Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 10


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 494

When Willie distracts Adam with Josette’s jewelry, he thinks they may also make a good peace offering for Maggie. After delighting her -- and flummoxing Joe -- by sneaking them into her purse, he is scolded by Julia for leaving his post. To calm Adam, she leaves Lang’s tape of Mozart. After they leave, Adam hears Lang’s message about his link to Barnabas, whose name he repeats.

Just when you thought it was safe to put the Josette storyline to bed, 494 resurrects it. It’s helpful to casual viewers, however. So many new (or semi-new, like “Cassandra”) characters have been introduced since the return from 1795. By touching upon Josette again, we resolve some of Willie’s creepiness rather than ignore it, and we also tie the present into the past once again. DARK SHADOWS gives its viewers a lot of credit, calling back to characters we haven’t heard from in months, if not years. (Paul Stoddard? We hardly knew ye.)

It’s a strangely fetishistic episode, with everyone a little TOO into ostentatious jewelry for my tastes. I can only imagine Barnabas’ mixed feelings at storing Adam in the same room as the hidden jewelry vault.

“What could actually go wrong?” -- he must regret how often he said that to himself about every major decision. From the moment he first kidnapped Maggie through the point when he agreed to be Quentin’s extemporaneous advocate in 1840. Just imagine...

“It’s just one I Ching trance.”
“It’s just a female version of Adam.”
“It’s just keeping the kids in the house with lethal ghosts.”
“It’s just another witch trial led by a Trask.”
“It’s just a room with a parallel dimension from which escape seems impossible.”
“It’s just a matter of putting a reanimated hulk of a corpse in the care of a mentally unstable felon... who keeps stalking a woman we once held hostage… despite the five bullets he took in the back the last time he saw her.”

I mean, what could go wrong? And it’s not that Barnabas is unintelligent. He has an Enlightenment Gentleman’s optimism that grows to match his desperation. Still, could we not have found another cell for Adam? Because Adam loves jewelry. And Willie loves jewelry. And Maggie loves jewelry. Every once and a while, DARK SHADOWS goes full on sitcom. The TV Guide entry for this one writes itself. This is devoted to a wacky scheme of leaving sentimental evidence of a brainwashing in the victim’s purse… as a love gift! But when it comes to, “What could actually go wrong,” Willie has learned at the foot of the master. And it was apparently a good lesson because it kinda works! Joe is baffled, and for good reason. He exists in a place called reality, but he’s alone.

Julia really Larry Tates the situation to the hilt, ordering Willie into a cell with a homicidal madman and threatening lifelong incarceration, which they both know she probably can’t do, but Willie doesn’t press it. Few episodes cry out for a laugh track more. That it should end with our heroes barely missing the only relevant clue to Adam’s and Barnabas’ connection? Pure Sherwood Schwartz

May the Schwartz be with you. Always.

On this day in 1968, audiences in theaters were enjoying the film adaptation of Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE. Given that it’s on TV yet again, it may be the most unstoppable property to come from straight Broadway theatre. The film was directed by Gene Saks, who, with Bea Arthur, was the parent of Daniel Saks, with whom I worked for a few weeks. Nice guy. I made him late to the airport once, so this is a name drop of strange shame. Sorry, Daniel. The freeway signs in LA to the airport were very unclear. You missed it, too. I mean, you didn’t give me a hard time about it, but I’ve had issues for a long time. Daniel could also sing the theme to THE ODD COUPLE TV series, the lyrics of which could be heard on an LP that had clips of dialogue from the show. He had it as a child.

I think they went like this…

No matter where they go 
They are known as the couple. 
They're never seen alone 
So they're known as the couple. 

But they're laugh provoking; 
Yet they really don't know they're joking. 
Don't you find 
When love is blind 
It's kind of odd.

Kind of like Willie’s obsession with Maggie. Really, just about every relationship on the show. And thus, we come full circle.

This episode hit the airwaves May 16, 1968.

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