Dark Shadows, well this show was one of my favorites growing up in the 1960’s-70’s. Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) was my first vampire love, lol! I loved being scared as a kid, (wow that sounds kinda messed up, doesn’t it?) but anyways, I remember running into the kitchen and grabbing the refrigerator door and hiding behind it when Barnabus was about to bite someone! I loved the song intro at the beginning it was so haunting yet so beautiful, seeing the ocean tide washing up on shore with the big mysterious Collinwood house in the background, sends shivers up my spine while I am writing this…
Vicky was the prominent character on Dark Shadows for its first year of existence. For that year, each episode’s opening narration began with, “My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning. A journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me and link my past with my future. A journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea high atop Widows’ Hill – a house called Collinwood. A world I’ve never known, with people I’ve never met. People who tonight are still only shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of my tomorrows.
Dark Shadow synopsis – The rich Collins family of Collinsport, Maine is tormented by strange occurrences. It starts out with Governess Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke) on a twilight-bound train, to the hulking inky outline of the ominous Collinwood mansion. Grave-robbing drifter Willie Loomis (John Karlen) released vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) from imprisonment in the Collins family mausoleum. Barnabas is an angst-ridden vampire searching redemption. In the coming years, the residents of Collinsport would be victims to werewolves, witches, and warlocks, even the Devil himself. Dark Shadows featured werewolves, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel, and a parallel universe.
Amongst the most popular supernatural characters were Angélique (Lara Parker), a beautiful vengeful witch who gave the vampire curse to Barnabas, and Quentin Collins (David Selby) a Byronic teen idol afflicted with the werewolf curse. Some more notable actors/actresses that were on the show included Jerry Lacy (Gregory Trask), Joel Crothers (Joe Haskell), Louis Edmonds (Roger Collins), Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard), Grayson Hall (Dr. Julia Hoffman), all who went onto various Soap Opera‘s after this show was canceled. They include:
Lara Parker (Capitol, Linda Vandenburg & One Life to Live, Carol Phipps)
David Selby (Flamingo Road, Michael Tyrone & Falcon Crest, Richard Channing)
Jerry Lacy (Love of Life, Rick Latimer #5 & The Young and the Restless, Jonas)
Joel Crothers (The Edge of Night, Dr. Miles Cavanaugh & Santa Barbara, Jack Stanfield Lee)
Louis Edmonds (Search for Tomorrow, Carl & All My Children – Langley Wallingford)
Nancy Barrett (The Doctors, Kathy Ryker #2 & One Life to Live, Assistant District Attorney Debra Van Druden / Rachel Wilson Farmer & Ryan’s Hope, Dr. Faith Coleridge)
Grayson Hall (One Life to Live, Euphemia Ralston)
We even were introduced to a young aspiring actress named Kate Jackson, who later went onto series such as The Rookies (Jill Danko), Charlie’s Angels (Sabrina Duncan) & Scarecrow and Mrs. King (Mrs. Amanda King).
This original version of Dark Shadows ran from 1965 to 1971.
There have been two series of Dark Shadows novels, many magazines featured the show and it’s cast, and there were also comic books featuring the show, and two board games, a few coloring books, a jigsaw puzzle and a View-Master reel. (I remembering have some of these items!)
The Original Dark Shadows Series Limited Edition Complete Series Box Set was released April 2012 in the shape of a coffin. Only 2,500 copies of these will be made. In July 2012 an unlimited set will be available that does not include the limited edition card signed by Jonathan Frid or the serial numbers on the bottom of the box.
Dark Shadows pioneered the concept of a soap opera with a supernatural theme. TV Shows that have followed in that theme have been, Strange Paradise, Soap Opera’s Port Charles and Passions both had supernatural-based plots involving vampires, witches, and werewolves. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Dante’s Cove and The Lair.
In 1991 it was revived again on NBC with Ben Cross playing Barnabas Collins and Joanna Going playing Victoria Winters. It also starred veterans Jean Simmons as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Roy Thinnes as Roger Collins, British character actress Lysette Anthony as Angelique Collins, Barbara Steele as Julia Hoffman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as David Collins. The revival was a lavish, big budget weekly serial combining Gothic romance and stylistic horror. It did not last as long as the original series and was canceled after the 1st season.
In 2004 WB Channel decided to give it a try, it was set to star Marley Shelton as Victoria Winters and Alec Newman as Barnabas Collins but it was written and shot, but never picked up.
Now here we are in 2012 with Tim Burton having a go at it in movie version form…Tim diected it and the yummy Johnny Depp is starring as (you guessed it!) Barnabas Collins! As a child, Johnny Depp was so obsessed with Barnabas Collins that he wanted to be him. Well, guess what Johnny your wish came true. This film also stars the beautiful and talented Eva Green (Angelique Bouchard), Helena Bonham Carter (Dr. Julia Hoffman), Michelle Pfeiffer (Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard), Chloe Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard), Gulliver McGrath (David Collins), Bella Heathcote (Victoria Winters), Jonny Lee Miller (Roger Collins) and Jackie Earle Haley (Willie Loomis).
Dark Shadows 1960’s-1970’s TV Series Tidbits:
-For more than a year and a half the characters of “Dark Shadows” used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins (“He’s not alive!” “He’s one of the undead.” “He walks at night but he ain’t alive.”) It wasn’t until the 410th episode that the word “vampire” was actually used on the show.
-The first time Jonathan Frid had to bite a victim, he had to rush to the set in a matter of seconds. He only had a matter of seconds to put his fangs in; they wound up going in upside down and he chewed them to bits.
-The interior of the Collinswood mansion was actually built in a studio in New York City. The exterior was a real house, but it wasn’t in Maine-it was in Newport, Rhode Island.
-The portrait of Angelique was invested with certain powers, and when something happened to her, it faded and cracked. When her life was restored, the portrait was restored.
-Quentin Collins’ portrait was the ultimate: they were doing Dorian Grey. He didn’t age, the portrait did; and any injuries he suffered happened to the portrait instead.
-The portrait of Barnabas was usually in the foyer at Collinwood, and the camera would pan mysteriously to it when something ominous was about to happen (accompanied by eerie music)
-Thayer David holds the record for playing the most characters in this series. He portrayed Matthew Morgan #2, Ben Stokes (in 1795), Prof. Timothy Eliot Stokes, Sandor Rakosi (in 1898), Count Petofi (also in 1898), Stokes (Parallel Time), aged Prof. Stokes (1995), aged Ben Stokes (1840), aged Ben Stokes (Parallel Time, 1840).
-Since the show was canceled rather suddenly, viewers never learned Barnabas’ fate. But according to one of the writers, here’s what they had planned – Barnabas was going to marry his doctor, Julia Hoffman, and move to Asia, where she would eventually discover a cure for his vampirism.
To this very day Dark Shadows continues to be a cult favorite…
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