Family Reunion by Laverne Ross

Monday, July 21, 2008


Yesterday I was tthrilled to be able to attend the convention to one of my all time favorite shows: "Dark Shadows".

To those who do not know, Dark Shadows was a Gothic Soap Opera that dealt with the supernatural. It began on ABC television in 1966 and centered on the wealthy Collins family in the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine. It was the introduction of the character Barnabas Collins, a guilt ridden vampire played by Jonathan Frid that helped propel the show to amazing success. Later on the character of Quentin Collins, a ghost with a tragic history played by David Selby was introduced to more success. The show had all of the supernatural elements: ghosts, vampires, witches, warlocks, zombies and even an appearance by the Devil himself.

The show featured excellent acting all round and the pace of the show was similar to the "telenovela" form that is popular in Latin America. Another feature was time travel where the regular actors played different characters, which made for exciting viewing. Also legendary was the show's many times unintentional bloopers. The show was taped live in those days and could not afford reshoots. This made for high wire acting for the performers who many times flubbed lines, missed cues and forgot their lines altogether. This merely made the show more appealing to the fans.

The show ran for five years, ending in 1971 but has continued to live through syndication and festivals over the years. It is the only soap opera that has been made into not one but two feature films: "House of Dark Shadows" and "Night of Dark Shadows". It was remade as a short lived series on NBC in 1991 and as an unmade pilot for the WB network. All episodes of the original series and the revival are available on DVD.

If you want to see the influence of Dark Shadows, look at the soap passions or remember the "Satan Comes to Salem" storyline on Days of Our Lives several years ago. Dark Shadows was there first. Oh, you fans of the Night Stalker, it was influenced as well. Additionally it was produced by Dan Curtis, the creator of Dark Shadows. I hope you got that Professor Tracey. (LOL)

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