Episode 1162: The Tribulations

“Counselor, I do not need you to tell me the laws of this state that I am honor-bound to withhold!”

A death, a dream, a Trask yelling witchcraft — yep, just another episode of Dark Shadows.

Today, Trask finds Quentin kneeling over a dead body, just like he did in episode 1156, a little over a week ago. Then Gerard casts a spell that sends Daphne a sexy dream, just like episodes 1146, 1151 and 1158. And Desmond says that the evidence against Quentin is circumstantial, just like he did yesterday and the day before, and for all I know he’s going to say it again tomorrow, and every day for the rest of our lives.

Man, I wish something would happen today that we haven’t seen recently, and I’m sure I will never regret making that wish.

Oh, I regret it already; I just knew that I would. You know how it is, you let your guard down for one moment and along comes The Worst Actor Who Ever Appeared on Dark Shadows.

I would have sworn we’d left Addison Powell for good back in May 1968, when Dark Shadows figured out that they’d gotten hold of the wrong mad scientist. Powell played Dr. Eric Lang for five unforgettable weeks in spring ’68, when he cured Barnabas of his vampire curse, built his own Frankenstein and then dictated an audio message that followed us around for way longer than it needed to.

Addison Powell moved through Dark Shadows like a shark through an antiques store, shouting and grandstanding and taking pauses in all the wrong places. He mugged furiously, constantly pushing his front side toward the camera so we could see the stupid expression on his stupid face. In his worst moment, he actually said “Let me think,” and then put his fingers up to his forehead to indicate that he was currently in the process of thinking. He was awful.

After more than a month of his nonsense, la belle sorcière Angelique finally killed him using a self-made man of her own. Lang was supposed to carry an anti-witch talisman around with him, but he put it down somewhere and forgot where it was like a dope, and she stuck a pin in a clay doll and he died of a broken heart, unmourned and unloved.

But he had a parting gift before he left the stage, a tape recording recorded on a tape recorder that wasn’t actually recording.

“Julia,” he said, “if you do the experiment again… if both Barnabas and my creation live — if they both live — Barnabas will be free and healthy, as long as Adam lives. Adam will drain Barnabas’ affliction from him, but will not suffer from the disease itself, if he lives. But if Adam dies, Barnabas will be as he was before.”

If you don’t remember what that was about, then don’t worry about it; apparently it worked out fine. They did both live, as it happens, and Barnabas wasn’t as he was, until he traveled back in time, and then he was as he was all over again. Some people will do anything for attention.

But that’s not important. The important thing is what happened to Lang’s body — or rather, what didn’t happen, because it wasn’t there.

You see, after the tape recording, Lang laid his head gently down on his desk, indicating that he was dead. Julia checked his pulse and found that he didn’t have one, which was just typical. She called Barnabas on the phone and told him that Lang was dead, but when Barnabas got there, the body was gone.

They didn’t bury it, or call the police or anything; it just wasn’t there anymore. Addison Powell couldn’t even lie down and play dead. So Barnabas and Julia just went on with the story, as if the corpse evaporated somehow, and that was that. Personally, I think they were just happy to be rid of him.

And then here he is, two and a half years later and a hundred and thirty years ago, calling himself Judge Wiley. He’s got a robe on and his hair is combed differently, but I’d recognize Eric Lang anywhere. Nobody else talks like that.

“Mr. COLLINS!” he shouts, like always. “I have inVESTigated the CHARGES AGAINST you in this CASE. Very CAREFULLY. Now, you will NOTICE I have not ASKED the prosecutor. To be PRESENT here.”

He’s talking to Quentin and Desmond, who are here because Quentin got arrested for murder and nobody will let him leave. They’re doing their best to keep up.

“The reason I DID THAT,” the judge continues, “was there was NO REASON for it. I see NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE. POINTING! To a LINK! Between MR. COLLINS. And the MURDER. Of MR. DREW.”

He takes a breath, and peers at Quentin. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was trying to act.

“I HEREBY DISMISS ALL CHARGES,” he bellows. “The CASE will not COME TO TRIAL.” Then he bangs the gavel on his desk a couple times. There’s nothing you can teach Dr. Judge Wiley about making noise.

Naturally, the boys are excited. “I can’t believe I’m free,” Quentin smiles.

“Mr. COLLINS,” the judge grimaces. “You are not — COMPLETELY FREE. As yet.”

He turns to the door. “Mr. TRASK,” he hollers. “You may ENTER if you please.”

And in walks the prosecutor, who was waiting right outside the door with a stack of depositions. Apparently this is one of those surprise Candid Camera inquests where they play hilarious pranks on the defendant.

Desmond objects, but Lang just bangs his gavel and says, “Silence in the COURT. I have NOT given the COUNSELOR permission to SPEAK.”

Then he leans forward, and yells right up in Desmond’s face.

“I am going to PERUSE. These DOCUMENTS IN MY CHAMBER. COURT is adjourned until three o’clock.” And then a couple more gavel bangs.

Desmond asks him to explain, but Eric Lang doesn’t have time to explain things to other characters. “I need EXPLAIN NOTHING until I have PERUSED THESE DOCUMENTS. Counselor.” And then he ankles for the door, docs in hand.

Now, I know you’re going to say that this isn’t Eric Lang, it’s just Addison Powell playing a different character, but I don’t buy it. Anyone who believes in a just and loving God knows there can’t possibly be two of these in the same universe. Besides, I can prove it.

Because Eric Lang wasn’t the first time we’d seen Addison Powell on the show. Three months earlier in January 1968, we first encountered him in episode 404, under the alias “Judge Matigan”. This is what is known as the original 404 error.

At the time, girl governess Victoria Winters was the one on trial, in the year 1796. She was accused of witchcraft by Reverend Trask, and when a Trask cries witch, you call in Addison Powell. He wasn’t very helpful with her, either.

“All right,” he yelled, from the other side of a table. “First of all, Trask CONTENDS that you’ve been plotting against the Collins family. Do you have ANY reason for WANTING to HARM ANY member of the COLLINS FAMILY.” She said she didn’t.

“All right,” he continued. “In fact, SINCE. BEFORE, your arrival, in COLLINWOOD. Did you have ACQUAINTANCE with any MEMBER of the Collins family.” She said no.

“All right,” he nodded. “Now, Trask BASES, bases MOST of his charges against you. On the fact that your ARRIVAL. In Collinwood. Was under very mysterious circumstances.”

See what I mean? Clearly the same guy. All he needs is a stack of documents to peruse.

So the question is, how did Eric Lang turn into two previous judges? If Wiley and Matigan live — if they both live — then something must have brought them here, and it sure wasn’t a law school scholarship.

“Mr. Collins, I am NOT CONSIDERING holding your client,” he explains. “I HAVE NO CHOICE! But to hold him.”

He looks down at the script page on his desk, and then shouts at Desmond. “Under the POWER!” he begins, and then looks down at the paper again.

Now, this sequence is a little complicated, because Lang can only say about three words of this speech before squinting at the script again. Here’s how it goes.

Looking up: Under the POWER!

Looking down:  Vested in me, according to

Up:  the LAW of

Down:  this state. Number ONE HUNDRED and

Up:  nineteen, DATED!

Down: Twenty-third of April, 1696.

Desmond objects that Maine wasn’t a state then, and Wiley bangs his gavel a couple more times. “Counselor,” he says — BANG! BANG! — “I do not NEED YOU to TELL ME the LAWS of this STATE that I am HONOR-BOUND TO WITHHOLD!”

Now he’s tapping with his fingers on the desk. “The articles of our STATEHOOD SPECIFY” — tap! — “that we keep those LAWS ENGENDERED” — tap tap tap — “UPON” — tap — “US” — tap — “WHEN WE WERE A PART (tap!) of the ROY (tap!) AL COL (tap!) ONY of  MASS (tap!) ACHU (tap!) SETTS. THEREFORE.”

Now he’s really into it. “In ACCORDANCE with Law one-nineteen, dated TWENTY-THREE APRIL, sixteen-ninety-SIX, a citizen can be CHARGED with WITCHCRAFT!” — finger point! — “If there are DEPOSITIONS.”

“From SIX! CITIZENS” — and he holds up two fingers, just when he says SIX! I have no idea why. When Addison Powell is in full flow, you can’t control him; you just wind him up and watch him run.

“CLAIMING! From PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. ACTS of WITCHCRAFT. And NAMING. The PERPETRATOR OF SAID EVIL.”

He takes a breath. “THEREFORE! QUENTIN COLLINS! I HEREBY! BY THE POWER INVESTED IN ME! CHARGE YOU WITH THE INFAMOUS PRACTICES! Of WITCHCRAFT!

“I ORDER YOU TO BE HELD! WITHOUT BAIL or BOND! In the COUNTY JAIL!”

“UNTIL SUCH TIME as you COME to TRIAL! Under a SPECIAL TRIBUNAL of three judges! CHOSEN SPECIFICALLY ACCORDING to this law.” Tap tap tap.

“Upon COMPLETION of your trial! IF YOU ARE FOUND GUILTY!

“Your PUNISHMENT will be DEATH!

“In the MANNER PRESCRIBED BY THE LAW. BEHEADED!” BANG! BANG!

So where does Lang be headed, is the question. I think it’s obvious at this point what really happened here.

No? Okay, I’ll walk you through it. Eric Lang was a bad doctor and a worse actor, but even he could tell when he wasn’t wanted.

He was only on the show for one day when somebody tried to strangle his head with his own medical equipment, and things just got worse from there. He had nightmares about doors and he kept forgetting where he put his talisman, and all because of the infamous practices of witchcraft.

So yeah, he had a voodoo heart attack and apparently died — but then Adam drained his affliction from him, and did not suffer from the disease itself! How do you think Lang knew what would happen if Barnabas and Adam both lived? He’d already done the experiment on himself, prophylactically.

And that’s why his body was gone, when Barnabas and Julia came back into the room. He wasn’t really dead, he just scooted out the back door, running off to find someplace where there weren’t any witches.

Of course, once Barnabas and Julia ran the experiment again, then both Barnabas and Dr. Lang’s creation lived — then they both lived — and Lang was tied like a boat anchor to his own creation and to a supernatural time traveller, who then hopped around the space-time vortex from 1968 to 1796, back to 1968, and then to 1897, 1796 again, 1969, Parallel Time, 1995, 1970 and now 1840, Lang holding for dear life onto Barnabas’ coattails as he swung back and forth from one century to another, not to mention the weird spring of 1970 that he spent on film, in upstate New York.

And the whole time, he’s thinking to himself, Fine, at LEAST! I’m staying a STEP ahead. Of the WITCHCRAFT! That keeps TRYING to kill ME.

But everywhere he lands, guess what he finds! That’s right, the INFAMOUS PRACTICES of WITCHCRAFT. It’s everywhere! First Cassandra, and then Angelique, and Nicholas, and Parallel Angelique, and Hannah, and Judah, and Miranda, and Valerie, and now Quentin, apparently. He can’t rest for a minute, even in the grave he was never buried in.

So yeah, he ends up in the witch trial business. What else would you expect? He’s got to at least try to figure out who’s innocent and who’s guilty, so he can avoid another talisman screw-up.

And Adam was no help, by the way; they ended up rooming together for a few months when they were both thrust haphazardly into 1897, and all Adam wanted to do was stare in the mirror and feel sorry for himself. He wouldn’t even peruse documents.

So here he is at last, smack in the middle of 1840 all dressed up in judge drag, with three angry men staring at him and expecting him to figure out who’s a witch and who isn’t, and after all this time, who even knows?

If they both LIVE, he thinks to himself, sullenly. Did WE both live? Is THIS! what you call living?

Tomorrow: Love in the Afternoon.


Footnote:

Here’s another in my series of weird talks about old-time entertainment curiosities: The Thingmaker and the Burning of the American Child, which is about dangerous toys of the 1960s, and what happened to change the way Americans think about children and danger. If you like this blog, then you’ll probably like the talk, and you may even recognize a few jokes from old blog posts. If you like it, you should also check out my other talks: The Mickey Mouse Watch and a History of Things in General, and First a Bird, Then a Plane: the Natural Selection of Superman.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In the teaser, Mildred’s “body” is clearly just her costume, laid out on the floor. When Quentin is surprised and moves his hand, the costume shifts position.

Desmond bobbles a line: “You can not be accused of murder because a woman was found lying dead in the, here, or because Randall Drew, you were kneeling beside him!”

Desmond tells Quentin, “You cannot be tried for witchcraft in this day and age, not since 1696! It isn’t legal!” Obviously, he’s forgetting about Vicki, who was executed in either 1796 or 1797, depending on when someone remembers it.

In act 3, why is Trask hiding behind the drawing room door, all alone in a house where he doesn’t live?

Once again, Daphne goes to sleep with all of her clothes on.

There’s a little edit skip while Daphne’s coming downstairs during her dream; she basically leaps straight into Gerard’s mouth.

In the dream, Gerard tells Daphne, “You want to marry me, I can tell. As I want to marry you. I can think of no other life together.”

Desmond takes a break in the middle of his objection to the judge: “This is a court of law, your honor! A man may not be — [two second break] — indicted for being a witch under the law in the year 1840!”

Desmond tells the judge, “He wants to know by what considering are you holding him?”


Behind the Scenes:

Gerard tells Trask, “I think it would be best if I just remain in the dark shadows,” which is adorable. This is probably not the only time that somebody said “dark shadows” on the show, but I can’t think of where I’d go to find that out.

Tomorrow: Love in the Afternoon.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

46 thoughts on “Episode 1162: The Tribulations

  1. About 1968, I asked Santa Claus for a Thingmaker by Mattel toys. Thank you, Santa, for a really cool toy!

    It was the model called “Creepy Crawlers.” It came with metal molds to make an assortment of lizards, spiders, and various other insects. (Just don’t touch the hot plate surface. Also, don’t touch the hot metal mold until after you have immersed it in the tray of water for about a minute to cool it down.)

    Then about 15 years later, I spotted several old bottles of various colors of “Plastigoop” on a shelf in our attic. The stuff was stored for so many years that the liquid goop had separated into 2 layers – like oil and vinegar will separate.

    I wondered if the heating element and goop might still work … So I shook the bottles vigorously, dripped some of the goop into a mold, and fired up the old hot plate to see what would happen …

    The old heating element heated up immediately when I plugged it into the electric outlet … The goop started to change color slightly as the liquid goop solidified … Amazingly the unit still produced soft plastic insects just like old times again!

    But then scratching my head, I wondered: Now what should I do with all these newly minted lizards and spiders?
    🙂

    1. I had a Fright Factory, my brother had Fighting Men; additionally our home had Incredible Edibles and a Strange Change toy, which left nifty grid burn scars if you didn’t use the tongs. And I don’t think any of the devices were used in a well ventilated area — only in the unventilated basement, where my brother and I also built all our plastic model kits. With toluene based glue. (In retrospect, were my parents trying to send a message?)

      1. John E wrote, “… additionally our home had … a Strange Change toy. …”

        Below is an original, spooky, 30-second TV commercial by Mattel Toys for its “Strange Change Time Machine.”

        This toy also did get pretty hot. I’d say it came out about a year or two after the Thingmaker. But note how Strange Change Time Machine’s heating unit is now covered by a clear plastic dome probably to reduce the burn risk. If I recall, the SCTM never got quite so hot as a Thingmaker hotplate would but, yeah, you still needed to use the blue tongs to take out the hot plastic dinosaur! Overall though, I would think that SCTM was lower risk for burns than the uncovered Thingmaker hot plate which came with every set of Creepy Crawlers, Fright Factory, Fun Flowers, Fighting Men, or Creeple People, etc.

        Be sure to enjoy the eerie narration sure to appeal to any young fans of DS who may be watching:

  2. Dark Shadows also references itself in one of the 1966 episodes. In episode 46, Vicki walks into the drawing room looking for one of David’s drawings which she set aside. Roger is there and he tells her it’s on the table by the sofa. Relieved, Vicki comments on how David would kill her if she lost that drawing. Roger replies, “My son might kill you even if you didn’t,” given how David had only recently tampered with Roger’s brakes so that he was almost killed when his car went off the road down the hill from Collinwood.

    This reference is particularly noteworthy because it’s said in direct relation to Collinwood itself. Vicki gets Roger to take a look at David’s drawing, which is of Collinwood, and Roger observes: “Collinwood, with all its dark shadows. He’s captured it, alright.”

    1. I knew I’d just read it on your blog, and Roger said it, but I wasn’t able to look it up quickly enough.
      Doesn’t someone say it in an intro narration (doesn’t really count as ‘on the show’)?

      1. Not sure about the opening narration, though in the early days with Victoria Winters doing the narration there are plenty of references to “shadows” and “darkness” and sometimes even in the same sentence, but I can’t recall offhand if they are ever used together to reference the show. I think it would count as “on the show” because that’s how each episode begins, and often the introductory narration extends well into the opening scene.

        1. I read that Dan Curtis stopped using Vicki as narrator after he had to pay her for episodes she didn’t even appear in — it cost less for an actor that was in the installment to narrate. (IMDb Trivia)

          1. That’s right. It was weird after that decision was made when we’d hear Vicki doing the narration periodically, but no longer in first person.

          2. Didn’t David Henesy and Denise Nickerson sell sandwiches to the cast and crew that they cooked up on a hotplate there in the studio?
            Wonder if Dan asked for his cut of their profits.

  3. Hi! First post (finally)! Love this blog! Love how you hate Addison too, Danny. Been admiring for a long time, and I have learned so much! (Gushing padawan wannabe) Thank you!

  4. Addison Powell must have studied at the Really Loud Actors Studio.
    Hey, he doesn’t get on my nerves half as bad as Judge Judy.

  5. Great presentation, Danny; informative and entertaining.

    I wonder if future generations will be equally appalled by the 2010s over how Big Pharma and Monsanto have been allowed to join forces and respectively sicken and poison the population through junk meds and a tainted food supply.

    It’s great that kids are safe from hot plates and uranium kits; at least they can grow up to acquire neurological diseases and dementia through long-term exposure to GMOs and other insidious chemicals.

    What happened to all the car commercials? People used to like just driving around and eating.

    Pharma ad: “May cause heart failure…” No kidding, you mean it’s about as useful as arsenic?

    Here’s a joke I read somewhere:

    Q: What do you call an American supermarket without GMOs?
    A: Empty.

    1. There will be much for future generations to be appalled about from this era (providing any future generations make it). There may only be GMOs to eat once climate change becomes more pronounced, and most freshwater sources become salty because of rising sea levels.

      Oh, of course – we’ll be fine here in the USA behind our big, beautiful wall.

      1. We’re back in a global cooling trend once again — since 2016. A year or two before then, I read somewhere that sunspot activity had peaked by 2012, and that a more inactive period of solar dimming would follow. As soon as I read that, I knew we’d be back at global cooling like in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, I remember news programs from the 70s where scientists were going on record predicting that we’d find ourselves in the midst of a new Ice Age in our lifetimes. All they do is project the present moment, like things will keep moving in only one direction unless, We, the Stewards of the Earth, step in to save the universe from Ourselves.

        That’s another thing future generations will laugh about — how people in the 2000s and 2010s built this virtual religious belief system out of Global Warming/Climate Change, and even made it big business to the point of passing huge government spending bills dedicated to such an imaginary issue, never stopping to realize that just like planet earth, the sun too has its seasons, and right now it’s settling into “solar winter”.

        We always think the end of the world is just around the corner. Remember the threat of nuclear war? Nobody talks about that anymore. Nearly 8 decades since the atomic bomb, and now nobody even gives it a thought. People today have far more important things to talk about, like “toxic masculinity” and “white privilege” and all these stupid home-made videos that go “bacterial”.

        Myself, I’m much happier just forgetting about these first two misbegotten decades of the twenty-worst century, and keeping a more “Dark Shadows” state of mind; it’s better to just look in on Collinsport and see how normal people live and function.

        1. Sincerely hope that you’re correct. My version doesn’t sound fun; but neither of us will likely be here to say to the other, “Tol’ya so!” ⚰⚰
          Tell you what — if you’re right, you get to haunt my descendants.
          I’m right, I get to haunt yours. 👻

            1. Unless you’d prefer the drawing room with the magic drinks cabinet. Nah, no jukebox, just that crummy little AM radio. The Blue Whale it is!

        2. You say everything is cyclical, so this century is just a retread of the Thirty Years’ War or the Inquisition?

  6. Well, nobody can blame you for wishing, Danny – just remember to be more specific next time.
    “Mad” Addie (or “Howlin'” Powell) DOES make a change from the holding pattern the writers seem to be running — and at least we don’t have Roger Davis standing there in the background waiting to get his hands on Quentin!
    And we didn’t have to hear the tape again.
    And Daphne isn’t having the Dream Curse.
    And since it’s only 1840 Barnabas still has years to rethink his options and NOT hypnotize Istvan into needlessly walking off a cliff (and perhaps hypnotize him do something else? I digress.)
    Craig Slocum might have returned for another lap around the track, this time as Noah’s grandfather Clifford Gifford, as whiny witness to Quentin’s misdeeds.
    Sabrina Stuart as Other Gaoler’s Wife could have come in with a breakfast tray, and on seeing Quentin bending over Liz Eis’ costume (which BTW, WTF! Couldn’t they even borrow a dummy from Ohrbachs? Did they think we wouldn’t NOTICE it was just clothes, or should we just guess that Quentin was so hungry he ate her? Again I digress.) she could have dropped the tray, put one hand on either side of her head, and let fly with a super fake scream.
    Counting our blessings and moving on…

    Judge Wiley, if I understand it, has just DROPPED the CHARges aGAINst Quentin and he’s FrEe To GO; so this new charge of witchcraft is different than the last charge of witchcraft, or did Trask’s brilliant legal mind wait until Quentin was cleared before bringing the sorcery suit?
    Maybe Desmond can get the sentence reduced from beheading to being crushed under millstones until proven innocent. (Honor bound to withhold, indeed.)

    I know when he came on the screen that this was the face you made.

    We all did.

      1. I figured she could use the grey ‘witch’ wig for that period 1840s look, maybe have it done up with ringlets. Couldn’t look any worse than that roadkill Samantha has on.

  7. At one point, I Petofi has Beth proceed with the I Ching through one of the phantom doors, and asks her what she sees: “Shadows–just–SHADOWS!” She cries in distress. Ptofi, via Thayer David at his plummiest, intones “I am Interested in the Meaning of Shadows”–and the world waits for GIFFs to be invented . . .

  8. Does his performance as the voice of the Ghost of Jeremiah count as a first appearance? I mean, he was kinda loud then too (but I always enjoyed THAT performance; sounds nothing at all like Anthony George, but I was okay with that). “You will LEARN what it IS to BE one of the LIVING … DEAD!” dirt dirt dirt …

  9. Danny – i really appreciated your youtube lecture, especially toward the end when you talked about conspiracies. I want to use this in my communication classes when we are focused on the use of facts and identifying conspiracy theories.

  10. FYI through March 21, 2019, Big Finish has many of their Dark Shadows audiobooks on sale for just $5.31 each. Details are on their website http://www.bigfinish.com. And when you buy the CDs, almost every one of them comes with a free .mp3 of the story too!

    Just thought I’d pass that along to anybody (like me) who’s just getting started on the audiobooks.

    1. Now if I can only find the door in my house that I can open and see my life playing out in the alternate universes. I just know that in one of them I decided not to move to California and remained in Alabama. That would be interesting to see…if not scary.

      1. I think the one at my house is the one to the cookware closet – the pots and pans keep moving around in there!

    2. The article just points to us being in a simulation.

      https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-03-03

      I’m real though. Maybe everyone here is real because Dark Shadows fandom draws in real people and the NPCs are drawn to the Kardashians and other similar nonsense “reality shows”. They are the simulation version of bug zappers … all that supposed REALITY is attractive to fakey human bots. 🙂

  11. Danny, I put it to YOU, SIR, that the real 404 error is skulking in the back of the scene there. Addy seems to inspire you to write such entertaining material, which may possibly hint that he has considerable entertainment value; can you say as much for the other guy?

  12. Addison Powell and David Selby starred in a movie called “Dr. Franken”, which is very similiar to the Adam story.

  13. And (on the good side) this is the LAST appearance of Addison Powell on Dark Shadows.

    I cannot stress that enough.

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