Episode 848: Drawn to You

“It’s one thing to apply black magic to someone’s portrait. It’s quite a different thing to paint someone, and have that someone come to life!”

Stop the presses: Quentin Collins is in love again. At least, he says that he is, and he should know; he’s been in love one hundred and eighteen times so far, occasionally with the same person twice in a row. This time, the lucky lady is Amanda Harris, who I think he’s had maybe five scenes with so far.

Amanda is a Graphite-American, part of a vanishingly small minority of people who were created by that well-known hysterical painter and head-clutcher, Charles Delaware Tate. A couple years ago, Tate drew a picture of his dream girl, and the picture came to life, wandering the streets of New York City with a dress and a hairstyle, and precisely no idea where she came from. Recently, Amanda learned the truth about her secret origin, and she watched Tate create a brother for her, out of thin air and a magic marker. Naturally, this was upsetting for Amanda — nobody wants to see their parents having sex, especially if your parents are Charles Delaware Tate and some art supplies.

It’s kind of like the story of Pinocchio, if Gepetto was furious all the time and wanted to have sex with the puppet, which for all I know maybe he did. There isn’t a Blue Fairy in this story who can turn Amanda into a real woman, but Quentin’s willing to take a whack at the problem.

So let’s begin today with Quentin and Amanda in the Collinwood drawing room, making themselves comfortable. Quentin’s got some music playing — his own hit record, naturally, because Quentin is a baller — and they’re finishing up a passionate kiss. He stares into her eyes and says, “I love you, Amanda,” and she gets up and walks across the room. So that’s strike one.

He follows her, smiling, because he’s Quentin Collins, and he knows precisely how irresistible he is, down to three decimal points.

“We can’t have it this way,” she sighs. He asks why not, and she says, “Tim, you don’t know enough about me,” which pretty much puts a period at the end of that sentence.

848 dark shadows quentin amanda grin

The fact is, Quentin doesn’t really know enough about her, except how she looks and dances and what the inside of her mouth tastes like, and it’s a bit mysterious why they’re suddenly in love. They first met in early August, and then they didn’t see each other for a month. In early September, they hooked up again and danced in the drawing room a little bit, and then last week he started kissing her, and now they’re all the way in love. The way they’ve paced the story, it feels like Quentin would fall in love with anybody he runs across, which is basically true, so I guess it’s not really a problem.

As usual, there’s a backstage story that explains this sudden shift in storyline direction. Donna McKechnie was originally hired a couple months ago, when producer Dan Curtis saw her on Broadway, appearing in a frothy musical comedy called Promises, Promises. The show is opening in London soon, and she’s going to appear in the debut, so they’ve got to write her out of the show by Friday.

848 dark shadows quentin amanda look at me

This is going to require some romantic accelerant, and luckily we’ve got some right here on the set, in the super economy size. It calls itself Quentin.

“We like each other,” Amanda admits. “We enjoy being together. That’s the way it should be. No sadness, no regrets.”

He moves in closer, and grins. “You don’t believe a word you’re saying.”

“Oh, yes I do! I know what’s good for us, and what isn’t.”

He murmurs, “Amanda, look at me.”

She pouts. “Why?”

“Just look at me.”

So she turns, and she looks, and that’s pretty much the end of the “we like each other” stage in their relationship. Quentin is a closer.

848 dark shadows amanda quentin marry

Still, they’ve got some problems to overcome, namely that she’s imaginary. He needs to get out of town, for complicated reasons distantly related to the Hungarian nobility, and he wants her to come with him, running away to some far-off land where nobody has a hand that’s any more magical than anybody else’s.

She’s not having it. She can’t love anyone, she says, and no one can love her. She actually has more potential boyfriends than anyone else on the show; I think she’s currently captivated just about every male character who’s older than eleven and younger than a hundred and thirty.

848 dark shadows amanda tim backs

For example: Tim Shaw, the schoolteacher-turned-ineffectual-rogue who found Amanda in New York, and got her invited to stay at Collinwood as part of a revenge scheme against Reverend Trask that still hasn’t been fully explained, and it’s starting to look like it never will be.

Tim seems to think he has some claim on Amanda’s affections, because he’s been feeding her and giving her jewelry, and setting her up on dates with creepy old men. Apparently this means nothing to Amanda; she must think creepy old men grow on trees, like she sort of did.

You know, now that I think about it, it’s no wonder that Amanda’s a bit brusque with people. She had no parents, no school and no upbringing. She appeared out of nowhere two years ago, and she’s just been winging it since then. You have to cut her some slack.

848 dark shadows tim amanda backacting

They’re having emotional conversations today, so there’s a lot of backacting, where both characters are facing the camera, while one of them delivers dialogue towards the back of the other’s head. It’s goofy if you think about it too hard, but it looks fantastic, and it’s a key element in the Dark Shadows house style. At one point in this scene, Amanda and Tim are both backacting at the same time, a new record in unlikely human social behavior.

Anyway, Tim’s main point is that Amanda can’t be in love, because Quentin doesn’t know that she’s essentially a walking oil painting. In the 1890s, society didn’t approve of mixed marriages between three-dimensional people and two-dimensional people, a small-minded prejudice that unfortunately persists to this day in some quarters. You wouldn’t imagine the trouble you could have trying to get a marriage license in Kentucky, especially if the marriage license is the person you want to marry.

Tim’s point is that Amanda has no mortality, whatever that means. He’s telling her what happened to Henry, her imaginary brother. “He fell to the floor, and he disappeared,” says Tim. “That man disintegrated into thin air! You know why it happened that way?” She doesn’t. “Because he had no mortality! And you have no mortality either, Amanda.” Apparently not having mortality is an issue, for Tim Shaw. “You have no right to lead any other life, except the one you’re leading now.”

I’m not sure what he’s getting at, frankly. She’s already leading the life that she’s leading now. Isn’t she?

848 dark shadows quentin amanda tim leave

Amanda says, “Please leave me alone, Tim!” and then she says, “Just go away!” and then Quentin says, “I think you’d better be going, Mr. Shaw.” Those are probably the three most common things that Tim Shaw ever hears.

“I’ll go, Quentin,” Tim says, petulantly. “I think you two deserve one another!” Which is not a very good exit line. And then he walks outside and falls down a manhole, and he’s never heard from again.

848 dark shadows amanda quentin tate leaning

Quentin and Amanda sit down and have another few stolen moments of doomed romance, and then there’s a knock at the door, and guess who it is, it’s Charles Delaware Tate, because Amanda can’t go more than a minute without having another weird stalker boyfriend stop by. They must be lining up on the lawn. Here I was thinking that having no mortality sounded pretty cool, but I guess there’s a downside.

So Quentin says she doesn’t want to talk to you, and Tate says, why doesn’t she speak for herself? and Amanda says, I don’t want to talk to you.

Now, I don’t disagree with a single word of that, but I would like to strike a note of caution about this potentially dangerous trend. You can spend an entire episode telling people that you don’t want to talk to them if you want to, but at a certain point, you run out of cast members.

848 dark shadows tate quentin bomb

Amanda goes upstairs to her room, packing for London as fast as she can. Meanwhile, the boys have a backacting-heavy scene in the foyer, where Tate says that he created Amanda, and Quentin says I’m pretty sure that you didn’t, and they just go back and forth about it for a while, until eventually Quentin just decides the hell with it, there have got to be some broads in this town with less baggage.

848 dark shadows tate quentin hands

I mean, imagine Thanksgiving at Quentin and Amanda’s place. These are the in-laws, right here: Charles Delaware Tate and his sketchpad. Quentin’s trying to carve the turkey, and meanwhile, Charles is sitting there at the table, doodling up some new relatives, just to screw with the seating chart. Then Tim Shaw busts in, explaining to everybody how they have no mortality. This is no way to live.

So I hate to be a downer, but maybe there’s another enchanted princess out there that Quentin could fall in love with. He might have to leave his house to go find her, but sometimes you have to exert yourself.

Tomorrow: Here Today.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Amanda is looking out the window at the start of act 1, a person’s shadow crosses her bed.

During Tim and Amanda’s argument in act 1, one of the cameras shows a blue spot in the center of the frame.

When Tate steps off the staircase in the Collinwood foyer, there’s a crunching sound.

Not strictly a blooper, but an odd moment: Tate smirks at Quentin, and reminds him that the portrait he painted is keeping Quentin’s curse at bay. We’ve never seen Petofi tell Tate about this, and it’s unlikely that he would have; the Count isn’t big on sharing information that he doesn’t need to share. But it’s not impossible that this happened off-screen for some reason.

Tate slams the door when he enters Amanda’s room, causing her to hesitate in the middle of her line.

Tate says, “Quentin’s going to leave you, Amanda, I assure you of that. He’ll walk right out on you, just the way he did all the others, as soon as he understands that I’ve told you the truth about him — about you.”

When Quentin and Amanda finish their kiss, there’s a little strand of saliva strung between their mouths. This moment is mentioned in Donna McKechnie’s chapter in Barnabas & Company: “Once, my brother called me up, and he and his fraternity brothers had been watching an episode, and they were all laughing. It was one where David Selby and I kissed, and when we pulled apart there was a little string of saliva between us — you know, the sort of thing you could blot away and start over again, if you could start over again. But we couldn’t! And I was just furious that he was laughing about it. When you’re trying to be serious, you don’t want to be laughable.”

Tomorrow: Here Today.

848 dark shadows tate amanda please

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

34 thoughts on “Episode 848: Drawn to You

  1. The Slobber Scene is very popular among DS fans. I recall someone asking David Selby at a convention in the late ’90s — the weird thing some fans do of assuming actors remember every detail of a series they worked on decades earlier. He had no idea and as politely and charmingly as we’d expect from Selby, he asked for clarification. Once the scene was described to him, his response was a simple, “Ewww.”

    1. I can’t blame any actress lucky enough to kiss David Selby not wanting to settle for a “stage kiss” – she made the most of her chance.
      I download books from the Nat’l Library for the Blind and was so thrilled to find 2 Faulkner books read by Joel Crothers! He was a wonderful narrator, really bringing all thecharacters to life. It is such a treat to hear his beautiful voice again.

      1. There’s another surprising and delightful Joel Crothers audio moment in the recent 2015 Big Finish production …And Red All Over, in which Mitch Ryan teams up with Kathryn Leigh Scott to reprise his role as Burke Devlin. No spoilers, except to say that they add in some backstory as to how Devlin acquired his fortune once he got out of prison and that it ties everything in the Dark Shadows story together magnificently, as though 1966, 1967, and 1968 could be magically integrated somehow, And so toward the end of this audio drama, Maggie Evans is on the phone to her husband Joe Haskell, and we hear some Joe Haskell (Joel Crothers) dialogue from the late sixties TV show. It’s an especially poignant touch. The folks at Big Finish, they are now the keepers of the flame, and they keep it with style and class.

        1. I’m so happy to hear that. I actually teared up when I first heard his voice on the Faulkner audio book. He would have been a great addition to the Big Finish program – listening to him read aloud is magical. He had so much more acting ability than we ever saw in his limited Joe Haskell role.

    2. OK, thanks for confirming that I saw what I saw. I guess they knew I’d eventually watch Mary Hartman Mary Hartman & wanted to prepare me a bit.

  2. This is the episode where Roger Davis sticks his hand up in Selby’s face, and, almost completely in character, Selby pulls RD’s hand back down out of his face before continuing with the scene. The next to last pic here captures RD’s transgression.

    1. I love that moment- because it could so easily be a scripted piece of comic blocking or a classic example of Roger Davis stage hogging.

  3. “And then he walks outside and falls down a manhole, and he’s never heard from again.”

    Actually, Danny, we do hear from Tim again, and he eventually serves a pretty important function that involves masonry. Or were you just meaning the we don’t hear from him again in relation to the Quentin-Amanda thing?

      1. Roger Davis had the misfortune of being cast as “romantic false leads,” who is the obstacle to the couple the audience would prefer to see together. This is somewhat complicated because Vicki and Barnabas had no chemistry as a couple nor were they ever written convincingly as one. Vicki was fully in love with the Artist Formerly Known as Peter Bradford. Not helping matters was that Davis was so thoroughly unlikable during the Adam storyline that it was painful to watch him on screen.

        He has the same problem as Charles Delaware Tate. His grabby performance that might have influenced the later implementation of sexual harassment legislation is uncomfortable, and the audience is never given a moment where we’d actually think that Amanda might actually care for Charles. He just comes across as a possessive stalker.

        This episode reminds me that the writers basically had two separate characters — Tim and Charles — who could have served as one almost decent romantic false lead. We’ve seen some nice moments, early on, between Tim and Amanda. Their relationship is complicated (he seems to be “buying” her time), but there is at least some mutual affection.

        Of course, there was probably no real plan for Amanda beyond her initial introduction as a Mary Astor from MALTESE FALCON type character. Once she became part of the Romantic Quentin storyline, it made sense to link her to the Tortured Quentin storyline with Petofi and Tate.

  4. “What? No Mortality? Does that mean I can’t check books out from the library?”

    Tate thinks, “Petofi has had a hand in so many scenes. It’s time I had a hand scene!”

    I can’t help wonder who is actually pushing Tate’s hand away, Quentin Collins, or David Selby? Either way, it’s oddly hilarious.

    I love the way that big red-faced monster mask has a twinkle in its eye.

    1. Well, in that screen grab (pun unintended but also unavoidable), Mr. Davis does seem to be stealing Mr. Selby’s moment in front of the camera by interfering with the blocking, so I would guess it was not in the script — any more than was Roger Davis’ overly animated body language — and that it was David Selby defending his personal space. Roger Davis really is like an octopus, tentacles and all. With his body language, he just shouts at the top of his hands.

        1. Roger D. could also bring a bit of the ol’ ultra-violence – that’s why he made such a chilling vampire.
          We believed he was capable of anything.

  5. I’ve always liked “romantic false leads,” and the more wrong they’re supposed to be, the more I like them. (One actor who made a partial career out of those in the movies was Ralph Bellamy.)

  6. All Mr Davis’ characters are repulsive, but I find Charles Delaware Tate and his “I own you” attitude towards Amanda Harris particularly revolting. One can only hope that he and his art supplies take a walk off Widows Hill late one night.

  7. Poor Amanda;

    She’s ‘discovered’ by Tim Shaw – good lookin’ but no follow through. Just wants to use her.

    She finds out that Chuck Tate is her father, but seems to want a more physical relationship.

    Then there’s Quentin. Guess I’d be drooling when we kissed, too – third time’s the charm.

  8. re: Roger Davis. When did everybody start hating him? He was never my favorite actor on DS, but I was well enough disposed towards him to follow his post-DS career in the 1970’s. Always thought he had an appealing, characteristically “American” voice.

    If we are going to hate him because he grabs other people’s faces, well, our crowd-favorite Mr. Selby did that too in this episode, iirc. But no one doesn’t like David Selby…

    So I’m left wondering if “behind the scenes” war stories from other cast members are the driver here. Did fans hate RD in 1969? Or is this a product of the DS Convention/Publishing culture?

    Moreover, I find myself being influenced by prevailing peer-group opinion. Now when RD grabs some hapless co-worker’s head, I’m say “there he goes again” with a knowing grimace.

    Starting to dislike him, along with old friend Don Briscoe in this somewhat oily persona of Tim Shaw 2.0. Hell, I was hoping to see Quentin get physically violent with both these miscreants in this episode.

    But would still love to know why/when/how universal detestation of poor old Mr. Davis was reached.

    1. It’s funny, I might’ve mentioned in the comments on a previous post that Tate was my favorite Roger Davis character. Maybe he becomes more sympathetic later on but re-watching these eps now I can’t help but agree with everyone else about him being a creepy possessive stalker. It’s almost like all of the gropy, grabby, manhandly RD characters have come to a head with this guy. And it’s not like I can explain away my finding him somewhat likeable back in the 90s or early 2000s or whenever it was I first watched DS as being due to a silly schoolgirl crush or something. I never found him the least bit attractive, and nobody could distract me from Quentin anyway. Maybe it was the tortured artist aspect of this character seeming to give him more depth, idk…

    2. I don’t remember hating him when I saw this as a teen–we thought he was a poor man’s Robert Redford. But his acting style and physicality have not aged well. What might once have been considered perseverance looks like stalking and his passion comes across as violence. Perhaps if he weren’t shouting it wouldn’t seem so threatening. Or perhaps a better actor could have conveyed the intensity without the manhandling,

      1. @Margaret- thanks for the thoughtful reply. My working hypothesis for the Roger Davis hate movement is that it started long after DS left the airwaves, possibly when an actress at a DS convention accused him of shoving her unnecessarily during a scene. I am open to differing views, however…

        I find the topic of how DS was perceived/received in its original run v. how the internet age culture views it endlessly interesting, and one of the reasons this particular blog is so appealing.

        1. “Shoving” her? I’m not sure how you missed seeing all the girl-grabbing done by Peter Bradford, but it was near-constant and that’s been extensively discussed here as well. Not limited to shoving or grabbing only of the face, there was lots of clutching at the arms, waists.and chestal areas and stroking of hair, backs and arms, especially of victims who were unconscious or in a wheelchair. When you consider what he likely did during rehearsals too, no wonder the female actors all look like they’re trying very hard not to cringe or flinch away from him.

  9. Those facial expressions Selby was sporting during the “Let’s choke Amanda” dream sequence are worthy of their own trading card set.

  10. Is Charles Delaware Tate inspired by Charles Dana Gibson? Tate creates his ideal woman, Amanda. Gibson created the ideal American woman, the Gibson girl. The girls were fashionable, desirable, but non-committal. His drawings could create fashion trends. At the height of his popularity, he was earning $75000 a year as an illustrator.

  11. Yes, I too never had strong feelings about Roger Davis until I realized what an ass he is in his DVD commentaries. Prior to that, I thought he was a blandly attractive, so-so actor. I do remember always being irritated by his screeching voice during Vicky’s witchcraft trial.

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