Episode 875: Switchback

“That hand — the power of it — has been gravitated to you!”

Yes! and the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this! I say it on my knees, old Jacob; on my knees!”

875 dark shadows quentin scream

He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions, that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears.

“They are not torn down,” cried Scrooge, folding one of his bed-curtains in his arms, “they are not torn down, rings and all. They are here—I am here—the shadows of the things that would have been, may be dispelled. They will be. I know they will!”

875 dark shadows quentin wakes

His hands were busy with his garments all this time; turning them inside out, putting them on upside down, tearing them, mislaying them, making them parties to every kind of extravagance.

“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

875 dark shadows quentin relief

“There’s the saucepan that the gruel was in!” cried Scrooge, starting off again, and going round the fireplace. “There’s the door, by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered! There’s the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present, sat! There’s the window where I saw the wandering Spirits! It’s all right, it’s all true, it all happened. Ha ha ha!”

Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!

“I don’t know what day of the month it is!” said Scrooge. “I don’t know how long I’ve been among the Spirits. I don’t know anything. I’m quite a baby. Never mind. I don’t care. I’d rather be a baby. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!”

875 dark shadows quentin laugh

He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. Clash, clang, hammer; ding, dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding; hammer, clang, clash! Oh, glorious, glorious!

Running to the window, he opened it, and put out his head. No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold; cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh, glorious! Glorious!

875 dark shadows quentin beth widows

“What’s to-day!” cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him.

Eh?” returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.

“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?” said Scrooge.

“To-day!” replied the boy. “Why, Christmas Day.”

“It’s Christmas Day!” said Scrooge to himself. “I haven’t missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can!”

Monday: The Curse of the Caffeinated.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

The opening titles are tinted green.

There’s a little round of dialogue chicken between Tim and Beth. Tim says, “I’ve seen what he’s done to me, yes. I know, I know.” And then he and Beth look helplessly at each other for six seconds of silence.

At the end of their scene, Tim says, “All right, Beth. I go, you stay here and wait for me.”

Behind the Scenes:

Terry Crawford tells the following story, in The Dark Shadows Companion. I have no idea what she’s talking about.

“I was running away from Quentin — because I thought wrongly that he was possessed by Petofi — and he was running after me. I’m out in the woods and the stage direction said that I was to turn my back away from Quentin at the edge of the cliff on Widows’ Hill. I’m supposed to teeter — almost fall — but not fall before the commercial break. During the break, the tension mounts and I was to fall off the cliff, screaming, onto the mattresses below. Well, during taping I ran to the edge and I was very excited and I fell before the commercial break — and if that wasn’t bad enough, when I fell down on the mattresses, I bounced back up.”

And a production note: with this episode, Peter Miner takes over as Dark Shadows producer. He’s replacing Robert Costello, who got a new gig with Strange Paradise, another supernatural soap even more troubled than Dark Shadows. (You can see my take on Strange Paradise here.) The switch from Costello to Miner is a big deal, probably, but there isn’t enough written about the producer’s role on DS for me to actually understand what the difference will be. I’d love to hear ideas in the comments, if anyone knows more.

Monday: The Curse of the Caffeinated.

875 dark shadows quentin gone

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

27 thoughts on “Episode 875: Switchback

  1. Has Don Briscoe started dropping a lot of acid yet? He’s shouting even more than usual and clearly doesn’t know where he is or what’s going on. (I kind of know how he feels.) And what’s wrong with his hair?

    Actually, this may have to do with the constant shifts in Tim Shaw’s character as now he’s called back to be Judith’s hired killer. When we get back to 1969 and he’s Chris again, he seems better for a while.

    1. Dom Briscoe always had hard-to-manage hair. It worked very well for Scruffy Nonconformist Vagabond Bad Boy Chris the Secret Werewolf, but not so much for other characters. Kind of looks like it’s super-fine with a lot of cowlicks.

  2. Dark Shadows is my favorite show, followed closely by Twin Peaks. I always thought Twin Peaks was the one with all the dual personalities, given its twin motif, but Dark Shadows is crawling with 2-for-1’s, at the moment.


    BIG 1897 SALE!
    Big discounts on boxes of Edward’s mustache wax!.
    Own Gregory Trask’s shocking secret “meditation” book! On the outside, it’s a bible, but inside, photos of bad girls, showing their ankles!
    Or Trask’s hollow silver crucifix, where you can unscrew Jesus’s head, and have some of Minerva’s delicious elderberry schnapps.
    90% OFF on all art by C D Tate!
    A carton of Carl Collin’s broken gags, guns ‘n’ guffaws! FREE!
    Aristede’s map of “where the bodies are”!
    A box of fake muttonchops, and a very special deal on slightly used set of I Ching wands.

    1. I love it, Richard! I’ll take one of each, please . . . IF you’ll throw in one of those mummified hands with the lot!

    2. Say, how much for the box of saltwater taffy? Oh, wait, never mind. They’re all (Pet-)toffee flavor.

    3. I won’t buy cable, but I will buy New Twin Peaks, cast of 200-plus.

      Like DS, guest stars abound. Do they have a Pansy, though?

      Pansy, don’t go….

  3. A friend of mine who is now a director on “General Hospital” had Robert Costello as an instructor at NYU back in the late 80s. My friend had not discovered “Dark Shadows” at the time (he’s a big fan now) and regrets that he hadn’t because he would have had tons of questions for Mr. Costello. But from a viewer’s standpoint going all the way back to the original ABC broadcasts, I can tell you that it does seem like a big deal. Peter Miner was much respected by the actors when he was a director on “One Life to Live.” But in my eyes, “Dark Shadows” really began to drop in quality (stop the snickering) once he came on board as producer. Once Lela Swift became the producer, the show began to tighten up a bit. I was most impressed with the special effects and editing when the 1841 parallel time story began. I hated that story, but Lela was quite impressive with the ways she had characters seeing themselves in the parallel time room. That took a lot of thought and planning.

  4. Just jumped up here from 250 episodes ago (like Peter Bradford leaving a note in the Collins Family History Book) to tell you how much I love you… Once I binge-read enough perhaps I can join in, instead of lurking in the trees like a stray boom-mike. Don’t know how the reply thing works, can I just leave the notes in old posts? BTW- just got to Alexandra Moltke’s last ep.
    Just to recap, reading as fast as possible, whenever I can – and can wipe the tears of laughter out of my eyes! WHY didn’t I find this place SOONER? Bless you for this, bless all of you keeping the madness of a forty-something year old TV show going.
    Another throw of my I Ching wands, and I’m going all ChromaKey…fading, fading….back through the blog posts………

    1. If only Vicki could have become a vampire.

      Her character would instantly have brains.

      Same with Josette.

      But imagine Kitty The Vampire.

      Munching on Edward. Snort.

      Come to think of it, was Louis Edmonds ever bitten?

      Don’t think so.

    2. absolutely adorable is that out of time note, John E Comelately, (i aimlessly remarked six years later.)

  5. I would assume her falling actually happened during the rehearsal and she is just mis-remembering it, or the opening scenes were are seeing are the second take.

  6. Watching an extended scene featuring two actors of such dubious abilities as Don Briscoe and Terry Crawford is a painful experience. It’s hard to fathom Dan Curtis’ attachment to such cast members as these two, not to mention Roger Davis. Was there really no one with the chops to act their way out of a paper bag available to hire in NY? It didn’t help that Beth’s revelation that Tim could solve her problem made absolutely no sense to us (or to Tim). The only saving grace was when they simultaneously lost their places in the script.

  7. Is it just me or did Tim Shaw become Trask after Rachel died? He just really became a hateful character. And I was too through with Beth by this point, was happy to see her jump out of the show. I’d pretty much lost any respect I might of had for her when it was revealed she had a thing with Quentin while he was married to Jenny and even after he ran off with Laura. Good riddance Beth!

    1. I felt bad for Beth because she fell off Widow’s Hill without ever being an actual widow, or even getting a piece of Quentin! She got the short end of every damn story stick.

  8. Beth and Tim seem to be in two different scenes at the same time. Beth keeps screaming that Tim thinks she’s crazy, but there’s no indication that that’s the case. Briscoe really does seem out of it. (And that’s all on top of it making no sense that Beth would go to Tim in the first place, as mentioned.) I’m also getting disillusioned with the lazy plotting. It was bad enough when you could literally take any old prostitute off the docks, plunk her down in a chair, and suddenly be able to go into an I-Ching trance. Now all Quentin has to do is think real hard and make the body switch happen. And we still haven’t gotten an explanation of how the Hand’s power magically returned to Quentin in Petofi’s body. I don’t know if this had anything to do with the switchover in producers, but this was an especially poor episode with weird colors, muffed lines, and incoherent plot.

  9. This is one of the episodes that could have been novelized by “Marilyn” Ross under the title “Barnabas, Quentin, and the Dumbest Possible Plan.” Rather than will himself into his own body right away, thus returning Petofi to his body and for all they know to his full powers, a character with brains might have tried swapping places with someone relatively harmless. Beth would seem to be the obvious person. If she comes to in Petofi’s body, Beth would seem to be the person most likely to accept the situation and least likely to use the powers of Petofi to destroy Our Heroes. Playing Quentin may have been just the challenge Terry Crawford really needed to show off her acting talents, and I’m sure Thayer David would have done wonders as Beth.

    Quentin/ Beth/ Petofi could have been the first in a whole series of body swaps. Some of those swaps could have led to villains getting their comeuppance, helping to clear the decks for the end of the 1897 segment. So, while inhabiting the body of a villain, Quentin tries to do something heroic, winds up in mortal peril, and at the last second snaps back to his previous host, just in time for the villain to be the one who dies.

  10. Briscoe was totally zonked out today and I actually felt sorry for Terry Crawford. It can’t be easy doing a scene with someone in that condition. He stepped on Selby’s lines a couple of times, too. I can just see Peter Miner leaning over Henry Kaplan’s shoulder and whispering “Is he always like this?”

  11. Briscoe really was high as a kite. I did feel bad for Beth having to deal with him.

    I thought it rather cheap that Petofi and Quentin switched back merely by Quentin concentrating. They should’ve had to run into each other or something!

    And poor Beth…she really got the short end of the stick.

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