Monday, April 3, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: April 3


By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 467

Barnabas awakens in a hospital to find that Dr. Eric Lang has kinda-sorta cured his vampirism. Meanwhile, Roger finds himself obsessed with the portrait of Angelique, intermittently thinking he is Joshua, and carrying out voodoo spells to kill Dr. Lang.

I stay away from gender issues on the show … unless they hit me in the face like a snow shovel. A woman curses Barnabas over issues regarding another woman. A woman tries to cure him, but screws it up because of yet other women. A man comes along and, yes, cures him. He just does it. No blinking. No errors. Dr. Lang is such a unique figure on the show, it’s a shame to make him a villain. (I think Stokes was brought on to appropriately represent.) In this episode, he’s a forthright, swift, brave man of science, loyal and clear-headed. He’s also quite mad, and his perverse collaboration with Barnabas is another case of what David Skal cites in THE MONSTER SHOW, which is the trouble created by men attempting to reproduce without feminine involvement.

If this is not one of the most innately satisfying episodes of DARK SHADOWS for you, check your fan club membership. Seeing Barnabas savor the daylight felt like something reserved for a final episode. Knowing that such a bold move was taken so early into the show made the sense of possibility on DARK SHADOWS infinitely rich.

In 1942 on this day, episode 915 vampire victim Marsha Mason was born. Also married to Neil Simon, she and he reportedly visited the set on the last days of the show, leading actors to ham it up in the hopes of catching the playwright’s eye. On this day in 1968, the US saw the premiere of PLANET OF THE APES, arguably the first, modern, s/f blockbuster and the world’s longest TWILIGHT ZONE episode. 

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