Monday, July 23, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: July 23


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 552

Adam demands that Barnabas make a mate, even after learning that it was Julia who eventually created him, not Barnabas. Vicki tells Barnabas that she and Jeff are to marry, and Barnabas takes it with grace. However, Adam sees his affection for Vicki and kidnaps her.

I don’t know what it’s like to find out that one of your parents -- presumably the mother -- had been artificially inseminated. However, if I did, I think I would understand more of how Adam feels. I so understand some of it. He’s been dealing with Barnabas as a bad parent and now he’s merely a bad sibling. The role of parent now goes to Julia, and somewhere in Barnabas’ mind has to be a smidgen of Schadenfreude. For a year, she’s been the author of various greatest hits, including a “cure” that aged him hideously. At last, credit where due. Like any couple, there is affection, loyalty, and constant stealth warfare. She’s the one who ticked Adam off by stabbing him with a needle when he was first born, after all. Kinda informs a guy’s view on the world. Well, Julia, how about them Promethian apples?

While Adam’s demand for a mate and the kidnapping of Vicki are straight out of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, I was also reminded of DARK SHADOWS… but DARK SHADOWS backstage. As well as a specific work by Stephen King. Guess which one. As Adam looks to Barnabas to solve all of his problems, I felt a bit as if I were watching Sam Hall recount Grayson’s encounters with unhinged fans who looked to the stars as living gods. Those “godstars” made them as they are, after all. And if they understand the true nature of those stars, it must work in reverse. How dare the godstars blashpheme themselves by disavowing their own omnipotence? There is a subtext to this with Adam and Barnabas, as if Adam were the ultimate fanboy. Jonathan Frid turned him into a fanboy, and by godstar, now Jonathan Frid will turn a girl into a fanboy to keep him company between episodes.

As Adam threatens and cajoles Barnabas into considering making a “sequel” to Adam, holding Barnabas’ very life at stake, I suddenly saw vision of Kathy Bates. (And not the ones I normally do. Only in my private visions does she visit me dressed as all of the Fruit o’the Loom guys.) But it was Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes, the deranged fan of injured romance novelist, Paul Sheldon, in MISERY. She holds him hostage to bring Misery Chastain back to life in an unplanned sequel to the romance novel in which he killed the heroine. Now, Barnabas must appease Adam by bringing yet another woman back to life. King was all too aware that he was writing about deranged fans. Was Sam Hall? Even if he wasn’t, he was.

Frid spins the tension of Adam’s visit into an unusual benevolence toward the news that Vicki is marrying Jeff Clark. At least someone is visiting him happy, with good news. The relief radiates off the screen. But this is the worst thing for Adam to see… for Barnabas, anyway.

This episode hit the airwaves Aug. 6, 1968.

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