Episode 680: The Room

“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.

680 dark shadows quentin david bedroom

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.

680 dark shadows carolyn david room

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.

680 dark shadows carolyn david sailboat

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.

680 dark shadows david dog cat

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.

680 dark shadows orange protest

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.

680 dark shadows sarah david robots

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.

680 dark shadows david posters

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.

680 dark shadows david ship

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.

680 dark shadows david telephone

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.

680 dark shadows doomed football

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.

680 dark shadows david robot cars

The robots are cute, and always worth looking out for. The cars, I couldn’t care less about.

680 dark shadows sailboat robot

Here’s a nice shot of another robot toy, hanging out with the sailboat.

680 dark shadows david red poster

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.)

680 dark shadows barnabas purple poster

David’s still got that purple poster up, which is totally boss and I’m extremely jealous.

680 dark shadows amy david nutcracker

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.

680 dark shadows david dog with sign

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.

680 dark shadows david nutcracker dog

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.

680 dark shadows chicken little was right

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?


Footnote:

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.

680 cream posters

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?

680 dark shadows chicken protest

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

36 thoughts on “Episode 680: The Room

  1. I also love those bedside chalice lamps. Next year, we’ll see taller versions of these in Sky Rumson’s drawing room.

    Another interesting thing about David’s room is that it appears to have been also used for the tower room set. If you notice, as with the tower room, which has the exact same windows and the same door in the same location, the wall curves somewhat between the windows. The other rooms on the floor, those of Vicki/Maggie and Carolyn as well as Liz and Roger’s, are symmetrically square, whereas David’s room has a completely different design. Isn’t Carolyn’s room supposed to be immediately adjacent to David’s, on the side of the wall where the far window is?

    1. I assumed that David’s room was supposed to be on the second floor of the tower. The third floor was the tower room fist seen in 1795.

      1. The hallway with the bedroom seems to be right off the second-floor landing we see in the foyer, so it doesn’t seem they would be in the tower.

  2. I think that the ‘woman and child’ painting was around since the Phoenix storyline and is meant to be of David and his mother Laura – nice throwback touch…

  3. This is a fantastic departure from the hijinx of the kids, and I applaud it.

    The malaise of a non-speaking Quentin gets a break today. This present day timeline has gone on too long.

    And now, I will be waiting for a Tower Room scene.

  4. Now, I have to add…..

    Danny.

    Writer. Seriously good.

    A blog entry from you is usually better than even Sam Hall. But that’s because it’s not a bunch of
    80 second page, for 22 minutes minus intro and outro.

    You are seriously good.

    And it is hard, Really, to impress me, and you do.

    Omg. Never stop. Good writing is not only hard to find, it is hard to keep going, and eventually,
    The Doldrums happen.

    I haven’t seen that happen to you.

    Your self-editor took care of THAT, I’m sure.

    Your style combined with your professional writing is worthy of a paper job in LA or NY.

    I can imagine……you go to the interview.

    And something tips you off.

    Who knows? Maybe a wolfs head cane in her office…..

    And, you say, “Well, I write Dark Shadows Every Day.”

    And she says, “I READ Dark Shadows Every Day.”

    And SERIOUSLY, that can happen.

    1. Chris, I agree with your assessment of Danny’s wonderful insight and writing. And I love the haiku aura of your post. Danny I assumed you were in LA, Chris I love that you say paper job as the ultimate. And in 1968 it was.

  5. He’s in SF. That alone is major.

    And though I still get a paper every day……

    It’s becoming a metaphor.

    And….now, that’s a great name for a band.

    Unintentional Haiku Aura. Laura.

    1. Oh, thank you for saying nice things; that makes me smile. I’m definitely going to keep going. I procrastinate endlessly unless there’s a deadline, so this blog was an experiment to see what happens if I actually have to write five posts a week. It turns out it’s something that I can do, which is a lovely surprise.

      I have some thoughts about future writing gigs, which I’m going to explore as I get closer to the end of Dark Shadows. That’s still two years ahead, so — like the writers on Dark Shadows — I’m going to make it up as I go along, and find magic where I can. Thank you.

    2. Intentional or not.any haiku aura is better than none.

      Thanks for the name check, I am heard

      If only for a moment ,I will live in the blogosphere eternal
      Hai try aura
      Laura

    1. By the sea in NJ – soon to be moving to the mountains of OREGON. Can’t hack the high cost of living on the East Coast anymore now that we’re retired..

  6. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (from David’s poster) had a few 45s on the jukebox at the Blue Whale (OK, I made that up). They were inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame this year — http://rockhall.com/inductees/byyear/.

    If you like electric blues (and even if you don’t), I highly recommend giving them a listen.

    1. Big influence on the music of the Doors, who have been referenced in the blog from time to time.

      Doors guitarist Robby Krieger took the guitar melody from the Paul Butterfield version of the Elmore James song “Shake Your Money Maker” and adapted it as the guitar riff for Break On Through (To The Other Side), which became the Doors’ debut single. Coincidentally, they were on the same record label as the Doors (Elektra) and had the same producer (Paul Rothchild).

      I would second the recommendation of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band by mentioning their 1966 album East-West, which also features guitarist Mike Bloomfield alongside Elvin Bishop.

  7. As a footnote, absent from David’s room in 1967 but very prevalent in 1966 was the Major Matt Mason Space Station, which was released in 1966 so it would have been a very contemporary toy. Undoubtedly the DS crew grabbed the latest thing off the toy shelf. Not sure why it disappeared when they switched to colour, but hopefully David Henesy got to keep it.

    More details and a cool ’66 commercial can be found here: http://flashbak.com/toy-man-moon-remembering-mattels-major-matt-mason-36832/

  8. For some reason, David’s room always invokes some vague primal sense of recognition for me. I’m guessing it’s b/c that’s around the time of my earliest memories of seeing those items elsewhere.

  9. I enjoyed today’s episode. It returned David to his original persona of “incipient psychopath” (those were Roger’s precise words).
    I guess Vicki never confided in Maggie about the fun games David used to play in 1966, like playing hide and seek Vicki in the closed wing until Vicki would starve to death. Or David’s practical lessons in car mechanics using Roger’s brakes as a subject.

  10. When I tore through and looked at the robot I was hoping that it would be the robot that David was found with in 1966 while eavesdropping on Roger’s worth while but never executed plan to send him away to school. Unfortunately it is not the same robot. But it’s very cool.

  11. It’s interesting how this story line has gotten so bogged down. When the story started as the crazy 1968 stories were ending, most everyone even on this blog was hailing the return to a more centered focus, harking back to some of the strengths of earlier DS. Why did inertia take over, though? The whole thing just slowed to a crawl.

  12. The ‘nutcracker thing’ appears to have a baseball bat in one hand, and a mitt on the other hand – and the hat looks like a baseball cap with the brim snapped up. So I’m going with ‘whimsical baseball player’.

  13. Ohhh damn but I really want to know what phrase is on that dog-thingie’s counterculture sign! Did anyone ever capture a close-up of it or otherwise solve this mystery?

    The text looks like it’s three lines in length with the dark emphasis on the second line. And the first line appears to be comprised of one word (or two very small words), the second, with the emphasis, is almost definitely two somewhat longer words; and the third line could have anywhere from two to four small, under-emphasized words.

    Okay… so if it is related to The Turtles song, my guesses are as follows:

    “you; WERE WRONG; now it’s gone.” <–because that’s in the song’s lyrics and it kinda complements the “Chicken Little Was Right” sign.

    “and we; PLANTED LEMON; seeds” <–from the yelled words in the song’s chorus.

    “whoo; WHOO WHOO; whoo whoo whoo” from The Owl song on the same album by The Turtles <–but this only seems likely if the thing holding the sign is an owl, not a dog.

    And if it isn’t strictly related to The Turtles’ song but just that counterculture slogan in general …gosh it could be any ol’ (but relatively kid-friendly) hippy motto. Hmm. Again, based on the sentence structure, maybe:

    “World peace or; WORLD in PEICES; stop war now.”

    “War no more; PEACE PLEASE; flower power.”

    Or it could just be something really trite from the Henny Penny story, like:

    “My oh my; THE SKY IS FALLING; the sky is falling”

    Arrrgh. I just dunno. Exactly what is the dog-thingie cardboard cut-out/figurine in David’s room from the 1960’s Dark Shadows soap opera trying to WARN THE WORLD about!?!

    Danny, why did you have to show this to us? I never would have noticed any of these details in David’s room; now I can’t stop dwelling on this.

    I’m actually seriously tempted to subscribe here ( https://newspaperarchive.com/daily-review-jan-07-1967-p-2/) to read this 1967 news article in full, just in case the paragraph that contains the sentence fragments “thousands of students bought and wore buttons proclaiming ‘Chicken Little Was Right.’ Chicken Little…” might actually provide more of a context for that particular expression of protest.

    But the other free articles I’ve just now read from this same time period (including this quite ironic one from The Stanford DAily https://stanforddailyarchive.com/cgi-bin/stanford?a=d&d=stanford19670113-01.1.6&e=——-en-20–1–txt-txIN——-) didn’t help at all.

    Then again, this was a fun quote: “Life is becoming macabre and grotesque as men sense frighteningly that their spell-binding super-technology, with its awesome unworking complexity, is rendering them helpless. And men, baffled by this technology, turn to cults- or the ‘occult sciences.’ ‘CHICKEN LITTLE WAS RIGHT. IMPOTENT WE ALL ARE. WHEN FALLIBLE HUMAN THINKING DOES NOT WORK, THE SOLUTION IS NOT TO THINK HARDER. WESTERN MAN MUST FINALLY RETURN FULL CIRCLE TO THE GLIMMERINGS OF PRIMEVAL OCCULT WISDOM, TO THE TIME WHEN MEN KNEW WHAT TO DO WHEN THE SKY WAS FALLING.'”

    Another use of the slogan: https://i.gifer.com/Etl7.gif

    (Oh…maybe one of the other slogans painted [cruelly, I fear] on the baby elephant from that Peter Sellers film is also being conveyed? E.g. The World Is Flat — Socrates Eats Hemp — Love is a Sugar Cube — We’d Rather Eat Bananas).

    Hmmmm.

  14. This ep was a real slow mover. I wondered what you would come up with to talk about. Very clever solution. I’m also one of those “prop watchers”, and this was a fun read.

    1. Am new to this site. Enjoyed all the posts re: David’s room. A few comments in reply to this and comments on the likely fate of the props from other sets on the show as speculated in other posts from this site. Although a youngster at the time, (David Henesy and I are 3 days in age apart) I was always keenly interested in set design, and was fascinated by those exhibited in this and other daytime serials. Will confine the comments to the set described above.

      Loved all the highly observant comments re: the accoutrements of the set. As an antiquarian, let me focus on a few others, since this set has always intrigued me. David, has a low boy chest of drawers, a Windsor chair, a really neat, but only occasionally seen desk chair, with an embossed leather backing of an heraldic shield, a wood frame wing chair with scrolled arms, (whose upholstery color I have never been to discern).

      Re: the engraving over the lowboy, that is a Madonna and child, (one of the few religious items to pop up on this show) and the picture of the knight by the window, is a chromo-lithograph of George Frederick Watt’s “Sir Galahad,”.

      Other postings have speculated on the fate of the props. Recall, that the soaps both purchased and rented items to dress the sets. These repeat items were likely purchased, and made available to other ABC soaps, (thus it would not be unlikely that things would later show up on other shows).

      It seems unlikely that the set dressings and props would have been offered to the cast at the wrap party.

      In a newspaper account in advance of the shows preem, Mr. Tomashoff related that the sets cost $50,000. I would love to know how he populated the sets with so short a lead time, and who helped him. Must have done some intensive antiquing!

      Best,

      Brent Carleton

      1. In a newspaper account in advance of the shows preem, Mr. Tomashoff related that the sets cost $50,000. I would love to know how he populated the sets with so short a lead time, and who helped him. Must have done some intensive antiquing!

        I don’t think those items were antiques back then! 😀

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