Episode 1073: Steer the Stars

“It’s different here. I don’t have to imagine things.”

Elizabeth Collins Stoddard is perturbed, and for good reason. Her houseguests vanished into a dimensional fissure they discovered in a closed-off wing of the house, and when they returned, months later, limping and gasping and covered in space dust, they issued dire portents of calamities to come.

The house of Collins will fall, they say, collapsing into each other’s arms and weeping deliriously, and when you ask them for details, they fall to pieces. We don’t know, they say, keening. Nobody would tell us anything. The future is super cliquey.

“It’s not like Barnabas to be so concerned, unless he really believes it,” Liz says to the governess during their daily stand-up. Although it is like him, really; Barnabas and Julia are utterly hysterical about everything. It’s just that most of the time they don’t bother the squares with it.

But this time, their nonstop acid-trip monster battles took them to the space-age world of 1995, where Collinwood was destroyed and everyone was dead, following an impending war with old-timey ghosts. So Barnabas and Julia are road-testing the novel idea of telling people what’s going on in their own lives, probably setting up an ironic self-fulfilling prophecy that will consume us all.

“It’s so inconceivable to me,” Liz puzzles. “Time has simply been the day I’m living. Now, to find out that there are different times — that a past and a future do exist somewhere…”

“We have to accept that now, don’t we?” Maggie replies. This is a typical example of a Collinwood staff meeting.

“There’s no telling what’s going to happen, is there?” Liz asks.

“No,” says Maggie. “Not even the computers can figure that out yet.” Which is super exciting, I didn’t even know we had computers. Where are they keeping the computers?

But Liz is still rolling. “All these centuries,” she moans. “All that man has accomplished… and yet we know nothing about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

But tomorrow is not the problem. The problem is what’s going to happen later this afternoon.

Because we meet another new character today, and he’s terrible. They’re starting a story, and these days Dark Shadows has a policy of clearcutting all the middle-tier characters every four months, so if they’re kicking off a new storyline then they have to look at all the loose actors and say, okay, do we need somebody who’s Humbert Allen Astredo-y?

This one’s name is Sebastian Shaw, he’s an astrologer, and what you see above is the on-purpose costume that he’s wearing. I’m taking a break from talking about how awful Hallie is today, so I can talk about how awful Sebastian is.

Now, Chris Pennock characters are always a little bit hard to take. He’s an enormous slab of a monster man, and at this stage of his career, he hasn’t learned how to engage with all the puny humans who race around him at waist-level. His characters are always show-offs of one kind or another — Jeb was a rebellious world-crushing teen emperor thing who expected everyone to grovel before him, Cyrus was a snooty scientist who always knew more about whatever anybody was talking about, and John was a loudmouth rape machine.

And now there’s Sebastian the astrologer, one of the all-time mansplaining champions of the world.

Here, I’ll show you what I mean. Liz arrives at Sebastian’s office, which is constructed out of random set remnants, and she’s startled by his resemblance to her dead son-in-law, Jeb.

Sebastian looks off into the middle distance, and frowns. “You know,” he offers, “I read somewhere that there are only twelve different types of faces in the world. Yet we’re constantly amazed at people who look alike.”

So that’s pretty much Sebastian Shaw in a nutshell. That is the variety of bullshit that he talks. I’m pretty sure there are more than twelve different faces in the world; I don’t have exact figures in front of me, but it’s got to be at least in the mid-twenties, possibly higher. But Sebastian read something somewhere, and all of a sudden he needs to share that knowledge with the world.

He brushes past her. “I was about to have tea, Mrs. Stoddard,” he murmurs. “Would you care to join me? It’s an unusual Indian blend.” because of course it is. She says no thanks, so he asks her to sit down and forgets about the tea, which doesn’t exist anyway. I don’t know if you’ve ever been offered a cup of rhetorical tea, but it’s an aggravating experience.

She sits down. He doesn’t. Or possibly he’s so tall that you don’t even notice when he sits down.

“Where’s your crystal ball?” says the rube. “I expected to see a crystal ball.”

He glares at her, and spits, “I don’t think I can help you, Mrs. Stoddard, if you’re going to think of me as some kind of gypsy fortune-teller!”

She apologizes. Apparently there’s some kind of crucial distinction between the different varieties of soothsaying grifters.

Then he does a bit of cold reading, asking why Liz is so afraid of what’s going to happen. She says, happen when? and he says, this year. Then this happens.

Liz:  What’s going to happen this year?

Sebastian:  Tell me why you’re afraid, Mrs. Stoddard.

Liz:  No, you tell me.

Sebastian:  I’m not a psychic, Mrs. Stoddard.

Liz:  You seem to be.

Sebastian:  Well, I sensed a fear. You see, animals can sense when another is afraid. Why not human beings?

And ugggh, I already hate Sebastian so much. He probably read about the animals in the same place that he read about the twelve faces. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that somebody in this room has a subscription to Reader’s Digest.

She asks how he knows she’s afraid of this year, and he says, “Well, I’m an astrologer, Mrs. Stoddard. I know many things,” which I’m pretty sure means that he’s a psychic. I mean, he’s not, because he’s a con artist, but whatever.

He positions himself moodily by the candles, and peers up into the night sky that lives in his imagination. “Astrology began when man wondered how the planets and stars affected his everyday existence,” he explains. This is true, and astrology ended when men discovered that the answer was not at all.

But astrology is very in right now, thanks to all the hippies who spend a lot of time thinking about the stars, while they’re waiting for things to wear off.

The big pop culture moment for hippie astrology was the 1968 Broadway musical Hair, which opens with “Aquarius”, a rousing love song to the heavens.

When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius!
Age of Aquarius!

It’s a great song, about how people born in the late 1940s are going to lead us into a golden future of harmony and truth and mystic crystal revelations. It turned out that wasn’t really the case, but they didn’t know that; they’re not a psychic, Mrs. Stoddard.

The concept of the Age of Aquarius was based on the work of Edgar Cayce, a mystic, healer and bullshit artist from the 1930s. Cayce set up a hospital in Virgina Beach where he did psychic readings, and used magnetism and color therapy to cure people of probably not very much. Cayce believed in a lot of interesting things, including Atlantis, an advanced civilization of great understanding powered by a giant solar crystal, which disappeared for some reason even though they were way more advanced than everybody else and also they had a death ray. Seriously, Cayce predicted that in 1958, the United States would discover the secret of the Atlantean death ray. I don’t remember if we did or not.

But the important thing is that people were way more advanced in the past than they are now, for some reason, which is the same kind of thinking that animated H.P. Lovecraft’s Elder Gods fiction — that old things are smarter and more powerful than new things, and the fact that the old civilizations died out without leaving any noticeable traces is just proof of how complex and important they were. So the ancient period of spiritual wisdom was somehow followed by a period of spiritual decline called the Age of Pisces, which is responsible for all the war and famine and bad vibes that we’re currently experiencing.

But the Age of Pisces will give way to the Age of Aquarius, a golden age of love and understanding that will spread around the world, assisted by all of the communication and transportation and medical technology that we invented during the dumb old Age of Pisces.

Now, as we’ve discussed, the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969 demonstrated that the hippie ideal of peace, love and music is pretty dependent on other people taking care of the grown-up stuff, like parking and security and where does the food come from, so that’s a helpful historical marker for the point when the hippie fad burned out, and turned into something else. Like many fads, it didn’t go away completely, it just settled down into a more modest niche that could sustain itself, like bicycles and crossword puzzles. The cosmic spiritual awakening of Woodstock didn’t inspire the entire world to embrace peace, but it turned into a more durable long-term trend called New Age, which explains Austin and Northampton and Gwyneth Paltrow.

So 1970 is right on the cusp of that transition from the political, social and pharmacological revolution of the hippie movement turning into the New Age hucksterism to come, and here’s Sebastian Shaw and his Atlantean death ray to explain how it all works.

“You see, Mrs. Stoddard,” he preens, “if you know the stars, you know the person.”

Liz says that he makes it sound simple, and he smirks and says that it is very simple, which in this context means that it requires you to be in touch with the cosmic spirits, and that’s why I can understand it and you can’t.

Liz says that she must know what the rest of the year brings, and Sebastian says, “I can do several things. I can draw up a general horoscope, which will give you an idea of times that will be disadvantageous to you, or a more complete day by day chart.” That’s two things.

And then he starts talking about how money doesn’t really mean anything to him, which is the prelude to the rich lady opening her wallet.

Now, the interesting thing is that Dark Shadows is taking an up-to-the-minute trend that’s popular among the show’s core audience, and making it look predatory and villainous. He’s clearly excited about getting a foothold at Collinwood — when we first see him, he’s grinning about getting a visit from “the great lady herself,” and during their conversation, he says it would be an honor to do her chart. He’s clearly attracted to the money and/or the status he might attain through this connection.

When Liz asks him how much he charges, he makes a big deal about his principles, and that he’ll accept whatever she wishes to give. This happens again in tomorrow’s episode, too; Liz asks him for a price, and he snaps, “Mrs. Stoddard, please don’t make a shopkeeper out of me.” So that makes three things that he isn’t — a gypsy fortune-teller, a psychic and a shopkeeper — and there may be more to come.

Anyway, he goes on about his values, but it’s pretty clear that if she handed him a check for forty bucks, he would suddenly remember some new values, like overhead and processing fees.

And there’s a lot of looming going on, too. Some amount of looming is unavoidable when you’ve got Chris Pennock and Joan Bennett in the same scene, but he’s adding extra looming on top of that.

So introducing an astrologer who dresses like the Maharishi and acts like he’s running a yoga studio isn’t quite as pandering to the 1970 teens as it could have been. His first horoscope for Liz is going to show that absolutely nothing happens to her for the rest of the year, which is unlikely considering the extremely haunted house that she lives in. If Sebastian turns out to be the con artist villain that he appears to be, then this may be cranky social satire on a popular trend. I’m not sure where this is going to land; I wonder if we could consult the computers.

Tomorrow: Future So Bright.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Hallie saw the dress on her bed at the end of yesterday’s episode, it was lying across the end of the bed. In the reprise today, it’s lying lengthwise across the bed.

After Hallie says to Maggie, “Hey, it’s late,” the camera lurches a bit.

Liz tells Maggie, “So inconceivable to me, despite all of Elliott Stokes’ theories. Time has simply been the time — the day I’m living.”

Sebastian bumps the large candelabra when he approaches it, and it wobbles slightly.

When Liz tells Sebastian that she wants him to draw up her horoscope, the light fixture is blocking his light, casting three big round shadows on him, including one directly on his face.

Liz walks past the screen in Sebastian’s place, and you can see a couple studio lights reflected in the panes of glass.

When Liz is standing at Sebastian’s door asking if her chart will have information about the children, you can see shadows of people passing by behind her.

In act 4, the camera has a hard time framing the clock in the foyer. Then there’s a quick flash of the picture of nighttime Collinwood, which fades immediately to the gazebo.

We hear the clock in the foyer chiming the hour, which fades into a clock tower chiming. Between the two, the clock strikes nineteen.

Behind the Scenes:

In the Dark Shadows Almanac: Millennium Edition, Pennock writes: “Sebastian Shaw, hippie astrologer, was totally forgettable. I really do not remember a single day playing him. I must have been wishing I were someone else. In what seemed like a few days later, I was someone else!”

The book that Sebastian loans to Elizabeth is Astrology, written by Louis MacNeice, an Irish poet and playwright who wrote the book on commission and considered it “hackwork”. MacNeice died in 1963; the book was published in 1964.

Tomorrow: Future So Bright.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

66 thoughts on “Episode 1073: Steer the Stars

  1. They keep the computers hidden away in the control room — otherwise Barnabas and Julia might have been able to e-mail Collinwood from other dimensions, which would have cut down on story time.

    Remember the Password episode of The Odd Couple? They’re practicing at home and the woman from Oscar’s team says, “It’s from that song, this is the dawning of the age of aquarium!”

  2. Digging that super groovy tie dyed tunic! Yep, we’re back in 1970 all right.

    Sebastian’s far out pad looks to be culled from Buffie’s apartment.

    Does it seem odd to anyone else that Liz has suddenly developed an interest in astrology? And that she is just going to go to the first place she sees?

    1. The window in Sebastian’s house looks to be the one used in Buffie’s apartment. But the general outline of the walls and the coloring, the corners, etc., looks like it comes from Dr. Lang’s lab, which was also used for Evan Hanley’s house in 1897. The decor and furnishings seem to be fashioned after the parlor in Hanley’s house as well, similar in terms of occult symbolism.

      So that’s kind of a clever connection. The window from Buffie’s apartment, where Pennock’s previous character, Longworth/Yaeger, had visited, like the window to parallel time, and the occult abilities/interests of Sebastian Shaw with more the darker con-man traits of Evan Hanley, and the connection to Dr. Lang’s lab, because in Sebastian’s house there’s more going on there than meets the eye.

      You know, reading into Dark Shadows set design is a bit like playing Beatles and Pink Floyd records backwards — you never know what secret, hidden messages you might find. 🙂

    2. The writers have clearly muddled Elizabeth and Judith (and Edith), who had relationships with Magda… They could have solved this problem easily with a scene in which she freaks out in Collinwood and wonders aloud if there might be something to this horror-scope stuff the kids were into.

    3. I have suspended a lot of disbelief for this show. Like, a LOT. I have bought vampires, witches, werewolves, wizards with magical hands on the run from vengeful gypsies, time travel in various packaging, ghosts of every description, and the idea that Carolyn ever willingly spoke to, let alone loved, Jeb.

      But I draw the line at Elizabeth Collins Stoddard ever willingly saying one word to, let alone going to see, Sebastian Shaw. If Carolyn had met him and dragged him home, I can see Liz being icily polite to him, and even building a scene where his “predictions” are accurate enough that she starts listening to him. But there is absolutely no indication that this woman, who runs this entire town with an iron fist, is suddenly goofy for astrology in general and this smirking huckster in particular.

      I can see what they were going for: in The Haunting of Hill House, one of the characters is a rich suburban woman who practices “fashionable” spiritualism–automatic writing, planchette, and so on. It’s not like there was no precedent for “con man uses Invisible World babble to fleece the squares.” But this? No.

    4. Perhaps odd, but then if she’s had to spend the last couple of years getting used to ghosts and inter dimensional portals in the east wing, it’s understandable that she’d be looking into such things.

      But I must say it’s good to have Elizabeth taking a more active role in a storyline rather than just being a Greek chorus, like she’s mostly been since Jason Maguire.

  3. From his actions, Sebastian should switch to wearing a seersucker. (Or maybe that’s for Liz.)

    In a thirties-forties B movie, he’d be wearing a turban, possibly played by Bela Lugosi or Cesar Romero, and either a blackmailer, someone out for personal vengeance using the charade to prove something, or the killer. And probably have a goatee. (Basically, much more Humbert Allen Astrod-y than hippie).

    1. In a thirties-forties B movie, he’d be wearing a turban, possibly played by Bela Lugosi or Cesar Romero

      Good choices, but I’m picturing Turhan Bey or Nils Asther in the role.

  4. Have you ever noticed all of Chris Pennock’s characters walk pelvis first? (except for Gabriel obviously).

    Some actors will lead with their chest or shoulders, but of all of Pennock’s characters, Sebastian Shaw is the king of leading with his pelvis as he walks.

  5. “astrology is very in right now, thanks to all the hippies who spend a lot of time thinking about the stars, while they’re waiting for things to wear off…” I’m getting a good belly-laugh off the summation of astrology/horoscopes/etc. But DS really was riding a wave of interest; not very well, i guess, but still riding it.

  6. Jabez was too imperious, Cyrus was too mousy, and Yeager with faccia brutta makeup made me want to avert my eyes from the screen! Of Christopher Pennock’s four roles — Jeb Hawkes, Cyrus Longworth, John Yeager, and Sebastian Shaw — Sebastian the hippie astrologer Shaw was by far the most fun to watch. (That is until Gabriel Collins appears later).

    Sebastian is sort of a 1970s time capsule (or a writer’s campy cartoon sketch) of how a member of the younger generation was supposed to distrust a member of the older generation (like Mrs. Stoddard) because she and her whole generation ‘just don’t know where it’s at,’ to borrow a common phrase young people used to say at that time.

    So, Sebastian is a stereotype of what a well-dressed, somewhat over-the-top hippie guy should be. And he comes complete with very trendy clothing from Orhbach’s … no … that would be O-H-R-B-A-C-H-S!

    Besides the superficial things like wardrobe, Sebastian has some facets of his character that make him more interesting than the 3 earlier roles: He’s clairvoyant, but also venal. He might genuinely wish to use his gifts to help the Collinses, but his hands are tied because he is subject to more powerful forces (which we shall find out more about later). Despite his personal failings, he does care about the children, and will also later show true empathy and kindness to a woman he will become fond of.

    As with quite a few other DS characters, Sebastian Shaw had great potential, but the story went off in other directions.

  7. Think about how this show looked and felt when it first started. And check out Sebastian Shaw now. An interesting mirror on how fast looks/trends changed from the mid-1960s to 1970.

    Despite some of the weaknesses, I like how DS tapped into the astrology craze that was so big back then.

      1. Wasn’t he hauled off to Windcliff? Poor Joe, he still has the nightmares…

        (Say, whatever happened to that place?
        Is Julia still keeping an office there?
        Her desk must be a mess!)

        1. She stops off once a month to restock on sedatives and hypno-whammy the inmates into submission.

  8. You do a great job recreating the time in which this all took place. Astrology really was a big deal then. There was also the mass pop culture commercialization of the hippie culture in fashion, advertising, interior design, etc. A guy like Sebastian Shaw with his “groovy threads” was indeed a grifter. It would have made more sense if he had opened a health food store with a cafe and did astrological readings as a side business.

    I’ve always been curious about the name of this character. I wondered who gave the character the name of an English actor and writer would would later play the unmasked Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. Did Dan Curtis or a writer see the name in a playbill? Burke Devlin was taken from the Rock Hudson character in The Tarnished Angels. based on the Faulkner novel Pylon. But Faulkner never named the character so the credit goes to the screen writer. Back to Sebastian Shaw, Chris Claremont gave this name to one of the members of the Hellfire Club in the X-men. Did he name him after the DS character or the actor?

    I posited this theory before but I want o bring it up again. There seems to be no familial connection between Tim Shaw and Sebastian Shaw but I think he’s the descendant of Pansy Faye/Charity Trask & Tim Shaw ..hence his psychic abilities. But I also think Tony Peterson is descended from Tim & Pansy….the Trask connection

    1. Okay, that does it. I haven’t commented for a long long time, but someone making the link to Sebastian Shaw and Chris Claremont will do it. Yes, the guy from the X-Men’s Hellfire Club is totally swiped from Dark Shadows, because Chris Claremont never met an episode of a classic 1960s television show that he didn’t wanna swipe from. The whole reason there IS a Hellfire Club and the Dark Phoenix wearing a black bustier is because of one Diana Rigg Steed-and-Peel episode of The Avengers. Chris Claremont has consistently swiped ideas and names from every television show he ever saw, and late ’60s is his favorite televisual location to swipe from.

      Speaking of Marvel Comics, Danny, are you aware of the Dark Shadows 2-part storyline in DAREDEVIL around this time? Daredevil’s gal Karen Page runs away from New York to try to get work as an actress in Hollywood, and she ends up as a new girl character in a Gothic Horror Soap Opera… you know, because there are so many of THOSE.

      It’s called STRANGE SECRETS, and the main character is some sort of spooky guy named Brother Brimstone… But when murders start happening on the set in real life, Daredevil has to figure out who’s responsible…



      As long as I’m talking: two thoughts on The Computers:

      Besides science-fiction, talking about the amazing things computers can do was probably a thing people were talking about because of the moon landing.
      But really, that line, like Sebastian Shaw himself, feels to me like the result of someone (Sam, I think) having been Given A Note. “Make the show a little more hip, more modern and current.”

      Hip, modern and current? There’s a reason you never walk in on Amy and David watching Gilligan: we don’t even have television sets in this town. This is a gothic horror time travel show: we’re lucky we ever have electric lamps.

      Here, let me show you how dumb it would be if I tried to make the show more hip and current all of a sudden: I’ll put in a line about computers, and a hipple astrologer.

      1. I always assumed that anyone watching a television–especially daytime television–on Dark Shadows would have been the fundamental dealbreaker for this fiction, the deconstructive exploding of its rhetorical conditions of being, a matter/antimatter combustion that would suck all into a vortex and spit out occasional caricatures and parodies–an attempted musical Dark Shadows, a doomed revival series, a lost pilot, a filmed parody, fanfic . . . I still think somebody bought David a television and he turned it on and everything became wholly impossible.

      2. I believe Claremont & Byrne based Shaw on the actor Robert Shaw rather than Dark Shadows. All the other Hellfire Club characters were based on actors.
        Jason Wyngarde was based on Peter Wyngarde and his character Jason King
        Donald Pearce was based on Donald Sutherland and his character Hawkeye Pearce.
        Harry Leland was based on Orson Welles with the names coming from Harry Lime and Jedediah Leland.

        Looking into it further, it was more an invention of John Byrne in his character designs rather than Claremont.

    2. William wrote in response to Tony Edwards, “I’m on board with the Tim Shaw / Charity Trask descendants theory.”

      So am I. Tony Edwards, would you possibly be interested in doing some time travel to 1969/1970, so you could weave these most insightful improvements into the original stories? You could try passing a note to Sam Hall outside the studio asking him to bring the matter up with the other writers? I just hope Grayson likes the ideas. Could be a good plan to run it by her first. The show belongs to her now, and I suspect she has the influence necessary to incorporate your suggested changes into the script, if anybody can. The power of pillow talk, etc. 😉

      1. If such a thing was possible ..oh yes. I’d also use the opportunity to get the writers to use my Julia Hoffman theory of being a direct descendant of Magda & Sandor
        to lift the werewolf curse ad just let Chris Jennings and Sabrina and Amy leave Collinsport and enjoy a happy ending.

  9. Enjoy these groovy threads of Sebastian while you can because soon Dark Shadows will sever its ties with Ohrbach’s altogether (except for a quick scene at the end of 1840).

    Hey! Maybe I’ve stumbled on to something: Maybe Ohrbach’s was so tired of their store’s name being misspelled on the Dark Shadows end credits that THEY severed ties with the show. That resulted in the show having no other choice but to do another time travel/period piece; they had no source of wardrobe for any more contemporary storylines.

    1. Had I been Ohrbach’s contact with DS, I certainly would have overlooked the occasional misspelling in the early years of DS. But the person(s) Dan Curtis put in charge of proofing the closing credits was still misspelling the firm’s name 4 or 5 years later during the 1840s time travel!

      By that late date I’d imagine Ohrbach’s might be quite irritated to see DS still can’t get it right. Here is Ohrbach’s generously sponsoring DS by discounting wardrobe, or possibly even providing the clothing for free, and the recipient shows its ingratitude by failing to spell the company’s name right?!? And after 5 years!?!

      Perhaps this is another signal that Dan Curtis has already lost interest in the show.

      1. Oarbacks has been getting that since grade school, and probably grateful that at least someone put an “r” and “h” in his name, even if they didn’t put it in the right place, just so at least people went to his department store — and just so long as the cash register went “Ding!” at the beginning, middle, and end of the day. Ohrbach’s was a cheap mid-level department store who needed the plug, and that’s why Dark Shadows found them, because Dan Curtis Productions did things on the cheap, and Ohrbach’s in 1966 was on West 34th Street (the first DS studio was on West 67th), not far from the television studio.

        Whether Orhbach’s was spelled right or wrong in the DS credits (see, I just noticed I spelled it wrong in this sentence, but it’s late and I’m not gonna fix it and am just gonna just keep typing ahead, because I’ve been drinking…), it didn’t matter, because founder Nathan Ohrbach retired in 1965, before DS went on the air, and the company was taken over by some company from The Netherlands, who wouldn’t have known Ohrbach’s from Orhbach’s, let alone Frid from Fjord, so nobody complained and nobody cared. As long as they got their money, and I’m sure they did, or at least the plug…

        1. Ohrbach’s also provided the fashions for several soaps, including One Life to Live, All My Children, The Doctors, and others. Those shows managed to spell the name of the store correctly.

          1. The misspelling of Ohrbach’s is the longest running blooper and undoubtedly one of the most easily fixable.

            It’s left over from the first week of the series, at the end of the fifth episode when they did that extended running “scroll” of credits for the first time, on Friday, July 1, 1966.

            No one ever fixed it, and it seems to repeat every time they do that extended scroll of credits with the crew members, etc., whereas it seems to be fine when they just do those few credits that blink on and then off.

            Dan Curtis must have thought, “If we fix that, then we have to create a whole new scroll. It would cost too much. Who cares, no one reads the credits anyway. Nobody’s gonna watch these shows again.”

            1. PrisonerOfTheNight imagines Dan Curtis saying, ‘Nobody’s gonna watch these shows again.’

              Yes, exactly what most everyone assumed, including so many of us fans!

              Thankfully we were wrong! The mistaken assumption is now absurdly amusing: With the benefit of VHS, DVDs, streaming, etc., not only we will see these episodes again and again as often as we like, but now we can pause and rewind to check for details so small as to be unimaginable to Dan Curtis and the crew!

              In 2017, it’s almost like we’re examining each show now under a microphone … uh … sorry … that would be under a microscope!

              P.S. I wonder who should we thank/credit for not destroying the episodes that they all survived – all but one – to this day …

              1. LOL! We’re examining it under the microscope AND microphone!

                It had to be Dan Curtis’ order that the videotapes/kinescopes be saved, and apparently he either had the clout or money to make sure a demand and have it fulfilled. In contrast, when Agnes Nixon first created One Life to Live for ABC, she wanted all the episodes to be saved, but she said in an interview that a network executive wouldn’t agree to that because the videotapes needed to be reused. I guess she didn’t fight hard enough for it. When the network wanted her to expand All My Children to an hour, one of her bargaining points was to have the videotapes saved. She won that one. (For what it’s worth – I don’t know how anyone can view them unless ABC donates them to the Paley Center.)

                There were two television shows from my childhood that I always wanted to see repeated: Dark Shadows and The Outer Limits. Somehow I kept the faith that I’d be able to see them someday, and that day came! I am grateful.

            2. But someone did fix it! It’s misspelled in about half the episodes up to and including #196, and is then spelled correctly every single time until #956, after which it goes back to being misspelled about half the time until the end of the series.

  10. I heard somewhere that there were only 12 kinds of good characters which you may play on a soap opera.

    Of course, subject to availability.

  11. Has anyone noticed the huge scratch on one of the double doors in the foyer? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there in the beginning years, but has been there for a long time now.

  12. I honestly thought from the screen shots that he was playing a woman this time a la Milton Berle and Harvey Corman. I thought was an interesting idea to explore, but of course they didn’t. 😦

    1. Look at the 5th blog photo (above). With him standing there, with the black pocketbook in front of him, he just needs a pair of high heels, and suddenly he looks more like Jack Lemmon’s “Daphne” in “Some Like It Hot” (1959) than the much more delicate Daphne Harridge! He’s got Jack Lemmon’s forward chin — and an ‘Adam’s apple’! Maybe Sebastian is right after all when he says there really are “only 12 different types of faces in the world” …

  13. Numerology: The number 12 features prominently in this episode with its mentions of “only 12 different types of faces in the world” 😉 and, of course, the well known 12 signs of the zodiac.

    Prime numbers: Numerologists and occultic persons however much prefer the prime numbers which are always odd (except for the prime number 2 which is even), for example: 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, etc. Note that 1 is not a prime number.

    Favorite numbers: Prime numbers are preferred over other odd or even numbers due to their perceived mystery and magical significance, with the prime numbers 7, 11, 13 and 17 being among the favorite numbers for occult symbolism, with 11 and 17 having special significance with regard to destruction and immortality, respectively.

    Yard sale tip: Therefore, if that candelabrum you have your eye on at the yard sale has 3, 5 or 7 arms, then you may go ahead and buy it! But if it has 4 or 6 arms, then why waste another second of your time on it … KEEP LOOKING! 🙂

  14. Just one more general observation on this episode. It’s comical to see Joan Bennett in a scene with such a hippie fashioned type of character and a bit ironic considering how she went on record in an interview 3 years earlier remarking on how much she disliked the trendy culture of that time:

    “I can’t bear the hippies and the beats. I think they’re ghastly — they’re not clean. Why are the boys looking like girls and the girls like boys?” (“No Tears for Miss Bennett”, TV Guide, Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 1967)

    Link to the full interview below:


    1. “I can’t bear the hippies and the beats. I think they’re ghastly — they’re not clean. Why are the boys looking like girls and the girls like boys? All this LSD business and the trips — it’s awful.” — Joan Bennett, in TV Guide, Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 1967

      If she said so, then I guess she really meant it that she didn’t like ‘the boys looking like girls and the girls [looking] like boys.’ Sounds like she also found the drug use of the era, specifically LSD, a terrifying trend.

      But the first part of her comment about boys & girls has me scratching my head wondering: then why the devil did she marry writer/publisher David Wilde (1917 – 2001)? Either she did not know when she married him what he liked to do. Or possibly he kept it a secret from her. Or else she knew but decided to marry him despite any misgivings she might have had? Link below:


      An excerpt from the article sheds a little light on their marriage: ” ‘Resort guest David Wilde, a k a Gail, went on to wed Dark Shadows star Joan Bennett — who sadly didn’t care for his feminine side. Dave loved her deeply and dearly so he gave up cross-dressing during his marriage,’ Cummings recalls. … ‘He was back in a dress the day after she died.’ ” Or at least so says this link …

      1. Apparently Joan Bennett did know about David Wilde’s cross-dressing:

        “…In time, he was an integral part of a vast network of male cross-dressers; like David, they were mostly white-collar, upper-middle-class men who found complete freedom only in their female identities.

        “When David confessed his complicated past to Joan, she was dismayed. He assured her that he was not currently in a cross-dressing phase, and that he had no intention of returning to it as long as their relationship continued. After the initial shock that greeted David’s confession, Joan seemed to accept his fetish quite calmly. Too calmly, thought David, and he summoned a friend, Dr. Harry Benjamin, to offer his professional insights on the cross-dressing phenomenon. Again, she seemed unperturbed.” (The Bennetts, An Acting Family, p. 429)

        My unprofessional insights tell me that this phenomenon had to do with the uniquely upper-middle-class element of “boy’s school” — that is, that up to the 1960s certain private education environments were not exactly co-ed, which seems to follow the “English” tradition. At a crucial time of adolescent and even post-adolescent development, a certain financial class of males may not have had the necessary opportunity to make the sexual associations they might otherwise have naturally made, which could have led to a great deal of “closeted” behavior among them.

        For reference, see the 1968 film If for examples (like the caning scene with the whip). Interesting how they must go down to the smelly gym to be caned, isn’t it?

        It was just a fetish that preceded and was outside the counterculture of the 1960s, a period in which Joan Bennett, being in her fifties, naturally and reasonably no longer felt at home.

      2. To be fair about the LSD, she and the rest of the cast had watched Don Briscoe self destruct, at least partially because he was self medicating his emerging bipolar disorder. And there were awful, permanent drug casualties all over during those years.

  15. Ah, the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius! How did that work out?
    Thanks. Danny. You keep me laughing out loud. Next to 1841PT, this is my least favorite time period but your writing always makes it better.

  16. My 8-year old daughter happened to be watching this episode with me and laughed hysterically when Sebastian Shaw walked out in his tie-dye get up.

  17. I love how in the drawing room at Collinwood Liz mentions how everything was going so well, and then in the next breath refers to the disappearance of Barnabas and Julia. So apparently after Barnabas and Julia disappeared, things started to go well at Collinwood… hmmm….

  18. Did anyone else catch that Sebastian Shaw describes himself and others describe him as an “astrologist”? You don’t have to have been paying much attention over the past 50 years to see that people who draw up horoscopes and make predictions are “astrologers”!

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