“Chicken Little was right!”
David’s spending the day in his room again, I can’t remember why. Liz sent him to his room because he was mean to Amy, and then I think Maggie sent him to his room because he wouldn’t admit that he went to the west wing. It’s possible that we’re now in an endless “resisting arrest” cycle, where he’s being sent to his room because of his conduct the last time he was sent to his room.
Still, while we’re here, we ought to take a second to look around. It’s not like we’ve got anything else going on.
One of the nice things about the current kid-centered storyline is that we get to see all the cool stuff in David’s room. In a house that’s mostly dark wood and old portraits, David’s bedroom offers some welcome splashes of color. It’s pretty much the only location on the show right now that acknowledges that Dark Shadows takes place in the present day.
It’s been a while since we spent a lot of time here; David was pretty much absent for most of the 1968 craziness. He interacted with Adam a couple times, he was momentarily hexed by Cassandra, he had one of the cursed Dream Curse dreams, and he listened to Dr. Lang’s tape recorder. That is pretty much the sum total of everything David did all year.
In fact, the last big David story was back in fall 1967, when he was haunted by Sarah, and we didn’t get very many chances to see his room in color with the lights on. So let’s take a moment to check out his stuff.
One thing that’s fun about David’s room is that the props get moved around a lot. The only permanent standing set they had on Dark Shadows was the Collinwood foyer and drawing room; all the other sets would get broken down and put back together as needed. So there’s a collection of “David’s room stuff,” but it gets remixed every time.
This screenshot is from November ’67, and the most obvious bit of set dressing is the huge ugly kite on the walI. It’s hard to say what that’s supposed to be. That gets lost somewhere during the 1795 trip, so we don’t have to look at it anymore.
The other wall decorations on that side of the room stay consistent pretty much all the time. There’s a picture of a woman holding an infant, which goes through a couple different frames, but usually hangs in that spot, and then there’s a map of the United States, which is always there.
I don’t know what the yellow thing on the high shelf is. I haven’t found a clear shot of it, and it disappears after 1967, so never mind that.
The other half of the room has some interesting items. The big yellow sailboat on the chair travels around quite a bit. There’s a really busted-looking brown globe which is super ugly and unreadable, and I don’t know why they keep putting it back.
But here’s where you start to see some of the more 60s elements — the red and yellow poster which I don’t know what it is, and the purple poster, which is awesome and I want one. We’ll see more of that later on. Then there’s the mobile of white shapes hanging from the ceiling. That doesn’t make it to ’69, either.
By the way, I hope you’re enjoying this obsessive little museum tour, because seriously this is the only thing we’re doing today.
Here’s another late ’67 shot, which shows some of the best items in the room. You can get a little better look at the purple poster, and on the other side of the window, there’s a cat painting we’ll be seeing again. David’s crystal ball is on the window ledge there; that used to be a thing.
And you see the little orange dog thing on the bedside table? That’s important, keep your eye on that.
There are two of those orange paper decorations — the dog, and the orange-faced girl on the dresser. The thing that’s great about these is that they’re holding protest signs, which is so late ’60s that I can’t stand it.
Okay, a few more items to mention from 1967. There’s a little soldier-nutcracker looking deal on the dresser here, with a red hat and blue body, which I’m not a hundred percent sure what it is. That blue-green spotted box on the right is often present, on various sides of the room.
You can see a couple of the robot toys on the shelves back there. There’s at least three different robots which get scattered around.
Here’s another shot of the cat painting and the purple poster. I know, this is probably unbelievably boring, but this is one of the things that you do when you really love a television show; you pay attention to props and weird little production quirks. Looking at these posters has gotten me through a lot of boring bedroom scenes.
Okay, one more 1967 pic. David is messing around with his ship in a bottle, because what else are you going to do when you’re killing time until a ghost shows up. The sailboat is still on a chair, next to a robot, the globe, and the dog with a protest sign.
Okay, moving forward to 1969, we can see that most of the items are still around. The ugly kite and the mobile are gone, but we’ve still got the map, the soldier/nutcracker thing, the orange dog and girl with their protest signs, the red and yellow poster, the sailboat and the globe.
Just past David’s right shoulder, you can see a new addition, a little figure of a football player.
And here’s David about half a second before he picks up the football player and throws it at the wall. It was back the next day, so it survived, which is nice. They build these football player figures to last.
You can also see the ship in the bottle, and one of the robots in the back.
The robots are cute, and always worth looking out for. The cars, I couldn’t care less about.
Here’s a nice shot of another robot toy, hanging out with the sailboat.
This picture is the best I can find of the red and yellow poster, which is eerie and may actually qualify as foreshadowing. (See the Footnote below for info on the posters.)
David’s still got that purple poster up, which is totally boss and I’m extremely jealous.
This is a really clear shot of the soldier/nutcracker thing, which even at this distance I have no idea what it thinks it’s supposed to be.
But the most exciting items are the dog and the girl with protest signs. 1969 is a big year for protests, even among anthropomorphic dogs, so this is a very timely touch.
But so far, I haven’t been able to get close enough to the dog to see what his sign says. That’s still a mystery in my life.
But we do get a clear view of the girl’s sign, which proclaims “Chicken Little was right!” And for all I know, maybe he was.
Monday: Could He Talk?
Not long after posting this, Emily K. and Jayson O’Neill pointed me towards “A Poster Poser” on Stuart Manning’s Dark Shadows News Page, where brilliant internet people identified the two posters. They’re for shows played at the Fillmore Auditorium in August 1967 for Cream, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, South Side Sound System and Electric Flag.
This is an unbelievably cool set of posters to put on television, especially since they were so recent. I didn’t look all the way back to find out when they first appeared on the set, because who has the time, but the screenshots above are from November 1967, just a few months after the concerts in San Francisco. And David got them all the way up to Collinsport, Maine, even though he has no living friends and never listens to music.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Elizabeth trips up a couple times on this line: “Oh, and I want you to stay — stay with him until he’s fi — finished eating. If you don’t, the food is apt to — to wind up anywhere but his stomach.”
Monday: Could He Talk?
— Danny Horn