Beginnings

It’s morning at Collinwood, so we’re safe. Nothing’s popping out of the ground,  particularly during the time of the show that I’m going to start working on now. Yes I haven’t posted here in a long long time but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping up with my favorite show and the favorite show of anybody that stops by this blog probably, the original Dark Shadows that began in 1966.

When the show was syndicated, it begin with episodes almost three-quarters of the way through the first year of the show. It cut the early episodes out and went straight to the arrival of signature character Barnabas Collins.

I think they made the right decision. They wanted to jump start some new interest in a show that had been off the air for four years when I saw the syndicated episodes in 1975. And there’s no way to better jump start some interest then to see my favorite actor on the show, John Karlen, gradually obsessed more and more over jewels. He heads on over to the local mausoleum where he believes they’re stowed, and opens a coffin, and gets something he really didn’t bargain for.

 But there were plots, characters and situations leading up to that. Until the Syfy channel broadcast those episodes in the nineties many fans had never seen them including myself. 
In the middle 2000’s MPI decided to issue the beginning episodes on DVD. I was anxious to get them. Due to a number of life catastrophes and poverty I didn’t get them until the next decade. I said, “Wait a minute why didn’t they show this when the show was syndicated?” It would have explained plot point x a little bit that happened later on in the episodes we do see.

Dark Shadows was a completely different show when it premiered in June of 1966, than what it looked like to viewers who saw the beginning of the run when Barnabas pops out of the coffin. It’s much slower paced, and in the first half of those 210 episodes it is much much less supernatural. There’s all these hints of it, but the writers make sure they can explain it away. It’s much more conventional soap with a Gothic twist instead of the monster filled Maelstrom it later became.
 There is a wonderful website called http://www.darkshadowseveryday.com.  that does daily summaries of the episodes one episode per day beginning with the opening of the coffin. What I intend to do is a similar thing for the beginning of the show.  Real world concerns and limitations means I will not be able to do one every day period I’m aiming for once a week so if anyone is a dark shadows fan who’s interested check back weekly and see if there’s a new one. I’m not going to step on Mr. Horn’s toes. He’s doing an excellent thing and I encourage anyone who reads this blog to stop at his site.

It is there I have discovered that reading his summaries is almost more fun than watching the episodes. 

I said almost.

The other thing I intend to do, no disrespect to Mr Horn, is to give Vicki Winters a break. Yes she is utterly clueless and heartbreakingly naive. But I don’t hate her. I feel sorry for her. The closest I get to disliking her is a mild contempt and a couple of eyerolls. My hatred I reserve for James Hall’s Willie.

In the episodes roughly from episode 155 to episode 209 we get a lot of beats that are clearly important touchstones in the show as rough drafts. They were characters and plots that we see again in a more refined version as  the show moves forward. By the same token these characters are unique in and of themselves and I believe that the first version of Laura Murdoch Collins, and her nemesis Dr. Peter Guthrie have their own merit as supernatural creature and fearless supernatural creature Fighter. They deserve their moment in the sun. 

Next time, you and I, and Victoria Winters will take a train ride to Collinsport Maine.

Journal Fun: Megan

​(Apologies to those who are fond of the Leviathan arc) spoilers ahead.
Megan Todd’s journal 3 30 am.
Can’t sleep. I keep having this dream…these people are sitting at a big long table. With notebooks. And cigarettes. And liquor. Lots of liquor.
“So how do we follow up on Selby?”
“I know.  Barnabas can be a Teacher of Monsters Really Awful to Everyone. No nuance. No torment. No guilt. The fans will love it!!!!!!
Jason, I mean Paul Stoddard isn’t dead. He sold A future interest in Carolyn to a bunch of spooks and a slimy monster.”
(Weeks pass)
“Why’d Iet you talk me into this?”

“OK. OK! You can bring Selby back. We’ll hit him with a car…and he won’t remember…”
“Look, I don’t think Jeff Clark can save us from this cluster****. 
” so for the monsters we’ll use perv breathing. Plenty of menace and no chromakey.And an insta teen.”
“…and how do we save the town? Willie Loomis???? Very heroic (bangs head on desk) Angelique? Nicholas Blair? Sky Rumson?”
“Who in the hell is Sky Rumson?!!!”
Third guy :   ” D’Anybody remember the werewolf ?”
“Gimme five episodes. I’ll fix it.”
“I’ve got it! Carolyn will date and marry the guy that *really* killed her father, while having visions that prove he did it!”
A cheer goes up. “Sold!”

Journal Fun: Quentin PT

​Parallel Time: Quentin Collins’ journal 3:30 am.
I’ve spoken with everyone on the estate…also Cyrus, Buffie and that lawyer who had a day job as assistant director of a soap opera.   (“Larry Chase” played by the same Ken McEwen shown in the credits)
And absolutely none of them can tell me why I constantly behave like such an emotionally abusive *****.

Journal Fun: Angelique

Angelique’s Journal / book of spells 3:30 a.m.

I never know what I feel from one day to the next. The only constants in all the time periods and places , are the following :
Jossette and Victoria are faint hearted mealy mouthed passive aggressive little ***ches who are unworthy of him and must be destroyed…

… And since the universe never lets that happen, perpetual suffering is the only thing on the menu for Barnabas Collins.
( note by me. The end of 1840 does not count)

Journal Fun: Phillip

​Phillip Todd’s Journal 3:30 am.
Boarding up windows, enduring unseen and terrifying punishment…all for some baby, a Hitchcock chair and a detached monotonous dude who calls himself Master. 
Where’s episode 980 when you need it?
‘Til then, I need a drink.