Episode 1136: Waiting for the Storm

“This time, I can’t help feeling that the dead have nothing to do with what has been happening to me.”

Something dreadful is happening underneath the skin of the world, something unnatural and unreal. Our dreams are full of portents. Everywhere, confusion clouds the mind. Alien forces corrupt our intentions, taking hold and steering us to empty places.

It finds the flaws in our nature, rich veins of avarice and anger. It does not need to conjure dark spirits from beyond. We have our own spirits close at hand, ready for use.

And downstairs, among the dead, it prepares for war.

It’s over, we will say, in the false dawn to come. Why did I help him? And we will know.

You can’t understand how I felt! we will say. I had to do whatever he said. I had to protect him, even from you, and I did it without remorse, without guilt.

We have said these words before.

It is sewn together. It accumulates. So many threads, drawn to a close. How far does it reach? How many parts does it require, how many infernal episodes of terror and despair?

We learned these dark skills, this summoning power, in another time far distant. Another head, another thread, pulling tighter. We thought it was a choice.

It feeds on lies, and betrayals. We have not let it hunger, you and I. We have fed it well.

There’s a new entry here, we will say. And it’s in my handwriting!

How long has it watched, and listened, and urged us onward? Who pulls the thread that brings together this horrid whole?

Something dreadful is happening, below the earth. And in our lies, it finds its own fulfillment.

Tomorrow: It’s Alive, Sort Of.


Footnote:

Here’s another of my extra-curricular activities: I recently appeared on two episodes of Movin’ Right Along: A Muppet Movie Podcast, created by my friends at the fantastic Muppet-fan website ToughPigs.com. In each episode of Movin’ Right Along, hosts Ryan and Anthony invite a guest to discuss two minutes of The Muppet Movie, and I was invited to talk passionately about Miss Piggy in episode 21 and episode 22. Along the way, I talk about Miss Piggy as a mythopoetic trickster figure, and how a fictional character reached outside the fiction and actually changed the world.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Daphne steps on one of Gerard’s lines at the beginning of their scene in act 1.

Gerard asks Daphne, “Do you ever smile? I’m sure that you would even be more prettier.” She does smile at this.

As Julia and Leticia’s first scene in act 2 begins, Julia looks up for her cue, in two different directions.

Gerard says that he remembers the woman Quentin told him about, and asks, “Is she still back in your life?”

Then they have this exchange:

Quentin:  I made exactly two copies — one I gave to Joanna, the other I kept myself.

Gerard:  I see, and you destroyed yours, and so this for, this must be Joanna’s.

Quentin:  That’s right. Why? Who — what is doing this to me?

Gerard:  There must be two reasons.

When Quentin walks Gerard to the drawing room doors, we can see the studio lights.

In general, the whole Quentin/Gerard sheet music scene is confusing. Quentin says, “I made exactly two copies — one I gave to Joanna, the other I kept myself.” So I guess he wrote the song, but he doesn’t say that, and we’ve never heard any reference to Quentin being a musician. Gerard just kind of goes along with it.

In the final scene, when Julia uses her stethoscope, the boom mic appears next to the mirror — as seen in the screenshot above.

Tomorrow: It’s Alive, Sort Of.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

28 thoughts on “Episode 1136: Waiting for the Storm

  1. I haven’t read the post yet – I’m about to – but thanks so much for posting again so soon. I really appreciate your work!

    1. Where has that piece of DS prop memorabilia got to, do you suppose? It would seem to have limited ‘reuse’ possibilities for ABC-TV.

      1. “Where has that piece of DS prop memorabilia got to, do you suppose?”

        I hate to consider the very real possibility that shattered, broken pieces of the so-called Ralston Purrina lamp are sitting at the bottom of a landfill somewhere … I prefer to think Sy Tomashoff or someone brought it (and the other props) to his residence at the show’s conclusion … or else offered them to cast/crew members to take home as DS mementoes.

        Sy is alive, I believe, now in his 90’s, I think in LA. He may know what happened to the beloved props when they tore down the set … Perhaps it all went back to the same antique dealer in NY from whom he likely obtained them in 1966 for the beginning of the show …

        Who still living, besides Sy, might know the answer?

        Though I’ve searched, I’ve never come across any information anywhere, ever, to answer the question what happened to most of the very familiar, beloved, major props after DS ended, with a few exceptions:

        (a) PORTRAIT: I seem to recall (possibly) reading that Lara Parker may have possession of the Angelique portrait used in PT1970;

        (b) BAT: and one of Bill Baird’s rubber bat vampire puppets-on-a-stick was offered for sale online;

        (c) GRAYSON: IIRC, some of Grayson Hall’s personal property including some jewelry and a favorite handbag were offered for sale not too long ago, but these wouldn’t qualify as props per se, but perhaps more as celebrity memorabilia; and

        (d) WOLF CANE: of course, Jonathan Frid retained a wolf’s head cane and was regularly seen carrying the cane when he would go out to dinner at local eateries in his hometown Hamilton, Ontario.

        But I just hope that somebody took and kept the so-called Ralston Purina lamp and many of the other main props after the show ended. However, since nobody expected the show to be remembered for decades later, I tend to question whether most cast/crew members cared much about the props, or would have taken the time to retrieve and preserve them. I hope I am wrong on this.

        Dan Curtis threw a final bash to celebrate the end of the show. I would expect at that point that everyone involved would have been much more concerned with finding their next job than preserving what most figured were just some dusty old lamps and “horribly ornate” turn-of-the-century furniture, etc., that nobody would ever be interested in seeing ever again!

        As for the mask, what style is it — Mayan, Incan, Egyptian??? Anybody hazard a guess? Is it polished brass? I’ll bet it’s not real gold. It could even be papier-mâché. I suppose I might rather have that gold mask than an actual human skull lying about on my coffee table. But that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? Either one would be too frightful to behold on a daily basis. In fact, I’d much rather have a stuffed pig-weasel in my hallway.

        Whatever happened to the rest of the props, may be anybody’s guess.

        Please chime in if you can think of a favorite prop & what happened to it.

        1. I’ve wondered about the same things.

          I wish they’d saved all the sets and eventually opened a Dark Shadows theme park or museum, so fans could take a tour of the Collinsport of their youth.

          Myself, I’m partial to those electric green Victorian oil lamps. On Peyton Place, Norman and Rita Harrington had one in their apartment that was identical to the one used for the Evans cottage and David’s room at Collinwood. I thought that maybe the two shows could be using the same ABC-TV warehouse, but then it occurred to me that Peyton Place was being taped out in Hollywood. They must have just been a popular and fashionable brand of household item at the time — in 1966 on Bewitched, Darren and Samantha Stephens have a similar but double-shaded electric green oil lamp at the bottom of the staircase and facing the front door.

          It’s likely that Dark Shadows props were given to cast and crew — and why not? The stuff was all paid for, and I’ve never seen a Dark Shadows prop turn up anywhere else in any show since. Not even any of the subsequent Dan Curtis productions.

          I wish Sy Tomashoff would write a book detailing his career as a set designer for daytime television.

          1. “… I wish Sy Tomashoff would write a book detailing his career as a set designer for daytime television.”

            @Priz

            I also admire the simple but classic design of the particular style of oil lamp you mentioned — the kind seen in both the Evans’ cottage and David’s room, and also in the two other 1960s TV shows you referenced.

            In fact, I tried emailing Sy Tomashoff one time a couple of years ago at an email address that seemed plausible. Of course, I had a few prop questions I wanted to ask him. Unfortunately I did not hear back from him. I know that he has a Facebook page. However, I am not on Facebook. So I did not pursue the inquiry any further.

            Seymour will be about 100 years old in 5 years. So I do hope he will at least write a chapter about Dark Shadows if not an entire book … and may he do so soon! 🙂

            If he does not, there are (as you know) at least a few interviews with Mr. T online, though they are not quite specific enough to satisfy either thePrisonerOfTheNight or yours truly, Count Catofi. 😉

          2. I would think, in all likelihood, if a prop (like B’s cane) were not directly connected with the actor, everything wound up at a second-hand shop. Nothing would be particularly documented. I was always wondering if the paneling from the sets (like in the foyer or drawing room) was recycled.

            1. It’s possible that the furniture, props and costumes were ABC property, and when DS closed down, they were used by other shows. Maybe the Ralston-Purina lamp had another life on Ryan’s Hope or All My Children. The period costumes were probably rentals.

              1. You know, that does make sense. Ryan’s Hope was where Sy Tomashoff was working from 1975 to 1981. The debut July 7, 1975 episode is up on YouTube. Lela Swift was directing, and the music supervisor was Sybil Weinberger.

                1. I believe Ryan’s Hope was actually produced in the early days at the 443 West 53rd Street studio which was last “home” of dark shadows. Some of the props could have survived for a while that way.
                  If had to guess, I would suspect that they brought someone in to dispose of most of the contents of the studio around the time that Ryan’s Hope started. Sy Tomashoff being on both shows would have made it likely that some things were preserved.
                  As far as I can tell, the studio wasn’t used between 1971 and 1975.

                  1. The only standing set throughout the run of Dark Shadows was the Collinwood drawing room/foyer. Everything else was being continually carted back and forth between the studio and an ABC warehouse. That’s how the original set for the Old House was destroyed, when one day a network executive took a tour of the warehouse with the intent of saving the network money by disposing of the things that were no longer needed. This executive saw an apparently old and filthy set with cobwebs all over it, so he sent it to the dump to be incinerated. The Dark Shadows crew had to scramble to build a replacement set in time for an upcoming episode where it would be needed.

                    Given that networks were in the habit in those days of even wiping an entire television series just so the videotape reels could be reused, it’s possible that a similar fate befell the Dark Shadows sets and props when taken back to the ABC warehouse for the last time.

              2. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the collinsport afgan ended up on the back of Maeve Ryan’s sofa. If not, it’s pretty close.

            1. You two fight over that, I’m having her medical bag (even though the sedatives are probably expired by now).

            2. Coda, it was a strange looking thing, wasn’t it? When the medallion was first shown, it was about a thick as a coin. Fairly soon after was about 1/4 inch thick and seemed much too heavy for its little chain.

              Vicki referred to it as a gold medallion, but its edges were green and there seemed to be little mirrors to reflect light on it. I didn’t notice that much gold on it.

  2. The screen shots show how much more visually resourceful and inventive the camerawork and set designs have become–pity you can almost hear the remaining pair of writers crying for help. As a Freudian, I look at exchanging like one ending “There must be two reasons” (I nearly spit out my coffee reading it) as a confirmation that the actors don’t have clear beats and can’t even follow their own through lines.

  3. Has anyone any thoughts on the strange casting of Michael McGuire as the silent head of Judah Zachary? The job, as far as I can tell, is to look impressive and scary from the neck up even if your eyes are closed, and occasionally to open your eyes and stare commandingly. No aspersions on McGuire, whose acting I’m in no position to judge or doubt, but this is ultimately about looks alone, plus indefinable presence, and I’m not seeing it. He’s one of the only male-pattern-bald men that has ever even visited Collnsport, there are bags under his eyes, and he kind of looks like an especially resentful accountant. More than that, they don’t trust him to speak: ere long, we’ll have a flashback scene where Zachary is condemned in court, and they contrive obviously and ridiculously to replace his voice with that of Keene Curtis. If he doesn’t look all that scary and you don’t like how he sounds and the entire current plot and future of the Collins family and hopes for continuation of the series are riding on this guy’s malign impressiveness–why this casting?

    1. He probably had a good, efficient agent with connections in the business.

      He wasn’t exactly coming from nowhere. Before Dark Shadows, he was among the illustrious cast of Where’s Poppa?.

      If you’ve got a Carl Reiner movie on your résumé, you’re pretty much on your way.

      He’s had an impressive career in movies and TV ever since, with a ton of credits extending into the mid-2000s.

      I’ve never had a problem with Michael McGuire in the role of Judah Zachery. He has an impressive height, and he does menacing facial expressions pretty well.

      As for why they had someone else doing the voice of Judah Zachery, it’s mostly a nonspeaking role. That means they likely cast McGuire for a lower pay scale. If he does dialogue, then they have to pay him a full actor’s salary for those episodes where the character speaks. If he’s only doing a line or two for a whole episode, it’s cheaper to just hire an uncredited extra for the lines.

      1. Judah Zachary is a character no actor seemed to be perfect for, so they got one for the body, one for the voice, and another for the head!

  4. Sadly props seldom get the respect they deserve. They are often resold with a possibly spurious Certificate of Authenticity. I don’t know about Dark Shadows, but a lot of soap props get sent as donations for various charities. The truly sad thing is that I’m sure there are lot of people who bought something because it was on the show, but didn’t properly mark it so the people who inherited it just toss it with the other junk. If you have anything that was prop or is personally important because it belonged to a family member. Point it out to your relatives and make sure it’s marked as such.

  5. I am catching up with past posts after being away. Thanks John Comelately for the link to the unaired 2004 DS. I liked the interpretation of the vampire being withered up after being entombed for so long, And David Collins really did come off looking like a kid with serious issues.

    1. Yes, there were aspects that I liked, too – it WAS atmospheric, and the bit where Willie doesn’t need his glasses after being bitten, implying that there are small advantages to being a blood slave to a ravening hellbeast.

      Sadly, most of it wasn’t any different from all the rest of the remakes; like HoDS, there wasn’t much characterization, and I got no sense that Barnabas had any remorse for his bloodsucking, and the visuals of his victim (Willie’s cannonfodder girlfriend) didn’t help to make him endearing – and most of the lead roles were just as colorless (Liz Richlady, Roger Badfather, Carolyn Rebelteen, Joe Niceguy). And again, gratuitous makeout scenes, just for the titillation: at least Julia was a bit more pleasant than the 1991 version.

      And was it just the video? When they were using that lurid red lighting, it was impossible to see anything!
      So I can see why it wasn’t picked up, it was just another retread of ‘The Vampire Story’ from ’91, which was a retread of HoDS.

    2. @benj wrote, “I liked the interpretation of the vampire being withered up after being entombed for so long …”

      WATCH AT LEAST from 12 min to 16 min in Dailymotion link (below) to Black Sunday (1960). Enjoy! And if time permits, watch the entire B&W atmospheric movie. It’s quite good!

      Danny Horn could write an entire blog entry about this film and its similarities to the Judah Zachery story in Dark Shadows! And the use of drops of living blood in the 2004 DS pilot to revivify the dead monster as seen in this 1960 movie.

      1. I think that you could be right that Dan Curtis was influenced by this film. The connection with Barbara Steele makes me think so even more. Not only did she play Julia in the 1991 DS, but she also worked with Dan in The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

  6. I thought it would have been cool if at the end of the 1897 plot Judith visited the old house. She finds the empty Petofi box and says: “This would look good on the table in the upstairs hallway” That wouldd explain why we always saw it there .

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