Episode 807: Dickens Without Poor People

“Well, you know how he gets when he possesses someone.”

Behold the educated viewer, watching an episode of Dark Shadows. Charity Trask is looking at the unfinished portrait of Quentin Collins, on the night of the full moon. To her surprise, she sees the portrait change before her eyes, the painted face transforming into the image of a werewolf.

“Ah,” one nods appreciatively, “an allusion to The Picture of Dorian Gray.” One says this to oneself, because nobody else can stand to be around one while the television is on.

807 ewok lunchbox

But in reality, this storyline is based on The Picture of Dorian Gray in the same way that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is based on an Ewok lunchbox. There’s a family resemblance in there somewhere, but anything more than that is a stretch.

I’ve written a lot about narrative collisions, the mash-up moments when the Dark Shadows writers throw in characters and plot points from other stories, just to see what happens. It’s one of the defining features of the show, fueling all kinds of crazy storyline twists and surprising shifts in tone, and creating a mad Frankenstein patchwork of Universal Monsters films, avant-garde black box theater and pretty much everything you remember from English Lit.

The first and most important narrative collision on the show is Jane Eyre vs. Dracula, in spring 1967. At the time, the Collins family was drifting gently in the direction of exposing their final terrible secret — not a mad wife in the attic, but a dead husband buried in the basement, which is practically the same thing. The orphan governess was well on her way to falling in love with her dark and mysterious Rochester, at which point you either introduce a triangle with a creepy missionary dude, or you finish the book and everybody writes their term paper.

And then Renfield opens the chained coffin in the family mausoleum, and all of a sudden Count Dracula moves in next door, and he tells everybody that he’s a long-lost cousin from England. He gets started on Mina Harker while everybody else is still messing around in the basement, and — in a stunning upset — Dracula actually wins. He faces off against two different Van Helsings and several wannabe Jonathan Harkers, and in the end, he demolishes them all, and then he just keeps on snacking his way through a four-year menu of Minas.

433 dark shadows testimony vicki trask

That works out great, so the writers start raiding the bookshelves for more story ideas. To everyone’s surprise, they follow up with a science-fiction version of The Crucible, seasoned with The Monkey’s Paw, The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, Pride and Prejudice, Jack the Ripper and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

No, seriously. They intentionally reference all of those things during the show’s four months in 1795. Millicent starts out as Lydia Bennett, and ends up as the Rosencrantz version of Ophelia. It is an age of wonders.

Now, the standard way that people talk about Dark Shadows’ narrative collisions is that they were a pragmatic shortcut for the writers, which helped them to come up with new story ideas. If you’re stuck for a storyline idea and you’re allowed to go to the library and borrow one, then obviously that’s very appealing.

But it also becomes an inside joke between the writers and whoever’s well-read enough in the audience to notice it. This was 1960s daytime TV, watched mostly by housewives and teenagers, and if the kids haven’t read Pride and Prejudice all the way through, then that story point sails over their heads. But some of the housewives went to Barnard, and the reference is a shout-out to anyone who cares.

And besides, Sam Hall had a weird sense of humor, and some of the obscure references are clearly just Sam amusing himself. He thinks it’s funny to do a scene from Waiting for Godot in the middle of a vampire soap opera on ABC’s dime, and he’s right — it is funny, even if nobody else gets it.

He really did that, by the way, in episode 537. He was a madman. I bet there are more literary references hidden in Sam’s scripts, which nobody’s figured out yet. I leave this challenge for the lit-crit archeologists of the future.

646 dark shadows beth quentin pose

So by late 1968, the outside influences start piling up in surprising new patterns. The lead-up to the 1897 trip was a direct reference to The Turn of the Screw, but with a less frantic governess and real ghosts.

Then Count Dracula travels through time by meditating over an ancient Chinese divination technique — attention people of the future, please figure out where the hell that came from — and the storyline goes into narrative collision overdrive, borrowing from Jane Eyre (again), Nicholas Nickleby, Nancy Drew, Mummy movies, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Wolf Man (again), The Telltale Heart (again), The Monkey’s Paw (again), The Cask of Amontillado (again) and The Maltese Falcon (for, like, the fourth time). Narrative collision is now the thing that Dark Shadows does.

But the interesting thing about 1897 is that they’re not stealing from the classics in the same way that they used to.

Two years ago, they borrowed plots and themes that would inform the character development and long-term storylines. In 1795, they did a long-form adaptation of The Crucible, because it let them do dramatic riffs on jealousy and cruelty and fanaticism and injustice. They turned Abigail Williams into Angelique, and Reverend Hale into Reverend Trask, and those themes and characters were so strong that they’re still with us, a year and a half later. We’re still getting Jack the Ripper sequences every time Barnabas goes to the docks, because the theme of a cruel, selfish man preying on socially powerless women resonates with our ongoing focus on Count Dracula’s relationship problems.

795 dark shadows quentin saved

But 1897’s collisions are mostly hit-and-run, just grabbing a bit of visual spectacle that lasts for an episode or two.

The second coming of Jane Eyre was the exception — keeping Jenny locked up in the attic was a symbol for the ruling class hiding their unhappy truths from the world, and the writers followed through on that theme for several months.

Besides that, the literary references just skip across the surface. The Tell-Tale Heart lasted for half an episode, and the guilty party wasn’t being haunted by his own conscience; it was an outside influence specifically trying to screw with him. The Pit and the Pendulum became a Batman-style action-adventure countdown. They started to do a riff on The Monkey’s Paw, with a “careful what you wish for” theme as seen in the actual story, but then the magical hand grew a body, and all of a sudden it’s a Bond villain.

There’s a story that I’ve heard about Armistead Maupin, the author of Tales of the City, a long-running love letter to San Francisco. The series was optioned by Warner Bros for a feature film adaptation, but the studio told him that they’d have to drop most of the gay characters to make the movie successful. He told them that taking the gay people out of Tales of the City would be like taking the poor people out of Dickens.

And here we are, watching a television show that actually takes the poor people out of Dickens. Reverend Trask’s punishment school, Worthington Hall, is a direct lift from Nicholas Nickelby’s Dotheboys Hall, but instead of being filled with the orphaned and forgotten, its student body consists of two immensely wealthy children whose family owns the grounds that the school is standing on.

807 dark shadows quentin dorian gray

And then there’s Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is stripped of all meaning and turned into another action-adventure cliffhanger. Count Petofi’s fiendish plan to get Quentin under his control involves commissioning a magical portrait that will change into a werewolf on full moons, so Quentin doesn’t have to. It’s a clever idea, and a funny allusion for you and me and the Barnard grads to chuckle over. It’s also a good example of the show’s new approach to narrative collisions, because this storyline is the opposite of The Picture of Dorian Gray in every respect.

Here’s a quick summary, for everyone who missed English class that day:

Basil Hallward is an artist in London in the late 19th century, who falls desperately in love with a beautiful young man that he meets at a society party. The moment that Basil claps eyes on Dorian Gray, he’s lost forever — Dorian is all that he thinks about, and all that he talks about, and capturing his unique beauty on canvas becomes the single focus of Basil’s life.

Basil is gay, by the way, although he never actually says so out loud, so maybe he’s one of those Jonathan Frid-style lifelong bachelors who are shy and collect antiques and have a great respect for women, and just happen to be born without the capacity to experience romantic love. It’s not a likely scenario, for Basil or anyone else, but his family says that he’s not gay, and he’s dead now, so nobody can ask him and that means we should change the subject. Also, he’s fictional. Basil is, I mean, not Jonathan. Well, they both are, I guess.

807 the picture of dorian gray poster

Anyway, Basil is super inspired by Dorian in several lifelong bachelor-type ways, and the book opens with him painting the portrait that will be his crowning achievement as an artist: Dorian’s beautiful and unspoiled soul, captured on canvas.

During a sitting, Basil’s friend Lord Harry Wotton drops by. Harry is a cultured, witty, utterly cynical agent of Discordia, and one of the most shameless Mary Sues in literary history. Harry is clearly Wilde’s self-portrait, a man who can drop six eye-opening epigrams during the course of a two-minute conversation. He’s full of theories about art and life and society, and every character in the book trips over themselves, they’re so eager to hear what’s going to come out of his mouth next.

By the way, Harry isn’t gay either, honestly, where do people get these crazy ideas? He’s married to a woman, hel-LO, and there’s women all over the movie poster, so what are you even talking about.

But Harry spouts all these quotable paradoxes about morality, which he doesn’t have a lot of respect for, and the rules of cultured society, which ditto. He encourages Dorian to take advantage of his youth and beauty while he has it — to make mistakes, and follow his passions while they still burn this brightly.

His mind awhirl, Dorian looks at the finished picture, and laments that the portrait will stay young and beautiful forever, while he will wither and grow old. Instead of a tribute, he suddenly sees the picture as a cruel mockery of what he’ll someday become. He wishes — with a fervor that cracks reality — that it could be the other way around, that the portrait could grow older while he stays young.

499 dark shadows angelique ancient

So guess what: it works! Dorian meets a young actress, and falls head over heels in love with the idea of being in love — but then he drops the girl, as soon as she exhibits a flaw. He tells her that she’s worthless and will never experience love again, and she takes the hint and commits suicide. That evening, he looks at the portrait, and finds that the picture’s face has a cruel line around the mouth, while he’s unstained. This goes on for quite a while, with an eternally-youthful Dorian enjoying all kinds of forbidden passions, while the portrait in the attic bears all the visible effects of his corruption.

Now, it’s important to note that this is not a science-fiction story. Wilde gives Dorian a brief lampshade moment where he wonders whether there’s a scientific explanation for what’s happening, so that he can shut down that line of thought and forget about it.

Might there not be some curious scientific reason for it all? If thought could exercise its influence upon a living organism, might not thought exercise an influence upon dead and inorganic things? Nay, without thought or conscious desire, might not things external to ourselves vibrate in unison with our moods and passions, atom calling to atom in secret love or strange affinity? But the reason was of no importance. He would never again tempt by a prayer any terrible power. If the picture was to alter, it was to alter.  That was all. Why inquire too closely into it?

With that, Wilde closes the door on all things literal. You’re not supposed to figure out how Basil acquired his magical power, or anything horrid like that. This story is about the purpose of art, and the mechanisms of polite society, and most of all it’s about how clever and insightful Oscar Wilde is.

807 dark shadows quentin werewolf portrait

So as you can imagine, that story, that character and those themes have approximately zero percent to do with Quentin’s portrait needing a shave. Saying that this storyline is “based on The Picture of Dorian Gray” does a disservice to the main theme of Dark Shadows, namely how clever and insightful Sam Hall is.

Quentin isn’t being worshipped for his beauty and innocence. He’s not a fallen angel, who changes before our eyes into a degraded brute. In fact, if anything, Quentin’s character arc is going in the opposite direction, as we’ll see later this week when he spontaneously invents a whole suite of feelings about his lost daughter. Oscar Wilde is rolling his eyes so hard that his head might come loose.

Around here, if a character mutters something cryptic like “If thought could exercise its influence upon a living organism, might not thought exercise an influence upon dead and inorganic things?” then that’s a cue for Julia to shake her head, and try to get them back on script. On Dark Shadows, thought does actually exercise an influence upon dead and inorganic things. That’s kind of the show’s core competency.

So here we are in a brave new world, where the rumors of borrowing from the classics are greatly exaggerated. Dark Shadows is no longer in the business of copying storylines. Now they dash into the library just long enough to rip a couple pages out of a book, and then they run away, giggling and shouting, You’ll never catch me alive! As the man said, all art is quite useless, so you might as well enjoy yourself.

Tomorrow: Twisting.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In the teaser, as the painting transforms, Charity moves too close to the painting, and you can see a transparent image of her face over the portrait on the right side of the screen.

As Tate walks down the steps into Petofi’s lair, the camera zooms out and then in very suddenly.

Aristede tells Tate, “You learned that a long time ago, what are you so upset about it now?”

There’s a lot of studio noise while Aristede and Tate are talking, including a chair scraping on the floor several times.

Tate tells Aristede, “I have paid the price of things that you can’t even imagine.”

As Barnabas gives Magda the gun, he loses his line and checks the teleprompter. Then he says, “Now… when he comes, there’ll be no problem.” (Checks the teleprompter again.) “But if it becomes necessary, you must kill him.”

We can see Barnabas in the mirror as he’s leaving the Old House. Just last week, Barnabas told Evan that he can’t see himself in a mirror.

Tomorrow: Twisting.

807 picture of dorian gray portrait

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

31 thoughts on “Episode 807: Dickens Without Poor People

  1. When Charity sees the werewolf, isn’t that just a vision, on a night when there is no full moon? A trace of Pansy Faye, showing her things she might not otherwise see? I always thought the portrait didn’t actually change, yet, this is just Charity/Pansy having a vision that it would change, soon.

    Doesn’t Petofi take the brush in hand, and do a little work on the portrait, himself, upsetting the tightly wound C.D. Tate? I figured that’s when the portrait is activated.

      1. Before the werewolf storyline came along, you could count on a full moon every night in Collinsport, not to mention the ubiquitous thunder and lightning.

        I too think Charity saw the portrait change because of Pansy’s psychic powers. Charles D. Tate did not see the face of a wolf. I think you are right that Petofi activated the portrait when he took a hand in its completion.

  2. PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY is one of my favorite novels, and I’ve often commented that it would have worked well a TWILIGHT ZONE episode. There were rarely explanations for why a ventriloquist doll could suddenly talk or why a man having a mid-life crisis wound up walking into his own past. It was sufficient to know that they’d “entered the Twilight Zone.”

    But Wilde’s use of metaphor became a popular sci-fi/horror trope, so it doesn’t surprise me that someone at DARK SHADOWS would latch onto it. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is famous in ways that THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY the book is not (most people know the former but few know the latter well enough to even recognize the names Basil and Lord Henry).

    Oh, and yes, Henry Wotton is what Wilde himself claimed people “see me as” (I think most quotes directly attributed to Wilde technically came from his creation but still seem like something the author would say in conversation), but while Lord Henry walks away unscathed from the events of PODG, Wilde’s life ends more like Basil or Dorian’s (take your pick). It is somewhat ironic that Wilde stated that Basil was who he’d “like to think of himself as being” because he did share Basil’s sentimentality and attraction ultimately to the wrong man. Of the three main characters of PODG, Basil is the most likely to have pursued the course of action that led to Wilde’s downfall in court.

    And perhaps that was Wilde’s point: Having a soul (as Basil does) or even desiring one (as Dorian does) will prove your undoing.

    But back to DARK SHADOWS: I agree that the only remnants of Wilde’s novel other than the titular picture is the wit of Count Petofi and the way he attempts to “control” and “destroy” the men who fall under his influence.

  3. About a month ago I found a Wikipedia article on DS which listed the story lines that were inspired by classic literature, and I posted it to another DS FB group, So some of you may have seen this already:
    Victoria Winters and her role as governess — Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    Burke Devlin and his motivation for returning — The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
    Vicky’s witchcraft trial — The Crucible by Arthur Miller
    The fate of Reverend Trask — The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe
    Adam — Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    Elizabeth’s fear of being buried alive — The Premature Burial by Edgar Allen Poe
    The ghosts of Quentin and Beth — The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
    Quentin’s torture by Petofi —The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe
    Quentin’s insane wife locked in the tower room — Jane Eyre
    Worthington Hall — Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
    Quentin’s portrait — The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    The fate of Gregory Trask — The Cask of Amontillado (again!)
    The Hand of Count Petofi — The Beast with Five Fingers by William Fryer Harvey
    The creation of Amanda Harris — Pygmalion, a classic Greek myth
    The Leviathans — The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft
    The fate of Grant Douglas and Olivia Corey in 1970— Orpheus and Eurydice, another classic Greek myth
    Quentin, Maggie and Angelique in 1970 PT — Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
    Cyrus Longworth and John Yaeger — The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
    The ghosts of Gerard and Daphne — The Turn of the Screw (again!)
    Bramwell and Catherine — Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
    The Collins Family Lottery — The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

    1. Burke is actually reading The Count of Monte Cristo (chapter: “The Trial”) in the coffee shop of the Collinsport Inn during one early episode (#38) when Carolyn drops in to see him.

      This was also Thayer David’s first episode, and the Dark Shadows Wikia page for episode 38 has a photo of Devlin holding the novel while standing by the counter chatting with Matthew Morgan.


      In episode 39, Bill Malloy, while talking with Liz in the Collinwood drawing room and describing Burke’s “single-minded purpose”, mentions Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and compares Devlin to Captain Ahab.

      Below photo is from The Collinsport Historical Society’s Dark Shadows Diary blog for episode 38. The Monte Cristo book can be seen open to a page and set face down on the table between the two cups of coffee.

        1. One I meant to bring up before the Laura story burned out (ahem). Apart from Mummy movies, someone on the writing staff likely read H. Rider Haggard’s SHE, or saw the 1965 Ursula Andress movie version (in addition to Universal movies, there definitely are Hammer borrowings, and given the time frame, it’s possible).

          Ancient Egyptian queen (now ruling over a small group of natives, with of course some acolytes and priests) is immortal after passing through the “Pillar of Fire.” an expedition finds her, and one young archeologist resembles her lover from thousands of years before, so he’s her male Josette. She convinces him to join her in the fire and immortality, he’s not sure it’s safe. To prove it, she walks through again…. undoing the effects, aging years in seconds, and dies, telling him not to forget her. The end.

          As with most DS borrowings, pretty loose, but I think it explains how the “fire priest” stuff got into the Phoenix thing (mixed with the Mummy stuff).

  4. The PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY movie has a scene of Angela Lansbury singing GOODBYE LITTLE YELLOWBIRD. In MURDER SHE WROTE, JB Fletcher’s lookalike cousin Emma (Patty Duke show allusion also) sang the song in one episode. Awesome stuff. At my college two other profs and I sing GOODBYE LITTLE YELLOWBIRD whenever DORIAN GREY comes up in conversation (though not in front of our students. They already think we are crazy). 2 of the 3 are longtime DS fans BTW. The third is too young, though I did take her to see the Johnny Depp version. She didn’t like it.

    I wonder if DS fans had a higher likelihood of becoming English teachers thanks to all the literary stuff in DS. I know it worked for me…but none of the classics is as good as DS as far as I am concerned!

  5. There was a 1960 episode of One Step Beyond called Forests of the Night which the Dark Shadows writers must have been familiar with. It’s about three businessmen on a weekend hunting trip who pass the time playing with a mystical Chinese game of wooden wands.

    A manual entitled Book of Changes instructs: “Form the wands into a hexagon…make your mind a blank…each wand represents a rite or spell…the person holding the wand goes into a trance and the spell starts working…” Long story short, one of the men goes into a trance and starts acting like a leopard. He disappears, never to be seen again. Maybe the Book of Changes turned him into a leopard, we are left to wonder.

    John Newland, our guide into the world of the unknown, suggests that the facts of the story permit no other conclusion; as everyone knows, all One Step Beyond stories are based on true accounts as a matter of human record.

    In any event, this is the only instance that I know of wands used to create an I Ching hexagram (or hexagon), not to mention considered very dangerous, and the trance meditation method is unique, so it seems likely to me that Dan or Sam must have been aware of One Step Beyond’s treatment of the ancient oracle.

  6. Not to take anything away from Sam Hall, but I wonder if most of the credit for the literary narrative collisions encountered on Dark Shadows should go to Dan Curtis, since he was presenting the writers at meetings with the books and stories that he wanted them to mine from for ideas to incorporate into the show.

    In an interview done some 20 years later, Hall admitted that he was never a fan of vampires or of horror in general, and couldn’t even remember the name of Lovecraft without being prompted by someone off camera.

    After Dark Shadows ended its run, Hall went on to write more conventional, everyday themes for One Life To Live, whereas Curtis continued on, at least most of the time, with classic tales of the supernatural, including in 1973 a movie adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is available in its entirety on YouTube.

    There are some Dark Shadows related elements in the movie: John Karlen has a role; Dorian Gray wears the ring of Barnabas on the middle finger of his right hand; and as the Dorian portrait deteriorates, it does so in exactly the same fashion as the one used for Quentin Collins in Dark Shadows. Quentin’s Theme is played five times throughout, in its various incarnations. The rest of the music is comprised of recycled music cues from the TV show. It must be great to be Robert Cobert: Write all your best-known work within 5 years and never have to work again; just sit back and watch the royalty checks come to your door every time Dan Curtis makes another movie. No wonder Mr. Cobert is grinning and laughing all the time. If you’ve ever seen him being interviewed, he’s got this glowing permagrin engraved on his face.

    The actor who plays Sir Harry is somewhat disturbing, because he’s got these wandering eyes that don’t quite align. When he’s talking to someone standing to his left, the left eye looks left, but the right eye seems to be reading the cue cards to the lower right of the camera; and when talking to someone standing to his right, the right eye looks right, but the left just lingers there somewhere left of center. Sir Harry also has a snuff box and is otherwise always making these loud sniffing sounds, even when he’s not snuffing. So, these old period snuff boxes, did they contain tobacco… or cocaine?

    1. Dan was definitely responsible for the Turn of the Screw storyline. He’s talked about how captivated he was by that story, and he returned to it twice — once in 1970 on DS, and again in 1974 when he made a T of the S TV-movie.

      The Turn of the Screw is an incredibly boring and not at all scary story. Dan being captivated by it tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Dan’s understanding of literature.

      Keep in mind that the Quentin/Beth haunting was actually unbelievably dull. It was repetitive, and it didn’t make any real sense. The kids went from gleeful to terrorized every other episode. It went nowhere and had nothing to say, because the novel has exactly nothing to offer beyond a couple of interesting but static visuals.

      The only reason that we like that storyline is because they connected it to Chris (which is not Screw-based) and then it turned into Quentin and 1897, which is basically the opposite of Turn of the Screw. The actual Screw-related content is practically unwatchable.

      So… yeah. Sam is being generous. Practically everything that we like about Dark Shadows is Sam, and the rest is Joe Caldwell.

      1. OK, Danny, I’ll defer to your extensive knowledge on the subject. I raised the question only because of what Sam Hall indicated in the interview. He mentions a theater writer they hired that made Barnabas seem like a “simpering fool” with his soliloquies. Was he referring to Joe Caldwell? Or was it instead Ron Sproat?

        You know, speaking of which, the surname Sproat is quite amusing. It sounds like someone combined the words “throat spray” and came up with the name “Sproat””. It’s like this 1960s ad agency came up with a campaign, perhaps McMann & Tate: “New Sproat brand throat spray. Sproat. It’s spray, for your throat.”

        1. Yeah, I guess it’s Joe Caldwell. He was a playwright, and the only writers added to the show since Sam joined are Joe Caldwell, Violet Welles and Ralph Ellis. (Ellis only wrote two scripts, and neither of them have Barnabas.) But it’s surprising that Sam says that, because Joe really did write all the best episodes before Sam joined the show.

          Joe came and went a couple times during the course of the series. He was first on the show from 245-290, and wrote all the best episodes in that period — Maggie’s attempt to stake Barnabas in 250, Julia’s introduction in 265, Elizabeth confessing to Paul’s murder in 272, Julia coming to Collinwood in 284, and Julia taunting Barnabas until he comes to her room to kill her in 290.

          Then he went away for a while, and came back for two weeks from 341 to 348. 341 is Barnabas and Julia killing Woodard, and 344 is that exceptional episode where David is suddenly a real person who’s traumatized by Woodard’s sudden death.

          So Joe’s the guy who introduced and developed Julia, wrote the best Maggie kidnapping episodes and the only good Liz blackmail episodes.

          Then Sam joins in 357 and kicks ass, and the show is saved forever. It’s Sam, Gordon and Sproat for a while, and then Sam, Gordon and Violet from early ’69 through the beginning of Parallel Time.

          Violet leaves at that point, and Joe comes back in for another four months — 986 to 1102. This is most of Parallel Time, and the setup for 1840. Once Joe leaves, it’s just Sam and Gordon for the rest of the series.

          That third period in Parallel Time is the only time that Sam and Joe worked together, so I guess that’s what Sam is referring to in the interview. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched those episodes, so I don’t remember if they’re any good. I guess I’ll find out in eight months, when we get there. 🙂

          1. Oh yes, definitely, all those Caldwell episodes you’ve mentioned are favorites of mine as well. I just recently viewed up to 299, and those are all great. The killing of Woodard, that episode was really the only point where I was able to overlook the inadequacies of the actor who filled in for Robert Gerringer (Peter Turgeon). I had just forgotten the actor’s name, despite having previously created a rhyme in my head that goes “Peter Turgeon, the sturgeon surgeon.” I just now looked it up in Barnabas & Company, so thanks again for that recommendation. It’s an invaluable resource for any fan of the show.

            And yes, definitely, Parallel Time 1970 is lots of fun, one of those favorite eras I’m always happy to revisit. The Cyrus Longworth/John Yaeger plot alone is worth the price of admission. The fun doesn’t stop once the 1897 storyline ends, though some may feel the show hits a bit of a snag once the Leviathans are let out of the box

            So, yeah, I guess I’m a big Joe Caldwell fan myself. But in that Sam Hall interview, what he’s referring to is how this “theater writer” makes Barnabas seem all “Byronesque”, and to me the way Sam was describing this portrayal seemed somewhat critical in tone. I assumed he was referring to the Barnabas of 1967, when Barnabas seemed to speak at greater length, and with more “poetic” deliberation than the later version of the character, which did seem to become somewhat more direct and even contemporary, if ever so slightly.

      2. I thought I was only one on this website that thought the Turn of the Screw-inspired storyline was boring. Granted, I’m not really a fan of ghost stories in general.

  7. Wonder Woman comics, around the time Barnabas used the I Ching wands, had a character named I Ching who teaches Diana Prince, who’s given up her super powers, the martial arts and various “Chinese mystical secrets.” I’ll have to dig out my old carefully plastic-wrapped comics to see which came first.

  8. There’s also the Faust story referenced with Charles Delaware Tate selling his soul to Petofi for artistic talent and riches.

  9. Another wonderful essay here, really one of the essentials, on the literary and cinematic source materials. I need hardly add to the chorus, but nevertheless: Bravo!

    Another topic that could probably form the basis of a short book, is the importance of portraits in general on DS. Barnabas’ portrait practically becomes a character in itself, and prompts me to wonder if Frid received any remuneration for his image. In some eps, it literally stands in for the “real” Barnabas, and never lets the viewer really forget him, even in eps Frid doesn’t appear in. I won’t retail all the portraits used in the full run of DS, as everyone who might be reading this comment will already know them. Some are simply brooded over, some have mysterious forces and magical properties at their disposal.

    Also, apropos the Quentin moments of sadness about his children by Jenny, it has probably been remarked here (or will be in some later entry) how the character of Quentin is being transformed. Of course we saw character changes in Barnabas as well. Quentin starts out as a true “scoundrel”, romancing multiple women simultaneously, not above cold-blooded murder of an infirm family member for financial gain, and a moral and physical coward. When Beth tells Edward Q “ran away” after Jenny’s death, Edward said “He would”.

    I suppose it’s the “main character” syndrome; getting the spotlight seems to have a wondrously transformative effect on the soul in DS.

  10. So Aristede tells Tate when Petofi’s time is up, so is Tate’s. But (spoiler) Tate is still alive during the Leviathan story. I don’t recall the explanation for that. Could the Count have survived? It seems, like Faust, Tate has sold his soul, and the implication is that it comes due if Petofi dies. It’s a shame that, of the two characters, it’s Tate that they bring back.

  11. So, “The Artist Formerly Known as Dirk” has Petofi to thank. We can look forward to more yelling from Roger Davis!

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