Tag Archives: avant-garde

Episode 575: Crazy Talk

“I think it’s time you knew how revolting and disgusting you really are.”

And now we have come to another installment where I honestly do not have the power to adequately describe how thoroughly certifiable this television show has become. It has broken free from its keepers, and is, at press time, rampaging through the streets, barking and snapping and uncoiling reality as it goes.

My only recourse as a commentator is to use William S. Burroughs’ cut-up technique, because I don’t have access to the acres of marijuana that the 1968 teenage audience was smoking at the time.

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Episode 537: Life Without Barnabas

“Not run out, Willie. Go. Because there’s no reason to stay.”

Barnabas Collins is dead and buried, planted in the Earth by the only two people who can stand the sight of him.

“So, it is over,” says the First Gravedigger. “The end… The end.”

“You’d feel better if you cried,” says the Second Gravedigger.

“No, I’m past crying, Willie,” says the First. “Far past that. If I could imagine living without him — I could cry. But I can’t. I can’t.”

“No,” says the Second, staring off into the middle distance. “Neither can I.” He turns to face the First. “What’s going to happen to us?” he asks. “What are we going to do?”

And then the opening titles begin, waves crashing on the bleak shore of a town where life has no meaning and God is dead.

In other words: Yeah, it’s going to be another one of those entries today. Sorry.

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Episode 535: The Point of Return

“I was standing here, waiting for the end to come, and it never did!”

Clinical notes of Dr. Julian Hoffman, ABC Daytime.
Session recorded on June 28, 1968, for broadcast on July 12th.

Patient is a two-year-old daytime soap opera that has recently gone through major changes in focus and storyline. Patient has been plagued for several months by a recurring dream, which is interfering with story progression and audience engagement. Patient is sponsored by Bactine, the modern no-sting antiseptic, and by Ajax double bleach cleanser.

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Episode 522: Brother From Another

“Angelique has no blood brother. But a brother spirit, a brother devil…”

Here’s where we are: Cassandra, the lunatic sorceress from Martinique posing as Roger’s new wife, has been cast into darkness by the spirit of Reverend Trask, an 18th-century witch hunter raised from the dead — or from the Old House cellar, which is more or less the same thing. She hasn’t been seen for a couple days, and Barnabas and Julia have just discovered that her magic portrait has turned white and faded. Ding dong, presumably, the witch is dead.

But things are never that simple, especially on this show. There’s a knock at the door, and a dapper man in a hat introduces himself as Nicholas Blair — Cassandra’s brother.

So the question for today is: Who the Hell is this guy?

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Episode 512: Everybody Rise

“I am prepared to convene a jury of the dead in this room!”

He meant well, is the thing that you have to remember. There’s an evil witch who’s living at Collinwood these days, and she’s making life complicated for everybody, so Professor Stokes thought, hey, we’ve got a witch, why not raise the spirit of a bad-tempered 18th-century witch hunter?

Stokes learned that Reverend Trask was buried alive behind a brick wall in the basement of the Old House, so he figured, let’s wake Trask up, point him in the direction of Angelique, and then just let nature take its course. Stokes is something of a lateral thinker.

So, yeah. It’s not one of the top ten plans. But at least it doesn’t involve terrorizing a young child, so for Dark Shadows, it’s actually not that bad. You have to grade these things on a curve.

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Episode 477: We’ve Warned You

“What evil game are you going to play this time?”

“How do you do?” says the little man, as he emerges through the curtains and takes his place at center stage.

This is the opening of the 1931 Universal film Frankenstein, and since Dark Shadows is just beginning its own version of the story, it seems like an appropriate time to let this guy in and have him say his piece.

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