Episode 1025: Rebecca to the Rescue

“Fight me? When I’ve already won?”

It seemed to me, as I sat there in bed, staring at the wall, at the sunlight coming in at the window, at Maxim’s empty bed, that there was nothing quite so shaming, so degrading as a marriage that had failed. Failed after three months, as mine had done.

For I had no illusions left now, I no longer made any effort to pretend. Last night had shown me too well. My marriage was a failure. All the things that people would say about it if they knew, were true. We did not get on. We were not companions. We were not suited to one another.

I was too young for Maxim, too inexperienced, and, more important still, I was not of his world. The fact that I loved him in a sick, hurt, desperate way, like a child or a dog, did not matter. It was not the sort of love he needed. He wanted something else that I could not give him, something he had had before.

So I decided to have a seance, she does not continue. That’s the second Mrs. de Winter, the narrator of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel, Rebecca, a best-selling book that for some reason doesn’t include even a single member of the living dead. A quick search for the word seance: no results. Tarot: no results. Potion, parallel dimension, vampire: nothing. You wouldn’t think it was possible to write a story without any of those words, but apparently it can be done.

But it’s a spooky contraption, this officially unhaunted Rebecca. We never find out the name of the main character — they always refer to “Mrs. de Winter,” or “Maxim’s new bride” — but I expect her name is probably Victoria. It usually is in stories like this, and I think “Victoria de Winter” has kind of a ring to it, don’t you?

Vicki is a naive young orphan type who works as the paid companion of a rich woman, who, if they’d ever followed through on this plotline, would probably turn out to be her mother. While her employer is visiting Monte Carlo, Vicki strikes up an acquaintance with Maxim de Winter, a fabulously wealthy widower, and it turns out that Maxim and Vicki have a lot in common, go figure. After two weeks, they’re married, and Vicki is whisked off to a mansion in Cornwall, where things go awry.

At Manderley, Vicki’s dreams of becoming an adored lady of the manor crumble quickly into self-consciousness and doubt. It’s so big, and Maxim gets swallowed up into business, and she’s left alone in an enormous house that doesn’t feel like hers. She’s intimidated by the staff, especially the terrifying housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers.

Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter, died a year ago, not at a seance, and the staff has spent the last year running the house the way that Rebecca wanted them to. It’s still Rebecca’s house, really, and Vicki feels like an interloper.

Mrs. Danvers — who doesn’t have a first name, so I assume it’s Julia — is pretty much the embodiment of Team Rebecca. Every time Vicki tries to make a decision, Danvers tells her how Rebecca used to do things, and Vicki feels obliged to go along with it. Danvers takes Vicki to Rebecca’s old room — which is enormous, and faces the sea, and is filled with all of Rebecca’s clothes and secrets and accoutrements, and as far as we know there isn’t an unpredictable space-time fissure that allows vampires from a parallel dimension to sneak through and start telling people they’re a descendant of someone.

Things get worse, and the final straw is the fancy dress ball, where Vicki is tricked into wearing a costume that it turns out Rebecca wore at the last ball. Maxim is furious, and Vicki feels lost and humiliated, and Mrs. Danvers tries to talk Vicki into jumping out a window. Then the book unexpectedly turns into a murder mystery, and there’s blackmail and an inquest and the house burns down and they all live happily ever after. So that’s Rebecca.

In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock directed a film adaptation of Rebecca, which won Best Picture, and then in 1970, it was adapted into an afternoon television series about vampires and voodoo dolls, where Rebecca is an undead succubus who reads tarot cards and eats lawyers. This is just about the silliest adaptation of Rebecca that you could do in 1970, besides making it into an episode of Sesame Street. You wouldn’t think it was possible.

Now, unlike Charlotte Brontë and Bram Stoker and H.P. Lovecraft and all the rest, Daphne du Maurier actually lived long enough to be around when Dark Shadows was stealing her story. Du Maurier lived until 1989, so presumably somebody could have mentioned it to her. I don’t know if anyone ever did; I imagine it would be hard to bring up in conversation. Where would you even start?

It’s taken a while for the Rebeccaness to really kick in, thanks to the odd circumstances of Dark Shadows production this year. Half of the show’s cast needed to ankle up to Tarrytown for six weeks to make House of Dark Shadows, so the writers decided to trap Barnabas in a parallel dimension, where they could spin a temporary tale featuring the remaining players.

This was a weird decision to make in the first place, but it’s even weirder that they chose Rebecca as the basis for the storyline, because pretty much the first thing that they did was to send the two main characters of Rebecca upstate, and then muddle along with a handful of secondary characters.

In fact, the Dark Shadows storyline is kind of the photo negative of the book. In the novel, the first act is Vicki falling in love with Maxim in Monte Carlo, and it ends with his surprise proposal and their hasty marriage. Then act 2 is pretty much Vicki and Mrs. Danvers knocking around an empty house, until the costume party and the act 3 murder mystery.

In Dark Shadows, we come in after act 1 is already over, with Quentin and Maggie showing up at Collinwood already hitched. And instead of focusing act 2 on housekeeper Hoffman tormenting Maggie, both characters are bundled off-screen, and we end up with Maxim and Rebecca’s twin sister killing time by opening graves and having seances, and wondering when the characters from Rebecca are going to come back.

But the craziest thing about the Dark Shadows version of Rebecca is that they actually have Rebecca in it. The entire point of Rebecca is that Rebecca isn’t there.

Here’s Vicki, reflecting on the power of her unseen antagonist:

Perhaps I haunted her as she haunted me; she looked down on me from the gallery as Mrs. Danvers had said, she sat beside me when I wrote my letters at her desk. That mackintosh I wore, that handkerchief I used. They were hers. Perhaps she knew and had seen me take them. Jasper had been her dog, and he ran at my heels now. The roses were hers and I cut them. Did she resent me and fear me as I resented her? Did she want Maxim alone in the house again? I could fight the living but I could not fight the dead. 

If there was some woman in London that Maxim loved, someone he wrote to, visited, dined with, slept with, I could fight her. We would stand on common ground. I should not be afraid. Anger and jealousy were things that could be conquered. One day the woman would grow old or tired or different, and Maxim would not love her anymore. But Rebecca would never grow old. Rebecca would always be the same. And her I could not fight. She was too strong for me. 

And to add another weird wrinkle, it’s Angelique — the Dark Shadows Rebecca — who has that moment, reflecting on the second wife.

“She’s all he thinks about!” she says, talking to her eccentric gypsy aunt. “And as long as that’s true, I haven’t any hope of winning him back! As long as she’s in New York, I can’t fight her! I want her here, where I can deal with her!” And then she casts a bunch of magic spells.

The idea of doing an adaptation of Rebecca where Rebecca comes back from the dead is ridiculous. It’s Dickens without poor people, which can’t be done, except Dark Shadows did it last year anyway. It’s like a production of Waiting for Godot where Godot shows up halfway through, and Vladimir and Estragon spend the rest of the play talking about how surprised they are.

And yet here we are, two months later, at the costume party. Maggie and the crazy housekeeper have returned to the story, and this week, we suddenly swerve, merging back into Manderley traffic.

There’s a grand costume ball, represented here by five people, and Maggie’s been tricked into wearing the same outfit that Angelique wore last year. Quentin is furious, smashing a glass and running out of the house, presumably heading for some parallel Collinsport bar that’s willing to serve people dressed as Lieutenant Forbes.

That’s not quite how the scene goes in the book — Vicki just changes her outfit and joins the party again, and she and Maxim go through the motions of greeting their guests without speaking to each other. But it’s the same thing, a moment of humiliation and self-doubt that sets up the big window sequence.

Maggie coming down the stairs for the costume party was the end of Thursday’s episode, and they’re saving the big moment for the end of today’s, so they fill up the intervening twenty-two minutes with nostalgia and cruelty, which is exactly what we need.

I’ve been talking all week about the Dark Shadows quality improvement program, which I’m attributing to exec producer Dan Curtis coming back to New York after shooting HODS. The show has been drifting for a couple months, filling up time with meaningless story tangles that didn’t accomplish anything. But this week, suddenly there’s some fresh energy — characters are leaving their storyline silos and getting into each other’s business, and the dialogue is sharper.

For a while now, it’s been hard to tell the writers apart — Sam Hall, who’s usually the wittiest member of the writing team, has fallen into a post-House funk, writing functional dialogue and apparently not really caring that much. But today’s episode takes him right back up to form.

And it’s Roger, of course, who brings entertainment back into our lives. The episode starts with Maggie and Roger in the bleak aftermath of the costume ball, still dressed up as other people.

“Waiting up for Quentin?” he sneers. “I wouldn’t, if I were you.” He makes his way to the drinks table. “Well, frankly, the party would have been a disaster, even if the host had been here. Not like last year.” He muses. “Ah, last year, there was joy in the house, and laughter in the rooms — genuine laughter, not the forced uncomfortable sounds we heard tonight.”

Maggie doesn’t respond; she just gets up and walks to the door.

“I would take that dress off, if I were you,” he says, helpfully. “It doesn’t suit you. But you know that now, don’t you? You must have learned a lesson.” As Maggie stalks away, he calls after her, “No one takes Angelique’s place! You know that! No one!” And then he laughs and laughs, and that’s the first scene of the day.

And it’s lovely. No supernatural shocks, no magic potions — just a man being cruel to his sister in law, in a world where the word “gauche” is a cutting blow.

The whole episode is like that — just Roger, Angelique and Hoffman gossiping and teasing Maggie in every scene, pretending to be sympathetic and hoping she falls out a window.

Angelique spends some time acting like Maggie’s friend — “I’m sure no one had any idea that there was anything wrong, it was very clever of you to say that Quentin had just suddenly taken ill!” — but she keeps coming back to the theme of how badly Quentin’s been acting, pressing the point that maybe they aren’t that suited for each other.

“What am I going to do when he comes back?” Maggie asks, and Rebecca answers, “You’ll know what to do, because you love him, and because you want to make his life happier, and simpler, than it is now.”

It’s not particularly decorative dialogue, but for the first time in a while, it has a soupcon of subtext. Think of Sabrina, yelling at Cyrus, “There is a evil here! I can feel it still! There is a terrifying evil here!” and then listen to today’s episode. That was only a month ago.

And it’s not just the writing; they’re also putting more care into the directing, and not just for the special effects. There’s a shot in today’s episode that might as well be from House of Dark Shadows, shooting through some candles in the foreground. Again, not brilliant, but it’s been a little while since the directors cared enough to set up a shot like that.

That’s not the only example from this week. On Wednesday, there was a nice shot of Maggie and Cyrus, with Cyrus’ Jekyll and Hyde potion intruding between them…

And this little scene-ending shot from yesterday, Barnabas thoughtfully playing with a chess piece as Angelique makes plans over his shoulder. Dan is back, clearly, and determined to keep plussing the show wherever they can.

And then there’s the window.

Mrs. Danvers pushed me towards the open window. I could see the terrace below me gray and indistinct in the white wall of fog. “Look down there,” she said. “It’s easy, isn’t it? Why don’t you jump? It wouldn’t hurt, not to break your neck. It’s a quick, kind way. It’s not like drowning. Why don’t you try it? Why don’t you go?”

The fog filled the open window, damp and clammy, it stung my eyes, it clung to my nostrils. I held onto the windowsill with my hands. 

“Don’t be afraid,” said Mrs. Danvers. “I won’t push you. I won’t stand by you. You can jump of your own accord. What’s the use of your staying here at Manderley? You’re not happy. Mr. de Winter doesn’t love you. There’s not much for you to live for, is there? Why don’t you jump now and have done with it? Then you won’t be unhappy anymore.”

I could see the flower tubs on the terrace and the blue of the hydrangeas clumped and solid. The paved stones were smooth and gray. They were not jagged and uneven. It was the fog that made them look so far away. They were not far really, the window was not so very high. 

“Why don’t you jump?” whispered Mrs. Danvers. “Why don’t you try?”

That’s not how they do it on Dark Shadows, of course; it doesn’t have enough Chromakey. Instead of the housekeeper, they just go right ahead and let Rebecca take over, talking smack from beyond the grave.

So this story is based on Rebecca, in the same spirit as Muppet Treasure Island is based on Treasure Island — you can recognize most of the plot points, but it’s a musical and the grizzled old castaway is played by Miss Piggy.

Here’s one final quote from Rebecca, which suggests that history doesn’t always move in a straight line:

“Mrs. Danvers,” I said. “Mrs. Danvers.” She turned to look at me, and I saw her eyes were red and swollen with crying, even as mine were, and there were dark shadows in her white face.

Yeah, I bet there were. And that’s where we leave Maggie at the end of this tumultuous week: lost in time, trying her best, and teetering, as usual, between the ridiculous and the sublime.

Monday: The Seventh Level of Witchcraft.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

At the start of act 1, when Maggie turns the lamp on, there’s a squeak, and somebody in the studio whispers, “Watch your back!”

Angelique trips over the sentence, “He really didn’t have any right to run over — run out of the party like that.”

When Roger gets up from the window seat, a boom mic is visible.

Hoffman tells Angelique, “He will begin to be finished with her.”

Monday: The Seventh Level of Witchcraft.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

65 thoughts on “Episode 1025: Rebecca to the Rescue

  1. Great breakdown of REBECCA (Mrs. Danvers is the patron saint of all sinister housekeepers; in a European musical version, naturally she gets a big song number while the house burns.)

    Speaking of black and white movies named after a woman who’s dead when the story begins, it feels like Roger’s role in PT (especially as things go on) seems influenced by LAURA (Waldo Lydecker, the Clifton Webb character).

    1. I also get the sense that Louis Edmonds is more or less channeling the sexually ambiguous Clifton Webb persona. That said PT Roger Collins conceptually was probably supposed to be George Sanders’ Jack Favell. And I can see Bruno Hess there too.

      1. I’m going to have to pull out my copy of the book when I find it. It sounds plausible to me that PT Roger ended up as a sort of mesh of both.

        Dark Shadows Wiki has Bruno as the only Jack counterpart (and no parallel for Roger), but they’re often off on character correspondence, sometimes understandably (as oft discussed on the blog, the resulting versions were inexact at best and sometimes just loony).

        And sometimes trying to match every DS character to someone in the book gets silly: they say Horace Gladstone was based on Dr. Hastie Lanyon from Stevenson. They share two traits: a) first names beginning with H and b) they die. Lanyon isn’t even murdered; he witnesses Hyde turn back into Jekyll, an event that sends him into a shocked decline and he dies some weeks later. There’s no “blackmailer who knows the secret and gets murdered” in Stevenson. That’s an intrusion from traditional soapland, not the literary mashups.

      2. AND, Judith Anderson is also in Laura.

        “I must say, for a charming, intelligent girl, you certainly surrounded yourself with a remarkable collection of dopes.”

        Det. MacPherson, Laura (1944)

      3. From the novel even more than the movie; Waldo’s fingerprints are all over this mashup. HIs sword/gun becomes the cane Yaeger waves around, and he was positively Angelique levels of obsessive about having Laura love only him.

    2. While there’s a lot of general portrait-bothering on DS, as you’d expect from any Gothic tale, PT Angelique’s portrait always did make me think of Gene Tierney’s in Laura.

      1. It’s so weird; I just watched Leave Her to Heaven, with Gene playing an Angelique-level jealousy monster. Starred with Vincent Price again as well!

      1. It was a hit in Germany and spread elsewhere. There were plans for a Broadway version in 2011, but it was mired in melodrama and legal troubles (several investors were actually faked by a middleman, and by 2017, the producers lost the rights).

        The second Mrs. DeWinter was listed in playbills and soundtrack as “Ich” (I).

        Here’s a scene in German:

    3. In the beginning, they were definitely doing both REBECCA and LAURA, which is why it started so weird. Compare Amy’s scream when she sees Alexis to Bessie (the maid in LAURA)’s scream when she sees Laura. Denise Nickerson did a fabulous job.

  2. My sense of televisual literacy tells me that somebody is going out that window. Doesn’t have to be Maggie, doesn’t have to be tomorrow’s episode. To paraphrase Chekhov – you don’t have a great camera angle like that in Act 1 without using it in Act 3…

    That’s another of the beauties of this story line, they can kill off anybody; there are infinite realities for Barnabas to pass into, whole armies of Collins families and friends to extinguish, and the ‘real’ Collins family could still be safe in their goldfish bowl. He might even find a universe where Josette had become a vampire and her love, Barnabas, had leapt from the cliff.

    1. Ooh, is that the one where Angelique and Josette had a fling before Josette was engaged (against her will) to Barnabas and in a jealous pique, Angelique curses her to vampirism?

      1. Vampirism requires that Angelique receive a gunshot wound, preferably (but not necessarily) in the shoulder. Not to worry, she’ll be fine again in a couple minutes. (Ta-daah!) But, as with all of Angelique’s witchcraft, she will be unable to rescind or reverse her curse. The flappy bat cannot be revoked.
        My thinking was that Angelique would blame Josette for stealing away Barnabas’ love. And somehow firearms got involved (we are, after all, talking about the Collins family, who keep loaded guns in every room, including the nursery).
        But your way is good, too.

  3. Can you imagine if Grayson Hall’s Hoffman was given the same lesbian overtones as Danvers? Hoffman showing Angelique’s underwear drawer to Maggie would have been extra creepy.

    1. I’m trying to think of anyone who could show Angelique’s underwear drawer to Maggie without it being super creepy… 🙂

        1. Rest assured…
          Past, Present, or Parallel, I will always prefer my Dark Shadows to be SUPER creepy! (It was the ‘saving grace’ through the Leviathan storyline. (Well, that, and that charismatic pigweasel.))

    2. Can you imagine if Quentin had caught Maggie elbow deep in Angelique’s underwear drawer? Now THAT would have been funny!

      1. Nonsense, she’s just looking for some more of those old love letters.

        Now if Maggie had caught Quentin rooting through Angie’s dainties…

        1. Of course the most revealing – and helpful – underwear drawer gotcha moment would be if Quentin caught Cyrus pawing through Maggie’s lingerie. But, the Professor would simply claim he was lookin’ for voodoo dolls and Quentin would believe him cause Quentin was absent from school the day they taught common sense.

          1. Pawing; okay. But we must (MUST) draw the line somewhere – Cyrus cannot be caught rubbing lingerie on his face. 🙂

              1. Especially if Maggie’s under pants have a jaunty tassel or pompom. Oh I can totally see John Yaeger with those underpants on his head.

                  1. He sure does. And because he has kinks, his head gear selections would not be complete without a 50’s retro bullet bra from Liz’s foundation garment collection.

    3. It’s always a little bit there with Grayson Hall–vapors remaining from her great performance as a repressed lesbian in Night of the Iguana.

      1. Grayson Hall–vapors remaining from her great performance

        Not to mention her not-so-repressed, but still great, Pepe in “Satan in High Heels:”

        1. Riccardo wrote, “Not to mention her not-so-repressed, but still great, Pepe in ‘Satan in High Heels:’ ”

          I just located my copy of “SIHH” on dvd way in the back of my bookshelf. The version I bought a few years ago (released by “Something Weird Video” in a red and yellow case with BRIGHT GREEN lettering of the title) must be digital because it never would play properly on an ordinary DVD player. However I am able to watch it smoothly now on a laptop computer connected to the TV. So thank you for the reminder Riccardo!

          1. So thank you for the reminder Riccardo!

            No problem. Grayson is a radiant light, as always, but that movie made me realize that when George Lucas was criticized by the cast of “Star Wars” for only telling them “faster, more intense” on the set, he wasn’t wrong. I kept wanting to say that to the cast of “Satan in High Heels,” IIRC (I may have shouted it at the screen once or twice). But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

    4. I think that subtext is there between Hoffman and Angelique. Probably unrequited on Angelique’s part.

  4. That scene with Maggie at the window unearthed a childhood DS memory. I really didn’t understand during original airing that we were in PT. I just knew a pretty girl named Maggie was at the window, and I was really frightened for her!

  5. And this is why I like your blog so much, Danny:

    Mrs. Danvers — who doesn’t have a first name, so I assume it’s Julia — is pretty much the embodiment of Team Rebecca.

  6. It just occurred to me, Danny — perhaps I just missed it, but I don’t recall you making any mention of “Angelique’s Theme” — a piano instrumental — during the PT storyline. It struck me, even as a kid, as a blatant but unsuccessful attempt to reproduce the success of “Quentin’s Theme.” It’s failure, from that perspective, can probably be chalked up to (1) the fact that lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place, (2) it just wasn’t as good, nor nearly as haunting, and (3) it didn’t have the same evocative resonance in the storyline as “Quentin’s Theme” did. That is, whereas the sound of “Quentin’s Theme” in the present day signaled the presence and power of Quentin’s ghost, “Angelique’s Theme” really played no such role in PT. At any rate, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. If you’ve already shared them and I missed them, please point me to them. Thanks!

    1. Wayne wrote: “… Angelique’s Theme” — a piano instrumental — during the PT storyline. It struck me, even as a kid, as a blatant but unsuccessful attempt to reproduce the success of “Quentin’s Theme. …”

      I completely agree with you that it seemed an extremely transparent attempt to duplicate the success of the 45rpm single “Quentin’s Theme.” I has the same thought as you when I watched as a kid — ‘Here we go again’ was what I remarked to those watching with me in 1970. Quentin’s haunting had “Quentin’s Theme.” It was a great success, so they tried to repeat the successful formula in PT1970 with Angelique’s theme. But as you note, lightning doesn’t often strike twice.

      However I really do like “Ode to Angelique” probably even a little more than “Quentin’s Theme,” which I also really like.

      The tune titled “Ode to Angelique” by Robert Cobert & Orchestra, and produced by Charles R. Grean (of “Quentin’s Theme fame) was released as a 45rpm single on Roulette records. The B-side was “Missy” also by Cobert, a tune you may well recognize from first year or two of the show, where short snippets from “Missy” were sometimes used as background music for scenes with Victoria Winters and if I recall correctly also for Maggie Evans. I think of it as being “Victoria Winters’ Theme” though they never named it that. Note also: the flip side tune “Missy” was also featured in HODS, where it was used as soundtrack during scene of the costume party at Collinwood. All these tunes are on the 8 CD set of the complete music from Dark Shadows, where one may enjoy many different versions of the same favorite tunes recorded by Bob Cobert.

      -Count Catofi

      1. It’s been mentioned in the books and elsewhere but Dark Shadows was a ground-breaker in terms of scoring for daytime TV, let alone television in general. And it has lasting impact. Many soap operas of the day had generic organ music but Robert Cobert really changed that, creating themes and music cues that heightened the drama and spookiness of the show.

        As for themes I didn’t find Angelique’s theme appealing, Quentin’s Theme had a wistful melancholy that still gives me chills. The “eerie” 1969 mix that played over the montage of an empty Collinwood when the ghost of Quentin had forced the family to leave is especially powerful. I think Joanna’s Theme that later was associated with Quentin & Daphne (and was the opening theme in Night Of Dark Shadows) comes close

        1. It’s odd. Quentin’s theme is a sweeping waltz, you can imagine dancing to it, getting caught up in the swirl of the tune. Far more inviting for that reason. Angelique’s is something like a nineteenth-century parlor song, very contained, almost static–like a child’s melody with tiny steps; it obviously was only intended to work in the spooky version, where the pretty, almost saccharine tune is distorted by the ominous background to warn us, horror-movie-style, that monsters can play at innocence. But Angelique–especially with Parker playing her–has her own pathos and her own scary passion, which isn’t even hinted at; her theme is ironic, faux-innocent, which has its uses, but it means almost deliberately not capturing what’s fascinating about Angelique.

          1. According to the conceit of the story, “Ode to Angelique” was supposedly written by hack composer Bruno Hess (which sounds like the name of Dr. Mengele’s assistant at Auschwitz who probably only got the job because he was related to Rudolf, but I digress). As such, “Ode” sounded like it was made by someone who only enshrined his fantasy of who Angelique was without really capturing her beautifully devious spirit. That misstep was exactly right for the story, though probably not intended. There is an episode where Bruno plays the melody, embroidering it with harmonies galore, and it just goes to show how cliched the idea behind the tune really is.

            1. Since the music plays every time we see Parallel Time before Barnabas enters it, I think we’re supposed to regard it as intrinsic to the aperture between the universes. Which makes Bruno, and his hackiness, the heart of the whole Parallel Time segment. I think 1970 PT is one of the stronger periods of the show, but those who don’t like it can’t say they weren’t warned!

        2. Tony Edwards wrote, “… The “eerie” 1969 mix that played over the montage of an empty Collinwood when the ghost of Quentin had forced the family to leave is especially powerful. …”

          How true, Tony, and how very disturbing to watch Quentin’s ghost, having driven Roger and the rest of the Collins family from their home, laughing in wicked celebration at the top of the stairs to the tune of “Quentin’s Theme.” Among the very best of DS …

        3. And, of course, there is the opening theme from Dark Shadows, which (like the theme from The Twilight Zone) is a synonym for spookiness.

        4. Joanna is my favorite.

          Because it is inappropriate for a spook show, it got played only twice on air, maybe.

          100 times in the movie, though, and I loved it.

      2. Angelique’s Theme reminds me of the quote “for those folks who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they will like.” It’s lovely and well written, but just kind of there. It doesn’t really seem to have a beginning or ending–a character plays it for a while and then quits.

    2. Episode 977 has a brief mention, along with Danny’s lyrics for the piece (I think – were they playing Ode To Angelique when we looked into the PT Portal?). Oh, now I’ll have to go back and watch again.

  7. I spent most of 11th grade reading books that Dark Shadows stories were “based” on or “inspired” by, and Rebecca was the first. It’s also the only one I’ve read over and over again (though Turn of the Screw did lead me to several earlier books which I’ve also re-read, and which I include in my DS library, even though they are not connected to the show).

    It’s episodes like these that make suffering through the high 990s worthwhile.

  8. “Ode to Angelique” by Robert Cobert, link below from YouTube is the usual version followed by the dreamy or spooky version (4min 16sec), uploaded by FanForeverDS:

    1. Not toward you Count, but I direct this at the fans who put this lovely montage together: Never say things like “no infringement intended” because it is intended and accomplished; that’s the point of the exercise and no way around it.

    2. It sounds like a lullaby or something you’d dance a minuet to. Pleasant little melody but not memorable. Nice montage homage though.

  9. This is just about the silliest adaptation of Rebecca that you could do in 1970, besides making it into an episode of Sesame Street.

    I remember Carol Burnett did a very silly version…

  10. Ah, Quentin’s Theme… I got the sheet music and played it all the time…memorized it. I played it for my junior high music teacher, and she had me perform it at the 8th grade recital… mostly, because she thought it was cute that Karen QUINTON was playing QUENTIN’s Theme.

    1. Aside from the issues of whether “Ode to Angelique” is as good as “Quentin’s Theme” as a piece of music, and whether it’s just a contrived attempt to have lightning strike twice, I think another issue is the character affiliation. Quentin struck like fire in 1969, and the association of the song with him had much to do with his wild popularity. Despite Angelique being a “kaiju” (as Danny says) and certainly being a popular character, she never was anything quite like Quentin, and she’s been around for a long time on the show. The character associations for the song just aren’t as strong as they were for Quentin.

  11. I have been away from “EveryDay” for a while, but I have been watching the show. Here I drop back in to read an excellent entry about “Rebecca.” How right you are about how weird this storyline has been without the chief cast members.

    I am glad you mentioned Roger’s scene and his taunting of Maggie. Still in costume from the ball? Maggie is. I don’t see a hell of a difference between the ascot/kerchief Roger wears here and the one he wore in several other episodes. As I say, I have not been reading these posts consistently, so maybe you addressed this, but I was struck that there were a few episodes in which Roger wore a three-piece suit. He almost became the Roger from the other universe that Barnabas comes from. Then he goes back to being the ascot-wearing Roger just in time for his dénouement.

    I have been developing the theory that DS has secret-weapon actors who can be relied on to give tour-de-force performances. Louis Edmonds would be one of them except that there has never been any secret about how good he is. In the opening scene of this episode, he makes a remark about guests whose laughter is forced, and then proceeds to demonstrate with his own laughter that it needn’t sound forced even if it is fake.

    While I’m at this, there is another thing that might not be a first in this episode but is on display here: the photo of Quentin by Maggie’s bedside seems to show him with mutton chops. That just seems a little “inside.” Also, I think that in subsequent episodes it appears on the other side of the bed.

  12. Regarding Roger, I’ve thought that PT Roger harked back a lot to the original Roger Collins at the very beginning of the show when he was being set up as a (the?) villain. His sarcasm and cynicism about the family were much crueler than the later “Uncle Roger,” much like PT Roger’s, and he was determined to get rid of Victoria Winters. Indeed, their first meeting is such that it seems Roger is about to push Vicki off Widow’s Hill (and he no doubt loved Vicki’s being terrified by him).

  13. Vicki de Winter almost made me choke on my popcorn. Really good entry, Danny.
    My mom pointed out to me the similarity with “Laura”. I hadn’t seen the movie yet when this episode ran originally. Roger definitely reminds me of Clifton Webb’s character.
    The comments were fun, too. There has to be a fanfic where Josette is a vampire and Barnabas goes over the cliff. There just has to be!
    I found it interesting that Hoffman tells Angelique she won’t be a part of it and ends up standing by as Angelique tries to get Maggie to jump. It reminded me of Julia and Dr. Woodard. Apparently Julia Hoffman is just meant to assist murderers whatever reality she’s in.

  14. I also wanted to mention that there are claims that du Maurier stole “Rebecca” from Carolina Nabuco’s novel “A Sucessora” so maybe they thought if she protested they could say they actually stole from Nabuco instead.

  15. “ Rebecca, a best-selling book that for some reason doesn’t include even a single member of the living dead.”

    Perhaps a better model they should have gone for is Blythe Spirit. A similar initial set-up that does include the living dead, a dotty medium and seances.
    And harkening back to 1966, they even tamper with the car brakes!

  16. Love the connection to “Rebecca”, what a great analysis. Also loving the hair and costumes in these episodes, even Lt Forbes!! The girls sure have been wearing lots of nightgowns and robes lately. The emerald velvet on Elizabeth was awesome. I sometimes think Ms. Bennet must be using her own wardrobe. That didn’t look like Orbachs and the diamond necklace looked real too. It was genius to introduce “House of Dark Shadows” in the blog the other day; the timing was perfect. Just as the film finished wrapping in real time, the cast has returned, and yes, it certainly feels like the producers/writers are priming the TV audience for the release of the feature film, hence the nightgowns, which made me think of David E’s observation while viewing the movie with Danny: “Caroline doesn’t have on underwear”, and then Danny later with Roger Davis and the tight shirt “that was my Caroline moment” hilarious, their whole exchange was brilliant. We had a nice flow there leading up to the costume party and that amazing camera angle with Maggie on the edge of the window. I’m ahead a few episodes now and can’t believe what they are doing with John Yeager so wanted to revisit some happier thoughts from this earlier, much better sequence of events, along with an excellent post on “Rebecca”.

  17. Great post! I’ll have to add “Rebecca” to my reading list. Plus any post with a Muppet reference, and Miss Piggy at that, is tops in my book.

    I LOVE bitchy PT Roger!! So glad he’s back.

    The camera work in this one was awesome, especially the scene at the window.

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