Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: NOVEMBER 30


Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 1165

Daphne finds a letter from Joanna as a hooded specter appears intermittently. Samantha accuses Daphne of bringing Joanna’s ghost with her. Tad implores his mother to testify on Quentin’s behalf, but she demurs and later tells Desmond that she wants Tad away from the evil influence of Quentin on one side and Gerard on the other. Desmond admonishes her that Quentin is benevolent, unlike Gerard. The witchcraft trial begins… but it almost doesn’t. The prosecutor quits the case rather than indulge in something so medieval. No matter, Charles Dawson takes up the post for the state. He calls Samantha to the stand, who accuses Quentin of summoning Joanna’s ghost.

We mark one thing today. Yes, I’m certain that Vital World Events were going on that day, and very proud we are of all of them. But those potatoes can be savored only with the aid of an electron microscope compared to today’s event in DARK SHADOWS-dom. On this day, 46 years ago, David Henesy filmed his 276th and final episode. He was only fourteen years old by then yet was soon for artistic retirement after logging nearly one hundred hours before the cameras over three and a half years.

Despite his youth, it could be argued that he was one of the best elements of the show. So much of acting begins with showing up, knowing your lines, hitting your marks, and not bumping into the furniture. Not the highest bar, but with 22 minutes to do it, every day, every week, for years and years? Falling short of those is a forgivable sin under such circumstances. Henesy rarely fell short. So often, in fact, he met the challenge with a gusto that eluded a number of his adult costars. But beyond such workmanlike competence, his creativity as an actor had a deviousness whose freshness never expired. Regarding the material with which he was supplied, David Collins was most interesting in the first year. Later, David’s misanthropy just became typical adolescence, but the absolute glee he took in the first two hundred episodes of the show is one of the show’s most endearingly perverse indulgences. He is everything wrong, and you just gotta love him. Then he turns around and connects with Mitchell Ryan like glue with utter sincerity. And his scenes always work. Time and again during my projects, guests have watched a Henesy scene and declared, “He nailed it again!”

Then, he begins his transition out of the business. I say that with no happiness because I marvel at what he could have brought to adult parts. But I have more sympathy than regret. After all of those episodes of DARK SHADOWS, what was left? No wonder he retired. Say what you will about David Henesy, he had more than his hour in the limelight, and he made the most of it. And to watch him grow up, sadly leaving him as a proto-adult desperately failing in his attempts to be manly? Well, it gives most of us DARK SHADOWS fans yet something else with which we may identify.

On this day in 1970, George “The One Who Was an Authentic Genius” Harrison released his triple album, “All Things Must Pass.” I’m sure the irony was not lost on David Henesy.

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