Shadows on the Wall

Those who know me know I have loved the classic Gothic soaper “Dark Shadows” for many years. Me and Greg have been watching the show on DVD over the years. As of the night of this writing, we have reached the end of the series, which aired on April 2, 1971. Our intention is to go back to the beginning again. Back to June 1966.

I’ve always been fascinated with how TV is made and accomplished. That’s the big reason why I studied, trained, and now work in TV. It was a difficult show with witches, vampires, spirits and such. The show constantly needed special effects that was difficult to achieve given the equipment of the period. Just as equally fascinating is looking at where the show was actually recorded, the studios where all the magic happened.

“Dark Shadows” utilized two studios over the course of its run of almost five years. The first was ABC TV-2 near ABC’s headquarters at 77 West 66th Street. (The studio is actually located on 67th Street)

Outside of ABC on West 66th Street in NYC

DS taped its first 11 weeks here (through episode 55.) This studio is still in use today, currently it is the home of “The Chew”. There is great info about the modern look and equipment the studio offers at this link.

I have a pretty good feeling that TV-2 was only a temporary home for the series. At this time, ABC was renovating a former lumber yard in another part of Manhattan.

Original ABC TV-16 Exterior

Original ABC TV-16 Exterior

Former ABC TV-16 Exterior

The building in later days

This is ABC TV-16 at 433 West 53rd Street. DS moved here during a one-week taping break in August 1966. It must have been nice to be the new tenants of a newly renovated studio. The situation reminds me of when we converted from SD to HD at my station. New equipment, new challenges. The show had a great run here, with all the ghosts and ghouls and wonderful writing, acting and production filling the stage. Oh how it must have been fun to work on a series like this! All good things must come to an end however, and the show did so on April 2, 1971. DS remains a legendary show to this day. The studio itself however would have more legendary shows to come. It would later house the popular ABC soap “Ryan’s Hope” for the first 10 years of its run, from 1975-1985.

The picture above is from our first trip to New York City in April 2014. I made it a point to visit this location. And I’m glad I did, because it won’t be there for much longer.

That’s right, the famous studio which was home to all those great shows is about to become just another group of way-too-expensive condos. Oh well, time marches on. But the memories will remain. Forever.

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