Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: OCTOBER 5


Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 337.

Woodard visits the Caretaker of the cemetery to find out more about Sarah and Barnabas Collins. After much research, it seems clear to him that the two Barnabi are the same. Meanwhile, Roger is unusually chipper with his decision to send David to military school. This lasts until Liz threatens to kick Roger out if he does. Woodard visits Collinwood, and after observing the eerie eyes of Barnabas’ portrait and speaking with Roger, he visits with David. There, he reveals his suspicions and confirms the worst of David’s. Woodard vows to continue his investigation. He proceeds to the Old House, where he confronts Barnabas with some of his theories, throwing in Sarah’s visit to him for good measure. Barnabas is stunned and heartbroken, but covers it by aptly pointing out that Woodard sounds like a wacko. He throws the doctor out of the Old House.

For a show that likes to poke about and take its time, sometimes DARK SHADOWS moves like lightning. Peter Turgeon’s turn as Woodard is a pupu platter of steaming delights. For one thing, with a new actor, it’s almost as if the writers feel that they’re obligated to wise up the doc. But he also looks like a total, streetcorner-dwelling, tinfoil hat-wearing, paranoid lunatic. And a bit of a perv, if you ask me. That works. This is a Woodard who has finally seen the Light, and it’s done what the Light always does to people; it’s driven him into an awkward, mouth-breathing, skeezy refugee from the Art Bell show. He’s even started combing his hair with buttered toast. The other Woodards would have been a real threat to Barnabas, but not this guy. And his reptilian strangeness makes Sarah’s preference for him over Barnabas all the more wounding. What else do we get? The Caretaker returns in his penultimate appearance, now in the hands of actor Peter Murphy. (The prior actor was yet another who refused to cross a union picket line to appear on the show.) And nothing puts Roger in a million dollar mood like the thought of sending David away to military school. I think we all feel that way. The best part of it, though, is seeing characters put together the obvious. The time has come.

Turgeon had a robust TV and stage career. Movies, too. He was the bomb-toting passenger in the Dean Martin/George Kennedy romantic comedy, AIRPORT, and can also be seen in AMERICAN GIGOLO. But, because we live in a criminally unfair world, not as the titular character. His nickname was, and I mean this, Bunny.

October 5 means many things to DARK SHADOWS and history, but to real men… men like you and me… men of all genders… today is one of those that, well, only comes once a year. And we both know what that means. Yep. It’s B-Day. That’s CHS code for “Nancy Barrett’s Birthday.” Too good to be true? It’s not!

That came out wrong. I mean, it’s good. Nothing is better than Nancy Barrett’s birthday. I mean, like, except for Kathryn and Lara’s birthdays. Not that that they’re better. Or worse. No. Totally equal. But unique. And their birthdays are important. Equally.

Anyway, Ms. Barrett is one of the backbones of the show. She’s a like a Junior Miss Hitchcock Blonde, and she’s not to be underestimated. She makes bold choices with passion and truth, and I never really sense her ak-ting. Well, Pansy Faye’s a bit much, but then, Pansy Faye is always ak-ting, not Nancy. From Episode 2 to Episode 1225, she’s the most dynamic of the core triumvirate of charter characters. More than Liz or Roger, she shows marvelous growth, and not necessarily with glamor. Her glamor comes in 1841PT, where she finds love and happiness at last. Chris Pennock marvels at her as an actor, and who am I to question the Grand Snake God of the Leviathans?


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