Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: AUGUST 31


Taped on this day in 1970: Episode 1093.

Gazing within the dollhouse, Hallie and David see themselves. It is Gerard’s message that it will be their eventual and eternal home. Carolyn almost finds them outside the playroom, herself finally hearing the music, but David distracts her. Later, Hallie announces Gerard’s command that they make a third doll, this one a blonde female named Leticia. Meanwhile, Sebastian visits and tells an unusually unconcerned David that he can’t finish his horoscope. Later, Sebastian is told that Maggie’s condition is worsening. She is apparently the victim of an animal bite, which he finds significant. As the evening wears on, Carolyn finds herself humming the playroom carousel’s tune, and quickly discovers herself able to enter the playroom.

For me, there are three types of nightmares. One involves people who refuse to pronounce the final ‘i’ in ‘poinsettia.’ The second is reserved for those who feel that tomatoes are appropriate in jambalaya. The third, however, has to do with real nightmares. Nightmares ‘work’ because they involve one very real and dangerous thing completely unsupported by context or causality. That’s at the root of so much of the Ragnarok storyline. Characters are compelled toward doomed decisions with no real reason, and yet the inexplicable draw is there. It is similar to that strange pull which exists behind addictions and compulsive behaviors, and that’s deeply, deeply frightening. Because we have known them for so long, we give these people a lot of credibility, making their actions all the more disturbing. Ragnarok (1995-”Destruction of Collinwood”) is a woeful, sustained note, reflecting the entropy of the time. Gerard’s pull toward the children is like that of a cult leader’s -- a Manson in Collinsport. The overall inability of the adults to stop events that should be preventable, if not understandable, feels like a discussion of the Vietnam war. And you thought STAR TREK was about its time? It was… certainly, intellectually. DARK SHADOWS is about the era, emotionally. Together, they are a magnificent take on the Zeitgeist through the lens of their genres. This episode is a study in that, beginning with one of the series greatest, WTF scares in its history.

Quiet day in the news, but a great day for birthdays. We got some James CoburnWilliam SaroyanRichard Basehart, Edwin Moses, Buddy Hackett, Richard Gere, Jack Thompson, and your host, Caligula. THAT’S a party!

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