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Dark Shadows
Darkshadows.jpg
Dark Shadows title card
Format Soap opera
Created by Dan Curtis
Starring Joan Bennett
Jonathan Frid
Grayson Hall
Louis Edmonds
Nancy Barrett
Lara Parker
David Selby
Kate Jackson
Kathryn Leigh Scott
David Henesy
Denise Nickerson
Thayer David
Alexandra Moltke
Theme music composer Robert Cobert
Composer(s) Robert Cobert
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 1,225
Production
Producer(s) Robert Costello
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Dan Curtis Productions
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format Black and White (June 1966 - August 1967)
Color (August 1967- April 1971)
Original run June 27, 1966 – April 2, 1971

Dark Shadows is a gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. The show was created by Dan Curtis, who tells of a dream he had in which a girl takes a long train ride to visit a large mansion. The story "bible," which was written by Art Wallace, does not mention any supernatural elements. It was considered daring (and unprecedented in daytime television) when ghosts were introduced about six months after it began.

The series became hugely popular when, a year into its run, vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid, appeared. In addition to vampires, Dark Shadows featured werewolves, ghosts, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel (both into the past and into the future), and a parallel universe. A small company of actors each played many roles and, as actors came and went, some characters were played by several actors. Major writers in addition to Art Wallace included Malcolm Marmorstein, who created the character of Barnabas Collins, Sam Hall, Gordon Russell, and Violet Welles.

Dark Shadows was distinguished by its vividly melodramatic performances, atmospheric interiors, memorable story lines and an unusually adventurous music score. Now regarded as somewhat of a camp classic, it continues to enjoy intense cult status among its followers. Director Tim Burton and pop icon Madonna have both gone on record as fans of the series. As a child Johnny Depp was so obsessed with Barnabas Collins that he wanted to be him, and is collaborating with Tim Burton on a theatrical film adaptation, in which he will play the character.[1]

Contents

Brief synopsis

Victoria Winters: episode 1 (June 27, 1966) to 127 (December 20, 1966) Victoria Winters arrives at Collinwood as governess for David Collins and encounters strange goings-on in the old mansion. Elizabeth Collins Stoddard has a secret and never leaves the Collinwood estate. Her daughter Carolyn is staying out to all hours. Roger Collins, David's father, is afraid that someone is trying to kill him. And Burke Devlin has returned to Collinsport.

The Murder of Bill Malloy: episode 46 (August 29, 1966) to 126 (December 19, 1966) Bill Malloy, Elizabeth's right-hand man, threatens to publicly reveal hushed-up details about the feud between Roger Collins and Burke Devlin, and involving Sam Evans. Malloy's body is then discovered floating in the waters at the base of Widow's Hill. Victoria's curiosity of the murder leads her to get kidnapped by the murderer, Matthew (a servant to the Collins). The ghost of Bill Malloy appears to Victoria Winters, and later the ghost of Josette du Pres emerges from her portrait at the old house. The spirits of wailing women are heard from Widow's Hill.

Laura the Phoenix: episode 128 (December 21, 1966) to 192 (March 21, 1967) Young David Collins's mother Laura returns after a ten year absence, searching for her son. She is an immortal phoenix, and wishes to have him join her in the sacred fires of the Egyptian god Ra.

Jason McGuire: episode 195 (March 24, 1967) to 275 (July 14, 1967) Jason McGuire, an old friend of Elizabeth's long-missing husband Paul Stoddard, shows up and insinuates himself into the Collins household. He knows a dark secret about Elizabeth's missing husband and, much to the family's dismay, she submits to his demands, which includes allowing his violent drifter friend Willie Loomis to stay at Collinwood.

Barnabas: episode 211 (March 22, 1967) to 365 (November 17, 1967) Barnabas Collins, a nearly two-hundred-year-old vampire, is released from his coffin by Willie Loomis and brings terror to Collinsport. Doctor Julia Hoffman is called to investigate the strange kidnapping of Maggie Evans, a Collinsport waitress whom the vampire believes to be the reincarnation of his long lost love, Josette du Pres.

1795: episode 366 (November 14, 1967) to 460 (March 29, 1968) A séance is held in the great house at Collinwood, during which Victoria Winters travels back in time to the year 1795. In that era, Barnabas is still an ordinary human being, but becomes the object of desire for a deadly witch Angelique Bouchard, who invokes the vampiric curse upon him. Meanwhile, Victoria is accused of witchcraft by the paranoiac Rev. Trask. She's defended in court by Peter Bradford, a man who follows her back through time to the 20th century.

Dream Curse/Adam and Eve: episode 461 (April 1, 1968) to 637 (December 3, 1968) Angelique Bouchard, a witch who tricked Barnabas into marrying her in the 1790s, returns. At the same time, Barnabas and Dr. Julia Hoffman explore the possibility of freeing Barnabas from his curse, by giving life to an artificial being called Adam.

Werewolf/Quentin's Ghost: episode 638 (December 4, 1968) to 700 (February 28, 1969) A werewolf (Chris Jennings) is loose on the Collins estate and the ghost of Quentin Collins is terrorizing the children, David Collins and Amy Jennings.

1897: episode 701 (March 3, 1969) to 884 (November 13, 1969) In order to save the imperilled David and unravel the mystery of Quentin's ghost, Barnabas travels back in time using the I Ching. He encounters Angelique, the phoenix Laura Collins, a gypsy curse, lycanthropy, and the severed hand of the dreaded Count Petofi.

The Leviathans: episode 885 (November 14, 1969) to 980 (March 27, 1970) An ancient Lovecraftian race of beings coerce Barnabas into joining their ranks. Together they attempt to enslave the Collins family and bring the town under the thrall of their mysterious leader, Jeb Hawkes.

Parallel Time: episode 981 (March 30, 1970) to 1060 (July 17, 1970) In a closed-off section of the house, Barnabas and Julia discover a doorway to a parallel universe, where the master of the house Quentin Collins has recently married Maggie Evans, who finds herself threatened by the vengeful spirit of Quentin's first wife, Angelique. Elements of this plot line are derived from the novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

1995: episode 1061 (July 20, 1970) to 1070 (July 31, 1970) Barnabas and Julia travel forward in time to a Collinwood that has been destroyed and the Collins family either dead or mad.

Gerard Stiles: episode 1071 (August 3, 1970) to 1109 (September 24, 1970) Ghosts from the 1840s possess David Collins and Hallie Stokes. Barnabas and Julia try to find a way to prevent the future destruction of Collinwood. The basic plot line here is right out of "The Turn Of The Screw" by Henry James.

1840: episode 1110 (September 25, 1970) to 1198 (January 27, 1971) Using a stairway through time hidden within the walls of Collinwood, Julia travels back to the 1840s to unravel the mystery of Gerard and Daphne Harridge. When Barnabas joins her they find an unexpected ally in their old foe, Angelique.

1841 in Parallel Time: episode 1199 (January 28, 1971) to 1245 (April 2, 1971) In a parallel universe Bramwell Collins returns home to find that his true love, Catherine Harridge, has married his wealthy cousin, Morgan Collins. The Collins family is under a curse that requires them to hold a lottery, the loser to spend the night in a room that will leave them either dead or insane. Elements of this plot line may have been derived from "Return Of The Native" by Thomas Hardy and The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Main cast

  • Mark Allen played Sam Evans
  • Humbert Allen Astredo played Nicholas Blair, Evan Hanley, and Charles Dawson
  • Conrad Bain played Mr. Wells, the hotel clerk
  • Nancy Barrett played Carolyn Stoddard, Millicent Collins, Charity Trask, Carolyn Loomis PT, Leticia Faye, Melanie Collins PT, and Amanda Collins PT.
  • Lee Beery played Joanna Mills.
  • Joan Bennett played Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Naomi Collins, Judith Collins, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard PT, Flora Collins, and Flora Collins PT.
  • Chris Bernau played Philip Todd.
  • Clarice Blackburn played Mrs. Johnson, Abigail Collins, and Minerva Trask.
  • Don Briscoe played Tom Jennings, Christopher Jennings, Timothy Shaw, and Chris Collins PT.
  • Kathy Cody played Hallie Stokes, Carrie Stokes, and Carrie Stokes PT.
  • Terry Crawford played Beth Chavez and Edith Collins.
  • Joel Crothers played Joe Haskell and Nathan Forbes.
  • Thayer David played Matthew Morgan, Ben Stokes, Professor Timothy Stokes, Sandor, Victor Fenn-Gibbon/Count Petofi, Timothy Stokes PT, Mordecai Grimes, and Ben Stokes PT.
  • Roger Davis played Peter Bradford/Jeff Clark, Ned Stuart, Dirk Wilkins, and Charles Delaware Tate.
  • Louis Edmonds played Roger Collins, Joshua Collins, Edward Collins, Roger Collins PT, Daniel Collins, Amadeus Collins, and Brutus Collins PT.
  • Elizabeth Eis played Nelle Gunston, Buffie Harrington PT, and Mrs. Mildred Ward.
  • Dana Elcar played Sheriff Patterson.
  • David Ford played Sam Evans and Andre du Pres.
  • Conard Fowkes played Frank Garner.
  • Jonathan Frid played Barnabas Collins and Bramwell Collins PT.
  • Anthony George played Burke Devlin and Jeremiah Collins.
  • Robert Gerringer played Dr. Woodard.
  • Grayson Hall played Dr. Julia Hoffman, Natalie du Pres, Magda, Julia Hoffman PT, Julia Collins (a.k.a. Dr. Julia Hoffman), Julia Collins PT, and Constance Collins PT.
  • James Hall played Willie Loomis (episodes 199-205).
  • David Henesy played David Collins, Daniel Collins, Jamison Collins, Daniel Collins PT, and Tad Collins.
  • Kate Jackson played Daphne and Daphne Harridge PT.
  • John Karlen played Willie Loomis (from episode 206), Carl Collins, William Hollingshead Loomis PT, Desmond Collins, and Kendrick Young PT.
  • Jerry Lacy played Tony Peterson, Reverend Trask, Gregory Trask, Mr. Trask PT, and Lamar Trask.
  • John Lasell played Dr. Peter Guthrie.
  • Marsha Mason played Audrey, the female Leviathan.
  • Donna McKechnie played Amanda Harris/Olivia Corey.
  • Diana Millay played Laura Collins, the phoenix.
  • Alexandra Moltke played Victoria Winters.
  • Denise Nickerson played Amy Jennings, Nora Collins, and Amy Collins PT.
  • Lara Parker played Angelique Bouchard/Cassandra Collins/Valerie Collins/Miranda Duval, Alexis Stokes PT, Angelique Bouchard PT, and Catherine Harridge PT.
  • Dennis Patrick played Jason McGuire and Paul Stoddard.
  • Christopher Pennock played Jeb Hawkes, Dr. Cyrus Longworth PT/John Yaegar PT, Sebastian Shaw, Gabriel Collins, and Gabriel Collins PT.
  • Addison Powell played Judge Matigan, Dr. Eric Lang, and Judge Wiley.
  • Keith Prentice played Morgan Collins PT.
  • Lisa Richards played Sabrina Stuart and Sabrina Stuart PT.
  • Robert Rodan played Adam.
  • Mitchell Ryan played Burke Devlin.
  • Frank Schoefield played Bill Malloy.
  • Geoffrey Scott played Sky Rumson.
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott played Maggie Evans, Josette du Pres, Rachel Drummond, Lady Hampshire/Kitty Soames, and Maggie Collins PT
  • David Selby played Quentin Collins (1897, 1969-1970, 1995, 1970), Grant Douglas, Quentin Collins PT (1970 PT), Quentin Collins (1840), and Quentin Collins PT (1841 PT).
  • Craig Slocum played Noah Gifford and Harry Johnson.
  • Sharon Smyth played Sarah Collins.
  • Alex Stevens played The Werewolf.
  • James Storm played Gerard Stiles and Gerald Stiles PT.
  • Michael Stroka played Aristede, Bruno, Bruno PT, and Laszlo Ferrari.
  • Virginia Vestoff played Samantha Collins and Samantha Drew PT.
  • Marie Wallace played Eve, Jenny Collins, and Megan Todd.
  • Donna Wandrey played Roxanne Drew PT and Roxanne Drew.

A more extensive list can be found on TV.com's Dark Shadows Cast & Crew page.

During the past thirty years, Dark Shadows has developed a large and loyal fan following. This is due largely to the willingness of former cast members to participate in several gatherings each year, notably the Dark Shadows Festival held alternately in California and New York and a Halloween fright fest centering around the mansion used in taping the stock outdoor footage. Several cast members have written books, and several have appeared on Dark Shadows audio dramas.

Sources

Dark Shadows often used classic stories with gothic themes, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Turn of the Screw, and Wuthering Heights. The series modified this material freely, giving the familiar stories unusual twists. No author of the macabre was exempt from inclusion in subplots.[citation needed] Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Guy Endore, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, H. P. Lovecraft, and others, were explored, exploited, and exposed in a history of the Collins family. Stylistically, Dark Shadows appears to have taken inspiration from Roger Corman's 1961 movie The Pit and the Pendulum.[citation needed]

Series production

Working within the constraints of the live-to-tape format — with almost every scene done in one take — Dark Shadows displayed an unusually inventive use of costume, make-up and, in particular, special effects. Both time travel and ghosts allowed characters killed in earlier sequences to return, often in period clothing. Séances held in the old mansion were often visited by ghostly apparitions of quivering ectoplasm. Dream sequences included colorful psychedelic spectacles superimposed over ethereal, fog-filled fantasies. Individuals of normal appearance were transformed into hideous creatures of the netherworld.

However, the special effects were limited by the technology of the time. When judged against today's special effects, they pale in comparison. The difficulty of keeping up with the demanding schedule of a daily half-hour show manifested itself on screen. In addition to sets wobbling unintentionally, actors — especially Frid and Bennett — often struggled with their lines. Occasionally a stagehand could be spotted wandering onto the back of the set. Other times the microphone boom appeared in the frame (giving the show the unintentional nickname "Mic Shadows"), or a fly hovered around the head of an actor. In retrospect, however, the actors — who effectively formed a repertory company as they played many different roles — created memorable characters, and overcame the challenge of daily scripts combined with brief and demanding rehearsals.

Of particular note is Robert Cobert's inspired music score, which broke new ground for a television program. The original soundtrack cracked the top 20 of Billboard's national album chart in 1969 and still ranks as one of the top-selling TV soundtracks ever. The spoken-word instrumental track "Quentin's Theme", for which Cobert earned a Grammy nomination, was recorded by the Charles Randolph Grean Sounde. The single peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (and number 3 on its Easy Listening chart) in the summer of 1969, when Dark Shadows was perhaps at the peak of its popularity.

Dark Shadows has the distinction of being one of the few classic television soap operas to have all of its episodes except one survive intact, although a handful of early episodes are available only in 16 mm kinescope format. For the one lost episode (#1219), only a home audio recording of the episode exists. The home video version and cable reruns of this episode were reconstructed from this soundtrack and from still pictures taken at the time of the episode's production.

1,225 episodes were produced, but during the course of its run, the show was preempted 20 times. ABC would compensate for this by sometimes double numbering, and in one case triple numbering, episode numbers in order to keep a show ending in a 5 or 0 airing on Fridays. This is why the last episode produced has #1245 when in actuality it was only the 1,225th episode produced.

Syndication and cable repeats

Dark Shadows was to be syndicated by ABC's distribution arm, ABC Films as the series was ending in late 1970/early 1971. However, delays kept the show from entering syndication, mainly due to the FCC imposing Fin-syn rules forcing the networks to sell off their syndication companies. Finally, in 1975, Worldvision Enterprises (spun off from ABC Films) released 130 episodes to syndication. Over the years, more episodes were released in varying quantities until the show finished its syndicated run in 1990. However, the first 209 shows and the last year's worth of shows were never seen in syndication. It is still important to note however that Dark Shadows was lucky to be in syndication at all while other daytime serials sat on the shelf collecting dust or have been lost forever.

For many years, the show was rerun on the Sci Fi Channel. Unlike the precarious issuance of episodes to the broadcast syndication marketplace, Sci Fi had the entire run of 1,225 episodes to show. The network stopped airing Dark Shadows in December 2003, only two weeks short of completing the series. All 1,225 episodes in the series were shown on the Sci Fi Channel at various times between 1992 and 2003.

Home video

MPI Home Video currently holds the home video rights to the series. All episodes were issued on VHS from 1989 through 1995. Episodes 210–1245 (Barnabas' arrival through to the end of the series) have been released on DVD in 26 Collections from 2002 through 2006. Episodes 1-209 were released in 2007 under the title of Dark Shadows: The Beginning.

Broadcast history, ABC

Perhaps one of ABC's first truly popular daytime shows, Dark Shadows found its perfect demographic niche in teenagers coming home from school in time to watch the show at 4 p.m. Eastern / 3 p.m. Central, where it aired for all of its network run (except for a 15-month stretch between April 1967 and July 1968, when it aired a half hour earlier). With mothers (and, sometimes, grandmothers) usually away from the television set at that time of day in order to tend to household chores such as preparing the family's dinner, the young people got control of the family set and claimed the show as a badge of the then-burgeoning youth consciousness in the culture at large.

Whatever the cultural context or audience composition of Dark Shadows, it became one of ABC's first daytime shows to actually win its timeslot, leading to the demise of NBC's original Match Game and Art Linkletter's long-running House Party on CBS, both in 1969. Even the launch of a much-ballyhooed spinoff of NBC's Another World, Somerset, the following year did not hurt Dark Shadows.

By early 1971, though, due to an economic recession and the U.S. government's recent ban on cigarette commercials causing a sharp dip in advertising revenues and because of a record-high number of soaps (much more expensive to produce than game or talk shows) on the networks' daytime schedules, ABC decided to cut costs by weeding out supposedly unproductive programming. Despite its relatively high station clearances for its timeslot and low production costs, Dark Shadows fell victim to the purge mainly because of its young audience, who usually did not make decisions about the purchasing of household goods and food products for the family, which were the two chief industries that bought airtime on daytime television in that era. Practically no other daytime show skewed so much under the 18–35 demographic threshold as Dark Shadows did. Furthermore, primetime shows and movies with horror or science fiction themes (e.g., Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) had been on the decline for some time, and, of course, the serial appealed heavily to fanciers of those genres, people who usually snubbed their noses at the often sentimental domestic or romantic themes that traditional soaps had relied on since their inception on radio in the 1930s. In addition and probably more decisively, the program experienced a precipitous drop in its ratings during its last two years on the air, falling from a peak of 8.4 in 1968-69 to a 5.3 in 1970-71.[2]

So, despite many letters of protest from outraged fans, ABC cancelled the five-year-old show on April 2, 1971 and replaced it with a new version of the hit 1960s game Password. Although some highly irate viewers threatened to vocally (and possibly violently) decry the cancellation[citation needed] by disrupting the taping of Password at ABC's Los Angeles studios, nothing ever came of those plans. The rather abrupt ending of the series left some plot lines (such as the story of the Jennings family) unfinished, though most of the plot threads came to a happy conclusion, via a voiceover explaining future events in the final minute of the last episode.

Revivals

In 1991, a short-lived primetime remake was produced by MGM Television and aired by NBC, airing from January 13 to March 22. The revival was a lavish, big budget weekly serial combining gothic romance and stylistic horror. Although it was a huge hit at introduction (watched by almost 1 in 4 households according to official ratings during that time period), an untimely international incident would inflict a fatal wound to the show: the onset of the Gulf War caused NBC to continually pre-empt or reschedule the early episodes resulting in viewer confusion and a loss of momentum. It was canceled after twelve episodes.

The final episode ended with a cliffhanger—Victoria (played by Joanna Going) learning that Barnabas Collins (played by Ben Cross) was a 200-year old vampire (a secret never discovered by Victoria in the original series). It has been reported that the opening episode for a proposed second season would have had Victoria collapsing, after seeing Barnabas, and losing her memory of his terrible secret.

It also starred veterans Jean Simmons as Elizabeth and Roy Thinnes as Roger, British character actress Lysette Anthony as Angelique, Barbara Steele as Dr. Julia Hoffman, and future 3rd Rock from the Sun star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as David.

Plans for another revival series (or film) have been discussed off and on since the 1991 series' demise, including a TV miniseries to wrap up the plot lines of the canceled NBC series and a feature film, co-written by Dan Curtis and Barbara Steele, utilizing the 1991 cast. In 2004, a pilot for a new WB network Dark Shadows series starring Marley Shelton as Victoria Winters and Alec Newman as Barnabas Collins was written and shot, but never picked up. The pilot has been screened at the Dark Shadows Festival conventions with Dan Curtis Productions' blessing, but has yet to surface elsewhere. This pilot was produced by Warner Bros. Television.

Upcoming film

In July 2007, Warner Bros. announced they had purchased the film rights of the Dark Shadows television series from the estate of Dan Curtis (the creator, producer and director of Dark Shadows). Warner Bros. teamed with Johnny Depp to star in and produce (with his Infinitum Nihil production company) the film. Depp had a childhood obsession with Dark Shadows, calling it a "childhood dream" to portray Barnabas Collins. Depp and Graham King will produce with David Kennedy, who ran Dan Curtis Productions until Curtis' death in March 2006.[3] The following November, John August said he was working "with Tim Burton on a live action project which I almost certainly will be writing post-strike. And yes, I’d love to tell you what it is. But I can’t."[4] By June 2008, Burton was signed on as director with August writing the script.[5] Filming begins in Fall 2010.[6]

In other media

MGM released a feature film entitled House of Dark Shadows in 1970. Dan Curtis directed it, and Sam Hall and Gordon Russell wrote the screenplay. Many cast members from the soap opera reprised their roles. These included Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Roger Davis, and Kathryn Leigh Scott, among others. 1971 saw the release of Night of Dark Shadows, also directed by Dan Curtis. In addition, Curtis and Sam Hall wrote it. Players included David Selby, Grayson Hall, Kate Jackson, and Lara Parker, among others.

There have been two series of Dark Shadows novels. The first, released during the show's original run, were all penned by romance writer Marilyn Ross (actually Dan Ross, using his wife's name as a pseudonym). The second consists of two novels by Lara Parker (who played Angelique in the series), Angelique's Descent (recently recorded on CD by Big Finish Productions and read by Ms. Parker) and The Salem Branch, and Dreams of the Dark by horror authors Elizabeth Massie and Stephen Mark Rainey. Gold Key Comics released 35 issues of a regular Dark Shadows comic book, which ran for years after the cancellation of the series on ABC.1969–1976; and in 1991, Innovation Publishing released a short-lived comic book series based on the NBC-TV revival show. There have also been two board games, a few coloring books, a jigsaw puzzle and a View-Master reel. There also have been several books about Dark Shadows, including The Dark Shadows Almanac and The Dark Shadows Companion.

Detail from Dark Shadows newspaper comic strip. Art by Ken Bald.

From March 14, 1971 to March 11, 1972, the Newspaper Enterprise Association syndicated a Dark Shadows comic strip by illustrator Kenneth Bruce Bald (credited as "K. Bruce" due to contractual obligations) to dozens of newspapers across the country.[7]

During its original run, Dark Shadows was featured in many magazines, including Afternoon TV, Daytime TV, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and Castle of Frankenstein. In 2003, a two-part article entitled "Collecting Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood," appeared in Autograph Collector magazine. It was the first major article to chronicle the show in years. In 2005, Scary Monsters magazine #55 devoted an entire issue to Dark Shadows. Included were full-length interviews with cast members Marie Wallace, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh-Scott, as well as "Don't Open That Coffin! A Baby Boomer's Adventures in the Land of Dark Shadows!" Both the Autograph Collector and Scary Monsters articles were penned by freelance writer Rod Labbe, who once ran a fan club for Dennis ("Paul Stoddard") Patrick. Labbe is currently working on a third article, a 40th anniversary retrospective of the show.

Dark Shadows audio drama

Based on a stage play performed at a Dark Shadows convention, Return to Collinwood is an audio drama written by Jamison Selby and Jim Pierson, and starring David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, John Karlen, Nancy Barrett, Lara Parker, Roger Davis, Marie Wallace, Christopher Pennock, Donna Wandrey, James Storm and Terry Crawford. The show is available on CD.

Big Finish Productions

In 2006, Big Finish Productions continued the Dark Shadows saga with an original series of audio dramas, starring the original cast. The first season featured David Selby (Quentin Collins), Lara Parker (Angelique), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) and John Karlen (Willie Loomis). Robert Rodan, who played Adam in the original series, also appears in the fourth story, playing a new character. A second series is due to be released in 2010. In addition to the cast returning from Series One, Kingdom of the Dead will also feature Lysette Anthony, Alec Newman, Lizzie Hopley, Jerry Lacy and David Warner.[8] [9][10]

# Title Author Released
1 The House of Despair Stuart Manning 2006
2 The Book of Temptation Scott Handcock 2006
3 The Christmas Presence Scott Handcock 2007
4 The Rage Beneath Scott Alan Woodard 2007
5 Kingdom of the Dead Stuart Manning & Eric Wallace July 2010

Dramatic Readings

Big Finish have also released a number of dramatic readings - a series of plays, usually featuring two actors. The first of these, released in August 2007, were based on Lara Parker's original novel, Angelique's Descent.

# Title Author Featuring With Released
1 Angelique's Descent: Innocence Lara Parker Lara Parker as Angelique Andrew Collins as Barnabas August 2007
2 Angelique's Descent: Betrayal Lara Parker Lara Parker as Angelique Andrew Collins as Barnabas August 2007
3 Clothes of Sand Stuart Manning Kathryn Leigh Scott as Maggie Alec Newman as The Sandman July 2008
4 The Ghost Watcher Stuart Manning Kathryn Leigh Scott as Maggie Alec Newman as Nathan Hawkins July 2008
5 The Skin Walkers Scott Handcock David Selby as Quentin Lara Parker as Angelique November 2008
6 The Path of Fate Stephen Mark Rainey Lara Parker as Angelique David Selby as Quentin November 2008
7 The Wicked and the Dead Eric Wallace Jerry Lacy as Gregory Trask John Karlen as Carl Collins January 2009
8 Echoes of Insanity D Lynn Smith John Karlen as Willie Loomis Lara Parker as Angelique July 2009
9 Curse of the Pharaoh Stephen Mark Rainey Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Marie Wallace as Gretchen Warwick September 2009
10 Final Judgement D Lynn Smith Lara Parker as Angelique Kathryn Leigh Scott as Josette February 2010
11 Blood Dance Stephen Mark Rainey David Selby as Quentin Lisa Richards April 2010
12 The Doll House James Goss Marie Wallace as Jenny 2010
13 London's Burning Joseph Lidster David Selby as Quentin 2010

TV and film locations

Both theatrical films, House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971) were shot primarily on location at the Lyndhurst estate in Tarrytown, New York. The Collinwood stand-in mansion used for the TV series is the Carey Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island (though the shots in the opening credits of the water and cliffs were done in Kennebunkport, Maine). It is currently used by Salve Regina University. The exteriors for the "Old House" (original Collinwood mansion) were filmed at Spratt Mansion which was also located on the Lyndhurst estate. This mansion was destroyed by fire in 1969. The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in South Norwalk, Connecticut was also used for some scenes in House of Dark Shadows. Some outdoors shots for the series were filmed in the famous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, not very far from the Lyndhurst Mansion.

Influence

Dark Shadows pioneered the concept of a soap opera with a supernatural theme. Followed by Strange Paradise, a Canadian-made serial broadcast in Canada on CBC Television and in the United States in syndication from October 20, 1969 to July 22, 1970. (U.S. airdates varied. 195 half-hour episodes were produced). In later years, the prime-time satire Soap would introduce an Exorcist-inspired storyline. Days of Our Lives would feature a groundbreaking plot in which its leading female character, Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), was possessed by Satan. Coming full circle, the soap operas Port Charles and Passions would emerge in the 1990s, both largely driven by supernatural-based plots involving vampires, witches, and werewolves. The popular Joss Whedon series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, with their continuing serial plotlines, could be described as treading a path first laid by Dark Shadows. The popular gay and lesbian here! network has produced its own supernatural soap operas in "Dante's Cove" and "The Lair" which both contain witchcraft and vampire storylines. Dark Shadows is also widely credited with introducing the concept of the "compassionate vampire", the mostly "good" vampire tortured by his affliction and looking for a cure. This concept has continued to be used in most vampire TV shows and movies ever since.

During the 1970 "Parallel Time" storyline, Barnabas is trapped in his coffin and forced to relate his vampiric history to a down-and-out writer, who hopes to publish the interviews as a book. This anticipated Anne Rice's wildly popular cult series of novels that themselves could be considered a vampire soap opera. The plot of Rice's first book in this series — Interview with the Vampire — is about a down-and-out writer who listens to a vampire relate his tortured history. Also like Dark Shadows, Rice's narratives often feature abrupt shifts in time periods (as whichever vampire is currently narrating his story will relate stories from varying points in his centuries-long existence).

References

Bibliography

  • The Dark Shadows Companion: 25th Anniversary Collection, edited by Kathryn Leigh Scott, foreword by Jonathan Frid, Pomegranate Press, 1990. ISBN 0-938817-25-6
  • Dark Shadows Almanac, edited by Kathryn Leigh Scott & Jim Pierson, Pomegranate Press, 1995. ISBN 0-938817-18-3
  • Dark Shadows: The Comic Strip Book, by Kenneth Bruce Bald (illustrator), Pomegranate Press, 1996. ISBN 0938817396

Further reading

  • Borzellieri, Frank. "The Physics of Dark Shadows". Cultural Studies Press, 2008. ISBN 9780981540702
  • Clute, John and Grant, John. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. St. Martin's Press, 1999. p 823. ISBN 0312198698
  • Hamrick, Craig. Barnabas & Company: The Cast of the TV Classic Dark Shadows. iUniverse, 2003. ISBN 0595290299
  • Jones, Stephen. The Essential Monster Movie Guide: A Century of Creature Features on Film, TV and Video. Watson-Guptill, 2000. p. 99. ISBN 0823079368
  • Krensky, Stephen. Vampires. Lerner Publications, 2007. p. 48. ISBN 0822558912
  • Mansour, David. From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia Of The Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2005. p. 109. ISBN 0740751182
  • McNally, Raymond T. and Florescu, Radu R. In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires. Houghton Mifflin Books, 1994. p. 270. ISBN 0395657830
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