Episode 1125: Things You Say to Otis Greene, Deceased

“What does it all mean? Why did you have to die before you could tell me?”

I kept telling them, death is only an extension of life. Then I killed them. Even then, they didn’t really get it. I guess it’s one of those jokes that’s only funny from one direction.

I’m used to it by now, of course. They say you can get used to anything, given time, and so far I’ve had a hundred and eighty-four years. Well, technically, for thirty-six of those years I was alive. For the rest of it, I’ve been in this display case, just watching the world go by.

You’re Mister Greene.

Otis Greene, that’s right. I’ve got my card here, somewhere —

I don’t need your card, Mr. Greene.

Is that Otis Greene? Man! He looks awful. I knew him back in 1803, we did The Bedford Atrocity together. The guy was in his early twenties, so that would make him, what, sixty now? Something like that. I was never very good with math, even when I had fingers to count on, and now I have to do it all in my head. I have to do everything in my head, really, except for kill people.

I am not interested in getting rid of that particular piece. Rather, this table.

Ah, very interesting.

Yes, and we do have some history of it. Augustin Collins bought it in Bedford, after the witch trials. It originally belonged to a woman who was hanged for being a witch. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

Ugh! That right there is exactly what’s wrong with the Collins family. They accuse you of witchcraft — which you wouldn’t even have committed, if they hadn’t been such jerks — they put you on trial, they hang you, and then what? They take your furniture. The world is just one big Pottery Barn outlet for these people. And why would you brag to your kids about it? Weird. People used to call me The Devil’s Son, and even I think that’s kind of messed up.

Do you know anything of that period? You know, while the Salem trials are more famous, I think the local ones in Bedford are even more fascinating.

My family came from Bedford.

Really! And was your family involved in the trials?

My grandfather was an executioner. Some men wouldn’t admit to that. There’s a curse on it. And every one of the executioner’s family… I know that. Well I know it.

Well, not every one of the family, obviously, because here you are, dumbass. Hades, now I remember what an idiot he was. I told him, one guy — appeared in his dreams and stared in his eyes, you must help me, you will help me, the whole deal — and what does he do? He decapitates four people and then surrenders himself to the police, and he didn’t even kill the one guy I asked him to.

Oh, I am in luck. I had no idea you were so involved. I have something here that will really interest you, something else from that period! Go and open that curtain, Mr. Greene. Go and open that curtain!

Yeah, hi.

You recognize it, don’t you? He’s an old friend of yours, isn’t he?

No! No!

Honestly, you know, the worst thing about being a head in a glass display case is that nobody ever just leaves the TV on. Not even a game show. I have no idea what’s happening out there, in the world. All I ever hear is What’s that? and There’s something evil about it! and You’re under his power!

Oh, no! You’re not going anywhere, not until you tell us!

You’re under his power!

Well, if you know that, don’t fight me!

I won’t look at it — years, it cost me! Years of living in that asylum!

Oh, there we go. It’s always the same with Otis, just me, me, me. Dude needs to check his body-having privilege. After he was sent to the asylum, I had to mentally enslave his handyman to jump on the first ship out of town, with me checked as luggage. We ended up in Macau. That’s a Chinese-Portuguese trading port and I don’t speak Chinese or Portuguese, so I couldn’t understand a goddamn word anyone said for thirty-six years.

You will look at it, because you know where the body is buried! Your grandfather buried it! Where is it, Mr. Greene? Where is it?

You don’t want to know! The head! It was cut off to stop it! Aaah! So it wouldn’t live again! It was the only way to stop it!

So I had to arrange for somebody to come by who a) spoke English, b) was on his way from Macau to Maine, and c) was shopping for an occult souvenir to bring home for his best friend. You ever try to do that, from inside a glass box? It’s harder than it sounds.

Aah! My heart!

You tell me where the body lies!

The noose! The noose! An unmarked stone!

Oh, my evilness. Seriously?

The ring of gold! And the stairs! The stairs!

Oh, you have got to be kidding me. I don’t believe we asked this guy for a fucking haiku.

Noose? Tell me! Tell me where the noose is! Tell me!

Top of the hill — direct line — un — marked — stone.

All right, great. Are we done?

It will be found!

Excellent. Nice job, Desmond. Flawless fucking execution on that. So it’s, what, the noose, the noose, an unmarked stone, the stairs, and… what was it? Damn! I wish I had a pencil.

Monday: To Your Head.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In the teaser, when Desmond gets up from the table, the lamp jiggles and makes a sound.

The unmarked gravestone wobbles when Desmond touches it.

Monday: To Your Head.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

48 thoughts on “Episode 1125: Things You Say to Otis Greene, Deceased

  1. because you know where the body is buried!

    You don’t want to know! The head! It was cut off to stop it! Aaah! So it wouldn’t live again! It was the only way to stop it!

    We are so in “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” territory here — head and body of eeevil man buried separately, and the head takes command of the unwilling to reunite the two. It’s amusing to me because every other story DS used had some horror gravitas and history to it (Dracula, Frankenstein, Turn of the Screw, Rebecca, Lovecraft, etc.) but here they’re mining a b-movie potboiler from a scant 12 years prior.

    1. And THAT head got busy and started mentally enslaving sexy ladies and getting ranch hands to stab each other! He’s above ground like, six hours and he’s crushing it! Judah here, frankly, is not in top condition.

  2. Maybe Judah should have possessed two WOMEN, like in that film. Then when they started hanging out together, audience members could’ve made a lot of heavy-handed lesbian jokes, the way Mike and the Bots did during that movie. (Of course, overdoing those jokes was the POINT.)

    1. Heavy handed lesbian jokes, becoming a staple of SNL and Colbert, are trying.

      But sometimes, good. I love when it happens. I hate when it falls flat.

      I’m ROOOTING for you, and you can’t make ME love you?

  3. Unfortunately, and this has been mentioned before, DS loses all the threads that are dangling: Why Gerard, Daphne and the children would be haunting Collinwood…Quentin’s development of the staircase…where the pirates came from…all for a head-case.

    1. Julia letting Barnabas out in 1840 REALLY messed things up, dangling-threads-wise, I guess. I bet they could go back to 1970 and everything would be all better.
      But if he wasn’t there ‘before’, how did Roxanne get to be a vampiress? (I just had to have a brief argument with my SpellCheck, which doesn’t want to use the feminine of ‘vampire’ as a word. I think it’s just being chauvinistic.)

      And once again – (sigh) no pirates, alas. A whole plotline, pissed away.

      1. I would guess that originally it was Gerard/Judah who put the vampire curse on Roxanne to get Lamar Trask all upset and further the plan to make it appear that Quentin is practicing witchcraft.

        1. And without Julia to release Barnabas, Angelique has no reason to stick around. The trial isn’t drawn out as long because Barnabas can’t act as Quentin’s defense, and the head’s influence isn’t revealed (doubly so because Angelique wouldn’t still be around, she fears Judah). Quentin and Desmond are beheaded as witches and it’s swept under the carpet.

          1. Exactly. I guess also that after the beheading, Gerard/Judah murders Tad (along with Carrie) to inherit all of the Collins estate. But Daphne shoots him and then herself. Judah is very angry that his plans have been foiled and refuses to allow them to Rest In Peace. Their spirits remain dormant in the playroom until the alignment of the stars allows their ghosts to return. Judah will only set them free after Gerard destroys the Collins family in 1970. But he lied. He never sets them free.

      2. I have the same attitude about that. I not only believe in “actresses” and “waitresses,” but “comediennes,” and a whole lot of other cases of that same thing. It’s not about being feminist or anti-feminist, it’s about VARIETY.

  4. Hi Richard,
    See http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/. “Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.” I’m not sure how this ties to today’s episode…..Anybody???

    1. Dark Shadows, the ‘vampire soap opera’, is about The Head now?

      My question is, why was The Body Of Judah Zachery put in an elaborate tomb, rather than (for instance) chopped into little bitty pieces and scattered in the sea, or buried in forty-two different places? Or burned? Or otherwise destroyed or pulverized?
      And really, what does The Head really need with The Body, since it’s going to possess Gerard anyway? (I’m reminded of The King Of The Moon in ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’, who didn’t want his body back – “I don’t have time for flatulence and orgasms! I hate that face you make me make!”)

      1. He needs the Mask of Baal to make the transfer. Judah is only able to possess Desmond to a certain degree and with the Mask takes over Gerard.

      2. Right? This has always pissed me off about stories that involve Restraining Unspeakable Evil: the brave adventurer heroes never follow through on actually eliminating said evil! Now, granted, sometimes it’s because Evil fell down a mine shaft or off a boat into the boiling sea so they couldn’t get at it, but all too often they just chain up a box, slap a cross or so on the door and call it a day.

  5. Abe Vigoda has always fascinated me, ever since I discovered that he’d been in episodes of Dark Shadows. Offhand, I only know him from two things — Barney Miller (my introduction to his work) and Dark Shadows. I know he was in the Godfather movies, but in those he doesn’t stand out in my memory. For me those were Al Pacino movies — and that other guy who was in Dog Day Afternoon (Sal, who thought Wyoming was a different country).

    What’s striking is how in Dark Shadows he wasn’t yet 50, but played characters 80 and up and could make them seem so real and natural even without the aid of Dick Smith. I realize from those screencaps above they seem to have penciled in some age crevices across the forehead, but I prefer to think they were just accents — when he tilts his head back in Otis Green’s death throes to open his mouth in agony, you can see that he already has a full set of dentures.

    To many, he was typecast as the crotchety police detective from his Barney Miller days, but he really has theatrical chops in these Dark Shadows appearances as well.

    He seems to have done all his aging in his first 50 years, only to appear somehow younger as he got older, always recognizable and looking better than most by the end of life.

    It still seems kind of unreal that Abe Vigoda and Dark Shadows ever crossed paths.

    1. To pay homage to his role in The Godfather, the NBC soap Santa Barbara hired Abe Vigoda to play an inept hit man. It was played for laughs. That was so Santa Barbara. I loved that soap.

    2. It’s funny to me that two years after playing Otis Greene, who knew where a body was buried, Abe Vigoda played Sal Tessio, the personification of the expression “he knows where the bodies are buried.”

  6. PrisoneroftheNight: Offhand, I only know him from two things — Barney Miller (my introduction to his work) and Dark Shadows.

    Things You Say To Otis Greene, Deceased:

    “… sorry Otis … must have been the coffee …”

    1. Whenever I hear the name Otis Greene, I immediately think “Mr Greene, he’s so serene, he’s got a TV in every room…”

    1. Yes, everything’s okay 🙂 — I just got a promotion at work and it’s an incredibly busy time, so I haven’t had enough time for the blog. I’m hoping to get back to a more regular posting schedule soon, thanks to everyone for your patience and love.

      1. Excellent and congratulations! I’m just glad there’s no illness or family emergency involved. We’ll love reading about DS in March as much as February, so don’t rush!

      2. I think I may have said before;
        but I’ll reiterate –
        that something that’s as good as this
        is always worth the wait.

        Best wishes on your promotion! Congratulations! (I still don’t know how you manage doing it all. It’s all I can do to find time to READ DSED. 😉 )

      3. Maybe I just forgot, Danny, but you are a writer of a kind?

        I remember posting a message once, years ago, predicting your walking into a hiring manager’s office.

        She has a wolf head cane on the wall.

        And she reads DSED.

        Anything like that?

        We all root for you to be famous.

        Maybe a Collins.

        No, a Devlin.

        Not a Rumsen.

  7. For the last few weeks I’ve been working on a project run by a guy whose first name is Zachary. I’m sure you understand how hard it’s been not to call him “The Head of Judah Zachery.”

  8. Congratulations on the work promotion: your time and talents are clearly appreciated, and certainly being put to work… a situation any one of us would be hard pressed to argue with.

    This blog has become something of an gathering place – an internet “Blue Whale”, if you will – a friendly place to get together and try to figure out what is going on, just as Maggie, Joe, Carolyn, Burke, et. al. were doing those years ago. Granted, we are not at the end yet – just “six months” to go to April 1971. Clearly, no one wants to pick up the tab and leave, as past commentators used to beg for additional reviews of “Dark Shadows – The Beginning”, certainly to allow this community to continue at least a while longer (PrisoneroftheNight has met with that mission, nice to drop in on a parallel Blue Whale, though that means two different tabs, I guess).

    So, given the promotion, and as a practical matter, should “Dark Shadows Every Day” more or less morph into “Dark Shadows Every Week”, there really won’t be any complaints here: that way, we can hang around even longer, raise our glasses, sing a sea shanty here and there – and best of all, dance with Carolyn!

  9. Yay, thanks to everybody for the good wishes. The short version is that I work for Wikipedia, designing and building tools for the thousands of volunteers who write and curate Wikipedia content.

    (The longer and more accurate version is that I actually work for the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia and other wiki projects, and I’m a Director of Product Management for the Contributors team.)

    And yes, I’m very happy that the rowdy Blue Whale party happening in the comments keeps everyone drunk and happy during the long dry spells between episodes. Y’all are amazing, keep dancing.

    1. Well I am seriously impressed! Wikipedia is an invaluable source and I actually throw money your way because I use it all the time.

    2. Let’s break out the booze…..and have…..a ball.

      So, nobody at Wikimedia has the wolf’s head cane?


      But you’ve got fans there, to be sure.

  10. Congratulations Danny and happy World Dracula Day to all. For those who enjoy audio drama and can access the BBC, Radio 4 extra has two new adaptations, one of the original Stoker and another. Look for BBC iPlayer on the Radio 4 webpage.

  11. Belated Congrats on your promotion, Danny!- They’re lucky to have you!
    I’m almost caught up with you all and hoping to be on the same page at the same time, soon. Meanwhile, Abe Vigoda, (like Walter Matthau) was just one of those guys who was born looking old, and somehow looked the same, if not even better as they aged. Plus, he makes me smile every time I see him on DS. What a treat!

  12. Belated congratulations, Danny! I’m glad you’re getting ahead. ouch!

    And I just wanted to add that I enjoyed your reinterpretation of this episode much more than the actual episode itself.

  13. Is that Josette’s portrait we see in the background of photos 4 & 5 above? If so, how did it get to Rose Cottage?

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