Episode 48: The Case of the Vanishing Man: Part 1, Questions and Theories

David looking into crystal ball_lead photo_ep48

It was in episode 45 that Bill Malloy stormed into Roger’s office at the cannery to present an ultimatum: either go to the police and confess his guilt for wrongfully sending Burke Devlin to prison on a manslaughter conviction ten years ago, or let Sam Evans reveal that he’s the only thing standing between Roger Collins and a prison sentence.

This option was reiterated in episode 46 when Bill showed up at Collinwood at ten that night, during which time Roger practically admitted to Malloy that Burke was not guilty but that because it was a long time ago and Burke was now a rich man, Bill should just let the matter slide for the sake of the Collins family.

So when in episode 47 Malloy fails to show up at the meeting he arranged between himself, Roger, Burke, and Sam in Roger’s office for eleven on the dot, Roger begins to relax; just after midnight, he’s positively buoyant as he returns home and strolls into the drawing room for a late brandy before turning in. You have to wonder why in those moments he would seem so carefree. Despite that Bill didn’t show up for the meeting, surely the ultimatum regarding Roger and going to the police would still stand the following day.

So here it is episode 48 and the next day; Bill Malloy has evidently disappeared, and people are starting to ask questions. Now it looks like Roger will have to face a threat even more terrifying than the police – his sister Elizabeth.

Last night’s meeting of the board brought together three men who would never have chanced appearing together in the same room. The last time Burke, Roger, and Sam were under the same roof was back in episode 39 when Burke visited Sam’s house for a portrait sitting; Roger had gotten there first to try and talk Sam out of doing Burke’s portrait, and with Burke’s arrival Roger had slunk away to hide in another room until after he had left.

While waiting for Bill Malloy to show up at Roger’s office, the awkwardness of this late night meeting produces the following amusing observation after Roger tries phoning Malloy’s house at eleven thirty:

Burke: Look, we’ve been sitting around here for half an hour talking about the weather, and the price of sardines.

Roger phones Malloy's house at eleven thirty_episode 47_ep48

Given that television episodes presented by Alfred Hitchcock often depict humorous moments to balance out the drama, it would have been worthwhile to provide some of this initial small talk, if only to illustrate what conversation between three individuals who mostly can’t stand the presence of one another would sound like; perhaps a bit like this:

Burke: I haven’t been up here in some time. I’d forgotten how pleasant the summers are in Collinsport.

Roger: Yes, I can see why this time of year attracts all the summer people and artists.

Sam: Oh, especially the artists. The sunsets around here are the most beautiful anywhere, the way the light plays along the water.

[tick-tock goes the nighttime clock]

Burke [to Roger]: So, do you think you’ll be raising the price of sardines anytime soon? I’m surprised by how affordable they are.

Roger: No, despite that we are turning more to automation. Malloy just got some new machines in here that have increased canning speed by, oh, what was it, I think something like twenty percent. But my sister is very adamant that the product we turn out remains affordable to everyone.

Burke: Yeah, I remember growing up, my favorite snack was sardines on saltine crackers. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Roger: I’ve always preferred caviar on crackers myself.

Burke: Sam?

Sam: Mm? Oh… well, I’ve always been just a cheese and crackers man myself. You know how us bohemian artists are. After an evening of landscapes and vodka martinis, a nice big plate of cheese and crackers really hits the spot before turning in for the night.

But, alas, episode 47 just cuts right to the chase; despite Malloy’s absence Burke lays out on the table the exact reasons for Bill arranging the meeting:

Sam: You sure he said he’d be here at eleven?

Burke: That’s what he said. Be here at eleven sharp. Isn’t that what he said to you, Roger?

Roger [setting down the phone]: Well, I suppose he’s changed his mind. This is a waste of time, he’s obviously not there.

Sam: Look, it’s eleven thirty. If he were going to be here, he would have been here half an hour ago. So, let’s just forget about the whole thing.

Burke: Stick around, Sam. Malloy set up this meeting. And he told us to be here. Well, we’re here, and we’re staying here until he gets here. Unless you want to get into the matter right now.

Sam [shrugs]: I don’t know what he wanted.

Burke: I see.

Sam evades the subject of the meeting_episode 47_ep48

Burke: What about you, Roger?

Roger: Bill came to my house and asked me to come down here, that’s all I know.

Burke [chuckles to himself]: You’re a great pair, aren’t you?

Burke calls Sam and Roger a great pair_episode 47_ep48

Burke: Well, let me tell you what I know. Malloy said he had some information concerning my manslaughter conviction.

Roger: Oh, come off it now, will you?

Burke: Who do you think you’re talking to? Let’s stop sitting around now and get down to facts.

Roger: What facts?

Burke: Ten years ago you were a witness at my murder trial. But you knew I was innocent, didn’t you?

Roger: That’s not true!

Roger refutes Burke's claim of innocence_episode 47_ep48

Burke: And you, Sam!… You know something about it too, don’t you?

Sam: Sorry, Burke, you’re wrong.

Burke: Am I? Bill Malloy wouldn’t have asked you over here if he didn’t think you were involved.

Burke suspects that Sam knows something_episode 47_ep48

It’s almost tantalizing the way that all this information is being brought out at the meeting despite Malloy’s continued absence, but there’s only so much that can be accomplished in Burke’s favor without Malloy’s role as mediator; Burke didn’t after all even know that Sam would be in attendance and also isn’t yet aware of his collusion with Roger.

In fact, the part Sam plays in the events of ten years ago has still not been revealed in full, but there must be something to make him equally as guilty as Roger. While Burke has stepped out to go to Malloy’s house and knock on the front door, Roger and Sam pass the time by engaging in anything but small talk which will at least serve to emphasize the depth of Sam’s involvement:

Roger: If Malloy does show up, what are you going to say to him?

Sam: Tell him what a fool I was ten years ago. Or tell him how I let you talk me into…

Roger: Into what, Evans? Being an accessory after the fact? That’s the legal term for it you know, and it does carry a prison sentence. You know that, don’t you?

Sam: Yes, yes.

Roger: Maybe Malloy will be here, and maybe he won’t. But should Malloy bring Burke back with him, I want you to do exactly what you’ve done for ten years; keep your mouth shut!

Roger insists that Sam keep his mouth shut_episode 47_ep48

Sam: Oh, but it’s endless, endless!

Roger: That’s right, Evans. That’s what I want it to be. Neither Burke nor Bill Malloy can touch us if we stand together. And that means no statements, no facts, no information. Is that clear?

Roger says that he and Sam must stand together_episode 47_ep48

At that moment Burke returns. When asked about Malloy, Burke’s reply is intended directly for the viewer, to build on the growing mystery:

Burke: He’s either out or dead.

Burke says Malloy's either out or dead_episode 47_ep48

Then the other camera gets a quick and close reaction shot of Sam.

Sam's reaction to Burke speculating that Malloy could be dead_episode 47_ep48

This would be significant because just prior to the above exchange between Roger and Sam while Burke was away, it did appear that Sam could be capable of such an act if pushed to the point of desperation. Roger had insinuated how Sam would feel a great deal safer if Malloy never showed up for the meeting, after which Sam grabbed him by the lapels exclaiming how he could kill him right then and there. Recall also back in episode 46 when Malloy had stopped in at the Evans house to inform him of the meeting he was arranging that night, and on his way out when advising Sam that there were some things a man had to work out for himself, the camera closed in on Sam’s resolute expression and then down at the paintbrush he was snapping in two, as if that could have represented someone’s neck.

sam breaking paintbrush gif_ep46

That’s one of the hallmarks of mystery and suspense; there’s always an either/or. A man in question could either be away or dead; in addition, if it seems like the latter, it could just as easily be possible that there is more than one person who could be responsible, and each with an equally reasonable motive.

Another attribute of mystery and suspense is that when focusing on the probable guilt of a given individual, the person in question can appear ambiguous even when there is every reason imaginable to suspect them of something, like when in the drawing room after arriving home from the meeting Roger provides Elizabeth with a faux admission of guilt over Burke’s manslaughter conviction.

And yet, he could be guilty of murdering Bill Malloy, just as much as Sam could. In episode 46, when Malloy had barged into Collinwood an hour before the meeting and demanded to speak with Roger, Roger himself no longer seemed in control of the situation, ultimately pleading for Bill to just let the matter go. But then Roger arrives at the meeting as scheduled, no longer unnerved, but instead back to his arrogant, controlling self, even making excuses for such things as when Burke notes how Bill’s car was still parked in front of his house, saying that Bill often liked to walk to the plant from home.

With the clock tolling nearly midnight, Roger finally decides he’s had enough and expresses in closing only the haughtiest possible sentiments to Burke, with Sam backing him up:

Burke: Roger, Malloy knows there’s something between you and Evans, and you know it!

Roger: Do I? Do I, indeed? [to Sam] Do you know anything about that?

Sam [shaking his head]: Not a thing.

Sam maintains that he knows nothing about the meeting_episode 47_ep48

When Roger subsequently saunters back into Collinwood, his mood is ebullient enough so that he is whistling to himself as he glides into the drawing room for a nip of brandy.

Elizabeth: You’re feeling pretty good, aren’t you Roger?

Roger: Oh… Liz, what are you doing up at this hour of the night?

Elizabeth: Waiting for you.

Roger: I thought you had stopped waiting up for me. Care for a nightcap?

Roger asks Elizabeth about joining him for a nightcap_episode 47_ep48

Elizabeth: Where were you tonight?

Roger: Well, I… the answer I assume is no. I was at a business meeting. Nothing that need concern you… rather personal, as a matter of fact.

Elizabeth: Did it have anything to do with Bill Malloy?

Roger says he was at a business meeting (2)_episode 47_ep48

Roger: What makes you ask that?

Elizabeth: Because I’ve been trying to reach him all evening.

Roger: Unsuccessfully, I gather.

Elizabeth: Yes. He came to see me this afternoon. Did you know that?

Roger: No.

Elizabeth: He said some extremely unpleasant thing about you. Statements I chose to ignore at the time.

Elizabeth reveals to Roger that Bill Malloy said unpleasant things about him_episode 47_ep48

Roger: But you’ve had second thoughts.

Elizabeth: He said you were responsible for the accident that sent Burke Devlin to prison. He said that you knowingly allowed Burke to pay for a crime that you committed.

Elizabeth reveals to Roger that Bill Malloy thinks he was guilty for Burke's conviction_episode 47_ep48

Roger: Liz, are you serious?

Elizabeth: Do you think I’d joke about a thing like this? He said he could prove it, and that’s what he intended to do.

Roger: And did you ask him to bring his proof to you?

Elizabeth: What I asked him to bring me was not important. What you say to me is. Did Bill speak to you about this?

Roger: The last time I saw him was earlier this afternoon. No, he didn’t say anything about it.

Roger lies about when he last saw Bill Malloy_episode 47_ep48

Elizabeth: Then you deny his story?

Roger: Deny it? Deny it? Liz, what do you want me to say?

Elizabeth: I want you to tell the truth. Were you or were you not responsible for Burke going to prison?

Roger: Yes, I was.

Elizabeth: Roger!

Roger: But not the way you think. I was responsible because I was on the witness stand. I was responsible because I testified against Burke. And every word of my testimony was true. Liz, that’s where you’ll find the answer; in the jury’s verdict, not in the ravings of Bill Malloy!

Elizabeth: Well, why would he say all those things?

Roger: Well, why don’t we find out? Let’s call him, shall we?

Elizabeth: I’ve tried, there’s no answer.

Roger: Well then, we’ll try again tomorrow; arrange for you and me and Bill to sit down together, and I’ll answer any questions you put to me. I can’t do any more than that, can I?

Elizabeth: No.

Roger: Fine. Then you just arrange the meeting, and I’ll be there.

Roger with brandy_drawing room_ep47

With the following day being taken up with episode 48, Elizabeth will instead be arranging for Joe Haskell to check on Malloy’s whereabouts once she is told by Joe that her plant manager had failed to show up for work that morning. She requests the kind of search that is always initiated for someone in a mystery/suspense story who has disappeared, after she realizes that the contracts Joe has brought for her to be signed and posted in the mail is not a part of his job description:

Elizabeth: You don’t usually attend to these matters, Joe. Why didn’t Mr. Malloy bring them as he always does?

Mrs. Stoddard wonders why Joe is handling Mr. Malloy's duties_ep48

Joe: Oh didn’t you know?

Elizabeth: Know what?

Joe: Well, Mr. Malloy hasn’t been in at all today.

Joe tells Mrs. Stoddard that Mr. Malloy hasn't been in at work today_ep48

Elizabeth: Well why not?

Joe: I don’t know.

Elizabeth: Well didn’t he phone?

Joe: No, I don’t think so. I thought maybe you would know what had happened to him.

Elizabeth: What makes you think something’s happened to him?

Mrs. Stoddard wonders why Joe would think something happened to Mr. Malloy_ep48

Joe: Oh, that was just a word, Mrs. Stoddard.

Elizabeth: Oh, well, I better phone.

Joe: Uh, he’s not home. I stopped by there.

Elizabeth: When?

Joe: On my way here. I saw Mrs. Johnson. That’s his housekeeper. She said she hadn’t seen him since about ten thirty last night.

Elizabeth: Oh, but that’s impossible. She fixes his breakfast every morning.

Elizabeth tries to guess when Bill Malloy left his house last night_ep48

Elizabeth then asks about when Bill’s housekeeper last saw him, and Joe provides her with a rundown for last night and that morning at the Malloy house that includes a telephone call Malloy received at around ten thirty, just before he was last seen by Mrs. Johnson, and that the call had made him very upset. In a mystery/suspense type of story, these seemingly minute details may take on greater significance as we go along.

Elizabeth: Maybe we ought to check the hospitals. Mr. Malloy could be hurt. Joe, when you go into town, inquire around and see if anyone has seen Mr. Malloy since last night.

Joe: Alright.

Elizabeth: A man just doesn’t vanish into thin air.

Joe and Mrs. Stoddard speculate on Bill Malloy's disappearance_ep48

Meanwhile, a new prop is being introduced in today’s episode; a crystal ball for David. There’s no telling whether David can really see anything in it to provide him with the many predictions he will be making in the episodes to come, but it is a useful and often entertaining way to keep David Henesy active in the new direction the story has taken. Gift-wrapped and delivered to Collinwood without a return address, the crystal ball turns out to have been sent by Burke Devlin with a note that reads: “Now you can tell us all where we’re going. Your friend, Burke.”

David with his new crystal ball_ep48

True to form, David wastes no time in utilizing the crystal ball for what he does best: trolling the adults in his midst. His first target is Joe Haskell, who makes the mistake of not taking David seriously when the two have a moment alone in the foyer.

Joe: Hey listen, do you know if Carolyn is home?

David: Carolyn, huh… let me see… Uh-uh. She went into town.

David consults his crystal ball_foyer (2)_ep48

Joe: See if you can find out where Bill Malloy went while you’re at it.

David: What happened to him?

Joe: Nobody knows, he just disappeared.

David: Where to?

Joe: Well if we knew where he disappeared to, we wouldn’t say that he had disappeared, would we. You know, I think that crystal ball of yours is a fake.

David: It is not!

Joe: Well then, why can’t it tell us where to find Mr. Malloy?

David: It can!

David says his crystal ball can tell where to find Mr. Malloy_ep48

Joe: [laughs]

David: It tells me other things too.

Joe: David, you’re a phony.

David: I am not… You think you’re going to marry Carolyn, don’t you?

David guesses that Joe thinks he'll marry Carolyn_ep48

Joe: Well, sure.

David: Well you’re not. You’re never going to marry her, never. The crystal ball told me.

Joe: Oh, it did? Did it tell you who she would marry?

Joe is amused by David's crystal ball prediction_ep48

David: Yes, and it never lies. She’s going to marry a friend of mine.

Joe: Aw! No kidding. What’s your friend’s name?

David: Burke Devlin!

David tells Joe that Carolyn will marry Burke Devlin instead of him_ep48

With that stunning revelation, The Great David Django turns and bolts up the stairs and quickly out of sight. When a moment later Vicki emerges from the drawing room, Joe makes the following comment:

Joe: Your student is back upstairs.

Vicki: Oh, good.

Joe: And Vicki? Give him a swat for me, will you?

Joe asks Vicki to give David a swat for him_ep48

Further on in this episode, David will be giving the disappearance of Mr. Malloy a great deal of thought, so much so that he refuses to focus on his lessons. Once more consulting his crystal ball, his predictions will begin to add an additional layer of depth to the mystery surrounding Malloy’s disappearance, with David laying blame on the shoulders of someone he feels deserves it the most: his father.

Let the mystery unfold.

David with his new crystal ball_foyer_ep48


Episode 48 illustrates yet another example of the increasing influence such anthology programs as those presented by Alfred Hitchcock are having on Dark Shadows.

In season 2 of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, there was an episode called The Magic Shop (aired January 10, 1964).

It’s Tony Grainger’s birthday, and among his gifts are sums of money totaling fifteen dollars.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony discovers a gift of money_ep48

His father won’t let him buy a dog until next year, so Tony says he wants to go to the magic shop that’s in town… except that his father points out that there is no such place.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony's father says the magic shop isn't there_ep48

Walking with his father along the business district where he thinks the magic shop is located, Tony runs across the street and nearly gets hit by a car, which attracts the attention of a nearby police officer.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony was nearly hit by a car_ep48

A moment later, Tony leads his father into a storefront that turns out to be the magic shop.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony browsing in the magic shop_ep48

Even Tony’s father is interested in the items on display.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony's father shows an interest in the magic shop_ep48

After some time, the proprietor, a Mr. Dulong, finally makes an appearance.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Mr. Dulong_ep48

Mr. Dulong shows Tony a cabinet.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Mr. Dulong shows Tony a cabinet_ep48

So Tony gets in…

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony gets in the cabinet_ep48

…and disappears…

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony has disappeared_ep48

…and reappears within a magic mirror…

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony reappears in a magic mirror_ep48

…and then disappears again…

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Tony has disappeared again (2)_ep48

…as does Mr. Dulong.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Mr. Dulong has disappeared_ep48

The next thing he knows, Mr. Grainger is lying out on the street in the middle of traffic…

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_Mr. Grainger comes to out in the street_ep48

…and the magic shop has disappeared.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Magic Shop_the magic shop is no longer there_ep48

What does all this have to do with David’s crystal ball on Dark Shadows? Nothing directly; what counts is the spirit of inspiration.

Background audio:

[SPOILER ALERT!]: This section contains control room discussion during the taping of episode 48 between Dark Shadows director Lela Swift and executive producer Dan Curtis about Dan planning for changes in story direction as well as the cast of characters. You may wish to skip this section if you haven’t gotten as far as episode 53, or better still episode 108.

The series: The Dan and Lela Show; the main players: director Lela Swift, executive producer Dan Curtis; the setting: television studio control room; main prop: the control room microphone; opening scene: teaser…

Dan: …Lela, I’m telling you, my mind’s made up.

Lela: But Dan…

Dan: Lela, just let it go. I’m not going to go through it again.

Lela: But Dan, how could you just let Frank Schofield go like that?

Dan: For Christ sakes, Lela! I had to hear it yesterday from Bob, and now I have to hear it again from you!

Lela: Dan, why do you have to do a Hitchcock story on a daytime soap opera?

Dan: Because we need to save the show from cancellation. If you and Bob are having a problem with it, then that’s just too bad. I’d rather both you and Bob were on board. I got the idea from talking with my old sales associate friend. He proposed I get the viewers interested by starting a story of mystery and suspense.

[scene closes with David tearing up his drawing of Collinwood after Vicki tells him she showed it to his father]


Lela: Dan, why did you have David tear up that beautiful drawing?

Dan: What do you mean, Lela? It’s only a mimeograph. We have the original.

Lela: But it can’t be used again.

Dan: Sure it can. We can do whatever we want…

[Act I begins, Vicki assembles the pieces of David’s drawing, and soon Elizabeth will bring in a gift-wrapped box that was delivered for David]

Dan: Lela, I’m surprised at you. I thought you’d be delighted to try out a new story direction.

Lela: Not when we’re moving too far away from the soap opera format.

Dan: Hey, Lela, you like props? Wait till you see what’s coming up next.

Lela: I know what’s coming up next.

Dan: It’s another idea I got from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, an episode called The Magic Shop. I’m not going to do anything with that, but the crystal ball will be a great way to keep David in the story. We can also keep Alex in the story, now that we have two writers on the show working at things from different angles.

[Dan is full of inspiration and ideas at this point, but as the taping is winding down toward the middle of the final act, Lela has other things on her mind.]

[Act IV, while waiting in the foyer, Joe has been interacting with David and his crystal ball until Vicki emerges from the drawing room]

Lela: Dan, Alexandra’s lines in the next scene have really been having a triggering effect on me.

Dan: What? Oh, Lela. You’re not going back to sexually harassing Alexandra, are you?

Lela: Dan, I can’t help it. These lines she says in the next scene get me crazy!

Dan: Oh, for Christ sake! Just when I thought you were starting to behave yourself, you pull something like this.

Lela: Dan, I can’t control my sex drive when I hear those trigger words…

[scene change as Vicki enters David’s room for math lessons]

Dan: …Lela, I told you to behave yourself.

David: Everyone’s wondering about Mr. Malloy, aren’t they?

Vicki [taps finger down on desk twice]: We’re doing math!

Lela: Dan, when Alexandra says “We’re doing math” that gets me all hot and crazy.

Dan: Oh, Lela, will you stop ogling Alexandra? For Christ sakes, Lela!

Lela: Dan, I can’t control myself!

Dan: I don’t want Alexandra to feel she has to leave the show because of you. Why don’t you just go into the restroom or someplace and relieve yourself?

Lela: What?

Dan: Anything to get you to stop ogling Alexandra over the control room microphone.

Lela: Dan, I can’t help myself!…

[closing theme]

Lela: Dan, I have to tell you about something that happened in one of the dressing rooms today.

Dan: I don’t care what happened in the dressing rooms today or any other day.

Lela: I sat on Alexandra’s face and she liked it.

Dan: What? Oh, Lela, why do you always have to distract me with your fantasies about Alexandra?

Lela: I’m telling you Dan, I sat on Alexandra’s face and she liked it!

Dan: Oh, for crying out loud…

Bob Lloyd [ABC announcer]: The Monroes is the big adventure about five youngsters who set out on their own to build a home on the wild Wyoming frontier. Advance premiere one week from tonight in color on ABC.

Dan: …Lela, I told you. Alexandra likes men. She’s not interested in other women. Let alone middle-aged women.

Bob Lloyd: [sound of a cigarette lighter being lit]

Lela: Jesus Christ, Dan! I’m telling you about something that happened.

Bob Lloyd: Dark Shadows is a Dan Curtis production.

Dan: Lela, I am sick and tired…

Until next time, this has been The Dan and Lela Show.

Background/Production Notes:

Location footage for the opening scene shows a rare side view of Seaview Terrace (aka Carey Mansion), which is the view one would have with one’s back to the shoreline.

Location footage for Collinwood_side view of Seaview Terrace_teaser_ep48

The camera then zooms in on one of the lower windows of the castle-type extension…

Location footage for Collinwood_side view of Seaview Terrace_teaser (close-up of window) (2)_ep48

…a part of the house intended to represent where David’s room is located.

Location footage for Collinwood_side view of Seaview Terrace_teaser (close-up of window and dissolve to David's room)_ep48

Episode 48 is set entirely in Collinwood, and only two sets are in use: the Collinwood foyer/drawing room and David’s room.

Daily studio schedule for Dark Shadows in 1966

7:00-11:00 a.m.   Lighting

8:30-10:30           Morning Rehearsal

10:30-11:30         Break/Make-Up

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

3:30-4:00             Knockdown

3:45-4:15             Technical Meeting

4:00-6:30             Dry Rehearsal for Next Episode

4:00-7:00             Reset Studio

Bloopers/Story Continuity:

Some would say that when David drops a pencil in the opening scene after erasing a smudge left by Vicki on his drawing of Collinwood, this would qualify as a blooper. Perhaps it may be, but in real life people drop things like pencils on the floor all the time; this reviewer chooses instead to chalk it up to realism.

Vicki looks on as David erases a smudge she left on one of his drawings_ep48

In David’s room during Act I, the angle given by the camera positioned at stage left exposes the edge of the set (right of screen).

Camera blooper_David's room_edge of set (right of screen)_Act I_ep48

Despite that the camera operator at stage left manages to correct the above blooper, a moment later the camera at stage right wheels into view.

Camera blooper_second camera intrudes on shot_David's room_Act I (2)_ep48

In Act II, while Joe Haskell waits in the foyer for Mrs. Stoddard, a boom mic shadow lingers on the left wall just beneath the portrait.

Boom mic shadow (left of screen)_foyer wall_Act II_ep48

A moment later, as Mrs. Stoddard prepares to receive Joe in the drawing room, a bit of marking tape can be seen on the foyer floor (bottom left edge of screen).

Marking tape on floor_Collinwood foyer_Act II_ep48

In the drawing room during Act III, the shadow from the top part of the camera can be seen against the back of Joe’s shirt; in the same instance the shadow of a second camera is seen moving against Vicki as it is being pulled back.

Camera shadow against Joe's shirt_Act III_ep48

As the camera at stage right gets into position for the middle of Act IV, a sliver past the edge of the set is exposed left of screen.

Camera blooper (left of screen) showing edge of set of David's room_Act IV_ep48

The end credits list Ohrbach’s as Orhbach’s.

Ohrbach's blooper_end credits_ep48


In the opening scene, as David searches his room for a particular drawing, you can see the table lamps on either side of his bed, which have an urn-like design; it will be a long way into the series before these are shown while lit up.

David's room_bedside table lamps (urn-like design)_ep48

As Elizabeth presents David with the mysterious gift that has been delivered to Collinwood in his name, a closer than usual glimpse is provided of the LOOK photo on the far wall of David’s room by the window.

LOOK photo_ep48

As Vicki tries piecing together the drawing of Collinwood that David tore up, the camera angle affords an excellent view of the green electric Victorian oil lamp on David’s desk, as well as one of his toy robots.

Green lamp_David's room_ep48

Recommended Reading:

Joan Bennett’s 1970 autobiography (original front and back covers).

Joan Bennett cast member spotlight_The Bennett Playbill_front cover_ep25

Joan Bennett cast member spotlight_The Bennett Playbill_back cover_ep25

The Bennetts: An Acting Family, the 2004 biography (front cover).

Joan Bennett cast member spotlight_The Bennetts An Acting Family_front cover_ep25

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!”

Dark Passages_novel_front cover

Recommended Listening:

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.

Dark Shadows_Soundtrack Music Collection_Front cover

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.

And Red All Over_CD booklet front image

Coming next: Episode 49: The Case of the Vanishing Man: Part 2, Questions and Concerns

— Marc Masse

(aka PrisoneroftheNight)

© 2019 Marc Masse and Dark Shadows

from the Beginning. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of

the content herein is a violation of the

terms and standards as set forth under

U.S. copyright law.

9 thoughts on “Episode 48: The Case of the Vanishing Man: Part 1, Questions and Theories”

  1. Nice to see David Collins back after an absence of about 10 episodes. His hair is noticeably shorter, too. Wonder if the actor was away on vacation?

  2. “When monster meets monster, one monster has to give way, and it will never be me.”
    ~ Dan Curtis to Lela Swift (from the play “The Control Room” by Tennessee Williams)

    Seriously though, the attribution of the quote (above) is nothing but a hoax on my part. 😉 Dan Curtis didn’t really say that.

    But he could have. And he would have been 100% correct in his assessment of the situation with Lela.

    P.S. Actual quote was of course spoken by Alexandra Del Lago (Geraldine Page) in “Sweet Bird of Youth.”

  3. Agreed; almost as though she’s trying to ‘punish’ Curtis. Won’t the joke be on her when it turns out he’s doing it right!

  4. Swift’s comments are so weird that it’s almost seems like she’s trolling Curtis. Maybe it’s a soap opera thing–life imitating art? Or is it NYC?!

  5. Dan should have fired her several times over by this point. I agree with Samantha Harris below that he kept Lela on because he lacked her experience with the soap format, but she’s insufferable. I don’t know how Dan stood that abuse! And those poor actors…

  6. David Henesy deserved a Daytime Emmy that first year. He more than held his own with the adult cast.
    Lela was strange. She considered it a fireable offense when Mark Allen sexually harassed Alexandra but it was okay when Lela did it herself?
    I know Lela’s bad behavior was endured because Dan was new to soap operas and needed her guidance but, that excuse is startin’ to wear thin.

  7. Roger’s ebullience can be seen simply as relief – he’s dodged the bullet, and maybe he thinks that Malloy’s taken his advice. After all, there’s his job at the cannery to consider, and speaking out against the Collinses would jeopardize that. Besides, Roger is sure that Liz is going to take his side.

    As to Ms. Swift – whaaaaaaaat?!
    She does nothing but complain at Curtis about HIS sabotage of the show – then makes lesbian remarks about a star of the show? What is this meant to accomplish?

  8. David Henesy is just a total pro — a true natural! I love his work on Dark Shadows, especially in these early episodes. The writing for the character is of course magnificent, but only a brilliant actor like David Henesy could have added to such a marvelous presentation. David Henesy is utterly perfect!

    Regarding Art Wallace making Roger seem a bit too carefree, though; no, I think that’s deliberate, only helping to add to the mystery. With mystery and suspense, it’s all about guessing games; you never really know for sure what’s going on; it could be either/or.

    At this point, Dan Curtis is the de facto head writer of Dark Shadows… this is where it all comes to be based on his ideas.

  9. The real jewel in episode 48 is David Henesy’s acting.

    48 is a gripping episode. A lot is happening.

    (1) The meeting: The much anticipated, much feared meeting is going down tonight. Roger and Sam are trying their best to conceal that they’re both terrified. Burke is more determined than ever to obtain the truth. The tension is building to a crescendo. But Bill Malloy fails to show. And then the tension recedes for a time just like the tide going out to sea …

    (2) The writing and the acting: It is difficult to separate good writing from good acting. The two are interdependent. The characters of David and Roger have the best lines written for them and do the best acting in my opinion. The result is a great episode.

    Writing: This episode is quite well written with one notable exception: Writer Art Wallace to my surprise (and apparently yours, too, Priz) writes the part of Roger as much too carefree after Malloy misses the meeting. I do not think this was an oversight by Wallace. My interpretation is that Roger’s nonchalance is a deliberate attempt by the writer to mislead the viewers to suspect that Roger is in fact the killer. A murderer would have a reason to be relaxed, secure in the knowledge that he is now in the clear for the manslaughter charge & related coverup from 10 years earlier. (I would have expected Roger to be merely relieved that the day of his reckoning had been postponed, but not so overly confident.).

    Acting: The acting by David Henesy and Louis Edmonds is outstanding in this episode.

    Credit to both Edmonds and Wallace for giving us Roger Collins as the consummate liar. Roger lies like (the drawing room) rug! The man has an answer for every question. Seems like somebody who has lied his way through his entire life. An incredibly skilled and practiced liar.

    Huge thanks to David Henesy and Wallace for giving us David Collins. Despite the meeting, which is so important to the plot development, it’s young David who steals the show. He doesn’t fumble his lines. Memorizing a lot of lines for a live-on-tape show with no retakes is no easy task, even for an adult. Especially for a child. But what’s even more amazing is that ***Henesy’s delivery of his lines is nuanced with choices of emphasis, use of pauses, swings in emotions all in the right places.*** And he’s only a kid. Perhaps he had a good acting coach? Or more likely he just has natural talent …

    I really can’t praise Henesy’s performance enough. The kid is simply amazing.

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