In the previous episode we found out, through Elizabeth’s decision to protect David despite his having nearly gotten his father killed, what it means to be a Collins of Collinsport.
In this episode we find out, through the ravings of a drunken fisherman, precisely what is wrong with what it means to be a Collins of Collinsport.
Joe Haskell is sitting in the Blue Whale getting drunk and feeling sorry for himself. Earlier a friend from work was going to go into partnership with Joe and buy a fishing boat, but Joe’s friend has had to back out due to unexpected expenses; his wife’s going to have a baby. Compounding the disappointment for Joe is what this would mean for his chances of marrying Carolyn. But from what we’ve seen thus far, it’s apparent that the possibility of getting Carolyn to marry him is practically nil, no matter what the financial outlook. But Joe has to have something to hang onto, even if all he has at the moment is an empty glass in a lonely tavern.
Adding a touch of irony to this scene, the jukebox is belting out Dark Shadows music cue number 73 (“Med. Slow Blue Whale”), the jaunty, bouncy surf guitar number that Carolyn was dancing the Frug to back in episode 2 while Joe sat brooding at their table.
(Carolyn Stoddard frugging at the Blue Whale in Dark Shadows episode 2)
Incidentally, the term Frug is pronounced differently than the spelling would suggest. You would think it should be pronounced frug, as in snug as a bug in a rug, but it’s really froog.
I know this from watching Peyton Place, where the word is mentioned from time to time. In Peyton Place episode 306, Rodney Harrington provides Rachel Welles with a full explanation of how it’s pronounced, after she calls it “the frog.” In the earlier episodes of Peyton Place, you’ll often see them doing the Frug.
(The younger set frugging at The Shoreline in Peyton Place episode 6, aired October 1, 1964)
(Carolyn Stoddard turning it up on the dance floor of the Blue Whale in Dark Shadows episode 2)
Episode 33 is a favorite with me for several reasons, not the least of which being that Joe Haskell is stone drunk throughout. You could describe Joe as rather straight laced; he’ll sit down with an occasional beer, but this is the only episode where you’ll see him drunk – which makes his complete lack of rapport with Burke Devlin all the more amusing.
Burke has stopped over at Joe’s table to talk; more accurately, he’s come by to work on young Haskell some more. When it comes to his ongoing feud with the Collins family, Burke is always firing away on all cylinders trying to recruit informants. He’ll even go so far as to reiterate his offer to buy Joe a boat when Haskell confides that his plans for going into partnership with a coworker had fallen through.
Most of all, it’s just fun watching two people who don’t really like each other try to get along, and even more so when one of the two makes no secret of the antagonism they harbor. It’s always entertaining to watch Roger Collins and Burke sparring away, but it’s a special treat to see a drunken Joe Haskell telling Devlin how much he can’t stand him.
Joe: What are you waiting around here for anyway?
Burke: Oh, I hate to drink alone. Saw my old friend Joe Haskell sitting by himself at the table –
Joe: I told you, I am not your friend.
Burke: You could be.
Joe: How, by letting you steal my girl away from me?
Burke: Joe, I’m not interested in stealing anybody’s girl.
But then Joe remembers that Burke bought him a drink when he couldn’t get any immediate service from the bartender, so when Burke offers a toast (“Cheers”), he drinks along. But Joe’s mood sharpens once more when Burke advises that this drink should be his last.
Joe: Let me tell you something, Devlin. I don’t like you…
Joe: I don’t like your smile, I don’t like the way you talk, and if you make another pass at Carolyn –
Burke [jovial]: Hey, hey! You wanna make me sorry I sat down with ya?
Joe: You don’t like it here, go someplace else.
But then Burke asks Joe what’s eating him, so Joe finally calms down and talks about his troubles. And why not? At least it’s better than sitting there talking to an empty glass. All in all, talking things out with Burke seems to do him some good, as it helps him to figure things out: “It’s the family, that’s what it is. It’s the family. You know, if it wasn’t for them sitting up in that house, Carolyn and I could be happy.”
What a coincidence, because at the close of the preceding scene, Carolyn confided the following to Vicki: “The thing that gets me is this. My mother wants me to marry Joe Haskell. But I can’t but think that the worst thing I could do to a nice guy like that… would be to bring him into this nutty family.”
Burke and Joe seem to be getting along alright, until the subject of drinking resurfaces.
Joe: I think I want another drink.
Burke: I think you’ve had enough.
Joe: Oh, that’s great. That’s just great. Burke Devlin thinks I’ve had enough. Did I ask you?
Burke: No, but I think it anyway.
Joe: I ought to belt you right there… waiter!
But by this point, no matter what Burke says, Joe is drunk enough that he’s only talking to himself.
Burke: Do yourself a favor, Joe. Slow down.
Joe: Oh, that’s all I ever do is slow down! Good old reliable Joe Haskell. Do you know what I am, Devlin? A mouse. That’s what I am, a mouse.
Burke: Don’t sell yourself short, kid.
Joe: You think I don’t know what’s happened to her up on that hill? You think I don’t know? Did I ever come right out and tell her? No. And you know why? Because I’m a mouse.
Burke: What has happened to her?
Joe: Sure I love you, Joe. Just don’t ask me to marry you. Well I’ve had it, Devlin. I’ve had it. I’ve been shoved and stepped on for the last time! Right? Right!
It’s pretty funny watching Joe stumble out of the Blue Whale, with the bartender not even passing him so much as a glance. Only Burke was trying to shut Joe down; you have to believe that the bartender would have served him another drink if asked. In those days, they just wanted your money, not your safety.
Another indication of the more carefree attitudes of those times is what Mrs. Stoddard says to Joe when he barges in through the front doors of Collinwood demanding to see Carolyn.
Mrs. Stoddard: If you can still drive, I suggest that you leave.
He can barely stand up, and at one point almost crashes head first into one of the drawing room cabinets when he stumbles and falls forward, but to get him out of the way Mrs. Stoddard, the matriarch of the largest house in town and head of its most successful business, suggests that he leave… and do some more driving.
Those were the days!
Despite that Lela Swift is not directing today’s episode, she does have ample reason to be present in the television studio control room given that after taping wraps up, the two and a half hour dry rehearsal for the next day’s episode will begin, which she will be directing after an absence of five episodes. She kicks off today’s installment of The Dan and Lela Show by complaining, in the opening scene before any of the actors begin a line of dialogue, to executive producer Dan Curtis about an actor who no longer works on Dark Shadows:
Lela Swift: Dan, I need to talk to you about Michael Currie. He has no right to blame me for getting fired!
Dan Curtis: Alright, Lela. Save it for the opening theme.
Lela: Dan, Michael Currie has no right to blame me for getting fired from Dark Shadows! He was terrible with his lines! He messed up every one of his lines in yesterday’s episode…
Even as Act I gets underway with a scene between Carolyn and Elizabeth Stoddard in the Collinwood drawing room, you can still hear the occasional stray fragment booming from the control room regarding Lela and Dan’s ongoing disagreement of the moment:
Dan: All I’m saying, Lela, is that Michael Currie was a fine actor.
Lela: Dan, he was terrible!
Elsewhere during taping, it’s the Blue Whale extras who have crew members in the control room talking:
John Sedwick: Dan, look at Tina Mason, oh my god! Tina Mason looks just like Dusty Springfield!
(Dusty Springfield, 1965)
Dan: Tina’s got a great act! When I saw her on Where the Action Is, I just knew I had to have her on the show.
JS: Well maybe we can get her in the cast.
Dan: No, she’s under contract with Where the Action Is. She’s only appearing here out of graciousness.
Lela: Dan, who is that handsome man dancing with Lenore Ellis?
Dan: That’s Harvey Keitel.
Lela: Harvey Keitel? I’ve never heard of him.
John Sedwick: He made his debut in Hogan’s Heroes. Uncredited. Nothing’s been written up on him yet.
Lela: Dan, we’ve got to get him on the show. He’s almost as handsome as Mitch Ryan. Surely we can write him in.
Dan: Can’t work him into the story, Lela, sorry.
Over the closing theme, Lela is still trying to sell Dan on hiring one of the Blue Whale extras:
Lela: Dan, we’ve got to get Harvey Keitel on the show!
Dan: Jesus Christ, Lela! Now you want me to hire people I don’t want to hire? You yourself said supporting actors don’t matter.
Lela: But Dan, we need good looking people on the show.
Dan: We have Mitch (Ryan)…
Until next time, this has been The Dan and Lela Show, with special guest star occasional director John Sedwick.
Vicki ponders her “birth certificate.”
Elizabeth brooding alone in the dark.
Carolyn asks her mother where David is.
Joe Haskell getting drunk at the Blue Whale.
Carolyn asking Vicki what she thinks of the Collins family.
Joe tells Burke about his troubles with Carolyn.
Vicki and Mrs. Stoddard react to Joe’s drunken entrance at Collinwood.
Joe insisting that Carolyn listen to him.
Joe in a drunken stumble.
Carolyn denies what Joe said about her mother.
Joe passed out drunk at Collinwood.
Carolyn: Well don’t you think you owe him an apology?
Elizabeth: Carolyn, please, please, stop worrying about Burke.
Carolyn: Well who should I worry about, David?
Elizabeth: He is your cousin.
Carolyn: I’d rather have one friend like Burke than ten cousins like that little monster.
Burke: I think you better make that one your last, tonight.
Joe: You’re not only a girl stealer, you’re a warden.
Carolyn: Vicki, what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with all of us?
Vicki: Has your mother been talking to you about marriage again?
Carolyn: What’s going on down… Joe, what are you doing here?
Joe: I’m paying a visit to my girl, that’s what I’m doing.
Carolyn [laughing]: You’re potted!
Joe: You’re mother was more lady-like, she said I was drunk.
Joe: Well, let’s go into the council room!
The Blue Whale bartender, played in an uncredited capacity mostly by Bob O’Connell, is known in later years as Bob, but in the first few months of the show his name varies. In episode 2, when calling in to the sheriff’s office to report the fight that had just broken out on the dance floor, he gave his name as Joe. In today’s episode he answers to Andy.
Episode 33 provides another instance of the clever device of scene connector dialogue, where a key word or phrase is spoken at the end of one scene and then taken up in the next. In the Blue Whale, Burke advises Joe, “Marriage isn’t always the answer.” Then the scene switches to the Collinwood drawing room with Carolyn saying, “What makes you so sure marriage is the answer for me, mother?”
Dark Shadows extras: Besides Tina Mason, Harvey Keitel, and Lenore Ellis (in one of her many appearances as a Dark Shadows extra), the other Blue Whale extra is Jeff Gold (seen dancing with Tina Mason).
Episode 33 marks Vicki’s first time in the Blue Whale, having gone there specifically to see Burke about something.
Daily studio schedule for Dark Shadows in 1966
7:00-11:00 a.m. Lighting
8:30-10:30 Morning Rehearsal
11:00-12:00 Engineering Set-Up
11:30-2:00 Camera Blocking & Run Through
2:00-2:30 Dress Rehearsal
2:30-3:00 Test Pattern
3:00-3:30 Episode Taping
3:45-4:15 Technical Meeting
4:00-6:30 Dry Rehearsal for Next Episode
4:00-7:00 Reset Studio
In the opening scene, when Carolyn steps into the drawing room to switch on the light, there is a boom mic shadow against one of the doors.
In the drawing room in Act I, as Elizabeth and Carolyn are discussing David, when there is a camera close-up on Joan Bennett a crew member can be seen moving left to right from outside the drawing room windows.
During their drawing room discussion in Act I, Carolyn says to her mother about Burke, “You had the sheriff question him, search his room.” It was Roger who informed his sister that he would be speaking to the sheriff, back in episode 22, and it was Roger again, in episode 26, who pushed the sheriff to generate a search warrant for Burke’s hotel room.
In Act I at the Blue Whale, when Burke stops at Joe’s table, the shadow of the boom mic being raised can be seen against the edge of the wall.
While Burke is ordering them a round of drinks, the shadow of the boom mic being adjusted for positioning partially obscures the right side of Mitch Ryan’s face.
It’s an understandable blooper, because the character of Joe Haskell has arrived at Collinwood drunk, but at the end of Act III as Joe begins to ascend the foyer stairs to see Carolyn, Joel Crothers says, “(If) Muhammad won’t come to the mountain…”
In Act IV, as Joe embarks on a drunken tirade, one of the drawing room cameras goes momentarily out of focus.
In Act IV, after Joe passes out on the sofa and Carolyn sits down beside him, the shadow of the boom mic grazes the wood along the top part of the sofa.
Food & Drink in Collinsport:
At the Blue Whale, Burke stops at Joe’s table and buys a round of drinks. Joe has a tall whisky and water on the rocks, with the whisky served in a separate shot glass, while Burke has a mug of beer.
In the drawing room in Act II, Carolyn pours coffee for her mother and herself.
After Joe has stumbled out of the Blue Whale, Burke has another beer while reading a letter.
Dark Shadows Cast Member Spotlight: Harvey Keitel
Fans unfamiliar with the first few months of the show would likely be surprised that you can speak the name of Harvey Keitel in the same breath as Dark Shadows. But it’s true, Harvey Keitel appearing in episodes 33 and 34 as a Blue Whale Customer was his second professional acting job. Some of his work from the early years of a long and illustrious career is highlighted below.
Making his debut as a German soldier (uncredited) in an episode of Hogan’s Heroes (The Great Impersonation; season 1, episode 21; aired February 4, 1966).
Harvey Keitel’s first outing in a credited role was also the first original full-length motion picture that Martin Scorsese directed, starring as J.R. in the 1967 drama Who’s That Knocking at My Door (original title: I Call First; U.S. release date: November 15, 1967).
“Everybody should like westerns. Solve everybody’s problems if they like westerns.”
Keitel’s next credited role came in 1968 in an episode of the crime/drama TV series N.Y.P.D. (as Ramby; Case of the Shady Lady; season 2, episode 6; aired November 19, 1968).
After this, he was playing the role of Jerry in the Great Performances production of Arthur Miller’s A Memory of Two Mondays (first aired January 28, 1971). Also co-starring in this production was another Dark Shadows alum, Barnard Hughes.
By 1973, as well as 1975, Keitel was again under the direction of Martin Scorsese for work that he would be famous and legendary for, and the rest is history – or, should I say, Harvey.
On the Flipside:
Following Dark Shadows in ABC’s 4:30 pm Eastern time slot was Dick Clark’s music program Where the Action Is, featuring among its regulars the singing star Tina Mason who appears uncredited as a Blue Whale Customer in Dark Shadows episodes 33 and 34.
Miss Mason is the “Flower Girl” seen in the opening theme to Where the Action Is:
Tina Mason performing You’d Better Come Home, a song previously recorded by Petula Clark for her 1965 LP Downtown, on Where the Action Is (season 2, episode 232; aired Wednesday, August 3, 1966).
“You’d better come home/Stop your running around/You’d better come home/And get your feet on the ground/I won’t share my love/With anyone new…”
(Where the Action Is closing theme and credits, August 3, 1966)
A 1966 Capitol Records release by Tina Mason, Any Way That You Want Me (B-side of the 45 rpm single Finders Keepers), is featured on the Ace Records anthology Wild Thing: The Songs of Chip Taylor.
The song is also included as a bonus track on the 2008 CD reissue of her 1967 LP Tina Mason is Something Wonderful.
(Back cover of the CD reissue)
Joan Bennett’s 1970 autobiography (original front and back covers).
The Bennetts: An Acting Family, the 2004 biography (front cover).
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 34: A Ripple in the Whirlpool
— Marc Masse
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