Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: SEPTEMBER 28


Taped on this date in 1966: Episode 73

Sam nervously checks in on Patterson, who claims that Roger and Burke just left. No news from the coroner yet, but it’s coming. At Collinwood, there is similar tension. Both Liz and David wait on the same news. Things grow tense when Liz suggests that Patterson may finger Burke. David, horrified at the thought, runs away. Conveniently, Sheriff Patterson arrives and lets Liz know that Bill’s death was ruled an accident. At the diner, Sam reviews possibilities with Maggie when David arrives. Sam and David meet, and the warmth turns to sadness when the two find an easy bond that is not to be.

David Ford and William Daniels on stage in 1776.
It’s another Orgy of Waiting, as only the Bill Malloy storyline can deliver. The tension in this one isn’t related to danger as much as resolving the inevitable. That means that the actors get to sit back and work the intricacies of their craft with truth and sincerity rather than Sweat, Bellow, and Look Uncertain. In that regard, this episode belongs to David Ford, hands down. After reading various pieces about the making of the show, it's difficult to watch Ford. I have the strange feeling that he was not the most savory character on the DARK SHADOWS set. Nevertheless, he is an actor of incredible depth and warmth; it's easy to see how he charmed such a wife and had such a fantastic Broadway career. Of course, we know him as musical theatre’s John Hancock. But did you also know that he ended up taking on the role 1776 bad guy, John Dickinson, and was apparently magnificent in that multifaceted and deeply principled role? Watching him deal with both his daughter in the episode, and then with David, we see a man of superb depth and heart and compassion… a marvelous father who had to raise his daughter completely on his own, and because of that and because of human weaknesses, easily swayed by the bullying and of Roger Collins many years before. In this episode, especially in his brief dealings with David, we see such grand humanity and mercy and love lurking beneath the surface. We very easily see why Maggie loves him, and we very easily see who he could have been. More than that, we see that he knows it. It's a subtle scene with David at the diner, but because we've taken these months to know him and his demons, I found it impossible to watch wholly dry eyed. This really is an opportunity to spend every night with superb actors and a tale worth their artistry. For anyone interested in stories and those who bring them to life, Dark Shadows represents in exchange time for which television has few equals.

Today is the birthday of actor Joel Fabiani (b.1936), best known to us for playing Paul Stoddard in episode 271, wherein Liz tells all. He continues to have a rich career in TV, with a resume that includes recurring roles on DALLAS and DYNASTY (as, and I love this, ‘King Galen of Moldavia’). It’s fitting that his character on FALCON CREST was named ‘Quentin.’ Oh, and he was briefly married to Katharine Ross. Want more? He was one of the crimefighting heroes of DEPARTMENT S, the precursor to JASON KING, starring the ill-fated Peter Wyngarde. Also, Morrissey chose a picture of Joel as the cover for The Smiths’ album, Singles Box.

He got around.   

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