Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: OCTOBER 4


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 600

Adam sulks at Chez Nicholas. When his host asks him why, Adam reveals the concerns that Stokes had over Eve’s life force. He even recalls the supernatural blast of the doors. Nicholas seems worried, but writes it off with the party line of, “This was just Lang’s terminally-ill girlfriend.” Eve continues to be distant from Adam, and privately expresses her hate for him to Nicholas. He assures her that she needn’t love him, just give the illusion. And she should not get ideas about a romance with Nicholas, either. He would happily kill her if necessary. Meanwhile at the Old House, Barnabas, Stokes, and Julia discuss the danger of Danielle Roget. The doors blast open with a gust of wind, and a history of the French Revolution falls at their feet. It is by Phillippe Cordier from 1798. Stokes is convinced that he is trying to reach them. In a seance, Cordier inhabits Barnabas. He vows his love for Danielle, his lost flame, and swears to kill the loveless man who now has her. Across town, Eve senses such danger, proclaiming that someone at Blair House will die. On cue, Adam begins to choke.

Episode 600, only 66 away from the most auspicious number possible, is auspicious, anyway. And it’s funny. And fast. And exciting. And mythic. It just has everything. It begins with Nicholas asking why Adam is brooding alone after getting the ostensibly perfect woman. My answer, of course, would have been, “Yes.” Eve really shows her true colors as a royal pain, and we can very quickly anticipate the possibility that Adam may need to join forces with Barnabas & Co. And we have a seance… in my opinion, the single wackiest seance in all of DARK SHADOWS, which is saying a lot since they seanced only slightly less frequently than they quaffed brandy. Either Jonathan Frid was miserable or he was having a ball as he became possessed by the French Ghost! Never is Jonathan Frid Canadianier than when he becomes French… although I’m not how French Ontario is. Maybe a lot. Maybe I just insulted vast swaths of Hamiltonians. How can I appease them? (Without beer.) Wouldn’t it be cool if the hip-hop musical, HAMILTON, had been about Frid’s childhood rather than some dopey, Federalist, Secretary of the Treasury? I’d see that. Yay, Hamilton!

No one can escape love from the past on DARK SHADOWS. Of course, I really question the verisimilitude of any history written by someone with the poor judgment to hook up with the most evil woman in history (that I never dated). I’m sure it’s an entertaining read, though, and when it comes to casual,

Fashion note… Barnabas and Julia seem to be dressed exactly the same.

Fashion note 2… Stokes has a cool ring. Why don’t we know more about it? I bet it has a chunk of meteor in it. Or a compass. Or dragon’s blood.

Fashion note 3… I wonder what Adam’s sweater smells like. Not very good. Maybe he’d do better with Eve if he washed it.

Firsts? Marie Wallace. Your character has been with the show less than a day (in Collinsport Time), but you’ve got your first narration.

History note… It’s the birthday of Charlton Heston. Maligned for being out of step with the political vogue of Hollywood, Heston’s acting is of the size and style of DARK SHADOWS’ storytelling. Just as DARK SHADOWS is unjustly smeared with the label of camp, so was Heston’s acting. Heston was capable of bringing truth to characters of legend and bringing contemplative poetry to the bitter wisdom in his seminal, science fiction commentaries. In Shakespeare, it’s vital to be aware of the verse and to use it. Some modern actors would simply ignore it. Similarly, it’s vital for an actor to be aware of the intent and poignancy of the heightened commentary in a film like PLANET OF THE APES or SOYLENT GREEN. If we eviscerate these texts from the cultural baggage that late night comedy has saddled them with, we find razor sharp films of politics and human pain, and Heston lives up to both ends of that equation. He was a favorite actor of Olivier’s and Welles’, and they knew a thing or two. To write off the truth and cerebral surliness in a Heston performance is to suck the joy out of a marvelous swath of acting. Don’t be That Guy. You know, the same guy who doesn’t get Grayson Hall, and reduces her to a ludicrous, unfair, and shallow lampoon. You’re a DARK SHADOWS fan. You’re better than that.

Not that we can’t have fun! Did I mention the delight of Frid speaking in a wacky, French accent? Let me say it again. In fact, let me put it in the B-Man’s own words, from the Collins Chronicles -- Barnabas’ diary for the 600th episode.

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