Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Episode 833: 3D Printing – The Early Years

“I’m accusing you of painting a portrait of a wolf!”

“Things don’t always have to have explanations,” says Mr. Tate, and that might as well be Dark Shadows’ mission statement. “You don’t have to know about everything in the universe. Things just happen, it could be one of those things that –”

And then he’s cut off, by someone threatening to kill him. That happens a lot in 1969, when people start babbling about the universe.

Continue reading Episode 833: 3D Printing – The Early Years

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Episode 832: The Triangle Factory

“You don’t seem to be one certain age, the way others are.”

You know, when I started this blog back in April 1967, I figured the format was one episode a day, no more and no less. I would talk about the whole episode from start to finish, and I didn’t let stuff dangle over the side to pick up tomorrow. If there wasn’t a theme or a problem or a story that I wanted to tell, then that’s just how it went — so there are a bunch of posts back in the 200s that ended with “and that’s a really boring cliffhanger, see you tomorrow”.  They had a lot of boring cliffhangers back then.

Eventually I realized, wait a minute, this is my blog and I can write it any way I want, so now I jump around a lot more, pulling things from different episodes together if it helps whatever point I’m trying to make. I think that’s made the blog better, and I get to have more fun without stressing out about the rules.

But that style means that I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about cliffhangers, which is a shame, because they’re incredibly important on Dark Shadows. This is a show that doesn’t just have an exciting story beat at the end of every episode — they build to a suspense moment every six minutes, just to get you through the commercial break. So I should really treat the cliffhangers with more respect.

And yesterday’s cliffhanger is a top-of-the-line nailbiter. Secret werewolf Quentin Collins is locked up in a jail cell, which happens to be in his own basement for some reason. The sinister Reverend Trask has learned Quentin’s dreadful secret, and they’re going to stay down here until the full moon rises. Once Quentin transforms into a slavering man-beast, then Trask can head for the police station and alert the authorities. I guess some people just live for tattling.

So the episode ends with the two of them on opposite sides of the bars, waiting for moonrise. Although now that I think about it, that’s basically the same cliffhanger as the day before, when Trask found Quentin manacled to the wall, and told him they would wait until moonrise. Yesterday, they just said, well, it’s not quite dusk yet, and then they moved locations and said, this time it’s really dusk. So maybe I shouldn’t bother trying to respect the cliffhangers after all.

Continue reading Episode 832: The Triangle Factory

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Episode 831: Crash of the Kaiju

“Your involvement with this man-beast has placed you completely at my mercy!”

So let’s say you walk into a guy’s bedroom, and you find your brother-in-law manacled to the wall, while his gypsy girlfriend is pointing a gun at him, which is loaded with silver bullets. The gun is loaded, I mean, not the girlfriend or the brother-in-law. Well, they probably are too.

Naturally, you’re going to jump to several conclusions, all of them entirely justified, but the question is: What are you going to do about it? Saying “Pardon me” and quietly leaving the room is not really an option. This is a situation that requires a response.

Basically, you can either a) make for the exit and try to put as much distance as you can between you and whatever the hell is going on right now, or b) grab the gun, tell the gypsy to beat it, accuse your brother-in-law of being a werewolf, pistol-whip him into submission, drag him down several flights of stairs by the collar, throw him into the jail cell which is built into the basement of your house for no earthly reason, lock him up, and then summon the police to your little homemade slice of Abu Ghraib, so they can congratulate you on your heroism and community spirit. Those are the only two possibilities. P.S. The smart money is on option a.

Continue reading Episode 831: Crash of the Kaiju

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Episode 830: The Book I Wrote

“There may be only one way of preventing tonight from happening.”

Last cliffhanger, Charity had a vision of Quentin’s death (stabbed or something — lots of blood on his chest). At beginning of this episode, she is wandering in the woods. Magda finds her and Charity says Quentin will die in 12 days — September 10. Reverend Trask comes home and finds that while Edward + Jameson have been cured, Charity is still possessed. She says she’ll kill anyone who comes between her and Quentin. Trask asks Magda to watch Charity. Quentin realizes there’s a full moon that night and he tells Magda he’s going to stop the change.

Or, at least, that’s what happens in today’s episode according to the original version of Dark Shadows Every Day, which I started in a school notebook when I was fifteen. I might have chosen my words more carefully if I’d known that I was going to show it to people thirty years later. Also, I apparently didn’t know how to spell Jamison.

Continue reading Episode 830: The Book I Wrote

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Episode 828: It’s My Skeleton

“The sealed room — that’s my room! And the skeleton is my skeleton!”

There’s a special guest star on the blog today: eccentric millionaire Stephen Robinson, a long-time reader and commenter who I wanted to hang out with and watch Dark Shadows.

Danny:  Hello, Stephen! I’m speaking with you through my time television, which is built into a cupboard that I wasn’t using anyway.

Stephen:  Hello! It’s great to talk to you.

Danny:  You too! Now, I have to warn you that this may actually show you a vision of your own death.

Stephen:  But probably not.

Danny:  Yeah, most of the time it’s okay.

Continue reading Episode 828: It’s My Skeleton

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Episode 827: A Cloud of Bats

“I remember the firelight, how the knife gleamed as it came close to my hand.”

Imagine, if you will: A gypsy, emoting furiously, on a high cliff overlooking the sea. The night is rough, and thunder-kissed. She has banished the shade of her dead husband, refusing to accompany him to the world beyond. Then a mob boss from Boston in a check suit emerges from the darkness, accompanied by his muscular, partly-clothed assistant. “The game is over, Magda,” he says, advancing on her with a switchblade. “You lost.”

But you don’t have to imagine this scene, because here it is, recorded and preserved for posterity, using magnets and lasers and nostalgia and hope. They actually performed this scenario and broadcast it on television; I can’t say why. Surely somebody tried to stop them.

Continue reading Episode 827: A Cloud of Bats

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Episode 826: Hungarian Crime Story

“If I only knew how you died, maybe I would know how to banish you!”

Order in the court! The honorable Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — presiding.

In today’s episode, the accused, Magda Rakosi, stands before a jury of her peers, charged with the theft of the Legendary Hand of Count Petofi, and the murder of Julianka, a miniscule gypsy witch who came to fetch the Hand back.

Magda actually did steal the Hand, but she was only indirectly responsible for Julianka’s death, so I’d call this a draw. As a tiebreaker, I’d like to point out that Magda is a major character played by Grayson Hall, one of the all-time most interesting actors to look at, so there’s no way she’s going to be executed by a crew of day players and walk-ons.

Still, having a gypsy trial in the secret room of the mausoleum sounds like a blast, so I’ll allow it. Proceed.

Continue reading Episode 826: Hungarian Crime Story

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Episode 825: The Watched Pot

“She travels with a certain Timothy Shaw, a man who for a short time had the use of my hand.”

If you remember yesterday’s episode, and there’s no particular reason why you should, then you’ll recall that Quentin Collins is currently engaged in a medium-stakes game of chicken with the legendary Count Petofi. Quentin wants the mad Count to free his buddy Barnabas, who’s currently encased in a carbonite coffin with nothing but a dated copy of Ladies’ Home Journal for company.

To understand Quentin’s plan, you need to keep in mind the location of the following characters: a) Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — who’s searching in the woods for b) Magda Rakosi, gypsy fugitive, who’s being sheltered by c) Beth Chavez, Collinwood domestic. If d) Count Petofi doesn’t release e) Barnabas Collins into f) Quentin’s custody by 12:45am, then f) Quentin has instructed c) Beth to bring a note to a) King Johnny, explaining the whereabouts of d) Petofi. But to make sure that d) Petofi doesn’t mess with c) Beth, f) Quentin has lied to d) Petofi, claiming that the note is actually in the possession of g) Angelique, who doesn’t actually have anything to do with this whatsoever.

Continue reading Episode 825: The Watched Pot

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Episode 823/824: The Deadly Tambourine

“I could kill you a dozen times over in five minutes!”

Count Petofi doesn’t play by the rules. He’s a maverick, a mad god who could murder you, show you visions, and then pick your pocket in six directions. He’s bad news. He answers to no one. He could change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife. His outer casing is made from a metal ten times stronger than Earth steel. He’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. He will stop at nothing. He will kill you. He has probably already killed you.

But you show the guy a tambourine, and he goes to pieces. Go figure.

Continue reading Episode 823/824: The Deadly Tambourine