Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: July 12


Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 801/802

1897. When Magda connects Victor to Julianka’s death, Quentin wrests off his artificial hand, and the truth is known; Victor is Count Petofi! His hand was sawed off a hundred years prior as payment to cure him of lycanthropy. He then explains that the saddest day of the Count’s life was when he woke to find that a wolf had killed his pet unicorn. But werewolves, Quentin points out, have no memory of what they do. This somehow proves that he is Count Petofi, and Petofi fesses up and gives them only a short time to bring him the hand. Evan is too frightened to assist. But he admits that Tim Shaw has the hand. Back at Collinwood, Petofi tells Jamison that he’s leaving Collinwood and kisses him on the cheek. Quentin and Magda enter, reporting that the hand is missing. Petofi orders them to get it. To vex them, Petofi chuckles that he’s left them a gift that he might undo if the return his hand. After Petofi exits, Jamison reappears, possessed by the count!

This episode was shuffled around for the moon landing (airing the day after Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface), and nothing could be more ironic, given that it features a psychological duel between a werewolf and an ex-werewolf. With the proper introduction of Count Petofi, we finally get DARK SHADOWS most complex and unpredictable character. Don’t let literary snobbery lead you astray just because he’s of the comic book variety. Thayer David has what must have been the time of his life with this broad, pompous, humane, compassionate, ruthless, and lovingly amoral anti-hero. As much literary weight as I place on Barnabas and Angelique, the execution of Count Petofi may be the series’ boldest and most innovative move since Barnabas came out of the coffin. Buckle up!

On this day in 1969, ‘marching season’ rioting forces many families in Belfast to flee their homes.

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