On Vicki’s first morning in Collinwood, Carolyn knocks on her door to offer some coffee, but is dismayed to find that a suitcase is in the process of being packed.
Carolyn: Victoria Winters, you’re quitting, aren’t you?
Vicki: Uh huh.
Carolyn: But you’ve only been here one night.
Vicki: Well, seems I can’t take it.
Carolyn: And here I thought I’d found a friend. Oh, Vicki, I know it was rough last night. But, no one knows that better than I.
Vicki: Well I’ll take you up on that coffee.
Carolyn: Your first and last breakfast in Collinwood. I’m gonna miss you Vicki, we could have been good friends.
Vicki: Maybe you can come and see me in New York.
Carolyn: Vicki, you sure you want to do this? I know how difficult it was last night.
Vicki: Oh, you don’t know how difficult it was. But, let’s get that coffee.
Carolyn: Vicki, you haven’t even met David yet. Give us a chance?
Vicki: But you’re wrong. I did meet him.
Then as Vicki and Carolyn head downstairs, David emerges from his room, moving with determined stealth as he glares after them. Once he is certain they have gone, he makes his way with furtive footfalls toward Vicki’s room, opens the door, lets himself in, and closes the door behind him, standing there like a secret agent as he listens for signs of approaching enemy spies… before proceeding to plunder Vicki’s belongings in a raging fit of violence.
In his story outline, Shadows on the Wall, story creator and episode writer Art Wallace provides the following introduction for his section on David Collins: “To understand nine-year-old David Collins, one must know something of the true history of his family.”
In the months before David was born his father Roger was forced to leave Collinsport with his wife and take residence in a city seventy-seven miles south of Bangor. Roger was running an insurance business, but because he was continually on edge from the circumstances under which he was made to leave his hometown, his profit margin began to suffer and they were only to able to get by on the monthly sums of money that would arrive from Collinsport. Wallace writes: “David grew up in an angry, bitter, divided household… By the time he was five, David had learned the best protection was silence. He was a quiet, uncommunicative, unhappy boy.”
The conditions of that now defunct household have led him into the room of his hired companion and governess. To David, she is just an intruder. After going to the window to open it and stand there for a moment in the wailing wind as he looks out on the waves, he then closes the window securely and with a dispirited faraway look in his eyes makes his second utterance on the show: “Mother,… mother.” Previously, he was full of hatred, and now of longing. To understand the polarity of David’s emotions, it would help to once more consult the story outline.
Roger, being always ill at ease with periodic outbursts of anger, had caused his wife to cushion her troubles with steady infusions of scotch. Of David, Wallace writes: “…his only real comfort and security were those rare moments when his mother opened her arms and held him close to her.”
But most of the time, in shutting herself off to him through her excessive drinking and with his father alternatingly cruel and indifferent toward him, David was forced to live in a world almost entirely of his own making. Wallace writes: “He expected nothing from anyone, and developed an ingrained hostility almost to the point of paranoia… He is a frightened…and often frightening…child.”
With all of this explanatory information available, it might be a good point to mention something about the disclaimer Art Wallace added for the reader as a footnote, placed after the character sketches and just before the overall story summary. This is because the above excerpts involve elements that remain hidden from both the characters and the viewer, and will only be revealed as needed to suit the dramatic content as it unfolds, and so, in a sense, this background information on the characters would qualify as “spoilers.” Wallace advises the reader, on page 36 of Shadows on the Wall, that the character sketches “are intended as guides for the writer….and not as information for the viewer.”
Mind you, the “reader” in this sense represents the network executives to whom this prospective TV show is being pitched via the story outline, and later Wallace’s story outline and character sketches will be used as a general guide for the production department and subsequent writing teams once the show does actually make it on the air.
Some of the storylines introduced in these early episodes had an “either/or” direction about them, such as the issue of David’s true paternal lineage. There will be moments when Roger reveals a strong and long-standing suspicion that David is not really his son, but is actually Burke Devlin’s, since it was Devlin who was dating Laura Robin (the surname given in Wallace’s outline) before she and Roger were married, after which Laura seems to have had an early birth with David (in Wallace’s outline just seven months after their wedding). Wallace left this possibility open-ended, depending on the story development and how the dramatic resolution would best be served. It could very well be that the heir to Collinwood and all it represents is a Collins in name only. The show never went there, but it was hinted at occasionally – and even point blank alluded to in such a way as to confirm this without actually saying outright, during a meeting on the docks between Laura and Burke during the Phoenix story.
But one aspect of Wallace’s original vision for characters and storylines that had a definite beginning, middle, and resolution was the story of Victoria Winters. This might seem surprising to many Dark Shadows fans, given that this is one story element that never gets resolved on the show, not even after two and a half years and more than six hundred fifty episodes. It’s surprising because of how the question of her past is resolved in the 2003 audio drama Return to Collinwood (written by David Selby’s son Jamison), a resolution that was given the approval of Dan Curtis Productions, that Victoria Winters was the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Stoddard – this is also the direction in which the writers in 1968 were planning on going, but was never taken up because of how Alexandra Moltke had to leave the show which after two recastings resulted in the character being all but written out of the show and Maggie Evans retconned as the “new” Victoria Winters.
So as a result whenever many fans view these early episodes looking for clues about Victoria Winter’s true lineage, it is always with the assumption that somehow Elizabeth Stoddard must be the actual mother, and that she had to send Vicki away to avoid the scandal of illegitimacy – as it was with me no matter how many times through I viewed the first year of episodes, that is, until I finally managed to acquire an out of print copy of Shadows on the Wall. As we will see in future episodes, Elizabeth Stoddard will do anything to avoid a scandal and the resulting publicity – even if it means forgiving the odious crimes of a blackmailer whose duplicitous actions made her a prisoner in her own home for eighteen years.
But here in the fifth episode, it is Art Wallace’s actual vision for the story of Victoria Winters that is inferred. During this episode, over breakfast Carolyn learns that Vicki grew up in an orphanage, and that eighteen years ago money, fifty dollars in cash every month with an unsigned letter, was sent for her care with Bangor as the postmark. Vicki had been hoping that taking the job at Collinwood would lead to a discovery regarding the connection to Bangor. Carolyn in turn reveals something about herself to Vicki, that her father walked out six months before she was born, which was also eighteen years ago. Not wanting Vicki to leave and go back to New York, she suggests that there might be a connection between her father leaving eighteen years ago and the money arriving each month at the orphanage for Vicki, suggesting a paternal rather than maternal link to Collinwood.
Oddly enough, despite that Art Wallace wrote the first forty episodes and sixty-five of the first eighty-five, in only a couple of these episodes in the first two weeks of the show would it even be vaguely hinted at that Vicki’s father could actually be the man who walked out on Elizabeth Stoddard eighteen years ago. It’s easy for the viewer to overlook, because though Paul Stoddard is named in Wallace’s original story outline, his first name is never spoken on the air until episode 42. But either way, whether Paul Stoddard is Vicki’s father through another woman in Collinsport at the time (Betty Hanscombe?) or whether Elizabeth Stoddard is actually Vicki’s mother through an affair she had while married to Paul (with butler B. Hanscombe?), Carolyn gains a half-sister in Vicki Winters.
Yet, in many ways, the fifth episode seems to be more about Carolyn than Vicki. Curiously, when you see the opening slating segment, it’s the first time one of the actors is shown on camera, getting into position for the opening scene and preparing to get into character, during this pre-episode moment. There will be other times ahead where you will see actors taking their marks during slating, but Nancy Barrett is the first. In fact, in this episode you really recognize the strength of Barrett’s acting talents, the versatility – her performance here positively shines.
Imploring Vicki not to leave, Carolyn says she’ll go out of her mind if she doesn’t have someone to talk to in Collinwood – and you believe it. Every furrow, every expression of fear, anxiety, sadness, is framed on her face with perfect depth.
While tending to her ironing as Vicki returns from her walk, you can tell that Carolyn has been crying – the tears seem so real, the voice duly cracked with emotion.
But, of course, there are those moments when the risk of the viewer being distanced from Carolyn is taken, like during breakfast when the latest installment of the continuing, mutually flirtatious fromance between uncle and niece is played out. Roger walks into the kitchen, cheerfully greeting Carolyn and Vicki with, “Good morning, you lovely people,” extending a very special greeting to his niece as he leans in to kiss her on the cheek, saying, with a bit of a salacious lilt in his voice, “Hi, kitten,” to which Carolyn dreamily responds, grinning widely with eyes closed, “Mmmmm! Delicious!” Exchanges like this are enough to make you want to give up breakfast altogether.
Despite this, the fifth episode makes a certain point clear: If Victoria Winters is the protagonist, Burke Devlin the antagonist, and Roger Collins the villain, then Carolyn Stoddard as played by Nancy Barrett is the secret weapon, the special element that contributes to the success of Dark Shadows.
One has to wonder how, in some parallel universe, Dark Shadows might have played out had Nancy Barrett been cast instead for the role she originally auditioned for, that of Victoria Winters.
Vicki prepares to leave Collinwood.
Carolyn tries to talk Vicki out of leaving.
David glaring after Vicki and Carolyn as they go downstairs.
David sneaks into Vicki’s room.
David forlorn and calling to his mother.
Carolyn reacts when Vicki mentions she heard someone sobbing in the night.
Roger hands Vicki a letter that has arrived from the foundling home.
David packing Vicki’s things.
Carolyn wonders why Vicki is giving up after just one night in Collinwood.
Carolyn says she’ll go out of her mind without someone to talk to at Collinwood.
Vicki shows Carolyn where the letter came from.
Carolyn learns that Vicki grew up in a foundling home.
Vicki tells Carolyn about the letters from Bangor she would receive at the foundling home.
David has a look in Vicki’s purse.
Vicki goes out for a walk on the grounds of the estate.
Vicki stands atop Widow’s Hill.
Sam Evans tells Vicki about the unhappy life and death of Josette Collins.
Vicki returning from her walk along the grounds of Collinwood.
Vicki asks why Carolyn didn’t say anything about her mother.
Carolyn reveals that her father walked out six months before she was born.
Carolyn makes a connection between the letters from Bangor and her father’s disappearance eighteen years ago.
David taunts Vicki with her note from the foundling home.
David refuses to give Vicki back her note.
David finally does give back the note.
Carolyn walks in to observe the aftermath of David’s plundering.
Carolyn is delighted that Vicki has decided to stay.
[Knock at Vicki’s door]
Vicki: Who is it?
Carolyn: Carolyn. Unlock the tower.
Roger [to Carolyn and Vicki]: Has anyone seen David around this morning? I stopped in at his room, but he wasn’t there.
Carolyn: Lucky you.
Roger: Well if you see him Miss Winters, give him a kick for me, will you? There’s a good girl.
Sam: Why are we here in this green and ugly world?
[After David crumples Vicki’s note and throws it to the floor]
Vicki: Why did you do that?
David: I wanted to!
[Carolyn walks in and comments on the disarray of Vicki’s room]
Carolyn: Wow! What happened here?
Carolyn: He’s on your side, huh? Looks like he wants you to go home, too.
This is the first episode to be set during the daytime.
The opening for episode 5 uses a different side of the house as an exterior establishing shot for Vicki’s room.
During this episode the words on the note left with Vicki when she was dropped at the foundling home are read aloud several times: “Her name is Victoria. I cannot take care of her.” In Shadows on the Wall, the note was written as: “Her name is Victoria. I can’t take care of her. She’s two months old.” Story creator and developer Art Wallace adds that she was “discovered just inside the emergency entrance of a Foundling Hospital” at “2:00 A.M. of a morning in early March.”
More of the location footage filmed on Saturday, June 11 is used in this episode, showing Alexandra Moltke walking along the terrace of Carey Mansion (aka Seaview Terrace) in Newport, Rhode Island, as well as standing by the edge of a nearby cliff used as the model for Widow’s Hill.
This is the first episode where scenes at Collinwood dot not make use of the foyer/drawing room set.
Being a Friday show, the closing credits list a full roster of production members beyond that of just producer, director, and series creator and writer, presented as a credit roll that moves in scrolling fashion from bottom to top.
The set for the Collinwood kitchen makes its first appearance. Though some refer to it as the “breakfast room” or “breakfast nook,” scripted references have it as the kitchen. The Collinwood kitchen set would not be used after episode 208.
The opening slating segment has the air date incorrectly listed as June 31, but ABC announcer Bob Lloyd correctly reads the date as July 1.
On the way out of Vicki’s room Carolyn remarks, “Your first and last breakfast in Collin – Collinwood.”
In the kitchen as Vicki tells Carolyn of her first meeting with David in the foyer during the night, the sound of David banging on the suitcase can still be heard from the adjacent set, and it seems as if Alexandre Moltke is suppressing a grin as this is going on. You can also hear the whispered sound of someone giving a short laugh nearby, probably Nancy Barrett.
During the scene in the kitchen as Vicki and Carolyn talk you can see occasional lights from the production area reflected in the window glass.
Earlier when David pounds on Vicki’s suitcase he can be seen rubbing the letters of Vicki’s initials off, but they are intact later when he flips the case over to open it and begin packing Vicki’s things.
During the scene on Widow’s Hill, Alexandra Moltke steps on Mark Allen’s line:
Vicki: There’s no such thing as ghosts.
Sam: Oh, yes there are.
Vicki: I don’t believe — .
Sam: Both living and dead.
Vicki: I don’t believe in them.
After David has crumpled Vicki’s note and thrown it to the floor and she picks it up, the volume on the boom mic goes low as she says, barely audible, “Why did you do that?” The volume is picked up only halfway as David answers, “I wanted to!”
When David throws Vicki’s note to the floor, there is marking tape indicating to David where he should stand.
During the closing scene in Vicki’s room, Alexandra Moltke calls Carolyn twice by the name of Caroline.
In the closing credits, one of the many recurring bloopers throughout the series run for “fashions by Ohrbach’s” is misspelled as Orhbach’s. Also in this listing, the surname for set designer Sy Tomashoff is misspelled as Thomashoff.
In the Collinwood kitchen, there is a painting of what appears to be a man and a woman in a breakfast nook. This painting was first seen above Vicki’s dresser in episodes 2 and 3. It is one of the more well-traveled of paintings in Collinwood, as it will be seen in Elizabeth’s room in 1967 as well as occasionally the Collinwood study in 1967 and 1968, and will even be seen in the Collinwood of parallel time 1970 in a different wing of the house.
The painting in the hallway off the kitchen of a man in a hat pointing to the right will be seen in the Collinwood study in 1967.
Food & Drink in Collinsport:
In the Collinwood kitchen, Vicki has a plate of toast…
…while Carolyn serves coffee.
Cast Member Spotlight: Nancy Barrett
Even before debuting with the original cast of Dark Shadows in 1966, Nancy Barrett was already building an impressive pedigree in both television and theater. While still attending UCLA in 1963, she appeared in the Los Angeles productions of Little Mary Sunshine (with Shirley Knight) and The Fantasticks (with Bill Bixby). That same year she played the role of Inga in The Takers, an episode of the television series The DuPont Show of the Week (season 3, episode 5; broadcast October 13, 1963), which co-starred Walter Matthau, Shirley Knight, Claude Rains, and Larry Hagman. In 1964, she appeared in an episode of the short-lived television series Mr. Broadway – Louis Edmonds also appeared in that series, but in a different episode. Apart from appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Les Crane Show, there were also TV commercials for such products as the Gillette Spoiler razor before making her debut in the Broadway musical Pickwick, which ran for fifty-six performances at the 46th Street Theatre in New York between October 4 and November 20, 1965. In addition to the run of performances, there were five previews, beginning on September 29.
After Dark Shadows ended, Barrett continued with daytime television, landing the role of nurse Cathy Ryker in The Doctors in 1971 which she played for a year.
A 1971 magazine article announces Nancy Barrett’s transition from Dark Shadows to The Doctors.
Nancy Barrett on the cover of TV by Day, February 1972.
Nancy Barrett as Cathy Ryker in The Doctors, September 22, 1971.
Numerous episodes of The Doctors from the period during which Nancy Barrett appeared are available on YouTube. The clip below features a block of episodes from September 20 to 24 and September 27, 1971.
Above video uploaded by NICK BELLINI
From the page I created for Dark Shadows Wiki:
Dark Passages is a novel written by Kathryn Leigh Scott and published in 2011 by Pomegranate Press, Ltd.
Set in the 1960s, Meg Harrison leaves her native Minnesota for New York to pursue a career in acting while working as a Playboy Bunny in New York’s Playboy Club. After changing her name to Morgana Harriott, she soon lands the role of Margie, a restaurant waitress and daughter of a local artist, in the new daytime TV serial Dark Passages. The show will eventually feature a vampire, but the catch is that Morgana is one in real life.
The characters described on the sets of Dark Passages resemble quite vividly those on Dark Shadows and the actors who played them. The diner set where Margie works is greatly similar to that of the Collinsport Inn restaurant on Dark Shadows.
For the back cover, Jonathan Frid wrote the following blurb: “Reading DARK PASSAGES was like being back on the sets of DARK SHADOWS, except with real vampires behind the scenes!”
In this eight-CD box set of composer Robert Cobert’s series soundtrack, every music cue used on Dark Shadows is available, including the full-length original recordings of the guitar instrumentals heard at the Blue Whale.
Since 2006, UK production company Big Finish has been extending the Dark Shadows legacy with audio dramas offering new stories featuring cast members from the original TV series. My favorite is the 2015 audio drama …And Red All Over, in which Mitchell Ryan reprises his role as Burke Devlin to the backdrop of an eerily compelling backstory on how he came to acquire his wealth in business. Also starring Kathryn Leigh Scott as Maggie Evans, with original series themes and music cues composed by Robert Cobert. A must listen for any fan of the first year of Dark Shadows.
Coming next: Episode 6: Searching, Hoping, Waiting…
— Marc Masse
© 2017 Marc Masse and Dark Shadows
from the Beginning. All rights reserved.
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