This is the first in a series of blog entries about Dark Shadows. A show that is truly near and dear to my heart.
I could drone on about how much I love this show but let’s cut right to the chase.
Greg and myself have both been watching 5 episodes a week that the audience would have watched exactly 50 years ago. We experience the show how the captive audience experienced it, complete with the Friday cliffhanger. Since 2016, we have enjoyed lots of memorable moments and stories. If you know the show, you know what has happened.
At this point 50 years ago, the 1897 story, which was arguably the best storyline the show ever had in its almost five-year run, was wrapping up and the audience was about to be catapulted into one of the most interesting and daring storylines that they could have tried to continue the momentum that they had built up over the preceding months.
I realize that this isn’t the true beginning of the Leviathan plot, but I want to use these preceding shows for a couple of reasons: To get used to doing this and also to show how good the show is at this point before it’s creepy slight downfall.
I will be giving my thoughts episode by episode. I will not be going into too much detail on the plot, please use my episode guide and follow along!
Episode 881 – Monday 11/10/69
Garth Blackwood, played here by John Harkins, is really trying to chew up the scenery. Not quite on a Shatner level, but he sure leaves his mark on the walls. So much so that he flubs his lines in the teaser/recap of Friday’s cliffhanger.
Roger Davis doesn’t do much better. Through his eagerness, he has to pump the prop gun *five* times before it fires a blank.
So Petofi wants to change minds with Quentin a second time. Quentin Collins of course expects this. So why does he delay leaving? I would leave IMMEDIATELY!
The technical effect used during Pansy Faye’s second sight is quite good for the time. I am always amazed at what they could pull off with limited means of the era.
This 1897 plot has always been rock solid in so many ways. I don’t have enough time to describe them. My concern for Quentin is always at its peak, especially now. I suspect there isn’t a person in the 1969 audience who would even remotely be on Count Petofi’s side.
There is another viewing angle to note on this particular date… I defer to another great blog, Dark Shadows Everyday, to expand on that matter.
Episode 882 – Tuesday 11/11/69
Quentin has to stay awake to avoid the mind switch. Hasn’t anyone thought of using a carriage? A horse? Something else? These are the kinds of dilemmas that are all to absent in the plot to come.
Angelique is making a very hard plea here in her description of why she was granted a reprieve from the great fiasco she had in 1968! At least she wasn’t forced to keep wearing that black wig and green dress.
Of course they have to sing “I Wanna Dance With You” again, they have a record to sell! Problem is it didn’t sell that well.
Surely someone could try giving Quentin coffee to keep him awake!
But, alas, someone is caught trying to do something good by the bad person. A standard soap opera trope!
Episode 883 – Wednesday 11/12/69
Oh that hand. One last time it rears its ugly head.
There are all sorts of audio issues throughout this episode. The technical oriented side of me (blast having a career in this medium) notices this every time!
The great thing about a story that you have been following for months is watching the character you have hated get their comeuppance.
Why couldn’t Pansy Faye find the portrait of Quentin with her second sight before? It’s just a convenient plot point, isn’t it?
Episode 884 – Thursday 11/13/69
It’s sad to see the Evans cottage set go. It was one of the original sets from the beginning.
It’s also so sad to see the end of this part of the Quentin and Amanda story. If you’ve seen the show before, you know this isn’t the end for them. To be continued…
Now Kitty shows up and we start to get to the meat and potatoes of what leads up to the Leviathans. While Barnabas is trying to convince Kitty to do what is best for her, Jonathan Frid commits a very egregious flubbed line…
“To go among strangers…well, no one will love you nor you or Kitty or Josette.”Barnabas Collins – 1897
You had to admire Judith for thinking out this entire plan in what seems like no time. Driving a scheming bastard like Gregory Trask to his comeuppance with great elegance. I will spare you the non-gory details. It’s not gory of course because the reader must remember that this is daytime television in 1969 and things aren’t very suggestive yet.
But, what is suggestive is how you can pull off the special effects in 1969 of having Kitty and Barnabas fade into the portrait of Josette duPres.
Episode 885 – Friday 11/14/69
So Kitty and Barnabas have both ended up in the past. Correction: Josette. Confused yet? So now we’re back in 1795… or 1796… or 1797… whatever the writers feel like referring to this time as.
So now we see all of the things that took place 460 episodes ago. Well, not quite the same. Or will it be? Josette is at the cliff of Widow’s Hill yet again, but as any good Friday cliffhanger would do, she doesn’t know what to do! At least this is a better cliffhanger (literally) than episode 425 in which she jumped! Maybe it’ll turn out different? Who knows. We’ll find out Monday.
Now, if the viewer back then had no indication that things were about to change, they certainly got a big clue from ABC. Have a listed to the audio of the closing credits from the original broadcast:
Indeed. See you next week!