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 - OB
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
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

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
  

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#60DRK - 9/16/66:

1)Law enforcement in this town spends alot of time eating.

 

2)Betty Hanscom?

 

3)Laura testified against Burke, too?

 

4)Cliffhanger: Burke invites himself to dinner!

Funny stuff, Bob! My co-workers are probably wondering what I’m sitting here laughing out loud at. I wish I had time to respond point-by-point, but you were busy this weekend! I will respond to two, though…

The bartender is called "Punchy"?

…or (at various time) “Andy” or “Mike” or “Bob.” It’s either tradition to call him whatever pops into your mind, or no one has ever take the time to ask what his name is. Or maybe his name is “Andrew Michael Robert.” Another actor once played a bartender named “Bill” but I don’t know if it was supposed to be the same character or simply another bartender.

Betty Hanscomb?

My candidate #1 for the part of “Vicki’s mother.”

Barnabas Joke of the Day: Who is Barnabas’ favorite fictional character? He’s always liked Captain Blood.

#61DRK - 9/19/66:

1)I bet Burke doesn't get invited back to alot of places.

 

2)"Suddenly, I felt like an ant trying to crush an elephant."

 

3)"He's running - from himself."  I tried running away from myself, once - I didn't work, I kept catching up with me.

 

4)Cliffhanger: Sam meets Burke at the hotel!

 

 

I’ve got a theory about Buzz. (You won’t meet this character for a while yet, Bob, but he’s the motorcycle-riding boyfriend Carolyn hooks up with in protest of her mother’s relationship with Jason McGuire.) It’s a lot like my theory about the cemetery caretaker (that he’s a ghost himself), i.e., it makes no difference to the overall storyline one way or another.

I think Buzz is a spoiled rich kid playing at being “dangerous.” He always seemed to me to be a little too clean-cut to be a biker, like a “thug” in a Mark Trail comic strip. Carolyn probably knows him from high school or maybe met him at some social function or other. She knows she’s relatively safe with him, but his presence has the desired effect on her mother.

Barnabas Joke of the Day: Is Barnabas a scientist? Not really, but he sure made Dr. Jekyll hide.

#62DRK - 9/20/66:

1)I keep thinking that the sign on the inn is a satellite dish decades early.

 

2)"The sun rises, the sun sets..."  "Old age, not yet."

 

3)Couldn't they check phone records back then?

 

4)"Thank you for being so patient."

 

5)"Miss Winters, you're a fool." "Probably."

 

6)Cliffhanger: Burke insinuates that Roger may have killed Bill Malloy!

I keep thinking that the sign on the inn is a satellite dish decades early.

It looks that way to me, too!

The Demon of Barnabas Collins: I have been waiting for one of these paperbacks to be set in the present day, and when one finally is, Dan Ross sends everyone who lives in Collinwood off for a holiday in Vermont! Actually, Vicki is there for the first chapter, but soon leaves with the rest of the family. Elizabeth, quite uncharacteristically for the sequestered and reclusive matriarch of the family, agrees to allow Collinwood to be used for location filming of a Hollywood movie. This, in turn, allows Ross to bring in his own cast of characters for this book without upsetting the continuity of the TV show too much, provided one can find a place to slot it in.

In addition to Barnabas, the cast this time around includes Rita Glenn (the leading lady), Clifton Kerr (the leading man), Brad Hilton (the director), Dr. Moreno (Kerr’s personal physician), and Joab (Barnabas’ servant). The book was written (and presumably takes place) in 1969, but Barnabas knows Rita from the last time he was in England, five years ago. This contradicts TV continuity, but adheres to my theory that the print Barnabas divides his time between England and Maine, passing himself as his own with every successive trip. Like Ben from The Secret of Barnabas Collins, Joab is deaf and dumb. No mention is made of why his servant is Joab rather than Willie, but I’m more curious about where Barnabas finds all these deaf mutes.

Ten years prior to the beginning of this book, Clifton Kerr had travelled to Africa to shoot a jungle film. While there he contracted some sort of rare disease and came down with a fever as soon as he returned to Hollywood. He was a skeleton and looked like an old man. Those who knew him thought he would die within weeks. He couldn’t bear sunshine or even daylight, and he would see no one except in the evening in a dark room. He was unable to return to work and the studio had specialists flown in from all over the world. They were about to settle his contract when Dr. Moreno presented himself and offered to cure Kerr if he were given complete control of his career. Prior to his trip to Africa Kerr was merely a competent leading man, but after the illness his talent matured.

You see where this is going?

Barnabas Joke of the Day: Does a vampire work around the house? Sure. In a pinch, Barnabas will even bleed pipes.

I’m more curious about where Barnabas finds all these deaf mutes.

Deaf Mutes R Us.

#63DRK - 9/21/66:

1)"The end of the world - that's what I have against him."

 

2)I bet "arriving unexpectedly at Collinwood" is like a rite of passage in Collinsport.

 

3)I miss old Matthew.

 

4)Cliffhanger:  Elizabeth says she thinks Burke is capable of murder!

Elizabeth, quite uncharacteristically for the sequestered and reclusive matriarch of the family, agrees to allow Collinwood to be used for location filming of a Hollywood movie. This, in turn, allows Ross to bring in his own cast of characters for this book without upsetting the continuity of the TV show too much, provided one can find a place to slot it in. 
And in the novel Barnabas Collins and the Mysterious Ghost, Elizabeth allows an acting troupe to stage a play in one of the buildings on the property. Give Ross credit for making use of the novel form to introduce characters and settings that the shows budget wouldn't allow for.

Give Ross credit for making use of the novel form to introduce characters and settings that the shows budget wouldn't allow for.

Hey, I did that when he gave Roger a boat!

I'm trying to imagine what it must've been like back before all this happened and Roger and Burke were buddies.

That’s why, if I were in charge of producing a Dark Shadows revival on TV today, I start it with Roger and Burke and Laura and the hit-and-run accident. (It would be kind of like Clark Kent and Lex Luthor in the early seasons of Smallville.) In the original, Laura is some kind of a witch/ghost thing; in the remake, they set her up to be more of a mutant pyrokinetic; but if I were doing it, I’d make her a run-of-the-mill pyromaniac… at least at first. After she burned herself to death in the first season, I’d bring her back in the second as a mutant pyrokinetic witch/ghost thing.

Episode #264: This one is going down in my notes as a personal favorite. The pattern in the sequence I’ve been watching for the past couple of weeks has been to alternate “Barnabas” episodes with “Jason” episodes. This episode not only features both, but ties them together as Barnabas confronts Jason for the first time. (The two have met before, but at Roger’s behest, Barnabas stages an actual confrontation with Jason.) It’s a good scene: both of these characters are villains at this point, but Barnabas is at least acting in the best interest of the Collins family. Still, Jason gives as good as he gets. [Bob, you’ll get to this episode on tape #54.]

So we were watching this episode last night and Tracy has me pause it to make an observation about “Liz” and “Joe,” but what she’s saying isn’t making any sense. We were watching Dark Shadows so naturally I assumed she was talking about Elizabeth Stoddard and Joe Haskell, but no. Turns out she was talking about Liz Shaw and Jo Grant! No wonder it didn’t make any sense!

Barnabas Joke of the Day: Why isn’t Barnabas ever late for the show? He never takes side roads; he only takes the main arteries.
I could see either Liz or Jo on Dark Shadows.  Actually, I know that the show itself ended in the past of alternative time or some such - I try to imagine what happened to the characters in "our" universe in the 70's and beyond.
If I was re-doing the show, I would definitely trim back the "Burke's Revenge".  I find it agonizing when I realize we're about to see the umpteenth iteration of "Will Sam Evans finally crack?" Of course, it doesn't help that I know that Burke's "grand revenge" is going to be "watching Roger squirm for an episode".  I can imagine people watching ti at the time, going "After all that, that's it?"

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