Episode 497: Frid’s Big Week

“Here they were, with these thousands of kids, and this idiot on top of this hearse with fangs, and what was going on, you know? What’s happened to America?”

A year ago, Jonathan Frid stepped out of the mystery box for a limited 13-week run as a villain on a struggling soap opera. Now it’s May 1968, and by some strange magic, Barnabas Collins is the most popular character on the hottest show on daytime TV. The ratings have jumped from 9 million viewers to 16 million, and they haven’t peaked yet. As “America’s cool ghoul”, Jonathan Frid is suddenly at the center of a pop culture sensation.

That’s good news for ABC, obviously, and the most exciting part is that Dark Shadows has caught on with teenagers, whose daily lives are the original social media.

Traditionally, soaps were watched by housewives, recluses and the unemployed. These are people with a fairly limited amount of social interaction, and word-of-mouth doesn’t spread that far. But high school and college students talk to and influence a huge number of friends and acquaintances, and they have lots of free social time when they can evangelize about their new favorite show. Plus, they’ll buy spin-off merchandise, which brings in revenue and continues to spread awareness of the show to potential new viewers. In a couple months, ABC is going to move Dark Shadows from 3:30 to 4:00, to make sure that kids can get home after school to watch the show.

And this week, they’re sending Jonathan Frid on a week-long whistle-stop national tour, traveling to 10 cities in a private Lear jet. Frid’s job for this week is to show up at airports and supermarkets dressed as Barnabas — complete with cape, cane and fangs — and tell children what it’s like to be a vampire. P.S. Jonathan Frid is a grown man.

jfrid 14

Frid’s going to be out of town for seven days, which presents a problem for Dark Shadows. Barnabas is at the center of every storyline right now, and they can’t keep him off-screen for a whole week. So, as I mentioned yesterday, they’re going to shoot episodes out of order for a little while, to give Frid a week away from the studio without bringing the story to a dead stop.

Today’s episode was taped on the first day of that Frid-less week, so instead of watching the show, we’re going to follow him on his trip, to see what happens when you send a 43-year-old Canadian stage actor to Fort Wayne and Grand Rapids, and tell him that he’s a Beatle.

Just like the kids who flocked to the airports and supermarkets to see Barnabas, that means we’re going to miss watching an episode of the show, but the saga of Frid’s Big Week is one of the most thrilling stories in all of Dark Shadows. Let’s ride.

frid mob

Day 1: Atlanta, GA
Sunday, May 19th

Atlanta is the first stop on our tour of the nation’s transportation hubs. Each of the ten stops begins with an appearance at the airport, where Barnabas meets the public for autographs and pictures. According to an article in the Memphis World, Frid was “welcomed by a barrage of screaming teenage fans at the Atlanta Municipal Airport.” That sounds pretty exciting, but it’s not like he had to be rescued by the police or anything. That doesn’t happen until tomorrow.

The airport appearance is then followed by a supplementary activity, organized by the local ABC affiliate. In this case, that’s Channel 11 WQXI-TV, who have assembled a “Face-to-Fang Press Conference” for the editors of high school and college newspapers at the Marriott Motor Hotel. No, seriously.

atlanta marriott

Here’s the Memphis World’s description, which highlights the participation of Channel 11’s “Atlanta-Eleven Girls”. I love the Atlanta-Eleven Girls.

“Approximately sixty editors representing high school and college papers in the Atlanta area were confronted at the door by Atlanta-Eleven Girl Fredda Lee, who — under hypnosis — turned from side to side in a coffin while holding a ‘Barnabas Collins Press Conference’ sign.”

So there you go, that’s the mental picture to help you understand what this week was like for Jonathan Frid. He’s whisked from the airport to a motel, and the first thing he sees is a dazed Fredda Lee, writhing in a coffin.

“The candle-lit press room was appropriately adorned with cobwebs, calla lilies, and bats. Ethereal music in the background was punctuated by occasional female screams followed by maniacal laughter.

“The station’s Atlanta-Eleven Girls, clad in black, served guests Frid Fingers, Eye-of-Vampire, Bat’s Tongue and Collins Cooler. Steaming black ice cream for ‘cool ghouls’ completed the menu.

“Guests bombarded the fanged Frid with questions ranging from ‘How does it feel to lie in a coffin?’ to ‘Why are females crazy about Barnabas?’ Frid’s immediate answer: ‘There’s something about being bitten on the neck.'”

And so our hero spends the afternoon sipping on a Collins Cooler, and answering awkward high school newspaper questions while a Halloween haunted-house sound effects record plays unobtrusively in the background.

After that ordeal is over, Frid is taken to the WQXI-TV studio, for an appearance on the afternoon Dialing for Dollars Movie. I am not making a single part of this up.

fridmob 2

Day 2: Charleston, SC & Little Rock, AR
Monday, May 20th

The second day of the tour began in Charleston, South Carolina, where Frid had his first experience of being mobbed.

It sounds like everything went okay at the airport and the high school newspaper press conference in Charleston. Then things got rough.

According to an article from the Charleston News and Courier (quoted on the DS fansite The Collinsport Historical Society):

“From there, his motorcade, with police escort, continued to Pinehaven Shopping Center, where he was met by a group of shrieking, shoving teenagers who mobbed his car and tugged his suit.

“‘I guess I really egged them on,’ Frid commented later, while dining in a Mount Pleasant restaurant on local seafood. ‘I held up my cane, which I use on the show, and that only made them scream louder,’ he quipped.”

Police estimated that there were close to 3,000 people at the shopping center, blocking all exits. Three police cars arrived and formed a single-file line, so that Frid and his ABC publicist could climb from roof to roof, out of the crowd and into a waiting car.


So this is probably a good time to talk about Beatlemania.

The Beatles weren’t the first musicians to attract a fanatical following of screaming teenage girls. The phenomenon was first observed as “Lisztomania” in the 1840s, when the handsome German composer Franz Liszt was swarmed by fans after his performances, stealing his handkerchiefs and scheming to cut off locks of his flowing hair. Closer to home, there were the “Bobby soxers” of the 1940s, who idolized Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

But the Beatles are the gold standard for crazy fan hysteria. Following the band’s London Palladium show in October 1963, the teenagers of the world basically decided to lose their collective minds. For the next three years, every public Beatles performance was attended by thousands of teenagers, showing their devotion by shrieking at the top of their lungs. Every girl was expected to have a favorite Beatle, and the ongoing rivalry between “Paul girls” and “John girls” threatened to shake the foundations of civilization.

In fact, Beatlemania was so intense that it eventually drove the Beatles away. As demand grew, they played in larger venues, peaking with their concert at Shea Stadium in 1965. This was exciting initially, but after a while, the prospect of performing before an enormous crowd that’s screaming louder than you can possibly play becomes creatively unfulfilling. Their 1966 tour ended with one last public performance at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, and then they retired from touring.

dark shadows jonathan frid studio

So if the Beatles themselves correctly identified the hysterical screaming as actively destructive to their artistic expression, then why didn’t the girls get their act together? Why were they all screaming in the first place?

Well, for teenage girls, it’s liberating to have some cultural space where you can shout and cry and run around, and express a socially-approved form of romantic and sexual desire.

It’s all part of The Great Swooning, a regular cultural cycle that identifies a new object of teenage desire every couple of years. And so the Beatles are followed by Davy Jones, Shaun Cassidy, Luke Perry, N*SYNC, Justin Bieber, One Direction and the eternal struggle between Team Edward and Team Jacob. The haircuts change, but the cycle goes on. There will always be a Great Swooning.

So with the Beatles inaccessible by spring 1968, what are the girls of Grand Rapids going to get excited about? Enter the eternally young mop-top, Barnabas Collins.

vampire excites wives

And the really funny thing about turning Jonathan Frid into a teen idol is that he’s such a square. After this first brush with Fridmania in Charleston, he complained to the News and Courier reporter that he didn’t get to do any sightseeing.

“He spoke of his long desire to visit Charleston, and of not being able to see the town while here, but promised to return when he had more time. Among the particular items which interested him were the shrimp boats and shrimping industry in Mount Pleasant.”

So how adorable is that? He has literally thousands of teenage girls tearing at his clothes, and all he can think about is the shrimping industry.

In the afternoon, Frid hopped back on the Lear jet and went to Little Rock, Arkansas for another appearance at the airport. He also showed up on The Vic Ames Show on the ABC affiliate, KATV-TV, and that’s everything that I know about his visit to Little Rock. I assume that the full story has been suppressed by the authorities.

jonathan frid indianapolis

Day 3: Birmingham, AL & Indianapolis, IN
Tues, May 21st

Frid’s stop in Birmingham, Alabama included an appearance at the Lackey Field airport and a visit to The Morning Show on WBRC-TV. Then he went to City Hall, where Mayor George Siebels presented him with the key to the city.

In the afternoon, Frid flew to Indianapolis, for another airport autograph signing, a high school newspaper press conference at Stouffer’s Inn, and a visit to the WLW-I studio.

I hope this is still interesting for you, by the way, because I am fully committed to this concept and we’re only up to Day 3.

barnabas fort wayne

Day 4: Fort Wayne, IN & Grand Rapids, MI
Wed, May 22nd

The next day was another invigorating one, starting off in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Things went smoothly at the airport, but then they arrived at the Glenbrook Shopping Mall.

Glenbrook was a disaster. The crowd estimate was 12,000 people.

I’ll give that a moment to sink in. Twelve thousand people, at the Glenbrook Shopping Mall in Fort Wayne. There were only 3,000 people at Charleston, and they still needed three police cars. Today’s crowd is four times bigger than that.

In a Washington Post article written later that week, the ABC publicist specifically mentioned the nightmare of Fort Wayne:

“With [Frid] is Phil Kriegler of ABC-TV, a short amiable man: ‘I play the heavy on this trip. I’m the one who has to pull him away from all the women who want autographs. The last time I did it, one woman gave me a punch in the back that nearly crippled me.’

“Kriegler said that 12,000 women, children and teenagers were waiting for them at a shopping center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“‘The screaming was unbelievable. Eleven women fainted, there were 58 lost children, one broken arm, a broken leg, and $1,500 damage to trees and shrubs.'”

So that’s how the tour feels, at this point. They’re just listing the casualties. Jonathan Frid showed up at a supermarket, and eleven people lost consciousness. This is not a normal way to live.

barnabas marred by crowd

A few months later, Frid appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, and Cavett asked him about this day.

Dick:  Jonathan, someone handed me The Grand Rapids Times just before I came on and I didn’t get time to read this, but there’s a picture of you atop a black limousine, and there’s a crowd and police, and there’s a headline: TV VAMPIRE CAUSES GRAND RAPIDS AIRPORT RIOT. What were you doing?

Jonathan:  Well, in this tour that I took a little while back… The thing about it was, that no one really expected a turnout that we would get in all these airports and shopping centers and things. So there was no kind of organized control of crowds. We’d been in Fort Wayne that afternoon, and there was rather an uncontrolled crowd at the supermarket, and the supermarket sent a $2,000 bill for injury to shrubbery and things like that to the local station, and we were held up there, so we were late getting into Grand Rapids. And I would like to apologize — I hope this show goes to Grand Rapids — because I would like to make an apology to the people out there. They had this thing arranged at the airport where I was to judge a contest of ghouls…

Dick:  Pretty ghouls, huh?

Jonathan:  Well, they had a crowd when our plane landed, and the thing got so out of hand that the officer who ran the airport more or less ordered us off the place. I don’t blame them; it was just that there was so much uncontrolled chaos, and so we got this hearse — oh, yes, the poor chap who was running the whole show was on top of the hearse. I remember, as it turned out, we never got to this contest around the front of the airport, and I’m very sorry that I was never able to make that. But while I was getting on top of this hearse myself — I must say, I was rather, if you’ll pardon the expression, mortified — and so we were sort of circling around in front of the thousands of teenagers, and a regular commercial airliner was unloading at that point — and, suddenly, I was trying to think of their point of view. Here they were, with these thousands of kids, and this idiot on top of this hearse with fangs, and what’s going on, you know? What’s happened to America?

bozo's big barnabas

Day #5: Flint, MI & Washington, DC
Thursday, May 23rd

And then, the next day, he was on Bozo’s Big Top.

I swear to God, I am not making any of this up. He went to Flint, Michigan, had another airport signing, and then went to the WJRT-TV studio for a personal encounter with Bozo the Clown.

This week must have been just unbelievable; I can’t even imagine the kind of post-traumatic stress you’d have after this. Police cars, shrubbery damage, riding on top of a hearse, Dialing for Dollars, the key to Birmingham, and a hypnotized Fredda Lee, and now you’re sitting down and making conversation with a clown.

The thing that I love about this is that nobody really understands who Dark Shadows is supposed to appeal to. It’s obvious that the ABC publicists just told the local stations to arrange whatever they wanted Barnabas to do. So on some days he’s meeting with high school and college students, and then he’s judging a Best Dressed Ghouls contest, and then he’s hanging out with seven-year-olds.

There isn’t any kind of coherent plan here, which is perfect, because Dark Shadows never has a coherent plan. If you actually tried to make sense of it, the whole enterprise would just shrivel up and die. The success of Dark Shadows is a ravenous beast, sustained entirely by surprises.

jonathan frid car

Day #6: Washington, DC
Friday, May 24th

Frid flew into DC at the end of the day yesterday, in time for another high school press conference, and on Friday, he had a grown-up press luncheon at Paul Young’s Restaurant.

He talks to a Washington Post reporter, who writes up the interview in a piece called “He Shadows Women By Day“:

“Frid defends the adulation of housewives, teenagers and children that has brought him sudden fame after 20 years of hard-working anonymity as a Shakespearean actor.

“He said, ‘I take it very seriously, in spite of the kidding. An actor is not noted for his intelligence. He’s interested in creating around a situation. I’ve played in dozens of Shakespearean plays, and some of the characters are utter bores when you take away the language.

“‘In Barnabas, I get a whole range of characters to play. I play the man’s loneliness and yearnings, and feelings of guilt. It’s really a Jekyll and Hyde role.'”

It sounds like a nice conversation. Jonathan Frid is actually a very thoughtful and sincere guy, with a healthy sense of perspective.

And then he goes to the WMAL-TV studio for an appearance on Clair & Coco, another goddamn clown show.

jonathan frid devon horse show

Day #7: Philadelphia, PA
Saturday, May 25th

Okay, there’s one more day of Collins carnage before we head back to New York, and the comforting darkness of ABC Studio 16.

Frid goes to Philadelphia on Saturday for an appearance at the Devon Horse Show Country Fair, and things spiral out of control once again. Here’s a quote from a history of the Devon Horse Show:

“In 1968, it was two stars for the price of one admission. Movie legend James Cagney made a grand entrance via the carriage marathon, but he was upstaged by a vampire. The appearance of Jonathan Frid drew 20,000 fans, the largest single-day attendance in the show’s history. Frid was so mobbed by fans, he had to take refuge in the press box.”

And so, as our hero scrambles into yet another police car and flees the scene, you have to wonder — what kind of effect does this week have on the way that he approaches the role of Barnabas? You’d imagine that an experience like this would have to change the way that he feels about Dark Shadows. You can’t get mobbed by thousands of screaming teenagers, and then just go back to work like nothing happened. Can you?

On the other hand, it’s been such a random mix of highs and lows that it’s hard to say what the take-home message is. Barnabas Collins is a sex symbol who isn’t sexy; he’s adored, but never adorable. He’s a serial killer who has a standing invitation to Bozo’s big top. He has the key to Birmingham, Alabama. He is a danger to shrubbery.

In a 1968 radio appearance, Frid said:

“In real life, I find that monsters are people. We are all monsters to one another, at some time or other. You catch a friend not telling the truth, or you’re suddenly suspicious of them, and all of a sudden you see a new glow in their faces… a new look. Now, that’s what I call a monster.”

I have no idea what he means, or what that has to do with anything. But that’s the point, I think. Barnabas Collins went on a trip to find America. He gazed into the abyss of the Glenbrook Shopping Mall, and the Glenbrook Shopping Mall gazed into him. And for as long as Dark Shadows fans walk this Earth, then in our hearts, Fredda Lee is still out there somewhere, hypnotized. We are, too.

Tomorrow: Diff’rent Strokes.

For more coverage of Frid’s Big Week,
see Episode 922: To My Fans, the Audience.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Mrs. Johnson approaches David outside the Old House, he says, “Mrs. Johnson! I thought you were going to the Old House — back home!”

Joe insists that Maggie take off the emerald earrings. As they argue, one of the earrings falls off, and onto the floor. Maggie looks down, chuckles, and looks to the studio to see if they’re going to stop tape. They don’t, so she reaches up to cover her earlobe with her hand. After a few more lines of dialogue, Maggie picks up the fallen earring. She carries it to the mirror, where she’s supposed to finish the scene by looking at the earrings in her reflection. She brings the earring up to her ear, but apparently the post fell out, because she can’t put it back on. She finishes the scene with the earring in her hand.

When Mrs. Johnson watches David sleep, you can hear footsteps from the studio.

Tomorrow: Diff’rent Strokes.

barnabas bozo 8

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

33 thoughts on “Episode 497: Frid’s Big Week

  1. Fitting that the Beatles and the phenomenon of their popularity should be mentioned in today’s post–because I was going to mention them anyway to make a point about the viewer numbers of the pre-Barnabas days of Dark Shadows.

    In 1966 when the ratings were said to be “anemic”, it was still pulling in 9 million viewers a day. Now, maybe I don’t understand what that means in terms of television ratings, but that isn’t exactly a number to sneeze at–not when you consider that even at its lowest ebb more people watched Dark Shadows than purchased Beatle records. Their single I Want To Hold Your Hand was the biggest selling single of the sixties in moving 5 million copies, but it took 4 years (until 1968) to sell that amount. Their album Abbey Road, released in 1969, was one of the biggest selling albums of the sixties, selling over 3 million by the end of the year–but that was nothing, because in 1969 Dark Shadows was peaking with 18 million viewers per day. And Frid being mobbed by 20,000 young fans–that isn’t Shea Stadium numbers, but it rivals the average numbers for a typical Beatles concert during their touring days.

    But 9 million viewers when the show was said to be struggling. Perhaps if 9 million teenagers and college students had been watching Dark Shadows in 1966, then it would have become a cultural phenomenon early on as well. Admittedly, there’s not much of a cultural revolution to be had with 9 million housewives, shut-ins, and unemployed. Instead of “let’s turn on and drop out” all you’d get would be “let’s turn on the TV and not go out”. Not much to write about in the media there. So the difference was 7 million young people on top of the 9 million of the former. Because young people get more excited–after all, they’re “where the action is”. And also, housewives tend to look after shrubbery and such.

    1. I cant figure out where the hell I was with all this going on. Frid had to be mystified at the adoration of his character. From what I have gathered, he didnt understand how people liked him playing a monster. He seemed to be a very gentle, kind, gracious man. However I could see how he might have been a tad afraid from all the thousands of people mobbing him. Nice.

  2. Are we minimizing The Beatles now?It’s the sixtiies and everything was the Wild West. TV was still relatively new and DS and John and Paul were all cultural icons. Now and then.

  3. Poor Jonathan Frid – really, having this distinguished and refined actor conversing with clowns?? I can see why now why Dan Curtis had to resort to this juvenile Adam and Eve nonsense. The only comparison I can really come up with isn’t another show or a musical sensation, but a location, Las Vegas, NV. Started out as something new and different, basically designed to cater to adults only. Now it’s all but ‘Disney-fied’ – unfortunately this is what happens when an entity becomes too ‘popular’ for it’s own good.

    1. You’ve said this kind of thing a few times lately, and I’m curious — is there a cutoff where you feel like DS lost its magic? It sounds like you’re mostly a fan of the show from June 1966 until… late 1967? early 1968? Is that a fair way to characterize your opinion about it?

      1. Danny – I think Adam and Eve is the rock bottom level – I do enjoy things more when Mr Selby arrives – I do like the show overall I just wish they had used this time to give some satisfactory closure on the Vicki parentage storyline instead of patchwork monsters.

        1. Closure for Victoria Winters, the former protagonist of the series, was unlikely when they essentially “rebooted” the series after 1795. David was a disturbed child prior to 1795 and when he returns in 1968, he’s perfectly normal and his fear of Barnabas is never mentioned again — I don’t think he even ever asks about his friend Sara.

          But this was how DS started to have more in common with comic books than soap operas. In theory, all of Spider-Man’s history is there for a writer to tap into if he wishes (former villains and supporting characters can return to stir things up or a reference might be made to another story) but that’s always done with an eye on the future, on the next story, not necessarily to provide closure to a dropped plot element.

          Also, the stakes were raised to almost cosmic levels in the “new” DARK SHADOWS. Our current leads previously conspired to kill a man in cold blood to cover up their own crimes. That makes Roger Collins paying off Sam Evans so he can frame Burke Devlin for manslaughter seem like a fraternity prank. From what I’ve read or heard, the planned “reveal” was that Vicki was Elizabeth’s illegitimate daughter. That feels anticlimactic in a world where a later ‘reveal’ is that Chris Jennings is the illegitimate werewolf great-grandson of Quentin Collins, who’s still alive and eternally young.

          DARK SHADOWS would’ve had to have been an entirely different show in 1968 to have addressed Vicki’s parentage in a way that would have been satisfying for what had been previously established. Most likely we’d have learned that the “other man” in Liz’s life was an alien or a zombie or a ghost or the devil.

          During the Leviathan storyline, Paul Stoddard returns. This was not a name mentioned much since Jason McGuire was killed, and although he was a pre-Barnabas character, his backstory had been retconned into the ‘post-Barnabas’ world.

          Although, in a strange way, I think the character is redeemed when he fights for his daughter and tries to fix the horrible mistake he’d made when he was younger. The plot surrounding the emotional arc was out of this world, but the feeling was grounded in reality, and I think, effective.

          1. There’s a scene between Carolyn and Vicki in episode 279, when they’re preparing for Barnabas’ costume party, and Carolyn says, “Vicki, you should be a member of the family. If anyone deserves to be a Collins… it’s you.”

            That’s definitely how Vicki is treated — David goes away to Boston for a while, and nobody looks at Vicki and says, why the hell are we paying you again? There’s no real sense that she’s anything but a close family friend, who happens to help out with David’s home-schooling.

            So I think that takes all the sting out of the revelation that Liz was Vicki’s mom. Liz already treats Vicki like a daughter anyway, more or less. The only noticeable change would be to Vicki’s last name.

            1. There’s a scene coming up when Vicki plans to skip town to avoid telling Barnabas the curse and Cassandra, desperate to keep her at Collinwood, says that she’d raised concerns with Roger about how “casual” David’s schooling was.

              She was lying, of course, but it was a legitimate complaint and the type of exchanges I enjoy. I think Whedon does a good job with this, in which the bad guy is not entirely wrong.

              That scene, for some reason, reminded me of all the lost opportunity in 1968. Roger could have really fallen in love with Cassandra (hey, it’s Lara Parker) and impulsively married her. Cassandra could have effectively turned Roger against his family, against Liz, Carolyn, Barnabas, and Vicki.

              So instead of the goofy dream curse, she is literally destroying the Collins family — a supernatural spin on what Burke Devlin tried to achieve and rooted in real emotion.

              But DS could never sustain real emotion during the present day storylines. However, it’s not missing in 1897, 1840, and even 1970 PT. Go figure. It’s as if Dan Curtis ordered a permanent freeze on Elizabeth, Roger, David, and Carolyn.

          2. You’re right, the show as it had become couldn’t adequately address Victoria’s parentage. However, as someone who actually watched the slow first year, I was ticked that they never even gave it a shot.

            1. Almost 15 (!) years ago, a fellow online (Charles Delaware Troll) wrote a “virtual year” of DS fan fiction, continuing from the last episode of the series. It was written in the style of the episode recaps that fans such as Judy Phillips and Tony Ng wrote. I enjoyed them, as they maintained the spirit of the series with some “dream” casting (Mitch Ryan and Alexandra Motlke returned to the series). Anyway, the final storyline addresses Victoria’s origins and does so in a way that still works within the larger, more fantastic DS framework. Not sure if the DS Continued stories are still available online anywhere, but if so, they’re worth a look.

            1. I loved the recap of Jonathan’s super star tour. What a weird time 1968 was! I also hate that at the current time I’m as old as Jonathan Frid was. He looks so much older than me!

              I can also see why you didn’t write much about the actual episode. Aside from beautiful Maggie dropping her earring, nothing happens.

        2. Now, as I re watch, it is not rock bottom at all, simply disjointed.
          I’m actually loving the development of Rodan’s Adam, and he has replaced Frid as my object of fascination….I imagine the acting challenge he faces, creating a persona from the ground up(literally).

          It becomes the Adam and Julia show for me.

          Until Nicholas and Eve, and I love them, too.

          But those dream curse sequences. THAT is rock bottom.
          Until Stokes confronts Angelique, they waste my time.

  4. That really was a strange schedule. Did this week make the network sit up and take notice? Was Dark Shadows given a budget increase or anything? More viewers should have translated into more ad revenue.

  5. I am not sure why Joanne reads this blog when and she does is criticize everything. Even the Vampire Diaries sent there cast mall tours. They do not even have a fraction of the DS audience.

  6. I was one of those teenagers who saw Jonathan Frid at the Glenbrook Mall in Fort Wayne. When we stepped inside the mall, there was so many people, we thought we would never be able to see him. We tried to walk around, but it was so packed , we thought we would never be able to even catch a glance of him. We decided to leave, and on our way towards the exit doors, we heard a loud commotion behind us. We turned around, and Jonathan Frid was right behind us! My friend went up to him and grabbed his arm, but I was too embarrassed to touch him! We were very lucky we got to see him!

      1. I now completely understand why Jonathan Frid ignored my sister and myself when we screamed ‘Barnabas’ out of the car window when we saw him walking in Manhattan with his groceries! Poor guy! Still, exciting to see him in person LOL

  7. Rather more clowns in today’s post than I was expecting. Shiver.

    On the downside, today’s episode was more dream curse awfulness. On the upside, it’s Mrs Johnson’s turn to try (and fail) to break the cycle.

    Isn’t Clarice Blackburn fantastic? Look at her there in the Old House, selling the crap out of this ridiculous story. She’s giving us terror, exhaustion, anger, a fierce desire to protect David, and what appear to be actual tears. Remarkable. And Julia’s just sitting there, all “you know it would be wrong to tell David”. Like she handled it any better!

    I know it’s a few episodes back, but I also think Blackburn’s done the best job of the actual dream sequence as well – she looks like an actual person being properly scared, in comparison to everyone else’s insanely exaggerated soapy overthetopness (which, I admit, I absolutely adore – especially when it’s Grayson Hall – but I can’t claim it’s in any way believable).

    It’s a shame that, as practically everyone has commented, the dream is so Damon unscary. I’m choosing to believe that being scared is part of the curse; that the characters are experiencing supernaturally-induced emotions that are not directly tied to the images they’re seeing, in the same way they’re being made to feel psychological and physical discomfort if they don’t pass the dream on. It’s the only way I can reconcile the reaction the dream is getting with its actual content…

    (Now, if it were Bozo behind one of those doors, I could understand…)

  8. This is such a fantastic post, Danny. There is so much history and so well researched and written.

    I think that we kids in NYC had no idea DS was so popular elsewhere. No one ever told us what was going on in Indiana. We lived right here and I don’t think any of us thought of going downtown to catch a glimpse of anyone who filmed here. We played DS right in its own backyard and never thought hey let’s go to ABC and see if we can catch Barnabas. Even though we hung out down there pretty regularly. I think NYers are raised with the idea that you don’t gawk at the famous.

    I thought the whole DS thing was silly but still went along when we stomped through cemeteries pretending to be the characters. DS mania among my friends hit its peak with Quentin and the theme playing on the radio every other song. So I truly can’t remember if we were watching regularly when this week happened. We also watched OLTL and we played Vicky/Nickie -multiple personalities. Sometimes we blended the two shows which was all kinds of awesome. Well for 6th graders anyway. I don’t remember what was going on in DS when Victoria Lord had an alternative personality in Nickie but I may just have to look that up.

    Sorry for such a disjointed comment but this post triggered all kinds of memories along with “how did we not know about this?” My brain just went crazy trying to remember news we had absolutely no way of getting.

    By the way the photo with Bozo is a priceless addition. I lol’d. Thanks for such a great post.

  9. Craziness on this episode… David running an errand for his father by running to the old house to ask Julia to come to Collinwood. I mean the “big man” who attacked David is supposedly still loose!!!! What the heck????

  10. I’ve seen that Bozo & Barnabas picture before and the kid on the left always jumps out at me. Talk about giving the photographer the stink-eye!

    No mention of the episode’s highlight – the return of Mean Maggie! This exchange with petulant Joe Haskell is priceless:

    Joe: “Maybe we should just cancel our date.”

    Maggie: “Either that, or find a place that serves baby food.”

    WHAM! Right in the old navy beans! Joe staggers out, thinking how good it would feel to be Nathan Forbes again.

    Of course, we know it’s just because of the earrings but KLS is never sexier than when she’s wearing that Mean Maggie smirk.

  11. It’s a shame there wasn’t any mention of this episode, as Maggie had a fantastic line in reaction to Joe deciding they shouldn’t go to dinner after all. “Either that or find a place that serves baby food.” Oh yeah, that’s magnificent.

  12. Maggie looked particularly beautiful today. Poor Mrs. Johnson was really crying, what a wonderful actress she is! She pulled me in, and so creepy waiting for David outside. Then, in the dream curse, Willy’s reading of the chant was excellent. His delivery is morbid and eerie, haunting and spine chilling! It’s actually a really great episode with no mention from Danny today. I guess Fridmania is still a hot topic!

  13. I just have to comment on how much handsomer Jonathan Frid is in these tour publicity shots, as opposed to when he’s filming Dark Shadows in theatrical makeup. Plus he had a trim physique which looked good in his tailored English suits.
    Woof !

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