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I'm sorry but I just NEED to talk about DARK SHADOWS


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Believe it or not,

I have agonized somewhat over whether to start this thread...but I did not want to derail the I JUST WATCHED thread any more. I know this is not 100% on-topic, but if the moderators could humor me enough to let it linger in GENERAL DISCUSSIONS, i'd appreciate it. 

[I'd rather not derail the I JUST WATCHED thread further]

also...

feel compelled to do so, as though driven by forces I myself cannot underst-  G*DDAMMIT, I CAN'T GET THAT DAMN MUSIC OUT OF MY HEAD.

All right, so, as a casual fan of DARK SHADOWS, I grew up with the 1991 revival, then saw HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS then moments of the classic Daytime drama here and there.

Some days ago, I watched THE HAUNTING OF COLLINWOOD which is a 3 hour compendum of the QUENTIN COLLINS/TURN OF THE SCREW STORYLINE and I found myself so struck by the talent of the actors and the handsomeness of the production  that I started watching the full episodes on TUBI starting at the point where QUENTIN (who is still a silent ghost)  drives the family out of Collinwood. 

A quick guide to the 15 major storylines of Dark Shadows

I did not expect to get so hooked.

I went to get some things out of the laundry, and the next thing I know, it is 1897 and BARNABAS has gone back in time and they've sprayed down GRAYSON HALL with some SALLY HANSON AIRBRUSH LEGS and she's doing a "yew FEELTHY PEEG" routine as a HEEDEEOUS JEEPSEE FORTUNE TELLER [in rural Maine], which was a HOOT, and then we start doing JANE EYRE as well as TURN OF THE SCREW with a little bit of THE LITTLE FOXES thrown in for funsies.

I'm adoring it.

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...I am also struck by how UTTERLY ELECTRIC DAVID SELBY is, his addition to the cast adds a JOLT to a lot of the performers- he and a much more assured JOAN BENNETT work really well together. Every now and then, you see someone on DAYTIME TELEVISION who really transcends the challenges of the format and brings A-Level game to the show (ANNE HECHE on ANOTHER WORLD) also comes to mind.

am i blinded by his SCRUMPTIOUSNESS? Yes, but look:

David Selby as Quentin Collins | Dark shadows tv show, Shadow, David cassidy

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i wish i could find more online images to post of the costumes the show did for the 1897 storyline, I mean week after week they change it up...i cannot imagine what working in that wardrobe department was like.

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I am a huge DARK SHADOWS FAN, as is my mom who watched it through its original broadcasts.  Have all the episodes on DVD.

I always loved the going back in time stories. I especially loved the costumes during the 1897 period.  And Quentin was one smart-**** character but he was so darn funny!

But Barnabas was always my favorite character. Though I have learned to appreciate the pre-Barnabas episodes as well.

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as hard as the work MUST have been, you get the sense that the actors relished the chances the unusual format afforded them to play ALL SORTS of different types, in the 1897 STORY, JOHN KARLEN is playing KARL (not WILLIE) and he is OBVIOUSLY LOVING IT, and THAYER DAVID might just be the MVP of the cast, KATHRYN LEE SCOTT is remarkably at-ease for this to be more-or-less a LIVE BROADCAST (from what I've read it was taped at 3:30, then broadcast at 4:00)

the only actor I do not like is ROGER DAVIS, he's doing standard DAYTIME DRAMA stuff, and it was interesting to read on a gossip website that apparently THE WHOLE CAST HATED HIM.

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Oh, THAT Dark Shadows.  NOT the "dark shadows" Trump said the ones running the democrat party are hiding in.  ;) 

Never been a fan of the show, but mostly because it came on when I was busy earning money at my part time after school job.  It WAS after all, WAY before VCRs came about.  Originally that is.  And when it was resurrected years later(with new cast and all) it didn't catch my attention then since I was into different things by then.  I did know many who liked the original "vampire soap opera" though and realized it had a huge fan base.  

Sepiatone

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3 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Oh, THAT Dark Shadows.  NOT the "dark shadows" Trump said the ones running the democrat party are hiding in.  ;) 

Never been a fan of the show, but mostly because it came on when I was busy earning money at my part time after school job.  It WAS after all, WAY before VCRs came about.  Originally that is.  And when it was resurrected years later(with new cast and all) it didn't catch my attention then since I was into different things by then.  I did know many who liked the original "vampire soap opera" though and realized it had a huge fan base.  

Sepiatone

I somehow missed it as well.  I'm thinking the two local ABC affiliates we got back then didn't carry it, because I never even heard of the show until I was an adult.

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The show debuted when I was in 9th grade('66) and came on in mid afternoon and ran until '71 when I was out of high school and preoccupied with other things besides a soap opera I wasn't familiar with.

Sepiatone

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My wife and I have been watching the series, first on Amazon, and now on TUBI, starting from the first episode. I used to watch as a kid in the 60s, but quit at about the 900th episode or so, when "time travel" became a routine part of the show.  I never saw the first 200 or so episodes, so it was fun starting at the beginning and seeing the characters develop.

A few observations, although I may have more to add later on:

Joan Bennett is lousy in this. She's a good actress, but this is not her milieu. Every line is simply read, she can't get through a scene without clasping her hands, and she moves her head and neck forward every time she speaks.  Jonathan Frid is not as bad as I remember, and since I read he was dyslexic, I can cut him some slack when he bumbles lines.  Mitchell Ryan  (who played the original Burke Devlin) was so-so; he had this annoying habit of swinging his arm every time he talked. Some of the better actors in the cast were Joel Crothers and Denise Nickerson, probably because they appeared the most natural and didn't seem to be acting.

We are now at the Quentin storyline, although Lorna, you are a bit ahead of us. The silver craftsman (played by Abe Vigoda!!!) just croaked in fear.

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I saw the original episodes starting around the Barnabus story line after high school. I luckily, on most days, made it home just in time. So I caught the Barnabus, Adam, and Quentin storylines pretty much in toto. Then I went off to college and it wasn't available.

I always got a kick out of John Karlen's Willy Loomis, and Grayson Hall's Magda, had a crush on Laura Parker, and Katherine Leigh Scott. It wasn't until the Coffin Set came out that my wife and I where able to see the complete show run.

The first 200  B&W episodes play like a Gothic Film Noir and have a lot of actual on location footage. The first hint of the supernatural came with the "Phoenix" story line Rodger Collins' long missing wife returns from Egypt with a gold scarab and a power over fire. Then the tag team of Jason McGuire and Willie Loomis show up to blackmail Elizabeth over the mysterious dissapearance of her husband 20 years ago. 

Willie gets obsessed with the Collins family jewels finally figuring out that they may be hidden in the Collins family mausoleum. When he discovers the secret room and the chained coffin he thinks he's hit paydirt. Lol

Anyway the series had some high points and some low. Lowest for me where it bogs are the beginning of the Adam storyline (it  becomes a hoot when Eve is constructed), and  the whole Leviathan storyline needed expensive special effects to pull off, which wasn't in their budget.

 

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4 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

...I am also struck by how UTTERLY ELECTRIC DAVID SELBY is, his addition to the cast adds a JOLT to a lot of the performers- he and a much more assured JOAN BENNETT work really well together. Every now and then, you see someone on DAYTIME TELEVISION who really transcends the challenges of the format and brings A-Level game to the show (ANNE HECHE on ANOTHER WORLD) also comes to mind.

am i blinded by his SCRUMPTIOUSNESS? Yes, but look:

David Selby as Quentin Collins | Dark shadows tv show, Shadow, David cassidy

Lorna, you need never apologize when it's a matter of obsession with Dark Shadows. I'd be disappointed if you weren't obsessed with it! Granted, the show is not to everyone's taste; the show had its highs and lows, with most of us considering the 1897 and 1840 stories to be high points. Joan Bennett is much better in the 1897 storyline than as present-day Elizabeth Stoddard Collins. I was stunned when I saw movies like Scarlet Street and discovered that she was a good actress with plenty of screen presence.

David Selby was great as Quentin. For weeks we only heard him laugh. Because he was so popular, the writers developed the 1897 story to explain Quentin's past. Selby would probably have been a top movie star of the studio era in swashbuckling adventures, romantic dramas, and westerns.

Not that I was obsessed with Dark Shadows or anything, but I remember leaving an anti-war protest to catch the bus to go home and watch Dark Shadows.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Cigarjoe cellph said:

The first hint of the supernatural came with the "Phoenix" story line Rodger Collins' long missing wife returns from Egypt with a gold scarab and a power over fire.

The first supernatural element on DARK SHADOWS was the appearance of the ghost of Josette Collins, which happened before the Laura Collins Phoenix  storyline.  The   ghost of Josette was seen walking about when no other characters were around ----- letting the audience know that the ghost was real and not a figment of a character's imagination. 

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Because I was a horror movie fan (and still am), I dutifully watched Dark Shadows during its original broadcasts. At the time, I found it a chore to watch (I was a preteen when it debuted and in high school when it ended). The lethargic pacing of the daytime soap opera format was the challenge for me. Nonetheless, when the feature-film House of Dark Shadows was released, I eagerly and without reservation went to see it.

. . . and loved it!

More dynamically executed and more swiftly paced than the TV soap (for obvious reasons), the Big Screen rendition also benefited from stylish camerawork; effective editing; and above all, a focused minatory mood and an unrestrained, Blood 'n Thunder production that screamed "HORROR FILM!" Best of all, Barnabas Collins was, delightfully, more villainous, more savage, vicious, and frightening (on TV, he struck me as rather a glum drip) -- a worthy rival to Count Dracula and Count Yorga. The memorable dramatic finale must be seen in a movie theatre to be truly appreciated and savored, IMO. Dan Curtis' thrilling staging; the perfect, atmospheric set design; and especially the exhilarating audio effects (Barnabas' roaring command to Jeff Clark reverberated throughout the theatre auditorium, the walls of which seemed to tremble, thanks to the theatre's sound system) -- all combined components resulted, for me, in spectacular success and maximum pleasure.  

The follow-up, Night of Dark Shadows, I initially found underwhelming and disappointing. However, I have grown to love it also. I am particularly fond of Robert Cobert's closing, lovely, melancholy "Joanna's Theme".

Several years ago, I attended a double-feature of House and Night, which featured in-person appearances by Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker. Against my better judgment, I let a former friend, who accompanied me, convince me to actually meet and talk to the two actresses. During our brief tête-à-tête, my "friend" announced to Lara Parker, "He has a crush on you!"

A friend behaves like this?

Before I could dash from the scene (after first strangling the accursed blabbermouth), the septuagenarian Ms. Parker (still an enticing enchantress, to my adoring eyes) smiled, cooed, "Oh, really?" then raised one of her delicate hands to softly stroke one of my cheeks.

. . . which has remained unwashed and untainted to this day.

*******

Thoughts on the 1991 TV revival with Ben Cross, Jean Simmons, and Barbara Steele and on Tim Burton's interpretation?

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I didn't watch Dark Shadows -- the timing was not convenient -- but I did love Strange Paradise, a Canadian horror show inspired by the success of Dark Shadows.

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Great idea to have a dedicated Dark Shadows thread.  Thanks Lorna!

I have been a fan since the initial run and have been watching ever since.  

I agree that Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott were marvelous actresses (KLS more subdued,  while Lara occasionally veered into the Grayson Hall School of Emoting.....) I'll also note the performances of Diana Millay, Marie Wallace and Virginia Vestoff.

However, my favorite actress remains Nancy Barrett,  on whom I had a bit of a crush.  She's appeared on a number of DVDs with commentary.   I also have all of KLS's books about the show.  They both note the thrill and appreciation of appearing in what basically was a summer stock experience,  knowing that your character's demise didn't mean loss of employment,  but the chance for resurrection in one form or another. 

Interesting that the female cast members were, to me, the better performers,  while the men (with exceptions) seem to have been chosen primarily for their devastatingly good looks and chiseled jaw lines!

I do feel for Joan's difficulties with the production, which she admitted to in various talkshow  interviews.   The rapid pace of script memorization,  short rehearsal time and speed were quite different from her movie days.

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The show was shot live on tape, usually with just one take (something that creator Dan Curtis insisted on ) so that would be different than working on a movie where when you make a mistake you can stop filming and do another take until you get it right.

I think Joan did just fine as Elizabeth and all her other roles on the show. But I agree with Roy that Nancy Barrett was the most versatile actress of the show. She was a great screamer too.

 

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THIS VIDEO is comprised entirely of DARK SHADOWS actors remembering what JOAN BENNETT was like. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE WATCH.

PS- OH TO HAVE BEEN A FLY ON THE WALL DURING HER AND LOUIS EDMUONDS'S SUNDAY GOSSIP AND COCKTAIL SESSIONS!!!!!!!!

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Wasn't the same after Victoria winters ( Alexandra Moltke) and Burke Devlin ( Mitchell Ryan) where written out , Ryan was an alcohlic and Moltke wanted to start a family she later left her husband for a man suspected of killing his wife to be with her, she also testified at his murder trial.

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1 minute ago, Millenniumman said:

Wasn't the same after Victoria winters ( Alexandra Moltke) and Burke Devlin ( Mitchell Ryan) where written out , Ryan was an alcohlic and Moltke wanted to start a family she later left her husband for a man suspected of killing his wife to be with her, she also testified at his murder trial.

Numerous sources stated RYAN (aka GREG'S DAD on DHARMA AND GREG) was fired for coming in drunk and blowing his lines. some of his scenes in the BLOOPER REEL are PAINFUL TO WATCH, there are moments where fellow actors have to feed him the lines.

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19 hours ago, Cigarjoe cellph said:

 Lowest for me where it bogs are the beginning of the Adam storyline (it  becomes a hoot when Eve is constructed), and  the whole Leviathan storyline needed expensive special effects to pull off, which wasn't in their budget.

 

EVERYONE seems to hate the LEVIATHAN story, even DAN CURTIS.

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