Saturday, March 27, 2021

Robert Rodan, 1938-2021


Robert Rodan died of heart failure March 25. The actor had an outsized presence on Dark Shadows, appearing in just 82 episodes in 1968 on the controversial "Dream Curse" storyline. For me, Rodan, and his interaction with cast members Humbert Allen Astredo and Thayer David are the saving grace of that storyline. "The Dream Curse" was never meant to be binge watched and is a bit of a repetitive slog for 21st century viewers. Rodan's petulant man-monster "Adam" and his struggles with living up to the impossible standards of his sketchy "fathers" make his episodes a joy, though. And I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.

It's always bothered me that Rodan never got the second chance on Dark Shadows that other, less interesting performers received. Perhaps he just didn't click with viewers. Most likely he just didn't click with show runner Dan Curtis. But it would have been nice to see him in fancy dress during one of the show's many historical flashbacks, perhaps playing the ancestor of one of Adam's "donors." And it would have been great to have seen Adam return to Collinsport older, wiser and more calculating. 

Sadly. Rodan's only other big credits were as a Spock-like alien in a 1969 commercial for Cheer laundry detergent, and a lead in 1969 feature film The Minx, which makes drafting any eulogy a challenge. Rodan returned to Collinsport momentarily in 2006 for the Big Finish audiodrama Dark Shadows: The House of Despair as "Man on Train," and again in 2006 for The Rage Beneath as "Oswald Gravenor." 

None of this leaves me with a lot to say about a man I never met. But you know what they say about the perspicacity of pictures ... so enjoy the images below. The first is a drawing I commissioned from Darth Vader & Son and Unlikely creator Jeffrey Brown a few years back. The rest should speak for themselves. 

RIP, big guy.

- Wallace

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