry all at once in the moments before Tom’s (second) death. It yet another turning point for the Great Man, and sly Gordon Russell can’t let the gravitas be untrod upon for long. No sooner does he get back that we see the grand Joan Bennett hiding behind a wing-back chair like Jack Tripper evading Mr. Roper. In some cases, I’d wager the humor were accidental. With Russell? No way. Not in the same episode that Nicholas forces his way into the Old House with the only permutation of politeness that could make it possible, and under just the right circumstances for Barnabas to let him do it. With the house unguarded! The guy just can’t get a break. Then, rounding things out is the Eddie Haskellian plea by Julia for Roger to Let Liz Stay. If you’re looking for the ridiculous and the sublime, this episode swings. It may be one of the best selections to introduce newcomers to the wild range that is DARK SHADOWS at its most ebulliently eclectic.

On this day in 1987, the Fuller Brush company opened its first retail stores. Relevant only because Humbert Allen Astredo once sold Fuller brushes, and it was while doing so that his vocal talents were first noticed. It was a compliment that eventually propelled him into show business. 

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