Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: January 25


Taped on this date in 1971: Episode 1200

Family patriarch, Justin, hovers near death, and both he and Morgan keep a careful eye for the spectral ‘woman in white,’ a figure who portends death for the Collins family. In 1680, ancestor, Brutus Collins, articulated the curse which continues to hang over the clan. Once a generation, when an elder dies, a lottery is held to determine which Collins is destined to spend the night in a haunted, locked room. None have survived. Those who have attempted to flee have found only death. Morgan Collins faces the prospect of the lottery with a strange determination. Gabriel Collins shows reasonable fear (mixed with alcoholism) and contemplates escaping. Bramwell Collins, a cousin and the son of Barnabas Collins, arrives after years away. He was determined to seek an autonomous fortune and is still on the quest. Although mocked, Bramwell remains quietly dignified, if somewhat edgy, in his sense of purpose. Justin, wrought with anxiety over the woman in white, makes his way to the forbidden room and dies. The lottery, then, is inevitable.

1841PT, for the first time in five years, presents us with an entirely new set of characters and situations. With no chain of associations to the original core characters, it can be a tough storyline to embrace. But with class issues, frustrated romance, and the haunting sins of the past ever present, it’s DARK SHADOWS in every sense. As it goes on, we’ll see it metaphorically wrap up the series, taking the characters exactly where they need to go. I am especially fond of Keith Prentice as Morgan Collins. A tall, dark-haired, intense gentleman, he’s in the classic, Dan Curtis mold. Yet there is a strange delicacy to him. Instead of weakening him, we see Morgan compensate with sheer determination.

The costumes are of similar note. Prior to this storyline, they were rented. Now, they were custom built and constructed in interchangeable modules allowing sharp fits, visual flair, and variety. It is a lively and refreshing look for the show.

Today is the birthday of Paula Laurence (b. 1916), who played Hannah Stokes, the aunt to Angelique and Alexis in 1970 Parallel Time. She had a distinguished Broadway career, dating back to the Mercury Theater, where she was a frequent collaborator with the great Orson Welles.

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