Episode 570: Fridspeak Friday

“I can’t put together the parts of a body into a human, with life or breath.”

Sexy vampire Tom Jennings approaches his victim, Julia. As Tom bares his fangs to bite her, he crosses his eyes.

570 dark shadows green stripe

There’s a green stripe on the left side of the image. One of the three cameras developed a fault on Monday, and it’s been doing this all week.

570 dark shadows barnabas how far

Barnabas:  Adam may come here tonight. He may demand to find out what — how far we’ve gone with the experiment. What can I say?

570 dark shadows barnabas willie edit

There’s an edit in the middle of Willie’s line. There are two tape edits today, which is very unusual. One can only imagine what could possibly have happened that was so bad that these were the two mistakes they considered not up to broadcast standard.

570 dark shadows barnabas parts

  The one you don’t mention much is Julia, and she’s the one you need the most!

Barnabas:  Obviously. I can’t put together the parts of a body into a human, with life or breath.

570 dark shadows willie feel

Willie:  You’re acting like some man whose secretary is missin’, and I know that’s how you don’t feel!

570 dark shadows barnabas willie stop

Willie:  Wait, where are you gonna go?

Barnabas:  Through the woods again!

Willie:  Well, he’s not there, she’s not there, how could they be?

Barnabas:  Well, we can’t stop at anything — with — with nothing done.

570 dark shadows barnabas late

Barnabas:  But where could they be? Where could he be? Where could he be at this time of night, so late? Yes, the docks. I remember the docks at night.

570 dark shadows willie mouth

A quick cut to Willie, who’s standing there with his mouth open for no particular reason. Three seconds later, cut back to Barnabas.

570 dark shadows liz blocking

Nice blocking.

570 dark shadows barnabas nothing

Barnabas:  All I know is that you ran away from Windcliff. Now, Roger would do nothing that wasn’t in your best interest.

570 dark shadows liz buried

Liz:  It means they’re going to let me be buried alive. You — you don’t believe me?

Barnabas:  I don’t believe that could have happened.

Liz:  Yes. Yes, it could happen.

570 dark shadows barnabas alive

Barnabas:  I’ll be perfectly willing to let you stay, if I thought it was — well, for the best.

570 dark shadows julia dead

Liz insists that Julia is dead. Julia is clearly breathing.

570 dark shadows chair

There’s a stain on one of the armchairs.

570 dark shadows barnabas willie tape

The second tape edit.

570 dark shadows barnabas worried

Barnabas:  Will that end it, Willie? Or will he suddenly appear in the middle of the night, at the hospital bed? No, Willie. We must settle him.

570 dark shadows cape barnabas

Barnabas puts his left arm through the wrong hole in his cape.

570 dark shadows liz julia teleprompter

Liz checks the teleprompter several times as she delivers a monologue to a sleeping Julia. There’s a lot of studio noise, with people shuffling around and bumping into things. At 17:33, you can hear someone in the studio say, “Sssh!”

570 dark shadows coffin glare

When Barnabas opens the lid of Tom’s coffin, there’s a blinding glare reflected from the studio lights.

570 dark shadows tom face

Tom is still making funny faces.

570 dark shadows tom slip

Barnabas pushes Tom away, and Tom slips a bit on the smooth floor.

570 dark shadows tom strangle

More of this.

570 dark shadows barnabas blocking

Nice blocking.

570 dark shadows tom panic

As the struggle continues, Tom pushes Barnabas up against the coffin. You can actually see the panic in Don Briscoe’s eyes, as he realizes that Jonathan Frid has forgotten that he’s the one who’s supposed to be strangling right now, and he doesn’t know how to go on with the scene.

570 dark shadows barnabas tom play

Oh, will you look at that. Grown men, ladies and gentlemen.

570 dark shadows tom scream

There’s a scream, and a crash, and the camera goes out of focus, and Tom opens his mouth, and the episode is over.

Next: The British Invasion.

Behind the Scenes:

Time Magazine had an article about Dark Shadows — “Ship of Ghouls” — in the issue dated Aug 30, 1968. Here are a few excerpts:

Only ABC’s Dark Shadows tapes as if every day were Friday. The 30-minute show is TV’s first gothic soaper, and the first to star a vampire. Explains one of the directors: “If the characters sat around and talked to each other about vampires, you would turn people off. It’s the actual vampirizing that makes the show.”

As for the plot, even Frid himself concedes, “There are times when I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. I’m sure people get together to speculate on what the show is all about.”

“The whole essence of my character,” says Frid earnestly, “is guilt over my hang-up — vampirism — and my bites suffer. I envy the bites of the two other vampires. They are positively erotic.”

Dark Shadows also has a recorded repertory of 3,000 sound effects and a few tricks that go back to radio days. The werewolf calls are authentic lobo cries, but for the squeak of bats in the night, a technician rubs a cork on the side of a bottle. The bats themselves are plastic and wired for flight. Coffins, cakes of dry ice (for eerie ground fog) and quarts of stage blood litter the studio. To spook up the manor with cobwebs, the crew flings chunks of latex into an electric fan, which scatters them authentically over the walls.

Next: The British Invasion.

570 dark shadows orbach's

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

26 thoughts on “Episode 570: Fridspeak Friday

    1. Me too. Barnabas admitting his faults. He knows Julia is enjoying Tom but for fatal reasons and that is why he says other people who bite others have an erotic nature. He is also putting a stop to that shut too…lol.

  1. Hey, wait a minute. If Chris is a Collins–and of course Tom, too–and Joe Haskell is a cousin, that means that he’s a Collins also. Good thing he didn’t marry Carolyn.

  2. Tom is the most comical vampire I’ve ever seen – isn’t there a scene where he struggles to climb through the window into Vicki #2’s room to try and attack her? I guess that’s why they never showed Barnabas trying to get out of his coffin – the awkwardness detracts from the evil persona.

      1. You’re right – while Tom making faces is amusing to watch from a distance actually seeing him coming at you with those incisors in addition to his raw physical strength would be terrifying.

    1. But Barnabas wasn’t having it it that Tom was biting Julia. Now this is where he steps up for Julia for the first time. Jennings thought he was gonna keep biting Julia? Aww hell naw!!

  3. So here’s kind of an existential question–who are the narrators at the beginning of episodes supposed to be now? Of course, earlier in the show, “My name is Victoria Winters” clearly indicated that the character of VW was speaking. But now we have any number of DS actors doing the beginning narration. In this episode, John Karlen is doing it, and he’s done it a few times now. But he’s in no way acting as Willie Loomis. Karlen is doing some kind of weird theatrical, pseudo-British Shakespearean voice that sounds nothing like Willie. So these narrations are no longer supposed to be the characters themselves?

    1. They haven’t been the characters themselves since Alexandra stopped the “my name is Victoria Winters…” narration. They are simply narrators now, and refer to characters, even themselves, in the third person. During the 1795 flashback narration, Alexandra refers to “Victoria Winters” not as her character but as a third person character.

      They usually used an actress who was not in the teaser so they wouldn’t have to pre-record the narration, but this was not always possible. Initially, they always used an actress to do the narration (after “my name is vw”), so if there was only one actress in an episode and she was in the teaser, the narration would have to be pre-recorded.

      But then came an episode where there were no female characters, and an actor did the narration. They generally seemed to favor an actress doing it, but actors started doing it pretty regularly.

      And, until she left the show, they tended to use Alexandra when she was in an episode.

    2. Even when Vicki was introducing episodes with “My name is…”, the narration contained information the character wasn’t privy to (and was written in a weirdly florid manner that was altogether too interesting for Vicki).

      Maybe it’s a parallel Vicki, able to see everything and do nothing, unable to do more than just comment on the lives she sees into…

  4. Brown seems to be a running color theme in Barnabas’ wardrobe whenever he’s human. He had that nice brown coat and waistcoat in 1795, and now the brown suit in this episode. I don’t remember Barnabas ever wearing brown whenever he is a vampire.

  5. Can’t work out which Tomfaces are deliberate acting choices, and which ones are just because Don’s lip keeps sticking to his fang…

  6. i know this post is over 5 years old but i’ve been enjoying reading these after watching each ep on imdb and now i just can’t help commenting on this ep since it’s arguably the stupidest one yet. why would barnabas go into the vampire’s lair BEFORE dawn? why didn’t he bring the gun with the silver bullets, just as a precaution? it’s not like he has any other use for it? why did he turn his back to the coffin to pick up the stake and hammer and then just stand there in reverie for so long KNOWING the vampire must be headed back soon?? why is he trying to STRANGLE a vampire???

    1. When you put it that way, the answer may well be that for all of his kvetching, Barnabas kind of LIKES being a vampire and is subconsciously hoping that Tom will “turn” him again even with Adam around. It has the benefit of not being his fault AND getting called a hero to boot. Then he can go back to feeling sorry for himself for being a monster while having all the fun of being a monster.

  7. Hello All! I’m a long time lurker on this blog and I first have to say how much I’ve enjoyed Danny’s analyzations, play-by-play descriptions, jokes, backstage information, and cultural references throughout (the comments section is also superb). I’ve read though the entirety of the blog twice now and it never gets old.

    As for my backstory, I started watching Dark Shadows when I was in elementary school in the 1990s. It was 11am during some school vacation and my mother and I had just had our usual argument over whether we’d watch DS reruns on the Sci-Fi channel (her choice—she started watching the show back in 1969 with the 1897 flashback) or the Price is Right (my choice). Mom consistently won out, but despite my protests, I ended up getting hooked on DS (during 1841PT, no less, when Gabriel was threatening people with a knife). Since then, I can’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve seen the series from start (episode 1 or episode 210) to finish on television, VHS, and DVD. I even remember frantically calling my mother from a pay phone in college to ask her to set the VCR because I had forgotten! I’ve always been a big Julia fan, but I find that I appreciate a different character/actor each time I rewatch a storyline.

    And it’s all those repeated viewings that brings me to posting this message now. I believe the first cut that occurred during the Barnabas and Willie conversation in today’s episode was actually done when they converted this episode to DVD. The VHS, I recall, had the missing footage which was actually a disturbance in the original video tape; the image rolled for a second or two (that’s what I’ve always described it as, I’m sure that’s not the technical term). I recall the same thing happening in yesterday’s episode when Roger and Nicholas are talking in the Drawing Room (after Julia leaves with Mrs. Johnson). Now, I no longer have the VHS tapes to go back and check with and this might all be in my head, but I do vividly remember these blemishes because I was always afraid that the video disturbance was actually my VCR eating my tape (ahhh…the stresses of the 1990/2000s).

    Thank you Danny (and everyone) for sharing your Dark Shadows knowledge, thoughts, and sometimes exasperations (is it wrong that I sometimes fast forward through conversations that include Vicki?).

  8. Third time’s the charm: They finally get that “Tom emerges from the shadows” thing right in today’s teaser.

    I’m not sure which I like better, Julia’s dreamy expression when Tom approaches or the way she whips off the scarf in anticipation of their, uh, intimate encounter.

    I think Barnabas approaches the coffin before dawn because he wants to have a confrontation with Tom. He’s pissed off that Tom is poaching on his territory (Julia) and wants to give him a good thrashing. It’s an absurdly risky plan but remember this is Barnabas we’re talking about.

    Regarding the opening narration, I think the actors are definitely out of character at this point. KLS, for instance, uses her “theater actress” voice not her “Maggie Evans” voice. John Karlen is awful at it – he sounds like a last-minute substitution in the high school play. Joan Bennett isn’t much better.

  9. The whole Tom/Julia story, brief though it is, is my favorite part of this whole time period. Barnabas does the Henry Higgins “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” thing and I forgive them the Dream Curse and Adam and Eve. The episode’s a bit of a mess and I’m sure Willie’s line was not written, “I know that’s how you don’t feel.” I find very little to love during this period, but I love this.
    On a side note, is vampirizing a word?

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