Tag Archives: beatles

854 dark shadows quentin hand ring

Episode 854: Positively Like a Beatle

“I tried to get it off my finger, but I can’t!”

In a way, Quentin’s having a tough week. He’s scheduled to marry a psychotic sorceress in a week’s time, the girl that he was planning to elope with went and eloped without him, his enchanted portrait was pinched from his bedroom, and now a wicked wizard is casting some kind of mysterious hoodoo on him that will almost certainly lead to ruin, desolation and despair, in that order.

But in another and much more important way, Quentin is having the time of his life. He’s currently in a streak of 14 straight episodes, and over the next six weeks, he appears on 26 days out of 30. He’s booked solid from Monday to Friday, and now they’re even sending him out on weekend excursions to wave at people.

Continue reading Episode 854: Positively Like a Beatle

837 dark shadows julia doors of perception

Episode 837: The Trip

“She’s got doom and disaster written all over her face!”

Edward Collins finds an unconscious stranger, just outside his front door. It’s a woman, with a strange hairstyle and an unfamiliar style of dress. He helps her to her feet, but she’s groggy and unsteady. Edward brings her inside, and she looks around like she’s in a daze, squinting and blinking as if she’s never seen the inside of a house before.

She’s docile, at least — clearly not a danger to anyone — and he’s able to lead her into the drawing room, and park her on the couch. Slumping in her seat, she stares at Edward, a puzzled look on her face.

“Can you hear me?” he asks, patiently. “Can you understand what I’m saying?” She just looks at him. He persists. “Why did you come here?” No reply. “Who are you?” Still not receiving.

At a loss, Edward cries, “Where have you come from?”

She squints up at him, and says, “I don’t know, man. I mean, where does anybody come from?”

Continue reading Episode 837: The Trip

716 dark shadows generation gap

Episode 716: The Generation Gap

“What is your blood type?”

It’s tricky sometimes, in this postmodern lit-crit racket of mine, to fully explain why one pop culture artifact was embraced by the populace at large while another was not.

Why was Star Trek cancelled for low ratings in its original run and then become a seminal science-fiction classic, while Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was popular at the time and is now utterly forgotten? Why did the Pac-Man cartoon click, while Rubik the Amazing Cube was a step too far? Did you know that America’s Best Dance Crew is still on the air, currently in its eighth season? It’s difficult to fully account for the vagaries of public taste.

Except in the case of the 1969 ABC game show The Generation Gap, obviously, which failed because it was terrible, and that’s all there is to it.

Continue reading Episode 716: The Generation Gap

692 dark shadows maggie gasp

Episode 692: The New Mischief

“It is strange, isn’t it, how suddenly the swamp seems to be playing a leading and sinister role in the affairs of Collinwood?”

Let us speak, then, of Barnabas Collins Versus the Warlock.

It’s book #11 in Paperback Library’s long, strange line of Dark Shadows-inspired novels, and it’s the first one in a while that actually takes inspiration from the show in any meaningful way.

In this book, governess Maggie Evans has to save her young charges, David Collins and Amy Jennings, as they — more or less — fall under the influence of an evil phantom that stalks the halls of Collinwood. It’s complicated.

Continue reading Episode 692: The New Mischief

633 dark shadows maggie black mass

Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons

“Your powers, Mr. Blair. Where are they now?”

Okay, so that happened.

Nicholas Blair, who we might as well call the Big Bad until something Big Worse comes along, has realized that he’s going to be transferred back to the home office in the Netherworld pretty soon, and if he wants to hold on to his girlfriend Maggie, then he needs to put The Ring on it.

So he does what any young lover would do, namely: drug her champagne, carry her downstairs to the bloodstone circle, and recite a romantic selection or two from the Malleus Maleficarum.

Yesterday’s episode is the example that I cite whenever I’m trying to explain how unbelievably weird Dark Shadows can be, because it’s pretty much the furthest they ever go in this particular direction. Not because it doesn’t work (although it doesn’t, really) — just because at this point there is literally nowhere left to go.

You’ve just shown America’s children how to perform a Black Mass. The only thing you can do after that is run away, screaming You’ll never catch me alive! and laughing maniacally.

Continue reading Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons

612 dark shadows laugh-in

Episode 612: Reflections on the Golden Eye

“The trouble, I guess, is that soaps are rather subterranean.”

Here’s a story that isn’t true:

In some ways the situation wasn’t unusual for a soap opera. A girl and an older man, in the process of eloping, had been hurt in an auto accident. However, the condition of the still-unconscious male patient baffled the examining doctors at the hospital. Although he had suffered only a minor head wound and was breathing normally, his veins were almost empty of blood and no heartbeat or pulse could be detected.

The treatment — massive transfusions — was already underway when the patient’s personal physician and a friend arrived at the emergency ward. “What do you think will happen to him?” asked the friend in a desperate whisper. “Who can tell?” was the M.D.’s equally tense reply. “After all, no one’s ever given massive blood transfusions to a vampire before.”

And then “a burst of eerie music is followed by a denture-adhesive commercial, and one more episode of Dark Shadows comes to a cliff-hanging conclusion,” except it didn’t happen that way.

Continue reading Episode 612: Reflections on the Golden Eye

607 dark shadows adam nicholas neck

Episode 607: In a World of Turtlenecks

“Put down that letter opener, you look ridiculous.”

We’ve watched our enormous teenage Frankenstein monster as he was brought to life from weeks-old corpse parts. We’ve seen him read poetry, and play chess. We’ve seen him kidnap women, break out of jail and jump off a cliff. We’ve even seen him cry.

But have you ever seen him in bed, wearing revealing nightwear? Welcome to Dark Shadows After Dark.

Continue reading Episode 607: In a World of Turtlenecks

605 dark shadows crazy world

Episode 605: The Crazy World

“Now, the background of the Collins shipping interests is, in many ways, even more fascinating than the family history.”

I’m going to be honest with you, because there are no secrets between us: I don’t have a damn thing to say about today’s episode. It’s all about a secret plot between Barnabas, Julia and Professor Stokes to invite Nicholas over for the most boring dinner party of all time. The first half is basically just describing what’s going to happen in the second half, and then the second half is doing what they said they were going to do in the first half.  I can’t even discuss it.

If only there was something unusual happening in October 1968, which would provide some context for the period, shedding light on Dark Shadows’ pop cultural environment. That would give me something to write about. I just wish I could think of something.

Continue reading Episode 605: The Crazy World

497 dark shadows frid's big week

Episode 497: Frid’s Big Week

“Here they were, with these thousands of kids, and this idiot on top of this hearse with fangs, and what was going on, you know? What’s happened to America?”

A year ago, Jonathan Frid stepped out of the mystery box for a limited 13-week run as a villain on a struggling soap opera. Now it’s May 1968, and by some strange magic, Barnabas Collins is the most popular character on the hottest show on daytime TV. The ratings have jumped from 9 million viewers to 16 million, and they haven’t peaked yet. As “America’s cool ghoul”, Jonathan Frid is suddenly at the center of a pop culture sensation.

That’s good news for ABC, obviously, and the most exciting part is that Dark Shadows has caught on with teenagers, whose daily lives are the original social media.

Traditionally, soaps were watched by housewives, recluses and the unemployed. These are people with a fairly limited amount of social interaction, and word-of-mouth doesn’t spread that far. But high school and college students talk to and influence a huge number of friends and acquaintances, and they have lots of free social time when they can evangelize about their new favorite show. Plus, they’ll buy spin-off merchandise, which brings in revenue and continues to spread awareness of the show to potential new viewers. In a couple months, ABC is going to move Dark Shadows from 3:30 to 4:00, to make sure that kids can get home after school to watch the show.

And this week, they’re sending Jonathan Frid on a week-long whistle-stop national tour, traveling to 10 cities in a private Lear jet. Frid’s job for this week is to show up at airports and supermarkets dressed as Barnabas — complete with cape, cane and fangs — and tell children what it’s like to be a vampire. P.S. Jonathan Frid is a grown man.

Continue reading Episode 497: Frid’s Big Week

489 dark shadows green nehru

Episode 489: Bein’ Green

“I have much too much work to do, to be bothered with dreams.”

Young David Collins has returned home, after a lengthy trip to Boston to recuperate from realizing that his cousin Barnabas was a vampire who planned to murder him. This was a major storyline six months ago, and it led directly to the séance that sent his governess, Vicki, tumbling through time to visit the Collins family of 1795.

Last month, when Vicki came back to the present day, the Dark Shadows writers used the opportunity to make a fresh start on the story — not so much tying up the loose ends as just cutting them off and pretending that they were never that loose in the first place. Everybody just stopped talking about how worried they were about David, and now he’s back from Boston, and everything’s fine.

But there’s something different about the boy, which is even more important than his slow-motion off-screen amnesia. David has come back to Collinwood wearing a Nehru jacket.

Continue reading Episode 489: Bein’ Green