Monday, June 26, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: June 26


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.

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