Friday, September 9, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: SEPTEMBER 9


Taped on this date in 1966: Episode 60

While spending the evening with Maggie, Victoria sees a portrait from the distant past that looks identical to herself. (Yep, pretty much what I said above.) While waiting to find out what it means from Sam, its painter, Vicki and Maggie chat about Collinwood and ghosts, and it’s clear that Victoria is becoming used to it all. Meanwhile, Burke harangues Patterson for his arguably lackadaisical approach to Bill Malloy’s murder. Patterson regards him coolly and undauntedly savors his sandwich. Later at the Evans cottage, Sam reveals that the woman in the portrait is Becky Handscombe, a local girl with whom he was probably involved many years prior. This leads him into the inevitable tale of the accident that sent Burke away. Drunk driving. Burke, allegedly. A man was killed. Burke was too drunk to convince anyone that he hadn’t been at the wheel. With them? Roger and Roger’s eventual wife, Laura -- formerly, Burke’s girl. They married shortly after Burke’s conviction. Inevitably, a knock on the door heralds Burke, asking if there’s an extra seat for dinner.

Come for the portrait, stay for the voice. That’s what I learned. I picked this one for today so that I could say, “Huh, I guess the show always had a thing about eerily similar portraits from the past. Ironic.” So there, I said it. But what I stayed for was The Voice. The voice of David Ford is the purring of a Maine Coon cat, and as smooth and comfortable as the skin of that same cat turned inside-out and made into a pair of men’s briefs. But made for John Houseman. It really rolls and rumbles with a mellow smoothness that made me understand why Nancy Barrett would have followed him into wedlock. Here, he’s at his most poetic as he describes the night of the crash. Because of the rather ripe backstage tales I’ve heard, I always had a tough time warming up to him. But to see him through Nancy Barrett’s ears? The attraction, while odd, seems clear. I like some of these early, Art Wallace scripts because they luxuriate in the possibilities of getting fine actors together in a room and letting them fill it with the relation of fine, true stories about our essence. 

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