“Sometimes I get scared to like people, because I’m afraid.”
There are five more Ron Sproat episodes, and then, I swear to you, he is out of my life for good.
To catch up the uncaught: Over the last three months on Dark Shadows, there’s been a behind the scenes tug-of-war between two of the writers, Ron Sproat and Sam Hall. Ron’s been on the show since November 1966, and he lkes to slow things down and take his time. He writes a lot of recap scenes, and a whole week can go by without anything really happening. Sam joined the show in November 1967, and he’s the opposite. He’s smart, fearless and easily bored, and he wants to make the show faster, funnier, and more interesting.
Ron and Sam have been out of synch for a long time, and their disagreements are getting worse. That’s why the last few months have been a patchwork of exciting episodes and boring episodes, even more than usual.
By now, Sam has won, and Ron is on his way out. There’s only a handful of Sproat episodes left — and based on today’s episode, it sounds like he’s already cleaned out his desk.
Honestly, he’s not even trying anymore. I mean, he never really tried that hard in the first place, but now he’s not even trying to look like he’s trying.
Continue reading Episode 668: The Aristocrats
“No human hand has touched these clothes since I took them away.”
Okay, the Ron Sproat script countdown continues; we are currently at nine episodes and holding.
Sproat, if you haven’t read my other posts on the subject, is the third-best out of three on the Dark Shadows writing team, and he and I have been engaged in a tense standoff since April 1967. He’s got one month left until he leaves the show, and it’s going to come down to the wire on which of us is going to crack first.
Now, I’m going to write today’s post as if there’s somebody out there who still likes it when I spend the entire day complaining about Ron Sproat and his terrible scripts. “Oh, boy,” this make-believe person might say, passing by in a hot-air balloon. “These are my very favorites. I shall read today’s entry with particular relish.”
But now that I’ve written that down, it doesn’t sound super likely. I mean, does anyone even talk like that? And why a hot-air balloon?
Continue reading Episode 656: Unspooky
“I fear the séance didn’t put an end to what’s been happening here.”
The Turn of the Screw opens with a group of devoted thrill-seekers at a week-long house party, entertaining each other with ghost stories. Griffin has just finished telling the story of a young boy waking his mother up in the middle of the night, because a dreadful apparition had materialized in the bedroom, and he wanted her to see it. That is the beginning and end of that story, as I understand it, but it sounds like it was the hit of the evening, so hooray for low standards.
Unable to cope with his seething jealousy of the master raconteur, a guest named Douglas tries a bit of casual oneupmanship:
Before we scattered, he brought out what was in his mind.
“I quite agree — in regard to Griffin’s ghost, or whatever it was — that its appearing first to the little boy, at so tender an age, adds a particular touch. But it’s not the first occurrence of its charming kind that I know to have involved a child. If the child gives the effect another turn of the screw, what do you say to TWO children — ?”
“We say, of course,” somebody exclaimed, “that they give two turns! Also that we want to hear about them.”
Obviously, this is setting a bad precedent. It’s only a matter of time before Griffin comes up with a ghost story involving four children, and then Douglas ups the ante to a half dozen, until finally there’s a story about thirty-five children, each with his or her own personalized specter, and the bottom falls out of the ghost story market. This is not a scaleable business model.
Continue reading Episode 647: The Wire