Tag Archives: hypnosis

Episode 965: Wedding Crashers

“I’m going to destroy that thing that’s me in that room!”

Oberon and Haza Hawkes
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their son
Jebez Hawkes
&
Carolyn Collins Stoddard

Friday, the sixth of March, 1970
at the Altamont Speedway
Tracy, California

The rise of the Old Gods
and the end of all things
to follow

Ia! Shub-Niggurath!
The Black Goat of the Woods
with a Thousand Young!

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Episode 916: The One of Us

“There are two things you’ve got to know. One is that I think he’s slightly mad.”

And we’re back! Yesterday’s Dark Shadows episode was recorded three weeks out of sequence, and slotted into place in order to signal an upcoming storyline course correction. This is a situation that does not occur in nature.

They had this idea, you see, where Barnabas Collins, the main character of this daytime creeps machine, would suddenly swear allegiance to some kind of interplanetary invasion force of shapeless pre-prehistoric essence, which is plotting to replace the human race with a population of quick-growing four-headed snake monsters. Or something. It’s hard to explain, which I guess is the problem.

The kids who hang around outside the studio door after school said that a) they didn’t understand the storyline, and b) they wouldn’t like it even if they did, so the producers said I know what let’s do, let’s make a special episode where we explain that Barnabas doesn’t really want to be doing all the things that he’s been doing lately, and stick it in three weeks early, to signal to the audience that we’re aware that our story doesn’t make any sense, and we’ll change it as soon as we can. And then they went ahead and did it.

What I’m saying is, that’s a really not-normal way to run a television show, especially a high-rated show like Dark Shadows. Yes, the ratings have been slipping a bit since they started the Leviathan story, but that’s coming down from an all-time ratings peak that they hit only two months ago. There’s still a lot of people watching this show.

So what just happened was that the main character of a television show went to sleep, had a dream where the show apologized for the current storyline, and then woke back up and continued on as usual. I can’t think of anything to compare that to. That’s an approach that begins and ends with Dark Shadows.

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Episode 909: Another Alias

“Can you see the center of the stone? Because beyond that center is another center.”

Take Quentin Collins, please. Take away his wardrobe, take him away from his family, and take him out of context. What do you get?

Well, you get David Selby in a bathrobe, which is still better than most of the available alternatives. But then what?

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Episode 896: Help Wanted

“I don’t believe that she’s not worried about Philip, either.”

Things look bleak for the global Leviathan conspiracy. The ancient book of prophecy has been stolen. The child is sick. The boss is spending all his time punishing the Chosen Ones. It’s only been two weeks, and the organization is falling to pieces.

We need a firm hand at the wheel, a steady leader in an unsteady world. We need a thirteen year old.

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Episode 683: The Very Last Ron Sproat Episode

“I want you to tell me what you know of a tall blonde woman in a long, flowing white dress.”

On February 5th, 1969, ABC aired what is generally considered to be the worst half-hour of network television, the first episode of a sketch comedy show called Turn-On. The show managed to be both offensive and incomprehensible, which is quite a trick, and on at least one station, it was cancelled during the first episode.

The conceit of Turn-On was that it was produced by a computer, which spliced together lots of little shards of not-funny. The show didn’t have any sets; it was just filmed against a stark white background. An odd-looking character would appear and do something strange, and then they’d cut to something else.

Almost all of the jokes were about sex, and sometimes they just flashed the word SEX! on the screen, in various colors. They also flashed captions with jokey references to sex and gay people, including “God Save the Queens,” “Free Oscar Wilde,” “Make Love Not Wine,” and “The Amsterdam Levee Is a Dike.” Sometimes the screen would be divided into four comic-strip panels, and the sketch would be performed in discrete chunks, one in each panel. The ending credits were split up into pieces and aired throughout the show.

WEWS, an ABC affiliate in Cleveland, took the show off the air during the first commercial break, and just didn’t show the rest of the episode. I don’t know what they filled the extra twenty minutes with, but it was better than Turn-On, so it could have been literally anything.

And on the same day — February 5th, 1969 — ABC also aired the last episode of Dark Shadows written by Ron Sproat. ABC was just having a bad day overall.

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Episode 632: The Owl, the Raven and the Bat

“You will live, as I live — as one of the damned!”

Fall 1968 is a rough time for the Dark Shadows writers, because they’re stuck with a convoluted storyline that just won’t unconvolute. So they’ve embarked on the Great 1968 Wrap-Up, where they shed all of the characters, actors and plotlines that are surplus to requirements, which is practically all of them.

In this time of turbulent change, we turn to the old traditions for comfort. I mean the really old traditions, like dressing up in animal skins and making blood offerings to Asmodeus.

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Episode 602: The Neuralyzer

“And in another house, nearer the sea, the emotion is rage.”

I don’t usually take the time to appreciate the voice-overs that open each Dark Shadows episode, but every once in a while, they simply demand attention.

On this cold, clear night, one can hear the sound of the ocean at the great house of Collinwood — a sound which means peace to some, but rage and fury to others.

And in another house, nearer the sea, the emotion is rage — rage because one of the many plans conceived there is in danger of being stopped by a violent death.

I mean. You have to give it up for that. And today, I am filled with love for everything, even the weird voice-over. I’ve been pretty hard on our little cow-town spook show for the last few weeks, but today’s episode is super enjoyable.

In fact, I would say that this is pretty much a perfect episode of Dark Shadows, if by “perfect” I mean that it’s fundamentally flawed in several amusing ways. And I’m a Dark Shadows fan, so obviously that’s what I mean.

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