Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: SEPTEMBER 27


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 595

Adam brings Leona Eltridge -- vessel for the spirit of Danielle Roget -- home to the Old House to be the life-force for Eve. They are not to speak of her connection to Nicholas. When Julia and Stokes arrive, they are astounded to find a ready volunteer. She agrees for Stokes to question her and explains her willingness to help; she was Lang’s lover. The story seems unbelievable, but there’s no going back. In the lab, she refuses the pain medication. The experiment begins, and Adam hovers over Eve until he has just cause to exclaim, “She is alive!”
Yes, it’s that episode. We now have Eve! More than that, we get the singularly whacky performance of Erica Fitz as Leona Eldrich. She manages to be completely disingenuous, with total transparency, and yet we just go along with her anyway. Why? It’s unusual to find such a deeply committed liar. Especially one who surfs on such a tsunami of sensuality. It’s bizarre, shameless, and otherworldly. Of course everyone falls for it, despite knowing better! What choice have they? That is such a rare combination, it sort of commands assent. Her refusal of an anesthetic is the cherry on the kink cake.

Even though she has no lines in the episode, we get our first glimpse of Marie Wallace, and it’s breathtaking. Wallace is really a lost glamour queen of TV, and had circumstances been different and had she gone to LA earlier, I think her career may have gone quite differently. But one listen to her indelible, New York accent tells us that she’s loyal to the East Coast. After DS, she went to act on the ANOTHER WORLD spinoff, SOMERSET, and after that, the death of her husband grounded her in Manhattan until 1980. She returned to it fairly quickly after going to Los Angeles and appearing on shows such as FAME.

However, this is Day 1 for Wallace, and her physique, athletic intensity, and yankee bravado will make her a standout presence among the other actresses on the show, making each a first among equals. Dan Curtis was initially not looking for “her type,” although it’s unclear what that means. (I kind of wonder if Erica Fitz was a runner-up.) When Wallace saw the straight hair and placid dignity of her competitors, she mussed up her own ginger locks and adopted a lioness’ energy in her audition. Curtis couldn’t resist. 
On this day, what was the Soviet Space program doing? Well, they sent an unmanned capsule -- the Zond 5 -- to the moon and back. I guess that showed us. 

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