Episode 451: Exorcise in Futility

“Then the combat would take place in the deepest recesses of the deepest darkness!”

Okay, it’s Monday; the start of a new week. Now, where did we leave off?

Oh, right. Barnabas was choking the crazy Irish witch lady. Obviously.

451 dark shadows choke bathia barnabas

Yeah, here we are. Joshua Collins has discovered that his dead son, Barnabas, has been roaming the countryside killing people with his teeth. Horrified, Joshua asked one of his more occult-minded acquaintances to send out a psychic call for help, and in walked Bathia Mapes, an itinerant witch of no fixed abode, who’s set herself up in the tower room and started casting circles of faith.

Today, we join the exorcism already in progress, as the evil witch-specter Angelique is speaking through Barnabas. Just when it looks like we’re getting somewhere, Barnabas starts making animal noises, and before you know it, he’s up out of the chair, with his hands around Bathia’s throat. Okay, that’s you all up to date.

451 dark shadows candle barnabas

Bathia manages to choke out, “Light! Light!” and Joshua grabs a nearby candle. He thrusts it into Barnabas’ face…

451 dark shadows scream barnabas

And Barnabas lets out a terrible screech, collapsing into the corner. It’s been that kind of an evening.

451 dark shadows tower joshua bathia

So obviously, the question on the table is: What in the wide world of sports is going on around here?

Because this is a brand new form of combat that we’ve never seen on Dark Shadows before. We’ve had a couple of tame séances, where a ghost might issue a public service announcement like “she tells lies” or “you must let me rest”, but suddenly we’re in full-contact Amityville Horror territory.

451 dark shadows combat bathia

And look at poor Bathia, she’s exhausted. I mean, she walked in the door already looking like the tail end of a road accident, and that was one strangling ago. This is the face of a woman actively reconsidering her evening’s agenda.

451 dark shadows collinwood bathia

But Joshua wants to get right back on the horse.

Bathia:  You don’t understand the danger.

Joshua:  I know that this means life or death for my son.

Bathia:  And for me, too. It means battle between my spirit, and the spirit of Angelique. She’s dead, isn’t she? At least to this world.

Joshua:  Yes.

Bathia:  Then the combat would take place in the deepest recesses of the deepest darkness! No, Mr. Collins. I can help no more.

Joshua:  Yes, you must! I will give you anything you want — money, anything.

Bathia:  I would help you if I could!

Joshua:  You can!

Bathia:  I can — won’t!

And that’s the first of several stumbles that Bathia makes in this scene. There’s another one coming up that’s quite well-known in Dark Shadows fan circles, where the really obvious and embarrassing bloopers are treasured and cared for like they’re our own idiot children.

But one of the reasons why we love the Bathia bloopers is that they actually kind of work for the character, and the scene. She’s tired, and overwhelmed, and terrified. She’s just reached out her hand and touched something red-hot and spiky. Plus, she’s about two hundred years old, and feeling every minute of it. Of course she trips over her lines. Wouldn’t you?

So there’s a touch of that mysterious Fridspeak blooper-judo that Barnabas is often blessed with, where the fictional panic of a character merges perfectly with the actual panic of an actor with a loose grip on the dialogue. It doesn’t take the audience out of the moment with the character; it somehow makes the moment even more urgent.

451 dark shadows scary joshua bathia

But let’s talk for a minute about the nature of this conflict, which seems to be bigger than anything we’ve seen before. When Joshua pleads for Bathia to keep trying, she reminds him, “For all my powers, I’m still human. Remember that.”

That’s an interesting statement, because it implies that Angelique is not human, that she’s somehow accessed a deeper level of dark powers than we thought. Filling Barnabas with demonic rage, Angelique broke through Bathia’s magic circle and launched a direct physical assault. Bathia has had a lot more time to practice her witchcraft — but that was a smackdown by Angelique, who always seemed to be making up her powers as she went along.

But a moment ago, Bathia said, “She’s dead, isn’t she? At least to this world,” and the implication is that dying has made Angelique more powerful than she was before. This is the same logic as Ben Kenobi warning Darth Vader, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

Alive, Angelique was a human — she had skills, but she was still a young woman who could be hurt or disappointed or frustrated. Now that she’s dead, all of those human failings have dropped away, leaving the raw power of her intelligence, her will and her unquenchable thirst for vengeance. She has nothing to fear.

451 dark shadows vision barnabas

Suddenly, Barnabas sits up and starts taking an interest again.

Barnabas:  I see blood! I see a ravaged countryside! The people in danger — in terror! Innocent people are made monsters! I see good men turn to evil! And I see… I see…

Bathia:  Go on!

Barnabas:  I see the source of the evil… I see the cause of the terror. I see…

Bathia:  Yes?

Barnabas:  I see myself.

Joshua:  Help him, please! I beg you!

So she helps. She has to. In the space of a few lines, Barnabas has opened a whole new area of interest for the show.

This is the first time we’ve seen them talk about the vampire’s impact on the community as a whole. This curse isn’t just a problem for the Collins family; it’s a contagion that’s going to spread through the countryside, unless they can find a way to contain it.

Joshua and Bathia aren’t just fighting for the soul of one man, or even one family. They’re fighting for all of us, for everyone who would be affected by that implacable wave of darkness that will spread out from Collinwood in all directions.

451 dark shadows survival bathia joshua

So they’re drawing the battle lines in a way that they never have before. This is a fight between Good and Evil. Actually, strike that — this is a piece of the fight between Good and Evil.

For better or worse, this is Angelique’s new role — our current personification of Evil. This is handy, because it allows them to talk about “Evil” and “Barnabas” as two separate things.

451 dark shadows evil barnabas

About four months ago, just before they decided to take the show on a field trip to 1795, Barnabas told Carolyn that he’d once met a sorceror in Barbados who’d taught him the secret magic number of the universe, which allowed him to cast sinister spells by calling on the power of darkness. They quickly backed off from that position, because there’s only one place that line of thinking could lead — that Barnabas becomes a force of pure Evil.

That’s a bad direction for your main character, because it means that he loses touch with human motivations. The audience believes in Barnabas, because we can see a clear relationship between what he wants — love, and safety — and the crazy, terrible things that he does. That doesn’t mean that we like him, or that we agree with his strategy or his goals. But we understand him, and on a soap opera, that’s crucial.

Soap operas usually stake their claim smack in the middle of the personal — the small, intimate moments taking place in other people’s houses. That’s part of the appeal that sustains the audience’s interest in a five-episode-a-week schedule. If we’re going to check in with these people every single day, then we expect backstage access to their personal lives.

Defining a main character as Evil, rather than selfish or insane, means that they have a broader agenda. They’re working as an agent for a much larger system, acting on behalf of Satan or Beelzebub or whoever. Things move beyond the personal, and become political.

451 dark shadows exorcism bathia barnabas

So that’s where we’re going with all of this exorcism stuff. They’ve backed off from the “secret magic number” idea that cast Barnabas in the role of pure Evil, and assigned the Devil role to Angelique. Unfortunately, that weakens Angelique’s character, making it harder for us to understand her motives.

That’s why we had that weird moment in Vicki’s trial, when Angelique suddenly turned up to convince the judges that Vicki is the real witch. Angelique had nothing in particular to gain from that — why should she care what happens to Vicki? But now that she’s “an evil spirit”, she’s casting a wider net.

Fortunately, it’s not going to take long for the writers to realize that Angelique is a less interesting character when she’s acting as a representative of the United Association of Witches and Demons Local 716. They pull back from this idea, and locate “Evil” in a different character. They’ll actually do that several times over the next few years, introducing a force of pure Evil and then humanizing them, which means they have to go find somebody else to take over as boss.

451 dark shadows house bathia joshua

Bathia agrees to take on the challenge, and they talk about the next stage of the plan.

Joshua:  Yes, the Old House. You will try again there.

Bathia:  Can you promise that nothing — can you give me something that belonged to the living Angelique?

Joshua:  Yes, I’m sure I can.

Bathia:  And you’re sure we will not be disturbed?

Joshua:  Yes, I can promise you that.

Bathia:  Any disturbance would be fatal!

Joshua:  Yes, there will — there will be no disturbance. I will find a way to reward you.

Bathia:  My survival will be my reward. It will mean the death of an evil spirit.

Joshua:  And the curse will be lifted?

Bathia:  It will dissolve into the dark… if I am successful.

Joshua:  You will!

That response doesn’t quite match up with what she said, so something’s off here. Joshua is looking at her with that patient, pleading expression that you get when the actress you’re doing a scene with starts saying her lines out of order.

451 dark shadows empty bathia joshua

With a little hestitation, Bathia says, “Go now, take your son. Be seen by no one.”

“I told you the house will be entirely empty,” Joshua says, reaching out a hand to gently push her towards the spot where they were supposed to be standing six lines ago. “Everyone is in the town.”

451 dark shadows blooper joshua bathia

Unfortunately, moving into the correct position means that Bathia is farther away from the teleprompter. There’s a long moment where she looks towards the camera and squints, trying to get her next line. It doesn’t work; she can’t make it out.

451 dark shadows prompt bathia

She turns back to Joshua, and the awkward moment continues, with no end in sight. Finally, producer Bob Costello just throws her the line from off-screen.

Bob:  Then go to the house of the…

Bathia:  Then go to the house of the curse. Find something that belonged to Angelique, and wait for me there.

Oh, it’s gorgeous. She really is being guided by a higher power.

451 dark shadows darkness barnabas bathia

So, as Bob suggests, we go to the house of the curse. This is the final knock-down fight between the powers of darkness and the powers of light, and to be honest, it’s not looking super promising for light.

Bathia uses candles to guide Barnabas out of the shadows, but her spell is interrupted by a chance visit from Naomi, and her attempt fails.

451 dark shadows fire bathia joshua

And so we wrap up with one of the all-time great spectacle endings. Bathia couldn’t drive the evil spirit out of the house, so: cue the grave consequences.

Bathia suddenly calls out for water. “Fire!” she screams. “I’m on fire!”

451 dark shadows angelique portrait

We hear the sound of Angelique’s laughter, and her portrait starts to glow.

451 dark shadows flames bathia 1

And then this happens.

451 dark shadows flames bathia 2

451 dark shadows flames bathia 3

451 dark shadows flames bathia 4

451 dark shadows flames bathia 5

451 dark shadows flames bathia 6

We see an old woman, screaming in terror and pain, consumed by the flames of Hell. And despite all of the episode’s mistakes and problems, we believe it. It must be magic.

Tomorrow: The Great Escape.

(More) Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Yes, there are more mistakes than the ones already mentioned! That’s how you know it’s a good episode.

When Naomi and Nathan are talking in the drawing room, she tells him, “I’m going to David’s room.” She means Daniel’s room.

When Joshua leads Barnabas from the tower room, we see them entering the foyer through the small door under the landing. That’s usually the door that leads from the kitchen and servants’ quarters; getting to the tower room usually involves going up the stairs and using the door there. But to keep the plot moving, Millicent needs to be standing on the landing, where she sees Joshua and Barnabas leave. Maybe they took the scenic route.

Finally, there’s one more Bathia blooper. At the end of the episode, when Bathia starts screaming that she’s on fire, she backs up and bumps into the pillar, which wobbles alarmingly. This is super subtle — I only noticed it because I was taking a bunch of screenshots of that sequence. But check it out, it’s kind of funny.

Behind the Scenes:

That infamous moment when producer Bob Costello prompts Bathia out loud was actually removed from the audio track in the original DVD release in 2003. When MPI released the Complete Original Series box set in 2012, they restored Costello’s line. Just before the release, a writer for TVShowsonDVD.com asked them about the missing blooper, and MPI said:

“The episode with the blooper removed has been corrected for this new complete series boxed set. When Worldvision, the syndicator for television reruns of Dark Shadows, made new digital masters a few years ago, that blooper was edited out by a well-meaning technician by mistake.”

That’s how much we love our Dark Shadows bloopers; we can’t bear to part with them.

Tomorrow: The Great Escape.

451 dark shadows tower room bathia

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

56 thoughts on “Episode 451: Exorcise in Futility

  1. The problem with ultimage depictions of evil (apart from not having much of characterization) is that you wonder about ultimate depicitns of good. Which means that when you start talking about the Devil, you may end up needing to talk about God.

    And TV writers are not very good at theology… Or rather, they are as good as theology as they are at history…

    In the end they got an ultimate depiction of evil, with Judah Zahcary, wich was just a head in a jar that stared malevolently..

  2. I’m so glad I held out for the massive box set, otherwise I would have lost out on what is one of the most amazing Dark Shadows bloopers ever! You know, people tend to make fun of old shows like DS that were filmed under such stressful conditions because the seams tend to show more than modern shows. But I’m the opposite – I have nothing but respect and admiration considering way more went right than wrong.

    1. I’m watching on Amazon, and after I read that amazing note about Bob giving her the line, i went back and watched that moment. I couldn’t hear it, and then I read that it had been removed! I feel cheated!!

  3. TOO many people are dying to keep one ‘alive’.. I haven’t rewatched the entire series yet (just beginning the Leviathans) but at this point I can finally and truthfully admit I loathe the Barnabas character, yet I am still entranced with the show and need to see it through to the end. I’m now asking myself is it the actual character I detest and would I possibly feel differently if Barnabas was portrayed by another actor. I guess because when I finished 1897 I thought ‘if Barnabas had been played by someone more attractive in the traditional sense (i.e. David Selby/Quentin Collins) would I have had such a strong negative reaction to him and his despicable actions)? Regretably I finally admitted ‘probably not’. I can see how the show thought that Jonathan Frid would fit the bill of the original Barnabas Collins they had in mind (an evil unrepentant character who would meet a quick end). I believe if they originally intended to keep the character long term they would have gone with an actor more ‘in the vein’ of David Selby or Joel Crothers from the beginning. What an enigma they created.

    1. Joanne, if he had been portrayed by another actor, Barnabas would have been staked by the thirteenth week as planned. It was Frid that made him such a draw. (And according to Geoffrey Hammell, that allowed the writers to make him nastier than originally planned as they realized that the audience would forgive him anything…) Yes, if they had originally planned to make the character long term they would have written him differently, but that was the writers, not the actor, who though that he was having a short stint and was amazed to find himself a sensation.

    2. I’m new to DS, and only on Episode 452, so I don’t have the foresight of knowing who is coming up and how sexier they are than Frid.

      Let me say this, Frid is not sexy or good looking in the traditional sense, or in our modern 21st century sense. But, somehow he still exudes sex appeal, or some kind of magnetism that is hard to put my finger on. This works for Barnabas. It makes the character more believable. As a vampire, he doesn’t need to be sexy…he’s charismatic and draws women to him with wolf-hungry eyes. Something unexplainable.

      If he had been too handsome, I think it would have cheapened the way he could draw these women to himself, especially when he’s telling stories in the present about the past. He captivates them. And he does it without being a total hunk. He’s got something else alluring, something much more dangerous than good looks.

  4. Yes – I guess just coming off 1897 I was thinking that even though David Selby/Quentin was a great success on the show in his own right if the roles were reversed and Selby started as Barnabas would the show have been as great as it was? Actually I’m recuperating from a cold and being in the house for 3 straight days has given me a little too much excess time to ponder these things 🙂

    1. It’s a really good question; that’s definitely one of the big mysteries of Dark Shadows. Obviously, there’s some kind of weird “lightning in a bottle” magic with Barnabas that takes over the show and turns it into a success, even though the character is self-absorbed and psychotic, and the actor isn’t a handsome soap hunk in the David Selby/Joel Crothers mold.

      It may be the same appeal as Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, or Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. Those guys are brooding and morose and often not very nice, and looks-wise they’re in the Colin Firth area rather than Tom Cruise or Hugh Jackman.

      And yet everybody ends up swooning for Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester and Mr. B. Collins, because apparently we love the idea of a fixer-upper.

      1. Could be. Barnabas first appeal was talking about his Josette while Quentin until the Amanda Harris story line basically bed them. just good looking stud instead of unrealistic romance story line like Barnabas. Granted, Quentin could be sometimes more level headed.

      2. David Selby did not have the acting chops, or certain SOMETHING that Jonathan Frid has. In fact David Selby occasionally dips into the Roger Davis,/ Addison Powell and Don Briscoe method of SHOUTING acting. Jonathan Frid was the right combo of courtly, otherworldly, scary and tender. I never felt comfortable with him courting Vicki or Maggie, but I could see the magic between him and Julia.

        1. I always thought (and still do) that Jonathan Frid was handsome! To me, some men really don’t reach their peaks of good looks until they get into their late 30’s – early 40’s. Like fine wine, they may need to age longer. Likewise, I wish that the world would also appreciate and recognize the beauty of older women as some of them (like Joan Bennett, Lara Parker, and Katherine Leigh Scott) are still attractive in their 40’s and beyond.

          (I don’t count those who’ve had extensive plastic surgery to try to keep looking young. Some of these gals take it WAY too far and look worse than they did beforehand!)

  5. Without JF we would not be talking about DS. Dan Curtis knew that too. He did not get along with JF but he needed him. Which is why he got a big raise in 1968. I have never met a fan who does not adore JF. Just saying.

    1. I don’t adore him but he makes good combinations with other actors. We fount it doesn’t have to deal with romance but anyone like Louis Edmonds which I think are the best usage of Jonathan Frid with Louis Edmongs.

      1. Exactly – it’s the ‘aura’ of the character and the situations he creates with the other actors that make the show itself so fascinating. Barnabas really is a double edge sword – he can be truly unlikable yet unintentionally comedic even within a scene such as this one. BTW any negative comments I post only pertain to the ‘character’ of Barnabas as imagined by JF and not to Mr Frid himself, whom I consider an extremely talented and brilliant man.

    2. The main reason Dan Curtis didn’t like Jonathan Frid was probably because Curtis was a cheapskate. What else can you say about a man who urged actors to cross a picket line? In addition, perhaps Curtis may have been jealous of Frid’s having received more attention, fanfare, and publicity than he, the show’s creator and executive producer. For example, by 1970, Frid’s agent had gotten his or her client special billing: “Starring Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins.” On days when Joan Bennett was on, a credit reading, “Also starring Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins immediately followed Bennett’s standard special credit: “Starring Miss Joan Bennett as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.”

      1. Yes, Dan Curtis was a cheapskate in many ways, but re: crossing the picket line, he did pay or agreed to pay the actors’ fines when they did so. His interest was in keeping the show going regardless.

    3. I watched the show as a 10 year old and wasn’t finding men of JF’s age, well, anything LOL I had a crush on David. Over the years, never thought of JF that way either. But, watching it as an adult now, I have to tell you, I find the man plenty sexy and good looking!

  6. I think the fact that Jonathan Frid was not conventionally attractive (at least in the Selby/Crothers manner) allowed audiences to identify and empathize with him. There was something sad and pitiable about him, even at his worst, which I thought was lacking with Ben Cross as Barnabas — Cross was smug and self-assured (no hand-wringing while staring off at the teleprompter).

    The 1991 DS and the 2004 pilot both cast Barnabas based on what the character wound up becoming (the romantic leading man). And both series failed. Barnabas was a Byronic character in certain ways, but more like Karloff than Cary Grant. Those series also tried to depict a mutual attraction between Barnabas and Victoria Winters. If you’re a geeky teen, you might be more inclined to identify with Frid’s Barnabas, who adored a clueless girl who seemed to view all your attentions and kindness as the acts of “a good friend” while she fell for a guy who couldn’t have less in common with her (Burke) and later a good looking jerk (Peter/Jeff).

    Of course, the true “lightning in the bottle” was Frid. If you study successful characters who are potentially alienating and unlikable — Gregory House, Al Bundy, JR Ewing, Homer Simpson, Sam Malone, Hawkeye Pierce — the key ingredient is often the actor himself. A good guy playing a jerk can’t help but to have some of that “sweetness” (as Alexandra Moltke said about Frid in an interview) come through. Whereas, it’s far easier for a jerk to play a saint (ahem Cliff Huxtable ahem).

    1. I would have liked to see a “Barnabas meets House” story. For one thing, Barnabas would find it hard to lie to House who not only believes that everyone lies, but as an addict, knows all the dodges. He might even tell Barnabas that he is lucky to have an addiction that does not leave a paper trail…

    2. Yes, even at his worst, Frid’s Barnabas came across as a damaged person rather than as a monster. During the Maggie Evans kidnapping plot I was on an emotional roller coaster ride: desperately wanting Maggie to escape, but at the same time desperately NOT wanting Barnabas to be caught.

      It’s part of the reason–perhaps a very small part–why Dr Hoffman became a continuing character and Dr Woodard didn’t. Julia’s reaction to Barnabas was, “You’re sick, let me cure you,” while Woodward’s was, “You’re a monster. I must kill you!” And of course the audience would much rather have Barnabas cured than killed…

      1. The curious thing about Maggie’s kidnapping is that while it was supposedly a vampire story, vampirism per se had little to do with the dynamic. Barnabas might delude himself thinking that he is no longer human, but he is. The problem that he is human in the Norman Bates way. That’s why I say that Julia was a lousy psychiatrist. Here is this guy who is throwing symptoms all over the place and all he can think if the abnormality of his cells. And if she remembered her traiing, she would have found a way to restrain him when he got dangerous (drop a cross on him on his coffin), and treat him then…

        But then, it was lucky for him that Julia fell in love with him, or he might have ended up strapped to a dissection table..

        1. Yes, but Julia trapping Barnabas in his coffin, and then sitting down to psychoanalyse him would have made fairly boring television. Well maybe it would have been interesting for the first ten minutes or so…

          1. Psychoanalize him??? Yes, that too. But running tests on him too, not bothering to ask for consent, telling him that if he is a nice boy she will use pain killer when she cuts him up..

            I mean, let her go real mad scientist on him.

      2. In one sense it was a pity that Woodard did not became a continuing character, as he seemed the only one who could tell Barnabas to cut the crap when he went into one of his jags. Willie, Julia, they just enabled him. Someone had to cut him down to size.

      3. This is something I think both HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS and the 1991 DS mishandled. Stokes and Woodard (or as Barnabas called him, “Wood-DARD) were obsessed with capturing and killing the vampire and scoffed at the notion of simply “curing” him. The problem, though, is that both the film and the series chose to have otherwise innocent women (Carolyn and Daphne) turned into vampires and behave like vampires. Carolyn and Daphne each tried to eat David Collins. Arguably, this is not normal behavior for them. Basic logic and science might imply that vampirism is a “disease/addiction/what-have-you” that greatly alters someone’s normal behavior. Curing them would be the humane act — and would conceivably return to them to their non-cousin eating personality.

        1967 Dave Woodard’s rejection of Julia’s treatment of Barnabas makes perfect sense: Barnabas kidnapped and tortured a woman (Maggie Evans) and there is no evidence that his condition itself is the cause. There are no other vampires running around who used to be fresh-faced nice people.

        1. One thing that I’m looking forward to as we get back to 1968 is the construction of what is essentially a team of mad scientists backing up Barnabas. Julia, Dr. Lang and Professor Stokes all take turns over the next couple years supporting Barnabas’ insane schemes, which eventually leads to the superteam of Barnabas, Julia, Stokes and Quentin by 1970.

          As Andrew pointed out under episode 450, this is the new professional class on Dark Shadows. Everybody stops listening to doctors and sheriffs, and instead they rely on “experts in the occult” and other lunatics.

        2. Actually, what happened to Maggie Evans did not have anything to do with vampirism. (They realized it in Parallel Time when they split the action between Barnabas and John Yeager – Barnabas kept the vampire part, while John Yeager got to be the obessed kidnapper).

          As for Woodard, I think that if Gerringer had stayed, they would have found a way to keep Woodard – have him under Barnbas’ control – for one thing. But with Peter Turgeon, the audience was happy to see the last of him.

  7. JF was no Carey Grant but he was handsome in his own way. I believed Lady Kitty loved and was in love with Barnabas. All because of JF. If you see him without the Barnabas hair it is a different man.

    1. Going back a few comments, David Selbys Quentin, was never level headed. He was a scoundrel, a drunkard, and fell in love with different women left and right, often demanding, callous, and physically menacing when they didn’t oblige his orders. He is like mr. Darcy, or better get heathcliff, but with no one great love for any measurable amount of time that the audience could get vested in. However, he WAS amazing to look at. Bottom line he was a chauvinist, and a bad boy flibberty gibbet.

      1. And those are his good qualities! Luckily for him and the other residents of Collinwood, the lesson of Dark Shadows is that TV characters don’t need to be nice people; they just need to be interesting and surprising.

        1. Very true! Otherwise we would be talking about some other show from 1970 that gives me and all of you so much pleasure. Unfortunately I can’t think of any right now. 🙂

  8. In some ways, Frid works because he is more of a Bela Lugosi vampire than a Frank Langella or Ben Cross vampire. First, let me emphasize that, yes, Frid’s Barnabas was much more humanized and complex than Lugosi’s Dracula. But there is an old-world charm and mystery about both Frid and Lugosi that transcend conventional good looks. Frid brings a kind of European exoticism to the role more in the vein (pun intended) of Lugosi so that he is still convincingly seductive even though not conventionally handsome. He’s sexy in a fashion that’s way different from the overt sexuality we see in today’s TV and movie vampires, that’s for sure.

    1. Great comment; this may be the best summary I’ve seen that explains WHY Jonathan Frid’s Barnabas was such a sensation (and literally saved the show); what attracted so many of us females to him – drawn to him like steel to a magnet. Thanks! 🙂

  9. A question: In Friday’s episode Danny pointed out that there was a tape edit, presumably due to a stumble by the actress playing the Bathia Mapes character. Can anyone speculate as to why the tape of today’s episode was not edited to remove the egregious line-prompt? I would think removal of about five seconds of tape would have made the error largely unnoticeable.

    1. At this point in the series, edits are really, really rare. They don’t even have editing equipment at the studio; they have to go down to the main ABC7 studio to use the equipment. So there’s two possible explanations for why they made an edit on Friday and didn’t today. #1) The bad thing in Friday’s episode was even worse than the line prompt today. #2) They went to the trouble of editing Friday’s, and when she screwed up again today, they said, oh the heck with it, and left it in.

      1. Oh, and the tape edits are always noticeable, because of the music. They pipe the music in along with the dialogue on the master tape, so if you want to cut a couple seconds out of the show, it creates a noticeable skip in the soundtrack.

  10. In 1965, Frank Herbert wrote DUNE, with a woman– played by Linda Hunt in the movie– named The Shadout Mapes. From the Dune Wikia: “The Shadout Mapes was the head housekeeper in the Imperial Residence in the city of Arrakeen on the planet Arrakis when the Atreides took control of that planet in 10,191AG.
    Mapes was one of the first Fremen that many of the Atreides encountered on a personal basis when they arrived on Arrakis. Mapes had approached the Lady Jessica in the hopes of determining if she was the one the Fremen prophecies spoke of. In turn, Jessica managed to learn a great deal from Mapes regarding Fremen superstitions and legends implanted on Arrakis by the Missionaria Protectiva.”

    Bathia is a name that is basically Yiddish (unless you treat it like it’s Latin, in which case it apparently means “foreign woman”), which is a form of the (Yiddish) name Basia, which means “daughter of G-d.”

    My wife says “practically all Yiddish names mean that,” but yeah. There it is. I think Sam Hall might have read Dune.

    1. Hey Park, The Shadout Mapes immediately came to mind as soon as I saw “Bathia Mapes”! That’s cool that you’re familiar with Dune; I don’t think it’s all that well known these days, but it’s one of my favorite sci-fi stories. 🙂

  11. This was a Ron Sproat episode, and I have to say it was very entertaining; what with the mad-Millicent shenanigans, and the Joshua and Bathia vs. Barnabas’ curse drama. The last two episodes have been very stagey, and it’s wonderful.

  12. Yet another blooper: You do not have to look too closely at Bathia dancing behind the Bunsen burner flame to see that the actor slips out of the flame, stage left, just before the flame goes out.Leaving the otherwise profound special effect of her complete disappearance.

  13. Old Josh is his usual sympathetic self when dealing with the help:

    Bathia: “If I continue the ceremony I’ll probably die.”

    Josh: “What of it? Get back to work and be quick about it!”

    Here in 2020 I’m watching on Amazon Prime via the Tubi app. I don’t know what set of episodes they’re using but Costello’s offstage prompt had been removed from the version I saw.

    Poor Bathia learned the hard way that it’s never a good idea to temp for the Collins family. I bet she didn’t even have health benefits.

    For obvious reasons Danny’s attention is on the Bathia storyline but Nancy Barrett is turning in some excellent work in the “B” plot. She just gets more impressive the more you see of her.

  14. So THAT’S why the DECADES Channel’s print of this episode doesn’t include the camera Robert Costello prompt: it’s one of the newer Worldvidion prints that had removed that blooper. When I watched reruns of the series on the Sci Fi Channel years ago, I remember having heard it back then.

  15. In the 1985 book “The Soap Opera Encyclopedia” by Christopher Schemering, the blooper line is attributed to Clarice Blackburn. This may have been a common misconception before the reruns were widely seen and the character of Mrs. Johnson was more remebered than Bathia Mapes.. He also identifies her character as Mrs. Johnson. (Unless this same blooper once also happened to Clarice Blackburn at some point in her run as Mrs. Johnson). The book also states that in one episode Joan Bennett, when referring to Collinwood, instead said “Hollywood,” and the mistake was “erased.” If that’s true, anyone know what episode that was?

    1. No, but I know that, early in the 1897 flashback, when Barnabas
      first meets Judith and Quentin, he does call Collinwood Hollywood before correcting himself.

    2. It’s very unlikely that Clarice Blackburn would have made such an egregious blooper. She was one among the cast for whom you’d be hard-pressed to find ANY blooper (though I’m sure there are a few). She knew her lines backward and forward.

  16. Bathia Mapes, at least on the blog, sounds very much like Maria Ouspenskaya, the gypsy woman from The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney Jr
    I have yet to see it as I’m just starting the 1795 part

  17. To add to the B.M. dogpile: when she gets into position for the flame effect, it takes her several seconds to realize that the camera has cut to her; she stands there silently and motionless for a noticeable interval before starting to screech and writhe in pain. Poor Bathia; she was trying to forge her own path of secularly generic goodness-based white magic, and when it came down to the clutch, the Powers of Light didn’t have her back. I hate to say it, but she might have had a less ashy outcome if she had stuck with institutionally supported denominational rites invoking specific entities. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.

    In figure skating the flip jump is also called the Mapes flip, after skater Bruce Mapes.

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