Friday, August 13, 2021

The Jonathan Frid Story comes to home video Oct. 5

Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story
, a feature-length documentary about the life of the late actor, is coming to home video Oct. 5 from MPI.

The film reveals the real man beneath the vampire's cloak, exploring Frid's personal and professional struggles, artistic triumphs and rise to fame. Among the family, friends and co-workers who offer fresh insights are veteran talk show host and Yale Drama School classmate Dick Cavett, actresses Marion Ross (Arsenic & Old Lace) and Christina Pickles (Seizure), American Shakespeare Festival associate Anthony Zerbe and Dark Shadows colleagues David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, Nancy Barrett, Marie Wallace and James Storm. The documentary also includes rare performance footage and previously unseen interviews and archival materials from Frid's private collection.

Special features include:

  • Dark Shadows PBS Special/Jonathan Frid Interview​
  • Jonathan Frid Reads The Legend of Sleepy Hollow​
  • A Dark Shadows Letter From Jonathan​
  • Jonathan Frid Dark Shadows Promo
  • Jonathan Frid Photo Gallery​
  • Dark Shadows Scenes: The Best of Barnabas

Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story is available for pre-order from Amazon at

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Joan Bennett's love life gets the true crime treatment


Vanity Fair, V.F. and Cadence13 are teaming up for Love Is a Crime, a 10-part podcast about the 1951 scandal that mostly ended the career of Joan Bennett. The cast of the serial, which launches Aug. 17, includes Zooey Deschanel as Bennett, Jon Hamm as husband Walter Wanger, Griffin Dunne as agent Jennings Lang, Mara Wilson as Joan’s older movie-star sister, Constance, and Adam Mortimer as Joan’s turbulent father, Richard.

Karina Longworth (You Must Remember This) and filmmaker Vanessa Hope -- the granddaughter of Bennett and Wanger -- will lead listeners through the story of how Bennett found herself embroiled in a love triangle than ended with her husband shooting her agent. Believing his wife was cheating on him with Lang, Wagner decided to solve the problem by shooting Lang in the balls. Lang took a bullet to the inner thigh and Wanger spent four months in jail.

You can read more about Love Is a Crime at Vanity Fair.

The Dark Shadows Daybook tops Amazon's sale chart

Less than 24 hours after going on sale, The Dark Shadows Daybook has topped the Amazon sales chart for "TV Guides & Reviews." As I write this, the print edition of the book sits at #1 on the chart, with the Kindle edition following behind at #3. The Golden Girls better watch their backs.

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Dark Shadows Daybook is now an actual book!

It feels a little strange writing an announcement for this book. First off, if you've been visiting this website with any kind of frequency, you already know about our feature The Dark Shadows Daybook. Patrick McCray has been writing it in various formats since 2016. He was named "Writer of the Year" by The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards for the feature in 2017. "Dark Shadows does not have a more devoted critic," says Angelique herself, Lara Parker. We asked Kathryn Leigh Scott to take a look at an early proof of the book, which she calls "a stunning collection." The feature even has fans outside of Collinsport, with Fangoria EIC Phil Nobile, Jr. calling the book a "better, deeper, and more thoughtful analysis than anyone ever imagined this show would ever get." Diana Prince, the latest and greatest incarnation of "Darcy the Mail Girl" at The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs says "If you’re a fan of the venerable vampire soap, you simply MUST check out this book!"

So you see, this is a pretty big deal for us here at The Collinsport Historical Society. Our hometown boy has done good.  

The weird thing, though, is that Patrick and I have been living with this book for about 20 months already. The world was a very different place when we first started piecing together this collection. We've since been hit with a global pandemic, witnessed an attempted government coup, and have lost a tragic number of original Dark Shadows cast members. On a personal note, I'm minus a minor -- though not insignificant -- part of my body courtesy of a small case of cancer last Christmas. This announcement feels to me like the final reel of Death Race 2000.

"But what's in the book?" you ask? It contains dozens of installments of The Dark Shadows Daybook that have appeared here over the years, revised and edited to create a narrative analysis of the series. While not every episode of Dark Shadows is covered (if you've ever seen the series you know why THAT would be a bad idea) Patrick hits the high notes, from the first episode in 1966 to the show's bow in 1971. There are even a few bonus features in the book's back matter.

We also scored an introduction from my pal Dana Gould, whose credits could fill a book of their own. Because I want to give this blog post a bump in Google's analytics, I should at least mention his work as a writer/producer/actor on The Simpsons. But he's also a brilliant comic and appears in the best two horror anthologies of the last 30 years, Southbound and Tales of Halloween.

And me? I designed the book and provided a number of illustrations.

The print edition of The Dark Shadows Daybook is now available on Amazon at  You can get the Kindle edition at

And don't forget to leave us a review there!

- Wallace

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Dark Shadows Daybook: August 5

Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 817


With David’s life in the balance over two centuries, Quentin learns that he lacks the one thing Petofi is determined to master: Time. David Collins: David Henesy. (Repeat; 30 min.)

Petofi allows Quentin to visit Barnabas in his coffin, and learns that the road to 1969 might be more challenging than he thought. Beth breaks from tending to David, now astrally trapped in Jamison’s body, to serve Barnabas… until Petofi shows her a vision of her vampiric future. 

Somewhere in the wilderness… as seen on a backlot.

Please, Robert Bly, put away the drum and step away from the fire with that drink. Who can see it’s a pousse cafe in a Yeti mug, anyway? No one’s impressed. Sure, we all think it’s mead. Now please go away before Paul Elam hears us and wakes up. Yes, we’re going to talk about manliness, as is my wont, but not your kind. We shall have no deep feelings shared nor bonding acknowledged, thank you. Because that’s all a bit much. Manhood is the opposite of flatulence. He who smell’t it is most certainly incapable of having dealt it. 

Go back and read that in Count Petofi’s voice. Yes, you hear the music, too. 

Manhood. Whatever that means. This really is a core reason of why I love Dark Shadows. Wallace and I have been in the midst of assembling the Daybook Book in fits and starts, and I frequently inundate him with new title ideas. Today’s? “How to Love Dark Shadows.” More accurately, it might be, “Why I Love Dark Shadows.” Episode 817 is a good place to start. 

As Wallace once wrote, “Dark Shadows doesn’t tell a story. It accumulates one.” If there is any real story to the show, it’s ours… the viewers’. Dark Shadows is a tough show to watch. It’s an even tougher show to “get.” It takes time away from our lives. Yet it becomes a genuine companion, ever-changing. And we can’t help but be changed by it. 

So, what is it… this Dark Shadows? You know the answer. It’s okay, we’re amongst friends. 

Dark Shadows is Barnabas Collins. Thus, transitively speaking, he is what changes us. Knowing him. Watching the arc of his second life… maybe even his Sansara. Feeling the pressure to make decisions burst into full-on choice. This daily immersion slowly wears away the import of our world and replaces it with his. 

817 is so beautifully resonant because it lets us step back and look at Barnabas and Quentin as the pure friends we always wanted them to be. Every Gilgamesh needs an Enkidu. That was a lesson in manhood for me when I first saw it. These things, if they are to have value, must be unexamined. They can only be acknowledged through silence. Ergo, I must write an essay about it. What’s more, Dark Shadows lets us ponder the power of the soap opera format to build that friendship in real-time, from a place of intense distrust. Its success both sneaks up on us and seems like the most natural thing in the underworld. Quentin approaches Barnabas in the coffin, and the respect and affection they share is effortless. David Selby does most of the heavy lifting in the scene. It’s some of his best work because it’s so relaxed, attentive, focused, and authentically kind. In the midst of a ludicrous situation which sneezes squarely in the soup of “write what you know,” he is like the very real stone in a Zen sand garden. 

Later, when Quentin compares notes with Beth, also having returned from Petofi’s, their conversation about the supernatural is stunningly casual-yet-intense. They are beyond romance and beyond the bodice-ripping hullabaloo that encapsulates how we met them. They are, maybe, friends, but colleagues-in-wartime, first. My, how things have changed in four months. And who was the agent of those changes? Barnabas, by action and by example, goes from being a stranger in his own hometown to the Jackie Daytona that everyone needs-but-never-knew-it. Beth needs a concerned mentor with no ulterior motives. Quentin needs a (literally) Edwardian hand of structure with no judgement. Selby’s Quentin is increasingly aware that, no matter how much Barnabas divulges about the future, there is something darker that he’s not being told. A few months ago, Quentin would have seized on the existence of such a secret. Now, we get the sense that he’s somewhat relieved at being sheltered from it. It’s a world all too eager to talk about ugly truths, and as 1897 goes on, it does so with less comical hysteria and more wistful acceptance. This is an episode where a twelve year old boy asks a woman what it feels like to die. 

They’ve all been awakened from the sleep by Barnabas Collins. And so have we. Dark Shadows, for once, talks about what matters at the most primal level… how the ritual changes us. Its characters become us and we become the characters. Down to Beth watching herself become a vampire on a suspiciously television-like box in Petofi’s chambers. It’s the only show that matters. 

This episode was broadcast Aug. 12, 1969.
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