Episode 912: Blink

“You’ve got to try and relax, and then you’ll be able to speak.”

I come before you, once again, in praise of Grayson Hall’s face.

912 dark shadows julia very strange

Julia:  Did it have anything at all to do with Alexander? What did he do, Amy?

(Amy turns away.)

Julia:  Amy, turn around and answer me. Would you write down what Alexander did?

(Amy shakes her head.)

Julia:  Amy, I don’t like Alexander. I think he’s a very strange little boy, very strange indeed! Now, if you know something about him that I don’t know, you must —

Barnabas:  (entering the room) What a charming picture!

912 dark shadows julia amy no

Barnabas:  Did I frighten you?

Julia:  No.

Barnabas:  Oh, I thought I had.

912 dark shadows barnabas julia amy cat

Barnabas:  Good afternoon, Amy. Are you all right? Well, what’s the matter, cat got your tongue?

Julia:  She isn’t feeling well.

Barnabas:  Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Nothing serious, I hope?

Julia:  No, I don’t think so. As a matter of fact, I was just getting ready to examine her.

912 dark shadows barnabas julia no

Barnabas:  Oh? And Chris is not here.

Julia:  No.

Barnabas:  Do you mind if I wait?

Julia:  Don’t tell me you’ve become interested in Chris again.

Barnabas:  As a matter of fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately. Perhaps I was disturbed when I came back from the past, when I found out that I could do nothing for him.

Julia:  What game are you playing now, Barnabas?

912 dark shadows barnabas julia suspicious

Barnabas:  Are you suspicious of me, Julia?

Julia:  Let’s not talk about it now. There’s no time to discuss it. If you want to see Chris, come back later.

Barnabas:  I’m busy later.

912 dark shadows julia barnabas duties

Barnabas:  You’ve been neglecting your duties, Julia.

Julia:  Chris has gone to get my medical bag now.

Barnabas:  Well, then he won’t be long.

912 dark shadows julia barnabas amy audience

So I’ll take a moment here, while Julia does a Jim Halpert-style take to the camera, to say a few words about supercouples.

As we’ve discussed, there are three supercouples on Dark Shadows, as follows:

#1) Barnabas and Julia.
#2) Barnabas and Angelique.
#3) Quentin and any living human being.

And what you do, when you have a supercouple, is you put them in a room, and you give them something interesting to talk about.

Seriously, that’s pretty much the beginning and the end of Dark Shadows’ success. You cast interesting actors, you try out a lot of crazy stuff, you pivot quickly, and when you have something that works, you lock it down and then that’s your television show.

After flailing around for more than a year, Dark Shadows finally hit on the winning formula in episode 290, mid-summer ’67. That’s the episode where Julia openly challenges Barnabas to come upstairs and choke her to death, if he thinks he’s man enough to try it.

It also happens to be the episode where something in the studio catches on fire, and people shoot off fire extinguishers while the actors keep going with their scene. Sometimes, the universe just hands you a metaphor.

912 dark shadows julia get some

Barnabas:  Now, what seems to be troubling you?

Amy:  W– w– water.

Barnabas:  Well, get some for her, Julia.

(Julia shakes her head.)

Barnabas:  Well, why in heaven’s name not? A little water won’t hurt her!

Julia:  No, a little water won’t hurt her.

Barnabas:  But I will, is that it?

912 dark shadows julia barnabas water

912 dark shadows julia barnabas blink

912 dark shadows julia barnabas eyes

912 dark shadows julia barnabas lips

Barnabas:  Julia, be sensible!

912 dark shadows julia barnabas sensible

912 dark shadows julia barnabas i am

Julia:  I am being sensible, Barnabas.

912 dark shadows julia barnabas glower

Julia:  You get the water for her.

912 dark shadows julia barnabas dismount

912 dark shadows julia barnabas pout

You don’t need to know anything about what’s happening on the show right now. This could be the first time that you’ve ever watched Dark Shadows. Why is the little girl so scared? Why is the woman so angry? And what’s the big deal about the water?

But if you watch this scene, with these actors, then you’re going to keep watching the show. You have to. Now you’re a person who watches Dark Shadows.

912 dark shadows barnabas julia stare

So the terribly dangerous thing that this storyline is exploring is whether it’s okay to split up Barnabas and Julia. These two were best friends and co-conspirators a month ago, but now he’s conspiring with somebody else, and she appears to have several sharp opinions about that.

That’s actually okay, as long as they keep having dynamite scenes like this one. Supercouples are a lot more flexible than people think. The in-universe relationship between these two make-believe pretend people is almost entirely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if they’re fictionally “married” or “divorced” or, as in this case, “on opposite sides of an otherworldly dumpster-fire death cult”. They just need to be on the screen at the same time, with something interesting to talk about.

I don’t think I can even explain why these two actors have this kind of incandescent chemistry. They just do. They’re weird looking and sullen and intense, and every scene that they’re in is automatically better than any scene that they’re not in.

So that’s the challenge for the Leviathan storyline. It’s okay for them to pit Barnabas and Julia against each other — more than okay, if it gives us scenes like this — but they have to guarantee a decent percentage of Barnabas/Julia scenes per week. If he’s off conspiring with other people the whole time, and he only clashes with Julia occasionally, then we’re going to need some kind of emergency course correction. And hey, guess what happens next week.

Tomorrow: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Barnabas tells Alexander, “Hazza and Oberon entrusted you to me.” When Haza introduced herself a month ago, she pronounced it “Hayza”.

There are some pauses in Barnabas and Alexander’s scene at the top of act 1; it’s the kind of conversation where you know they’re on the verge of Fridspeak. Finally, Barnabas delivers: “You will be kept locked in your room, as long as you’re in there.”

The music cue at the end of the first scene repeats the first few notes several times, possibly by design.

Julia hands Stokes the landscape, and he almost drops it.

Amy tries to throw her note into the fire, but it bounces out.

Chris asks Amy, “How you feeling well?”

I cleaned up this quote above. When Julia doesn’t get water for Amy, Barnabas asks, “Well, why in heaven’s not?”

Julia tells the loudspeaker, “The message I have is from Mr. Delaware Tate.”

Behind the Scenes:

The voice on the loudspeaker at Harrison Monroe’s house is Ed Riley, in his first contribution to the show. I can’t call it his first appearance, because we only hear his voice. He’s not credited in today’s episode. Next week, he’ll show up on screen as Sheriff Davenport, and just wait till you see how that turns out.

They must be out of the yellow stationery everyone’s been using lately. Amy writes her note to Chris on white paper, and Stokes hands Julia a note on blue paper. Yes, I’m keeping track of stationery now.

Tomorrow: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

912 dark shadows julia eyebrow

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

50 thoughts on “Episode 912: Blink

  1. Speaking of the “chemistry” between Jonathan Frid and Grayson Hall, Danny wrote up above, “I don’t think I can even explain why these two actors have this kind of incandescent chemistry. They just do.”

    What I just recently learned which was a big surprise to me… and I think I learned it here on this blog … is that Jonathan Frid actually stated in an interview that he DISLIKED Grayson Hall. I had to pick myself up off the floor after I heard him say so!

    If I recall correctly, the interviewer was Jim Pierson. Jonathan was reminiscing (in Part 3 at about the 2 min 30 sec mark) about who he liked working with on the show, and who he didn’t. He remarked how he didn’t like a certain actress for whom the audience had applauded at a Dark Shadows convention that had just happened. Jim Pierson then tried to pin Jonathan down about WHICH ACTRESS it was he didn’t like. So he clarified for Jim by saying it was THE ACTRESS WITH THE BIG EYELASHES! In other words, Grayson (“… everybody loved her but I didn’t …”).

    Could Jonathan Frid’s dislike of Grayson Hall possibly have contributed to the onscreen chemistry between them? I really don’t know. But it’s interesting to ponder. I’ll try to find the interview for any who are interested to see it. I think another commenter may have originally mentioned the interview on this blog somewhere, but I can’t remember who posted it for sure. (He posts a lot of interesting things so it may be him.) See blog for Episode 885.

    A fascinating interview for Frid fans. “Jonathan Frid Interview Part 2 & Part 3 of 4 Parts – EmmyTVLegends” I recommend watching for those who wish to have insight into Jonathan Frid. He speaks his mind not just about Grayson Hall, but also Lela Swift (“awful” at times), Henry Kaplan (his “favorite” director), Dan Curtis, Alexandra Moltke (“nice to work with”), and others. Note: I may not be able to post a link with my comment so you may need to search for it yourself using search terms like “emmytvlegends interviews people jonathan-frid” to find the interview. Also, note, when you get it, you may need to click on the word “interview” to choose Part 1, 2, 3, or 4.

    1. Yes, here’s the link for that:


      Based on all the photos you see of Frid in earlier years with Grayson, and with Frid together with Grayson and Sam Hall, you’d never guess that he would make such withering, dismissive comments about his Dark Shadows costar, but in that interview he did strike me a bit as curmudgeonly. You’ll notice in that interview that he is never that bitter about his earlier years or about his work after Dark Shadows — only something in that period seemed to bother him. Perhaps he was jealous about how much Dark Shadows fans applauded someone who was in so many scenes with him, in that he may have, in retrospect, felt that he was being upstaged, that he felt he should be considered the main star of the show. Note how in the Dark Shadows 25th Anniversary Special, from DVD disc 127 in the coffin box, how he doesn’t sit in with the rest of the cast for the audience interaction/Q&A, but instead only shows up for a cameo, to wild acclaim, where he’s “just doing my commercial” with the applause thundering and the flashbulbs flickering away like lightning, to remind the audience to be there the next day, so that he could make a grand speech about “what will o’ the wisps we are in life” and about being “all new boys here”. But what would he have been without his supporting players? Answer: Killed off in 6 weeks as planned and teaching acting out in California in the fall of 1967, also as planned.

      To comment on today’s post: You mean Jonathan Frid flubbed and stalled, and not David Jay, the child actor? Well, that’s what happens when you spend the evening “learning” your lines over your favorite vodka cocktail(s).

      1. Didn’t Grayson Hall also do a bit of Frid-bashing in that famous gathering with her fans that is preserved forever on audio-cassette? When someone mentions Frid’s mute butler role in The Devil’s Daughter TV movie, Hall snarkily opines that is the kind of role Frid deserves because he can’t get his lines right.

        1. I read somewhere where neither Lara Parker or Kathryn Leigh Scott liked working with Frid probably due to his line flubbing..

          1. I would be very surprised if KLS didn’t like working with JF since she’s always been so protective and affectionate in any interview I’ve seen of the two of them together. Of course there have been people I adored and considered a friend, but I also could not stand working with them.

          2. In this audio interview that Kathryn Leigh Scott gave earlier this year, she describes the scene of Maggie’s first meeting with Barnabas at the diner as “my very favorite scene of all four years.”

      2. It might also mean that he was at that stage of life when minor annoyances become, in retrospect, major grievances. I went through that with my mother, who one day started recounting ALL the grievances she had with her sister, starting when she was two years old.

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got tired of each other. They had a lot of very talky scenes together, and they would both flub lines at various times. Frid is justifiably famous for his teleprompter reading, but she would do it too. And they were living through that experience several times a week, essentially 52 weeks a year, for four years. So yeah, they both ended up with a low opinion of the other’s acting talent.

          Plus: they’re catty, melodramatic theater people. And one of them is gay. And the other one is Grayson Hall.

          1. Danny- Your perspective on Frid versus Hall makes great sense.

            As a viewer watching Frid and Hall, it’s easy for me to forget that for them at that time in their lives, each role was merely a job for these actors to pay the bills until the next job would come along. To be honest about it, most of us just tolerate our co-workers instead of really liking them. Then there are bosses who play favorites, co-workers who’ll stop at nothing to claw their way to a promotion and, especially for the very young and beautiful actresses of that era, the added problems of sexual harassment and “the casting couch.” No doubt some of these and other job-related problems could make or break an alliance with another actor or crew. I’d really like to know more about the tensions between the various actors on the set of DS but, as you might imagine, there’s not a lot written on the subject. Many actors if asked in a public forum feel constrained to “play nice,” so they say silly things to interviewers, like “Everyone involved was absolutely AMAZING to work with!”, etc.

            Until I find out more, I’ll tend to give both Jonathan and Grayson the benefit of the doubt. According to a wise saying, there are always at least 3 sides to any feud — her side, his side, and the truth, with the truth usually being somewhere in between. However, I do wish the actors who are still alive could reveal (without being sued for it) what REALLY went on behind the scenes at 433 West 53rd Street in New York. I would have loved to have been a “Collinsport fly” on those walls!

            1. I highly recommend Dark Passages, a novel by Kathryn Leigh Scott, for that “Collinsport fly” eye view behind the scenes at the Dark Shadows television studio.

              Set in mid-1960s New York, it’s about a Playboy bunny, who also happens to be a real-life vampire, who lands an acting job on a daytime soap called Dark Passages. The novel is written in the first person through the eyes of Morgana Harriott, who plays Margie, a waitress in a roadhouse diner and daughter of a local artist. Very tellingly, Morgana was disillusioned when she discovered that she hadn’t landed the lead role on Dark Passages that she had auditioned for — the governess for the Stanhope family.

              The cast of Dark Passages is recognizably identical to the characters in Dark Shadows and the actors who played them. Matriarch of the Stanhope family is played by Moira Shaw, a former movie star and Hollywood legend who would arrive at the studio by taxi with a Tiffany shopping bag that held chicken soup made by her housekeeper. On the day of taping for the first episode, Morgana has a cheese Danish in her hand and Moira approaches her and says, “I’d lose the sweet roll, my dear. Remember, the figure you have now is the one you’ll want to keep for a lifetime.” Just this summer, Kathryn Leigh Scott related this exact anecdote before an audience of fans at the 50th anniversary Dark Shadows convention in Tarrytown, New York.

              Rebecca Daly is based on Alexandra Moltke, who plays Elizabeth the governess. Maxwell Faraby, who plays the brother of Moira Shaw’s character, is based on Louis Edmonds. Daniel “Danny” Ballard, a boy of nine or so and who plays the son of Maxwell Faraby’s character, is based on David Henesy. Ginny Blake, who plays the daughter of Moira Shaw’s character, is based on Nancy Barrett. Michael Halliday is based on Mitch Ryan.

              Here’s a striking fly on the wall tidbit about Morgana’s first encounter with Ed McNabb, who plays her painter father on the show:

              I crossed the expanse of pockmarked linoleum and stuck my hand out to the portly man with the tweed hat.

              “Hi, I’m Morgana Harriott. I’m playing Margie. You must be my father.”

              “If that’s the case, I must’ve had one helluva beautiful wife. I’m Ed McNabb.” He slipped his arm around my ribs, his hand sliding under my breast, and pulled me towards him. “You’re such a ‘purty’ lady.”

              My fingers gripped his hand, prying it loose. Had I been at the Playboy Club, I’d have jammed my stiletto heel into his foot, signaled for a Room Director and dumped Irish coffee in his lap. Instead, unarmed and in so-called friendly territory, I smiled, encased his hand in both of mine and stepped away. “Great to meet you, Ed. I’m really looking forward to working with you.”

              I dodged toward the safety of the coffee urn. As I was filling a Styrofoam cup, a voice breathed in my ear, “You were probably hoping they would be serving grasshoppers and gin fizzes this morning.”

              I laughed and turned to face Michael. “I learned my lesson. Black coffee until the sun’s over the yardarm.”

              “Then you can’t go wrong. I see you got a taste of the letch already. I wouldn’t go running lines in his dressing room, if I were you.”

              “I figured as much.” My heart pounded, hoping I’d have lots of lines to run in Michael’s dressing room. “Do you know everyone here?”

              “Pretty much. C’mon, I’ll introduce you to Moira. She’s a great old gal. Sorry, didn’t mean old,” he whispered, moving back toward the window.

              — p. 49

              Later on, the director, Doris Franklin, has everyone seated around a table for a round of formal introductions before the first table reading for the first episode:

              Ed introduced himself — and me! With his hand climbing up my thigh, he affected some strange Scottish brogue and said, “How, I ask, could the likes of me have such a fair lass as Morgana Harriott, here, for a daughter. I’m a lucky old sod!” I dug my thumb into his wrist to stop his progression mid-thigh, and managed to say, “Hi, I’m Morgana. Nice to meet you all.”

              — p. 51

                1. “Belem” is from episode 345. After Mrs. Johnson comes into the Collinwood drawing room to inform Liz about a radio report she’d just heard saying that Burke Devlin’s plane had gone down somewhere over the Amazon, Liz gets on the phone with an airport in Brazil to get a passenger list for the plane that crashed. While Liz is on the phone with the airport, Mrs. Johnson asks, “What’d they say?” after Liz is put on hold. Liz answers: “They won’t have a accurate copy of the passenger list until they hear from the terminal in, in, in, in, ahm… [stomps a heel on the floor twice]… oh, that place in Brazil… [long, long pause]… Belem.”

                  Oh, and I should mention about the excerpt from Kathryn Leigh Scott’s novel in my above post that the character of Ed McNabb is based on Mark Allen, the first actor to play Sam Evans, not David Ford.

                  1. And I only watched that episode a few months ago!

                    And yes, we know David Ford was married to Nancy Barrett, and rumor has it that it would have been more likely for Nancy Barrett to come onto KLS than David Ford.

                    1. Re: ‘rumor has it that it would have been more likely for Nancy Barrett to come onto KLS than David Ford’.

                      :o!! Right, who’s been hacking into my lurid dreams? Wow. This site is the very epitome of educational and informative as well as entertaining. It’s funtertainment!

              1. Dark Passages is only $2.51 on Kindle. I don’t normally buy books digitally but your sample made it irresistible. I’m already 23% in.

            2. Well I wonder if he went to her funeral. He talks in the interview like he was glad she died. Did he go to her funeral? Probably not…wow…lol. To get perturbed because of a part they played together and people liked it?

        2. Adriana I am going to sum that up as what it is. And from what he describes what he hated about her, seems petty and stupid and a minor annoyance. I cant get over how he put her down like that. However, I am on the outside looking in.

      3. Prisoner of the Night, Just wanted to say how much I appreciated your extremely funny post of the animated gif of Barnabas snatching away the yellow bouquet from Julia. It’s the perfect choice for the discussion we’re having about the animosity Frid and Hall apparently shared for each other! [still laughing] Thanks for the gif and especially for sharing the link again to Jim Pierson’s Interview in four parts with Jonathan Frid. Regards, Count Catofi.

        1. And thanks to you, Count Catofi, for the kind words. 🙂 I initially had in mind another Grayson Hall animated gif where in close-up she’s reacting with a series of her many sundried expressions, but then when I found the one with the flowers I, too, thought it was perfect, what with the way in the linked interview Frid was attempting to snatch away Grayson’s glory.

          I echo Brad’s thoughts on your excellent and witty handle name. But then I’m especially partial to cat avatars since in my home there’s a black Norwegian forest cat who’s a bundle of joy, but who also runs the house. And why shouldn’t cats run the house? It’s their territory, after all. 🙂

      4. As I recall, the bouquet that Barnabas snatches from Julia is later shown to have WILTED at his touch…

        1. …lol…that part was funny too and Barnabas just looked at them. They really could not stand each other during this time. But as someone stated earlier, it would appear that they got closer. However, in this episode, Julia looks like she has had enough of his bullshit and I am sure he feels the same way.

          I also think that because he was gay in real life, and she was married, that the notion of people wanting them to be closer could have had some impact. Well it sure looked that way and the ratings reflected that. They certainly played it off well.

      5. After watching this interview I find it hard to believe that he bashed Grayson like that. But for all its worth, Grayson probably felt the same way about him. She probably didn’t take any shit off him off camera. He seems to be a little self-centered this way. I just have a hard time believing this.

    2. Somehow I cannot believe that this man did not like this woman. There are too many scenes, too many pics, too many of everything between these two. Was he having a bad day that day? I am of the opinion he was full of shit that day. Sorry.

  2. Maybe I’M just getting crabby, but –

    Established that Amy wants water.
    Julia does not trust Barnabas alone with Amy while Julia goes to get water.
    But she would trust Barnabas to get the water?
    Can’t Amy get her own water?
    Can’t Julia take Amy with her to get the water?

    Look, I know enough about “DRAH-MAH” to see that this scene is NOT about the water. It’s for all those fools who think they actually have a life and can skip DS and catch up later, showing them that the Junior Detectives are now defective. And give Grayson Hall a chance to backact shamelessly. I’m just saying they needed to pick a better point than a damn glass of water!

    Okay, deep breaths, calm blue ocean…maybe I just need to have a glass of water.

  3. I was going to comment in the same manner as Count Catofi (I LOVE that name, by the way!) I almost regret watching Prisoner of the Night’s link all those months ago. Even given the vagaries of age, Frid comes off as a self-centered jerk. I’m happy to acknowledge that Barnabas turned the fortunes of Dark Shadows around, but he was not what kept me watching when I first watched. It was all the great women- especially Grayson Hall, Lara Parker, and Kathryn Leigh Scott – and all the hot guys around him. David Selby, with one quarter the acting experience Frid had, could turn a line flub into a sexy moment. He was born for the camera. Thayer David knew how to stare at the camera in a way that seemed not just natural but important for whatever character he was playing to do. Here we are, way into the Leviathans, and I still miss Joel Crothers. In four years of performance, the only time Frid seemed comfortable in front of the TV cameras was during the month when he was locked in his coffin in parallel time. At least with the movie, they had the luxury to fix the flubs because he never learned to lighten up on the “Fridspeak.” So it was hard to watch Frid speak so dismissively about some of the other people who were just as responsible, if not more so, for making me a DS fan as he was.

    Someone remind me of this moment if I turn into a crabby old man!

    1. I’d take anything in that interview with a grain of salt. Frid was very old and clearly on the decline mentally.

  4. While this is completely unrelated to today’s post, I just stumbled on this YouTube clip, a nearly 7-minute compilation of references to coffee during the show’s first couple of years, very expertly edited and extremely funny! I forget, do they still drink coffee on the show in 1969?

    1. I think by now, with Maggie as governess, the beverages served are tea or ‘medicinal’ libations. Coffee went out with my favorite cuppa ‘Joe’, Haskell.

  5. While we’re on the subject of Fridspeak, one can easily overlook that it was the show’s original star, Joan Bennett, who seemed to flub the most lines the most often.

    Some of Bennett’s most memorable flubs involved names. In one early episode while Liz is in the basement talking with Vicki and referring to Matthew Morgan, she invents a new character name. She says “Martin” then correcting herself says “Matthews”. Of course, there never was a character named Martin Matthews on the show, but in that particular episode there was. Then there was another early episode where she was talking with Vicki in the drawing room and Bennett calls her “Dickie”. There was one moment in 1968 when she refers to a “Militant” Collins, which, of course, should have been Millicent.

    I seem to recall that when Barnabas is first on the show Frid was spot on in the delivery of his lines and his inflections are also pitch perfect. It seems that there would be several episodes before he makes his first flub, and then they become more commonplace, and they tend to be memorable.

    Likewise, when Frid takes on the role of Bramwell, there are also several episodes before he flubs a line. Perhaps the constant impositions of unexpected fame had an unsettling effect on his ability to master the difficulty of frequently having to memorize many lines overnight, but in certain periods, when he applied himself, like with the challenge of taking on a new role, he could indeed pull it off.

    1. This may be a faulty memory (or wishful thinking) but I seem to recall an occasion where Bennett says, “Things have certainly changed here in Hollywood – er, Collinwood.”

      1. Actually, I do recall that line but seem to remember it being spoken by Lara Parker in one of her incarnations as Angelique. It could be that this line is still to come, and that it will be noted in this blog at some point ahead.

        There’s a priceless Joan Bennett flub that never made it to taping as recounted in one of those DVD cast interviews, either with Nancy Barrett or Alexandra Moltke, where during a rehearsal Bennett opens the front doors to Collinwood and says, “Welcome to Hollywood.”

      1. Prisoner of the Night-

        Props & Scenic Design: Something to pass along to you: I recall from much earlier posts on this blog that you have interest in the set design, scenic design, and props of DS. As of August 22, 2016, I saw that eBay has 24 Dark Shadows Blueprints for sale, thought of you with your interest in it, and so I just thought I’d mention it so you could peruse the blueprints if you like. Have you seen these before? I have seen some of these 24 plus some other ones about a year ago. So, if you want to peruse them, just go to eBay and perform a search for “Dark Shadows blueprint”. The search as of today should return about 24 results. FYI, there was also a BOOK listed for about $55 last year containing a compilation of copies of dozens of the original blueprints drawn up by Sy Tomashoff, scenic designer, with many of these blueprints actually SIGNED by him with dates in 1966, 1967, and 1968. I see the eBay seller also still has (at least) one more copy of the 41-page book for sale for $56 listed as “Dark Shadows Memorabilia Blueprints”. If one really wants to have copies of ALL of the design prints, then perhaps the book is a better choice than buying individual prints. Just thought you’d have some interest in these items so I thought I’d pass the info about the book & blueprints along.

        Best Regards,
        -Count Catofi

        1. Why thanks, Count, that’s lovely info. 🙂

          I’ve seen some blueprints online, like, for example, one of Collinwood and another of the Old House, but I wonder about their accuracy — the one of Collinwood has rooms and a layout on the second floor that don’t seem to coincide with the show. What I think would be great is if Sy Thomashoff could come out with a book himself about his set designs for Dark Shadows, but which would probably be of limited interest because only people like me would have such a super-nerdy interest in these things. For instance, the story of how they had to replace the original set for the Old House is quite interesting. One day a network executive was at the warehouse where the sets were stored, and he saw this set that had cobwebs all over it, so to save the network money he had it taken away and incinerated — not realizing that it was a set in full use for one of the network’s daytime shows. So then the crew had to scramble to build a new Old House drawing room set for the next show. There are other stories about how the studio caught fire one day, and how when the fire department would come for inspections and told them they couldn’t have such and such in the show because it was a fire hazard, and how they would leave it in anyway because it was in the script. That’s another thing that’s always puzzled me — they always had real fires burning in those fireplaces — yet, where was the smoke exhausted to? Because there weren’t actual chimneys extending from the fireplaces in that 100 x 100 foot studio space (originally 75 x 75 ft in the B&W studio they used for the first 294 episodes) — and they would have multiple fires going at once in that space during some episodes: There was always one in the Collinwood drawing room and another in Matthew’s cottage while Laura was staying there during the Phoenix story.

          I typed “Dark Shadows blueprints” into Google and found a site called Etsy.com, which has, through a U.S. seller called ShadowfaxDesigns (note the seller’s cat avatar), for $52 a set of 41 blueprint copies in an 11 x 17 inch spiral bound book. Is this the type of thing you were describing? It looks pretty interesting. Only 41 sets for 1,225 episodes? Seems like there should have been more somehow. And thanks again very much for thinking of me! 🙂


          1. P.O.T.N.-
            You’re most welcome. Always appreciate your posts.

            “Shadowfax” is contained in the names of BOTH the seller on eBay (“Shadowfaxinc”) & the seller on Etsy (“ShadowfaxDesigns”). So, I think they are one and the same. And both are selling the same DS stufff, i.e. blueprints and comics. So, the book on Etsy would (I think) in all likelihood be the same 41-page book and from the same seller as on eBay. I expect a search on ebay will lead to the same items.

            While I cannot speak to the issue of accuracy of the blueprints as compared to the TV studio sets as eventually constructed, my recollection is that the ebay seller about a year ago approx July 2015 sold several dozen of ORIGINAL blueprints SIGNED and DATED by Sy Tomashoff himself. It was my impression then that these were not merely autographed copies of old blueprints, but actual originals, and I definitely remember some of the most desirable ones fetching a couple hundred dollars on ebay. Around the time or shortly after the originals were sold, the ebay seller offered for sale this 41- page compilation book with all of the various blueprints contained conveniently in one book. Now I don’t own a copy of the book, so I don’t know for sure, but I would expect to see Sy Tomashoff’s signature on MANY of the blueprints in this 41-page book, just as his signature did appear on many of the original blueprints offered for sale about a year or so ago.

            Besides the actors and writers, so much of the great atmosphere in my opinion are thanks to Tomashoff’s scenic design and Bob Cobert’s music. Both men are still living and I would guess are in their 90’s by now. I agree it would be great to have an extended interview with Sy Tomashoff to find about the fires in the fireplaces, the NYFD visits, and the unintentional destruction of the cobweb covered sets by ABC.

            P.S. Saw the cat avatar on Etsy. But where are the DS fans who prefer dogs? They must be out there. Somewhere …

            1. I do own a copy of the book and they are photocopies of the original blueprints that Sy Tomashoff did that he allowed the author to copy. There are floorplans and measured drawings of the sets of the Old House, the Great House, the Mausoleum, Roger’s office, Elizabeth’s mausoleum, Maggie’s bedroom and even a coffin. There’s no Blue Whale or Windcliff sets included. The drawings are lovely. Most are signed and dated. And Victoria Winter’s name is written Vicky and Vickie. There’s a note on one drawing that the fireplace has an asbestos backing. If you’re a fan, if you’re interested in design or architecture, you’d probably like it.

  6. Funnily enough, I have seen photos online of the elderly Jonathan Frid on an outing in New York with some of Grayson’s “Legion” (Grayson Hall/Barnabas and Julia fans). This would have occurred at approximately the same time frame as his “curmudgeon” interview. I wonder how he reconciled his alleged dislike of Grayson with spending time with some of her most ardent fans. LOL

  7. I certainly don’t live in a fantasy world of rainbows and unicorns where I think everyone on DS must have loved each other, and certainly I can believe that Grayson Hall and Jonathan Frid were not necessarily best buds and may have disliked each other to some extent. And I certainly can believe that Frid had a complex relationship with his DS fame and was often resentful of it (if that makes any sense), which could extend to other cast members. But I also take the “curmudgeon” interview discussed here with a grain of salt. He was elderly at the time, and perspectives and moods change over life–even from day to day. I also remember in that interview how he was complaining about just answering questions that Jim Pierson was asking. Frid would moan, “But we already talked about that!” and Pierson would remind him that they had talked about it in another interview, not the one currently in progress. Frid didn’t seem to be listening to him, though.

    1. A grain of salt is definitely in order. Not only does Frid have trouble remembering Grayson Hall’s name, he also blanks on the word “Teleprompter.” He must have been pretty far gone to have lost that one.

      Barnabas/ Julia and Barnabas/ Angelique, yes, they were supercouples. But the ultimate Dark Shadows supercouple was Jonathan Frid and the Teleprompter. When he does remember his lines and can play a scene with his eyes on another actor, Frid is very effective, first-rate. But when he looks longingly at the Teleprompter, those are the scenes we can’t live without.

  8. At some point, whether today or tomorrow (ep 913) you can clearly hear that the loud speaker in Munro’s house has switched to Roger Davis’s Midwestern/Kentucky accent. It is a Wizard of Oz scene, all right.

  9. If you wanted a visual to define “chemistry”, the photo at the top of the blog is it. She looks like, “You and what Army?” And he’s enjoying it! Am I the only one getting a Sam and Diane “Are you as turned on as I am” vibe from that photo?
    It could be they didn’t get along and it’s negative energy that we’re seeing. Maybe Frid is gloating over the fact he doesn’t have to be nice to her in this storyline. But I don’t think so. Age is not kind to memory or, sometimes, personality. I prefer to confine my thoughts to Barnabas and Julia, the characters, forever in their forties and forever friends.

  10. So what did Amy see in the closed room that made her scream?

    Stokes seems more youthful and energetic in the past few episodes than usual. Maybe Thayer David forgot that he’s supposed to be an older man.

  11. I love these screen caps! Especially Grayson Hall’s “God give me strength” expressions.

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