ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Confessions of a "Dark Shadows" geek

Updated on July 12, 2015

I was one of those geeky kids who ran home from school every day to catch up on the latest misadventures of Barnabas the vampire, Quentin the werewolf and Angelique the witch; i.e. the original TV series, "Dark Shadows". But wait, there's more- I own the soundtrack record album, several videos and DVDs and books on DS.

What was it about this show, the strangest soap opera ever created, that captured the imagination of so many in its late 1960's -early '70s run?

It started out as a run of the mill soap opera. Occasionally, a supernatural occurrence was hinted at, until the plotline of Laura Collins the phoenix was introduced. Anemic ratings put the show on the verge of cancellation, but director Dan Curtis' daughter had an idea. Why not go full boogeyman and introduce a vampire? Curtis didn't think that would bail out the show, but figured it might as well go out in flames.

When Barnabas Collins, the (ahem) cousin from England first knocked on Collinwood's door, Curtis' original intention was to have him for a few episodes; serve him up a wooden stake and be done with it.

But Barnabas became so phenomenally popular that he remained a staple of the show right until the series end, and actor Jonathan Frid became the de facto star. Moreover, Barnabas became an object of sympathy- he felt awful about what he had to do to stay alive, make that undead. The vampire plotline opened a Pandora's box of supernatural critters. Who would have thought a remote seaside town in Maine would be home to so many werewolves, witches, ghosts and zombies? Classics like "Frankenstein", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and "The Turning of the Screw" "inspired" more plot lines, and time travel and parallel universe allowed for actors whose characters were killed off to come back in different incarnations,

Much of the credit for the show's success has to go to Robert Cobert and his orchestra; whose spot on soundtrack music made some of the dialogue and action that would have otherwise seemed boring and/or silly much more suspenseful. Ahead of its times special effects also were a boon. Even the occasional bloopers- a misread or forgotten line or stagehand appearing in a scene added a certain charm to the show which was filmed live.

The show ran out of steam with the overly long Leviathan plot, and a move to parallel time where Frid played his only non-Barnabas character, Bramwell. But the TV show's demise coincided with the release of the theatrical film "House of Dark Shadows" in which Barnabas remains a bad batty from beginning to end, with an R rating that allowed for much more graphic action. Shortly after came "Night of Dark Shadows" which largely departed from the series and was centered on the ghost of witch Angelique.

Revival attempts have been less than successful. A prime time version starring Ben Cross as Barnabas opened to great acclaim, but eventually was overshadowed and often preempted by coverage of Pres. George H.W. Bush's Gulf War. It didn't help that it was scheduled for Friday nights, one of the lowest nights for TV viewership.

The theatrical version directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp was met with derision by most of the show's original fans, due to some departure from the original show's plotlines and some comical touches. (Full disclosure, this correspondent liked the movie.)

Nevertheless, "Dark Shadows" retains a "Star Trek" like fanatical fan base with web pages, new books by former stars Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker and others coming out almost monthly and annual conventions held in LA and NYC.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)