“In 25 words or less, complete this sentence: I WANT A DATE WITH JONATHAN FRID BECAUSE…”
Every now and then, I like to break out of the usual dull routine of actually watching and writing about a Dark Shadows episode, in order to check in with some of the developments going on outside the walls of ABC Studio 16.
To really understand what’s happening on the show, especially as it’s ramping up in popularity, you need to look at the other sources of Dark Shadows knowledge that the audience absorbed by just living in America in 1968. Magazine articles, TV appearances, the View-Master reels, the gum cards, how annoyed your mother looked when you mentioned the show — in pretentious lit-crit circles, we call this paratextual information. I don’t know what the rest of you call it.
The merchandise and promotion are becoming increasingly important as we stumble towards the new year. 1969 was the peak of Dark Shadows’ popularity, and there’s a lot of extra material that we’re going to have to keep track of.
For example, if the phrase “the Charles Randolph Grean Sounde” means exactly nothing in your life, then I will make it my business to correct that situation. Mr. Grean is pivotal, and so is his Sounde.
Leading the way on the promotion parade are the magazines, which have a big impact on the way that the audience interacted with the show.
There’s a long history of magazines about movies and television, going back to Photoplay in 1911, and the first magazines specifically about soap operas were launched in the late ’60s. I don’t have an authoritative source on the history of the genre, but I did some research on the subject, which involved doing several searches on Ebay.
As far as I know at press time, the first one was Who’s Who in Daytime TV, which launched in 1967. This was followed by After Noon TV in 1968, and then a whole slew of titles in the early ’70s, including Daytime TV, TV By Day, TV Dawn to Dusk, TV Day Stars, Daytime TV Stars, Daylight TV, and TV Before Dark. I swear that I didn’t make any of those up.
In the mid-’70s, they started including the phrase “soap opera” in the title, starting with Soap Opera Digest in 1975, which is one of the two titles that’s still publishing today. (The other is Soaps in Depth, which launched in 1997.) But there were plenty of others — in 1980, Daylight TV changed its name to Soap Opera Stars, and there was also Soap Opera Serials, Soap Opera’s Greatest Stories & Stars, Soap Opera Update, Soap Opera Weekly, Soap Opera Magazine and Soap Opera Illustrated. The average American soap opera viewer must have read five of these a week.
One of the earliest examples was After Noon TV, which launched in August 1968 with a picture of Jonathan Frid and Alexandra Moltke on the cover. These days, soap magazines have lots of news, spoilers and inside info about the production, but back in the 60s and 70s, they were almost entirely interviews and biographies of the actors.
December 1968 is an interesting point to start discussing these magazines, because this is the month when they started offering Jonathan Frid as a contest prize.
There are actually two different magazines that offered a date with Jonathan in the December ’68 issues, which means ABC was probably pitching this concept to every magazine in town. It’s a dangerous idea; if they keep this up, Jonathan’s social calendar is going to fill up fast, and when will he find the time to learn sixty percent of his lines?
Here’s the pitch from TV Radio Talk:
Yes, ladies, finally but finally, your fondest nightmares can come true. TV RADIO TALK is offering YOU the opportunity to savor a spine-tingling day with the most blood-curdling vampire of them all, Dark Shadows’ own Barnabus Collins! [sic]
You will be whisked off to spend the afternoon with Jonathan while he is filming Dark Shadows. Then you will indulge in a long, eerie, candle-lit dinner at one of the city’s finer haunts, escorted by none other than that same delicious vampire.
And how does this otherworldly good luck come about? All you have to do is fill in the ballot below, telling us in 25 words or less why you want a date with Jonathan Frid. Write in ink, lipstick, or blood, but write.
All entries will be judged on originality, spontaneity, and neatness. A panel of famous ghouls will judge the contest, and all decisions will be final. We urge you to send in your ballot now — for the most thrilling, exciting, and bizarre time of your life. After all, how many chances do you think you’ll have to date an honest-to-goodness vampire?
After Noon TV took a more classy approach:
Sometimes a contest prize is so fabulous that it needs almost no description. We will say simply this. The winner of this contest will not only have dinner with Jonathan Frid — Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows, that well-known vampire, and one of the most modest and nicest guys around, but Barnabas and his date will arrive at the elegant Manhattan restaurant in a chauffeur driven Excalibur 88 Roadster — a beautiful car modeled after the 1927-1939 Mercedes-Benz.
On this evening out you’ll get a chance to ask Jonathan questions about Dark Shadows, about what it was like to grow up in Canada, and about what it’s like to have so many people flipping over you. It’s guaranteed that Jonathan will not bite his date. Incidentally, if you’re worried about entering this contest because you’re married, engaged or have a steady boyfriend, worry no more. Your husband, fiancé, or boyfriend is invited too.
The winner will be the person who comes up with the best answers to the questions on the application. Photos of this wonderful evening will appear in a following issue of After Noon TV.
And then the questions are: I think I should win this contest because… and The first thing I will say to Barnabas is…
They don’t actually mention whether this includes airline tickets to New York for the ladies, so I’m not totally sure how this was supposed to work, lady-location-wise. But it’s nice that After Noon TV offered to bring along a gentleman friend. I’m sure the husband, boyfriend and/or fiancé was entirely thrilled to ask Jonathan Frid questions about what it was like to grow up in Canada.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of After Noon TV #8, which says “BARNABAS TAKES THE CONTEST WINNER TO DINNER” on the cover, but that has now become one of my Life Goals.
The soap magazines were mainly for the housewives side of the Dark Shadows fan base, and they mostly kept things classy. But once the magazines for teenagers caught on to Dark Shadows, things got really intense, really quickly.
By this time, the American teenage girl population was at a crisis point. They’d gone nuts over the Beatles in the early ’60s, but the Beatles stopped touring in 1966, because they were tired of playing concerts in venues where you couldn’t actually hear the music over the hysterical squeals of their fans. Beatlemania was cooling off by now, as Paul, John, George and Ringo all settled down and got married.
But the young human female needs somebody to dream and sigh and fight with their friends about, and they can’t all have Jim Morrison, so ABC started promoting the stars of Dark Shadows as potential swoon candidates. This kicked off in May 1967 with Jonathan Frid’s insane ten-city tour, and continued with a full-court press on the teen girl magazines.
The big dog in teen magazines was 16, which launched in 1956, and inspired copycat titles like Seventeen, Teen Beat, Tiger Beat and Flip.
These magazines eagerly play to their base, lining up new heartthrobs as fast as they emerge, and they print spreads with baseball card-style stats. This allows the group of friends clustered around the latest issue to choose which one they plan to marry.
For example, it’s thanks to a single page of 16 that I know that in early 1969, Don Briscoe was born on March 20th in Yalobusha County, Mississippi. He’s 5’11” and weighs 160 pounds, his parents are named Cecil Dixon Briscoe and Pauline Casey Briscoe, his sister’s name is Bonny, he lives in a bachelor apartment in New York, he used to play the guitar, his favorite band is the Beatles, his favorite singer is Aretha Franklin, his favorite color is light blue, and he likes to read, drive sports cars and tinker with his stereo system.
For the 16 readers, the most important stop-press bulletin is: “I like girls who are aware — aware of themselves and the world around them.”
And they certainly are aware of Don Briscoe during this period, right up until March 1969, when they become even more aware of David Selby.
For the teen magazines, the primary goal is to create a sense of intimacy with the singers and actors that they cover.
There are several magazines competing in the same market, so they have to keep digging for new information to print, and the emotional intensity of these features rises dramatically over the next couple of years, eventually reaching a level that we would now consider unbelievably stalker-enabling.
There are lots of articles like “How to Catch David Selby’s Eye!” which include info like the neighborhood in New York where he lives, what his apartment looks like, and what he likes to do on a Sunday morning. Seriously.
Now, the super uncomfortable thing about this promotional activity is that some of the actors are gay, including Jonathan Frid, Louis Edmonds and Joel Crothers. I know that some people get nervous when I talk about Jonathan’s sexual orientation, because he never came out while he was still alive, but his love life is an important part of his story, as it would be for anybody.
And the stuff that we’re seeing in these magazines helps to explain why he never came out. In December 1968, “out” hardly even existed.
So, a quick word about being gay in 1968: it was illegal. The only place you could go to meet other gay people was in bars that catered to the discreet gentleman, and those establishments were the subject of regular police raids. It wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychological Association took homosexuality off of the list of mental illnesses, and that only happened after a lot of heated debates and sarcastic eye-rolls.
The watershed moment for the gay rights movement was the Stonewall riots — two nights of demonstrations starting on June 28, 1969, following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. But you only recognize a watershed moment in hindsight — at the time, for ordinary gay dudes with day jobs, life didn’t drastically change on June 29th.
So the gay dudes of Dark Shadows keep things on the down low, but obviously it’s an open secret among their peers. These are New York actors and television producers; this is not their first rodeo.
There’s a funny story in Barnabas & Company that speaks to this point:
When Lara Parker joined the Dark Shadows cast as Angelique, she was slightly smitten with her handsome new costar.
“Anthony George was very kind to me,” she recalled in 2006. “He was my first friend on the set. One of my first scenes was with him, and I remember we were running lines, and I thought he was very nice and very good looking.
“After he walked away, Grayson Hall came over to me and said, ‘You don’t have a crush on him, do you?’ I just batted my eyelashes and blushed, and she said, in that wonderful, husky voice of hers, ‘My dear, he’s gay!’ I didn’t have a clue. It just never occurred to me.”
Obviously, it’s not a secret for the staff of 16 and After Noon TV either, because they are equipped with eyes and ears, and their entire job is asking actors intrusive questions about their personal life. That is literally what they do all day long. Plus, Grayson Hall has a big mouth.
But the magazines have no motivation for letting their readers in on this non-secret. It would be a career-ruining scandal, which would benefit nobody. The fantasy for the teen girl readers is that someday “How to Catch Jonathan Frid’s Eye” could be personally relevant, and they don’t want to know that any of their faves are inexplicably off the market.
So the relationship between the actors and the magazines is super fraught. They’re involved in a complicated dance of mutual misdirection, which is both tragic and, for modern readers, highly amusing. At least, I think it is.
For example: this interview from the January 1969 issue of TV Picture Life: “Jonathan Frid, Daytime TV’s Most Unique Star, Reveals: The 6 Women I Admire Most!”
From here on, this post is just going to be excerpts from this amazing feature. See if you can figure out who’s fooling who.
“Who are the women you admire most?” I asked Jonathan Frid while visiting at his apartment in midtown New York City. He was relaxing on a rare day when he wasn’t expected at ABC Studios, where Dark Shadows is taped daily.
“The women I admire most?” Jonathan repeated.
“Well,” I said, “not all of them. Say the six women you admire most…”
“Yes,” I said. “Six women who are known to most of us. Actresses perhaps…”
“Katharine Hepburn,” he said. “She’s the first who comes to mind!”
“Do you know her?”
“Yes,” he replied. “I met her when she was starring in Much Ado About Nothing, in the Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Connecticut, in 1958. I was in a small role; I wasn’t important; but it gave me a chance to know her. I was able to observe her. I was there, every day, watching her.”
He sat down on a Queen Anne chair with a pink patterned seat. “My favorite chair,” he commented.
Jonathan’s a husky, 170 pound, broad-shouldered six-footer. But because of this lean, rather haggard frame, he looked so much thinner.
“Perhaps you like Miss Hepburn because she’s thin?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “It’s not a person’s being thin or fat that counts. It’s the person. Miss Hepburn is so vital! That reddish-gold hair! The gray-green eyes! The vitality of her stride, the strength and the sensitivity of her face! Her unconcealed freckles, her clear-eyed candor, her mercurial temper, her independence and her competence and her compassion for her fellow man!”
The living room of his apartment has a beige-gold carpet, a rectangular marble-top coffee table, with brass legs, an old tic-toc clock hanging on the wall, a corner table on which lay a shiny brass Greek warrior’s helmet, some photos, and a gold candelabra that could hold 5 candles, a bookcase with current and old books. It was a comfortable, very lived in room.
“And how about the other five women you admire?”
“Joan Bennett!” he said, without hesitation.
“Joan Bennett is so very modest,” Jonathan explained, with enthusiasm. “She’s very sensible, very professional, and with a delightful sense of humor! I admire her for her interest in public affairs. She campaigned for McCarthy. She has such idealism, and such zeal.
“When I first came on Dark Shadows, I was practically a walk-on and she, a star, was so easy to get along with!
“When I’m with her at the studio, she represents so much that is fine in the theatre! Did you know that she’s the eighth generation in an acting family on her mother’s side?”
“And who else?” I asked.
“Greta Garbo! That’s who else! From the time I was a kid and saw some of her old movies, I was under her spell!
“I’d go almost anywhere today to see a Garbo movie. I understand she made a lot of movies during her 15 active years in Hollywood. She always underplayed her emotions, and you could read what you wanted in her face. For me, she is a real great beauty!”
We remained silent for a moment, taking pleasure in memories of her intense beauty.
“Bette Davis!” said Frid. “Dynamite! She’s a great dramatic actress, of course, and I admire her for her talent and for her spirit. There’s something unconquerable about her. She’s strong and independent and willful, and I guess I admire those qualities. I believe she’s won more Oscar nominations than any other actress, and she deserves it.
“There’s a smouldering fire all about her, and you feel she may erupt any moment. This alive, held-in, caged-in feeling makes for very exciting acting.”
Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis — four great ladies of the silver screen. Who else?
“Eileen Heckart!” said Frid, moving out of his Queen Anne chair to glide gracefully into the kitchen and brew a cup of coffee.
“I guess I admire talent in a woman more than a regulation pretty face and figure. The fact is that a so-called gorgeous girl ages just as quickly as anybody else, and her beauty is of the moment; but a girl with beauty within… well, that lasts a lifetime.
One more woman, I reminded him.
“Simone Signoret,” he said. “She won an Oscar for her performance in Room at the Top, remember? At a time when we’re so preoccupied with little girls, and miniskirts, and the teen generation, she stands out as a sort of champion of the mature woman.”
Studying his list of six women, I realized that he admires mature women most. Miss Davis is 60; Greta Garbo and Katharine Hepburn are 59; Joan Bennett is 58; Eileen Heckart is 49 and Miss Signoret is 47.
Also, he favors tall and slender women: Greta Garbo is five-foot-nine; Eileen Heckart is five-foot-eight and Katharine Hepburn is five-foot-seven. The others are shorter, but certainly are not petite: Joan Bennett is five-foot-four-and-a-half, Simone Signoret is five-foot-four, and Bette Davis is a half inch shorter than Miss Signoret.
It seems that if you want to be admired by Jonathan Frid, it would help if you’re tall, slender, mature, brainy, and very, very talented!
Tomorrow: Vampire Excites Wives, Young Set.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Julia scolds Chris, reminding him that he’s Amy’s only living relative. A while back, they established that Tom and Joe were cousins, so that’s one other relative at least.
When Vicki finds Jeff’s watch, she tells Maggie, “I gave it to Jeff last night, before — after we were married!”
Behind the Scenes:
There’s a Raggedy Ann doll in Maggie’s room, which we saw briefly last week at Windcliff.
This episode had the first use of the soon-to-be familiar sound effect of a werewolf growling.
Tomorrow: Vampire Excites Wives, Young Set.
— Danny Horn
50 thoughts on “Episode 638: Win a Date with Jonathan Frid”
My God… that Frid article is just… I have no words.
These peeks outside the DS studios allows me to appreciate the external influences on the show. One myth that was popular in my mind was that there was no real attempt to cast another strong male lead to complement Frid until Selby arrives as Quentin Collins. But that really isn’t the case. Adam as the “handsome misunderstood monster” had potential (especially during his beatnik sweater wearing, poetry reciting period) but he never caught on with fans, it seems. Then enters Chris Jennings. I’ll be curious to explore when the decision to return to 1897 began, because it greatly marginalizes Briscoe. He’s no longer a major protagonist on the show, but a relatively dull supporting character (Tim Shaw, who does become a bit more interesting later). Selby, however, hits it out of the park without speaking… and perhaps with some help from “Shadows of the Night.” But 1897 could have been just another Adam/Nicholas storyline where he’s a villain who Barnabas defeats. Instead, he becomes the antihero.
Soap Operas fascinate me because they are so strongly and quickly influenced by the outside world. That’s rarer in primetime TV — you have the occasional breakout characters like Spike on BUFFY, for example, but it’s really nothing like this.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff Clark/Peter Bradford was also intended as a potential male lead. Theoretically, he was supposed to be Barnabas’ rival for Vicki’s affection. But I think in both his and Adam’s case they suffered from too many false starts and meandering storylines. I think it’s important for new characters to hit the ground running, and neither did really.
By contrast, Barnabas, Quentin and Chris made impressive debuts – and Quentin didn’t even talk for the first couple of months (though I guess neither did Adam). But there was solid start to their storylines (granted, Chris’ peters out a bit) to grab the viewer’s attention. Also their stories moved in interesting directions which improved the characters – I don’t think you can say the same about Peter and Adam.
Peter was better in 1795.
A Queen Anne chair with a pink patterned seat? Okay, I guess that’s enough to finally convince me about Frid’s orientation, if I wasn’t already before. What a curious choice of words to describe his movements. Not many males are known to “glide gracefully” as they move from one room to another.
However, it is worth mentioning, since above is shown a photo of Maggie and Barnabas, that according to Kathryn Leigh Scott, of all the male cast members she found Jonathan Frid to be the best kisser.
“according to Kathryn Leigh Scott, of all the male cast members she found Jonathan Frid to be the best kisser.”
Of course he was, he had class. 😉
As a not particularly aware gay grade school student in the 60s, even I realized that the vampire hero of my favorite TV show, Jonathan Frid, was also homosexual. The sense of “otherness” that he brought to the role was something that I felt I shared with him. The man with the wolfs head cane and terrible secret helped me deal with my own issues in a way that no other television character at the time could.
I had no idea that Jonathan and others were gay. Had Jonathan came out at the time with this fact, there would not only be pictures of women from the chest up but other pics as well. Use your imagination. I do not think that would have done well for his popularity, because at the time, being gay was not cool in some cases.
thank you for sharing this, Nyde.
And then Sheriff Patterson, gun drawn, exclaimed “That’s no coffin! That’s a closet!”
Joel Crothers actually took over an “advice” column of one of the magazines during the mid-’70s while he was on “The Edge of Night.” His responses to the female readers who had crushes on him and his male co-stars were hilarious. It came down essentially to “Get a life” years before Shatner said it.
I love seeing the old publicity photos from these magazines. I remember when I was a kid in love with Star Trek and Star Wars, I didn’t really get that a publicity photo was a posed shot just for the magazine, I just thought it was an actual scene from the show that I hadn’t seen yet or didn’t remember, so I always felt like I was seeing “more” of the show.
I wonder if young Dark Shadows fans felt that way when they would see these pictures, it didn’t matter that that Barnabas and Angelique were looking directly at the camera, they did that every day on the show!
Simone Signoret was a good choice. She starred in one of my favorite films of horror, terror, fright and spookiness: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s brilliant masterpice, Diabolique, from 1955. This is a movie I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s the real deal, a horror movie that is actually horrifying. No gore, black and white, creepy as hell. In French.
I thought you were going to elaborate on/about Charles Grean. Significant pop music figure–the man behind Eddy Arnold’s early recording career, the composer of famous novelty numbers like “The Thing” and “Crazy Mixed Up Song,” the producer of Leonard Nimoy’s Dot label LPs (!) and a number of Merv Griffin singles, including the 1949 smash, “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” and Merv’s 1951 hit, “Never Been Kissed” (which Grean co-wrote). The right man to record “Quentin’s Theme,” you might say.
“Sounde,” of course, is a companion illiteracy to “olde.” As in, Quentin listened to olde soundes on his gramophone. As far as I know, the Grean side has vintage-snyth cred. And I’ve always wanted to type “vintage-synth cred.”
Oh, “…as we stumble towards the new year.” Didn’t read closely enough.
Yes, Charles will have his day. I’m looking forward to all the soundtrack stuff coming up in ’69 — it’ll finally give me a good hook for writing about the music. The New Theremin Era will also be in play.
I bought the Charles Randolphe Grean Sound album when it came out, but I was disappointed because Quentin’s Theme sounded different. I couldn’t listen to it and pretend I was Quentin.
I can imagine, I hate the Charles Randolphe Grean Sound. Quentin loved his theme, because it was melancholy, like he was. Charles Randolphe Grean doesn’t do melancholy. He makes everything sound like pink champagne, with levels of schmaltz undreamed of by Laurence Welk. He lays it on thick, really sweetens it up with sugary, syrupy musical embellishment. The original Quentin’s theme had a wonderful dry minimalism. The CRGS is like a cotton candy overdose, best listened to with irony, and a bubble machine.
Lawrence Welk recorded it, of course (on the “Jean” LP). Also, Mantovani and Hugo Winterhalter. An easy-listening standard!
Another important piece of music from 1897 that would worked well with Grean’s sound was Pansy’s Theme. Pansy’s Theme was supposed to be fun, an uplifting party song, and Grean likes making things sound happy, so that seems like a good match.
Quentin’s Theme was basically Quentin’s “blues” before there was such a thing, so I prefer the more melancholy original with the thinner sound. It has a lonelier sound, which suits it.
Love Mantovani, always so elegant.
The thin sound is what I love about Quentin’s Theme–i.e., the way they got it to sound authentic to a cylinder player. I assume they clipped the highs and lows and punched up the mid-range. I’d love to know exactly what they did, filter-wise. Too bad Grean, et al. couldn’t at least have kept it to violin and piano, like the original.
I never thought of Jonathan Frid as teen idol material – it seems ‘off kilter’ some how..now Chris and Quentin are another story – and PLEASE don’t remind me of Lawrence Welk – I remember endless Saturday nights of being forced to watch this at my grandmother’s house when she babysat us – my sister and cringe at the thought of it 🙂
Little could your grandmother imagine Welk would end up on PBS! (Er, unless she was watching him there.) Speaking of grandparents, I turned mine on to DS during the Adam storyline–they became hooked, and they filled me in on episodes I missed. (My family was without TV during the 1995 segments and some of the 1970 PT.) My grandfather called it “The Weirdo.” My grandmother watched at least one other soap–General Hospital, naturally. I didn’t expect them to dig DS, but they did. (I’m 58, to give some generational perspective.)
I don’t remember if they liked Welk, but they were regular Hee Haw viewers. DS was about the time Welk and Roy Clark were kicked off network TV (all corporate bets were being placed on younger viewers–sound familiar?), only to reemerge stronger in syndication. Thus, Clark identified with Lawrence. Culture Wars, 1969 edition.
Joanne….lol. What was worse than Lawrence Welk? Mitch Miller. I am so glad TV has progressed since then. I never looked at Barnabas as a sex symbol. Maybe I was too young. I just looked at him as a vampire. Now that I am 62 and reviewing and all, I still dont see him as being sexy. I see a warm and gentle misunderstood man, needing some serious love from somebody, but sexy…naw. Sexy is Quentin, Jerry Lacy, and Adam. Humina Humina…lol.
Is it OK to talk about this episode for a moment? Betsy Durkin does something truly creepy and amazing. In the teaser, she walks into Collinwood, all in a daze over her lost Peter, and never once blinks.
Then she drops to the floor, and man, that looks like one hard floor.
Is this a blooper? Somebody clearly shakes Maggie’s bed, giving KLS a cue to wake up to Julia.
Julia is practically running a shuttle service between Maggie, Chris and Vicki.
We join Chris and Maggie in the drawing room in mid-argument, which is strange for DS, and it’s never clear why she’s so ticked off.
We get an unusual three-fer to close out one act as the camera pans Julia, Maggie and Liz, all agog at Vicki’ apparently losing her mind.
For a Ron Sproat episode, this one has a lot of life.
Glad you mentioned that, I thought Betsy did a great job.
Hadn’t caught her not closing her eyes. Thanks for mentioning it. Did note that she seemed to take a pretty hard fall. Betsy D. does seem game, I’ll give her that.
And about Julia, yes. Everyone seemed to want a piece of her today!
Interesting how you like to stereotype people and decide something about them makes them one thing or another. Having a pink chair doesn’t make a man gay anymore then a butch hair cut makes a woman a lesbian. I am not against him having been gay, or bi or pan or ect.. I am a pan romantic, gender queer and Asexual myself and no I am not confused I know myself very well. It is just possible he was Asexual or bisexual If you watch any of the many videos on YouTube with him, if he was one of those sexual/ romantic orientations, he did not want people to know about it, because he referred to lady friends and women who he spent time with. Maybe he didn’t want anyone to know one way or another because he was uncomfortable with people knowing his personal life. Just because someone is a famous person does not give others the right to know all about that person and their life.
I have thought that a few times, that he was more likely to be asexual or bi than gay- his nephews have stated that he wasn’t gay. He definitely had good relationships with women and he said that he enjoyed his romantic scenes with Kathryn (Maggie/Josette) and she loved those kisses with him. I’m not surprised she said he was the best kisser- he certainly looks like he was the best. 🙂 Poor Alexandra got the short straw with Roger Davis lol. I bet she wished Vicki would fall for Barnabas!
He obviously didn’t wish to share this aspect of his life- so I am not keen on people stating he was gay as fact, as the fact is we don’t know one way or the other. His nephews are not happy with this.
Thank you for replying to me. Looking back on what I wrote here, hmm, some parts I would like to change. But the basic idea I still feel. And in coming to know more about Mr. Frid, there are some things in his personality which has led me to think he was not gay, but he could have been bi. For one thing he did not speak to women the way a gay man does. But in the same vein, he did seem to have a feeling towards men that may not have been platonic. And of course it is all speculation. No one can know what is really in someone else’s heart and mind, even those who love and become close to us.
I think it bothers me not that people say he was gay or straight or that other famous and dead folks was gay or straight. But that they some how Know what that person, who never came out and said it themselves; That they KNOW something about that person. It would be better if they would say the truth, that from their personal view point of that person BELIEVE(which is not truth or fiction only a personal theory) they was something.
Not to make myself look crazy, but I feel that he says from his (Jonathan’s) own mind (note: I don’t think I am a medium but maybe I am; if someone writes me about it I will not respond to them, not out of rudeness, I just am a major introvert leave me alone)
Potentially Jonathan’s words: “Speculation is a fools game.”
And… That’s all he has to say about it. He says to make a smilie, but I don’t know how to do that on here.
Except sometimes it’s just okay to say that somebody was gay. He grew up in a world where everyone was in the closet, where it was absolutely unacceptable to talk about being gay. Of course he didn’t tell anyone that he was gay. It was 1968; you could be arrested for it.
This is an awful, painful way to live, as everybody who has experienced it knows. I don’t think it respects the man to continue to tell strained, polite lies about him. Those lies were not the good part of his life.
It’s okay. That war is over. He was gay. We don’t have to rebuild the closet over his grave on his behalf.
Danny, I just want to say I’m completely unhomophobic, and have gay colleagues and friends, but I do wish to say is that Jonathan never stated he was gay, his family stated that he wasn’t and there is no concrete proof.
Jonathan lived well past 1968 so he had no reason to try and “hide” anything in the 1990s, yet he never stated “I am gay”, unlike Louis Edmonds.
I don’t feel it is respectful to “out” a man who never outed himself- that is only his right, nobody else’s. I do hope you understand me here. 😉
thank you for this, Danny. but do you really believe the “war is over”?
“Shadows of the Night”. ….awful.
So Shatner. Who can’t sing.
But Selby can, and does, in a drunk scene with, um…I think, Letitia Faye or Charity Trask.
This is totally off track, but how is 5’4 and under not petite?
I learned to my shock a while ago that the average height of women in the United States is 5′ 4″. This still held in 2021.
When I reflect on the fact that Alan Cumming, who’s alive and well and can speak for himself, keeps coming out as bisexual and keeps affirming that he likes both men and women, and yet keeps being mislabeled as “gay,” it doesn’t give me a lot of faith in the ability of the gossip mill to pin an accurate label on someone who never saw fit to pin a label on himself. Be that as it may, what strikes me about Mr Frid’s list of women he admires is not how fake it is, but how sincere it is. The article overall has a weird tone and smells of BS, but if you look at just what he actually said, he gave specific reasons for admiring the work and/or personalities of these 6 actresses. Whether he would ever have wanted to sleep with any of them wasn’t the question that was asked. As a female fan of Mr Frid, I’m naturally curious about his attitude toward women. Of course, the evidence that he valued women as colleagues, advisors, business partners, etc. is abundant and easy to find, so the respect he shows here for women as professionals in his field isn’t a surprise. Still, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to see how easily he was able to come up with specific praise for actresses when he was put on the spot.
Yes, I get you Karen. People seem to be suspicious of people who are not dating all the time, married etc. I have a relative who has barely dated, lives for his career really, and has a low libido. I don’t talk to him much but it seems to me he fits the bill of asexual- there are more people like this that one realises. I’m sure people have many times thought him gay when he isn’t. It is not accepted as “normal” in society to be a long term singleton.
I agree about people who are just lifelong bachelors and who get people wondering, etc. I gather that some people think there are more reasons to think Mr Frid liked men, other than just that he never married. I can’t speak to that because I don’t know anything. But even if — for the sake of argument — there were somebody somewhere who knew for a fact that Mr Frid liked men, we still wouldn’t know how he thought about it — that is, whether he would’ve picked the label “gay,” “bi,” “still figuring it out,” “don’t believe in labels,” or what. As near as I can tell, it might well have been “none of your damn business.” 🙂 When even people who do label themselves get mislabeled, as they do, it gives me even less confidence that people can rely on the power of gossip and “everybody knows” to define another person’s identity.
I’m relatively new to this fandom, but in the six months that I’ve been here, I’ve quickly learned that Mr Frid had a lot of women in his life whose presence and opinions he respected. It’s one of many things I like about him.
I hope you guys respect my opinion as I do yours. I have read Mr. Frid belonged to the playboy club in NYC and loved looking at pictures of naked women also had a large collection of Playboy. Now I am a born again Christian and don’t agree with a lot of stuff so i hope he wasn’t gay but I absolutely love him, I wish so much that I knew him. Mabey he just din’t like sex? is that possible? So here I get the opinion he dint care for young pretty girls in mini skirts with nice figures . that was me, he was 23 yrs older i like to think he would have liked me. Oh btw~ did you know in jolly old England pink was originally for boys? and lt blue for baby girls?
A note for folks reading these comments: This discussion continues in the comments section on Episode 800: Sitting in a Tree, which is about how gay Count Petofi is. (Spoiler: He is a lot gay.) People go on about their made-up theories about Frid being a sensitive lifelong bachelor who respects women too much to ask them on dates, because he said so in a 1969 teen magazine. I win the argument, obviously, because it’s my blog and I say so.
John Frid (name before he changed it) was one of the best actors of the time. Being of Scottish ancestry, I think he shoulda been called Sean (which translates to John). And when he was younger, he gave David Selby a run for his money in the looks department. As for being gay, who cares? Well, actually I think playing fag hag is tons of fun, so. . .
I was a bit smitten both with John, David Selby and when Lara Parker first walked on the set, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. (I used to draw pictures, and aesthetics knows no bounds.) But looking at the Dark Shadows crew, Lara did have some stiff competition.
I love the picture of Barnabas and Maggie.
It’s the first picture of him, that makes me say, wow! He was really good looking. Great photo!
re: Teen magazines, I was a relentless seeker of DS merchandise as a ten to twelve year old boy during the DS heydays of 1968-1970. I was a regular buyer of “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, but lo and behold, I stumbled upon a new and unexpected source of DS info and pics when I saw a “16” magazine with Frid and DS mentioned on the cover.
I was a bit embarrassed to request this magazine, but Mother added it to her cart with no comment. I certainly realized the publication was aimed at a young female audience. But it had DS stuff in it, so into my collection it (and several more issues of same) went. The candid shots these mags printed greatly disappointed me, though. Frid without his Regency-era bangs and with glasses and cigarette bothered me, rupturing that image I carried in my head of him. Surprise! Frid didn’t look nearly as cool as Barnabas did!
Another disappointment: The “Charles Randolph Greane” record of “Quentin’s Theme” sounded completely different than the one they played during the show. The version on the DS Album was the correct one, but had David Selby speaking over it. I wanted a version just like they used in the show, but neither version I owned did that.
Vicki believes that Jeff is in the room with her, because she felt his touch.
Poor woman; hanging out with Handsy Jeff so long she internalised his constant upper-arm-squishing and feels it even when he’s not there. This is Stockholm Syndrome in action, kids.
well pointed out, Mr. Clay.
I think it’s worth pointing out that many of the articles in these fan magazines were complete fabrications, either by the writing staff of the magazine or the publicists of the celebrity being profiled. The stars themselves may have had no input whatsoever or even been aware the article was being written. David Cassidy details this practice in his autobiography. So it’s at least possible that the conversation with Frid about his Six Favorite Women never even occurred.
Where the hell is Maggie when she wakes up? At home at the cottage? If so, her room looks much different than it used to.
I love the posts about what was going on in the real world at the time the show was airing l. I feel it
helps flesh out the viewer experience at the time.
That wolf growl would’ve given me nightmares if I had been a young in’ watching this. It’s super scary!
Just a tiny nit to pick: Seventeen was not a 16 knockoff. It wasn’t even a fan mag, but a fashion-and-lifestyle glossy directed at teenage girls. It first published in 1944.
The drawing room floor looks like it was being retiled and scraped down to the cement 😉 … I know the production was limited, but couldn’t a softer rug be scrounged out somewhere (or an afghan)?
That was a hard fall Betsy Durkin took.
The red dress with high collar and flared sleeves that Elizabeth is wearing in this episode is one of the best in her wardrobe. Such an elegant woman.