Finally a movie review which isn't fluff and a follow-up piece discussing the erotic overtones of vampirism! The write up on House of Dark Shadows delves briefly into the trends with the paranormal in Hollywood and then gives a brief synopsis of what the movie is all about without getting hypercritical of the genre or over-analyzing it. It then segues into the eroticism of the vampire legend while mentioning both the show and the aforementioned movie. The short bit at the end about Frid's bat conservancy efforts only adds to the spread.
When Jonathan Frid joined the cast of DS in April of 1967 nobody could have foreseen that the struggling Gothic drama would burgeon into the number one daytime program and remain a cult favorite nearly fifty years later. The audience jumped 62% as fan letters poured in at a rate of nearly 1,000 per day with the great majority aimed at Barnabas Collins. The popularity of the show also spawned a merchandise buying frenzy with board games, masks, puzzles and comic books among others being consumed like candy by grade school kids. That wasn't the entire picture of the viewing audience though as women also flocked to the melodrama for the buttoned down and erotic romantic underpinnings of the lovelorn vampire's travails.
Fuddy duddy Mrs. M. Brown was a squeamish admirer of the DS cast but couldn't stomach Barnabas baring his teeth to slurp from Maggie's neck and chose to watch reruns of the Addams Family instead. E and C. W. from Seal Beach concurred. Lulu M. Samuelson was having none of their bunkum and suggested that they shut the tube off and live and let live. A catfight over DS! I like it.
Like most of the DS alumnus the stage was their main occupation. Marie Wallace's appearance in a dinner playhouse version of Forty Carats seems far removed from the bright lights of her DS success but I guess you have to work where you can when you're a supporting cast actor.
Kathyrn Leigh Scott was definitely eye candy par excellence on DS, regardless of which character she was portraying, but the actress herself seems kind of annoying and a little too self-serving. I don't know why but in every interview I've seen of her she comes across as myopic, self-centered and very opportunistic towards squeezing out every penny she can get from the DS enterprise. As I was saying... she was hot as hell!
Haha. Bangs and fangs. That's a good one. And so was Jonathan Frid. This article wasn't so good though and I'm not sure what purpose it really serves other than to get in on the DS mania which was everywhere in 1968. I'm glad to oblige them 44 years later.
Ah- the ever-popular vinyl renderings of Jonathan Frid on the DS soundtrack which you can listen to in its entirety here. The album didn't feature the complete musical score of the show but all the main standards are on there with additional vocals by Mr. Frid only enhancing the already genius music.
Joan Bennett was not only a movie star in her own right but quite an active performer as well. She regularly used her DS respites for short theater runs before returning back to the ever-popular television series. This article briefly details her part in a Westport Country Playhouse production of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park. The comedy ran from August 7 to the 12th in 1967. The previous winter she starred in a six week run of the S. N. Behrmann's play in Chicago called Jane.
I knew that Joan Bennett was an enterprising lady but had no idea that she was also a controversial columnist for a monthly publication called Girl Talk. Apparently it's still around or at least has taken another form as a teeny magazine. At the time this newspaper article was penned the magazine had around 5 million readers and rivaled such successful enterprises as Cosmopolitan and McCall's. I looked around a little bit but couldn't find anything online that was worth linking up to.
The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, August 23, 1969
I've read about this movie in several newspaper blurbs but unfortunately it seems to be both out of print and locked away somewhere in a vault. Which is a shame because even if the pilot sucked both Edmonds and Thayer surely didn't. Some lucky people in Colorado Springs saw it back in 1969 on channel 13 at 10:35 p.m. What little good that does us is trivial I suppose.
I'm not sure exactly where this advert is from -- I had it marked 1987 though I'm certain that is incorrect -- but I believe it to be a Milwaukee or Madison, Wisconsin paper dated from 1970 or 1971. More specifically the Milwaukee Journal of the The Capital Times out of Madison. Either way it's a double-billing of HODS Polanski's brilliant The Fearless Vampire Killers, a horror comedy. No matter what you think of Polanski the movie is quite entertaining and excellently cast, directed and performed. having now come across several different versions of this double-billing I think this one is the best but only because Barnabas is inside Carolyn's mouth.
"This sweet thing can do a lot to a man. Like suck every drop of blood from his body."
And thus commenced the beginning of the end of the original DS franchise as the television series was cancelled earlier that year. This is a double billing along with House of Dark Shadows which were featured at the Capitan, San Pedro and Town Twin in San Antonio during October 1971. I hope you're up for some Night of Dark Shadows adverts because the alphabetical order Gods say that they're next in line to be posted.
A one minute commercial ad for Dark Shadows in February of 1967 was $3,600. Which was quite a bargain considering that the Bob Hope Special commanded $85,000 and Bonanza received $55,000 for the same segment of time. I'm guessing that drastically changed shortly thereafter with the arrival of Barnabas Collins in March of the same year.
You've been Frid-undated! I suppose that much of the point with any DS endeavor is reveling in the creature called Barnabas Collins. But as Frid explains in this article it was a battle for him to fend off Barnabas and once again become Jonathan.
He didn't hate the show but also didn't enjoy the typecast anchor tied around his neck like a choking hairshirt half-removed and suffocating his career. In fact, he says, he didn't have much of a career after the show and for several years ran from it only to eventually soften his stance and embrace the mystique that the show, and especially his character, generated.
That he ran a successful one man show for years is old hat. That he mixed in horror with the dramatic and comedic roles is well-known too. What is most likely lost from the endeavor are the specific dates, time and places. This expose places him at the University of South Carolina in Spartanburg at 8PM on October 20, 1989. That night he performed such literary renderings as Poe's "The Cask and Amontillado" and Stephen King's "The Man Who Loved Flowers."
I suppose that a revival isn't complete unless there's a fan festival and in the 1980s that's exactly what happened. 1,000 Shadow fans congregated in Newark, New Jersey during the 4th annual Dark Shadows Festival in 1986. The festival began in 1983 and is generally held in New York or Los Angeles.
If the 1990s were the revival of DS with the release of show on video then the 80s surely was a re-awakening as the show ran in syndication across the US. This article from the Norwood, Connecticut daily The Hour states that reruns were being aired on Channel 4 at 4:30 in the afternoon. Which was pretty much as it was during the original run in the late '60s and early 1970s.
While the release of the DS catalogue in monthly installations in 1990 was big news for fans of the show it was tedious old hat for Jonathan Frid. He had waded through years of media and fan frenzy and was long-settled into his career as an ensemble and solo stage presence. Maybe he was really bored with the whole Shadows phenomena or just wasn't getting a cut of the $79.98 price tag on the 4 cassette 20 episode box sets. Either way he continued to do what he loved most by acting out his one man shows for both paying and non-paying customers in college towns around the US. The shows were appropriately titled "Fools and Fiends," "Fridiculousness" and "Shakesperian Portraits."
This is merely another House of Dark Shadows mention simply to get DS in the newspaper sort of article with nothing new in the writing to concern the rabid fan. But like most of these it's fun to see them in an old newspaper seeing as the digital age has killed anything of value in the written word department.
I believe that I've posted this Norman Goldstein nationally syndicated piece under a different paper's changed title but I like the pictures and layout so up it goes. If not then nobody's been cheated out of their Frid fix. Myself included.
Since I'm pretty much posting these in alphabetical order by article title and am in the "F" portion of the itinerary it goes without saying that there will be several Frid features forthcoming. This is a 1969 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette potpourri rendering from Charles Witbeck concerning the show which ran on WPGH-TV at 5PM. While the picture is lacking the article isthe prototypical write-up with summary plot lines of the show and biographical backdrop on Frid. Once again a fan mail re-telling steals the show as one recalled to Frid that she had remembered meeting him in 1233. Brilliant. I think I'd kinda like some woman to tell me that also.
I don't really indulge much in learning the lives of Dark Shadows alumni mainly because I have better things to do but Jonathan Frid has always been a curious sort to me and I wouldn't mind reading a biography of his. Oddly enough I don't think there's really been a thorough rendering of his life story although I think he did write a sort of obscure autobiography about himself which has probably gone out of print with his passing. Anyway, I learned one thing from this biographical article: that he served time in the Canadian Navy during WWII. I'm not sure if it was active duty or what but I never would have suspected it despite his well-mannered character which screams of self-discipline.
This is one of the few articles that I've come across where it's mostly Jonathan Frid speaking on the show and Barnabas and little filler from the writer Donald Freeman. He's got some good quotes in here too! And his obligatory Shakespeare and MacBeth references. He was consistent in interviews if nothing else.
Somewhere right now K. A. K. of Bridgeport, CT is probably at work, tending to grandparenting duties or watching the box set of the show and lamenting the passing of the great Jonathan Frid. But in 1971 he or she was grilling ABC for pulling the plug on America's favorite family of ghouls and wrote this obituary. The not-so-subtle dig at Password, which replaced DS back in 1971, was an appropriate diss of the network's longstanding ability to destroy quality television in favor of ratings and money. According to the editorial response they weren't the only complainant.
This is a short mention of the filming of the first DS movie as it coincided with the television show production. The plot line of chaining Barnabas in the coffin for 5 weeks was probably the death knell for the franchise but Dan Curtis often claimed that he was sick of the program by then and wanted to move on. I'm not so sure that I buy into that rationale as much as he thought that he could pull two projects off at once and failed at making it effectively happen.
I could have sworn that I already posted this article by Deborah Hastings but I can't track it down through the search function on here so I guess I didn't. It deals with the cult following the show retained up until the time of the second incarnation with the ill-received Ben Cross led series on NBC. A revival which included no original cast members and was often pre-empted by the Gulf War crisis.
While the fans were disappointed with the cancellation of both series Jonathan Frid had no interest in reviving his place in the enterprise. In a 1991 interview with People magazine he said he didn't understand the mystique of the show and quipped that he "always thought I looked like this damn silly ass" while playing the part of Barnabas. Brilliant.
One of the Christmas presents that little 6 year old Billy Weaver asked for in 1971 was a Barnabas Collins game along with a B-B gun, a wild rider and Operation! Toss in some fruit, nuts and candy and Christmas was made. The sad thing is that most of us still want a Barnabas Collins game for Christmas!
Sam Evans was one of my favorite characters from DS and that was mainly due to David Ford's portrayal of him. Mark Allen, the first sam Evans, was kind of a dopey version of the character while Ford seemed more laid back and natural for the part of drama queen Maggie's father. Ford, like Thayer David, died relatively young as did DS alumni Joel Crothers (at the age of 44 in 1985) who played Joe Haskell, among other characters, on the show.
I think it's common knowledge by now that Night of Dark Shadows was originally to be titled Curse of Dark Shadows and would star Jonathan Frid once more. After the television show was cancelled those plans and the plot changed in the Grayson Hall penned film centering around Quentin Collins' inheritance of the dilapidated estate.