Episode 1061: I’ll Be There For You

“For as long as I exist, I’ll despise this room for what it has done to me.”

“Why is fate so determined to offer me a chance for happiness and then destroy it right before my eyes?” says Barnabas, because everything is always about you.

And we’re back! Gentleman vampire Barnabas Collins and his trickster pal Julia Hoffman have been dimension-slumming for the last several months, in an alternate Collinwood where people weren’t very nice to each other and almost everyone ended up dead. I believe the final score was sixteen murders total, wiping out almost the entire Collins family, all of their friends, a couple servants, a chemist, a guy who rented out his farmhouse, and a curly-haired hypnotist who we never really figured out who he was. Plus their mansion burned to the ground, with at least two people buried alive in the flaming wreckage. Meanwhile, Barnabas and Julia managed to flip back to their home dimension at the last second, and all they can do is complain.

“She was the only woman who ever made me forget my dear lost Josette,” the bloodsucker laments. He’s talking about his quickie Vegas wedding to a parallel nobody called Roxanne, who he decided he was in love with while she had her eyes shut. When she woke up, she was also struck with the revelation that Fate had brought them together, and she followed Barnabas around like a faithful pet, until she got herself abducted and mansion-roasted, which was also Fate. Everything is.

Narratively, Roxanne was dead weight, an answer to a question that nobody asked, and not dragging her across the border is the correct answer. These summer-camp romances never last anyway.

Julia, never one to miss an opportunity to emote, gets a close-up to express her feelings. They’ve been doing this lately with Julia and Barnabas, throwing bones to the shippers.

“We forget how rare a life of love can be,” Julia breathes, goggle-eyed. “You’re not the only one who’s had so little hope.” A heavy sigh. “It’s something one learns to live with,” she adds. “We can get used to anything if we have to.” But with bonus eye and lip trembles.

She turns her high beams on Barnabas, who ignores them completely. He moves across the room, strikes a pose in front of a nearby camera, and delivers, “For as long as I exist, I’ll dispise this room for what it has done to me.”

Then there’s a crash of thunder, signaling that the longing-for-Roxanne phase of our lives is over; they just move on and forget all about it. Hooray!

And this is the world we’ve leaped home to — a nightmare Collinwood, ruined and roachbit, an extreme home makeover rendered by catastrophe, sadness and time. Maybe being trapped in the burning Collinwood wasn’t so bad after all.

This is the foyer set that we love, but the roof’s caved in, the walls are cracked, and the spiders have upped their game considerably. It’s like they took a shambles, and dropped it from a great height onto another shambles.

It’s fantastic. In the previous time trips that the show’s taken, the travelers have always returned to safety and status quo, a Collinwood that has kept calm and carried on. They’ve never done anything remotely like this. Dark Shadows is an enterprise that runs entirely on surprise, and this is as surprising as it gets. There’s Vicki landing in the 18th century, there’s Julia getting a short haircut, and then there’s this; I can’t think of anything else in this league.

It’s an eerie mix of familiar and strange, the family home transformed into a treacherous landscape; it’s basically body horror for houses. But it makes sense, emotionally, because we’ve jumped from one apocalypse to another. We never thought we’d see Collinwood destroyed, and now we’ve seen it twice, two episodes in a row.

“Was there a war?” Julia wonders. “Or a hurricane?” Then she gasps, and picks up something from the table. “Oh, Barnabas, look!” she says. “Look, this glass! It’s as if it was left half-empty!” Which is an amazing thing to make a big deal about. You’ve got the top half of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the front yard; stemware is not the issue.

And the plants, I can’t get over the plants. A little later in the week, they get sloppy with the lighting, and the foyer foliage starts to look a little silly, when you can see it’s a prop tree that’s leaning against the wall. But here, in the dim light of this spectacular moment, it looks like vines and creepers have invaded the house, filling up empty spaces like a cancer. Collinwood has fallen.

When we’ve had a second to adjust to that idea, they walk into the drawing room, and — bonnnnnnggg! — it’s happened there too! They could just spend the rest of the episode walking from room to room and doing dramatic stings; I would be completely fine with that.

“There was no war or hurricane here,” Barnabas pronounces. “It’s as though the house was simply abandoned.” My guess is it’s Vicki-related.

“Julia,” he gasps, “do you suppose that everyone we knew, all our friends — Maggie, Elizabeth, David — do you suppose they’re dead?” Julia doesn’t know what to suppose.

But this is a crime scene, and the Junior Detectives start piecing together some nonsensical clues. First there was the glass, and now some fossilized papers on the desk.

“Barnabas, look!” she says. “These papers! I left them here, the night I went into Parallel Time!” She picks up exhibit A. “Look, they crumble at my touch!” she says, actively crunching them to bits with both hands.

“It’s possible that some kind of radiation has sped up the process of deterioration!” says Barnabas, who is a scientist.

Then Julia finds another bit of paper, preserved in amber like dinosaur DNA. She reads: “We must leave Collinwood before the day is out! We must!” Then she says, “It’s a note in Elizabeth’s handwriting, but it’s not finished!” I don’t know how she knows that, it sounds pretty finished to me. Maybe Liz was planning on a couple more “we musts”, but we get the gist.

Barnabas looks outside, and notes that trees have grown all the way up to the door. He adopts a thoughtful expression, and delivers another helping of vampire science.

“Julia,” he considers, “do you think there was some disturbance in the time barrier — some disturbance in the warp — and we’ve come back to another time? Our own time — but at some time in the future?” This is what happens when you keep using the word “time” to mean things that aren’t actually time.

So they close the doors on Collinwood forever again, for the second time this week. Then there’s a long, delicious disaster-porn tracking shot across the set, because the set dressers have done a lot of work and it needs to be appreciated.

So Barnabas and Julia have to go to the cemetery, to find a place for his weary bones to rest — “past and future, our time or Parallel Time, the curse is still with me,” he says, because again this is mostly about him — and apparently the coffin in the Old House has been removed. There’s no sanctuary for them here.

And the really exciting thing is that they have no idea how to get back home. They’ve established that they can’t travel back via Parallel Time, because the PT Collinwood is no longer standing. They’re lost in this new, damaged world.

Here’s where they find out how far they’ve fallen: a new grave, dated 1995. They’re way off course, tossed a couple decades further than they wanted to go.

And that explains everything — now we know why everyone’s drinking Zima and wearing Rachel haircuts. It’s the 90s! That means Collinwood was destroyed by the Unabomber, or it’s the Oklahoma City bombings, or possibly the mansion collapsed under the weight of all those stacks of America Online CD-ROMs.

So here they are, two friends, adrift in an uncharted decade. They’re skipping straight to Star Trek: Voyager without watching The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine, and they still think of OJ Simpson as the guy who won the Heisman Trophy. Nobody told them life was gonna be this way.

Tomorrow: Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days).

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Barnabas is wearing his cape and holding his cane when he’s in the fire in Parallel Time — but when the room changes, both the cape and cane are gone.

After the Parallel Time room changes, Julia looks around and says, “It’s so — it’s so — it seems so different!”

In the foyer, Julia picks up a glass and says, “Look, this glass — it’s as if it was left half-empty!” It is empty, as far as I can see.

Just after Barnabas says, “It’s as though the house were simply abandoned!” a shadow passes by the set on the right.

When Barnabas and Julia find a new grave, Julia coughs.

Behind the Scenes:

In the teaser, a clip from the end of Friday’s episode, we hear Roxanne scream “Barnabas!” twice as he tries to reach her through the flames. It’s possible that the reason we don’t see her on the other side of the flames at the end of Friday’s episode — which would have been exciting and dramatic — is that they’d have to pay her for appearing in this episode. She doesn’t appear in today’s credits.

There are only five episodes of Dark Shadows that have three actors, and this is one of them. The other four are episode 18 (Roger, Vicki and David talk about Roger’s car accident), episode 244 (Jason pressures Liz into confessing to Carolyn), episode 250 (Maggie tries to talk Willie into helping her destroy Barnabas) and episode 507 (Stokes and Julia try to interfere in Carolyn’s Dream Curse dream).

Set designer Sy Thomashoff writes about the 1995 set in The Dark Shadows Almanac: Millennium Edition

“We decided that under these conditions the windows would have been demolished, the ceiling and beams would have tumbled down and plaster would have fallen off the walls and the ceilings. Leaves, dirt and debris would have created havoc on the inside. I decided that the best way to achieve this was to layer on top of everything the added elements that would have registered their effects on the interior of the foyer and the drawing room. I designed what looked like the overhead beams and chunks of old plaster and had the crew suspend them from the grill above. We created torn and shredded draperies and broken windows in place of the existing ones. We took the doors off their hinges and stood them askew. We exposed the brick that was beneath the plaster, even though there never had been brick there before.

“The carpentry and paint shops had a couple of weeks to fabricate the various elements and ship them to the studio. I remember that it was a Friday night when the studio crew set everything in place in the drawing room and foyer. By midnight we had placed all the rubble and all but two of the eight hanging overhead sections of plaster and beams. The crew, who were by that time exhausted from a long and harrowing week of hard work, announced that whether I was done or not, they were going home. I really couldn’t blame them and I was only too happy myself to call it a night. The episodes that followed certainly gave the show yet another look, which was what kept us percolating.”

Tomorrow: Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days).

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

151 thoughts on “Episode 1061: I’ll Be There For You

  1. Every time I see this episode it’s just as disturbing as when I first saw it just shy of 14. Seeing the grave of David Collins with whom I shared the same birth year (as did David Henesy who was also born in October)still gives me the creeps. Indeed this was scary. Sure it was just an audio effect but the echo sound here really resonated in the ruins of Collinwood. And poor Mrs Johnson.She wasn’t insane, just haunted. I agree this “change” episode was a shocker

    At this point Barnabas and Julia are only making guesses. There’s no way of knowing what happened back in PT when the room changed and they were hurtled into 1995. And when we do get an idea of what happened, there’s no follow-up.Of course they were busy with other matters at the time.

    1. The ruined Collinwood reminds me of of those pictures of abandoned neighborhoods in Detroit, or New Orleans–the crumbling remnants of pitiful man and his doings being smothered by nature, who’s had it with our shit.

  2. This 1995 storyline, as short as it is (only a couple of weeks), is one of the darkest the original series did. Barnabas and Julia are short on information and allies, forced to try piece this wasjig (it’s a real thing, google it) of death and destruction. There’s no good authority figure to appeal to for help and intel. No Stokes at hand. Just a malevolent force that doesn’t like the Dark Shadows Dynamic Duo investigating and is ready to do something about it.

    The set for the abandoned Collinwood is creepy as well.

    1. There’s no authority figure to help them out in this episode, and the comfort of our RT family members is also missing: Liz, Roger, David, Amy and Maggie; and in this episode we don’t even know if Carolyn and Quentin are still around.

      Even thought I knew that this time trip wouldn’t logically last long, there was still so much uncertainty with it. It stays that way until the appearance of a ghost wearing a period costume, which let me know that there was a lot more time travel coming up, like it or not.

    2. Thanks for including the puzzle reference, I did look it up to see what that was about. BTW it’s spelled “WasGIJ” though a search engine will get you there either way.

  3. Just three characters in this episode: Julia, Barnabas and Mrs. Johnson. And it’s a Top 10 for me. I usually lament the limited cast. But in this case, three was just right.

    Great job with the set and the shock.

    1. Wow. “Wow!” x1000, actually.

      This is, by far, my favorite episode (so far!) and I could literally list 1000 things I love about it if anyone cared to read my list (which … yeah, I know that no one would care to. 😉

      (Oh, but the one funny thing I have to mention, though, was that my stinkiest kitty finished using the litter box a split-second before a frowning Barnabas wrinkled his nose and exclaimed to Julia, “That smell!

      The rest of the episode, though, elicited no humor; just awe and excitement. This is a time-travel storytime I can really get into: just Barnabas and Julia united against … I don’t even know what. The whole world, it seems. And seriously, everything about this show– from Julia’s almost fully open acknowledgement of her unreciprocal love for Barnabas to Mrs. Johnson’s beautiful, soul-shattered lies–it’s just awesome. I’m not even by the faintest degree embarrassed by how much I love this show, anymore. This episode just … rocks. Number one for me, all the way. (So far).

      William, for you and others who would list it in your top 10, I would very much love to know your other favorite ranked episodes so I can make sure I’ve watched them! (I have only watched the Julia episodes up until this one so I may well have missed some other especially good ones).

      I would also love to know your favorite characters. My own top characters (or character pairings [not romantic, though; just dynamics-wise]) are:

      Julia and Barnabas
      Nicholas Blair and Angelique
      Carolyn and Adam
      Julia and Angelique
      Julia and Stokes
      Julia and Chris
      that awesome medium who investigated Quentin’s ghost

    2. This was just the right episode to bring Mrs. Johnson back for a star turn, too. Clarice can weep and not tell you vital facts better than anybody.

  4. “For as long as I exist, I’ll despise this room for what it has done to me.”

    That is just an insane and wonderfully Barnabas Collins line.

    Tangentially, I think the FRIENDS theme song works better for DS than for the characters on FRIENDS, who basically lived our dream 20s life.

    1. Yes; with all the romantic goings-on between the living, dead, and living dead, it does give new meaning to the lyric, “Your love life’s D.O.A.”

      1. …lol…Melissa. I love how Barnabas ranted on Roxanne, Julia tries to get a final bid in, relating how frustrating it is for her as well, wanting somebody that doesnt want her. At the same time, he has been striking out literally every turn. He turns away from her. However, when they get to Carolyn’s house, he catches himself talking about Roxanne and then apologizes to Julia.

        1. Honestly, when he’s going on about Roxanne and how great she was all comatose and blank, you can see Julia thinking “I’d say I’M RIGHT HERE, but you know that and you don’t care, you moron.”

          Then, when she has her speech about having to endure and you can get used to anything if you have to, Barnabas looks at her and I yell TAKE THE DAMN HINT, YOU LUMMOX BLOODSUCKER and he walks right past her faithful face, that face that has rescued him more times than can be counted or deserves, and yells at a room.

          Julia, you deserve better than this. Even Doctor Woodard from his peaceful grave is thinking yeah, you killed me and all but you’ve really put up with enough.

  5. At least they got to skip the 1991 revival series, and they’re just in time for the Sci-Fi Channel’s original series reruns.

  6. Poor Julia. A few close ups is the closest she gets to Barnabas.
    Nitpick to the writers. There shouldn’t have been a Henry Beecham buried @ Eagle Hill in 1995. Eagle Hill wasn’t accepting new corpses, if all the previous screeching about “No one’s been buried here for x years,” is to be believed.

    1. It probably was writer error and some cemeteries do permanently close, but the cemetery right next to our house had its last burial in 1955 and then was cleaned up and started selling lots again in the late 1990s. So there was 40 years where no one was buried there, so both things could be true. For instance if there was room, I assumed the current Collins family would someday join the crypt.

      1. Interesting. I learn something new everyday. Never heard of a cemetery reopening before. In any event, I will say our little sojourn in 1995 is one of my favorite parts of the show.

        1. An historic cemetery in my hometown (burials back to the late 1700s) was “closed” for years, but now has a sign out front advertising lots (plots?) for sale.
          I wanted to do a video for YouTube, where a shady TV lawyer offers to give assistance to the supernatural creatures who have been dispossessed of their rest (like the mortgage crisis a few years back), but I thought people might get offended. (Or worse, the undead might respond, thinking that I was serious!)

        2. On my family reunion in Germany, I learned they basically bulldoze everything away every 50 years or so and starg over.

      2. Eagle Hill is a different kind of cemetery. With all the comings and goings, what they need is a NO/Vacancy sign, like on a motel, for when someone is called from their grave and they have an opening.

        1. Not only that, but it’s always changing location. Sometimes it’s at least a mile or two from Collinwood; other times it can be seen from the windows of the house.

    1. It was definitely CD’s. I remember because I was substitute teaching at the time and my kids were doing a project to make Christmas tree ornaments out of them.

  7. Dany, I found this site about a year ago and your observations are fantastic, Born in 1958, I was able to see the original. Ironically as “punishment” for bad grades, I wasn’t allowed to watch once Bramwell was introduced – No lose. 1995 is ok, because I will get to watch Thayer David again.

  8. As pointed out, great job with the set dressing! In addition, I love the echo-effect used with Barnabas’ and Julia’s voices. It accentuates the loneliness and devastation.

      1. Well, now Barnabas has another fix-up project!
        Just needs to find Willie to do all the grunt work.

          1. Is all that we see or seem
            But a dream within a dream?
            And ev’ry voice that ain’t perfect,
            But a lingering sound effect?

  9. Good god — denizens of Collinwood always finished their brandies (mostly in single gulps) — half a glass is certainly the best indication that something terrible had occurred…

  10. Episode 286 could also be added to your episodes with only 3 actors fact. As only Barnabas, Willie and Victoria appear on on-screen. The voice of Sarah’s ghost is heard briefly but she doesn’t appear on screen, and isn’t credited either, so presumably will have been pre-recorded.

  11. Listening to Barnabas lament the loss of Josette is one thing but, his whining over Roxanne is just obnoxious. Makes him sound like a total sap. A total MIDDLE AGED sap – the worst kind.

      1. Nah, you’re not a sap if you think Roxanne is hot. But, if you start morosely posting about fate being determined to parade all these hot women across your TV screen and then destroy them before your eyes, that would be pretty sappy.

      2. Yeah, hold onto your resentment dude…it’ll help keep you from facing the fact that IRL pretty young ninnies will NEVER think a middle aged man like you is “way hot.”

    1. Julia thinks, “I know something else that will make you forget your dear, lost Josette: a good, swift conk on the noggin!”

      1. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to understand why Julia never gave Barnabas a good swift stake through the heart. He was never hesitant to stab her in the heart.

      2. Poor diddums! Barney shall not see his beloved Roxanne in her pale blue ‘diaphanous’ peignoir ever again! How much longer must we (and Julia) endure this little puppy dog pining away? Time to sedate him, methinks …

        But behind Julia’s slightly sad expression when he mentions his dear Roxanne, Julia’s trying to behave appropriately during his time of grief. She carefully controls her impulses to smile, laugh, say ‘good riddance,’ … or start dancing.

        1. If only Julia’s impulse control had failed just this once and she’d barked out a laugh after Barnabas’ teen angst meltdown over Roxanne. It WAS a funny moment – hey, we were all laughing, why shouldn’t she?

    2. Barnabas behaves like a self-absorbed EMO teen (arguably why kids that age liked him so). It’s another example, I think, of how DS doesn’t really function like a traditional soap opera, which are usually from the perspective of women and whose plots are driven by women. It’s also why all later adaptations of DS struggle because it believed Barnabas was this typical dashing leading man. Quentin at both his high (1897) and his lows (1970 PT and 1840, depending on your POV) fit the “dark Heathcliff hero” of soaps more than Barnabas ever did.

      Barnabas has no story goals in common with, say, a Victor Newman or Jack Abbott (maybe Ridge Forrester as a stretch). His obsession with “true love” — in a “safe” non sexual romantic sense — could make him work as a teen character.

      1. I just had a flash of what the Ridge/Brooke/Barnabas love triangle would have looked like! Hey, it coulda happened – bottom line with Brooke was who had the most money, not who had the best looks. As we know, Barnabas is a millionaire and Brooke would have been gorgeous as a vampire Bride.

  12. I was watching Dark Shadows on SciFi in high school — in 1995 I was a junior –and I remember being very tickled by their choice of that particular year to timehop.

    1. I won’t carry on about it, but I have a very BAD attitude about ‘ 95, so for me it’s fitting for THAT reason.

    2. 95 was the first time I saw the whole series in its entirety. After that I wondered why in the world is this man obsessing over Josettte, Maggie, Vicki, Angelique, Roxanne when Julia was there for him the whole time. I was 15 and realized something wasn’t quite right.

      They could have used his vampire curse as to why he kept going after the same type of women.

      1. The show did, with Maggie and Vicki. He tried to force them into the role of Josette, repreatedly. Barnabas was a different character at the start and a more interesting one, but he wasn’t meant to last. In order for him to stay on the show, they had to make him a reluctant vampire, and therefore a rather maudlin and whiny one.

  13. About the glass left half filled, did the liquid leave a film or ring on the glass? If you forgot you put a glass somewhere in the house and then find it again a couple of days later there’s usually a mark where the liquid had been but over a long time the liquid would dry up? Feeling charitably about errors today.

    1. Left half filled TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO – there should be nothing aside from possibly some skanky rainwater and mosquito larvae in it! And maybe some dead bugs. (Any suggestions on what would be a good indicator of “left in a hurry 25 years ago”?)
      And in that length of time, nobody put a torch to that ruin? Elizabeth must have had some insurance on the place…

      1. At least it wasn’t a 25 year old half full glass of milk.
        A good indicator that they left in a hurry 25 years ago…how about Maggie’s bookmarked copy of Love Story left on the foyer table? Or Quentin’s copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, hastily dropped on the bathroom floor?

        1. That can mean only one thing – Claude North is Skulking around Collinwood with a milk mustache! Bet he’d scare the socks off Mrs. Johnson.

    2. And wasn’t it nice that the family didn’t disturb the papers that Julia left on the drawing room desk when she went into parallel time – just so she could find them still on the desk in 1995?

      1. Maybe that’s why they kept going over to the East Wing to discuss plot points in the PT Room; so Julia would get the hint and come back and clean up the damn desk!

        Seriously, though, I see why they did that (in dramatic terms), so we would know that this wasn’t just another Parallel Time, that they were back in their ‘real’ universe.

        But dang, why’s it so hard to get anybody to TELL them anything? Granted, Sarah Johnson always said she didn’t gossip, but she used to blather on all the time! Maybe she was bitter because she didn’t vote for Bill Clinton. Or could be it was that Hugh Grant thing? Her Mackintosh PC crashed this morning? She lost her new Nokia cell phone? She sure seems crabby, even for Mrs. Johnson.

        1. And Mrs. Johnson was just lying her head off: she wasn’t with David when he died.

          When Barnabas and Julia first came down the stairs into the foyer in ruins, I firs thought that they were still in PT and just maybe a week or so later. You’re right: Julia’s notes on the drawing room desk to clarify that they were back in RT.

  14. A year or two ago in the blog comments, I mentioned how I wrote down (probably in the early eighties) a list of moments I remember from watching the show from age 5 to 8. Well, I found that list… and this episode ranks right at the top!

  15. I love how Julia tries to immediately dash Barnabas’ hopes of going back to PT by telling him something that she WANTS him to believe. That Angelique’s room has been destroyed by fire and the entry to PT is now gone. And poor gullible Barnabas, who is so easily fooled, doesn’t even question here theory. By the way I love the use of a different angle of Seaview in the intro to give the place a more haunted and deserted mansion. A sign that things aren’t going to be normal at all.

    Looking again at this episode and the next couple week they really had set up something promising. Just not to be

    1. Well, Barnabas probably could go back to PT, but there would be a two-story drop into the ash-and-rubble filled basement of the burnt down PT Collinwood.
      Unless he jumped ahead to 1995 PT, in which case he would appear on the roof of the new Collinsport Condos. Or in the McPlayland at the McDonald’s.

    2. “I love the use of a different angle of Seaview in the intro to give the place a more haunted and deserted mansion.”

      Yes, Tony, that was a good touch. I wish they had done the same when the destruction of Collinwood finally happens in September 1970. They opened with the same old slide of Seaview at night, with lights in the drawing room windows. Not a hint of anything different.

  16. Meanwhile, in PT, little orphan Amy Collins has begun a new life in Montana, adopted by the Beauregards and given a new name — Violet.

  17. They could have used the slide of the actual front of the mansion with the semi circular driveway. They shopped using that one just prior to the show going in color.

    1. They needed to take a photo of Seaview, and paste in a crumbling ROOF on it. The shots they use show the place as being in fairly solid condition. They could have pasted in some overgrowth on the lawn, too.

      1. They should have, but didn’t. I was always pleased when they took the time to clean the slides of Seaview, getting rid of the dust particles.

  18. This is one of my top 20 favourite episodes. Unfortunately it sets us up for a lame return to 1970 when they spend all their time blathering about things that don’t end up happening the way they’re supposed to, then wasting time until they go to 1840, where ditto.

    1. The whole ‘things not happening like they said’ worked well in 1795, guess the writers thought they’d have another bash at it.
      And the abandoned mansion angle is from the Quentin haunting; but at least this time the ghosts managed to scare off the Normals BUT GOOD!! (Because, of course, Barnabas was not there to intercede and Julia was not there to hand round the trankies.)

  19. What’s Great about 1995 is Nancy Barrett, again.

    She saves the damn show.

    She should have been at sixes and sevens.

    But she’s like Quentin without a portrait…..

  20. No wonder NB is on the show from the beginning to the last scene. If there were no vampires, I would still watch HER.

  21. I was a studio kid in 1969, during the height of the 1897 storyline. I have a great picture of myself (I was 14) with my buddies with George the guard at 433, and the “wall” is visible. You can see it covered with “I love (name of male cast member)” written in indelible marker in a rainbow of colors.

    In descending wall count order: David Selby, Jonathan Frid, David Henesy, Don Briscoe, Roger Davis. All of whom, by the way, were awesome to us studio kids. I remember hearing an old radio interview with the cast and the interviewer asked Selby if he was bothered by the fans who hung outside the studio. Selby said he would be bothered if the fans WEREN’T there.

    As a matter of fact, all of the cast, male and female (WITH ONE VERY NOTABLE EXCEPTION), were great with the fans.

    I took so many pictures with my Polaroid Swinger and Kodak Instamatic. And so many autographs (except from THE VERY NOTABLE EXCEPTION). So few survive after 48 years. In the early 2000s, I was in a bit of a financial bind and sold a lot of my memorabilia on eBay. But I still have some.

    If there were just three or four of us outside, which was often the case mid day after the casts morning break and before the 4 PM cast switch ( The cast from the episode they had just taped would leave and the cast for the following day’s episode which show up for a dry reading) Thayer David or lighting director Mel Handelsman would bring us inside.

    I cannot even describe the feeling of being in “the greatest estate of Collinwood.” I still have some pictures… my friend Jeffrey and I at the top of the foyer stairway, me by Barnabas’ coffin in that cave, Charity Trask’s room….

    In the early 1990s I returned to NYC and decided to stop by the studio. They were taping The Montel Williams Show there. As hard as they had tried to erase the wall, some remnants of it remained…. forever showing the love. Tears literally flooded my eyes.

    Are there other studio kids out there? I posted this as I watched episode 636 where the wall count and Robert Rodan were being discussed. But I really wanted people to see it. Danny, forgive me for posting it again. Also, thank you so much for this wonderful blog, which has brought me such joy as I remember the wonderful time in my life when I felt a part of something — a part of the crazy insanity of the one and only Dark Shadows.

    1. Thank to for sharing your touching and enviable memories, Isaac! I so wanted to be one of those studio kids! Thank you for describing the wall during your visit in the early 1990’s.
      I have to ask – was the notable exception LE?

      1. I think that Louis would like kids, rather than Roger.

        I never saw that in Grayson.

        Oh jeez, we could start a poll of what cast members liked or hated the kid audience, and it was ON THE STREET when they walked out.

        Or in.

        And I would have been there…….if I was a Manhattan Kid.

        But no, I’m in Baltimore County.

    2. Thanks Isaac. It’s so nice to hear that the cast liked to see the young fans outside the studio and treated them well. I lived down in NC but would have been there right by your side if I’d had the chance.
      I’m just so sorry you had to sell off some of your photos. I had a Swinger camera then, too! Weren’t they neat?

  22. It can only be Grayson Hall.


    Me, I can still dream of growing up, a kid in Manhattan…..

    Imagine….the TV ratings people look to you, the kids, to decide what the rest of the effing USA watches on the three networks….

    ……or even the crew does, on Dark Shadows.

  23. And yes, I would have been there, every time I could.

    But I was 200 miles away.


    We had great reception.

    Just as good as could be……….

    For a 60’s kid…….

    In color, too.

    I mean that cheap piece of crap we got for $69, but it worked for 5 years.

    At least, it wasn’t that 3-color bullshit filter.

  24. Btw, how close to Ed Sullivan was it?

    See, I’m 60.

    And still…watch every minute of Colbert that I can.

    For ME….

    That’s young.

  25. There’s GOT to be so many who wish that they grew up a kid in Manhattan…

    Like it was ………Normal.

    Kinda like…..

    My father’s family…. Was rich. But they thought they were NORMAL.

    I found out. not.

    You know…. How weird it is, to find out, there are people just like you?

    Like, be a big fan DS?

    Okay, not NORMAL.


  26. Ha… no… Grayson Hall was awesome. This was the Magda era and … shall we say… her hair was not always neat when she arrived (always in a cab)…. so she didn’t love having her picture taken, but she had no trouble signing autographs and visiting with us for a minute.

    Joan Bennett used to arrive in a cab, but her hair and dress were impeccable… I remember the first time I saw her… it was during the school year but my school had some kind of teacher conference so naturally a couple of friends and I went to the studio. Miss Bennett got out of the cab, shot us a look, and said, “Why aren’t you boys in school today?” When we explained, she happily signed autographs.

    Cab arrivers: Joan Bennett, Jonathan, Grayson. The rest of the cast must’ve taken the subway or the bus because they always walked from the eighth Avenue direction toward the studio.

    The Ed Sullivan theater was quite close… It is on Broadway between West 53rd and West 54th… Studio 16 was on West 53rd between 9th and 10th Avenues so just a couple of blocks away.

    Oh… and Louis admissions always signed autographs… Except for the one day when it was pouring… The storm didn’t bother me, but it seemed like he wanted to get in from the rain.

    I have so many anecdotes. An interesting tidbit that may or may not have been published somewhere… The picture of David Henesy and Diane Millay in the flames from the pre-Barnabas Phoenix storyline hanged in the studio lobby.

    1. Thank you, Isaac! The only reason I said Louis was because I couldn’t find but one photo of him outside the studio, so it made me wonder. I saw alot of photos with Grayson, so I didn’t think it would be her.

    2. Oh, I’m so glad to hear it wasn’t Joan. I loved that lady so much, though I never met her. Louis was very kind when I met him at DS conventions and on the set of All My Children. I know who it was! It was Isabella Hoopes! No? LOL.

    3. thank you, Isaac, for reassuring us it wasn’t dearly Julia. so wonderful, this heartfelt window, you went and gave us!

  27. Hmmm. I don’t know who it could have been. I mean Robin Strasser and Tom Clancy weren’t on the show.

    1. Oh? Did Robin Strasser tell her fans nastily, “get away from me?”. I can understand an occasional bad day, but this particular actress consistently refused to interact with her fans. But I am guessing she makes a lot of money now as the “keeper of the flame”… writing books filled with anecdotes that never happened…

        1. Interesting! You wouldn’t guess this from how she is with fans today. I think at some point, maybe during the 80s after Joel died, she began to see it all differently.

    1. Wow! She was nice enough when I met her at an event back in ’69. I was a kid at the time. But both she and LP were a little rude at a book signing in LA during the 90s. I wasn’t too wild about either one after that.

      Regarding Robin Strasser – I interviewed her on TV back in the early 80s. She was fine until we had to stop to change tapes and she snapped at me that she would only answer one more question. We had never had a “celebrity” act like that, and list includes people like Rita Moreno, Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, and many more.

      Regarding Tom Clancy: I was a call screener for a talk show on an NPR station and I saw what a jerk he was to the host.

  28. Lara Parker was totally opposite… gorgeous and gracious. Another anecdote, and one I am not proud of — a fellow studio kid told me that Tom Parker, at the time Lara’s husband, was listed in the Manhattan phone book. And indeed he was!

    So my friend and I went to her walk-up apartment which, if memory serves me correctly, was on the lower east side. I have no idea what we expected… That she would invite us in for milk and cookies?

    So we rang the buzzer and stood in the small lobby and she looked over the railing. One of us said, “Hi, Miss Parker.” She replied, firmly but courteously, “I think you boys need to leave.” And we did.

    It was so wrong of us and totally disrespectful. Fair game outside the studio… Completely horrible all of us to invade her privacy like that.

      1. I did not go to to the studio every day, obviously I was 13 years old and had school. I went to the studio in the morning at eight and could still make my morning classes at 8:45.

        When I was going to be at the studio in the afternoon, I sat one of those old time light timers To turn on my television and my tape recorder, audio of course, at 4 PM. So i missed the video some days. And of course I missed an occasional episode.

        1. I wrote to DragonCon and suggested they ask DS people, then I was unable to attend that year. What a bummer… Those of us from the south who were big fans just didn’t have the chance to be at the studio, ever.

  29. Hi Danny,
    Thanks so much for writing this blog. I had to re-write this comment because I had to reset my Word Press password, and when I did, it made my comment disappear! I just couldn’t find it again.

    I started watching DS back in 1967. I was 12 years old and in seventh grade. A friend of mine from school introduced me to it. She had a color TV (my family didn’t) and lived only 2 streets over from the school, so we didn’t have to rush home to see it. I came in on almost the end of the 1795 storyline. Like you’ve said, I’ve watched it in bits and pieces over the years. I recently watched all the episodes on Hulu, from Barnabas’ debut until the creation of Adam, which is where they end. I’ll have to watch the first year on Amazon next. I think I saw some of the 1795 episodes on the Sci-Fi channel when they ran it, but most were entirely new to me. I knew the story already from the Marilyn Ross novel and the 1991 revival show. I saw the entire 1897, Leviathan, and Parallel Time sequences on their first run, but after all this time, I’ve forgotten a lot of details.

    I watched it faithfully until I turned 16 and got a job after school. That was about the start of the final time travel to 1840, which I’ve never seen. I recently watched a couple of isolated episodes of this sequence on YouTube, and in my opinion, this is where DS jumped the shark. I’m not surprised that it was cancelled a few months later. Having Barnabas and Angelique as completely different people just doesn’t wash. They were 2 of the three people (along with Julia Hoffmann on some occasions, she was the third) that gave the show some continuity through the various time travels. Turning them into other people was like turning Dr. Who into someone else! A drastic shift like this was sure to turn off a lot of the audience.

    Along with this, all the teeny-boppers like me were aging out of it. We all got jobs after school back then, so we could have our own money to buy clothes, cars, music albums, save up for college, etc. Parents didn’t hand us anything, at least mine didn’t. There were no reruns and no VCR’s, so if you missed it, too bad.

    I believe that these were the prime reasons that DS ended. I don’t think shows like Sesame Street were any real competition, it was aimed a much younger age group. It also was on 3 times a day (my daughter used to watch it) so the housewives wouldn’t have had to give up DS so their young kids could watch Sesame Street.

    Also, I don’t think that parents were alarmed at the subject matter when they finally found out what DS was about. My very strict, Roman Catholic parents had grown up with Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Vincent Price movies. They also knew all the classic horror stories like The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. My father told me about these. My mother liked Edgar Allen Poe and loved to quote from “The Raven” which SHE had learned in school, when they used to make you memorize poems! So they didn’t mind that I liked horror/supernatural/sci-fi stories, because they liked them too!

    By the way, I live in RI, the home of Seagate Terrace/Carey Mansion aka Collinwood, and the Cliff Walk aka Widows’ Hill. The mansion looks even more spooky in real life than it did on TV. The cliff has been the site of a few real-life suicides and at least one accidental death. It’s about a 50 ft. drop from the cliff to a rocky beach below. So here’s real life informing art. I recently found out that a DS fan group has a Halloween party at the mansion every year. Since I only live about 35 miles from this place, I might get together with these folks.

    Again, thanks and keep up the good work!

    Carol T.

  30. I’m looking forward to Danny’s take on the next episode. Nancy Barrett gave such a haunting performance as the sad, mad Carolyn of 1995.

    1. Looking back at Early NB….I wonder if she had gotten the Victoria part…how her naturally rebellious nature might have prevented Vicki from getting dumb.

      Even Millicent showed better judgement than Vicki did at times.

        1. I thought Millicent was slap nuts hilarious.

          You could see that NB was not playing as directed, and giving a comedy edge to it.

          1. I loved that stick they had going where she and Forbes would get caught together, she’d be freaked out about her reputation and come up with some ridiculous excuse, and it would turn out that the person who caught them couldn’t care less and was just looking for somebody else.

            And by the end of 1795, she broke my damn heart.

            1. I though Millicent started out very annoying with all the giggling and girlishness. But in the latter half of 1795, she became a very engaging character as she descended into madness.

              Nancy B had so many wonderful and subtle moments. One of my favorite NB periods was when Carolyn was under Barnabas’ control just before 1795. She was also the highlight of Parallel Time, giving PT Carolyn a different flavor than Classique Carolyn.

              1. NB made the Leviathan storyline bearable. She was a warm, human counterpoint to that creepy Megan and Carolyn’s scenes with the little boys were great. Pansy Fay may be her greatest incarnation but, I also enjoyed her scenes with Tony Peterson. Also, Carolyn really “animated” Adam – what would DS have been without her?

                1. Had the Daytime Emmy Awards existed in the 1960’s, NB would have been a shoo-in for a best supporting actress award.

                2. Bearable, yes.

                  Not credible without magic that Carolyn and Jeb would be together at all, of her own free will

              1. Also, Millicent’s timing with the speaking and complimentary facial expression is comedy gold. If you don’t see it, you’re taking her much too seriously!

            2. Melissa, there was an episode that began with the Millicent & Nathan nonsense you describe & ended with Angelique cursing Barnabas! Quite a scope!

  31. I hope Mr. Horn is just busy and not doing poorly. Looking forward to the next installment. 1995 was brief but good (at least to me).

  32. Gosh — I really hope Danny’s OK. No post in nine days. I hope it’s just work or something of that sort keeping him busy.

  33. “[A] curly-haired hypnotist who we never really figured out who he was.”

    Claude North was the most interesting villain ever killed off before he got a chance to get really, really menacing. But who knows? Maybe he never could have lived up to the hype.

  34. Laugh out loud moment when Barnabas says that, seeing Roxanne lying inert and unresponsive, he was filled with the certainty that this was the woman he could truly love. After all, he’s dead half the time, so it only makes sense that a corpse-like woman would appeal to him.

  35. 1995 is great. The set design is fantastic. Barnabas and Julia are back playing junior detectives and there’s real mystery here. It was exciting for 2 weeks but unfortunately it didn’t last. This episode is excellent, though, and I enjoyed reading the other comments.

  36. “‘Julia,’ he considers, ‘do you think there was some disturbance in the time barrier — some disturbance in the warp —'”

    Everybody always talks about the time warp, but nobody ever considers the time woof.

  37. I remember reading in 1995 that the studio where DS was shot was being used for Carnie Wilson’s show. I imagined Barnabas & Julia emerging from Parallel Time onto the set of Carnie!

  38. Barnabas’s “Did David die?” is surely a blooper since he already knows David died & Mrs. Johnson’s response, “He just died, that’s all,” is the answer to, “How did David die?”

  39. This show has periods that take place in the 1790s, 1890s and 1990s. Obsessed with the turn of the century much?

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