Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: SEPTEMBER 13


Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 585

With time running out, Julia and Barnabas realize that there can be no reasoning with Adam, who either wants Maggie for the lifeforce or Vicki to exact his revenge. As Barnabas sends Julia to Collinwood to rescue Vicki from an impending abduction, he readies his rifle for Adam, even though it will end his chances of surviving as a human. Adam bursts into the Old House, and although Barnabas tries to cover the delays with fast talking, it’s to no avail. Before he can use the rifle, Adam disarms him and knocks him unconscious. He later repeats this with Dr. Hoffman in the woods. After reviving, Barnabas races to the Old House to protect Vicki, but it’s too late. Adam has no real desire to harm Vicki, but feels that since Barnabas has taken love from him, by stalling on the creation of Eve, this is only fair. He accosts Vicki in her bedroom as Barnabas pounds on the door.

For a character who wrings his hands and frets, seeing Barnabas lock (if not load) a rifle is just about perfect. He is the NRA! One of my favorite points is when Adam finally attacks Barnabas and we hear the barrel of the gun hit the soundstage floor. Either his attack is so vicious that he tears apart the rifle or Barnabas never assembled it properly in the first place. I actually prefer the latter. Poor Barnabas. This is a man of 1795 who hasn’t had a moment’s rest in two years (elapsed). And now, he has to remember that a rifle isn’t a musket? I have no doubt that he was looking for a horn, musket ball, and a ramrod just moments before. Michael Bluth speaks his inner monologue, I have no doubt.

And now, we come to the subject of bloopers. In this one, Jonathan has a hard time deciding to whom he’s talking. While holding Adam at gunpoint, he tries to send Julia to Collinwood, but has a hard time remembering her name, “You know what to do, Mag… Vicki… um, uh… You know what to do now, Julia.”

Now, if bloopers are your football, then call me Lucy, because I’m about to pull it out from under you. I could argue that they had very little time to do these playlets. I could argue that they had almost no space to film them in, necessitating lightweight scenery, easily struck, stacked, and stored. I could even argue that for the time, the special effects were cutting edge, and that AVATAR will look hilariously dated to people 45 years from now. But I won’t. In the case of verbal slip-ups and even missing lines, I’d argue that, for me, they make the show more realistic than shows with pristine linguistic precision. So many of these people are grown-ups in their forties. We miss lines in real life all the time. And if I’m not used to holding a rifle, much less in the face of a hulking madman like Adam? I’ll have no idea to whom I’m speaking. Mamet couldn’t have nailed a line like that.

It’s the birthday of Henry Kaplan, one of DARK SHADOWS’ most prolific directors. Kaplan was a busy New York director, whose resume includes other soaps, such as RYAN’S HOPE, as well as Broadway shows like P.S. I LOVE YOU and ANY WEDNESDAY. Most vitally, he cast Sorrell Booke as US Grant alongside Gene Wilder in THE WHITE HOUSE. On DARK SHADOWS, he was known for the distinctive conductor’s baton he wielded and his method of giving actor feedback by grading each by letter, as if they were in school.

If I know actors, I’m sure they loved it.

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