Episode 736: All About That Vase

“We are looking for an urn. We do not know what it looks like, or what it contains, or even why we are looking.”

New Jersey Network — bearer of warmth and fire, giver of life, provider of the third year — may your name be praised. May it be written in the fanzines and the websites; your deeds shall not be forgotten.

Somewhere on the great estate, there’s a magical Egyptian urn that holds an eternal flame, which keeps freelance arsonist Laura Collins alive and simmering. This supernatural service is provided courtesy of Amun-Ra, the ancient Egyptian god of the sun, who is apparently still active and open for business, go figure.

Quentin Collins knows that the urn is the source of his sister-in-law’s artificially extended lifespan, and in today’s episode, he and his gypsy sidekick Magda are searching the grounds for this mysterious artifact. They find it, as it happens, and Quentin pours sand into it, extinguishing the flame and destroying Laura forever. There, I just saved you twenty-two minutes, you’re welcome.

736 dark shadows quentin urn

Here’s what I want to talk about instead: Today’s episode is the beginning of the Third Year, a major milestone in the history of Dark Shadows’ complicated afterlife in TV syndication.

This thing that we hold in our hands today — more than 1,200 episodes of disposable afternoon television, available to view on-demand in any order we like, in various media formats — this was not inevitable. This is a rare and precious artifact, and you should not pour sand on it.

There are a number of reasons why you don’t see a lot of old daytime soap operas airing daily reruns on TV, starting with: Who the hell wants to watch an old soap opera? We can’t even get enough people to watch new soap operas. Don’t be ridiculous.

Another reason is that soap operas don’t fit the half-hour daily syndication model. The daily rerun model that everybody’s most familiar with is strip scheduling — taking a show originally made for weekly broadcast, and showing it at the same time every weekday. This is called “stripping,” because it creates a horizontal strip in the weekly TV schedules.

Strip syndication is a good model for reruns, because it creates a consistent line-up that people can build into their daily routine. After the news, you watch Cheers and Frasier, and then I guess you either go to bed or you clip coupons, or whatever old people do if they’re still watching Cheers and Frasier every night. I assume that everybody else is watching The Big Bang Theory.

736 dark shadows quentin magda number

For daily strip syndication, there are two secret magic numbers of the universe.

The first number is 100 — that’s the minimum number of episodes that you need to have in the bank in order to make syndication worthwhile. Running five episodes a week, that’ll get you 20 weeks of programming, at which point you can start over again and hope that people aren’t paying too much attention. (They usually aren’t.)

The other number is 260 — that’s a full 52 weeks of syndicated episodes. That’s basically the maximum; you don’t even bother making any more than that. A lot of the most successful sitcoms in syndication top out around that point — Friends (236 episodes), Happy Days (255), M*A*S*H (256), King of the Hill (259), Two and a Half Men (262), Frasier (264), Cheers (270).

And then there’s The Simpsons, which is currently at 575 episodes and counting, but I think there’s some kind of weird Simpsons-specific economy that I don’t really understand.

736 dark shadows quentin laura brandy

Anyway, the point is that if you’ve got a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 260, then your weird old soap opera spookshow with 1,200 episodes is not exactly on a fast track to syndication success.

I mean, the math just doesn’t work out. When a show is stripped for syndication, you’re not just paying a licensing fee to the production company; you’re also paying residuals for the actors, writers and directors. Even if their contracts have no limit on the number of times their show is re-broadcast, you still have to pay them the first time a show is made available for syndication, so there’s a big up-front cost.

So let’s say you’re stripping Friends, which is 236 episodes — almost a full year. You have to pay hefty residuals the first time, because nobody wants David Schwimmer to go hungry, but then you’ve got a syndication package that you can run endlessly in the same timeslot pretty much forever.

But if you’re stripping a year’s worth of Dark Shadows, then you pay residuals for 260 episodes… and at the end of the year, you can’t just start over. Now you have to pay residuals for a whole new year’s worth of episodes. And you’re still going to have more people watching Friends anyway, so why even bother?

736 dark shadows magda laura tired

So that’s why the story of Dark Shadows in syndication is told in six-month chunks. Worldvision Enterprises owned the rights to license Dark Shadows for broadcast, and they first offered the show in 1975 — but they only offered 130 episodes, from episode 210 (Barnabas coming out of the mystery box) to episode 340 (the day before Barnabas and Julia kill Dr. Woodard).

That’s a great six months of television, which picks up speed halfway through when Julia arrives, and things are really getting exciting by 340 — at which point, the syndication package is over.

But in 1976, there’s a station in Rochester, NY that’s doing very well with Dark Shadows reruns in the afternoon, and they want more episodes, so Worldvision releases another six-month package. That takes us from 341 (Woodard’s death) all the way through 1795 and up to episode 472, which is just before Cassandra shows up in 1968.

At this point, there’s one year of Dark Shadows in syndication in various markets around the country, but there aren’t enough stations to make it worth paying residuals for another set of episodes. So the stations run out of episodes and then they stop, and Dark Shadows goes off the air, and nobody ever hears of it ever again.

639 dark shadows wnbc adIn 1982, Worldvision decides to give it another try, and they convince some NBC affiliates to air the first six-month syndication package. This is when Young Danny saw the show for the first time, on WNBC in New York, starting with Barnabas in the coffin and ending with Woodard’s death. At that point, WNBC decides the ratings aren’t good enough, and they stop showing it, and Dark Shadows is dead forever all over again.

That’s the way this whole story goes, for two decades. The eternal flame of Dark Shadows sputters to life for six or twelve months, and then somebody pours sand in the urn and it goes out again.

And every time that happens, Dark Shadows is finally and entirely doomed. WNBC is a major national station, the flagship of the network, and they gave Dark Shadows a well-publicized slot at 4:30pm, as a lead-in to their immensely popular Live at Five news broadcast, and it failed. “But it did really well in Rochester in 1976” starts to sound hollow after a while.

736 dark shadows quentin magda stairs

But just when it all looks hopeless for like the fifteenth time, along came a New Orleans public broadcasting station with the delightfully appropriate name WYES-TV. They start airing Dark Shadows in spring 1982, and it’s a huge success. That’s because the bar for “huge success” is much, much lower for a New Orleans PBS station than for pretty much anybody else ever.

For a PBS station, the ratings don’t matter, which is perfect for Dark Shadows syndication. All you need is for people to donate more money for Dark Shadows than they’d give for anything else in that timeslot. It’s the same model that brought Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Doctor Who to America. You’re not going to get any awards for excellence in public broadcasting, but it keeps the lights on, so what the hell.

736 dark shadows quentin magda urn

And then, in September 1983, somebody digs that battered old magical urn out of the junk drawer, and what do you know? The flame is still burning.

New Jersey Network — bearer of warmth and light, may its name be praised — hears about WYES’ success with Dark Shadows, and adds it to their daily schedule. This is a key moment in the story, because New Jersey sits between New York and Philadelphia, two of the major US markets, and the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority operates four different stations across the state — in Trenton, Montclair, New Brunswick and Camden.

So New Jersey Network has a huge reach — not just New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia, but also parts of Connecticut and Delaware. But the classy PBS stations are WNET in Newark/NYC and WHYY in Philadelphia; they get all the fancy stuff. New Jersey Network needs to find viewers who are willing to donate to a PBS station that doesn’t show Sesame Street or Masterpiece Theater.

And they find Dark Shadows — a weird, mad, creaky old soap opera that spent the last decade limping from one local station to another, always showing the same six to twelve months. With the reach of NJN’s four stations, Dark Shadows has finally found an audience that’s wiling to pay cash money to keep the show on the air.

736 dark shadows new jersey network fundraiser

In late 1983, Worldvision finally releases another 260 episodes — from episode 473 (Cassandra’s arrival) through all of 1968 and into 1897, up to episode 735 (Laura burns down Worthington Hall). Now stations can air two full years of Dark Shadows, and New Jersey Network can see the benefits of keeping the show around.

In an April 1984 issue of the fanzine The World of Dark Shadows, there’s a letter from the New Jersey Network’s Director of Public Information, who says:

We are delighted with our audience response. We have had a number of letters from the Philadelphia area in particular, praising the station for carrying DS. In Easton, PA, a group of Shadows fans led by Ron Barry actually managed to convince a local cable operator to carry our signal into Pennsylvania in order that they may watch DS. We have also found that many of the DS fans are taping the series, and that they can be quite vocal when some technical glitch comes up.

We find it extremely difficult to get accurate audience ratings, because the program is aired at different times in two markets, i.e., New York and Philadelphia. However, there is no doubt that DS has caused many people to seek out our UHF channels and that they are sticking around to watch some of our other shows.

At this point, NJN is inviting Jonathan Frid to appear in the studio during pledge drives, with Dark Shadows fans manning the phones.

736 njn attention dark shadows fans

And so it comes to pass, in fall 1985, New Jersey Network — giver of life, provider of the Third Year — goes all-in on Dark Shadows. 

As thank-you gifts for the pledge drives, they make a mug, a T-shirt and a sweatshirt with the Dark Shadows logo. (Young Danny got the T-shirt, and wore it proudly.)

And New Jersey Network buys the third year of episodes from Worldvision, paying the up-front residuals so that another 260 episodes are released to air on local stations across the country. This batch goes from episode 736 all the way through 1897, the Leviathan story, and into the beginning of Parallel Time, finishing with episode 1007 (PT Angelique on the loose).

They print a full-page ad in the New Jersey Network subscriber magazine, headed ATTENTION DARK SHADOWS FANS:

It’s the event you’ve been waiting two decades for… and now it’s here! For the first time anywhere in the world since the original broadcast decades ago, episodes from the series’ third year are coming your way, weekdays at 6:30.

The era is one of deception and intrigue, of infinite secrets and great danger, when Barnabas Collins goes back in time trying to discover why young David Collins is possessed by the ghost of Quentin Collins. As he enters the year 1897, and meets Quentin and the rest of the inhabitants of Collinwood, Barnabas is still under the vampire curse. A fortune hunting Rev. Gregory Trask has poisoned his wife and tricks the mistress of Collinwood into marrying him. Carl Collins arrives with his fiancee from Atlantic City, completely unaware of the tragic fate that awaits both of them.

Yes, these are the thrills that await all DARK SHADOWS fans in New Jersey, because you have been so supportive of NEW JERSEY NETWORK’s efforts to bring this excitement your way each weekday evening.

So this is the episode, and these are the thrills, as the Third Year begins.

736 dark shadows quentin flame

It doesn’t last, of course, nothing truly beautiful ever does. A new program director will come along at NJN, and they pour sand on the flame all over again, but that’s a whole year away, so we won’t worry about it now.

Now, I know that all of this fuss probably seems silly for people who started watching because of Tim Burton or Big Finish, once Dark Shadows was just a thing you could rent on Netflix or buy on Amazon, like every other television show. The eternal flame is on for good now, and the 1,200 episodes will always be available for as long as there’s television and people to watch it.

But this was not inevitable. Dark Shadows is the only daytime soap opera that’s ever been released in any significant form. You can buy exactly zero episodes of pretty much every other soap ever made, even soaps that lasted way longer and were way more popular. All My Children: zero. The Young and the Restless: zero. Ryan’s Hope: zero. And those are the good soap operas, the ones that people actually like. You know, the ones that don’t have Bathia Mapes.

At each of these decision points — Rochester in ’76, WYES in ’82, New Jersey Network in ’85, MPI Video in ’89, the Sci-Fi Channel in ’92 — somebody is making a foolish decision with other people’s money, and it keeps the flame alive.

Logically, the correct decision is to forget about Dark Shadows, and do something sensible instead. We are now, in the twenty-first century, at the far end of a long series of terrible mistakes that saved the best television show ever made.

Welcome to the third year.

Tomorrow: The Sacred Bull.


I didn’t really write much about the actual episode today, so I’ll say it here: Quentin and Magda working together in this episode is so much fun I can’t deal with it. The shot of Quentin sitting on the steps waiting for Magda to explain her plan is one of the cutest things that has ever happened on the show. And then she takes his hand and tells him to go into the drawing room! Such cuteness.

Also: While I was working on this piece, I came across a YouTube video of Jonathan Frid’s appearance at the Magique disco in June 1982, as a promotion for WNBC’s six-month syndication package. Frid is adorable as always, under trying circumstances. Fans in costume were admitted free, and proceeds for the event were donated to the New York Blood Center. Just another weird little pit stop on Dark Shadows’ rocket sled to syndication success.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In the teaser, as Nora is trapped by flames in the schoolroom, there’s a shot where you can see one of the cameras, shooting through the part of the set that should be the fireplace.

Some smoke from the Worthington Hall fire drifts into Collinwood in act 1.

In act 3, when Quentin emerges from his hiding place in the drawing room, one of the studio lights can be seen.

Tomorrow: The Sacred Bull.

736 dark shadows quentin magda so cute

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

35 thoughts on “Episode 736: All About That Vase

  1. Also, a question for smart people: I’ve been trying to think of a source for the “give me your heat” female succubus takes life energy from a guy thing. They do it twice on DS — with Laura and Dirk this week, and then with PT Angelique. Is there a movie or book reference that I’m missing?

    1. all i know of is the other way around; Anne Rice stole the idea for her novel Queen of the Damned. the PT Angelique deal seems almost too spookily, eerily real.

  2. I was curious about WorIdvision and how they acquired the rights to Dark Shadows in the first place. Apparently in 1971 the FCC barred networks from syndicating their own programs, so in 1973 Worldvision was formed by five former ABC executives to purchase the network’s syndication assets. The rule was abolished in 1993 with the rise of Fox and cable TV.

    P.S. I have no clue regarding a male/female heat transfer reference — I’m guessing if there is one it might involve Ron Jeremy.

  3. There was a 1964 episode of The Twilight Zone called Queen of the Nile, summarized at TV Tropes (Life Drinker) as: “A woman uses a scarab beetle to drain the life force of men so she can maintain her eternal youth. It’s implied that she’s the actual Cleopatra of Egypt.”

    Wikipedia has an article about this episode.

  4. Great history of Dark Shadows syndication!

    One DS fan I met told me in the early 80’s he was offered jobs in two different parts of the country and accepted the one in South Florida because Channel 6 in Miami was running Dark Shadows at the time.

    I still keep among my VHS and DVD DS episodes one Betamax tape of the show for its historical artifact value.

  5. I recall folks complaining online that the Sci-Fi channel put its logo in the corner of the screen and squeezed the closing credits when it aired the series for around a decade starting in 1992.

    C’mon, guys! You’re seeing an hour of DARK SHADOWS each weekday and they even ran the entire series start to finish at least twice (and all of the Barnabas episodes about three times total I think).

    Sci-Fi is how I discovered the 1897 episodes on the second run in ’96, just after college, when my night job had me home at 11 a.m.

    I was excited to see 1897 and Quentin and to know that they were both as great as I’d imagined. I read the synopses in the 1991 DARK SHADOWS COMPANION and even then I’d wondered why they hadn’t “stripped” those 184 episodes instead of the early Barnabas storyline. I’d loved those episodes, sure, but they were far more slower paced, and the series was still resisting being a spook show. You could tune in during a non-Barnabas episode and see a dreary blackmail plotline. They were also in b&w for about 80 episodes, and again I like b&w but by even my childhood (mid-80s), it was getting rarer to see b&w shows in syndication (I recall Nick at Nite’s hook being that you could see the b&w Bewitched episodes and the b&w I Dream of Jeannie season that never turned up in syndication).

    It’s not like the syndication packages started from the beginning. They skipped to 210 and I’d argue that it’s easier to hit the ground running with 701 (all the characters are being reintroduced). But what do I know? I think DS has never been better than when in the past.

    1. I agree with the 701 idea, I’ve had it myself.

      My personal favorite place to begin is with the Dream Curse, and ending around Parallel Time, although I’ve started with 123, or from the beginning, many times. I once started with the Leviathans, which was more awesome than I expected. It’s how I came to really enjoy that story.

      For someone who knows nothing about Dark Shadows, and needs to start in a place where they would be most likely to get hooked quickly, it would have to be 701.
      Like you said, everyone is reintroduced, and it’s off to the races. It’s Dark Shadows at its most opulent. Who could resist Magda or Quentin? Sure, this time around, Laura is just a parody of the disturbing original. She’s not scary in color, her new trick is being hilarious. Angelique and Petofi share a few delightful moments.
      Then there’s Barnabas, James Barnabas, secret agent from the future on a secret mission to the past, who likes his Bloody Marys shaken, not stirred, but that’s a secret, too.

      I can’t wait for the moment David Henesy puts on black gloves, and gives a major creep-out performance. Probably his best work.

  6. Dream Curse? Huh?

    Only if you have your finger on the fast forward button.

    I actually started throwing stuff at my TV during the Dream Curse watching live in the sixties.

    The only thing I liked a lot was Angelique’s speech to sleepy Barnabas in the beginning.

      1. I LOVE Nicholas Blair – he’s on my permanent top 5 favorite DS characters list.
        So exactly HOW did Laura’s eternal, supernatural flame get snuffed out by some sand being thrown on it? Wouldn’t it take some supernatural sand, at least? Or a supernatural fire extinguisher.

    1. You’re right about Angelique’s warning to dreaming Barnabas. That’s a major stand-out moment for both Lara Parker, and the show. I often wanted to put together a video of DS top moments, and that would have to be in there.

  7. The Dream Curse was the storyline where the vampire show no longer had a vampire — or rather it had a couple (Tom Jennings and Angelique) but it didn’t have the vampire that had proven so popular.

    For its first three years, DARK SHADOWS was sort of finding its way, which somewhat ironically is sort of what makes it DARK SHADOWS. The pre-Julia Barnabas episodes are still basically a daytime soap opera in the “real” world that is trying to incorporate a vampire without saying the word “vampire.” And Barnabas is wholly evil during the period. There is very little reluctant about this vampire.

    Julia’s introduction is a marvelous twist — the clever character who looks like she might discover what Barnabas is and expose him actually winds up “joining the dark side” and aiding him. Both characters are villains at this point, and we’re supposed to see Barnabas as a corrupting influence — slowly seeping away the part of Julia’s soul that she hadn’t already sacrificed to her ambition. To use the show’s own verbiage, these are the PT versions of the pre-Mulder and Scully dynamic duo we’d later come to love. And much like DS, there is no logical story progression from the characters in 1967 to the ones in 1969. I’ve often said that’s the main problem with the 1991 DS — how did they plan to make this transition? Especially since it felt like they’d cast specifically for early Barnabas and Julia (I have trouble seeing Ben Cross as the Barnabas of 1897).

    But they keep moving forward until they come to 1897, and that’s where we get a Barnabas who I think is unique. Previously, he was just a modern spin on Dracula. His desire to “cure” himself, once Julia shows up, is a step away from the standard tropes, but “James Barnabas” as Richard said is the character who inspires the Nick Knights and the Angels.

    1. Maybe it’s just me, but even from the first airing in ’68, there was a powerful feeling, when Barnabas was finally cured, that this is soooo temporary. He’ll be a vampire, again. Angelique is that kind of girl, and it was that kind of show.
      After a while, I just expected Barnabas to go back and forth, from vampire to human, which ever the plot needed.

  8. The Barnabas and Angelique of 1897 are the best. This is where they are at their most powerful and become almost like superheroes, with their knowledge of the past and the future. (not to mention their actual powers).

    I agree with everybody else, if DS was to ever try a syndicated run again on TV, it should start with episode #701, I bet the station that did that, would get higher ratings a lot quicker then slogging through the Jason McGuire stuff. (which I enjoy by the way, but I can see a new viewer not staying with the show through those early days.)

    1. I don’t know, there’s a lot of continuity involved in 701. The entire through-line for the plot is Barnabas trying to save David and Chris from Quentin’s ghost. That plot makes absolutely no sense already, imagine what it would be like if you thought that was the first episode.

      There’s also Barnabas and Angelique, which is super continuity-heavy — you need to know both about the original 1795 story and her 1968 appearances to really get it. There’s also the secret room in the mausoleum, and Barnabas and Angelique recognizing Trask.

      I think the thing that we love about 1897 is that it takes all of that imperfect material that we know, and does it again but better. If you don’t have the connection to all the previous stuff, then I don’t know if it would be as compelling.

      1. You make a good point Danny. It’s like the first seasons of Buffy or Angel, both shows got very different and stronger in their later seasons, but it still works best if you’ve seen those first seasons. (same with Star Trek: TNG).

      2. A friend, who had watched Dark Shadows 50 years ago, started watching 210 with her husband. She didn’t remember who anyone was and asked me who Burke and Paul were and who were Vicki’s parents? There will always be backstory to address unless you start with episode 1 and who wants to do that? I tried to persuade her to start with 701. If you want to hook someone on Dark Shadows, head for the most charismatic actor who ever was on the show. I think if you can keep track of the 1897 stories, you’re smart enough to figure out the backstory.

  9. Dark Shadows showed up in syndication in Pittsburgh, PA in the early 1980s on a UHF station that ran it at 7 PM. I had never seen the early black and white Barnabas episodes or the 1795 flashback, so needless to say, OMG it was AWESOME! Also a bit a shock to my husband. We had just gotten married and he knew that I loved horror films in general, especially vampire films but he had never seen DS and he had to get used to the idea of my being glued to the TV every evening between 7 and 7:30. Then the station moved it to 11 PM. Then they started pre-empting episodes for hockey games. I missed pivotal episodes, like the one in which Barnabas is bitten by the bat, and the episode where he dies. Then the station stopped showing it altogether after Angelique showed up at Vicky’s trial. Bleah ….

  10. It has been a pleasure reading the comments here for this post. I never realized that, despite being a DVD owner of the “coffin box” set, I could just pick up wherever I wanted at any point in the series. Since 2012, I have, as Danny has mentioned, completed the “ritual”–3 times in fact. This summer, I started a fourth time, the first 638 episodes in less than 3 months…. But then I thought, Hey why am I doing it like like this? Now it’s all Dark Shadows all the time, I can’t even get to Bewitched, That Girl, Get Smart, Gilligan’s Island, not even the Odd Couple anymore…. I mean, what’s going on here? I ordered Petticoat Junction in June, and it’s still in its plastic wrap! In fact, I can’t even find it under all the empty beer cans!

    But then, reading the comments here I realized…. there’s another magic number to the universe…. 3! I’ve done the ritual three times, I mean why should I…. If I want to pick up the ritual again, where I left off…. well, then I’ll pick up with episode 639…. and 6 + 3 = 9, and 9 is already there and if you add 9 and 9 you get 18 and all those numbers are divisible by 3…. So, you see, I’m saved, I’m saved!

    A “ritual” is one thing–but you don’t want to get OCD about it. I love Dark Shadows, and I love this blog! Thanks for saving me! Otherwise, I don’t know what would have happened…. well, I’d probably have been “starting” with episode 653 tomorrow night…. and magic numbers like 3 get very complicated when there’s a 5 involved….

    So, again, thank you for saving me….

  11. I assume these syndication packages only had the episodes that were available on videotape, that they excluded the ones that only exist as kinescopes. Of course, some or all of the kinescope episodes may have been available on videotape 30 years ago, but the tapes have since been lost. Am I wrong about the exclusion of the kinescopes? Do you remember seeing an occasional black & white episode and wondering why it was black & white?

    1. No, they showed the kinescopes too. There are at least a couple episodes that they didn’t realize had kinescopes until MPI found them while working on the home video release. So those episodes were skipped in syndication.

      There’s also an 1897 episode about six weeks from now that was accidentally slotted into the syndication package between 511 and 512, when Barnabas was walled up by the ghost of Reverend Trask. So everybody watching the ’68 reruns got a random preview of Carl and Pansy. That was corrected in home video too.

  12. I remember WTOG (an independent station in Tampa) advertising their late night airing of Dark Shadows in the 1970’s but that’s all I remember about it, if I ever watched it. I remember watching it while attending FSU and on a new independent station in the Tampa Bay area in the mid to late 1980’s, but that was it until SFC picked it up I the 1990’s.

  13. This explains a lot. I have had to watch episodes 1-210 on YouTube with commercials. Then I found Hulu to start at episode 210 and only had a few seasons. They eventually added more as I watched, all the way up to episode 735. They still have 210-250 as season 1 and continue with seasons of 40 episodes. They removed seasons 3-8 and start back up at 534. 291-533 is a big gap if you want to watch them again. I have only vague memories of the unseen episodes from childhood. Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives and The Doctors had more pressing stories for the adults in the 60s. Even back when I rented the MPI VHS tapes from Blockbuster with 4 or 5 episodes on each, the number was limited. I think those started with episode 210 (Barnabas out of the box) and only went as far as the first of the 590s when Adam was demanding a mate. I never even got to see Eve. Ah well, I will have to invest in the DVD collection if I am ever to learn what happens next. Oh, I could pay $1.99 per episode ande watch it on YouTube, but that would add up to more expensive than the box set. For now, I will visit darkshadowseveryday.com to follow the drama. This and darkshadows.wikia.com are the best sites to get the storylines.

  14. Oh yeah, and I come to find that you can watch Dark Shadows on Hulu for free. I’ve been paying for it all this time.

  15. Channel 56, a Boston UHF station, ran DS in the 11:00 PM slot during the summer of ’75 or ’76. They used outtakes from the HODS trailer as promotional commercials – I distinctly remember the scene of Barnabas looking up and yelling “Claaaark! I command you!” The ratings must not have been good because it didn’t last very long and I don’t recall ever actually watching an episode.

    In 2013 KLS wrote an article for Variety and stated that she was still collecting residuals from the show. That struck me as very odd – I would’ve thought that any obligation to pay residuals would have expired decades ago.

    1. Interesting about the residuals. I would imagine that when they negotiated the contracts Dan Curtis and his people didn’t suppose there would be reruns, so they wouldn’t have paid attention to the residuals clauses.

    2. In the early ‘80s, Channel 41 in Louisville, an independent UHF channel at the time (I think it eventually became a Fox channel) started running it at, I believe, 11 p.m. also.

      I was so excited to see it because I was forbidden from watching it when I was a kid, when it was originally on, not because my parents had any objection to the content but because it gave me nightmares. Our house didn’t have AC and in the hottest summer nights, I’d sleep with a quilt up around my neck to prevent Barnabus from biting me, quilts being a well-known vampire deterrent.

      I wish I could say now where Ch. 41 started with it; it was definitely in color, but it must’ve been Ron Sproat days because it was soooooo slow. I remember saying to someone, it’s like they taped enough new material for one episode a week; the rest of the time it would start with a character in repose, remembering what had happened the previous day. Long stretches. I really wish I could recall what storyline it was. But I didn’t stick with it at the time, and I don’t think it lasted long on Ch. 41.

      1. Dark Shadows first ran in syndication on WDRB during the Funsville days in the early afternoons. We would get home from school and watch Presto the Magic Clown followed by reruns of Leave It to Beaver, Ultraman, Speed Racer, Rocket Robin Hood, the original 1950s Mickey Mouse Club and the Dark Shadows episodes beginning with 210.

        This was a great lineup for grade school and junior high school age kids. I have fond memories of that time in my life.

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