Episode 701: The Most Important Thing About Quentin

“Life was more exciting, when I was around.”

So, the lesson, I suppose, is that you shouldn’t lock up your relatives, build paneling over the door, and pretend that they went to France.

I mean, I understand the impulse. Quentin is selfish and mean, and practices dark sorcery. You’ve tried to kick him out of the house, but he just laughs, and keeps on drinking other people’s brandy. And then there’s a sale at Home Depot, and you think, This could be so easy…

The downside, of course, is that then your descendants come along and unseal the tomb, because they’re young and curious, and you forgot to write “Dangerous ancestor, do not open” on the entrance portal. Although they probably wouldn’t have paid attention anyway; descendants are dumb like that.

701 dark shadows barnabas coffin

So now the genie’s out of the bottle, and nobody knows the magic words to get him back in. The sinister specter is running roughshod over the house, stealing children, throwing mediums down the stairs and messing with people’s hairstyles. But eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins has decided that enough is enough, so he uses the mysterious Chinese art of I Ching in a desperate attempt to communicate with the ghost.

Strictly speaking, this is unnecessary, because the kids already have a magic telephone that they’ve been using to communicate with Quentin for months. Barnabas could talk to Quentin any time he wants; Quentin just doesn’t care. Communications technology is not the issue.

But Barnabas never listens to reason, thank goodness, because this leap into the unknown is exactly what Dark Shadows needs. For one thing, it gets Barnabas back in the coffin, a bit of essential fanservice that puts the vampire back at the center of the vampire show.

It also kicks off another time travel storyline, which gives the writers the opportunity to redesign the show from the ground up, and do it right this time.

701 dark shadows sandor magda knives

To make things personal for a moment, this is an important episode for me. The first time I saw it was in 1985, when I was fourteen years old, and this is when I officially fell in love with Dark Shadows.

I’d seen the first six months of the Barnabas episodes in middle school — from opening the coffin to killing Dr. Woodard — but then the reruns stopped, and I didn’t realize another station picked it up. I rediscovered the show in high school with episode 639, the day that David and Amy found Quentin’s telephone. I liked the werewolf, and I liked the ghosts, but the show dragged a bit. Then 1897 happened.

My family didn’t have a VCR yet — we were tragically late adopters — but sometimes I would put a tape recorder next to the TV speaker, and record the audio of a Dark Shadows episode. I didn’t keep them all, but I kept this one. That’s your sepia-toned picture for today — Young Danny sitting next to a tape recorder, just me and the audio track to 701.

I couldn’t rattle off the entire episode by heart, the way I could with some Monty Python sketches at the time, but there are lines in today’s show that will always be with me.

When we leave Collinwood, we leave with rubies.

I saw a ruby this morning, the size of a guinea hen’s egg!

Life was more exciting, when I was around.

Who am I to disturb his dreams?

Edward, thank God — now, I can die.

You do make me feel young, and Judith and Carl make me feel like a piece of paper that’s about to blow away.

Every one of you will get what you deserve — except Edward.

I even tried to make a couple of my friends listen to the tape, so they would understand how great Dark Shadows is. They couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I do not have a normal relationship with episode 701.

701 dark shadows magda sandor laughing

But this is not a normal episode. In fact, it’s an episode that’s specifically designed to throw the audience off balance.

When Dark Shadows introduced the 1795 storyline more than a year ago, it was a huge risk — they weren’t sure if the audience would accept or even understand that the regular cast was now playing different characters. So the first 1795 episode took a very deliberate series of steps, carefuly designed to lead the viewer through the discovery that something new is happening.

366 dark shadows vicki barnabas confused

Vicki is the audience proxy at the beginning of the 1795 trip — the girl governess, suddenly transported through time from the 1960s to the 1790s. She’s outside the Old House, which looks new again. Then she meets a series of characters, spaced out evenly across the episode — first Barnabas, and then Sarah, Nathan and Naomi.

This starts with the characters that the audience would be the most familiar with, and then moves to the next step. Meeting the young, happy Barnabas establishes that we’re in a flasback to his early days. Then we see Sarah, who we knew as a ghost. And Barnabas is kind to Vicki, talking to her gently and welcoming her into the house.

By the time the show introduces Nathan and then Naomi, the audience has had some time to process what’s going on, and we’re ready for more information. All of the characters in that first episode are happy and calm, preparing for Josette’s arrival, and the only disruptive element is Vicki, the character that we know best.

701 dark shadows gypsy candles

The introduction to 1897 is pretty much the opposite of that. Barnabas is the only character that we know, and he’s stuck in a coffin for the entire episode, wondering what’s going on. We get a quick shot of the year “1897” on a wall calendar, and then everything that follows is intended to make the viewer confused and uncomfortable.

In this first scene, the only thing we’re familiar with is the Old House set, and it’s a shambles. There are cobwebs and cracks in the wall, the curtains are damaged, and there’s junk strewn around the room. And just look at the candelabra — the candles are all different lengths, some of them are broken, and one of them isn’t even blue. They’ve put a lot of work into making the visuals as discordant and upsetting as possible.

And then the very first thing that we see is a completely unfamiliar character, throwing knives at the wall.

The first 1795 episode is all about reassuring the viewer that this is still the place that you know. Episode 701 is saying: We are currently in the process of destroying the place that you know. Dark Shadows has been trashed, and given away to gypsies.

701 dark shadows magda crystal ball

But at least the gypsies are having a good time. This is Julia and Professor Stokes, two of the most interesting cast members, all blacked up in gypsy drag, laughing and squabbling and talking about old times.

Magda:  (laughing at Sandor’s knife-throwing act) You were not good at that when you were young! I remember every night, I would wonder, “Will I live?” I would stand there on stage, waiting for “The Great Sandor” to make his first mistake.

Sandor:  And you are still alive! I was too good. If you want proof, go on — stand against the wall, I will show you. I have not lost any of it!

And Magda just keeps on chuckling, and looking into her crystal ball.

It’s a brilliant opening. As regular readers will recall, if you want to make the audience like a new character, there are three steps: Make a joke, make a friend, and make a plot point happen. A fourth step — casting Grayson Hall in the role — is not absolutely required, but it doesn’t hurt.

In this first exchange, Magda is making jokes, and she and Sandor are already friends. The plot point is coming up next.

701 dark shadows sandor magda gypsies

Like a Disney princess, Sandor starts off with a wishing song.

Sandor:  You read the palms, as I throw the knives! We will be rich!

Magda:  We are starting again? We will buy a horse?

Sandor:  Buy?

Magda:  All right, steal a horse. Hitch it to a caravan…

Sandor:  Yes… and go!

701 dark shadows sandor elixir

He gets that faraway look in his eyes.

Sandor:  Sandor’s Egyptian Elixir! A sure cure for coughs! Colds! Asthma! Skin diseases! Nervous conditions!

Magda:  And nothing at all.

Sandor:  (deflated)  You drink it.

Magda:  But I am well.

Sandor:  Because of it!

So there you go, that’s what ABC television has decided to offer you this afternoon: a comedy scene starring 19th century gypsies.

701 dark shadows sandor magda comedy

A lot of today is going to be “here’s what I love about this,” but here’s what I love about this: They’re finally admitting that Dark Shadows is a comedy.

It seems so obvious now, when you think about it. 1968 was pretty much one farce plot after another. Barnabas’ ex-wife shows up at Collinwood, disguised as somebody else. Then her “brother” shows up, except everybody knows he’s not really her brother. Vicki’s boyfriend turns up too, but he’s got amnesia, and he’s working for the crazy doctor who just happens to have a ready-to-wear Frankenstein monster at home. People get kidnapped and tied up, everybody turns into a vampire, and Vicki gets a happy ending.

So it totally makes sense that as the new storyline begins, it starts with a makeshift drawing room comedy scene, complete with makeshift drawing room.

701 dark shadows magda unsettle

But the plan to unsettle the audience is still in effect.

Magda:  Sandor, when we leave Collinwood… we leave with rubies.

Sandor:  Oh, don’t start that again!

Magda:  I saw a ruby this morning, the size of a guinea hen’s egg! She was wearing it on her old, shaking hand. And she has many more of them. She said it was “one of her favorites.” Emeralds… and diamonds there, too. She told me that.

Sandor:  She is crazy. She is dying!

And who is she, again? So far, we know she’s old and has a lot of jewelry, but we haven’t heard a name yet. “She” is probably a Collins, because here we are at Collinwood, but so far the only names we know from the 1890s family are Quentin, Jamison and Oscar. (Except maybe not Oscar.)

This is a deliberate choice. They’ve decided that as this time travel trip begins, we should be in the same position that Barnabas is: confused, lost, and chained up in a box.

701 dark shadows magda prediction

Maggie and Willie and Carolyn are in a whole other century; now we live among strangers, planning jewel heists with a crystal ball.

Magda:  The jewels are in the drawing room.

Sandor:  (chuckles) Yesterday you said it was the bedroom!

Magda:  (Stands up. She is not kidding.)  Do you want to be rich or not, Sandor?

701 dark shadows sandor magda brown

Then we get a list of unfamiliar names. Keep in mind that this is 1969, and nobody has DVDs or DVR. You can’t hit rewind to listen to a confusing line again — unless you’re particularly foresighted, and you have a tape recorder next to the speaker like Young Danny does.

But for normal people, these names are supposed to wash over you, as you struggle to keep up.

Sandor:  Magda…

Magda:  Judith is at her prayers… the old lady is sleeping… Carl and Edward are gone. Go to the house, to the drawing room, and —

Sandor:  And if I am caught?

Magda:  Who will catch you? The Collins are afraid of night.

It’s gorgeous, and Grayson Hall and Thayer David are clearly having a marvelous time, all decked out in wigs and bangles and makeup and accents. And they’re just doing what they do best, which is make a spectacle of themselves.

Now, I suppose I should say a word somewhere on behalf of sensitive people everywhere, who find it troubling to see white actors in brownface, rolling their eyes at each other on afternoon television. Although once you point that out and say, hmm, that probably doesn’t make actual brown-skinned people feel very good about things, then I’m not sure where else to go with it. I know, there’s a long-overdue national conversation about race that I should probably be helping with, but Magda and Sandor are funny, and besides, the next scene has Quentin in it.

701 dark shadows beth quentin hello

And here he is, the angry ancestor himself. He knocks on the door, the maid answers, and it turns out he could talk after all. He assumes one of his more roguish expressions, and grins, “You’re still beautiful, Beth.”

701 dark shadows beth quentin

She tries to slam the door, but he pushes past her, swaggering toward the audience.

“I’ve learned several tricks since we last met,” he grins. “Many has been the door that has not wanted me to pass through.”

701 dark shadows quentin beth applause

He drops something heavy onto the table, and then he just stands there at the front of the stage, as if he’s waiting for a round of applause. And he gets it, and it lasts for the next two years.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you: the missing piece, falling into place.

Long-running serialized narrative is natural selection for productive story ideas, and this is exactly what it’s for: Quentin Collins, the character that nobody realized they always wanted.

This is why we bother to have things like soap operas and comic books and Lost and Doctor Who, because it would never occur to you under normal circumstances to turn your stone-faced fantasy child abuse metaphor into this. You only come up with an idea like Quentin at the last minute, because you have to do something, and wouldn’t this be neat to try.

701 dark shadows quentin beth turning

There are eight major turning points in Dark Shadows’ history, and they go like this:

  • Barnabas comes out of the box,
  • Julia offers to cure Barnabas,
  • Sam Hall joins the show,
  • Angelique is introduced,
  • Jonathan Frid’s ten-city publicity tour,
  • Ron Sproat leaves the show,
  • Quentin is introduced,
  • and MGM greenlights House of Dark Shadows.

Today is one of those days, and I’m probably going to spend the greater part of the next eight months explaining why.

There are four characters, all of them originally intended for much smaller roles, who walk into Dark Shadows and instantly become essential. Barnabas, Julia, Angelique and Quentin step onto the stage, and they’re immediately more interesting than anything else on television.

701 dark shadows quentin beth working

Allow me to demonstrate.

Beth:  Why did you come back here?

Quentin:  Question for question. What are you doing, still working here? Why didn’t you leave with your mistress? Jenny… wasn’t that her name? Jenny Collins?

Beth:  You know her name as well as I do.

Quentin:  I have a short memory. (He looks around.) Ah, home… (He sneers.) How much I’ve missed it.

So there you go, he’s about five lines in, and he’s already done three different emotions, referenced a new plot thread and told two jokes. He ought to do this for a living, whatever this is.

By the way, Jenny Collins is another name to add to your list of characters which we don’t know who they are yet. 701 is just going to keep throwing names at you, for the whole episode. At this point, they’re basically trolling the audience.

701 dark shadows quentin beth funny

Beth tries to regain control of the situation. It doesn’t go that well.

Beth:  You should never have come back.

Quentin:  Oh, now I couldn’t let my only grandmother die alone, now could I? My rich grandmother? (He chuckles.) You don’t understand how close we Collins are.

He reaches out to take her hand, and she turns away.

Beth:  Does Mr. Edward know you’re coming?

Quentin:  I should hope so. I would hate to shock him.

She turns back, and he gives her a mocking smile. Quentin is a younger son, and like all younger sons, he’s prone to revolution and dissent.

Also, it’s official: Quentin is funny. That’s the second most important thing about Quentin. Practically everything he says is a joke, a lie or a threat, with joke running far ahead of the rest of the pack.

701 dark shadows beth quentin exciting

But there are other items on the agenda today.

Beth:  He’ll throw you out so fast…

Quentin:  You wouldn’t like that, Beth. You’ve missed me. I can tell. Life was more exciting, when I was around.

Beth:  Not for me.

He grabs her arm, and pulls her close.

Quentin:  That was your fault, wasn’t it? I offered to make your life exciting, too.

701 dark shadows quentin beth twist

She refuses to play, so he orders her to take his bag to his room. He’s half-joking, but when she flatly refuses, he grabs her, and twists her arm behind her back.

“Beth,” he snarls, “I’m here to stay.”

So that’s another element they’re layering into the character — the simmering rage of the younger son, nursing a lifetime of bitter slights, and willing to take it out on whoever’s nearby. This is the steel of the character, which connects him back to that vengeful ghost, playing his cruel games with the children of the present day.

701 dark shadows quentin beth moods

But that’s a temporary storm that only lasts for a commercial break. When we come back, he cycles through some more emotions. There are several people involved in creating this new character — Sam Hall, David Selby, Dan Curtis, director Henry Kaplan — and you can tell that they’re all having a good time. We are, too.

Beth:  It’s not up to me whether you’re here to stay or not. Play your tricks on your own family. I merely work here.

Quentin:  That in itself is pretty amazing. Edward must be getting more tolerant in his middle years. Don’t you remind him of Jenny?

Beth:  I’ll tell Miss Judith you’re here.

701 dark shadows quentin beth child

Quentin:  I shall see Jamison first, Beth.

Beth:  (surprised) The child’s asleep.

Quentin:  All right. Who am I to disturb his dreams?

Beth:  You will.

701 dark shadows quentin mind

Quentin:  Then, grandmama. She will want to welcome home the prodigal, and I shall announce myself. Is she as ill as I hear she is?

Beth:  She’s failing.

Quentin:  And her mind?

Beth:  Still strong enough to fight you!

701 dark shadows beth quentin stairs

Quentin:  Perhaps she won’t want to. Women, you know, are notoriously open to my charm.

He walks up a few stairs, then turns to pose for her.

Quentin:  Do you think she’s well enough to make out a new will?

Beth:  I think she’s well enough to know better.

701 dark shadows quentin master

Quentin:  You’ll regret those words when I’m master of this house.

He shoots her a confident leer.

Quentin:  You know, Beth, it would be much easier for you, if you simply relaxed… and admitted how interested you are in me.

And there you have it. He’s hired.

701 dark shadows beth quentin most important

The most important thing about Quentin is that you want to have sex with Quentin.

Yes, of course you do; it’s practically a biological imperative. It is not possible to watch this half hour of television without secretly wanting Quentin to push you up against the wall and do something terrible to you, even if it’s only for a minute. Don’t worry about it, just stay cool. Miss Edith will never know.

And no, I don’t care how straight or gay you are. There are two dudes in 1969 that absolutely everybody wanted to have sex with — Jim Morrison, and Quentin Collins. You don’t want to be Quentin, and you don’t want to be friends with him. You just want him to look at you, the way that he’s looking at Beth.

This is a cultural phenomenon that just happens every once in a while. In 1977, it was Han Solo.

701 dark shadows edith quentin grandma

There’s more — a lot more, actually — but I’m not going to go line-by-line through the entire episode. Grandmama turns out to be a dotty old windbag with a heart condition and a terrible secret. She and Quentin sit around and gossip about the rest of the family for a while, setting up some of the little dramas we’ll see unfolding over the coming days.

Then Quentin finds Sandor breaking into the drawing room, and there’s more stuff with Magda and the crysal ball, and it just keeps on being good, all day and for the next eight months.

701 dark shadows edith quentin secret

But the best moment in this best episode happens quietly, exactly where you don’t expect it.

Quentin is trying to charm Edith into leaving him money, but she brushes him off. “Edward is the oldest,” she says, “and because of that, he’s the one that I have to tell the secret to. He must come back soon! I must live to tell him the secret!”

Quentin’s eyes light up, and he leans in close. “Tell me,” he urges. “Tell me, grandmama.”

And a whole bunch of emotions cross his face, all at once. There’s greed, obviously, and excitement, and a hopeful kind of scam-artist fake innocence. But there’s also a flicker of fear in there, so fast that I can’t even catch it in a screenshot. Fear that she won’t tell him, fear that she will — fear that there’s no secret anyway, that it’s all been a practical joke and he’ll never know for sure.

David Selby has had weeks — months, really — to think about this day, about what he would do if they ever gave him any lines and really let him run with it. He must have read this script and danced up and down through the streets of New York, drunk on the impossible miracle that his first day could possibly be this good. He’s been running his lines in his head ever since, making plans.

He’s been skulking around in the shadows for months, not saying a word. Now, all of a sudden, he’s the lead character, and he has so many things to say.

Tomorrow: The Vampire Strikes Back.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Edith waves a tarot card at Quentin, and says, “Edward… uh, Quentin, dear — you are this card!” (This is obviously a line flub, but it’s perfectly in character, since she was just talking about getting her grandchildren mixed up.)

There are two abrupt edits at the end of Edith and Quentin’s conversation.

In the mausoleum, the 1795-era plaques for Joshua, Naomi and Sarah are missing.

They’re shooting from the wrong angle when Sandor opens the coffin, and you can see Barnabas twist and kick his leg when he grabs Sandor’s throat. They do it correctly in tomorrow’s teaser.

Behind the Scenes:

My favorite prop, the Ralston-Purina lamp, is seen in Edith’s bedroom today.

Tomorrow: The Vampire Strikes Back.

701 dark shadows barnabas chained

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

63 thoughts on “Episode 701: The Most Important Thing About Quentin

  1. Actually, I never wanted Selby (or Morrison) to do me. I don’t find either particularly attractive. Briscoe, on the other hand, was exceptionally good-looking, but still no erotic attraction. I’ve never had a “wish he would do me” reaction to any Hollywood hunk–not even Guy Madison. I’m textbook hetero. (Just made up that term.)

    What Selby has, for me, is considerable charisma and excellent acting chops. He’s actually kind of an awkwardly-built and dopey-looking guy, imo.

    I thought Quentin overdid his first few 1897 days, as if worried about how he’d come off. Which is perfectly understandable, given his months of silence. Who wouldn’t be? Quite a burden to impose on an actor. Sort of like switching, mid-week, from silents to talkies. (Apologies if you already made that analogy.)

    I saw DS back in the day, and, as much as I loved the 1897 craziness, I wanted to get back to Chris Jennings. I could never accept Quentin as the werewolf. Neither could the writers, apparently, since they had him “cured” so quickly into the curse storyline.

    1. Interesting that you say Quentin was cured so quickly. He was a werewolf for about four months, which exceeded the duration of the original Chris werewolf storyline. When we return to the present-day, the werewolf storyline resumes with Chris but doesn’t especially go anywhere or command the main stage again.

      1. Chris’ pre-1897 werewolf storyline seemed more eventful than Quentin’s werewolf storyline. For Chris, the werewolf curse is everything; for Quentin, it’s one thread among many. And, off topic, I think Chris made a better werewolf, given that Chris is charming but shy, quiet, and awkward, making a neater contrast between the human and wolf states.

        I disagree about the post-1897 werewolf storyline with Chris–I think it played a major role in the latter part of the Leviathan phase. Which is one of the reasons why I loved the L. storyline.

  2. Oh man, 1897 looks amazing! Just wanted to say what a fantastic, entertaining job you’re doing here, Danny. I’m on of the rare ‘lesser spotted UK’ fans, and you’d be amazed how hard it is to get your hands on the DVDs over here. Your blog is how I got into the original series after the Johnny Depp movie and sitting through the 1991 mini-series. I got mad-curious about what the heck happened after Vicky came back from 1795. And here the blog was, with funny asides and a great synopsis summary!
    I’m going to have to agree with you on Quentin. Bearing in mind just reading your blog posts is the only exposure I’ve had to mutton-chop Selby here, I’ve somehow got a mini-crush on him already. I can only imagine how it would have affected young America back in the sixties… fans self
    Thanks for such a great blog!
    The fangirl from England

  3. I saw DS back in the day, too and never had the big Quentin crush that all my girlfriends had. He was so impossibly handsome – he just didn’t look real.
    I think David over acts in the beginning too – he’s very LOUD.
    I like Sandor and Magnda and am not offended by the brown face – if you go to a party dressed as Carmen Miranda, don’t you use self tanner so you won’t just end up looking like a silly pasty faced white woman with fruit piled on your head?
    Wonder what made them think of going Gypsy anyway. Yeah, the werewolf curse, etc. but – WERE there a lot of Gypsy caravans running around Maine?

    1. Samantha, when my mother was growing up in Maine (a small coastal village a few miles north of Bar Harbor), in the forties, her mother made the children stay home one day because she heard gypsies were passing through town. I too thought gypsies in 19th cent Maine was odd until I heard this family story.

      1. Kevin – my grandmother told me that same story! We lived in eastern NC – do you think it was the same band of Gypsies goin gup and down the eastern seaboard?
        When I saw Cher at Caesar’s Palace a few years ago, I couldn’t help but think of Magda when she started belting out “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” – do you think Cher was a DS fanback in the day?
        Seriously – that whole werewolf s/l was worth it to see Grayson Hall in full Magda mode. She was AWESOME!

    2. Perhaps this is my own hand wave because I can see no wrong in Selby’s performance but I think if Selby comes off as “overacting” in these first few episodes, it’s because Quentin himself is acting — putting on a false front of bravado, through a mask of humor, as he enters a place where he knows everyone despises him.

      I think Gypsies are on the show because Gypsies are cool, and 1897 feels like a Universal horror movie.

      The “brown face” for the Gypsies ages slightly better, I think, for two major reasons: The makeup is not grotesque and the performances, while suitably campy like all Gypsies in old movies, are not something from a minstrel show. However, there is the larger question of why they use brown face at all — rather than just relying on wigs and makeup. Watch the old Universal horror films like THE WOLFMAN — the Gypsies are clearly white Europeans (Maria Ouspenskaya is Russian). The most “ethnic” they seem is possibly Hungarian Jewish. Grayson Hall could easily pull that off without adding an extra half hour in the makeup chair to her morning.

      However, the 1897 storyline treats Gypsies in a way that feels different from those old movies. The Gypsies on DARK SHADOWS, well, “read” as black people or certainly something different from “white” people. They are the “low-class thugs” on the Collins property. Barnabas and Quentin’s interactions with Sandor and Magda also have an air of racial contempt, especially Quentin’s classic line of “I have no prejudices against your kind.” Count Petofi refers to them as “dogs” and “animals.” It goes well beyond class distinction — Willie Loomis, for example, was “poor white trash” and was often treated as such, but it was very different.

      It feels like the show is almost taking a TWILIGHT ZONE approach: dealing with modern issues (race) but in a “safe” setting (19th century vampire/werewolf story). That’s probably not the intent of the writers but it really holds up and challenges how we view our “heroes” (Barnabas treats Magda like crap — though I suppose he treats a lot of people like crap).

      1. Gypsies were and are vilified even to this day, though they may be called travellers. They are a very real secretive people of Romanian descent, who are not welcomed by many or any town, city, or society. Being marginalised had made their life hard. As any race can attest to.
        However the secretiveness of their society invites scorn and distrust.
        And my grandmother in queens ny, had stories of the gypsies coming to the city to prey on elderly homeowners for repairs that sounded too good to be true, with cash up front.
        I also think Quentin over acted a lot in a shouty way, but he was still very compelling.
        Has Richard forgiven me?

        1. How true , form language and DNA their ancestory gypsies was from India. They moved into Europe in the middle ages.

        2. Richard, please come back! Please feel free to riff on these episodes in whatever free-form thoughts you may spark. With the finest hour of the show–1969–now being spotlighted here, your thoughts will always be welcome.

          I know that you are trapped in a coffin, the time travel has been rough and unpredictable, but Sandor will soon come along to let you out. Just make the summons, you will survive the trip back in time, I can hear the funky heartbeat from the secret room calling, to let you out, to send you back here with us….

      2. That’s exactly how the make-up seems to me. Sure, it’s entertaining in an over-the-top way, but it’s still a bit much.
        I remember those Quentin and Barnabas moments with the gypsies, though I can’t help thinking of them as almost flipsides instead of alike. Sure, Quentin’s line is “patronizing,” but Barnabas actually threatens to get them in trouble very easily just for BEING gypsies, which leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

    3. Julia is so cute as Magda. Did she win an emmy for it? She played the hell out of Magda. She took absolutely no shit of anybody..classic Julia though. I am glad they did not change her regular smooth, I am running the show demeanor.

  4. I too used to audio tape DS. This also is one of my favs. I love Selby. He is a true scoundrel in these episodes. He became a hero later.

    1. Quentin is unpredictable, which provides great dramatic possibility. Nicholas Blair, for example, could only be evil. Quentin and Angelique, for instance, are always more layered and entertaining.

  5. I don’t recall if you mentioned this during 1795, but don’t you think these flashbacks also have a “Wizard of Oz” vibe?

    At the beginning of this episode we first see Prof. Stokes and Julia with Barnabas, after the commercial break it’s Sandor and Magda, played by the same actors.

    It’s like Barnabas has gone over the rainbow and has adventures and meets all sorts of interesting people, who are played by the same actors that play his friends and family back in “Kansas”.

    1. 1795 definitely falls into what Booker defined as the “Voyage and Return” story. Vicki has romanticized the past and the Collins family, and when she returns to the past, she realizes that both it and the Collins family of the period are less appealing than she’d thought.

      1897 is slightly different because Barnabas is never so disillusioned by 1897 that he wants to return to the present day — though there is a plot development later that makes 1897 far less hospitable for him than 1968 was.

  6. As a ten year-old, I watched the 1897 storyline during the original DS broadcast and remain somewhat confused as to how the character of Quentin Collins originally died. And Danny, because you went there already in your opening: “So, the lesson, I suppose, is that you shouldn’t lock up your relatives, build paneling over the door, and pretend that they went to France” I’m now going to hatch this up to the next level. Now spoilers be damned as these episodes are nearly half a century old – but I suggest blog readers stop here if you don’t already know the ending to this story. I’m warning you. Seriously. Stop. Okay, here goes: Quentin’s death presumably happened either one of two ways in 1897; either he was stabbed, died and buried but that’s not true given that if Quentin had actually died after Jenny stabbed him then Magda would have never placed the curse on him. Subsequently we are led to believe that the curse exists because Quentin murdered Jenny causing a vengeful Magda to throw him some major Gypsy shade one evening. Then, and after a few incredible months Quentin was shot in the drawing room but then died in the Tower Room. So assuming the latter happened, why was Quentin taken from the Tower Room and then sealed in his own room instead of being buried? Why make up a Paris story? And who sealed him in the room? Were these questions ever answered? Added to this, if Angelique was not in the original 1897 timeline what then prompted Beth to go berserk and shoot Quentin in the drawing room? Furthering the confusion and by story’s end, we learn that the body in the sealed room is Gregory Trask’s. Okay. But still, Quentin died in 1897 as did Gregory Trask so where then is Quentin’s body – or perhaps, where is Trask’s body? Do you see how confusing this all is? And honestly, if Barnabas had simply permitted Quentin to stay dead after Jenny stabbed him there would have never been a curse and that would have effectively cured the handsome young werewolf living in 1969!!

    Well, in order to preserve my own sanity I choose to believe that because Barnabas traveled to the past both he and Angelique upset the natural order of things and that makes for a great story, but as an adult and not a ten year-old child, this same story causes me great stress when attempting to analyze. Warning: the moral of my story is that it is never a good idea to question DS time travel storylines because you invariably end up sounding like a blathering idiot on someone else’s blog. Certainly Dan Curtis must be laughing at us all now – and hopefully, loving every minute of it.

    1. My idea of the original 1897 is that it was like this: Quentin killing Jenny, getting cursed by Magda to be a werewolf, murdered some people and then Beth. He was discovered by Edward and/or Judith, then shot by a silver bullet in his room and died on the chair. To cover themselves, they decided to wall Quentin’s body up in his room so that the truth won’t be discovered and stated he went to France.

      1. I’m really liking your version! It’s also interesting to consider that once Quentin traveled to 1969 there was really never any conversation regarding his original murder, the sealed room, or his former life. Conversely, Barnabas barely made it through a week without referencing Josette.

    2. Well I envy your 10 year old self, because my 16 year old self was annoyed that we never figured out how Quentin died and why it was so bad that he came back to try and take over Collinwood. It’s one of those niggling little things that I always wondered about. I have decided that Barnabas simply crossed over to yet ANOTHER parallel time where Quentin never died and never go locked in a room, but who knows.

      1. The series has always been hazy with backstory and Barnabas has always stomped on a lot of butterflies in the past. We are just meant to go with the version of Quentin’s death that we see.

    3. I think part of the fun of watching this storyline come together is the fact that it was constructed as they were going along, and nobody had any idea how it was all supposed to tie up at the end.

      The 1897 trip was originally planned to last three months, about the same length as 1795, but the audience loved it and the ratings kept going up, so it ended up being eight months long. That’s why 1897 basically has three acts, and three of the actors whose characters died in act one had to come back as different characters in act three.

      Even if they had some kind of clever Steven Moffat-style timey-wimey wrap-up in mind — which I’m pretty sure they didn’t — it would’ve been washed away in the flood of new twists and story ideas. It’s a miracle that a skeleton ends up in Quentin’s room at all.

      1. Fortunately they had the Trask Family Curse to fall back on. If a Trask comes to Collinwood he will be walled up somewhere.

    4. Then there is the problem with Laura coming to claim Jamison and Nora. We know she failed because we Elizabeth and Roger are Jamison’s children. Barnabas stopped Laura, but who stopped her in the original timeline?

      Also, by making Quentin inmortal, Barnabas might have created a whole lot werewolves. Quentin was around all those years, and he his descendants would all be cursed. You can bet that Quentin kept sleeping around, and that he did not use any protection… Thus there are a lot more werewolves descended from Quentin…

      1. Perhaps Quentin and Evan originally conjured up Angelique to fight Laura, the same way they accidently conjured her to fight Barnabas in the new timeline. That would explain how she was around for Beth to get Jealous of in the original time line as we saw in Beth’s flashback explanation of Quentin’s original death.

        As far as the Werewolf curse, the portrait that kept Quentin immortal also kept the curse at bay. So maybe he wasn’t passing it on then. (but then that doesn’t explain how Chris Jennings’s got cursed.)

        1. Chris was descended from Jenny’s child that didn’t die. Magda cursed all of Quentin’s descendants not knowing Jenny had a living child who would be affected. I still doesn’t explain why Tom wasn’t affected, but AFAWK he wasn’t.

          1. It only affects the first born in each generation. Chris was the first born in his generation, hence why Tom and Amy weren’t affected. Amy’s son on the other hand…

  7. I’m only confused that Quentin is able to bang every girl he sees.

    In his age range.

    Best pairing: Charity’s Pansy Faye.

    My fave DS character, all-time.

        1. Oh, Julianka. Yes indeed. Sigh. During a discussion not so long ago about how a recast version of DS could work with actors from here in the UK (prompted by the Big Finish audios), the only suggestions i remember making that i stand by were Sarah Alexander as Angelique (she’s got the Blonde with Big Blue Eyes Parker thing going on, i reckon) and Jenna Coleman as Julianka.:)

          Oh, and i never even thought of the gypsy makeup as ‘brownface’ on a problematic level. I just thought it was meant to show that Sandor and Magda were tanned and weathered from their peripatetic perambulations.

        2. Indeed.

          “I do not like death at all” Julianka.

          How could they?

          Kill her off so quickly.

          Lil’ Miss Mooneyes Angelique gets a run for the money, as the best eyes competition rolls into town with Julianka.

          Don’t know which writer killed her. What were you thinking? Were you smoking the wrong special herb of the forest floor?

          1. Let’s not forget Istvan’s needless plunge off Widows Hill. That’s another death which I hated. I could have made Julianka and Istvan very happy, all things considered.

  8. The 1897 s/l was never a favorite of mine because it pushed Barnabas to the sidelines. Yeah, Quentin is gorgeous but Barnabas is the heart of the show.

    1. Both Quentin and his actor seize control of the storyline in the first episode in which he has lines. Julia, Angelique, even Nicholas Blair made big impacts when they arrived but they were sattelites in Barnabas’s orbit. During 1897, everything centers around Quentin.

  9. I’m glad we are viewing this in the digital age because audience of this show watching live in the 60’s probably didn’t have a clue as to what was happening here (nevermind missing an episode or two)…

    1. I was 16 when the show ended. I had a breathtaking grasp of the show’s continuity paradoxes, nor was I particularly troubled by them. It’s watching DS with a contemporary perspective that invites confusion.

    2. As a back-in-the-day watcher, I never caught the detail that Chris’ curse was the result of Quentin’s! I must have missed the episode in which Julia explains it to Chris. A lot of details make way more sense to me (re)viewing these as an adult–I’m much better able now to see story flow, even if that flow is quirky and full of issues. I was a pre-teen watching these things, and I reckon I was mainly waiting for the spooky and/or violent stuff to happen, and who cared about the rest?

      I certainly didn’t catch any of the strongly implied s-e-x that was all over this show. Okay, except when Carolyn was in bed with a shirtless Jeb. I wanted to be Jeb….

  10. You can’t have sex when kids are watching, but the show was filled with passionate non-French kissing that was shot in extreme close-up that filled the screen with larger than life lips and cheeks….imagination can fill in for the rest…..So yes, lots of implied sex was there….”It happened in this room” or “You Loved me that night” were Angeliquisms for sex with Barnabas…..Using the word “Love” as a substitute for copulation was a sly move for daytime TV. And it’s done today still, in pop songs especially.

    You just can’t argue with Love.

    Love is good. All the time.

    1. The common usage of “make love” to mean sex is relatively new. Past usages generally meant to “romance” someone (to “make love” to someone was to romance them, or at most to kiss them in a loving way). Certainly there could have been some underlying sexual implication, but if there was, that was a layer or two down (which is no longer the case). The use of “make love” for sex probably started in the 1950s and 1960s, though the original meaning still pertained, and probably pertained mostly. So it is unlikely that DS would be using the phrase “make love” to mean sex. It really wasn’t in common usage at that time in that way. And in a lot of ways, for a lot of reasons, DS can be conservative about such social mores–as has been noted, this is broadcast television after all, and there are children in the room.

      1. By the late 1960s I think “make love” had come into its present meaning. The older, tamer meaning had been eclipsed, and that was a good reason for a show on weekday afternoons to avoid using it.”You loved me that night” was risque enough. “You made love to me that night” would have been forbidden.

  11. Quentin’s voice is higher pitched than i expected…but oh, what a thrill to finally hear it. I can’t think of another instance where momentum was built for the offical introduction of a character in such a genius way.

  12. Hi, I just discovered this blog and I want to thank you, Danny Horn. I was 9 when I saw my first DS episode, in 1969. My Mom wanted to watch it, but didn’t want me to be scared, so she explained that Barnabas was a vampire but didn’t want to be. I promptly fell in love with him, and that was the end of a functional love life for me. But … I’ve come back to the series, written fanfiction about it, and I so appreciate and am entertained by your episode guide. Episode 701 is going to be my starting point–I’ve seen up to that point many times, but I’ve forgotten much of the later shows. Anyway, thank you.

  13. Blooper–The sound effect for the secret room door in the mausoleum starts, as does the door opening, before Sandor grabs and twists the ring.

    I was a soap opera tape-recording kid, too, Danny. I watched much of the show as a 7-12-year-old child. One Christmas at some point, I got a portable cassette tape recorder and became technologically advanced. My mom watched “As the World Turns,” and I watched that as well when I was at home sick from school or on school breaks. When I was in junior high school, my dad owned a sporting goods store, and my mom worked there too, so she often missed her “story.” If I was home from school for whatever reason, I was then the ATWT watcher to report back to Mom what happened. When I became so technically advanced as to have a tape recorder, I started doing just what you did and putting my little microphone by the TV speaker and recording it for playback for Mom. Sadly, I don’t think this ever happened with “Dark Shadows,” though. My mom did start watching it because I did. Where I lived, school actually got out after DS was over, so I wasn’t one of those kids who “ran home from school” to watch DS. So Mom would watch it if she was home and report back to me. I don’t think I ever asked her to record the episodes on my tape recorder, and of course Mom wasn’t as technologically advanced as I was anyway.

    1. Ah Triumph… one of Conan’s lesser known characters. That, or Jordan Sclansky — whenever he decides to make an appearance!

  14. Grayson Hall as Magda shows off her ability to give each character their own body language. Except when she is in a hurry, Magda swaggers almost the way that a low-class man is expected to walk.

  15. This is my third go-round with Dark Shadows. The first was the original broadcast when I was a pre-teen. A friend got me started because there was this mysterious Josette ghost who popped in from time to time. I watched consistently until the Leviathans showed up (and I was growing up) and only watched it occasionally after that. The second time was in college when a bunch of us watched it at night after Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. These were the early Barnabas and 1795 episodes. This time, I’m watching on amazon prime and I started with the first episode to experience, before I die, the whole enchilada. (I’m 63.) I suffered through “the pen” and Roger’s transmission until we finally got to the cool Laura story. Seeing it straight through (I’m up to this episode) is fascinating because I see it as a hodgepodge of desperate writers trying to come up with more and more terror. And this time I have the wonderful advantage of Danny’s insights and humor. If I were years younger and you were single, Danny…maybe in an alternate universe.

  16. David Selby does one heck of a Joseph Cotten imitation. It’s even better than Jerry Lacy’s Humphrey Bogart, if you look away from the screen while he’s talking you’d really believe Joseph Cotten was playing Quentin. .

  17. Yay for more time travel! And I already love Grayson more as Magda then Julia. And it’s awesome finally getting to Quentin’s backstory and I agree, his voice is much higher than I would’ve imagined. In fact, he actually sounds like Nicholas Blair.

    And I’m super excited that Barnabas is finally back to being a vampire.

  18. I haven’t seen 1897 all the way through since 1969. I’m surprised at how much I do remember and how much I don’t. I think I got some of 1897 confused with 1840. (Seriously, when the haunting started, I was expecting Daphne, not Beth.) I think everyone’s upped their game for this. I love Old Edith. Selby really has my attention from his first line. As much as I love Grayson, after watching 7 episodes, all I’m getting is Julia with an accent and a black wig.

  19. Oh my gosh! The White Stripes totally lifted the tune of “Little Acorns” ( https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oOS00ttAblQ ) from Robert Culbert’s halting piano I Ching theme song playing 3:30 mins into this episode!

    I mean, I guess it could be a coincidence but … no. Too perfect an overlap.

    (The lyrics and into, however, are uniquely Jack White: “…Help came from her faith … but it also came from a squirrel.”)

  20. Grayson Hall as Magda was just delicious and perfect. I am old enough to have watched DS when it originally aired, and I distinctly remember the appearance of bad boy Quentin when the 1897 storyline was introduced. I was only 12 but he was just mesmerizing. David Selby added a whole new dimension to DS. And just like that, DS became the most stud-studded show on TV.

  21. Just saw this for the first time since it originally aired. It really made an impression. I remembered almost every scene as if it were yesterday. Loved it!

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