Episode 768: Number One with a Bullet

“I can’t take my mind off this bullet.”

Yesterday, somebody found a silver bullet outside Collinwood, and now Quentin’s taking it super personally. As a Werewolf-American, naturally he’s sensitive to displays of lycanphobic sentiment. Trying to explain that anybody could be killed by a silver bullet and that all lives matter is not at all reassuring.

768 dark shadows barnabas quentin moody

Quentin walks into the drawing room and finds eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins standing around, staring moodily at precisely nothing. Quentin asks what he’s doing, and Barnabas says that he’s thinking about Jamison’s dream. Barnabas doesn’t live here, by the way.

But Quentin has his own concerns. “Someone is planning to kill me,” he tells Barnabas. “I think you know who it is.” He’s not wrong, but I’m not sure why this is suddenly a problem.

768 dark shadows barnabas quentin words

They talked about this, on Monday. They had a big conversation in Quentin’s room, and Barnabas said that Magda knew about a gypsy who might be able to help break the curse. He promised to give Quentin a report when they found out anything.

As he was leaving, Quentin said, “Barnabas –” and then they both struck poses, one apiece. “If you find out I’m going to be like this always,” Quentin said, “promise me something. Promise me that you’ll shoot me through the heart some night. Some lovely, moonlit night.” And then he smashed his glass on the floor.

It was all terribly romantic and reflected well on everyone, so I’m not sure why he’s having such a spaz attack about it now.

768 dark shadows quentin first

“I can’t take my mind off this bullet!” Quentin cries. “I’ve got to find the person who’s planning to kill me — and kill him first!”

And then something happens which is not easy to explain.

768 dark shadows barnabas lamp

Quentin storms out of the drawing room, and we hear a door-slamming sound effect, although it’s not super clear which door it refers to. Left alone in the drawing room, Barnabas looks around — and suddenly we hear a snatch of “Shadows of the Night,” aka “Quentin’s Theme”.

Often, when they play this record, there’s an actual gramophone playing in the scene, but this time, it’s entirely extradiegetic. The implication appears to be that Barnabas is thinking about Quentin’s theme, for some reason.

Then Barnabas steps over to a nearby lamp, and the camera focuses on the lamp…

768 dark shadows quentin lamp

… and then shifts to a shot of a different lamp in the foyer. The camera pulls back, and we see that Quentin is in the foyer, adjusting the lamp, and the music is still playing. So, I guess he’s thinking about his theme song too, and there’s some kind of important symbolic connection with the lamps that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Anyway, the theme plays for another couple lines, and then another character enters the house, and the song abruptly stops as we hear another door-closing sound effect.

So.

There’s that.

Now, that sequence acts as a kind of cushion between two emotionally-charged conversations — Quentin yelling at Barnabas, and then Quentin yelling at Beth — so if you’re watching the episode like a normal person, you just naturally shrug off whatever that weird transition was, and forget all about it.

But I am not watching this episode like a normal person, so it’s incumbent upon me to come up with some kind of explanation for that mysterious little moment of musique concrète. And here it is!

768 dark shadows 16 record

Actually, I’ll let Gloria Stavers and 16 Magazine take it from here.

EARLY IN JUNE Jonathan “Barnabas” Frid and David “Quentin” Selby had one of their fondest dreams come true! Jon and David have long felt that Dark Shadows should have its very own long-playing record album, consisting of all that groovy-spooky music you hear in the show each day, plus “Barnabas” and “Quentin” actually talking to you.

Well, thanks to Jon, David, and 16 and 16 SPEC, Dark Shadows music director Robert Cobert, writer and record producer Charlie Grean and Philips Records — that dream is now a reality!

Now, obviously, far be it from me to criticize Ms. Stavers and her excellent magazine, but I find it difficult to believe that Jon and David would get together for regular chats about how desperately they wanted Dark Shadows to have its very own long-playing record album. I don’t have any evidence to back that up, I just don’t think it’s likely. Gloria has her theories, and I have mine.

768 dark shadows selby album

Although you have to admire the enthusiasm on display here.

What’s more, YOU are invited to the record session to join Jon and David (through these exclusive 16 SPEC photos taken by yours truly Gloria Stavers) and the rest of the gang as they make Dark Shadows’ very first LP!

The full name of the album is The Original Music From Dark Shadows With The Robert Cobert Orchestra & Featuring Jonathan (Barnabas) Frid and David (Quentin) Selby.

And bless their hearts, that actually is the full name of the album. It’s kind of a mouthful, but I guess as long as you can fit it on the label of a 45, you can name your album pretty much anything you like.

768 dark shadows quentin beth speech

That’s why they’re piping in snatches of “Quentin’s Theme” every chance they get these days. They recorded the album in early June, and it’ll be out next month, so they’d better start hyping it on the show.

Quentin’s actually going to be taking a break; this is the last time we’ll see him for a couple of weeks. So they’re making sure that he gets lots of big exciting speeches, even if they don’t make a hell of a lot of sense.

Quentin:  Is Dirk mad, or is he just pretending? Is Beth in love with Quentin — or is she just pretending? Now, wouldn’t it be nice if we had some kind of mirror where we could all watch each other, and see the truth? What would you look like in it, Beth? What would Dirk and Judith look like? And what would our dear Cousin Barnabas look like, in such a mirror? Oh — I would pay a lot to see that.

768 dark shadows beth quentin talk

Beth:  Quentin — what are you talking about?

Quentin:  And then, of course, in that great mirror of truth, there comes Quentin Collins — and what does he look like? At least — in the light of the moon? But you know, don’t you, Beth? You know exactly what he looks like! And exactly how to KILL him!

768 dark shadows beth quentin selling

Quentin:  What’s the matter, Beth? You’ve gotten deathly pale! WHY? Because I’ve hit on the TRUTH? Huh? YOU ARE TRYING TO KILL ME, AREN’T YOU!

He’s out of his mind, of course; everybody on the show is out of their mind this week. And the craziest thing of all is that this is how they’re selling records.

The theme song actually starts up again — that pretty, sad little waltz — and again, it’s not at all clear why we’re hearing it. There’s no gramophone here, and clearly these two aren’t humming it delightedly to themselves. It’s just there, because it’s Jon and David’s fondest dream come true.

So the song starts to play, as Beth stammers that she loves Quentin, and she’d never want to —

768 dark shadows beth quentin slap

“LIAR!” he screams, and smacks her across the face — POW! — and the sound of that slap echoes like the crack of a gunshot. The theme song snaps off at that moment, because apparently that’s the way you turn off your imaginary gramophone.

It’s weird and raw and completely out of bounds; the dashing heart-throb with his very own long-playing record album, screaming and accusing and battering the people who care about him. This is what makes people buy records, I guess.

Run — don’t walk — to your nearest record store right now and get your very own copy, so that you can truly be a part of Jon, David and the DS gang! If your record store doesn’t have the Dark Shadows LP, make them order you a copy! Just give them the above-mentioned title and LP record number!!

You heard the lady. Run, don’t walk! No, seriously, run. It’s getting crazy up in here.

Tomorrow: Crazy Ex-Boyfriend.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

The opening narration says that David told the dream to Barnabas. The dream was about David, but Jamison was the one who told Barnabas about it.

Dirk says to Judith, “You know, Mrs. Collins, you always hated Laura, didn’t you?” Judith is “Miss Collins”.

Barnabas says, “Leaving here was the best thing for him, probably.” “Do you think so?” Judith moans. “Sometimes I don’t know what the best thing — or the right thing is anymore.”

Tomorrow: Crazy Ex-Boyfriend.

768 dark shadows selby frid recording

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

19 thoughts on “Episode 768: Number One with a Bullet

  1. I bought the Dark Shadows soundtrack as soon as it came out in 1969, then in the late ’80’s/ early 90’s, had Jonathan Frid sign his picture on the cover, at one of Kathryn Leigh Scott’s book signing events. Still have it.

    The band My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult sampled the track Back At The Blue Whale for their song Glamour Is A Rocky Road.

  2. “And what would our dear Cousin Barnabas look like, in such a mirror?” is a pretty clever “ingenuous” line, considering the famous vampire tradition.

    I’ve always wondered since I’ve seen it in print so many times, is Robert Cobert’s name pronounced with or without the T at the end?

    1. I know what you mean. You see it spelled and you want to pronounce it as “Ko-bear“. But on the DVD Dark Shadows Reunion, where cast members and crew gather to be honored by the Museum of Television & Radio in 2001, you hear it pronounced twice, once by the moderator and again by the man himself. Emphasis is on the “o” and with the “t” pronounced at the end, as “Ko-bert”.

  3. It’s a fun album, though I was initially disappointed that the two Blue Whale selections are not the actual versions heard from the Blue Whale jukebox. The CD reissue has two additional tracks. One is a 1968 radio interview with Ron Barry that several cast members took part in, and the other is a 1969 Ron Barry radio interview with David Selby.

  4. I loved the Blue Whale tunes, even though I giggled when anyone, especially teen Carolyn, put on such weird music in the 60’s. Should have been Beatles or Rolling Stones, right? As if Dan Curtis would spring for the rights to pay for such expensive jukebox play, LOL! Love, Robin

    1. Whatever his personal faults and serious limitations in “romantic lead” roles, Roger Davis’ watchability is improving by leaps and bounds now they’ve found his proper niche. That is, crazy and/or nasty.

    1. Quentin’s real sideburns are modest for 1969. His fake 1897 muttonchops, on the other hand, were seen in 1969 but were considered out there on the edge. Somewhere I have a photo of myself from 1970 sporting now embarrassing muttonchops. I believe I am also wearing a turtleneck in the picture. These were more relevant to 1969/70 than they were conscious references to DS. However, I must admit to being conscious of Quentin when I grew them.

  5. 45 label? An LP is a 33 1/3. 🙂 I saved up my allowance and did extra chores for weeks to save up for that album. I remember riding my bike to a nearby shopping center and purchasing it at the department store there. Riding home holding the bag, I accidentally got it stuck between my leg and the handle bars, and the record bent! I was panic-stricken! Luckily, when I got home and frantically inspected it, it was intact (in 1969, they had improved LP technology so they weren’t brittle like old 78s, and you could actually bend them a bit). (Oh, and to the person who wanted original music and not spoken word, there’s only two or three tracks on it with spoken word!)

  6. There is a subtle, ambiguous blooper in this episode when Dirk and Judith are conversing in the drawing room. Dirk says his line, and then says something like “I see” under his breath. When Judith does speak, she has two sentences, the second of which is “I see.”

    I think Roger Davis thought Joan Bennett should be picking up her cue faster, to say her next lines, but I don’t think Davis was that helpful, because he prompted her with the second part of her line and almost led her to miss the first part. Fortunately, she seems not to have fallen for it. No wonder the other cast members thought Davis was a putz, though.

    1. I went back and reviewed 768 carefully. There is a lot of echoing of the word “see” in that scene, and I was mistaken in thinking that Davis was trying to give Bennett a prompt. He’s still a putz, though.

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