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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I heartily recommend it.

Yah.

VICTORIA WINTERS

The second Dark Shadows paperback begins in June 1967. David and Carolyn have gone away for the summer, but Vicki has stayed on as Elizabeth’s paid companion. Ernest is also away on tour. Roger has bought a boat, a nice touch that would have been impossible on the TV show’s budget. Vicki has made friends with Will Grant’s cousin, Nora, who fills the purpose of Maggie on TV. While Will and Ernest are away, Vicki becomes romantically involved with Paul Caine, one of Collinsport’s many summer people, an artist… or is he?

The trouble begins when Elizabeth’s old college friend, Henry Francis, comes to Collinwood for a visit bringing his two daughters, Rachel and Dorothy. Dorothy is an invalid confined to a wheelchair, and Rachel is her nurse, albeit not a very good or attentive one. Supposedly, Francis’ intention had been to rent Ernest’s vacant house on the estate, but Elizabeth wouldn’t hear of it, insisting the three stay at the big House itself.

The trouble begins almost immediately as Vicki begins catching glimpses of what she thinks is the ghost of Stella Hastings (Ernest’s dead lover), and mysterious things begin happening. Again, as with the first book in the series, red herrings stand out the second time through, but overall it’s a nice tidy little mystery.

Barnabas Joke of the Day: What does Barnabas use in his coffee? He uses crematorium.
This next series of posts is evidently taken from Barnabas’ short-lived and little-known career as a stand-up comedian. Try to imagine Barnabas at the Blue Whale (or perhaps a smoky Collinsport coffee house) backed by Julia Hoffman playing rim shots on a snare drum. If you’re not already undead, these jokes’ll kill ya!

BARNABAS ON LIFE:

Lots of people don’t understand vampires. We’ve got feelings, too.

I like music. My favorite instrument is the casketnets.

I have relatives. They don’t come around much. My rich bother-in-law is afraid I’ll put the bite on him.

I like to munch on leechienuts.

I get embarrassed when people see my fangs and tell me it’s impolite to point.

Of course, a lot of people say my drinking will ruin their health.

I have an electric brush which I use on my fangs. So I only have to see my mechanic twice a year.

I’ve only been in serious trouble once. I was arrested for robbing a blood bank.

When I talk to people, they always get the point.

I never play golf. But I’ve made holes in one.

The last time I visited my dentist, he said my fangs were in good shape but my gums would have to come out.

I went to the Red Cross and asked for two pints to go.

Do you have health problems? I have a sure cure for high blood pressure.

Julia Hoffman playing rim shots on a snare drum.

 

That image is funnier than any of the jokes.

 

BARNABAS ON FOOD:

My favorite drink is a Bloody Mary, or a Bloody Alice, or a Bloody anybody.

Recently, I went on the Air Force Diet and drank only blood from pilots. I had to quit because it made me high. I also went on the Drinking Man’s Diet and didn’t drink anything except the blood of drunks.

My doctor finally put me on a low-corpuscle diet. I lost a lot of weight. Now I’m just a shell of my former self. If you hold me to your ear you can hear the ocean.

Man does not live by blood alone. But I can’t stand hot-cross buns. I can’t eat Swiss cheese. The holes get in my teeth. As for corn on the cob, don’t serve it to me. I can only eat two kernels at a time.

My wife and I are up to episode 235 ( I think) in our Dark Shadows watch - Barnabas has brought Maggie Evans to the old house and is trying to convince her that she is Josette. Overall I am enjoying the series, though it is tough staying awake through certain episodes. I cringe when an opening scene is at the Blue Whale. Those shows are the worst - too much talk and not enough action.

I'm still watching an episode a day most days. Last night was #152, smack in the middle of the Phoenix saga. I must say I'm enjoying the Phonex saga maore than I ever have in the past. I always liked the development of the sub-plots and characterization during that period, but the exact nature of Laura's powers was always so ill-defined I couldn't get past it. But something I read by series writer Ron Sproat recently gave me a new way to look at it, and I've come to accept that arc as definitive of the first year as the introduction of the ghost of Josette.

 

I plan to watch through the introduction of Jason McGuire, then skip ahead a bit. I watched through the introduction of Barnabas several weeks ago when Bob was covering it. As soon as I finish the Phoenix storyline, I plan to skip ahead to episode #220 (Barnabas meets Maggie at the inn and leaves his cane) an watch through the sceance which sends Vicki back in time (to an alternate 1795, I am now convinced).

This Dark Shadows thread is intriguing to me.  It's the only American show that you've dscussed that wasn't on the telly in Ireland when I was growing up.  (60's repeats must have been a very cheap import.)

 

I'm fascinated that it seems to be a long-running Buffy-esque Vampire show that I'd never heard of!  And it seems to have all these weird soap-opera and time-travel elements.  I'm guessing that it was just too strange and thrown together to interest the buyers for mainstream Irish family television in the 70's/80's.  And probably too Gothic horror for the early 'just-before-the-6pm-news' slot that 60's American genre shows were usually shown in.  (Similarly, BBC would show them on the second channel BBC2 at 6pm as an alternative to watching the news).  This 5.30 - 6.30pm was the only timeslot that old genre shows (and old comedies like "I love Lucy") would be shown.  After the news was when the TV stations were expected to front up with recent home-produced fare or exciting well-made shows like Dallas, The Professionals and Starskey and Hutch.  Weird messed up cult vampire soap operas wouldn't have cut the mustard, methinks!

 

I'm also guessing that the storylines were drawn out over several episodes unlike Star Trek and Time Tunnel which anyone could get into so long as they see the first 5 minutes.

 

And I'm getting the impression that the main characters would be played by different actors along the way, and sometimes this Barnabas chap was a vampire, and sometimes he wasn't!

Dark Shadows was an afternoon gothic soap opera which ran 1225 episodes from 1966-1970. The stories were told in weeks long, often overlapping arcs. The heroine of the story early on was Victoria Winters, an orphan from New York City who was hired by the wealthy Collins family of Colinsport, Maine to be governess to young David Collins. The early months of the show was standard soap opera, spooky but not supernatural, and in danger of cancellation. Then producer Dan Collins upped the ante by showing an actual ghost and the ratings spiked.

They followed the ghost story up with a supernatural creature known as a Phoenix. After that, the vampire Barnabas Collins was introduced and the show’s success was assured. Originally intended to be put to his final rest after the initial story, Barnabas proved so popular that they softened his edges, made him a “reluctant” vampire, and he became the hero of the show as Victoria Winters was phased out. Always seeking to top themselves, the writers eventually introduced time travel, often spending weeks or months dealing with stories set in the past.

The story fed young imaginations, and the most often-repeated cliché surrounding the show is that young viewers would rush home from school to catch it. Not only would main characters sometimes be played by different actors, but more frequently main actors would play different characters. I think Dark Shadows is to gothic horror as Doctor Who is to science fiction.

BARNABAS SOMETIME SAYS:

I have a few enemies. There’s bad blood between us.

Some people ask if it is painful to be bitten by a vampire. No, it only hurts when you laugh.

Others ask if it hurts. Only if the vampire’s lips are badly chapped.

Some people say I’m a real pain in the neck.

Problems, problems. I just got notice that I’m overdrawn at the blood bank.

I have been biting people when they come out of a steam bath. The doctor told me I needed to eat more hot meals.

I visited the hospital to see a friend, a witch who was hurt in an accident. She flew off the handle. She said hospital costs were so high, she had to sell her blood to pay the bill. She even advertised. Had a sign over the bed which read: “Blood, last three days.” The witch was on Medicare. While she was asleep they operated and took a wart off her nose. When she came to, she made them put it back on again.

My favorite dance is the Fang-dango.

My favorite saying is: “The tooth hurts.”

Some say blood is thicker than water. I’ll drink to that.

Vampires have a lot of bad habits. But as for me, I never drink before sundown.

When I dress up, I always wear a tie. When it’s a formal party, I just kill a bat and tie it around my neck.

Recently at a party, we tied up a beautiful woman and drank her blood. She wouldn’t come to our next party. She said she was tired of being stuck for the drinks.

While I was on a flight to England, a stewardess asked me if I would like to see a menu. I told her no, I’d rather see the passenger list.

I’m not a bad person. I let the kids in the neighborhood play baseball on my lawn. I even let them use a live bat.

When the acting bug bites you and you bite back, that’s news.

Wolfman is a friend of mine. Saw him the other day and he thought he was watching himself turn into a werewolf. But he was looking into a hairbrush.
STRANGERS AT COLLINS HOUSE:

The third Dark Shadows paperback sees more “strangers at Collins House” occupying the small apartment within the mansion itself. This time the visitors are the aged Henry Collins (uncle to Roger and Elizabeth), his long-time retainer Benjamin, Benjamin’s low-life son Jack, and Jack’s mousy wife Molly. Whenever Uncle Henry visits Collinwood, he himself always stays in a mysterious hidden room, built behind a closet brick by brick from the long-gone Ritz Hampton Hotel in New York City. The entire room seems frozen in 1916 and exists as a shrine to Henry’s lost love, a woman whose picture bears a striking resemblance to Victoria Winters. Henry takes an immediate liking to Victoria and gives her a pair on valuable emerald earrings. Shortly thereafter Vicki learns that Henry’s lost love may not have simply disappeared, but she may have been murdered. Then the mysterious attacks on Vicki begin.

In all three books so far, Vicki has played the role of “gothic heroine in distress” to the hilt.

Barnabas Joke of the Day: One thing about Barnabas, he never cries over spilt blood.
Jeff - did you already own the DS books or are they a recent purchase? Just checking Ebay, the prices seem awfully high.

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