Episode 218: Madman with a Box

“There were even those who would like to have considered Barnabas Collins dead. But he lived on. He lived on, and outlived all his enemies.”

Yesterday, we left Jason creeping up to the mausoleum, saying, “Willie?” And that’s where we pick up again today, except now he goes inside and says it some more. This is a seriously committed game of Where’s Willie. Jason spends a whole minute pacing around the small mausoleum set, then stops and whispers, “Willie?” Look, dude, unless Willie is a foot and a half tall and invisible, I’m pretty sure he’s not here.

218 dark shadows doors roger

So now we go over to Collinwood, where Liz and Roger are talking in the drawing room. There’s a knock at the door, so Roger leaves the drawing room, closes the double doors, then crosses the foyer and opens the front doors.

And who should show up but Barnabas, and he’s wearing a hat. He didn’t have that on just a second ago when he was posing in the cemetery. I guess this is his special visiting hat.

Barnabas asks if Elizabeth is here. Roger says yes, and now he has to go and open the drawing room doors all over again. It’s good old-fashioned Dark Shadows door acting; if it wasn’t for doors, every episode would be ten minutes long.

217 dark shadows backacting barnabas liz roger

Barnabas has a proposal for Elizabeth — he’d like to live in the Old House, the spooky wreck of a house where David likes to play. Liz and Roger are surprised, and they ask why he’d want to live somewhere like that.

To answer them, Barnabas crosses the room, stands with his back to them, and delivers a lengthy monologue about his deep connection to the family history.

Liz points out again that she’s surprised that Barnabas even exists; she thought that the “original” Barnabas died in England, unmarried. Barnabas explains that the family was bitterly divided in those days:

Barnabas:  There were even those who would like to have considered Barnabas Collins dead. But he lived on. He lived on, and outlived his enemies. And so you can understand why I would like very much to live in that house.

Which is an utterly peculiar thing to say. Naturally, they’re baffled, so Liz says that she wants to think it over for a few days.

Jason comes back to the house, and he and Liz have another game of Where’s Willie in the library. Move on!

218 dark shadows alone barnabas collinwood

Then Roger goes off to get something, leaving Barnabas to stand in the foyer, just hanging out under the boom mic with nothing to do and nobody to talk to.

I wonder if they have any spare calves around for him to drink. Even a half calf.

Jason wanders by, and meets the newcomer. He says that he recognizes Barnabas from somewhere, but can’t put his finger on where. As Jason says those words, the portrait is directly behind Barnabas, in Jason’s line of sight. Barnabas has to walk over to the portrait and pose next to it before Jason notices it.

218 dark shadows lamp liz

Then Roger joins Liz in the library, and they sit around with the Ralston-Purina lamp and talk about Barnabas and the Old House. This whole episode is just hanging around the house with nothing to do.

Finally, we get a slow pan through the cemetery. Barnabas pauses in front of the mausoleum and looks sad, which also doesn’t count as an ending.

Tomorrow: Addled Quacks.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Jason approaches the mausoleum at the beginning of the episode, the squeaking-door sound effect starts before Jason touches the door.

Tomorrow: Addled Quacks.

218 dark shadows pausing barnabas

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

7 thoughts on “Episode 218: Madman with a Box

  1. I had a similar thought as Jason meticulously searched the outer chamber of the mausoleum. I also love the way big puffs of fog follow characters into places like this.

    Re: The opening and closing of doors at Collinwood. Even as a child, I noticed the amount of time spent on the drawing room doors. But I kind of like it. In fact, I love it.

    And no one opens and closes the double doors to the drawing room with greater flair and drama than Joan Bennett. You know when she closes them shut and then leans against them slightly for about two seconds that Liz about to make a pronouncement.

  2. Jonathan looks quite dashing in these photos. The more frightful makeup — with the big, dark bags under his eyes and the stiff, pointy curls of hair along his forehead — is noticeably absent here, but in future episodes will be used to give his character a more ominous appearance, for example, in the episodes set in 1897.

    1. I thought the same thing. He looks quite attractive and not at all menacing in these photos. I think Frid was able to do a lot with those strong facial features of his.

  3. ‘I wonder if they have any spare calves around for him to drink. Even a half calf.’
    That would be a “demi-calf”…

    I’m a bit surprised that Barnabas hasn’t been down to his old stomping grounds on the docks; or aren’t there any naughty ladies there in the 1960s?

  4. Curious … what does Madman with a Box have to do with this post? I love a good Doctor Who reference, but I’m coming up empty on this one!

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