Friday, September 8, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: September 8


Taped on this day in 1967: Episode 323

Maggie’s trap works. As she “slumbers,” a man approaching her bedroom is shot five times. However, that man turns out to be Willie Loomis, who is quickly ushered to the hospital. While everyone is glad that the Strangler’s identity is known, the fact that it’s Willie seems to defy their expectations for how imposing he should be. Patterson visits Barnabas, forlorn over Sarah’s denial of affections, to seek information on Willie, and as the meeting continues, Barnabas learns that Willie fell into a trap. Barnabas visits Maggie to give his best wishes and finds that she still has no clear memory. He later worries what Willie might say if he emerges from his coma. Not only that, but David may also speak about what he has seen at the Old House. Barnabas has no shortage of anxieties.

A quiet day in Collinsport between the shots fired by Sheriff Patterson and his men. It is notable primarily for one of the most endearingly ludicrous moments from the show -- Willie’s ability to take five bullets to the back and only need a coma to sleep it off. It just goes to show that you can’t keep a good Willie down.

In real life, today is the birthday of Alan Feinstein, who played Mike in episode 2 of DARK SHADOWS, gettin’ hep at the Blue Whale while Carolyn dances before taking one in the breadbasket from Joel Crothers.

Alan Feinstein makes his entrance.
Feinstein may have been a day player only once on DARK SHADOWS, but he has enjoyed a solid career as an actor for fifty years. Familiar on soaps and in nighttime TV (including an appearance on FALCON CREST with David Selby as well as recent series such as NIP/TUCK), Feinstein is also a beloved stage actor, winning three Dramalogue awards and a Drama Desk award. On the big screen, look for him LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR with Diane Keaton. Alan also starred in New York in the first major play about the AIDS crisis, William M. Hoffman’s beautiful AS IS. In Los Angeles, he later reunited with DARK SHADOWS leading man, Mitchell Ryan, as son to his father in LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT for director Jules Aaron. Mitch is in the same scene as Alan in his DARK SHADOWS appearance, strangely enough. As a side note, Alan was one of my mentors in college, where I assisted him in a fantastic production of AMADEUS, where he (in my opinion, not that Alan would boast or maybe even agree) ate F. Murray’s lunch as Salieri. All while being an incredibly swell, regular guy. Just a mensch. When you hear about actors being selfish, egotistical jerks, someone like Alan Feinstein is the antidote to that idea. If you want to learn to act, you’re in luck. Find him at

DARK SHADOWS sister series, STAR TREK, debuted today in 1966. Not only would it share the talents of Art Wallace, Mitchell Ryan, and Kathryn Leigh Scott, but it shared a similar spirit. Both shows feature humans standing resolute in the face of the unknown. Both shows use creatures from fantasy to address contemporary concerns. Both shows celebrate the other, it’s just that with DARK SHADOWS, it’s up to the viewer to embrace it, because the characters don’t quite yet know how. In DARK SHADOWS, the oddities are usually obsessed with becoming normal, and the audience recognizes a larger irony that is decidedly Roddenberrian.  At Collinwood, the differences which define the “monsters” are more than controllable; they are what often save their friends and loved ones. DARK SHADOWS is a very dedicated meditation on otherness and loneliness, but a meditation that ultimately unifies the audience in the understanding and support of the monsters. They may never fully love themselves, and while that’s sad, it’s also okay. We love them. We understand them. And if we’re paying attention, we carry that forward away from the TV. 

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