Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows

Synopsis of TV Show

Vampires, ghosts, and werewolves, oh my. Those were just some of the beasties on that spooky sixties soap Dark Shadows. And here were some of the show’s fans: teenagers, housewives, and hippies—who purportedly appreciated the trippy, otherworldly subject matter and play with time dimensions (oh, my).

The show had a huge following in its heyday, but an equally impressive cult following these days. It holds a place in history as the first Gothic daytime drama, as ABC’s first color soap opera, and, though this is a watershed tougher to measure, it was the first series with a broad Goth appeal. Even if spooky theatrics didn’t make for a kid's regular TV viewing, they found themselves racing home from school, and moms found themselves racing out of the kitchen, postponing the preparation of that eve’s scrumptious family dinner for a half-hour of thrills and chills.

Dark Shadows was created by Dan Curtis, who would later compel viewers to whisk away tears in mini-series The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. The idea of a young lady governess who came to a seaside village to care for a rich little boy purportedly came to Mr. Curtis in a dream. Which makes good sense, because creepy Collinsport, Maine, and the even creepier Collinwood mansion (home of the Collins family) were certainly dream-ish places—dreams of the “bad” variety, that is.

After several months on the air, unfortunately, the show’s ratings were also of the “bad” variety. In a stroke of desperate revamping (awful pun intended), Curtis added a character named Barnabas Collins—an almost two-hundred-year-old vampire. This particular gentleman of the night was played by former Shakespearean actor Jonathan Frid, who seduced legions of viewers with his blend of ghoulishness and humanity. After Barnabas proved a success, other supernatural characters were also unearthed—ghosts, werewolves and a witch named Angelique.

As the story went, the mansion’s thickheaded groundskeeper opened a dank crypt when he was poking around for buried treasures, and out came vampire Barnabas, who fed on local townspeople but felt guilty about the way he took his nourishment. Sympathetic Dr. Julia Hoffman agreed to help him find a cure for his nighttime eating habits, then promptly fell in love with him. But here’s the kicker—the vamp wasn’t what we’d call today ‘emotionally available’—he still pined for his wife from the 1700’s, Josette DuPress (and the local girl, Maggie, who happened to look just like her). So, in that most addictive and watchable type of TV romance, poor Julia’s love went tragically unrequited.

Though exteriors were shot in Newport, Rhode Island, the stages for the interior scenes were located in New York—noteworthy because a lot of local talent cycled through the more than one hundred sets: Harvey Keitel, Abe Vigoda, Marsha Mason and Kate Jackson among them. The actors worked at a breakneck pace, with special effects-laden shots and a mandate from the network that they not do retakes—all of which meant there were bloopers galore: microphones in shots, gravestones falling over, cigarette smoke from the crew wafting by the camera (during interior shots, mind you), stage hands wandering into live scenes, lines forgotten and bumbled. Plus, because characters so often came back from the dead and slipped in between centuries and time dimensions, the show’s put-upon actors regularly called their scene-partners by the wrong character names…at least until their particular storylines became cemented in their heads.

Though teenagers, housewives, and reportedly, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were the show’s earliest fans, millions followed suit. Otherworldly, Halloween-ready characters were also seen on shows like Bewitched, The Addams Family and The Munsters—for the counterculture of the time, there was something very appealing about these counterculture characters. They were a guilty-pleasure break from media’s squeaky-clean Stepford family paradigms.

An instrumental piece of music from the show called “Quentin’s Theme,” featuring a celeste piano, broke the Top-20 singles chart, becoming the first song from a soap opera to do so. Its male stars became teen idols, there were dozens of tie-in novels, comic books, records, games, View-Master viewer reels, trading cards, a Broadway play, and two feature movies: House of Dark Shadows in 1970 and Night of Dark Shadows in 1971.

On April 2, 1971, with ratings that were still quite alive, Dark Shadows went off the air after a five-year run (and production on Night of Dark Shadows began). Hearty support from viewers guaranteed years of successful reruns on local stations through the 70’s and 80’s. In response, the producers decided to trot a new Dark Shadows back out for a 1990 TV movie and new prime time episodes with a whole new cast in 1991. That experiment was un-undead within a few months, but there are still Dark Shadow conventions, clubs, fanzines, memorabilia and much-visited websites. Like many of the show’s characters, affection for this ghost opera just won’t die.

Release History of Prime Time Show

6/27/66 - 4/2/71 ABC

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Television Studio


TV Cast

Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (1966-70) Joan Bennett
Naomi Collins (1967-68) Joan Bennett
Judith Collins Trask (1969-70) Joan Bennett
Flora Collins (1970-71) Joan Bennett
Roger Collins (1966-70) Louis Edmonds
Joshua Collins (1967-68, 1969)  Louis Edmonds
Edward Collins (1969-70)  Louis Edmonds
Daniel Collins #2 (1970)  Louis Edmonds
Amadeus Collins (1970)  Louis Edmonds
Brutus Collins (1971) Louis Edmonds
Carolyn Collins Stoddard Hawkes #1(1966-70) Nancy Barrett
Millicent Collins Forbes (1967-70)  Nancy Barrett
Charity Trask (1969)  Nancy Barrett
Pansy Faye (1969-70)  Nancy Barrett
Barnabas Collins (1967-71) Jonathan Frid
Bramwell Collins (1971) Jonathan Frid
Dr. Julia Hoffman (1967-71) Grayson Hall
Carolyn Collins Stoddard Loomis (1970)  Nancy Barrett
Leticia Faye (1970-71)  Nancy Barrett
Melanie Collins (1971) (original cast) Nancy Barrett
Maggie Evans (1966-70) Kathryn Leigh Scott
Josette duPres Collins (1966-70)  Kathryn Leigh Scott
Josette duPres Collins #2 Natalie Norwich
Rachel Drummond (1969)  Kathryn Leigh Scott
Lady Hampshire aka Kitty Soames (1970)  Kathryn Leigh Scott
David Collins (1966-70) David Henesey
Jamison Collins (1969)  David Henesey
Tad Collins (1970-71) (original cast) David Henesy
Sobbing woman (1966) Clarice Blackburn
Mrs. Sarah Johnson (1966-70)  Clarice Blackburn
Abigail Collins (1967-68)  Clarice Blackburn
Minerva Trask (1969) Clarice Blackburn
Joe Haskell (1966-69) Joel Crothers
Lt. Nathan Forbes (1967-69) (original cast) Joel Crothers
Victoria Winters Clark (1966-69) (original cast) Alexandra Isles
Victoria Winters (1966-68) Alexandre Moltke
Victoria Winters Clark (1968) Betsy Durkin
Victoria Winters (1969) Carolyn Groves
Sam Evans (1966) (original cast) Mark Allen
Sam Evans (1966-68) David Ford
Andre duPres (1967) David Ford
Burke Devlin (original cast) Mitchell Ryan
Burke Devlin (1967) Anthony George
Jerimiah Collins (1967) Anthony George
Sheriff George Patterson (1966-67) Dana Elcar
Sheriff George Patterson #2 Vince O'Brien
Sheriff George Patterson #3 Angus Cairns
Sheriff George Patterson #4 Alfred Sandor
Laura Murdock Radcliff Stockbridge Collins (1966-69) Diana Millay
Matthew Morgan George Mitchell
Matthew Morgan (1966) David Thayer
Ben Stokes (1967-71)  David Thayer
Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes (1968-1971)  David Thayer
Sandor Rakosi (1969)  David Thayer
Victor Fenn-Gibbon aka Count Andreas Petofi (1970)  David Thayer
Timothy Stokes  David Thayer
Countess Natalie duPres (1967-70)  Grayson Hall
Magda Rakosi (1969)  Grayson Hall
Julia Collins (1970-71) Grayson Hall
Willie Loomis James Hall
Willie Loomis (1967-70) John Karlen
Carl Collins (1969) John Karlen
William H. Loomis (1970) John Karlen
Desmond Collins (1970) John Karlen
Kendrick Young (1971) John Karlen
Tony Peterson (1967-68) Jerry Lacy
Reverend Trask (1967-68) Jerry Lacy
Gregory Trask (1969) Jerry Lacy
Mr. Trask (1970) Jerry Lacy
Lamar Trask (1970-71) Jerry Lacy
Jason McGuire (1966-67) Dennis Patrick
Dr. Guthrie (1967) John Lasell
Sarah Collins (1967-68) Sharon Smyth
Quentin Collins / Grant Douglas (1968-71) David Selby
Angelique Bouchard Collins DuVal Rumson (1967-70) Lara Parker
Cassandra (Blair) Collins (1968) Lara Parker
Valerie Collins (1970) Lara Parker
Miranda DuVal (1970) Lara Parker
Catherine Harridge Collins (1971) Lara Parker
Amy Jennings (1968-69) Denise Nickerson
Nora Collins (1969) Denise Nickerson
Amy Collins (1970) Denise Nickerson
Nicholas Blair (1968, 1970) Humbert Allen Astredo
Evan Hanley (1969) Humber Allen Astredo
Charles Dawson (1970) Humbert Allen Astredo
Tom Jennings (1968)  Donald Briscoe
Chris Jennings (1968-70)  Donald Briscoe
Tim Shaw (1969)  Donald Briscoe
Chris Collins (1970) Donald Briscoe
Eve (1968) Marie Wallace
Danielle Rogot (1968) Marie Wallace
Megan Todd (1969-70) Marie Wallace
Jenny Collins (1969) Marie Wallace
Adam (1968) Robert Rodan
Peter Bradford (1967-70) Roger Davis
Jeff Clark aka Peter Bradford (1968-69)  Roger Davis
Ned Stuart (1969)  Roger Davis
Dirk Wilkins (1969)  Roger Davis
Charles Delaware Tate (1969-70) Roger Davis
Dr. Eric Lang (1968) Addison Pow
Philip Todd (1969-70) Christopher Bernau
Sabrina Stuart (1969-70) Lisa Richards
Amanda Harris (aka Olivia Corey) (1969) Donna McKechnie
Daphne Harridge (1970-71) Kate Jackson
Gerard Styles (1970-71) Jim Storm
Jeb Hawkes (1970)  Christopher Pennock
Cyrus Longworth aka John Yaeger (1970)  Christopher Pennock
Sebastian Shaw (1970)  Christopher Pennock
Gabriel Collins (1970-71) Christopher Pennock
Samantha Drew Collins (1970-71) Virginia Vestoff
Hallie Stokes (1970) Kathleen Cody
Carrie Stokes (1970-71) Kathleen Cody
Aristede / Bruno / Laszlo Michael Stroka
Morgan Collins (1971) Keith Prentice
James Forsythe (1971) Keith Prentice
Minnie DuVal Camila Ashland
Mr. Wells, the clerk at the Collinsport Inn (original cast) Conrad Bain
Bat of Hell, Vampire Bat Bill Baird
Istvan (1968) Henry Baker
Mr. Best (1969-70) Emory Bass
Minister (1971) Emory Bass
Joanna Mills (1971) Lee Beery
Executioner Steve Calder
Maude Browning (1967) Vala Clifton
Lt. Dan Riley (1967) John Connell
Josette DuPres Collins parallel time (1971) Mary Cooper
Tate's Creation Alexander Cort
Sheriff Don Crabtree
Beth Chavez (1969-70) Terry Crawford
Edith Collins (1969) Isabella Hoopes
Edith Collins (1970-71) Terry Crawford
Waitress Carol Crist
Policeman Ed Crowley
Blacnchard Cliff Cudney
Constable Carter Michael Currie
Julianka Diana Davila
Prof. Henry Ronald Dawson
Suki Forbes (1968) Jane Draper
Hortense Smiley Jenny Egan
Nelle Gunston (1970) Elizabeth Eis
Buffie Harrington (1970) Elizabeth Eis
Mildred Ward (1970) Elizabeth Eis
Paul Stoddard (1967) Joel Fabiani
Paul Stoddard (1969) Dennis Patrick
Mrs. Lenore Fillmore (1969) Mary Farrell
Leona Eltridge (1968) Erica Fitz
Frank Garner (1966-67) Conard Fowkes
Dr. Franklin Ivor Francis
Richard Garner Hugh Franklin
Pansy Faye (1969) Kay Frye
Reverend Bland / Reverend Alton Brook / Judge Paul Kirk Giles
Jerimiah's Ghost Timothy Gordon
Gaoler, 3rd Judge, Ghost of Ezra Simpson Tom Gorman
Blue Whale customer (1967) Jay Gregory
Hangman's assistant / One-armed man David Groh
Frank Paxton Stanley Grover
Buzz Hackett (1967) Michael Hadge
Inspector Hamilton Colin Hamilton
Jeremy Grimes (1971) Tom Happer
Lt. Costa (1967) John Harkins
Horrace Gladstone (1970) John Harkins
Ghost of Damion Edwards Jered Holmes
Stuart Bronson (1966) Barnard Hughes
Janet Findley Cavada Humphrey
Justin Collins (1971) David Hurst
Ruby Tate (1968) Elaine Hyman
Judge Crathorne House Jamison
Alexander Todd (1968) David Jay
Wilber Strake(1966) (first two weeks) Joseph Julian
Phylliss Wicke (1967-68) Dorrie Kavanaugh
Blue Whale Patron Harvey Keitel
The Cemetery Caretaker Daniel Keyes
Gypsy John LaMotta
Haza Robin Lane
Crystal Cabot (a.k.a. Angelique Bouchard Collins) (1969) Audrey Larkins
Hannah Stokes (1970) Paula Laurence
Randall Drew (1970) Gene Lindsey
Oberon Peter Lombard
Tessie Kincaid Deborah Loomis
Michael Hackett Todd Michael Maitland
Harry Johnson (1968-69) Craig Slocum
Harry Johnson Edward Marshall
Vampire (1969) Marsha Mason
Larry Chase (1970) Ken McEwen
Judah Zachary (1970) Michael McGuire
Bartender Bob Rooney #1 Kenneth McMillan
Bartender Bob Rooney #2 Bob O'Connell
King Johnny Romano (1969) Paul Michael
Riggs (1967-68) Dan Morgan
Diabolos Duane Morris
Gaoler Peter Murphy
Mr. Nakamura Sho Onodera
Deputy Clifford A. Pellow
Portia Fitzsimmons (1967) Lovelady Powell
Sheriff Davenport Ed Riley
Lady next to Victoria on train (1966) (first episode) Jane Rose
Harris (1971) Gordon Russell
Tim Braithwaite Dick Sabol
Bill Maloy Frank Schofield
Sky Rumson (1970) Geoffrey Scott
Gaoler / Guard / Hangman / Zombie James Shannon
Bathia Mapes (1968) Anita Sharp-Bolster
The widow Romano Lana Shaw
Barmaid at the Eagle Rebecca Shaw
Noah Gifford (1968) Craig Slocum
Ghost of Josette duPres Collins (1967) Florence Stanley
The Werewolf Alex Stevens
Dorcas Trilling (1969) Gail Strickland
Steve George Strus
Claude North Brian Sturdivant
Ezra Hern Dolph Sweet
Sophie Barnes (1967) K.C. Townsend
Dr. Dave Woodard (1966) Richard Woods
Dr. Dave Woodard (1967) Robert Gerringer
Dr. Dave Woodard (1968) Peter Turgeon
Ezra Braithwaite / Otis Greene (1969) Abe Vigoda
Policeman at Collinsport Gaol Paul Vincent
Carolyn Collins Stoddard Hawkes (temporary replacement) (1968) Diana Walker
Roxanne Drew (1970-71) Donna Wandrey
Jailer Robert Warlock
Mrs. Hopewell (1966) (first two weeks) Elizabeth Wilson

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