Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dark Shadows and Vampires

I can truthfully say that I've been a fan of DARK SHADOWS since I was ten years old.  It first showed up on TV waaaay back in 1966 and ran for five years, until 1971.  A gothic soap opera, the likes of which nobody had ever seen, titillated and thrilled with the story line that included vampires, werewolves, witches and dare I say---leviathans!

I was one of those rabid fans, and had a serious crush on Jonathan Frid, who played the vampire Barnabas Collins.  Sadly, he recently died on Friday, April 13th, at the age of 87---RIP.  I'm sure I wasn't the only young girl who sent away and anxiously awaited the free fan photo.  It finally came in the mail, and had a constant place under my pillow at night.

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins

On the days when our school bus was delayed (my memory is a bit sketchy at the reason), my mother would tape the show on an ancient reel-to-reel tape recorder, and I'd listen to the audio later that night.  Those were back in the days before VCRs, and it took a lot of imagination sometimes to figure out what exactly was happening in the scene---all those dreaded, heavy silences drove me mad--wondering.

 I obsessively collected the novels and read them under blanket cover late at night, scaring the bejeebers out of  me.  They were written by gothic novelist W. E. Daniel "Dan" Ross under the pseudonym Marilyn Ross (his wife's name).

I recently learned that two former actresses on the series have their own novels based on the show--Lara Parker (who played Angelique) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (who played Josette).  And I even developed a crush on David Selby, who played the werewolf Quentin Collins.  How could anyone resist those sideburns?

David Selby as Quentin Collins, werewolf
I also had his fan photo, and it lay safely under my pillow, along with Barnabas'.

And oh!  That music!  There was something about that haunting, eerie music.  I bought the record album (remember those?) and played it over and over.  I still have that album, forty-six years later!  According to Wikipedia, the original soundtrack made the top 20 on the Billboard national  chart in 1969 and still ranks as one of the top-selling TV soundtracks ever.

Well!  Let me just announce right here that I was beside myself with joy---giddy, one might say, when I heard that there would be a new DARK SHADOWS movie.  And I was even more excited when I heard that none other than Tim Burton would be directing it.  I've been a fan of his work from the get-go, and knew that something special would come of it.   Then to find out that Johnny Depp would play Barnabas?  I tell ya, that was a swoonable moment.  Not to mention the lovely Ms. Pfeiffer.

Johnny Depp and the cast of the DARK SHADOWS movie

When I saw the first trailer, I was blown away.  WHAT?  A SPOOF?  of my beloved DARK SHADOWS!  Yes!  It totally works!  I love the idea.  I, ahem, recently wrote my own vampire spoof, THE JOURNAL OF MINA HARKER, and am totally delighted that the writers and director decided to play it this way.  After all, there are many who say that the original show was played a bit tongue-in-cheek anyway.  (Oh come on, yes it was!)

If you go back and watch the show on DVDs (yes, of course I own them!), you just have to laugh.  At the time, of course, I didn't see it as funny--it was serious stuff.   I've been watching the trailers over and over, and I cannot wait to see the movie.  Stay tuned for a review, right here!

In the meantime, listen to this interview of the writer, Seth Grahame-Smith.  BTW, he also penned the script for the new ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER movie coming out in June.

RIP, Jonathan.
But in the meantime, won't you meet me down at the Blue Whale, where we'll hoist a pint of ale (or root beer) in honor of the original DARK SHADOWS cast.

 In memory of those who have crossed.  Or have they?  ;-)

 (Cue the howling wolf. Cue flapping wings.)

Happy trails!

bobbi c.


Elizabeth said...

Oh my, it sounds like we had identical childhoods as re' DARK SHADOWS, though we had no recorder. My memory is fuzzy as to when it aired. I think it was after school? I lived right across the street from my grade school. I know I watched reruns of the FUGITIVE over the lunch hour but I never got to see the whole show as had to return to school.

I still have all my old fan magazines like TIGER BEAT , I should haul them out and re-read. I meant to with the passing of Davy Jones.

About Bobbi C. said...

Hi Elizabeth! Yes, I think it was after school, but since I rode the bus, I didn't get home til later on some days. I was also a huge FUGITIVE fan! Also had a fan pic of David Janssen. :-)

I never had TIGER BEAT! What fun!

Anonymous said...

One memorable episode was put on reel to reel for me too!!!! (When Josette and Barnabas were on the cliff and...shhhh I won't say more if anyone doesn't know that episode.) I thought WE were the only ones with reel-to-reels still then....

My dad wrote up accounts of it in his letters for me when I stayed with my grandmother because her t.v. station ran it ONE MONTH behind & her t.v. was B & W only.

Elizabeth in my state it aired as follows: It aired at 2:30 p.m. (Central Time) on our local station, 3:30 p.m. Central on the state capital's station and 4:00 p.m. on another station. (Central time is one hour behind Eastern.) The stations that ran it later ones were also behind so if I missed them I could catch them later. The 3:30 station was a month behind, the 4:00 one was a week behind.

I didn't know how to get the fan pix then. How lucky & smart that you did!

Loved your post, Bobbi!!!!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm older than you, it was my kids who dashed home (no school bus) to watch Dark Shadows with me. We all loved it. My high school Camp Fire Girls put on a musical based on Dark Shadows, we used the sound track and popular songs of the day. The grand finale was all of the characters singing "Let the Sunshine In." Can hardly wait for the new version.

About Bobbi C. said...

Hi Brenda! I faintly remember the cliff scene. I got the set of DVDs for Christmas last year, but haven't worked my way through all of them yet.

I have no clue how we got the fan photos. Maybe my mother wrote to the station? Either way, I remember it took forever for them to arrive! LOL

About Bobbi C. said...

Hi Marilyn!

A DS musical? Oh, what fun! I was into musicals back then, too. That would have been heaven.

I think this movie will be popular with new folks AND those of us who remember the original ones. Can't wait for it!