About

Dark Shadows Every Day is written by Danny Horn.

I first watched Dark Shadows when I was in seventh grade, and the local NBC station showed the first six months of the Barnabas storyline, from Barnabas’ arrival to the fateful confrontation with Dave Woodard.

A couple years later, I discovered the show again on New Jersey Network, where I got to see another two years of the show, from the end of the Dream Curse through 1897, the Leviathans and halfway into 1970 Parallel Time. When NJN dropped the show, WNYC picked it up, and I finally got to see what happened to Dr. Woodard!

And because I’m a fan and a collector at heart, over the years I’ve read all the Concordances and fanzines, I’ve bought the books and soundtracks and videos, and I’ve been to Dark Shadows Festivals. I’ve always wanted a place to write about Dark Shadows, but I couldn’t think of the right format.

So I came up with the most ambitious challenge I could think of — to watch Dark Shadows as the original audience did, one episode a day, and try to find something interesting to say about it. I’m keeping the Monday-to-Friday rhythm of the original broadcast, which basically nobody has bothered to do since the show went into syndication and then home video.

I don’t know if anybody actually wants to read about every episode of Dark Shadows, but we’ll find out. I’m trespassing in the cemetery, breaking into the secret room and opening up the mystery box. Let’s see what’s in there.

Next: Satan’s Favorite TV Show.

Danny Horn
dannyhornmail@gmail.com

47 thoughts on “About

  1. I started to watch Dark Shadows (via Netflix, then the box set) a few years ago, and I so completely enjoy your episode guides. You’ve made me pay much more attention to details when watching–identifying the writer, tracking bloopers, etc. It enhances the experience for me! I am up in the 900 range of episodes now.

  2. Danny, I LOVE your blog! I purchased the complete series coffin set and started watching from the beginning. When Barbabas appeared, I started reading your blog along with each episode. What a blast! I love your humor and juicy tidbits. You’ve increased my enjoyment of watching the show (which was already immense). And I’m only on Episode 336 — so I have quite a ways to go. Thank you, thank you!

  3. This is a fantastic, funny, loving and sarcastic view of the show. I started watching right off the bus when I was six and have been a fan for 45 years. Thank you for this, Danny! Looking forward to more. Sandy

  4. One of the things I love about Dark Shadows is how timeless it feels. I started watching when it was on NBC here in NY for a few months back in the early 80s. I was in the first grade so if Barnabas wasn’t showing fangs then I wasn’t interested ( I think the thing I remembered most about the blackmail story was Jason’s funny accent.) But I couldn’t ignore the overall eerie atmosphere the show had. That, coupled with the constant showings of House Of Dark Shadows on television during that period would keep me hooked on the Collinsport players for years to come.

    A few years later I watched the Adam storyline on channel 31, and then a few years after that I caught much of the show on the VHS tapes that were released. And here I am at age 40, having just recently purchased the coffin DVD set and I can finally say I’ve seen all the episodes, pre-Barnabas included. It took me over thirty years to watch everything and that is what makes the show seem timeless. I was a new viewer as a kid, as a teen, while I was in college, and now as an adult. It’s like the show exists in a bubble: no mention of current events, no Christmas…just drama, bloopers, and it’s always there, no matter what age I am.

    And now I have an added piece of awesomeness: this website. Thanks so much, Danny, for sharing your insightful and always hilarious viewpoints on each episode. You’re adding new life to DS for me, and as I watch through the show again I’m sure to check in with your episode reviews as a companion to each episode.

    I love this site! Thanks again for all you do, Danny.

    Jayson

    1. That’s great, thank you! I’m really glad you like it, and that it’s helping you to enjoy the show more. I can’t believe you’re watching the whole thing again 🙂 — but I’m happy to accompany you on the journey.

  5. I’m really enjoying these, they’re funny and I’m learning a lot that I didn’t know. Since I just now discovered this site (thus hundreds of episodes behind), I have to keep myself from rushing through them. It helps that after reading every recap I feel compelled to go to Hulu and watch the episode!

    1. Awesome, I’m glad you’re here, and watching the Hulu episodes. Their collection runs out in late 1795, but the rest are on YouTube for a dollar an episode. The ritual has 1,245 steps, so you better get going. 🙂

  6. you’re hilarious, danny! i love your reviews. i just recently began watching DS again, and i’m loving these wacky folks. your reviews not only make me laugh, but they bring insight. i appreciate that.

  7. Just found your blog last night and I love it. I was hooked on Dark Shadows for a while during its first run, back when I was 8 — I didn’t actually understand what was going on, but I loved the creepy atmosphere and most of all, I had a massive crush on Barnabas Collins. Last week I had the impulse to see just how pathetically dorky the show and Barnabas would seem from a grown-up perspective (or as grown-up as I’m capable of — it’s variable). Lo and behold — the show is actually captivating, even with the slow pace, and Barnabas has charisma that lights up the screen. Now I see why the show was a hit, and how a somewhat-handsome-somewhat-funny-looking guy could become such a sex symbol. I’m having a blast watching as an adult. (Even the flaws and flubs, which I was completely unaware of as a child, are fun because it makes me feel like I’m watching a film of a live stage production — knowing the actors can’t do a retake sometimes has me on the edge of my seat, especially when I think I see Jonathan Frid running into trouble.)

    Anyway, I found your blog last night and now I’m hooked on that too. The way you appreciate the show and poke fun at the flaws at the same time is great fun — it has me laughing out loud and it also gives me that warm fuzzy feeling, like hanging out at a fan convention with people who love the show enough to be able to laugh at it too. And I really appreciate the things you point out about the episodes. Your observations make me think. I’m still only in the Maggie Evans plot; I loved your post about the episode where Barnabas puts her in a coffin. I hadn’t thought about how hard it must’ve been, with the taping methods they were using, to get that shot of him closing the lid from her point of view. Things like that deepen my experience of the episodes. So thanks so much for taking the time to make this blog! I’m sure I’ll be a regular reader.

    1. Oh, that’s awesome; it’s great that you’re rediscovering this beautiful and bonkers show. Barnabas never turned into a crush for me, but yes, he’s fascinating and always worth watching — it’s easy to see how he took a short-term role and walked away with the show. The same thing happens with David Selby two years later.

      If you hit a rough patch with the 1967 episodes, skip ahead. DS evolves from a pretty good show to a great show to (occasionally) the best show ever, but gradually, and in surprising ways.

  8. Hi Danny,

    Risking sounding like a broken record here, I’m gonna echo what many are saying about the quality and effort of your work here. It’s—and pardon the expression—geek-tastic! And that’s a good thing. Your spins on each episode are a hoot to read, and your little backstory tidbits make for great reading while watching each episode.

    I’ve always been a horror fan from way back…and nothing, I mean nothing scared me. At age 6 (circa 1967), I could be alone in my house watching a Dracula film, or even ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ in our unfurnished basement (in the dark even) and keep cool as a cucumber. That said, only 2 stories have ever scared me, and one I don’t think should even count because it freaked out (arguably) at least 95% of the people who saw it. I mean c’mon, who wasn’t deliciously terrified by “The Exorcist” when it appeared in theaters back in the day. But the other? Yep, DS. And it terrified me! I remember seeing my first episode thanks to a teenage cousin who was babysitting me (I believe in the summer of 1967 (perhaps ’68 I’m not sure). Reason I bring this up is that first viewing might have been an historic one-of-a-kind episode that perhaps somebody here could fill in the gaps for me regarding (??) I’ll never forget the final scene of the it. It was Angelique biting somebody (can’t remember who) but her fangs elongated in animation fashion as she opened her mouth and sunk into her victim’s neck. Freaked the hell out of me! But I loved it. And in the years that followed I had a love hate with the show…fascinated yet truly scared of the “monsters” it portrayed every other week or so…so much so in fact, that I often would stand behind the set when an especially creepy moment might have been about to happen. And this was disobeying my parents who forbade me from watching it in the first place…ahh, the memories! LOL

    Nobody has ever done creepy quite like “Dan Curtis” did for low-budget TV (the show’s lighting and especially music, were masterfully atmospheric and offered the perfect campy ambience to what DS was all about. Watching it today at virtually the age what my Grandparents were back then, it’s hard to believe how scared I was as a child…but then again, lots of things can be creepier than they actually are when you’re around age 6. In any event, if you (or any follower here) know the episode I’m talking about with Angelique and her fast growing animated fangs, please chime in. Swear to god that image of here there has been burned into my head for over 50 years!

    Fangs a lot!
    Beenolas

    1. Great, I’m glad you’re here! Angelique has some wild vampire bites, but theu never did any fast-growing fangs animation. I think that was your overstimulated 6-year-old imagination, which turned into a memory. You should treasure those; the best special effects are always the ones that you make in your own head. The animated fangs effect sounds amazing.

      Angelique was a vampire during the crazy summer of ’68. There’s a shot in this episode that should bring back some good memories:

      https://darkshadowseveryday.com/2015/01/07/episode-562/

      1. Thanks for the quick response…and especially those choice screen shots. Man-o-man was Laura Parker easy on the eyes back then. But I digress. About those quick growing fangs…with all due respect, I’m gonna stand by what I saw. Somebody has got to know of this out there. I’m not making it up. I think I once read somewhere that the fangs couldn’t be found for that day’s shooting so they had to improve something on the spot. I’m sure you have better resources to DS lore/research/history than I do. With a little digging you could probably find the scene. I think I even once found it on YouTube. It was a one-time thing I’m pretty sure…much like the fly landing on Barnabas’ forehead during a monologue he was giving in Season 2 (remember that? LOL). Beenolas

  9. Though I have vague memories of an old black and white TV, and a woman I now realize was Grayson Hall wandering around in period costume looking scared, I didn’t ‘find’ DS until adulthood. You, Sir, are LOL funny… and I can read this blog and not have to buy every single episode, because your summaries are far better than the actual show.

  10. Danny – Hulu just added episodes 453-492 very recently. I LOVE to watch the episode and read your blog of that day! Your reviews are great, very funny and witty, and you are adorable. I was probably about 6 when the show was first aired, and I just remembered always flipping the channel just because the music was way too spooky for me. When I was in kindergarten, I remember somehow seeing the episode where everyone was looking for Sarah everywhere, and they could only find her empty swing swinging. I made it through that episode without having to change the channel, and I had no idea who Sarah was. When I was in 8th Grade in 1975-76, a local ABC affiliate did air the vampire story after school – I thought it was very well done, and I was hooked! I was lucky enough to watch some of it off and on on Sci Fi channel in the late 90’s, but I caught more of it but not all of it and not consistently. I am SO GLAD that you are doing what you are doing, and that Hulu seems to be, slowly but surely, maybe giving us eventually a complete set of eps!

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you like it! And thanks for the Hulu update, it’s great that they’re adding more episodes. It’s funny that you were scared away by the music as a child — the episodes in that looking-for-Sarah period are really tame compared to what came up later. The music was probably the scariest thing on the show!

  11. Let me add my voice to the chorus of folks who love this blog. I’m on episode 70 of my start-to-finish run, but I look forward to catching up to you when Barnabas arrives. I have to say I’m enjoy the pre-Barnabas shows more than I thought I would.

    1. Oh, that’s great. Beware the pen — it gets to be a problem around episode 80, and then 95 to 105 are extremely pen-heavy. That’s the toughest period, where people tend to drop out. Once you get to the 120s, that’s when Laura enters the picture, and then it’s smooth sailing.

      1. I’ve made it to the dreaded pen mini-arc. I think the episodes with the brake valve help prepare a viewer for the pen episodes.

        Plus, I’m immensely enjoying David’s cruel prank on Vicky, luring her into the closed-off portion of Collinwood and locking her in. (Frankly, I wish David had gone Crazy Jenny on us. That would have been fantastic).

        We get our second ghost appearance, too, with Bill Malloy appearing to Vicky, which is great. And any scene with Elizabeth/Roger or Elizabeth/Carolyn is worth the price of admission.

        And finally, I looked forward to more of suspicious, hard-to-fool Mrs. Johnson. I really didn’t appreciate all Clarice Blackburn had to offer until now. I love it when she’s on the screen.

        I was a child when DS originally aired, too young to remember the first few years, but I did start watching in 1897. And I’ve seen decent chunks of it before.

    2. I like the atmosphere and the music at the Blue Whale. Were I to win a lottery, I’d open up a replica and play the ’60s music, along with the spooky DS music.

  12. Back when SyFy was doing reruns in 1990s, I had a dream where Angelique was in my ceiling fan laughing that evil laugh at me. I was so frightened I couldn’t move. I awoke with the sheets wet with sweat.

  13. Danny — I’ve just discovered your site. As an almost life-long DS fan (I watched most of its original run back in the 1960s starting when I was 11 years old), let me tell you I love it! I especially like the affectionately snarky tone of your writing, some of which is laugh-out-loud funny, but which nevertheless reveals a deep understanding of and fondness for the show. I haven’t read every page yet, but I’m going through it. My favorite episode discussion so far — the one I’ve found the drop-dead funniest — is the one with Angelique struggling to clean the bloodstains out of the carpet like an ordinary housewife. The way you describe it is hilarious. But I also found deeply moving your discussion of the end of that storyline and what it reveals about Joshua Collins. Absolutely marvelous. Congratulations on a terrific website, and please keep up the great work! I’ll keep reading! — Wayne Studer (http://www.geowayne.com/psbhtml.htm).

      1. I concur with everything Wayne Studer said about your DS blog, Danny. You have such witty and insightful observations. I only have one complaint, and that’s I’d like to see your musings on the pre-Barnbas era! I’m up to No. 115, trying to catch up to you guys in 1897 (which I’ve seen before).

        It’s the bookends I had never seen — Pre-Barnabas and then everything after the late 1960s Parallel Time storyline. And I’ve never seen much of the time between 1795 and 1897. Not looking forward to the Adam/Eve stuff, but I will soldier through.

  14. Danny, I recently started watching DS (for the third time in my life) on Hulu and Youtube, and I just discovered your wonderful blog. What a great companion with whom to watch a show that meant so much to me when I first saw it (also in 7th grade and beyond!) Since I’ve only reached the entrance of Nicholas Blair (loves me some Humbert Allen Astredo!), I thought I would post on your intro page, so I have no idea if you will ever see this!

    First time watching, I was a kid and in awe! Second time, I was a MUCH more knowledgable college student, the show was on after Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and we laughed and laughed at lines like “Things have certainly changed here at Hollywood” or “Enter Julia Hoffman, bearing flowers” (which I used to think was Grayson Hall reading the stage directions like a line, but having recently seen this episode again, I realize it was so much better than that!)

    Now, with this third viewing, I both laugh and feel this wave of both admiration and nostalgia for what this crazy group accomplished. I know I’m enjoying it more THIS time than the second time (age and wisdom’ll do that to ya), and I’m getting a special kick reading your commentaries. Since I’m binging, I know I’ll catch up with you sooner rather than later! I can’t WAIT for 1897!

    All the best!

  15. Ah, HERE is the secret room! Where all the back stories are.
    Here is my tale of terror and regret.

    Summer of 1969, New York. A rosy-cheeked lad of eight, visiting his grandparents in New Rochelle, is taken for a visit to a friend of Hanna’s. Said visit because said friend has ‘kids your age to play with’. Said ‘kids’ prove to be three GIRLS. The lad settles glumly in for a long August afternoon of tea and chatting.

    Oldest sister: I know, let’s play Dark Shadows!

    (Rosy-cheeked lad has never heard of this game, afternoon soaps are not even on the radar.)

    Younger sisters: (squealing, giggling) Oh! Okay!

    (Now, there is a great deal made of the issue of who will be what. Oldest insists SHE will be Angelique, other sisters groan in disappointment. They decide on Maggie and Victoria.)

    R-CL: What do I do?
    OS: You can be BARNABAS!

    (Sadly, the lad is unaware of the honor being bestowed. Rosy-cheeked lad may now be considered an idiot who may possibly ruin everything.)

    R-CL: (repeats; possibly he has misread the teleprompter) What do I do?

    (Girls react in amazement that R-CL is not intimately familiar with ‘How To Be Barnabas’. Clearly they are dealing with some rube.)

    Mother (from offstage): Girls? Your show is on!
    Girls: (chorusing in an earsplitting shriek) DARK SHADOWS!

    (Exeunt girls, leaving lad wondering if this is part of the game, or possibly the whole game.)

    R-CL:(entering after being abandoned in the basement by a pile of Barbies) I thought we were…
    Girls: (furiously) SSSSSSH! SSSSSH!

         -OPENING THEME-
    

    (R-CL finds theme and opening titles interesting, spooky and atmospheric, but there does not seem to be anyone by the name of Barnabas. Or Angelique. Or Maggie. Or Victoria. NO questions are permitted during the show, only at commercials (which R-CL CAN at least subscribe to, after all, he’s far enough along that he knows what TV is, and how THAT works, anyhow. Courageously, he hazards banishment anyway, as the first male character comes on.)

    R-CL: (whispering) Is that Barnabas?

    (Girls shake their heads, glaring briefly.)

    TV Announcer: And now, a word from our sponsor.

    (By first break, NONE of those mentioned in the game have appeared, and the lad is informed that they, none of them, is appearing in today’s show, except Maggie, who isn’t Maggie, she’s Rachel. Lad enquires as to who the man was. Evidently he is Tim, but he used to be twins, named Chris and Tom, but Tom is a dead vampire and Chris is a werewolf. Lad asks if he can be Tim instead (as Tim seems to have a good relationship with Rachel, and is doggone handsome), but is shushed again, it’s back on. Lad is despairing of ever understanding how to play Dark Shadows.)

    Will the girls reveal the hidden mysteries of their plot to ensnare the innocent idiot?
    Will the rosy-cheeked lad ever cop a clue?

    Tune in next time…..

  16. And now, back to our story.

    A child of tender years, from a small Midwestern suburb, at the mercy of three cosmopolitan big-city girls, forced into an unholy ‘game’ he does not comprehend.

    (The lad has now watched the events on screen for what seems an eternity, trying to figure out what is supposed to happen once the show is over, and hoping against hope that there will be a Godzilla movie, or Bugs Bunny, or even (so help me) some 3 Stooges on – even a whole block with Shemp! At least there is a point of reference…o Gods of Telecommunication, smile upon thine unworthy servant?
    There have been some gypsies, then that handsome cuss Tim is back; the rosy-cheeked lad really wants a shot at THAT role, but during the commercials is told that all parts have been cast. Girls can be so BOSSY.)

           --- END CREDITS ---
    

    (Well, at least it was only a half-hour. Except that there was NO clue as regards ‘playing Dark Shadows’, or any character choices for this Barnabas. Oh, and the girl who was Rachel-who-used-to-be-Maggie wasn’t Rachel after all, she was Amanda, who wasn’t anyone previously. So that’s no help, the chance of being Tim has slipped beyond the lad’s grasp, and it’s time to play. This must be how Jonathan Frid felt, only without even a script or teleprompter. (Okay, sometimes WITH.))

    Sisters: Okay, now we can play! (Evidently one random half-hour in 1200-odd should be enough, it’s all you’re gonna get from ABC, anyway.
    Exeunt all to basement.)

    R-CL: (trying to get some handle on motivation) What do I do? (Yeah, that line has already been used.)
    OS: (patiently, as if speaking to one who regularly rides on ‘the short bus’) See, Barnabas is a vampire.

    (Long pause.)
    (Evidently that is the whole character study.)

    R-CL: (in desperation) But Tom is a vampire, too! (And at least the guy who was Tom before is Tim now, and he was just in the show! Not much, but something! Fool, fool, grasping straws!)

    S2: Oh, he’s dead.

    (Now, our lad is not totally without nodding familiarity with the supernatural. Technically ALL vampires are dead. But this point is wasted on Big-City Girls, as Poirot would say, ‘a mere bagatelle’.
    Guest or not, the lad is gonna be BARNABAS, deal with it.)

    R-CL: What do I do? (Somebody give that teleprompter a smack, it’s definitely on the fritz.)

    OS: First, you get in your coffin.

    (R-CL is startled. Unless their dad’s an undertaker who’s storing his overstock of caskets here in the rec room…no, the younger siblings are dumping the toy chest over to serve for internment. It’s a little short, but cadavers can’t be choosers.)

    OS: Now, open the lid real slow, and go ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuwwwwwggggghhhhh’, like it’s creaking.

    R-CL: (slowly raising lid (which, being painted with a teddy bear on a rocking horse, does not seem to have the desired effect)) Eeeeeeeuuuuuuuwwwwwgggghhhh!

    (Long pause.)

    S2: (wondering if Lela Swift ever had days like this) You hafta get OUT!

    (Which is NOT a graceful process, which is why it’s not shown happening.)

    (Short pause.)

    OS: Now, show your fangs. (R-CL gives a feeble attempt at an underbite.) No, like this! (OS opens mouth very wide, baring her teeth. Then gives a look as if she’s gonna be on the phone to Central Casting in about thirty seconds.) And put your arms up.

    (R-CL makes the requested movements.)

    Sisters: (using the Heaven-given power of eleven-, nine-, and eight-year-old vocal cords at FULL ear-splitting decibel level) AAAAAAAAAAAAUUGGHH!

    (Exeunt Sisters. Evidently the lad had it right the whole time, that IS how Dark Shadows is played, aside from the box and gesticulating.)

    (Long pause.)

    OS: (from the top of the stairs) NOW YOU HAVE TO CHASE US!

    So, now you know. Dark Shadows is basically ‘Tag’ with a lot of shrieking (at least it was in New Rochelle in August of 1969).

    After that, it was kind of anticlimactic when I next encountered DS; we had a local used bookseller, who had stacks of the Marilyn Ross paperbacks. I was reading voraciously then, and with fond childhood memories of summer vacations, collected almost the whole set (but do not remember the plot of ONE SINGLE BOOK, with apologies to MR); they’re packed away somewhere now. Danny, if you need any info or cover scans, I can try to find the mystery box. I will even (in extremis) read one or two – how’s that for commitment? (Or, I can say I lost the lot…:-) )

    Then the local Detroit indie channel, in the 1980s, showed the b&w beginnings, so I found out what I had actually missed by reading those books – who everybody was, and despite its slow and creaky start, became hooked.
    I remember clearly how disappointed I was when I turned on the set on that Monday to find NO Dark Shadows. Especially since it had just gone to color, and was just getting wound up.

    And then, what joy to find it again in the nineties, like a long-lost pen – er, friend.

    Then, now, so long after THAT, to reconnect again. Thanks to all who keep DS ‘undead’, and have fond memories (those of us old enough to say ‘in MY day…’ Dang, I’m so old I have ‘a day’!)
    Welcome, welcome to those newcomers – I really do envy your ignorance of what you’re getting into!

  17. Does anyone know anything about the interview record they sent outwith Barnabas answer some DJs question from a formulaic script, regarding House of DS.

  18. I’m watching the show from the beginning on the same day (50 years ago). I hope you’ll get to do the early pre-Barnabas eps. Meanwhile, when I do get to Barnabas, I’m going to be reading this blog every day (I was hooked when I read your lyrics to the parallel time theme.)

  19. Hello, Dan: first, an apology, I don’t speak English, I’ll try with a Tarzan-like translation. I am from Argentina. I was born in 1967, so I met DS in 1972. Here the serie was seen on channel 9 at 10 PM with the title “Sombras Tenebrosas”. Was recommend it to me for my cousin of the city (I live in the countryside), fanatic of the horror / mystery cinema. I saw it and it hit me, but my mother, who was a very rational person did not like the idea, then we watched comedies or news (now that I think, there was more terror in this…) We had bought our first black and white television . That image of the Collins mausoleum never left my mind …
    Many years later, circa 2000 on a late night, I saw the film NODS, then … my memories were activated and I crossed the other side of the Force. Since then, I greatly enjoy the series and everything that surrounds it, fan fics, essays, testimonials, etc.
    And last, recently my mom passed away and Dark Shadows again helped me a lot in this time of regret, really.
    Recently, I started my 3rd vision of the series (never before I compelled it, the real life attack me). This time I saw “the beggining”, and it fascinated me, really caught the film noir. This crazy collinses are very addictive to me.
    Your blog is incredible, I congratulate you and send you a giant hug from the South of the world.
    PS: Sorry my (lack of) language again

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