Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: June 28



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 535

With Vicki’s life hanging in the balance, Barnabas defies Julia to hear the Dream Curse. Julia encounters Cassandra and slaps her into next week, but it is too late. Barnabas has taken a sleeping pill and experiences the Dream, led by Cassandra, herself. After seeing the blazing light of the sun, he awakens, seemingly unharmed and victorious. Shortly thereafter, a bat attacks him just as it did in 1795.

This is it. This is a DARK SHADOWS episode so rich with payoff that it puts a blazing exclamation point on why we love the show. Not only does the Dream Curse reach its climax, but it does so with bravura performances by everyone involved, backed up by a script that showcases the characters at their strongest. Of course, seeing Julia slap the shisha out of Angelique is a moment that justifies a hundred episodes, but that’s just a marvelous appetizer for the feast served up by Jonathan Frid. Frid carries the episode like Hercules, and does so with his singular mix of Shakespearean braggadocio and deeply wounded fear. Seeing him ensnared by that terror and nevertheless push through it? A perfect capsule of why he is the lead on one of the most complex and nuanced programs of that or any other era. In a time when television leads were nothing but macho cartoons, he shows that authentic bravery comes from pushing through doubt rather than being immune to it. His love for Vicki will always be something of a non sequitur, but very few loves, ultimately, are not.

On this day in 1968, we were only one year away from the Stonewall Riots, a watershed event for gay rights and liberation.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: June 27



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 790

Judith continues to be haunted by the ghost of Minerva. Trask feigns an inability to see his former wife, but only to drive Judith further insane. Meanwhile, an unseen Barnabas releases an amnesiatic Quentin from jail. Home, Quentin finds that his song begins to revive his memory, and he has almost convinced Judith of his true identity when Minerva’s ghost appears, brandishing a knife.

If only this had a laugh track. Jerry Lacy leaves no set piece unchewed as he Eddie Haskels his way through denying the sight of Minerva. A poorly animated halo would not have been out of place. As far as ghosts go, Minerva initially seemed to be hilariously inert. No one can terrify Judith by sitting in a chair like Minerva Trask. The reverend even tries to get Judith to sit on the ghost… yes, sit on the ghost. Judith demurs, but what would have happened had she agreed? Still, the inertia of Minerva (also the name of a band for which Clarice was a drummer) is a great setup for the last shot where she goes from gazing blankly to attacking with a spectral blade.

On this day in 1969, DARK SHADOWS enjoyed its third anniversary: On this date in 1966, they the first episode aired on ABC in most markets. What viewers have thought if a trailer for episode 790 had followed episode 1?

Dark Shadows: Episode 1

It's not easy picking a date to celebrate the birth of DARK SHADOWS. As a daytime drama, the show relied on a ruthless, unforgiving schedule that gave the cast and crew only one day to get things right. The first episode, though, offered a lot more flexibility. There was location shooting, script writing, casting, and multiple days of studio recording — most of which took place during the early weeks of June, 1966. (In most markets, the first episode aired on Monday, June 27.) There's a lot there to commemorate, so I decided to take a stab at an infographic that illustrated the inception and impact of these early creative decisions.

Click on the image for a closer look!


Monday, June 26, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: June 26



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 529

Frightened by a vision of Angelique, Maggie awakens the sleeping Vicki with a scream. A strange perfume bottle evidences the witch’s attempt to induce the dream curse. This, plus the appearance of Stokes’ stick pin on the spot where Sam died, induces Joe and Vicki to visit the Professor. Stokes hides Adam (no doubt in the “grotto”), mid-lesson, and entertains the pair in his Seduction Parlor. He explains that he must have left the pin during one of his many visits to Sam. Given how often Stokes modeled for Sam, this is perfectly plausible. Joe, forever fearing inadequacy based upon the example of manhood he knows Maggie saw frequently displayed by the scholarly satyr, finds his suspicions uncontrollably aroused. Joe’s doubts are exacerbated by noises from the adjoining room, written off by Stokes as his maid. The professor is used to hiding various nocturnal visitors from one another, and Joe, knowing his reputation, remains suspicious. He returns without Vicki and demands to know what lascivious delights Stokes has secreted away. After a tussle that Stokes slyly lets Joe win, the professor is quietly relieved that it is Adam who appears rather than one of his stable of “girls next door,” and but feigns shock. His shock turns to dismay when Adam and Joe take their manly grappling outside and continue to wrestle until Stokes sees one of the two shoot into the other.

Professor Stokes plays it fast and loose in this one. He lies (and for once, I don’t mean horizontally) with a sense of gamesmanship that is a joy to watch. It also makes for a purposefully terrible object lesson for Adam. DARK SHADOWS analysis is one third insight, one third speculation, and one third opinion. But could this be where Adam began to get his sleazier and more manipulative habits? Adam is the ultimate argument for Rousseau’s noble savage. He’s perfectly fine until people start stabbing him in the leg and torturing him via chicken. Of course, the DARK SHADOWS characters have just begun their journeys into toward self-betterment. I wonder if the treatment of Adam is a teaching experience for them. As both the repository for Barnabas’ curse and also his cure, the savage treatment the former vampire dishes out is the ultimate catharsis. That’s not always a good thing.

If it were 1904, we’d be celebrating the birthday of Austro-Hungarian sex symbol Peter Lorre. But he’d been dead for four years by the time this episode aired. So there.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair


Witches were big business during the 1960s, for reasons that should be obvious to just about anyone. BEWITCHED debuted on ABC in 1964, introducing the world to Samantha Stephens and her creepy world of gender and sexual politics. Angelique made her first appearance in 1967, with stops in between for such programs as I DREAM OF JEANNIE (don't argue with me), Grandmama on THE ADDAMS FAMILY, WINSOM WITCH and probably a few that have been forgotten.

Beating them to the punch, though, was Sabrina Spellman. Riverdale's resident teenage witch made her first appearance in Archie's Mad House #22, with a cover date of October, 1962. While the Comics Code Authority prevented publishers from dabbling too much in the supernatural, Archie Comics somehow managed to introduce an out-and-out witch into their line of books. Sabrina was popular enough to quickly get her own title and animated series before the decade's end. More than 50 years later, Sabrina remains the best thing to come from Archie Comics. (Deal with it, Jughead.)

Meanwhile, HELL HAS FROZEN OVER. Way back in 2014, Amazon solicited a book titled "The Complete Sabrina the Teenage Witch: 1962-1971." It was set for release a few months later but, every time the release date arrived, it was pushed back another six to nine months. Along with the often solicited/never released second volume of Dynamite's DARK SHADOWS comics (which is now set for release in January, 2018) I'd given up any hope that the book would ever be released. So imagine my surprise when a text message from Amazon earlier this morning notified me that the book will be arriving at my doorstep tomorrow!

If you're interested, this is a mammoth book clocking in a 512 B&W pages collecting Sabrina's first stories from 1962-1965. You can order a copy for yourself from Amazon HERE.

"No Tears for Miss Bennett," 1967


"No Tears for Miss Bennett"

TV Guide, Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 1967

By Edith Efron

"I had murdered my husband," says Joan Bennett. "He was buried in the basement. A man moved into the house and blackmailed me into marrying him. At the last minute I backed out and confessed to the murder. When they went down to the basement — he wasn't there. It turned out I hadn't killed him, I'd just stunned him. So now I'm not a murderess any more. But somewhere in the world is my ex-husband."

The star of Dark Shadows, the ABC-TV daytime serial cast in the tradition of the of "Gothic novel," turns to the young man sitting in a corner of her living room. "What happens next?" she asks interestedly. Like most soap-opera performers she's kept busy just learning her Lines for each day's performance and is as curious as the viewer as to the story line. The young man, Dan Curtis, executive producer of Dark Shadows, grins  "I know, but I'm not telling." She chuckles. It's another one of TV oddities she is learning to live with.

Joan Bennett is me of the latest Hollywood women stars to move into TV. Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Ann Sheridan preceded her and for the same reason: "My film career faded. You reach a certain age in Hollywood — like Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers or myself — there's a shortage of glamour roles. A man can play leading roles until he's 60 — Cary Grant seems to be going on forever — but not a woman."

It's still a little strange to see Joan Bennett sitting there, calmly chatting about the latest soap-opera episode with a TV producer. She is one of the Big Names of the glamorous Thirties and Forties — a top-ranking Hollywood leading lady who made her stage debut at 18, just as talking pictures started, who appeared with Ronald Colman in his first "talkie," "Bulldog Drummond," and rapidly became a star. She has appeared in 78 films opposite such leading men as John Barrymore,  George Arliss, Spencer Tracy and Gregory Peck. She's a bona fide creature of another epoch — Hollywood's Golden Age.

Ronald Colman and Joan Bennett in BULLDOG DRUMMOND, 1929.
It's hard to forget it when one sees her. She looks very much the same after all these years: serene, brilliantly brunette, quietly gay.  She's older, but she has the Great Star secret of looking 20 years younger than she realy is — and she carries the mark of her glittering epoch: She reveals a touch of sad nostalgia for the past. "Almost all of the people with great taste are gone — it was glamorous and fun and exciting. It was really a beautiful world."

She doesn't care much for Hollywood today. "I'm glad that when I was in it, it was then, not now. There's an awfully funny group now — sort of beat. These filthy films; they're all over the place. It doesn't seem to be fun any more. The spirit has changed. I don't go to films now unless it's an Audrey Hepburn picture — glamorous, beautifully mounted. She and Cary Grant still represent the Golden Age." She laughs quietly. "The same goes for plays. Sam Goldwyn once made a wonderful remark. He said, 'If you have a message, send for Western Union.' He didn't like message plays. Neither do I. I like to go to the theater and movies to see pretty people and pretty things. Most plays today are depressing, messagey."

In fact, she's not entirely happy with the way America is today. "The sense of life, the gaiety, the fun seem to be gone. I wonder if everyone doesn't feel that way secretly. What I love is the ultra-elegant, aristocratic, luxurious strain in life. I think it's wonderful what they're doing in the Peace Corps — but I wouldn't want to do it." Then she sounds off violently — "I can't bear the hippies and the beats. I think they're ghastly — they're not clean. Why are the boys looking like girls and the girls like boys? All this LSD business and the trips — it's awful."

Most of the younger folk at ABC who deal with Joan Bennett manifest an intimidated respect for the ex-denizen of the world of romantic glitter. One ABC executive reports confidentially, "The people around here are in such awe of her they're afraid to approach her. She scares the network personnel, the press people, the photographers. We don't usually have people with that aura around. Because of the glamour buildup she's had through the years — you just don't go up to her and say 'Hi, Joan' and put your arm around her."

Jonathan Frid and Joan Bennet in a promotional image for DARK SHADOWS.
The truth is, however, that under the light cloak of glamour that does envelop her, she's a shy sort of woman, with no wildly unusual characteristics. Once married to Walter Wanger, she is now divorced, and leads a relatively quiet life — divided among work, family and friends. She's an extremely hard worker, according to producer Curtis: "Her attitude is excellent. We work the hell out of her. She's a very, very good actress. She has to carry a large load, and she's up to the job."

"There's much more work in TV than movies," Joan comments. "The other day I had to learn 24 pages of dialog. in films that would have taken a week, not a day." She finds TV work enjoyable: "It's a more spontaneous medium than the movies. You don't do something over and over and over again. I remember once, in 'Little Women' — I played Amy — doing 22 takes on one scene."

Mother of four daughters and nine times a grandmother, she is, above all, a family-minded woman. "My children are the most important thing to me. I'm very proud of them. I think I've raised them beautifully. They've all turned out so well."

Her children return the compliment. One of her daughters, Mrs. Stephanie Guest, an artist, raves about her mother: "She's marvelously candid. She seems very young. She was a good mother. When she was in pictures, she always came home from the set at night and put us_to bed. We had governesses, but I never thought of them as taking her place, because she was always there."

She is not a pretentious or temperamental woman. Her daughter says of her: "She has a strong character. There are thousands of people on a movie set who keep telling you how beautiful you are, how gorgeous, things like that. The remarkable thing about my mother is that she never let that worship, that adulation, turn her head."

Muriel Finney, an old friend, says: "She's a pretty happy person, generally. She's not a bit moody. Her children have given happiness. They're very, very, very close. She was pleased with their marriages, with the grandchildren. They're together on birthdays, holiday, even Valentine's Day is a big family day."

Joan Bennett with daughters Stephanie and Shelley.
The truth is that there's no earthly reason for the young network personnel at ABC to be terrified by Joan Bennett. On the surface, she's very much like their mothers and their aunts. In fact, she claims to be so close to the average middle-class woman that she verges on the disappointing. It's a solace to visit her apartment, glowingly clean and decorated in brilliantly gay, fresh colors, and to discover an authentic movie star's bedroom —huge, superlatively French, glamorous and expensive.

A refugee from the "Great Era," she is accepting her exile and professional demotion gracefully. "I'm enmeshed in an endless series of problems and mysterious murders," she says with determined cheer — and she's not altogether insincere. From her point of view, unraveling a skein of soap-opera worries is substantially more desirable than the choice that some of her once-glamorous contemporaries have been forced to make: "I feel very bad about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford," she confides quietly. "I don't like to think of them in these grotesque roles. I think it's too bad to take their images spoil them. I haven't gone to see them. It's a desecration of what they used to be."

Dark Shadows, she feels, is better. And it may well be. But still has an uneasy feeling, when screen, that she shouldn't there at all ... Ronald Coleman, George Arliss and John Barrymore are turning in their graves. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: June 23



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 786

Magda tries to use the Hand of Petofi to cure Quentin, but to no avail. He transforms, anyway. Meanwhile, Charity Trask moves into Collinwood as Judith’s stepdaughter. She is soon pursued by the wolf, causing Trask to break off his harassment of Magda to help set traps. Charity meets Magda, and after having her cards read, falls into a dream where Quentin recites the lyrics to his song, revealing them to be his secret. She associates the werewolf with him in sleep, as well, and Quentin warns of the capricious wheel of fortune. In the waking world, the wolf tussles with a policeman and gets its leg caught in the trap.

This is that one. The one where Quentin sings. And he’s no William Shatner. For once, I mean that as a compliment. I assume we were at the apex of celebrity albums. Lorne Greene warbled the theme to BONANZA. Sebastian Cabot was doing Dylan. Adam West sang us our “Miranda” waiver. Eddie Albert was blowin’ in the wind. We not only had celebrities (kind of) singing, we just had celebrities. In our post-ironic age today, I’m not so sure that we do. Not in the same way. But with the DARK SHADOWS soundtrack album getting out there, this was a perfect promotion. 1897 is noted for its dream sequences, and this was one of the biggies, no doubt catering to the new, true audience: teenagers enjoying the first weeks of summer’s surreal freedom. Selby seems forever fated to do everything with class and integrity, and he pulls this off, too. The Charity Trask romance is conveniently shoehorned in with little relationship to the plot, but she serves as an easy audience surrogate for swooning.

On this day in 1969, Warren Berger was sworn in as US Supreme Court Chief Justice. He was replacing George Lazenby who sat in on one case before his agent advised him to move on.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Update: Amazon adds more Dark Shadows to Prime Video



The ghost of Quentin Collins has taken shelter on Amazon Prime, bringing with him most of his troubled family. "Dark Shadows: The Haunting of Collinwood," a three-hour DVD edit from 2009, is now streaming in its entirety from Prime members. The movie compiles key moments from episodes 639-694 of DARK SHADOWS, the storyline that first introduced David Selby to the cast.

I don't have much else to say about "The Haunting of Collinwood," mostly because I've never seen it. This is one of those MPI Home Video releases designed to attract new viewers, so there's never been much need for me to revisit this arc in an abridged format. Still, I've always been a bit curious about what the final product looks like, so this might be all the excuse needed to give it a spin.

Meanwhile, Amazon has quietly two more DARK SHADOWS releases to his Prime service. In addition to "The Haunting of Collinwood," members can also watch DVD collections 7 and 11. That's 80 full episodes of the series, if you're keeping score.

UPDATE: "Dark Shadows: The Vampire Curse" is now streaming on Prime Video. As with "The Haunting of Collinwood," this is 210-minute movie made primarily of clips from original series. This package focuses on the popular  1795 "Origin of Barnabas Collins" storyline, which also introduced Lara Parker to the cast.

Via: Amazon

The Dark Shadows Daybook: June 22



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 270

Liz and Jason’s wedding is at hand, and Carolyn has brought a revolver! Carolyn readies the gun as the judge asks if Liz will take Jason as her husband. She stumbles on the words, “I do.” Liz can’t. She breaks off. Looking at everyone in the room, she states, “I killed Paul Stoddard, and that man was my accomplice.”

Dennis Patrick. It all begins and ends with Dennis Patrick. He has only a few episodes left, and he makes them count, going from chilling Carolyn’s blood to tearing up over Liz’s beauty. This is the episode that I was waiting for when I was a kid. I knew the Barnabas arc was continuing, but either Liz and Jason were getting married or not. He was the real villain, and he’s warming up the big gun on his Death Star of Evil Love. And at a very special ceremony. Even Burke and Roger stand each other’s company. With nine cast members, this episode is DARK SHADOWS’ equivalent of INTOLERANCE. One of the largest casts they’d ever have, and for a truly auspicious event. There are a handful of episodes of DARK SHADOWS where Things Really Happen, and this may be the most anticipated one for me until Jeb helps to destroy the Leviathan altar or when Angelique reveals the truth of Judah Zachary.

On this day in 1967, British Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announced in London that the United Kingdom would adopt year-round "summer time", moving clocks forward one hour on Feb. 18, 1968, and keeping them at one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. In other words, Daylight Saving Time is stupid and we need to get rid of it. Or always stay on it. By the way, be a smartypants and stop with calling it “Savings” time. It’s “Saving,” singular. In equally pedantic news, be careful with how you use “hopefully.” We usually mean that we are hopeful that something will result from an action. As typically used, we’re actually saying that we will go about creating that change in a hopeful manner. In the past year, I’ve screwed up so much grammar here, I feel as if some redemption is necessary. “I am hopeful that Christopher Nolan will make a DARK SHADOWS movie,” is one thing. If you said, “Hopefully, Nolan will make a new DARK SHADOWS movie,” you’d be saying that Nolan will be hopeful whenever he makes the movie. Hopeful of what?

Stan Against Evil getting darker, more shadowy in season 2



There is an interesting detail buried in a recent IFC announcement about the second season of STAN AGAINST EVIL, which is now filming in Georgia. The press release rightfully focused on upcoming guest appearances by such folks as Jeffrey CombsDavid Koechner and Patty McCormack, but it was the name of a character played by Denise Boutte that caught my eye: "Lara Bouchard."

Yes, it's quite possible to get so wrapped up in something you love that you'll see patterns where there aren't any. It's probably just a coincidence that actress Lara Parker played a character named "Angelique Bouchard" on DARK SHADOWS. Not everything is a conspiracy. Sure, series creator/writer Dana Gould frequently describes STAN AGAINST EVIL as the "funny cousin" of our favorite gothic soap. He's even been seen wearing a "Blue Whale" t-shirt. And then there's that Barnabas Collins throw pillow.

But yeah. Probably a coincidence.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: June 21



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 527

Nicholas’ gloating over the restoration of Cassandra’s painting is short lived when Jeff presents him with his lost coat button. He and Vicki go to visit Stokes, who masterfully tutors Adam in the fine art of being a witty, urbane man-about-town before hiding him from his visitors. To discover Jeff’s identity, he hypnotically regresses him, learning of Lang’s perverse plans, just short of the full truth of Julia and Barnabas’ involvement. Emboldened with what he learns, Stokes struts manfully into Collinwood where he meets and intimidates the comparably ineffectual Nicholas Blair, the man who sold the Cassandra painting to the antiques dealer. Stokes explains to Vicki that this is man stuff, and she should amscray from Collinwood  before becoming the next victim of the dream curse.

I have to hand it to Stokes. We forget that he gets brought into the deeper recesses of the DARK SHADOWS universe by finding out about Barnabas and Julia’s involvement with something nefarious, and he still becomes their staunchest ally. Talk about a spider sense! Perhaps he chooses his friends by their enemies. After all, his next move finds him meeting Nicholas Blair in the heart of Collinwood, and the Professor knows exactly what that means. What does he do? T. Eliot Stokes stares down the devil like the stone-cold badass he is and pretty much outs him in front of Vicki. He essentially says, “Hey, you know that portrait that’s driven everyone crazy? The one that looks like Roger’s new wife? The woman we’re glad is gone? You know, the one who looks like you-know-who-in-a-black-wig? Well, this is the guy who was involved with it when I first saw it! What a coincidence!”

Big. As. Churchbells.

Pass the cheese and sherry.

On this day in 1968, the number one song was “This Guy’s in Love with You,” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Alpert also sang it, and his straightforward style and limited vocal range actually gave the song its lovable authenticity. Although it’s easy to write off his sound as quintessential elevator music, he was one of the most successful musical artists of the 1960’s, a fact that is emblematic of the intense musical variety of that era.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Alliterative Dark Shadows prop going up for auction



DARK SHADOWS was a weird television series. Consequently, it sometimes had some weird credits.

Exhibits A-C: The crew took precautions to mark off sets designated for use in the closing credits, but that didn't stop actors to making accidental cameo appearances during an episode's final moments. Ohrbach's, the department store that provided many of the contemporary costumes worn on the series, had it's name often misspelled in the credits. And, in one episode, a crew member can be seen walking casually by a second-story window.

Even when things went right, the credits were still pretty weird. For example is "Bat by Bil Baird," a simple piece of alliteration that credited a puppeteer used in several episodes. Along with wife Cora, Bil Baird was an innovator in puppetry for much of the 20th century. His work on DARK SHADOWS is little more than a footnote compared to some of the other achievements in his career, such as producing “The Lonely Goatherd” sequence in THE SOUND OF MUSIC and training Jim Henson.

Still, I suspect he enjoyed his days on the set of DARK SHADOWS, if for no other reason than the surrealist opportunity to attack actors with a wooden bat on a wire. More than a year ago, the prop went up for auction on Ebay with a "buy it now" price of $148,000. I have trouble visualizing dollar amounts in that range and can't speculate to the accuracy of that price tag.

But: The prop will be going up for auction again later this month with a starting bud of $30,000.

The bat is part of the second day of Hollywood Auction, which includes a lot of really interesting props, such as Nicholas Hammond's "Spider-Man" costume from the (mostly forgotten) 1970s TV series, an "Eagle" model from SPACE 1999, PLANET OF THE APES costumes and more. You can see the entire auction lot for Tuesday, June 27 HERE, of jump straight to the DARK SHADOWS bat HERE.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Who Said It: Roger Collins or Linus Van Pelt?


DARK SHADOWS' ne'er-do-well Roger Collins and Linus Van Pelt from PEANUTS are essentially the same person. Sure, Linus probably hasn't yet developed the Teflon liver of Roger Collins, but both characters deal with life's hardships with dry, often pessimistic senses of humor.

Both characters are also perpetually overshadowed by their older sisters, have rocky relationships with blondes and are pathological downers. I have no idea where the Great Pumpkin fits into the matrix, but the fact that we have to address bizarre superstitious beliefs just makes this bullshit comparison that much stronger, in my opinion.

The original idea for this week's installment was to compare Roger to Charlie Brown, but the more dialogue I read from Charles Shulz's comicstrips (and the subsequent animated adaptions,) the more parallels I saw between Roger and Linus. You can bet your ass that kid is going to eventually trade his security blanket for a decanter of brandy. And Charlie had better learn how to watch his back.

Below are some quotes from each character, five each from Roger and Linus. See if you can tell which is which. (I promise this one won't be as difficult as last week's Victoria Winters Vs Evanescence installment.)


1. "Is there any point in fighting if you know you're going to lose?"

2. "You'll either be the hero, or a goat."

3. "I love mankind! It's people I can't stand."

4. "When a boy tries to kill his own father there's no help for him, no help at all."

5. "Are there any openings in the lunatic fringe?"

6. "I have a rather personal fetish for accuracy."

7. "If you have an imaginary friend, why not bring her along?"

8. "Life is peculiar. Wouldn't you like to have your life to live over if you knew what you know now?"

9. "I don't like to face problems head on. I think the best way to solve problems is to avoid them."

10. "Well, maybe it's far better to be nine years old and know how ugly life can be."

Roger Collins: 1, 4, 6, 7, 10
Linus Van Pelt: 2, 3, 5, 8, 9

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dark Shadows: The Missing Color Strips


Back in May, Hermes Press announced its intentions to publish a new edition of the DARK SHADOWS newspaper strips. The concept differs in two significant ways from the 1996 black and white Pomegranate Press edition. First, Hermes intends to reproduce Ken Bald's original strips in a landscape format in keeping with the dimensions of the original art. Second, the new edition will present the Sunday comic strips in full color.

The second point is presenting something of an obstacle, though. Hermes is missing a number of the color installments from the final months of the strips run. This is where YOU can help.

DARK SHADOWS fans are notoriously meticulous and have managed to hold onto even the most ephemeral aspects of the original series. Hell, when a single episode of the original series was discovered missing from the archives, a fan stepped up with an audio recording made in their living room back in 1971, helping MPI Home Video recreate it for VHS and DVD releases. STAR TREK fans ain't got nothing on us.

So this task ought to be super easy. Hermes Press needs color scans of just 17 strips to complete the book. Below is a list of the dates of the missing strips. If you have copies, contact the publisher at info@hermespress.com to see how you can help make this project happen. The publisher needs high-resolution scans of the original strips, so a minimum resolution of 300 dpi, please.

Contributors will also get a "thank you" in the finished book!

You can preorder Dark Shadows the Complete Newspaper Strips on Amazon HERE.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Who Said It: Victoria Winters or Evanescence?



By WALLACE McBRIDE

I come here not to bury Evanescence, but to ... well, praise is too strong of a word. Like might actually be pushing it, as well. What's less than hate? Tolerance? Sure. I tolerate Evanescence.

If the overwrought nu-metal band from the Bush era is remembered for anything, it's as an example of style over substance. And while the band certainly had style, it's a little unfair to claim it had nothing to say. It's just that the band's mopey, goth-tinged lyrics sounded as though they were written by a high school freshman who just figured out that the world kind of sucked. They weren't especially smart lyrics, but I was willing to give Evanescence the benefit of the doubt because the music was coming from a place of relative honesty. Also skewing the curve was that their contemporaries were such shit acts as Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Alien Ant Farm and a dozen other acts you've already forgotten about. Even Nickelback managed to (briefly) look good while standing next to those hosers.

It doesn't hurt that singer Amy Lee's lyrics also sound remarkably like the kind of purple exposition routinely given to Victoria Winters on DARK SHADOWS. (My inner child is a goth girl, so I'm drawn to this kind of weirdness whether I like it or not.) To prove my point, here are 10 examples of lyrics by Evanescence and/or lines of dialogue spoken by Victoria Winters. See if you can tell which is which.

1. "Tragedy has almost come, and the hidden echoes of the past are moving closer and closer."

2. "I'm frightened by what I see. But somehow I know that there's much more to come."

3. "Moonlight on the soft brown earth, it leads me to where you lay. They took you away from me but now I'm taking you home."

4. "Time has seemed endless and all I can do is sit and wonder if anyone will ever come to my rescue."

5. "Make me understand the lesson, so I'll find myself. So I won't be lost again."

6. "I haven't heard any screams yet. I guess that's not funny."

7. "I still remember the world from the eyes of a child. Slowly, those feelings were clouded by what I know now."

8. "I can only hope for the day when the tension around me will no longer exist."

9. "I'm so sick of speaking words that no one understands. Is it clear enough that you can't live your whole life all alone?"

10. "The landscape of dreams is free of thunder and storms."

Victoria Winters: 1, 4, 6, 8, 10
Evanescence: 2, 3, 5, 7, 9

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 31



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 506

Willie and Barnabas search the rocks. Barnabas is certain that Adam lives. But where? The abandoned root cellar at the Taylor farm, where he once secreted Carolyn. All Willie wants to do is tell Carolyn the dream, but Barnabas orders him to return to the root cellar. In Carolyn’s room, she defends Adam to Liz. After she goes to bed, Willie sneaks into her room, desperate to tell her the dream but she bites his hand, screams, and forces him to jump out the window. Liz enters and hears what happened. Carolyn thinks he meant no harm. He was more terrified than by anything else in his life. Carolyn is afraid to sleep, especially of the dream. She’s afraid that if she has it, she’ll die.

In a show of evolving and complex characters, there is none more so than Willie Loomis. DARK SHADOWS is replete with characters whose golden hearts have been painted with lead. The joy of the show is watching them find the gold within. Usually, they are celebrated for it. But Willie is a man who can’t get a break. He is forced to learn compassion. The only problem is that his first impression is never forgotten… completely. This makes him the ultimate Everyman. Class issues bubble around the edges of DARK SHADOWS like the unacknowledged Chairman Mao in the room. Willie truly is Exhibit A.

This day also marked one year and a month of marriage between Elvis and Priscilla. As far as I know, Elvis never shot a TV showing DARK SHADOWS.

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