Episode 967: Vicki Ruins Everything, part 3: The Way It Happened

“Not anything’s going to keep me from destroying you!”

More than once upon a time, there was a little lost princess…

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But this isn’t the story of the lost and foundling, not anymore. This isn’t a fairy tale, with handsome princes fighting wicked witches, and the empty promise of a happily ever after in the ancestral past.

This is a soap opera story, about weddings and secrets and obstacles and choices. This is a story where the young man is a cad — a monster, some would say — and he’s redeemed and rebranded by the purifying power of a woman’s love. This is a story where decisions matter, and the characters remember things that happened more than a year ago. This is what you said you wanted.

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For example: Jeb Hawkes and Carolyn Collins Stoddard, two crazy kids on the run. Well, technically, Jeb was three crazy kids all by himself, plus an invisible acid-spitting death machine, but that’s in the past. I suppose everything is, eventually.

Also, they’re not on the run yet, but they’re working on it. Tonight, they’re going to run away and get married, a plan that has never been wildly successful for the Collins family. On Dark Shadows, you can run in any direction you please, but at a certain point, you end up in the woods, or the cemetery, or both. There just aren’t that many sets.

When Carolyn walks into the Carriage House, she hasn’t decided yet if she really wants to run. For weeks, she’s had recurring prophetic nightmares, full of fathers and cousins and police officers and lost children and four-headed snakes, all screaming at the top of their lungs, DO NOT MARRY THAT MAN. She’s still mulling it over.

“Don’t you know it’s too late?” he asks, taking her in his arms and not murdering her.

“What do you mean, it’s too late?”

“You love me,” he says. “No matter what your mother says, or Barnabas, or any of those people.” And then he smiles, and doesn’t murder her.

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“Jeb, I’ve had another dream about you,” she says. He doesn’t want to hear about it, but she tells him anyway. You can’t stop people from telling you about their dreams, not in this town.

“In my dream, we were getting married. I had the feeling that my father wanted to be at the wedding. Then, just as the ceremony was beginning, the doors flew open –”

“Honey, forget about those dreams,” he insists. “Everyone has nightmares, but you don’t run your life by them.” Except she does, of course, and so does pretty much everyone she knows.

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And somewhere in the dreamtime, doors are flying open, and the lost princess is still choosing a final destination…

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She says she needs a little time to think, so Jeb says, “Okay, I’ll give you two hours to pack.” He’s being bossy, but he used to run a snake-worshipping death cult, and habits like that are hard to break.

He offers to walk her home, but she says no. “I really do need to think, and you’re much too distracting.”

He chuckles, and kisses the top of her head. “Now, go on, get out of here,” he says, lovingly wrapping his fingers around her throat. “Before I take back those two hours I gave you.”

And that’s no idle threat, not in this town. People take back hours all the time.

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They never really got the hang of weddings, did they, all these lovelorn would-be brides? How many almost-weddings did they have, Maggie and Josette and Millicent and Kitty and Vicki and the other Vicki? Even if they get all the way through “I do,” it usually turns out that they don’t. Or not for long, anyway.

We love each other, Carolyn, Jeb thinks, reflecting on his undeserved good fortune. That’s all that matters. This is not actually the case.

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Because then the doors fly open and the lights blow out, and a cold wind whistles through the house.

“Who’s there?” Jeb shouts, because he has a diverse social circle and honestly this could be anybody.

“It’s you, Paul Stoddard, isn’t it?” he cries. “Well, there’s nothing you can do; it’s too late! She loves me! Yeah, your daughter loves me, Stoddard!”

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“As much as Victoria Winters loved me?” says the specter. And there’s the Hanged Man, angry and unstrung.

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The Hanged Man is one of the most mysterious cards in the tarot deck, says a website I just looked at. It attracts, but also disturbs. It contradicts itself in countless ways.

The Hanged Man is a Dan Curtis production.

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“You!” Jeb cries. “It can’t be you!” He’s correct, it can’t, but it appears to be happening anyway.

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Because this was all settled a hundred and seventy-something years ago, the way I remember it. Victoria Winters married Jeff Clark, who turned into a wristwatch and disappeared, and then she followed him back through the time tunnel to the late 18th century.

By the time we caught up with her, she was played by someone else, and she was hanged by the neck until dead, a closing number that should have sent her tumbling back to the 1960s. But Vicki stayed put in seventeen-ninety-something and married her defense attorney, because she may have survived one death sentence, but you never know when another one’s going to come along.

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So Vicki ran off with her prince to a happily ever before, somewhere off-screen. This was technically Phyllis Wick’s happy ending, but Miss Wick was misplaced somehow, hovering somewhere around April 1968, waiting for a ride home. I wonder whatever became of her.

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“I’m flattered that you remember, Jebez Hawkes.” This is the specter, again. “It’s been a long, long time. But then you had reason to remember Peter Bradford, didn’t you?”

And all of a sudden we’re connecting dots. “Oh, now I understand!” Jeb cries. “It was you who appeared when I tried to kill Maggie Evans!”

“Yes, and Willie Loomis!” Peter corrects him, reading from the episode guide. “And I was the one who kept you from killing Julia Hoffman. And I burned the book. And I also warned David about you. And I put the noose around Bruno’s neck. And I would have put the noose around your neck, except I knew it wouldn’t do any good! Because it takes a very special way to kill you, doesn’t it? And I know what that way is!”

“You can’t!”

“I did in 1797, and I was hanged for it!”

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The Hanged Man is unsettling because it symbolizes the action of paradox in our lives. It also keeps rubbing its head, and pawing at the female cast members. It’s unsettling for a lot of reasons.

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The water shall nourish each grain of sand,
Wedged between ancient sacred stones,
And guide us to a threshold of a time to be,
And restore our flesh and bones,
And on April 2 at about 3 P.M.
Every trace of Wilcox’s malady suddenly ceased…

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“You were a living man, then,” says Jeb, impossibly remembering something that couldn’t have happened. “You could kill me then, but you can’t now! You’re only an illusion!” Jeb is four months old.

“Then why are you so afraid?” Peter challenges. “Can you feel my hatred for you?”

“It wasn’t my fault that Victoria Winters killed herself!” says Jeb, which it clearly wasn’t.

“Yes! Yes, it was!” the mad ghoul insists. “You sent her over that cliff, at Widow’s Hill. And then I pushed you over. And I’m going to do the same thing tonight!”

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Excerpt from “The Collinsport Debating Society”
The World of Dark Shadows #52/53
May 1989

WHAT HAPPENED TO VICKI AND PETER AFTER THEY RAN AWAY IN 1795?

From Daniel Horn: In an episode from the Leviathon period, around March-April 1970, the ghost of Peter appears to Jeb Hawkes. It seems there was an incarnation of Jeb in 1797 who lured Vicki to Widow’s Hill and pushed her off. Peter, enraged, shoved Jebez off the cliff and killed him. Peter was hanged for the crime, and he returned in 1970 to take his revenge on Jeb. Not having seen the 1795 period, I don’t know if Jeb was on the show then. Not a happy end to a promising romance, I admit, but apparently that’s the way it happened.

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And you know the really crazy thing? They planned this reveal.

It was two weeks ago, when they planted the clues that led to this moment. David was being bothered by a poltergeist (Paul Stoddard) who wanted to stop the Leviathans (who Paul Stoddard hated) before Jeb could marry Carolyn (which Paul Stoddard didn’t want him to do, so obviously this was Paul Stoddard).

But then the spirit appeared in the hall, hanging from a rope, and he was wearing old-timey boots. And then he put a noose around Bruno’s neck, and Bruno said it was old rope, because he can magically carbon-date rope, that’s a thing that Bruno can do. He’s always been able to do that. It just never came up before, and you never asked.

So the ghost wasn’t Paul Stoddard, after all, so who was it? Ta-dah! It was Peter. That means these people had two weeks to think about this lunatic plot contrivance, and they went ahead with it anyway.

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That was me, in The World of Dark Shadows, by the way. That was Young Danny, age 18, writing under the pseudonym Daniel Horn, a name which I have never, ever used, so I don’t know why it says that. This may be a continuity error in my own life, and I blame Victoria Winters.

I do remember writing that Vicki and Peter were “a promising romance,” although I have no idea what I meant by that.

But you know what’s cute? I hadn’t seen the 1795 episodes yet. Due to the still-unresolved issue of how do you syndicate a television show that has more than 1,000 episodes (see Hulu), I saw the mythical Third Year of Dark Shadows syndication before I’d seen the entire first year. So I had only a sketchy idea of who Peter Bradford really even was. But most people around the country hadn’t seen the Leviathan story yet, so I thought I’d help.

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“You know, I was in love with Vicki,” Peter explains, for the benefit of Young Danny. “I really loved her. People said that they saw that. You ended that for us. And now I’m going to end it for you and Carolyn!”

“If you touch Carolyn, I’ll –”

“What? What are you going to do? I’ve waited a long time — a long, long time — and not anything’s going to keep me from destroying you!”

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And that’s all they say about it; that is the last word on this brain-boggling reveal that Jeb Hawkes was in the 1790s for some reason, which he wasn’t, and couldn’t have been. Then they spend the rest of the episode playing with clocks.

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The Hanged Man reminds us that the best approach to a problem is not always the most obvious. It’s not the second most obvious, either. Sometimes it’s not even in the top ten.

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So the clocks, I need to tell you about the clocks. After the Hanged Man disappears, Jeb makes a frantic phone call.

“Listen, it’s very important,” he tells Carolyn, who’s just arrived back at Collinwood. “Don’t go anywhere.”

“Why should I go out?” she says. “I just came in.”

“Just don’t go out, no matter what happens. Even if something strange and terrifying happens, don’t go out until I come!”

Carolyn says okay, whatever. Strange and terrifying things happen to her all the time; he’s one of them.

“Look, just believe and accept!” he pleads. “And for God’s sake, don’t go anywhere in that house without me!” This is the man she’s going to marry.

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“You’ll be here in two hours?” she asks.

“Yeah, yeah. Two hours. We can synchronize our watches.”

She chuckles. “It’s 1:30, exactly,” she says, listening to the grandfather clock chime.

“Okay. I’ll be there at 3:30, exactly.”

He probably should have been more specific. There are a lot of 3:30s.

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Fade in on Megan and Sky, standing in front of some paneling and pretending it’s a room. They’re discussing their vampire/blood-slave relationship, which is hitting a snag or something. Don’t worry about Megan and Sky. They’ll be fine.

By the time we get back to Jeb, it’s 2:30. He’s pacing around the room, planning his getaway. I guess grooms are always nervous on their wedding day. Also, a malevolent spirit keeps making fun of him.

“One hour, Jebez Hawkes,” the spook promises, “until you die on Widow’s Hill, just like you did before.” He didn’t, though. Peter must be thinking of someone else. A lot of people die on Widow’s Hill; it could have been anybody.

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Before you know it, it’s ten minutes to three, stay tuned for weather and traffic on the 7s.

Jeb calls Carolyn, and she says, “Jeb, it isn’t even three yet. What’s the matter?” This is what their married life is going to be like, just telling each other what time it is all day.

He says he’s coming over; something terrible will happen if they stay here any longer. “I don’t care if it’s not time,” he says, and she agrees. But if it’s not time, then what is it?

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Jeb heads for the door, but he suddenly feels weak; that’s probably because his body isn’t his body, it’s just a shell, a manifestation, and he hasn’t had a tune-up. He collapses in a chair, and then Peter’s there again, muttering about time, like anybody ever does anything else.

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The Hanged Man also tells us that we can “move forward” by standing still. By suspending time, we can have all the time in the world.

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And now, two moments in Time are Parallel. During one tick of a clock in 1968, months have passed in 1795, and vice versa. Now, only seconds remain.

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Here’s where we get into some complicated temporal theory, so bear with me if things get a little tangled.

It was 2:50 when Jeb called Carolyn and said that he was coming over, right? Then he fell asleep, and Peter moved the hands of the clock back to 2:00. Then we cross-fade to the clock in the Collinwood foyer, and it’s 3:30, which means that it’s 40 minutes later.

But Jeb thought it was 2:50, so he should notice right away that the clock is wrong, because now it says 2:40.

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Except it doesn’t. Jeb wakes up and looks at the clock, and guess what.

“It’s only 2:00,” he says, in thinks. “I was out only a few minutes.”

Peter appears and tells Jeb that Carolyn’s at Widow’s Hill, but Jeb yells, “Get out of my way!” and takes off for Collinwood.

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And then we see Carolyn at Collinwood, and it’s 3:50, so Jeb must have woken up even later than we thought he did — maybe 3:40 Collinwood time, 2:00 Carriage House time, and who knows what time it is in Jeb’s head.

But it doesn’t matter — the only important thing is that Jeb is late, and Carolyn is gone. Jeb waking up and seeing that it’s 2:00 actually makes him think the situation is less urgent; he’d be more worried if he knew the actual time. So why are we watching all this nonsensical clockplay?

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It’s 3:00, and Henry Anthony Wilcox is an hour early; it’s 1989, and Daniel Horn is entering the world of Dark Shadows; it’s two weeks ago, and it was you who appeared when I tried to kill Maggie Evans. And this blog post is late, like ridiculously late, a week late almost. They’re always late these days. The site is called Dark Shadows Every Day, it’s supposed to be an every day experience, but it seems like I have less and less time to spend in the spook fortresses.

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And it’s Vicki, it’s obviously Vicki, I keep telling you, it’s always Vicki. She keeps trying to link her past with her future, no matter what it does to me and Jeb and Phyllis Wick and the shooting schedule.

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I mean, Variety said that the feature was skedded to begin in Oct. in N.Y., and here it is Mar. and everybody’s still hanging around ABC Studio 16, messing with each other’s clocks. We’re late, months late. It’s not just me, everyone is late. One tick of a clock in 1968, and months have passed.

That was my first blog post, I guess, back in 1989. That was the beginning of this promising romance, back when I thought that questions had answers. What happened to Vicki and Peter after they ran away in 1795? What do you get if you cross the Atlantic with the Titanic? And whatever happened to Dr. Julian Hoffman?

Something strange and terrifying has happened, and it will happen, and it’s happening right now. It’s called Dark Shadows.

Tomorrow: The Only Weakness.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Megan talks to Sky, people are shuffling around in the studio, and someone coughs.

Jeb and Peter are full of little mistakes and false starts today. Some of them appear in the text above — don’t go anywhere in that house without me, people said that they saw that — and the rest I leave to the reader to discover.

The scene with Philip and Peter in jail seems to start halfway through; Philip is already ranting about something. Also, Peter calls Philip “Todd,” several times.

When Carolyn puts on her coat, intending to go to the Carriage House, the music cue slows down for a second. There’s another minor music malfunction when Carolyn enters the Carriage House and finds that Jeb is gone.

Jeb tells Peter, “I’m not falling for that, Bradford! I’m going — not going to Widow’s Hill!”

When Jeb arrives at Widow’s Hill, a studio light is briefly visible above him.


Further reading:

There was a response to my Collinsport Debating Society post, which appeared in The World of Dark Shadows issue #63/64, published in October 1992. I guess this was my first blog comment.

The response came from Kay Kelly, a fan who we’ve heard from before. I previously quoted her in “That Troublesome Problem“, my post about the Collinsport Debating Society; she’s the one who came up with that baroque explanation for how Barnabas was injured in Vicki’s car crash. (It’s always Vicki.)

So here she is again, heroically tidying up the timelines.

“Kay Kelly: A comment on the Collinsport Debating Society. After all these years, I’d forgotten the appearance of Peter Bradford’s ghost in the Leviathan storyline. According to Danny Horn’s letter, the ghost claimed Jeb Hawkes had thrown Victoria off Widow’s Hill in 1796, and he had then killed Hawkes and been hanged for it. I don’t know what was established beyond that, so I’m ‘winging it’, but here are some suggestions.

“I think when the scene was written, the writers were planning another 1796 sequence in which Victoria and Peter were saved. But the idea was dropped. And how could Jeb have existed in 1796? His 20th century body was the creation of the Leviathans, but the entity incarnated in that body had had previous incarnations as a normal human. His name in the 1790s was Jebez Hawkes. He picked his own name in 1970, and chose that one because he remembered it, consciously or subconsciously.

“The 18th century Hawkes was a witch-hunting associate of Rev. Trask, who came to Collinsport to investigate Trask’s disappearance. He fell in love with Millicent Collins — a love that could have been the salvation of both. But the over-protective Joshua kept them apart. Hawkes came to hate Joshua. He communicated with Trask’s ghost and learned from him that Barnabas was a vampire and the ‘witch’ Victoria Winters was not on ‘the other side’. Then he learned that Barnabas had helped Victoria and Peter — and was now chained in his coffin.

“Hawkes placed advertisements in Western newspapers, and used Barnabas’ name to lure Victoria and Peter into a trap. (This explains why Peter turned against Barnabas.) They were brought back to Collinsport under arrest late in 1796, after Victoria had given birth to a premature infant who was left with friends ‘out West’ (leaving open the possibility of descendants).

“Joshua used his wealth and influence to obtain Victoria’s release on the grounds that a second execution would constitute double jeopardy. The furious Hawkes threw her off Widows Hill; her body was never recovered. Peter killed Hawkes and Joshua was unable to get him off the charges. So Peter was hanged and at his request, his remains were cremated and the ashes scattered off Widows Hill. (This explains why he and Victoria’s graves and tombstones never reappeared in the future.)

“Jebez Hawkes went to his death cursing Joshua Collins — and the Leviathans offered him a bargain. In effect, he ‘sold his soul’ in exchange for a promise that in a future time, he could have revenge on the Collins Family and win the lookalike reincarnation of Millicent as his bride.”

Some of Kay Kelly’s Dark Shadows fan fiction is on a website called The Isle. I haven’t read any myself, cause who has the time, but I bet it’s great. She referred to me as Danny, by the way, even though my post was signed Daniel; that’s another continuity error in my life. Those are starting to pile up.

Tomorrow: The Only Weakness.

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Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

76 thoughts on “Episode 967: Vicki Ruins Everything, part 3: The Way It Happened

  1. All I have to say to this astounding read right now is that I love the checkmark appearing on a grave, when your subscription has…. expired. Fascinating.

    Also, Roger Davis being the annoying ghost that never leaves you alone for murky reasons is typecasting.

  2. I think we need a history of that colorful nightgown now. Vicki’s wearing it here, but it’s also been on Maggie and Carolyn back when it had sleeves, and sometimes, a belt. Or were these all different nightgowns made from the same fabric for some reason?

      1. What a bargain!
        And it would explain how Carolyn and Maggie could wear their slightly different robe/housecoat things on the same episode. I guess they went housecoat shopping together. I wish they’d filmed that.
        Stella Fagin seems to be THE designer of such things. I’ve just now heard of her and I’m already offended that she has no Wikipedia page.

  3. “You’ll die the only way you can! By drowning!”

    Huh? This is as unsatisfying a weakness for a metahuman as the one in UNBREAKABLE.

    “Water… is your Kryptonite!”

    “No, it’s not like Kryptonite, you idiot. Everyone is susceptible to drowning. This isn’t special or unique.”

    And I know that silver bullets and wood stakes can kill normal people, as well, but at least it’s somewhat rarer than the average bullet and you’ve got to find the vampire during the day… I mean, water is kinda everywhere.

    1. Makes one wonder why the Leviathans opted for a seaside town like Collinsport, Maine rather than, say, Phoenix, Arizona. More poor planning by the evil cult…

      The Wicked Witch of the West was destroyed by water – liquidated, as the Wizard of Oz puts it. In a sendup of WOZ on Futurama, the witch laments, “Who would have thought a small amount of liquid would ever fall on ME?”

      I’m trying to think of some method of killing supernatural beings that isn’t also fatal to mortals. Apart from throwing a bucket of water at the Wicked Witch. Or locking her outdoors in the rain.

        1. Crosses? Or are crosses just for warding off vampires? I seem to remember one of the Hammer films that had a vampire being ‘burned’ by a crucifix – perhaps dumping a truckload of rosaries on a vampire would destroy him? Or hosing him down with garlic juice (though I don’t remember anything in vampire lore that mentions garlic being FATAL).

  4. Meant to add – Kay Kelley’s idea is way better than what the DS writers came up with, that’s for sure. When in doubt, the writers always went back to 1795. But that trick only worked once, really.

  5. I remember that Burke issue too! I think I still have it. This killing of Vicky was the worst idea the writers ever came up with, They just couldn’t leave well enough alone!

  6. So…
    1795 has been rewritten AGAIN!
    We had the original version with Phyllis Wick as governess, Jeremiah much older than Barnabas, married to Josette, and all the other stuff that Barnabas remembered before Vicky went back in time and stomped butterflies (Vicki ruins everything).
    Then we have the Vicki version, witchcraft causing mayhem and tragedy (that koo-koo witchcraft) and containing NO Phyllis Wick.
    Then there’s an addendum version thrown in with Danielle Roget.
    Another alteration when Vicki and Peterjeff ChromaKey out to a happy ending.
    Barnabas returns again, to make Nathan Forbes write a confession (as a temporary hypno-zombie), then bump off Forbes and Natalie DuPres, tweaking the timeline some more.
    A little more mangling when Kitty decides she’s Josette, pulls Barnabas back to 1795 (again) and swills some poison, and Barnabas gets hijacked by a lame plot.
    Now, Peter tells us that Jeb was somehow involved in 1795 (which technically is not a rewriting, just something nobody mentioned until now – well, we didn’t ask, did we?)

    At some point in 1795, there must be something like SIX Barnabases (Barnabi?) In the woods outside Collinwood, chained in a coffin, in the Old House, at the gaol, terrorizing Lieutenant Forbes at The Eagle, and possibly helping to elect John Adams as President. A brace of Josettes are also concurrently falling off cliffs and quaffing poison. I don’t even want to think about how many Vickis (some of whom look like Alexandra Moltke, others that resemble Betsy Durkin, and one who is a ringer for Carolyn Groves) there are, all getting hanged and falling off cliffs and living happily ever after and generally being idiots.

    1. I chuckled audibly at this post. Special points for Barnabi and the John Adams theory.

      I was tempted to opine that killing Vicki off in 1795 (that was a busy year) was the writers’ way to get rid of her permanently… except that didn’t stop Roger Davis or Angelique and so many others, so. It just feels kind of vindictive (like the book where Agatha Christie kills off Poirot, and also describes him as old and enfeebled.)

      1. In a way, it reminds me of the “Frank Grimes” character on THE SIMPSONS and the “Susan” character on SEINFELD. Each show ticked off viewers not so much by killing the character as by the WAY they did it, and when people got mad, each show seemed to throw a little “tantrum” by REMINDING you of the character in later episodes. Not literally bringing them back and killing them again, but figuratively.

  7. Am I the only one that sees Nancy Barrett’s bleeding lip after the violent kiss with Jeb?

    You see her react to the taste of blood, and she tests for the color, she powers through the scene, and finally allows the camera to do a closeup, and it’s bleeding, but soon she runs off fast as she can!

    1. Geez, even when Jeb’s being romantical, he’s still too rough!
      Maybe it’s some vestiges of Leviathan creature, his saliva has acid that burned through Carolyn’s lip.

  8. It seems as if the writers were first planning to have the avenging ghost be Paul Stoddard — the smiling corpse etc. That would ave made good story sense and given Paul’s character a satisfying narrative arc. But satisfying character arcs have never been DS’ strong point. I wonder if turned out that Dennis Patrick wasn’t able to come back as planned, and so the writers sat around and asked, “Who can we get to be our ghost Instead?” Somebody may have said “how about Peter Bradford? Can we make it work?” They didn’t. But that’s the way it (maybe) happened.

    1. Were they making the movie around this time? Was RogerDavis hanging around the TV studio because of movie rehearsals and the writers just decided to work him into an episode – cause he was there.

      1. It may have had to do with Dan Curtis’ favoritism to Davis, too – and what other characters might the writers have gone with? Granted, it’s not as good a choice as Paul Stoddard, but it is a decent (certainly unexpected) plot twist, even if it’s
        ultimately pointless (but then, that happened a lot with the Leviathans).

    2. The writers often had to work around actors’ outside commitments. In 1970, Dennis Patrick was busy. Besides House of Dark Shadows, there were two other movies and also episodes on two other TV series. It’s amazing he was asked back at all, what with the way he broke his contract in 1967 “by offering to punch the producer in the mouth”.

      Based on an interview he gave, he avoided soap operas in general because he liked to know his “out date” with his “in date”, and he mentioned that the appeal of Dark Shadows was not having to sign a contract, which he didn’t have to do in the beginning.

      Can’t keep a good character actor down, at least not for too long.

      1. I mention it a lot, but he must have been busy with the movie JOE (with Peter Boyle and Susan Sarandon), which is a pretty famous one.

        1. That may well be. It opened in July and was filmed earlier in the year. Must have been really low budget, as the actors had to appear in their own clothes. Well, at least we get to see how Dennis Patrick dressed in real life — same as on Dark Shadows, from what we can see.

        2. I’m remembering some Dennis Patrick interview from long ago in which he said he was in a hurry to leave Dark Shadows (either the 1st or 2nd time) so he could attend his daughter’s graduation in California.

          I’ve never tried matching up his departures from the show to months in which graduations occur to see if his story checks out.

            1. Good sleuthing, Prisoner!

              BTW, DS fans always discuss “Joe” in connection with Dennis Patrick, but isn’t fellow DS cast member Bob O’Connell also in that movie?

  9. Some fans have mentioned that Dan Curtis was trying to get Alexandra Moltke back on the show as Vicky but she wanted to play an evil character and DC refused, so she decided not to return. This was DC’s way of getting even by killing Vicky off for good.

    1. Was there ever any discussion of Curtis trying to get Alexandra Moltke to do the movie? My impression is that he was turning his interest in that direction; possibly the script had been written with Victoria Winters included, and now had to be revised with AM’s refusal. With the film as Curtis’ new passion, he’d likely have been sore about any snags, and with his fondness for ‘the girl on the train’, it might have got under his hide. If he couldn’t have Vicki, then nobody would.

      1. Interesting theory. PT 1970 is otherwise structured to rely on actors who weren’t major players in the movie… with the exception of KLS. I’ll be interested in Danny’s thoughts when the HODS entry arrives.

        The governess’s love interest is even Jeff Clark, which would seem a logical choice if the governess was Vicki. Maggie’s fiancee on the show was Joe Haskell, but maybe it wasn’t possible for Crothers to come back even if he was considered. Yet Roger Davis recorded his last regular appearance on DS in December 1969! He really scored quite a deal as the leading man in HODS.

  10. I also want to give a word in their defense about the telling it was old rope. You shouldn’t be able to tell it was REALLY old rope, but you could tell it from new rope. Old rope would be out of hemp and hemp rope when it’s new has threads start to pop out when you use it like when you’ve left your hair in a ponytail too long and hairs pop out around your face. Old rope has had this happen as much as it’s going to and had them worn away. Hemp rope also darkens and softens with age. It’s also possible since I haven’t seen it that one or both ends were dipped in tar which again is an old rope thing they wouldn’t be doing in the 1960s.

    In short if you work with rope hemp rope is the best. I HATE plastic rope it tears your hands and nylon rope slips too much.

  11. I always figured the Vicki ret-con was Curtis’ spite toward AM for not returning.

    Vicki’s fate gets more muddled if you factor in Lara Parker’s new book “Dark Shadows: Heiress of Collinwood.” It starts in 1796 and (spoiler) features no leviathans but does have Vicki finding her way back to the 1970s.

    1. Are the Laura Parker novels considered canon? I know that the Big Finish audios are (for the most part) supposed to be in the same continuity as the original show.

      1. I always think of Lara’s novels as taking place in a parallel time band since their events cannot be reconciled with those taking place in the Big FInish series.

  12. I find it remarkable that the writers decided to “resurrect” Vicki (so to speak) at this point, so many months after she was effectively written out of the show. It runs contrary to common TV policy. For instance, after Pernell Roberts left Bonanza, his character Adam was mentioned four or five times in the season that followed (he had “gone to sea,” although his absence did serve as an important plot point in at least one episode), and after that it was almost as if he had never existed. In fact, in the final season of Bonanza, it was mentioned that Ben had two sons, period — Adam had ceased to exist by that point. This is done, I imagine, so as not to confuse new viewers of a TV show before it would find new life in syndication. At any rate, the DS writers must’ve had a very good reason to evoke the memory of Vicki in this way, so potentially confusing it would have been for newer viewers. To tie up loose ends? What loose ends? I always liked the idea of Vicki and Peter heading West together to give birth to a child who would become an ancestor of Vicki through the non-Collins line (Elizabeth providing the Collins line), thereby resulting in an unfathomable time paradox. (That idea, incidentally, is not original with me.) Oh, the possibilities….

    1. I wondered if Ned and Sabrina Stuart weren’t Vicki and Peter’s descendents.

      But you’re right: Mentioning Vicki is a very modern TV thing to do, but not common policy for a series of this period. 1795 as Barnabas’s backstory is revisited regularly, but Vicki’s role in it and the present for that matter is not at all relevant. Roger Davis in fact played three characters after Peter Bradford/Jeff Clark. We’d be more likely to remember Charles Tate if we’re a relatively new viewer.

      1. Ned as Peter’s descendant has always been my interpretation too.
        This constant tweaking of 1796 must have enraged viewers even at the time (unless they were new). Every new version watered down what was actually shown, rendering it meaningless. Time travel was a mixed blessing for DS. They couldn’t handle it and that probably helped turn viewers away as it headed for cancellation. I suspect viewership was pretty low around the Leviathan time, or so people say, so they thought pulling out the old 1795 trick would help as it did in 1967. Very poor thinking and planning. It’s like the writers just didn’t care anymore.

        1. Ned did keep saying that he and Sabrina were from “out West.” Dirk Wilkins and Charles Delaware Tate could have come from distant branches of the same family tree.

        2. I agree completely — the constantly noodling with the 1795 storyline did annoy me as a teenage viewer back in the sixties. Sometimes it did seem as though the writers were lazy or they just didn’t care. A really infuriating example is coming up with the 1840 storyline, where (SPOILER ALERT) they kill off Edith Collins for no good reason whatsoever, despite the fact that the 1897 storyline makes it clear tat she survives until then. There was simply no good reason to kill her in 1840, and very good reasons to allow her to live. A real head-scratcher, that.

      2. Later, during the lead up to 1840, Barnabas asks David the name of his governess before Maggie (as well as the name of his mother). David can’t answer, of course, because he’s possessed by Gerard. But the writers seemed to be counting on the fans to know the answers. New viewers must have been completely stymied.

  13. Dan threw a temper tantrum when he didn’t get his own way, simple as that – Lela Swift should have gotten him hot chocolate and a therapy dog…

  14. Out of every wacky thing that Dark Shadows did during its run, this remains the most baffling to me – in the sense that I have absolutely no idea what was going through their heads when they did this. Maybe Curtis did issue a dictate to “kill off” Vicki, yet considering how much he cared about the character (girl in the dream and all that) I find it hard to believe that even Moltke’s decision not to return would prompt him to unceremoneously dump the character offscreen (when she had already been written out the previous year!)

    On top of that, none of the characters who actually knew and cared about Vicki even find out! As far as Barnabas is concerned, she’s still living happily ever after in 1795 (or 6…whenever). So they don’t even use her death to fuel new story or character potential. Heck, it’s not even used to get rid of Jeb! I’m beginning to buy the theory the ghost was meant to be Paul Stoddard and then hastily rewritten to be Peter Bradford.

    1. Wonder why they didn’t just get that guy who played zombie Jeremiah to play a munched up Paul. Who would have known the difference? He was all bloodied and mangled anyway (more than Jeremiah, who looked fine when he first died). Tim Gordon I believe. Or anyone, really. This is strange indeed.

      1. With Paul Stoddard as the restless spirit, there was already reason(s) for his hatred of Jeb; but switching to Peter Bradford meant the writers needed some raison d’être (so to speak) for HIS grudge. And they came up with “Jeb killed Vicki”. Makes me wonder what Jerry Lacy was up to – one of the Trasks would have been a much better avenger, and Vicki (AND Peter) need never have been mentioned.

  15. This constant shafting of Paul Stoddard infuriates me. By all rights, he should have been a key player throughout the entire Leviathan story, sort of like what Quentin was to 1897. Otherwise why bring the character back at all?

  16. Does anyone have any information on what Dennis Patrick was working on at the time? I seem to remember that he’d said he really enjoyed doing Dark Shadows – I will guess he had a contract elsewhere and was unavailable.

  17. “That was Young Danny, age 18, writing under the pseudonym Daniel Horn, a name which I have never, ever used…”

    I accidentally hit the ‘young danny’ link while swiping the page on my tablet (REALLY need to clean the screen) and will direct you to the entry for episode 830, the header photo.

    I still love and respect you, Danny. I, too, have a ‘full’ name, which was only used during my childhood when I Was In Big Trouble, Buster… 😉

  18. Over the years I’ve tried, in my own mind and a little bit on paper, to try and concoct and explanation for this baffling Jeb-Peter-Vicki-Leviathans continuity pretzel. I admire and appreciate Kay Kelly’s theory but there are a couple flaws that need ironing out. I’ll accept the fact that Jeb was a follower of Trask, etc But if Barnabas had taken his essence in the Leviathan box with him into the future he couldn’t have been around to torment Peter and Vicki. My explanation is that when Barnabas went to meet Josette and lost his way in the woods he entered some kind of travelling time warp that sent him months (?) into the future when Jeb had been killed by Peter and the Leviathans had captured his spiritual essence into the box.
    One of the other things that troubled me is that if Vicki was killed why wasn’t she a ghost? Instead poor Peter Bradford wandered the world without her. That could only mean that she hadn’t died but had been flung back into the future as had happened in 1796. Like Julia’s astral projection in 1897 she couldn’t die. So where was she then? My equally complex theory was that she and Peter had enjoyed at least a few months of happiness together before they ran into Jeb. So, let’s say she went back to present time a few months after she and Peter vanished. She might have materialized in Collinwood when it was abandoned and under the control of the ghost of Quentin. What if Quentin terrified here into running into the East Wing and into the parallel time room. Instead of going into PT she went into the future. Not 1995 as Barnabas and Julia would do but 1971 after the show ended.
    Lastly, I’ve been mulling over the various plot inconsistencies created by repeated visits to 1795-96. When we get to the 1840-41 multiple time paradoxes and anomalies (so may my head spins) I’ll go ahead and put in my spin.

  19. But if Barnabas had taken his essence in the Leviathan box with him into the future he couldn’t have been around to torment Peter and Vicki.

    The essence Barnabas brought to 1970 was an ‘unformed’ thing, rather than the coalesced, complete being that Jeb was – essentially just a part of the Leviathan creature, like a cutting from a plant.
    Incidentally, why did Jeb STOP doing his age jumps? I figured that every few days, he should be getting about ten years older.

    …she hadn’t died but had been flung back into the future as had happened in 1796. Like Julia’s astral projection in 1897 she couldn’t die. So where was she then?

    Perhaps when Vicki was flung into the future, she emerged in the middle of a street, was hit by a bus, and got amnesia – or she WAS actually killed, but denied ghosthood by Mr. Best? Though I do like your theory about Vicki being a ‘projection’ into 1795, I mean her SECOND trip (1796?), because the first trip was a switch with Phyllis Wick and Vicki got shot during her prison break, so she could be injured (and therefore killed); but if Vicki had projected into the past, then the cliff dive could have thrown her anywhere in time, maybe even further backward…and this time, knowing the trouble she’d got into on her first time jump, she kept her mouth shut and tried to blend in with the temporal reality she found herself in.

    Then again, maybe each jump displaced someone else (like with Phyllis Wick), and only when Vicki ‘died’ would another switch happen. Vicki might be a temporal anomaly, a kind of Flying Dutchman through time, cursed to live forever.

    Maybe she got put down in the 1930s, changed her name to Sarah, married some guy named Johnson, and thirty years later got a job at Collinwood as housekeeper.
    Or met a guy named Haskell, and had a son named Joe.
    Or perhaps she married a young Sam Evans and had a daughter named Maggie.

    1. Or married a guy named Hanscomb and had a daughter named Betty, who got pregnant by Paul Stoddard thereby returning the story to its original form.

      1. Betty Hanscomb!
        Couldn’t remember her name, or I would have included the “I’m My Own Grandmaw” theory.

        Fanwank On! 😀

    2. In June 1966, a young woman looked out the window of a train as it sped toward her destination, Collinsport, and thought to herself, “My name is Phyllis Wick. My journey is beginning, a journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me…”

      A year and a half later she is sent back to 1795 by a seance that suspends time and space, where the names and relationships have changed, and just as she is hanged as an accused witch in 1796 Vicki appears at the seance in 1968 as time resumes in the present once more… only no one in present-day Collinwood recognizes her — except Barnabas, who says to her in a tone of great suspicion and foreboding, “What are YOU doing here?!”

      Distraught that no in the present recognizes her either, Vicki collapses and has a nervous breakdown, after which Julia sends her to Windcliff and keeps her on a steady diet of sedatives. Later that year, when they need to find someone to act as a life force for Adam’s mate, Julia considers using Vicki, since the young woman just appeared out of nowhere after the seance and seemed to have no past or present and thus no future.

      Vicki is then chosen to become Eve, and when she spots Lang’s former assistant helping to set up the apparatus for the life force transplant procedure, she has a glimmer of recognition as he rubs the back of his head and gropes her by the arms while strapping her to the operating table. Vicki claims that she knows him, that they were romantically involved in 1795, -6, or -7, or something. He says she’s crazy, but she says she can prove it.

      So she runs from the Old House basement to Blair House, finds a book, sits at a table, and closes her eyes, thinking 1790-something thoughts. When she returns to the past, Peter Bradford recognizes her. She helps to spring him from jail, then they head out West, where Peter becomes a successful and respected defense lawyer and Vicki a schoolteacher and they live happily ever after — so long as they stay clear of Maine.

      THE END.

  20. AM was at the DS farewell party IN 1971 after they filmed their final episode, so Dan Curtis must have gotten over her refusal to return by then

          1. Joking! JOKING!

            I still have not seen the film, mainly because of my affection for the original, and also because of the, er, lukewarm comments on this website. If it’s going to get a weblog entry, then I will watch it.

  21. Serious, oh, so serious.

    The panning of the Burton film.

    Making fun of itself was a staple of the show in The Beginning.

    Both writing and acting showed a tongue in cheek.

    Burton chose to amplify times a thousand.

    I’m at ep 80 or so, and constantly surprised at the dialogue, snappy and irreverent
    of the subject matter.

    It was an adult show.

    It was pretty great.

    But no kid would care. So let’s bring in an effing vampire.

    And.

    History.

    Most here, are fascinated with what is in a writer’s head.

    Burton’s writers were on acid. So to speak.

    It’s DS on acid with no apologies.

    I could only hate it if it was a musical.

  22. Hi Danny,

    Great site! This is my first post, but have been reading your blog during my current run through of DS. I’m on my fourth or fifth partial or complete viewing, this time all 1225 episodes in three months (I’m retired; it is possible). I was an original run viewer, joining the show a couple months before the 1795 flashback. My sister got 7-year old me hooked on the show. I vividly recall the 1795 and 1897 segments. We even got our dad watching! Angelique has always been my favorite character (and all the Lara Parker characters). My dad and I were certainly under her spell. I remember us suffering through the Adam story line, and while I’m pretty sure I continued watching into 1970, these Leviathan episodes are less familiar, even though I’ve watched it as an adult at least twice before this run.

    This watching has the added benefit of your blog. It certainly adds insight as to why things started falling apart in the 1897 flashback, with too much demand on the cast and crew due to the movie schedule.

    Oh well, time to get back to watching… not much time to do anything else when going through 15+ episodes a day. I’ll stop back by after I finish this run. Thank you for your entertaining and insightful blog (and comments too, of course).

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