Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Series Born Of A Dream

from The Deseret News, July 27, 1966

It's a well-established fact that Dan Curtis claimed that the idea for the show came from a dream and in this article he reiterates that point along with the supernatural elements which crept into the original elements of the gothic drama.

I didn't know that the show used the theremin for some of the sound effects and music though it certainly makes sense. Is that what Cobert used for the soundtrack too?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

'Dark Shadows' Provides Springboard For Actoors

from The Kentucky New Era, March 16, 1970
Click here to enlarge

I think it's safe to say that of the core group of DS alumni none went on to super stardom after the show was cancelled though most did receive steady character actor work on television and the stage. Other than Joan Bennett's earlier success in Hollywood only Kate Jackson became a Hollywood star but having only appeared in 70 episodes she could hardly be considered a main cog of the show's success. Then again, the show probably would have lost some of its luster if Frid and Selby would have been in a bunch of Hollywood schlock. Anyhow, this is an article on David Selby and Roger Davis and work they were doing outside of DS at the time of the printing and being that it is a Kentucky newspaper and Davis was a native son it focuses mainly on him with some additional biographical information.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Barnabas" Is A Bloody Matinee Idol Now

from The Titusville Herald, July 1, 1968
Click here to enlarge

This is another run-of-the-mill one-off Barnabas pieces which mentions him being a gentlemanly classical Yale stage actor bachelor who makes the women go wild type of article. Not that I mind considering that the fan mail quotes that get mentioned are always hilariously sad. I think I'll start listing them as I post the articles.

"There is no escape from the burning light you create. In simple words, you could bite ME anytime, for I would not be able to resist your fatal charms!"  -- a Carmichael, CA woman

"He gets me so excited, I could smoke a pack of cigarettes just watching him. I just sit there drooling over you."  -- a 15 year old New York girl

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Director Says; Women Can Handle Even A Vampire

from The Free Lance-Star, March 18, 1969
Click here to enlarge

I won't pretend to know much about Swift other than seeing her name slapped across the screen of the closing credits as both producer and director of DS though one thing is for sure: she might not have become the cooking show director that she was destined to be by decree of the guild but she sure knew how to cook up a pot-boiler of supernatural proportions in the "soap opera" world. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Miss American Vampire

In 1970, in advance of the release of the new DS movie House of Dark Shadows, the producers of the film, MGM and Dan Curtis, furthered the pre-hyped festivities with a beauty contest. That is, a contest to find a Miss Vampire America.

Girls 18-25 were invited to produce the most imaginative "Vampire look" with original- ity, charm, poise, stage presence and videogenic qualities being highly important. The last two parts being essential since the winner was to have a week-long role on the television show.

The winner was to be coached by star Nancy Barrett and also receive a week of all-expenses paid accommodations for two in New York City, presumably during the guest appearance on the serial. I say "was to be coached" because apparently the winner, Sacheen Littlefeather (aka Maria Cruz), never did appear on the show, although a runner-up, Christine Domaniecki, apparently did.

As is the case with traditional beauty pageants there were regional contests and finally a main event in California. It was hosted by none other than Regis Philbin. Yep, he's that old! Regional winners included Barbara Marciel, Miami, Diane Kirby, Cleveland, Nina Johns, St. Louis, Signe Vernon and Beverly Rose.

from The Milwaukee Journal, March 29, 1973

Miss Littlefeather, an aspiring actress, had a few minor film credits, posed for Playboy in 1973 and is most notorious for her part in refusing Marlon Brando's Oscar award in 1972 on behalf of the suffering of American Indians. Brando had met Littlefeather through a neighbor in San Francisco and recruited her to decline the award in his stead and give a short speech concerning the Native Indian plight. The act was not looked upon kindly by anybody in the industry and it killed any chance that Littlefeather had as a mainstream actress. As you can see in the caption below Roger Moore and Liv Ullman look none too thrilled with her or Brando's cause.

Littlefeather went on to a noted career in Indian activism producing documentaries and working with various groups in promoting Native American civil rights.

from The Age, March 29, 1973

Below is a photo from one of the regional contests featured on Tenebrous Kate's blog. There are a few more featured in her blog post as well including one of Jonathan Frid crowning Miss Domaniecki at the regional contest in Palisades Park, New Jersey.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Dark Shadows' Is Far From Dead In The Hearts Of Many Devoted Fans

from The Aiken Standard, July 12, 1987 
Click here to enlarge

This is obviously multiple articles bunched together in a DS revival format. The first piece deals with two fans from the Aiken, South Carolina area, Emiel Berrie, who coordinated several DS original music albums and Deirdre Tice, a collector of memorabilia from the show, who were childhood friends, classmates and DS obsessed.

During the show's run Berrie actually corresponded and met up with the show's musical director, composer Robert Corbert, later handling the musical score distribution aspect of the maestro's business and compiled several volumes of additional soundtrack music by Corbert for album releases, having sifted through nearly 400 compositions.

 Click here to enlarge

The second article deals with the then new DS book by Kathryn Leigh Scott entitled, "My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows", a photographic memoir with many candid personal photos from the author's collection.

The next segment deals with the DS Festival, cable television syndication, a memorabilia auction for charity and the alumni attendees at the reunions.

The last part is a rundown of what the remaining stars of the show were occupying themselves with at the time. For the anointed ones there isn't much new here but it's still a fun read and a pleasant find for a print junky.

Click here to enlarge

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Transformation From Man Into Monster (X2)

The Tuscaloosa News, March 28, 1969

I was searching for any kind of mention of the late Don Briscoe and the few that I have found so far concern Alex Stevens being the werewolf version of Chris Jennings. Which I suppose is appropriate since the characters were in-exchangeable for the most part but seeing as there is scant literature about Briscoe after he quit the show and became a recluse it's reasonable to expect that he wasn't seeking attention before that happened either.

This is hardly an article as much as it is a quick mention for the sake of featuring DS in the paper. I won't complain! Here's also a similar blurb pictorial on Barnabas's transformation into the super old version of himself after the botched Dr. Hoffman experiment:

from The Milwaukee Journal, September 16, 1970
Click here to enlarge

Friday, February 10, 2012

Joan Bennett Ads

Life, October 1, 1951

Life, December 13, 1948

I knew that Joan Bennett was a movie star before DS but I would have never guessed that she had hocked products like Pacquins hand cream and Ayds Vitamin and Mineral Candy in Life magazine! It might have been false advertising by the company but it sure worked for her figure and complexion to say the least.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vampire World

from The New York Times,  November 10, 1968

All ladies from 12 to 112 were reading the Barnabas Collins serial novels from Marilyn Ross aka Dan Ross. Not able to get enough out of the 22 minutes of air-time per day they turned to the books to hold onto their vampire lust. Which kept Ross busy from 11AM to midnight every day working his magic in keeping the dead alive.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Beloved Vampire

from The Press-Courier, September 1, 1968
Click here to enlarge

This is your typical stripped-to-the-facts 101 lesson on Dark Shadows, who Barnabas was and how fans reacted to it all. Toss in a few vampire jokes and you've read the majority of interview-write ups. I'm not complaining because I'd rather read a fluff piece than no coverage at all.

Here's another version of the syndicated article as it appeared in The News and Courier on the same day:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

From Romantic Lead To Moody Menace

 from The Daily Review, October 9, 1966

Although I haven't always liked the characters that Louis Edmonds played on Dark Shadows I always felt that he was the best actor of the bunch. I suppose that Jonathan Frid, Thayer David and David Selby overtook him in the end, mainly because they had the better parts and appeared with more frequency, but Edmonds was one of the torch bearers from the original cast and once Mitchell Ryan was forced from the show he was the strongest supporting presence. His portrayal of Joshua Collins, Barnabas's father in the 1795 flashback episodes, was particularly poignant.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Dark Shadows & Barnabas Collins Games

There were, of course, two Dark Shadows games and the first adverts below are for the original board game simply entitled Dark Shadows Game which was available from Lane's Discount Drug Store $1.33. A modest price for a strategy board game which would have also bought you nearly 8 toothbrushes, 2 swinger purses, 13 flashlight batteries and 3/4 of a box of Velvo Perfecto Cigars.

from The Toledo Blade, April 9, 1970

The rest of the adverts are from 1970-71and feature the second game entitled Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows Game. In this version the task was to build a skeleton from the glow-in-the-dark skull and bones, determined by a wheel spin. The skill level was obviously geared towards a younger audience.

from The Derrick, October 29, 1970

Other popular games of the time were Your America, Karate Tops (a kin to Spinning Tops), Plug-A-Jug, Mind Maze, Don't Cook Your Goose, Snoopy and the Red Baron, Hang On, Harvey!, and the eternal classic, Monopoly.

from The Milwaukee Journal, December 9, 1970

Another ad featuring Dark Shadows, Plunk and Battling Tops.

from The Mount Airy News, November 27, 1970

And a Christmas season ad from Sears featuring Super Bowl Electric Football, Proffesional Hockey Game (bubble hockey minus the bubble), Big Action Karate Robot among other classics. The Sears Ted Williams 125-lb. Bar Set could also be had for a mere $24.99.

from The Reading Eagle, December 9, 1970

With the end of the television show in 1971 came the liquidation of the board game for $2.00. Hang On Harvey, Buck-A-Roo, Marble Head, Swords and Shields, Chips Are Down, Design Machine, Spirofoil and Go To Head Of Class were also in the bargain bin and priced to move. I believe that this was from a Kroger several page ad.

from The Lawrence Journal-World, November 30, 1971

Dark Shadows itself was a catalyst in reviving interest in the occult and supernatural which was evidenced in the influx of board games of that nature in 1970. Titles such as Witch Pitch, Which Witch, Mystery Zodiac Game and the aforementioned Barnabas Collins game were featured prominently at the American Toy Fair that year. Apparently, not only were kids interested in the games but parents were willing to buy them.

from The New York Times, March 8, 1970
Click here to enlarge

Lastly, here's a television commercial for the Barnabas Collins game:

and a groovy demonstration of the game by a vampy chick with Eddie Munster shaped bangs:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Three Bears Restaurant Used In Filming Of 'Dark Shadows'

from The Bridgeport Sunday Post, July 12, 1970
Click here to enlarge

Here's an newspaper article concerning the Three Bears restaurant which served as the Collinsport Inn in the movie "House of Dark Shadows." I wish the pictures of Frid and Grayson Hall were better but that's unavoidable with old newspaper scans from Google News. The article still gives a decent history synopsis of the place and this article spells out it's unfortunate end.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dark Shadows Stuffed Heads

from The Milwaukee Journal, October 22, 1969

I was just thinking today that there should be a Barnabas Collins Pillow Pet for all the goth girls of the world who just can't get enough of sensitive vampire and then I remembered that I saw this Penneys advert in a previous DS newspaper search and dug it up. The description doesn't really give any information about these stuffed head but I'm guessing that they were cheap versions of mini pillows though $2.99 in 1969 would be a pretty steep price for what we'd term dollar store junk. They were before my time so any further information will be left up to somebody who owned one or perhaps still does through careful preservation.

Apparently the image is too tall to be increased in size so you're stuck with a chop above and the original below.