I’d like to start this continuation of the Dark Shadows discussion from the old board with a look at some of the new and upcoming Dark Shadows audio stories from Big Finish Productions. There aren’t nearly as many Dark Shadows audio adventures as there are Doctor Who ones, but the Doctor Who series has been around longer. The Dark Shadows audios are a mixed bag. The first release was a full-cast sequel titled “Return to Collinwood”. Later they began to release a series of interconnected sequential stories grouped in short “seasons”. More recently they’ve been going back to the timeline of the original television show and telling interstitial one-shots. As the Dark Shadows series seems to be catching on, Big Finish seems to be ramping up their production schedule. “Curse of the Pharaoh” was released in September, and the next four are set for monthly release beginning in January at a special subscription rate.

CURSE OF THE PHARAOH:

“Curse of the Pharaoh” stars Nancy Barrett (reprising her role as Carolyn Stoddard) and Marie Wallace (perhaps best known as “Eve” on the TV show) in a new role, famed Egyptologist Dr. Gretchen Warwick. The story doesn’t specify, but I assume it takes place shortly after the end of the series original TV series, circa 1970 or so. Both actresses are kind of rusty and sound as old as they are, not as young as they (Caroline, anyway) are supposed to be. Barrett was always a better actress than Wallace, and that remains true. Wallace’s shortcomings are spotlighted in this “dramatic reading” in which she plays other bit parts, most of the male (Bob the bartender at The Blue Whale, Eliot Stokes on the telephone, Carolyn’s father in flashback), which she performs in a gruff kind of storybook voice as if reading aloud to a child. The story itself is a sequel to the unpopular “Leviathan” television storyline. If you’ve never heard a Dark Shadows audio and thinking of trying one out, there are better ones to start with than this.

KEY: OB = Old Board; UR = Un-Reviewed

Return to Collinwood - 169

SEASON ONE:
S1.1 The House of Despair - 1
S1.2 The Book of Temptation - OB
S1.3 The Christmas Presence - 264
S1.4 The Rage Beneath - 7

SEASON TWO: Kingdom of the Dead - 7

DRAMATIC READINGS:

1. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 1 - OB
2. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 2 - OB
3. Clothes of Sand - OB
4. The Ghost Walker - OB
5. The Skin Walkers - OB
6. The Path of Fate - OB
7. The Wicked & the Dead - OB
8. Echoes of Insanity - OB
9. Curse of the Pharaoh - 1
10. Final Judgment - 1
11. Blood Dance - 1
12. The Night Whispers - 1
13. London’s Burning - 2
14. The Doll House - 30
15. The Blind Painter - 87
16. The Death Mask - 88
17. The Creeping Fog - 89
18. The Carrion Queen - 89
19. The Poisoned Soul - 96
20. The Lost Girl - 96
21. The Crimson Pearl - 114
22. The Voodoo Amulet - 129
23. The House by the Sea - 170
24. Dress Me in Dark Dreams - 154
25. The Eternal Actress - 162
26. The Fall of House Trask - 163
27. Operation: Victor - 166
28. Speak No Evil - 166
29. The Last Stop - 166
30. Dreaming of the Water - 167
31. The Haunted Refrain - 167
32. A Collinwood Christmas - 167, 264
33. The Phantom Bride - 167
34. Beneath the Veil - 167
35. The Enemy Within - 167
36. The Lucifer Gambit - 167
37. The Flip Side - 167
38. Beyond the Grave - 168
39. Curtain Call - 168
40. The Harvest of Souls - 170
41. The Happier Dead - 168
42. The Carriage Damned - 168
43. The Devil Cat - 168
44. The Darkest Shadow - 173

SEASON THREE: Bloodlust - 170-172, 181, 269

45. Panic - 173
46. The Curse of Shurafa - 173
47. In the Twinkling of an Eye - 173
48. Deliver Us from Evil - 173
49. Tainted Love - 173
50. ...And Red All Over - 175

Echoes of the Past - 176

Blood & Fire - 176

Haunting Memories - 177

Phantom Melodies - 178

Dreams of Long Ago - 178

THE TONY & CASSANDRA MYSTERIES:
The Mystery at Crucifix Heights - 179
The Mystery of La Danse Macabre - 179
The Mystery of Flight 493 - 180
The Mystery of Karmina Sonata - 180

SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT:
Trio - 180
Honeymoon from Hell - 180
Retreat -180
1:53 AM - 180

MAGGIE & QUENTIN - THE LOVERS' REFRAIN:
The Girl Beneath the Water - 180
The Sand That Speaks HIs Name - 180
The Hollow Winds That Beckon
The Paper to the Flame


GOTHIC PAPERBACK LIBRARY

1. Dark Shadows - p183
2. Victoria Winters - p183
3. Strangers at Collins House - p183
4. The Mystery of Collinwood - p184
5. The Curse of Collinwood - p184
6. Barnabas Collins - p185
7. The Secret of BC - p185
8. The Demon of BC - p185
9. The Foe of BC - p185
10. The Phantom of BC - p185
11. BC vs. the Warlock - p186
12. The Peril of BC - p186
13. BC and the Mysterious Ghost - p187
14. BC and Quentin's Demon - p188
15. BC and the Gypsy Witch - p188
16. B, Q and the Mummy's Curse - p188
17. B, Q and the Avenging Ghost - p242
18. B, Q and the Nightmare Assassin - p244
19. B, Q and the Crystal Coffin
20. B, Q and the Witch's Curse
21. B, Q and the Haunted Cave
22. B, Q and the Frightened Bride
23. B, Q and the Scorpio Curse
24. B, Q and the Serpent
25. B, Q and the Magic Potion
26. B, Q and the Body Snatchers
27. B, Q and Dr. Jekyll's Son
28. B, Q and the Grave Robbers
29. B, Q and the Sea Ghost
30. B, Q and the Mad Magician
31. B, Q and the Hidden Tomb
32. B, Q and the Vampire Beauty
33. House of Dark Shadows - p241

ROB STAEGER: p189

NEWSPAPER STRIPS: p241

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Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Oh nice -- I hadn't heard of FreeVee before! I'll check it out!

FreeVee used to be called IMDbTV until about a month or so ago. 

Ah, now that I'd heard of! I used to watch Rockford on that.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Just saw episode 623, what is surely a key episode for making sense (or struggling to make sense) of Dark Shadows continuity.  Eve goes back in time to 1795 for 6 hours to free Peter Bradford from prison...but finds he won't leave because he's resigned to death, hoping to fulfill his promise to see Gloria Winters -- oh, I'm sorry, that's Victoria Winters -- in the next life.

"(...struggling to make sense) of Dark Shadows continuity"

Dan Curtis and company would have us believe that Eve (as Marie Roget) was part of Peter's life before the 1795 arc. Maybe, but how is it he recognizes her in her new body? And how is it Ben Stokes recognizes her at all? Ben was an indentured servant as long as we've known him. Are we to believe he, too, knew Eve Marie Roget from before? There is so much wrong with this continuity implant, but I'll leave it at that. This won't even be the last time that new characters from the present day will be retroactively inserted into the past, but we'll get to that eventually.

"Gloria Winters"

Tom Gorman is a long-time extra on Dark Shadows who has played multiple parts, but I think of him mainly as the Blue Whale customer with the hangdog expression from the early days of the show. (He was accosted by Willie Loomis in one of his first episodes.) Gorman's parts are mostly non-speaking, and we see here why: in his very first line in the very first scene he refers to Vicki as "'Gloria' Winters." Speaking of whom...


Jeff of Earth-J said:

Regarding the portrait of Betty Hanscomb, I'll just go ahead and tell you (because it's never resolved onscreen or in the show's bible) that I believe it to be Victoria's mother. The fact assertion that she supposedly died before Vicki was born is just another unresolved mystery. (The identity of her father, OTOH, is another matter.) EDIT: It is my assertion that Vicki's father is Paul Stoddard.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I had forgotten all about Betty Hanscomb being either the daughter or the niece of "B. Hanscomb." It could well be that the former butler at Collinwood had both a daughter and a niece, and that the cousin came for a visit one summer. It's been 20 years since Betty modeled for him. He could have conflated the two in the fog of memory. Maybe it was the other girl (whichever one is not Betty) who moved away and died before Vicki was born. And Elizabeth, hell... she's obviously covering up something. Or, maybe Betty did have a baby after she died and Vicki is a ghost baby.

I went on speculate how the two Hanscomb girls may have been witches, but I came across another theory on the internet the other day I wish I could take credit for. It goes like this: at some point after Vicki's wedding, she time-travels to the 1940s. Having nowhere else to go, she inserts herself into Collinwood where she has an affair with Paul Stoddard. She becomes pregnant and gives birth to herself. As soon as "little Vicki" is born, "old Vicki" ceases to exist. (Someone else  borrowed that same idea but speculated that she had an affair with Jamison Collins (Elizabeth's father) and became Liz's sister rather than her supposed daughter. 

I actually do like the idea of Vicki time-traveling to the Collinwood of the '40s, meeting her own mother and passing herself off as Betty's "cousin." 

Oh, wow.. that's kind of dizzying... I love it!  Although in the name of simplicity, I also really like the theory that she's Paul Stoddard's daughter with Betty Hanscomb. It's nice and tidy as far as extramarital affairs go.

I've seen up through episode 644 now. David and Amy are exploring the west wing of Collinwood, looking for Quentin's ghost, and they find a secret panel. Roger, Liz, and Carolyn notice various hauntings, like the name JAMISON being written on Carolyn's mirror, and a book falling off a piano, revealing an unknown note about Quentin. Also, there's a seance, and Carolyn is possessed by Magda, about whom nothing is yet known.

With seances and more subtle hauntings -- and people being locked in rooms -- it feels like we're back in the pre-Barnabas Dark Shadows again! Of course, there's also a werewolf on the prowl, having already killed Mr. Drummond and the Blue Whale's only female employee. (And was I imagining things, or did a pentagram appear on her face in the scene before she died? Was that a signal of some sort that Chris had to kill her? It was a really weird moment, and I don't think we've gotten an explanation for it yet.)

"Oh, wow.. that's kind of dizzying..."

I used to have a theory to explain, in story, why different actors would assay the same role (two Sams, two Burkes, two Vicki's, etc.), but I think I posted it to the old board. It had something to do with time travel causing "ripples." It all started with the man who was killed by Roger in the drunk driving incident.

"It's nice and tidy as far as extramarital affairs go."

...and it's standard soap opera fare, of which Dark Shadows definitely was in the beginning, "gothic" notwithstanding. It also accounts for three plot points the "Liz is Vicki's mother" crowd always overlooks: 1) How did Liz manage to keep her pregnancy a secret? 2) Why did she give the baby up for adoption? 3) Why did she wait two years before sending support payments to the orphanage? Everything ties in to that night in 1949 when Liz thought she had killed Paul Stoddard. (It was her discovery of his infidelity which was the catalyst.) 

"...it feels like we're back in the pre-Barnabas Dark Shadows again!"

I'll do another "Seance Scorecard" when I get to that point. I vaguely remember the pentagram; yes, I think it's a sign of the werewolf's next victim. Speaking a Quentin Collins, we'll be having another discussion along these lines circa episode 905, so keep these details in mind. 

We watched 625 last night, the episode with the "wedding-that-wasn't." I know it wasn't going to happen that episode, but the whole thing seemed like a dress rehearsal anyway. You'd at least expect to see Carolyn and Davis there. and was was the last time Vicki (it used to be a shoe about her, remember?) even had a scene with her "best friend," Maggie Evans?

Back to Eve's little jaunt to the the past for a moment... I've mentioned this before, but there is evidence to support the theory that anytime anyone travels in time on this show they arrive in (or perhaps create, with their presence) an alternate reality. And when he or she returns to the present, it's not exactly the same as the one they left, either. In the original 1795 timeline, for example, Phyllis Wicke was Sarah's governess; in the revised 1795 timeline, it was Victoria Winters. When Even returns to 1795, she apparently arrives in yet another timeline in which Marie Roget played a part in the events. 

Ed Sullivan:  "Was it a very big shoe?"

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Vicki (it used to be a shoe about her, remember?)

Tracy is becoming increasing frustrated with Jeff Clarke at this point (626). "I'll follow you through time, Vicki! Where ever you go, I'll find you!" He does exactly that... then treats her like a dick.*

*(Like a dick would treat her, that is, not like she is a dick.)

  

He's a pompous a*s. He is mean and yells at her, basically grabs her and tosses her around, then paws and pants all over her. I'm over him. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Tracy is becoming increasing frustrated with Jeff Clarke at this point (626). "I'll follow you through time, Vicki! Where ever you go, I'll find you!" He does exactly that... then treats her like a dick.*

*(Like a dick would treat her, that is, not like she is a dick.)

  

On the "Dark Shadows Every Day" blog, member Prisoner of the Night posted the following about 622:

"This was the episode where Grabby Davis got so overly excited in his scene with Marie Wallace on the terrace that he grabbed her by the arms and threw her completely out of frame. You see her struggling to remain on her feet as she stumbles off to the right. Some 20 years later at a fan convention (it’s in Dark Shadows 25th Anniversary Special from the disc set that has the last episode of the series), Marie Wallace brought this up as Roger Davis was telling the audience of how they (or rather he) would cut up and laugh and have fun while they were making the episode, and of how they would just laugh off their flubs. Wallace then broke in to remind Davis of episode 622 as she recalled, 'Hey, Roger? I didn’t laugh when you threw me out of frame in that scene, on camera. Remember that? Several times?' She explained to the audience how all during dress rehearsal he’d never touch her and then when he’d done it on camera he’d come up to her and apologize profusely, but Wallace told him then and there at the convention that she never believed him."

Oof. Good for her for speaking up in public. 

BTW, I've been off at the Philly Folk Festival for what seems like a month (at least that's how my aching muscles feel). Now that I'm home, I'll be back to Collinwood soon!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

On the "Dark Shadows Every Day" blog, member Prisoner of the Night posted the following about 622:

"This was the episode where Grabby Davis got so overly excited in his scene with Marie Wallace on the terrace that he grabbed her by the arms and threw her completely out of frame. You see her struggling to remain on her feet as she stumbles off to the right. Some 20 years later at a fan convention (it’s in Dark Shadows 25th Anniversary Special from the disc set that has the last episode of the series), Marie Wallace brought this up as Roger Davis was telling the audience of how they (or rather he) would cut up and laugh and have fun while they were making the episode, and of how they would just laugh off their flubs. Wallace then broke in to remind Davis of episode 622 as she recalled, 'Hey, Roger? I didn’t laugh when you threw me out of frame in that scene, on camera. Remember that? Several times?' She explained to the audience how all during dress rehearsal he’d never touch her and then when he’d done it on camera he’d come up to her and apologize profusely, but Wallace told him then and there at the convention that she never believed him."

We're up to 632. In retrospect, it's patently obvious that the writing staff are frantically trying to wrap up story elements that are going nowhere (Adam, Nicholas) and introduce new ones (Chris, Amy). It is significant as Amy Jennings' first episode, and Mr. Wells' last. Conrad Bain played the manager of the Collinsport Inn early on but hasn't been seen since the b&w days. Now they bring him back just to be killed by the werewolf. 

Another thing about this element that sticks in my mind is the Black Mass. Setting aside the fact that ABC broadcast a Satanic ritual on an afternoon soap opera, I first saw these episodes, on video tape, in the '90s. A large number of these tapes had an ad which featured the Black Mass. I must have heard the line "Let the Legions of the Damned... SALUTE YOU!" a hundred times. From the way the scene was cut, I didn't even know who was on the alter. It was many months before I got to the tape which contained 632. I never did buy the Maggie/Nicholas romance, anyway... not even if Maggie was hypnotized. 

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