Friday, November 3, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: NOVEMBER 3


Taped on this day in 1967: Episode 357

The arrival of harassing attorney, Anthony Peterson, gives Julia the opportunity to liberate and relocate the journal -- now in Peterson’s office. Carolyn follows up with a bid to retrieve the manuscript, but Peterson, while intrigued, has the strength to stand up to her. For now.

Although Gordon Russell is credited as the author of this episode, this marks Sam Hall’s debut on the show as writer. Hall, a Yale-trained, seasoned playwright, would go on to become DARK SHADOWS' most prolific scribe. When teamed with the urbane wit, Gordon Russell, he helped to give the show its eventual and most definitive voice. He has a punchy, immediate, high-stakes sense of intensity and literate, dramatic grit that gives the show a sense of lofty purpose mixed with realistic and human urgency. His authorship would run through the last episode, two films, and the 1991 revival. Beyond creating Angelique, he penned a follow-up article for TV Guide after the show had been canceled, detailing what happened to the characters beyond the program’s end. Is it canon? Strong arguments can be made on both sides.

Coincidentally, it’s Jerry Lacy’s first episode as attorney, Anthony Peterson. Peterson takes up where Burke left off… another once-impoverished Collinsporter/self-made man with a desire to see Roger knocked down a peg. Peterson has a greater dash of realism to him, however. He’s less Ayn Rand and more Arthur Miller. We can see him wanting greater things and -- compared with Burke -- just falling short of the ring. There’s a humanity to that with more nuance than was found in the lantern-jawed Olympian played by Mitch Ryan and Anthony George. Burke is DC. Anthony Peterson is Marvel. And that’s the Sam Hall touch. Just as tough, but with a slightly more fragile sense of humanity. That would also be the balance Barnabas would demonstrate on his roads to redemption, rise, fall, and rise.

Hall’s theatrical chops are especially on display in the two hander he has for his wife, Grayson, and Jerry Lacy in Tony’s office. We get exposition that flows naturally, as well as  strength, vulnerability, adjustments, surprises, and astounding emotional range, all within terse, captivating dialogue. And Grayson really goes for that range. Perhaps too much so. It’s a scene worthy of the stage, and her laughter and tears are of a size that may be too grand for the small screen. Nevertheless, she knew this was Sam’s audition, and thus, really went to town.

On this day in 1967, the Battle of Dak To begins, becoming one of the bloodiest of the Vietnam War. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...