By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 221
Barnabas arrives at the diner in time to meet Maggie over a cup of coffee. He intrigues her with his family name and the dark romance of the forbidding Old House. She’s enamored with his cane, and so he slyly leaves it behind to create an excuse to return. Unfortunately, it’s intercepted by Joe Haskell who returns it. As Joe and Maggie discuss whether or not the new owner of the Old House is of concern, Barnabas discharges a distracting Willie so that he may focus his powers on Maggie from across the expanse of Collinsport.
It’s only from the vantage of standing atop Mount 1,225 that we see this episode totally differently than at the relative beginning of the series. By the final installment of the show, we’ve walked with Barnabas through his innocence, curse, release, dark periods, heroic triumphs and excruciating downfalls. We know what Josette means to him… and what the pursuit of her has cost him. Seen with these truths in mind, this episode is like a strange, intoxicating, ironic fairy tale for Barnabas. Awakened from nearly two centuries of imprisonment, reunited with doppelgangers of his family, restoring his home to its former glory, no Angelique, no Trask… undead life isn’t all that bad. Cherry on the cake? The love of his life is waiting to be rescued by him from the dreary world of the common tavern wench. And, while supernatural curses tore his love from him, supernatural forces may now be used to reunite them. Top ‘o the world, Ma! Top ‘o the world! Personally, I much prefer watching the show with this in mind. Why does he seem so sinister? I think cynical is more like it, because he knows it’s only a matter of time before the Mizzus’ll show up, supernatural rolling pin in hand. (And because it was a horror storyline they didn’t know would turn heroic, but still….)
On this day in 1967, the world was crazy about the song, “Somethin’ Stupid.” As a Kentuckian, I still advocate that it be made our state song, replacing “Radar Love.”