Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: August 15


Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 826

Gypsies take Magda to the secret room in the crypt where she is to stand trial. Johnny announces that her jury will be comprised of dead murderers. She asks for a gypsy witness. Szandor appears, but as she tries to question him, she is constantly interrupted by King Johnny. She is sentenced to die. Johnny announces that her method of death is a game called ‘hunt the weasel,’ and she is the weasel. She battles various phantom gypsies, and once more, Szandor appears to her. She says he belongs to the dead and tearfully banishes him from the earth. The cliff of Widow’s Hill behind her, Johnny stalks Magda, forcing her toward the edge.

With a cast of nine, 826 is packed with both players and excitement. And yet, it has a strange intimacy; the only speaking parts are Johnny, Magada, and Szandor. Interesting to note that many of the gypsies should seem familiar. Henry Baker, who plays Istvan the mute soldier, can be seen as Jackal the Giant, towering over Jonathan Frid in Oliver Stone’s 1974 comedy, SEIZURE. Another, Joseph Della Sorte, was one of the “Buttons” that Joe Spinell witnesses about in THE GODFATHER PART II. (He was also on CAGNEY AND LACEY, with John Karlen.) Another gypsy, John LaMotta, also appeared on that show, as well as playing sweaty wife-beater model, Trevor Ochmonek, on NBC’s prequel to THE X-FILES, the science-fiction thriller, ALF. Additionally, he was Jake LaMotta’s nephew. Yet another gypsy, Victor Mohica, appeared in many of the same series as the others. I think they all appeared on that sophisticated comedy-of-manners, AIRWOLF. Norman Riggins, yet another gypsy, was a man of mystery. Know him by his subsequent appearance in THE ALIEN DEAD. As far as the final gypsy, Andreas, goes, we have feud on our hands. iMDB credits Joe Van Orden. But Craig Hamrick’s BARNABAS AND COMPANY, as well as THE DARK SHADOWS ALMANAC, cite the part as played by Ray Van Orden. Will any of us sleep? Joe only has one credit on iMDB, and it’s the episode. Nothing for a Ray van Orden. I can’t solve every mystery. I had a crush on Joan van Ark from KNOTS LANDING, if that helps.

On this day in 1969, the Woodstock music festival opened in Bethel, New York. A dream to some. A nightmare to others. It would be the basis for Colonel Robert Neville’s favorite documentary. 

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