Monday, July 31, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: July 31


Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 295

Maggie, thought dead by most, arrives at the Blue Whale, her memory on the mend. A panicked Barnabas enlists Julia’s aid to wipe the remainder of her memory. Julia does so at Dr. Woodard’s office and none too soon.

This is one of the clearest examples of the topsy-turvy morality of DARK SHADOWS as it comes into its own. A few months earlier, Maggie was the heroine and Barnabas was the villain as the kidnapping story came and went. Now, when Maggie comes into the Blue Whale and Barnabas has a fantastic moment of panic, it’s clear that our sympathies have shifted. Barnabas is the… well, if not hero, then most interesting character. And they don’t seem to be sending him away. What does this mean? As an audience member, I’m not entirely sure. I think the writers are with me. Am I supposed to be rooting for a kidnapper and hoping to see his victim further brainwashed? Um, yeah. Yeah, I think so. And it’s not RICHARD III. Barnabas is not out to revel in evil. He’s stuck with a terrible disease, hatched a wild scheme to win back his dead love, and now does everything he can to cover his tracks. His desperation and aristocrat’s impatience explain his brutality. Verily, good help is hard to find.

Today marks the filming of DARK SHADOWS’ very first color episode. While it may not be the eye-popping spectacle of 20th Century Fox Technicolor, they go out of their way to sell those TV’s. Vicki’s dress is impressively pink. And if you want to swim in seas of brown and avocado, jump in! Barnabas is a wonderfully and suspiciously tan vampire. Does the tone of the show change? Many say yes. Orson Welles said that it was impossible to give a bad performance in black and white. Likewise, the use of black and white bestowed instant gravitas to the action. Color makes things more realistic, but that also creates a greater challenge to pull off DARK SHADOWS-type storytelling. That they do so, if with twists, is a credit to all involved.

On this day in 1967, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards finish a one month jail term. 

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