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


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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"Oh, Ghost of Dan Curtis, you crack me up!"</</i>

Today's Obscure Baronial Joke That No one Will Get: "So, if the Ghost of Harry Caray fought the Ghost of Dan Curtis, who do you think would win?"
I knew Mitch Ryan was a heavy drinker but I didn't know he was fired from the show. The opening scene of one of the early episodes is set in Burke's room at the Collinsport Inn, and the "slate shot" has him taking direction in the background: "So, you want me to walk out of the room like I''ve gotta take a leak or something...?"

The way Dark Shadows would handle the recaps was through conversations as characters would rotate through the week. (Most episodes have five players each.) It was filmed on a very small soundstage and the most sets they could use in a day was three. Although Dark Shadows would come to have an unusually large (for a soap opera) number of standing sets, you'll notice that no more than three are ever used on a given day. It's interesting to consider the constraints placed on the writers due to these limitations and the requirements of the show.
I knew Mitch Ryan was a heavy drinker but I didn't know he was fired from the show.

Now I don't feel so bad about not knowing it.

Most episodes have five players each.

I don't remember when I first noticed that, but I remember I felt like I was in on a little secret. "OK, so that's Maggie, Joe, Sam, Vicky and Roger. Guess we won't be seeing Burke today."
Of course, if I watch enough of these, maybe I'll know enough to figure out where to go with this:

Widow's Hill, Collinsport, ME, Summer 1967:

Barnabas Collins stood in the dwindling twilight, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. What sunlight remained was merely an irritation to him, and it was fading quickly. He'd come out early tonight, because he'd sensed something unusual, a presence, something - something odd.

He looked down the beach to where a small, dark-haired man dressed in a shabby black coat and checked trousers seemed to be remonstrating with - or perhaps issuing instructions to - a young man wearing a kilt and a striking young woman who - though dressed in modern clothing - somehow exuded a Victorian air.

As his two friends moved away down the beach, the shabby man worked his way over to where Barnabas was standing. As Barnabas got a closer look at the little man, he was taken aback. The man's eyes betrayed a piercing intellect, and somehow contrived to be both humorous and sad. This,
Barnabas thought, could well be the unusual presence he had sensed. Instinctively, he knew that this man could be a valuable ally or a formidable opponent. The man spoke.

"Good evening, sir", he said, "I am the Doctor."

"I - am Barnabas Collins."

"'Collins'? Interesting. Any relation - to the 'Collins' of 'Collinsport',I mean?"

"A - distant - relation. And what brings you to Collinsport?"

"Oh, my young friends and I are on something of a holiday - although I sense somehow, that it may end up being a working holiday in the end."

"I see."

Barnabas and the Doctor stood side-by-side, looking out at the darkening sea. After a time, the Doctor pulled out a gaudily-striped recorder, and began to play on it mournfully. A few minutes later, a voice sounded behind him.

"Excuse me."

Barnabas whirled. It wasn't like him to let anyone sneak up on him. The newcomer was a Japanese man wearing a blue blazer bearing a curious insignia - it looked like an arrow with a pentagram for a head. Barnabas sensed something unusual about this man, too - it wasn't as obvious as it was with the Doctor, but this man also seemed somehow - unworldly.

The newcomer bowed, and spoke in accented but flawless English.

"Excuse me, gentlemen. I'm Shin Hayata of the Tokyo branch of the Science Patrol. My colleagues and I are assisting the local Science Patrol office on a case of theirs. If you don't mind my asking - have either of you seen anything - unusual - on the beach this evening?"

"'Unusual'?", said the Doctor. "You mean something like an egg-shaped, ruby-colored object, roughly six feet in diameter?"

"Yes!", said Hayata. "You've seen it?"

"No. But I wouldn't be at all surprised if you found it very near here..."

As Barnabas watched the two men, he had a strong feeling that something unusual - unusual even by his standards - was about to unfold....

Further up the beach:

Jamie and Victoria had watched as the Doctor had trudged up the beach towards the dark-haired man who stood watching the setting sun, and then began walking back towards the TARDIS.

"Why do ye suppose", said Jamie, "that the Doctor was so eager for us to go back to the TARDIS?"

"He said he wanted us to review the history of Collinsport in the TARDIS library - to see if we could find any information on a ghostly manifestation that supposedly occurred here one hundred years ago this very night", came Victoria's reply.

"Aye, so he did - but I had the feeling he was trying to get us out o' the way - as though he didna want us near when he spoke to that man."

"You might be right, Jamie, but anyway, we're almost back to the TARDIS, so we might as well - "

Victoria stopped as a sudden breeze began to whip us the sand in front of them. To their bemusement, two men suddenly appeared out of thin air right in front of them. Both men were dark-haired, and, if Victoria was any judge, in their early thirties. The older was dressed in a suit and tie,
and the younger a green turtleneck and denim trousers. The two men looked at each other, and then the older man spoke.

"Hello, I'm Doctor Douglas Phillips and this is Doctor Anthony Newman. This may be hard to believe, but my friend and I are time-travelers."

"Not sae hard as ye might think", said Jamie.

"Doug, look!" said the younger man, pointing at the Doctor's space-time vehicle. "The TARDIS!"

"You know the TARDIS?" said Victoria. "Then you know the Doctor?"

"Yes", said Doug. "We met him at the Fall of Troy. You're friends of his?"

"Aye", said Jamie. "Ye see, we're time travelers, too. I'm Jamie, and this is Victoria."

"Pleased to meet you", said Doug. "Can you tell us where we are and what year it is?"

"Yes", said Victoria. "We're in a place called Collinsport, in the State of Maine, in the U.S.A. I believe the Doctor said that this is sometime during the summer of 1967."

"1967?" said Tony. "Doug, that's only one year before our own time!"

"I know, Tony. So close - It might almost be worth waiting it out, here."

To Jamie and Victoria's astonishment, Doug seemed to address thin air.

"General, Ann, Ray, can you hear us?"

To their further astonishment, "thin air" answered back.

"We hear you, Doug", came an older man's voice.

"General, we're in Collinsport, Maine in the summer of 1967. Since we're so close to our own time, I was wondering if it might not be easier for us to lay low here for a year and then come back to base when the time is right."

"It's an interesting idea, Doug. We might even be able to send you back some money to live on." the General paused a moment, as if consulting with someone.

Doug spoke up, "General, there's something else - it seems our old friend the Doctor is here. We've met some of his traveling companions."

"Yes, Doug," said the General. "I know."

"You know?"

"Yes. Or at least I suspected as much. Ray's been checking - Collinsport in the summer of 1967 is on the Watch List from Central Intelligence."

Doug frowned. The Watch List was a list of times and places where something had happened that CI wanted Doug and Tony to investigate should they happen to "land" there and then - typically something associated with national security.

"Doug", said the General. "Step back, we're sending you back a Red File."

There was another rush of wind and the Red File materialized on the beach. Doug smiled grimly. The Time Tunnel team were getting better at this. The smile turned back into a frown as he read the file. Wordlessly, he handed the file to Tony. As his friend read the file, Doug turned to Jamie and Victoria.

"Jamie, Victoria, can you take us to where the Doctor is now?"

"Aye, I suppose so. What's going on?"

"All I can say is that apparently, something very bad is about to happen here - something that's going to involve both him and us."
Dark Shadows Reactions: #5DRK
1)Holy crap, it's daylight!

2)Nancy Barrett almost did a Hartnellism, there.

3)David's creepy, but he's no Eddie Munster.

4)So, Pugsley here is haunted by his mother?

5)"Mmmm...delicious." Mmmm...creepy.

6)"Please say you will or I'll...throw myself off the cliff!" If Victoria doesn't leave right then, she's a moron.

7)"Give him a kick for me, will you?" There goes Roger's "Father of the Year" award.

8)"Here name is Victoria. I cannot take care of her."

9)Is "Sam" Old Man Evans?

10)Sam, on Josette Collins: "Even the house hated her." The gazebo sort of liked her, though.

11)"She hasn't been off the hill since six months before I was born." Maybe she should get out more.

12)"The widows - they told me to send you home!"

13)Cliffhanger: Victoria is a moron!
Of course, if I watch enough of these, maybe I'll know enough to figure out where to go with this…

I hope you continue both watching and writing.

2)Nancy Barrett almost did a Hartnellism, there.

If you do keep watching, you’ll see plenty more of those! (Joan Bennett does a great one in the very next episode.)

4)So, Pugsley here is haunted by his mother?

Not exactly; he has what you might call “mother issues.”

9)Is "Sam" Old Man Evans?

Yes.

13)Cliffhanger: Victoria is a moron!

Okay, so that wasn’t much of a Friday cliffhanger I told you too expect, but this early on the show hadn’t yet found its rhythm. It does complete a little mini-arc of Vicki’s introduction, though, and ends at a new beginning with her decision to stay.

Up Next: Matthew Morgan
Dark Shadows Reactions: #6DRK

1)Wait, is that a drum of toxic waste in their cellar?

2)It's the Cranky Old Handyman Who Don't Take Kindly To Strangers! It's one of the great regrets of my life that I'm not on the least bit "handy", because I have the perfect temperament to be a great Cranky Old Handyman Who Don't Take Kindly To Strangers.

3)"Don't go in the locked room in the cellar - that's where we keep the Gimp!"

4)I like the way Matthew and Victoria introduce themselves to each other.

5)Joan Bennett has some trouble with the handyman's name - "Mart-Ma-Matthew".

6)"No, David your mother's not coming back because you're such an unlikeable kid."

7)Cliffhanger: Victoria goes downtown!
Dark Shadows Reactions: #7DRK

1)Wow, Sam, you're a lousy painter. Also, damn, but Mark Allen had hairy arms!

2)In close-up, Roger looks like he sanded his face instead of shaving it.

3)"You used to pose for my Pop." If it was a nude picture, I don't want to know about it.

4)Oh, so there was a trial?

5)Ah, the days of payphones...

6)Burke Devlin = Mr. Smyooooooth

7)Wow, there's not alot of great acting going on here in the coffee shop.

8)Great, now Burke and Roger are gonna be suspicious of Victoria.

9)"The trouble with you, Sam Evans..." ...is you're a drunk.

10)"Have I? Haven't I?"

11)Cliffhanger: Victoria calls Mrs. Hopewell!

Well, that's all of the full episodes on the tape that I was given - the pre-titles sequence of #8DRK is on there, but not enough to comment on. If I watch more of these, I'll have to remember to start with #8DRK. Will I watch more of these? Maybe, if I can get ahold of them easily enough - I'll have to see if they're available, and in what format.
The writers were scrambling trying to find new stories -- or, to be honest, classics to "homage" -- to feed the plot monster.

An incomplete list of works adapted to Dark Shadows:

Dracula
Frankenstein
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

“A Cask of Amontillado”
“The Premature Burial”
“The Tell-Tale Heart”
“The Pit and the Pendulum”
Jane Eyre
Wuthering Heights
The Turn of the Screw
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Nickolas Nickleby
Rebecca

“The Lottery”
The Cthulhu Mythos
“The Monkey’s Paw”
The Crucible
“Orpheus in the Underworld”

2)It's the Cranky Old Handyman Who Don't Take Kindly To Strangers!

Don’t get too used to this Matthew Morgan, either. 35 or 40 episodes in, he’s replaced by character actor Thayer David.

5)Joan Bennett has some trouble with the handyman's name - "Mart-Ma-Matthew".

That’s the “Hartnellism” I alluded to.

2)In close-up, Roger looks like he sanded his face instead of shaving it.

I suppose we should be glad these aired in the days before “hi-def” (especially the blooper in which Barnabas picked his nose!).

4)Oh, so there was a trial?

Indeed there was. Speaking of dragging things out, this plotline will be resolved around in episode #201.

10)"Have I? Haven't I?"

That’s one of my favorites! Usually the actor would try to bluster through it, but in this case his flub is the exact opposite of its intent. It reminds me of Steve Martin’s routin about the meaning of life: “‘Always…’ no, wait, it was ‘Never…’”

Will I watch more of these? Maybe, if I can get ahold of them easily enough - I'll have to see if they're available, and in what format.

DVD sets are $60 retail, but Amazon has them for $28. Each set contains 35-40 half hour episodes (not a bad price in comparison to some collections of old TV shows I could name).
"I suppose we should be glad these aired in the days before “hi-def” (especially the blooper in which Barnabas picked his nose!)."

Wow, that would kill your "suave vampire" image.
Early Shadows’ Pacing:

I have been aware for some time that it took the first four half hour episodes to portray Vicki’s first five hours in Collinsport, but I never gave the pace of the show much thought beyond that until I read the Baron’s comment about episode #5, “Holy crap, it’s daylight!” I continued watching beyond where he left off (episode #7) in an effort to discover just how long it would take to portray Vicki’s first full day at Collinwood. I was surprised to discover that it took 16 full episodes, #5-20, which would have taken three full weeks (from Friday July 1 through Friday July 22, 1966) to broadcast. You might think that’s slow-paced, but that was a pretty eventful first day!

Vicki goes to the in to place a phone call in private, meets Burke, returns to Collinwood and tells Carolyn about it. Carolyn goes to the inn to see Burke and brings him back to Collinwood when he confronts Elizabeth and Roger. Meanwhile, Vicki visits Matthew in his cottage. Later, Vicki finds Burke in the garage with a wrench in his hand. Later still, Roger drives down the hill to meet Burke at the Blue Whale and his breaks fail. And so on. I also noticed that the directors and writers are very cognizant that these episodes occur on the same day (although the viewers may not be). For example: the lighting. Episode #5 was very brightly lit, as if the morning sun were streaming in Collinwood’s kitchen windows (“Holy crap, it’s daylight!”), but as the day progresses, the lighting changes to indicate the passage from morning to afternoon to evening to night. Also, the clocks change from scene-to-scene, from day-to-day to indicate the time of day.

It’s kind of funny when the characters things such as “ever since Burke arrived in town,” to which Tracy and I now add “…last night!” Here’s a rundown of events from the 16 episodes which comprise Vicki’s first full day:

5. Victoria tells Carolyn what she knows about her background. Sam Evans relates to Victoria the story of Josette Collins.
6. Matthew Morgan accuses Victoria of snooping in the Collinwood basement. Victoria attempts to learn why she was hired by Elizabeth.
7. After Burke visits Sam, Roger is convinced Burke has returned to cause trouble for him.
8. Carolyn admits she loves Joe but turns aside when he asks her to marry him.
9. Carolyn tells Victoria the legend of Widows’ Hill. Carolyn goes to the Collinsport Inn and asks to see Burke.
10. While Roger tells Elizabeth that David should be sent away, David overhears. Burke deceives Carolyn as to his reason for returning.
11. Burke assures Elizabeth he has not returned to make trouble, but he inquires about buying Collinwood.
12. On Widows’ Hill, Roger tells Victoria the legend of the widows. Maggie is upset not knowing what is troubling her father, Sam.
13. After Victoria goes to Matthew’s cottage, she sees Burke in the garage standing by Roger’s car. Elizabeth and Roger are skeptical of Burke’s genial behavior.
14. While Burke waits for Roger to meet him at the Blue Whale, he joins Carolyn and Joe, at Carolyn’s invitation.
15. David is convinced his father hates him. On his way to town to meet Burke, Roger’s car crashes.
16. Roger is not seriously injured in the car accident. Elizabeth is appalled that Carolyn went to the Blue Whale knowing Burke would be there.
17. David has a nightmare about Roger’s car accident. Bill Malloy is certain the crash was caused deliberately.
18. Roger takes Victoria to the Collinsport Inn to confront Burke. David examines the bleeder valve which he has hidden in his bureau drawer.
19. Elizabeth is upset at Carolyn’s interest in Burke. She tells Carolyn the Burke wants revenge against the Collins family.
20. Roger accuses Burke of causing his car accident. Victoria questions Roger’s assumption of Burke’s guilt.

“Soap opera time” is a lot like “comic strip time” in certain ways. Harold Gray’s Little Orphan Annie, for example, although the characters did not age, with very few exceptions, occurred in real time. In other words, for every 24 hours that passed for the reader, 24 hours would pass for the characters as well, each daily strip highlighting a minute or two from any given day. But in a strip such as Dick Tracy, for example, Chester Gould might devote an entire week to a gun battle which might occur in five minutes of strip time.

Soap operas could go either way, I suppose, but Dark Shadows, these early episodes at least, stretch a day’s action over the course of several weeks. (I’m currently nine episodes in to Vicki’s second full day with no end in sight.) Hey, what if (to extend the comic strip comparison), Dark Shadows would have aired a two hour color episode every Sunday? :P
I continued watching beyond where he left off (episode #7) in an effort to discover just how long it would take to portray Vicki’s first full day at Collinwood. I was surprised to discover that it took 16 full episodes, #5-20, which would have taken three full weeks (from Friday July 1 through Friday July 22, 1966) to broadcast. You might think that’s slow-paced, but that was a pretty eventful first day!

Don't rule out the possibility that one of Vicki's birth parents was a Bauer.

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