Episode 1100: Gang Aft Agley

“I must not allow him to be let loose in the world again!”

This was supposed to be simple. All Gerard had to do was wangle an invite to his friend Quentin’s house, get the family’s governess to fall in love with him, make sure that he died along with the governess and the two children in the house, wait a hundred and thirty years until there was a pair of descendants who looked exactly like the dead kids, fill their bedrooms with haunted hypnoclothes, force them to perform a ritual in their bedroom that brings the governess back to life, and then force all three of them to perform another ritual, which will bring Gerard back to life. Easy-peasy, mes amis.

But there’s a teensy snagette in this plan, namely: what if Willie Loomis comes in at the last minute and interrupts the second ritual? It turns out even the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley; maybe we need to get a couple more mice up in here.

So Willie comes and knocks on the door, and Tad is faced with one of those slice-of-life teenager dilemmas: how do you pretend that you weren’t alone in your bedroom with a girl, performing dark rituals of summoning together?

Daphne dashes behind a screen which was apparently placed in the room for this very purpose, while Tad and Carrie blow out the candles and try to wipe the pentagram off the floor. “We were sleeping, I was sleeping!” Tad calls, but it’s no use. You can’t just roll up a towel under the door and spray some air freshener around. This is Collinwood, people know what sulfur smells like.

But Willie is threatening to wake up the whole house, so they let him in, and Tad tries one of the traditional Dark Shadows child gambits.

“It’s a game!” he cries, hoping that’ll buy him the two seconds he needs to come up with a better plan.

“Sure it is, a game,” Willie snorts. “And I know what kind.”

“You can’t!” Tad objects. “You don’t, because I made it up!”

But Willie can recognize a demonic death-cult meetup invite when he sees one. He has to; at Collinwood, that’s a survival skill.

“Now you tell me all about this black magic stuff, ya hear?” Willie demands, and then Tad smiles, as he gets a repulsive rich-person idea.

He turns to the girl, and chirps, “The man is quite mad. Wouldn’t you say so, Carrie?”

She picks it up immediately; this kind of thing comes naturally to terrible rich people. “Quite, Tad,” she smiles. “He doesn’t know the kind of games we like to play.”

“What an interesting name he gave it, though. ‘Black magic!’ I like that. Don’t you?”

So this is the limit, right here. Any goodwill that the audience might have towards the poor dumb dead kids is gone forever, thanks to a spot of old-fashioned class warfare. Willie is one of the pitiable common people, and Tad and Carrie can push him around, looking him straight in the eye and telling him that he’s stupid and has bad manners.

“Now you cut this stuff, do you hear?” Willie splutters. “You level with me.”

“What curious expressions he uses,” Carrie third-persons. “Honestly, Tad, could you ever ‘level’ with anyone?”

Tad keeps up his unbroken insolent eye contact. “Oh,” he says, “I don’t believe I’d know how.” These people are the worst.

Now, what they don’t know about Willie is that he’s buried more mangled bodies than they’ve ever seen. He kept house for a Dracula, and babysat a Frankenstein. Ghost-hosted millennials mean nothing in his life.

“I’m gonna take ya to Barnabas,” he growls. He has no time for backchat from the brat pack.

Tad draws himself to his full height and says, “What makes you think that you have the right?”

“The fact that I’m bigger than you,” Willie snaps, and then he grabs hold of the kid, and pulls.

So I hate these kids even more than I thought I did, which was plenty. There really is evil in this world, and it’s one-percent children. Daphne says that she loves them, and that does not reflect well on her judgment. She is currently involved in a cross-time caper to resurrect a wicked pirate king and his zombie crew, which will bring about Ragnarok and the excruciating death of all life and matter in the universe, and I’m basically fine with all of that. Loving these kids is worse.

“Why don’t you go and try to look for your friend Barnabas?” says Tad, from the couch. Willie tells him to pipe down, and Tad whines, “Well, are we going to wait here until he arrives?” Apparently all this fuss is getting in the way of his fourth-dimensional social schedule.

But Willie gets called out of the room by another storyline, and then, at last, my hero appears: the furious phantom, Gerard Stiles.

“It wasn’t our fault!” Carrie cries, because they’re rich kids, and nothing ever is.

“It was Mr. Loomis!” offers Tad, instantly throwing the servant under the bus. “If there’s anybody for you to be angry at, be angry at him!”

Gerard doesn’t care. He doesn’t need a reason to hurt these children. It comes naturally to him, he likes it. Gerard Stiles is a savage shriek of pure anger, released from the limitations of flesh and bone, and solidified into fists and sneers and unprompted tortures. He is a flaming hot nugget of bad vibrations, expelled into the world by demonic forces beyond our understanding. And I love him. Oh, how I love him.

But here comes Daphne again, unasked-for as usual, and she shelters the children under her rapidly-fading power to protect them. She says that they can’t perform the ceremony again tonight, because the stars are out of position, an obvious lie that doesn’t mean anything in particular. She pleads with Gerard to give them another day; they’ll try again tomorrow night.

He flares his nostrils and vanishes without saying goodbye, like the baller he is. His child threatening is over, for the evening. Total success.

The scene goes downhill from there. The kids start mewling about finding Daphne a place to hide, and she says that she has somewhere in mind. She hesitates to tell them where it is, even though they’ll have to meet her there tomorrow night, because once again nobody in this crowd can think all the way to step two.

“I don’t want Quentin to know,” she says. “He knows everything, except about Gerard and my hiding place. You mustn’t tell him!”

“We won’t,” Carrie swears. “We promise!”

Daphne approaches, and in a low whisper, she says, “I’ll be in Rose Cottage. You’ll come to me, when night has fallen.”

So, wow, no duh. Obviously, you’ll be in Rose Cottage, it’s the only place we’ve ever seen you outside this house. It is literally the first and only place that Quentin would look, if he cared, which at this point would be hard to believe.

And she can’t hide from Gerard there, either. You can’t shake a thing like Gerard; he’s incurable. He will appear before you, eyes aflame, and grab you by the throat. He will make you regret whatever it was that you did that brought him into your life. All he knows is hate and spite and fire. He is the only relatable character on the show right now.

Monday: The Super Determined.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

After Daphne picks up the photo of Quentin, the camera on her goes out of focus for about five seconds.

Daphne tells Tad and Carrie, “You must go! Go back to Collinsport!”

Monday: The Super Determined.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

36 thoughts on “Episode 1100: Gang Aft Agley

      1. They’re like the Get Along Gang, but no-one can get along with them.

        The blog’s growing love for / obsession with the Artist Formerly Known As Ivan Miller cheers me, and yet i’ve always found that he – being the Reverse Flash to Quentin’s Barry Allen – is slightly less impressive in corporeal form, with the talking and the walking. And yet he still Stiles it out.

  1. Well, David Cassidy is near death. This is relevant because those of us who followed Dark Shadows so avidly in 1970 and ’71 relied on 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat for all our DS info, and so watched as the order of ardor went 1) Bobby Sherman 2) DS 3) David Cassidy to 1) David Cassidy 2) DS 3) Bobby fading into Leif Garrett. Frid was never the biggest subject, which makes sense since how far can you go in Toger Beat with a queeny (off camera) 45-year-old?

    But David has had a pretty sad life. His famous dad, Jack Cassidy was a horndog and alcoholic who finally left his mom for the very young Shirley Jones–with whom he was stunned (not in a good way) to find playing his mom in the Partridge Family. As with fellow 16 cover boy Bobby Sherman, the transition from can’t-go-anywhere to can’t-get-arrested was swift and decisive. Drugs destroyed what was left of his celebrity–until he became the subject of those whatever-happened-to E series, which never led to much income. His dad went up in flames (literally) while his mom ended up with Marty Ingalls.

    We know now that most of the stories in 16 were fake, written by editors and submitted to the show’s publicists for approval. Danny has led us through the absurdist “Win a Date with Jonathan Frid” saga. We said goodbye to J. Frid and now we say goodbye to David. Fortunately, Bobby and Shirley and Marty live. Where is Leif Garrett?

    1. If you read Jack’s bio, you will cry. Closeted, bipolar, alcoholic – yet a gifted actor. A few wonderful guests shots on Columbo.

      1. I think his big Columbo episode was directed by Spielberg.

        And R.I.P. Marty. I read Shirley Jones’s autobiography which talked about how great Jack was in bed. That was probably the nail in Marty’s coffin.

      2. Pursuing this tangent, Jack Cassidy became a Broadway star in now-forgotten musicals, his best role being the narcissist in She Loves Me (great top notes and a Tony Award), but also a similar featured role in the Carol Burnett vehicle Fade Out, Fade In and some Civil War piece called Maggie Flynn composed for him and Shirley Jones. (I think of him as a kind of next-generation Alfred Drake–what? What?) For TV, a good recurring role on He & She, which made him the model for the Ted Baxter role on Mary Tyler Moore’s show.

        1. Jack Cassidy’s voice still shows up round this time of year.
          He was Bob Cratchit in the 1962 animated show ‘Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol’.
          He gives a lovely performance in that cartoon, which is a surprisingly faithful telling of the Dickens story.
          And he gets to do some songs by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, two of Broadway’s biggest hitmakers.

        2. Jack Cassidy played Ted Baxter’s older brother on MTM – out-Tedding Ted with hilarious results.
          But (not as a defense of him, just how things went) that “big time” success eluded him, as Shirley’s, then David’s and Shaun’s stars rose; that had to be tough to take.

        3. Jack Cassidy was offered the role of Ted Baxter but he turned it down only to appear later on the series as Ted’s brother. Another role he had on Broadway was in IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE ! IT’S SUPERMAN, playing one of the villains – he sounds smashing on the original cast recording.

  2. Danny, I love your writing gems, like this one: “… You can’t just roll up a towel under the door and spray some air freshener around. This is Collinwood, people know what sulfur smells like.”

    1. Agree!
      Agree!
      Agree!

      And David has Kate Jackson AND Kathy Cody in his room at two in the morning; wasting time drawing chalk lines on the floor and raising the dead. Has he not heard of “Spin The Bottle”?

  3. You point it out Danny, Dark Shadows contracted into Collinwood. There was no character development. Present day just became a jumping off point for a time trip.

    What I would have done is signed Jonathan Frid to a two-year deal. First year he would be Barnabas fangs and all. The next year we would create a new character for him. The idea of being, with Barnabas as the lead we would create new characters and storylines. Quentin’s role would have to be beefed-up also. Perhaps add a new family and repopulate Collinsport.

    Maybe bring in a son for Quentin from a relationship decades earlier who bears the mark of the werewolf. He could become the involved with a village girl and do a new version of the Chris and Sabrina storyline . But do it right this time.

  4. I may have no axe to grind about Leif Garrett as a teenager, but he made a pretty good Leonard Unger in two ODD COUPLE episodes. All right, he was mainly just a “cute” kid in them, but at one point he went into neurotic FELIX Unger mode.

    As an adult, he showed up in a short subject about WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME (which is slightly odd, since he had no connection with the show, unlike Willie Aames). So now I associate him with THAT one.

  5. At this point:

    Tony Peterson needs to show up at this point and, having read Julia’s notes that he’d been keeping for her, begin blackmailing Barnabas and Julia. How will they handle this?

    Joe Haskell returns from Windcliff and drives a stake through the heart of the vampire who has been attacking Maggie.

    A son that Quentin fathered many years ago shows up with his new wife. Quentin is attracted to said wife and begins an affair with her. Carolyn is attracted to Quentin’s son and begins an affair with him.

    Burke Devlin returns from the Brazil and is distraught that Vicki is missing. He is determined to have her return and goes to great lengths to accomplish this.

    Financial troubles force Liz to open up Collinwood to borders. This leads to many new stories with the guests.

    Gerard, Daphne, Tad, and Carrie become bored with all of this and just choose to leave, abandoning their plans for destroying Collinwood.

    1. Yes, I always wondered why Peterson did not read the notes. As far as I could tell, Julia never gave him a retainer, so he cannot be accused of unethical conduct with a client.

      But he is too smart for basic blackmail. He goes around it in legal fashion (i.e. he collects Barnabas’s victims and their families, and convinces them to sue him. They reach a monetary arrangement that includes a proviso that the plaintiffs will not mention the matter again – and Tony gets a hefty fee. This is the legal way to blackmail someone).

      1. See! It already stimulated your creativity. My question would be: If faced with (even legal) blackmail from Tony Peterson, would Barnabas and Julia resort to murdering him?

        1. Well, he has the evidence under lock and key, to be turned over to the police, plus it is in some database…. “and you need to know a lot more about computers than you do to get it.” He probably knows a trick or two.

    2. Tony Peterson needs to show up at this point and, having read Julia’s notes that he’d been keeping for her, begin blackmailing Barnabas and Julia. How will they handle this?

      Barnabas and Julia? Only one way. They’ll send him to keep Dave Woodard company.

    3. But what about all those unquiet pirates awaiting one more wave of that green flag so they can shiver them timbers?

      1. Ooh, good name for a band – “Gerard & The Unquiet Pirates”!

        Oh, right, it’s “Ivan & The Unquiet Pirates”.

  6. My favorite memory of Jack Cassidy is one of his performances on Bewitched: he plays “Rance Butler,” a rich plantation owner, in the episode where Sam & Darrin are transported back to 1868 New Orleans. Rance tries his devilish best to romance an amnesiac Samantha. The episode is further enhanced by the hilarious Isabel Sanford as Rance’s wisecracking maid, “Aunt Jenny.”
    Of course I guess that episode would be frowned upon these days.

  7. Something’s going on with one of the cameras; Gerard has weird purple halos in the scene in the drawing room.

    Gerard is pushing the dollhouse door shut, but Daphne is trying to pull it open on the other side. (Maybe it’s just a ghost thing? The finger touch just makes the door not work. Not sure what the rules are for sympathetic magic.) And if he’s holding the door from working, shouldn’t the chairs and table have gone flying across the room in Rose Cottage when he knocked over the doll house furnishings?

    And won’t someone PLEASE stand that grandfather clock upright? (Sorry. It’s just really bugging the hell out of me.)

    Although Daphne looks good in that miniskirt, those are not the clothes that CHaarlrliiee had when she raided Vicki’s wardrobe, and I don’t remember Vicki wearing that miniskirt either.

    Thought Quentin ‘banished’ Willie in yesterday’s show. Why is he back interrupting? And why isn’t he questioning why Hallie is in David’s room at two in the morning?

    So, Carrie is worried Gerard will be angry. Implying that Gerard might be capable of some other emotional state? (Other than REALLY angry? Or strangling mad? Or super pissed? Or a ‘grumpy punkin’?)

    Oh, Daphne, are you going to be another good girl who likes bad boys? Like Buffie with Yaeger?

    1. John, the camera problems will eventually get worse. By the end of 1840, one of the cameras’ green gun is dying and the picture is basically green. They don’t bother to stop, adjust/fix the camera, and reshoot. They just keep going. This continues pretty much to the end of the series. Is this not reinforcing the notion that Dan Curtis was just done with Dark Shadows at this point?

      1. Odd. You would think that someone else would also have been using those cameras at ABC-TV, I remember it being mentioned that in earlier seasons DS was sharing with Wide World Of Sports. And cameras were expensive kit, too; wonder who would have got the repair bill, ABC or Curtis?

        1. It was the videotape machines that were used by Wide World of Sports, on Saturdays. Dark Shadows would do an occasional Sunday taping, but couldn’t on a Saturday for that reason. The videotape machines, which captured the audio and video, were in a separate ABC building somewhere in NYC.

  8. In 1971-72, I was 10-11. I didn’t read Tiger Beat, but I was enamored with the Partridge Family. Our middle school music teacher took modern pop music – like Simon and Garfunkel, some Carpenters, the Monkees, and the Partridge Family — and used that music to teach us some basic music principles, like A, B patterns, etc. He also printed out lyrics, so we could sing along to those wonderful vinyl records. (I still have the Carpenters’ “Top of the World” memorized to this day, thanks to Mr. Lund!) Anyhow, I think we knew that the Partridge Family was really a “manufactured” group for a TV show (like “The Monkees,” that Shirley Jones was David Cassidy’s step-mom, that the only ones who could really sing were Shirley and David, and everyone else’s singing voice was dubbed). My actually bought the Partridge Family Christmas album (and Mr. Lund had that album too) and there’s at least one song there where Shirley Jones had an actual solo, a touching rendition of the great ballad, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” as I recall. (This song was unique in that almost all Partridge Family songs were a showcase for David Cassidy, and Shirley Jones, a gifted natural soprano, just sang in the background, if she really ever sang it all.) The album also had a fun version of “Winter Wonderland,” with some verses that were not about the romance but more about children playing in the snow with a snowman. Certainly, David had a rough time of it post-Partridge in so many ways — I hope he realizes that his time on that show and his music will always be fondly remembered and at least appreciated by his fans. Goodbye, David Cassidy – amidst the craziness of show business, you seemed like you really had a god and sensitive heart.

  9. You must have gone nuts when the Burton movie played Top of the World in its entirety,
    During the restoration of Collinwood montage.

    I hated the Carpenters when I was 10-11, but that changed things. Oh, kick me.

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