Today the talk of Collinsport is Bill Malloy.
Not that he was particularly popular; matter of fact, most folks just seemed to take him for granted, that is, when he was around.
It’s a seeming disappearance that has everyone talking about a man many around town wouldn’t have otherwise given a second thought to.
Even more than this, there exists in the minds of some the possibility of foul play, causing even friends of long-standing to begin turning against one another.
That’s what happens when you bring Alfred Hitchcock to a town like Collinsport; the smaller the populace, the larger the mystery, the more persistent the questions, the greater the concerns.
Burke Devlin would have had good reason to turn against Sam Evans if Bill Malloy had shown up at last night’s meeting in Roger’s office to reveal what Sam had confided to him about being the only thing standing between Roger Collins and a prison sentence. With Malloy suddenly nowhere to be found, Burke is now willing to suspect that Sam could be guilty of something far worse.
That morning Devlin pays an unannounced visit at Sam’s house. Whereas Sam comes across as morose and even somewhat defeated, there’s no doubting Burke’s fierce determination to get to the bottom of things. Barging in through the front doorway after Sam answers the bell, Burke even helps himself to the pot of coffee freshly brewed by Sam; naturally, it had better be good and hot, because if there’s one thing a surprise visitor boldly intruding on someone’s private domain likes less, it’s lukewarm coffee.
“Hot coffee, great,” Burke says approvingly, having also seated himself without permission in Sam’s favorite chair.
In an ironic twist, it was Maggie who had inadvertently sent Burke on his trail. That morning at the diner, Burke had gone in for breakfast and had been the third person that morning to ask her about Bill Malloy.
Just before Burke had walked in and sat down to order, Maggie had been on the phone with her father during which Sam had asked about Bill Malloy, sounding especially concerned. Naturally this struck her as curious, given how she hadn’t known anything about the meeting her father had attended in Roger’s office the night before.
Through the roundabout avenues of small talk, linked by Burke asking her if she’d seen Bill Malloy around, Maggie let it be known that her father had been among those asking about Bill Malloy.
When Maggie comes over to Burke’s table after breakfast to pour him some more coffee, there is more small talk. She thought he’d be by the house that morning to sit for the portrait; but Burke says he cancelled, because he has other things to think about. Then she sits down at his table for a moment, and the small talk becomes more serious.
Maggie: Say Burke, when you were talking about Bill Malloy earlier, you sounded as though something might have happened to him.
Burke: That how your dad sounded?
Burke may have a special reason for gauging Sam’s reaction to Malloy’s apparent disappearance. Then Joe Haskell walks in and orders coffee and donuts; he, too, is asking Maggie if she’s seen Bill Malloy.
It would be great for everyone involved if Bill Malloy could just turn up somewhere so that they can all go back to forgetting about him as usual.
Instead, Burke and Joe wind up arguing over who put him up to go around asking about Bill Malloy.
Joe: I don’t know that that’s any of your business!
Burke: Well is it normal procedure for the employees of Collins canneries to go looking for their boss?
Joe: What difference does that make to you, Devlin?
Things get heated when Burke mentions Roger Collins, and then Carolyn walks into the middle of it.
Carolyn: What’s this, a big conference? Hello, Burke.
Burke [without looking at her]: Hello!
Carolyn: Well, that’s a glum greeting. [goes to sit down] Just what I need this morning; a car that won’t go, and the big chill from one of my favorite people.
Joe: What’s wrong with your car?
Carolyn: Oh, I don’t know. Something with the carburetor. The garage says it’ll take about an hour. Say, you two haven’t been arguing again, have you?
This, of course, is a perfect setup for another Carolyn and Joe moment.
Joe: Why don’t you ask one of your, favorite people? Better still, why don’t you go off to Bangor with him again?
Carolyn: Joe, you’re impossible. Burke, will you please tell him it was all very –
Burke: I have no time to tell him anything right now. Here Maggie, that’ll take care of breakfast.
Burke then abruptly turns and walks out, again without so much as a glance at Carolyn. Ordinarily, Burke would have delighted in amusing himself by winding up Carolyn at Joe’s expense; but now this has become a story of mystery and suspense, and there are other people to walk in on and argue with and be suspicious of.
Carolyn: What’s the matter with him?
Joe: I don’t know. You wanna have coffee with an impossible man?
Carolyn: Sure, Joe.
While Roger has demonstrated only a casual indifference over Malloy’s disappearance, Sam has been broodingly preoccupied, though like Roger just as evasive as he needs to be when faced with a sudden interrogation.
Burke: Where’s Bill Malloy?
Sam: Why ask me?
Burke: What’s happened to him, Sam?
Sam: How should I know?
Burke: I don’t know how you should know. Who do you expect me to ask? Roger Collins?
Sam: That’s up to you. All I know is I’m as troubled at his disappearance as you are.
Burke: Troubled or relieved?
Sam: What does that mean?
Burke: Malloy’s not showing up last night got you off the hook, didn’t it?
Burke’s got him there. He’s on his way to finding out almost as much about Sam and Roger as the viewer has learned, and maybe even more. So they go back and forth a little more, and Sam continues on with his “I don’t know what you’re talking about” stance, until Burke finally hits him with a piece of logic that an investigative detective might come up with.
Burke: There’s only two people who would benefit by Bill Malloy’s disappearance: you and Roger Collins!
Then Sam says something that would instantly pin him as a suspect.
Sam: I’m just as worried about him as you are.
Burke: Are you?
Burke: Yes. He was one of the best men I ever knew in this town. I’d hate to think that he –
Burke: Wait a minute! Did you say was? Past tense, was?
Sam: Oh, well, I only meant that –
Burke: You know what’s happened to him, don’t you?
Burke: It’s piling up, Sam. It’s building, every minute.
Burke: And it won’t end here, let me tell you that.
That’s true; it’s piling up and building by the minute, and there’s no way it could just end here. That’s mystery and suspense for you, where simply saying a wrong word can throw suspicion on you like a vacuum cleaner bag coming loose and blowing in your face as you go about trying to tidy up those areas you’ve been neglecting far too long.
Meanwhile, as Burke is mounting a credible case for the viewer against Sam Evans’ repeated denials of possible wrongdoing, back at the diner Joe Haskell has a suspect of his own in mind.
Carolyn: My mother’s been terribly upset about it.
Joe: I know. She asked me to check around town and find out if anybody’d seen him.
Maggie: But why was Burke so anxious to find if Roger Collins had asked you to look around?
Joe: Beats me.
Carolyn: Is that what you two were arguing about, for heaven sake? My uncle Roger?
Joe: We weren’t arguing, Carolyn, I just don’t like the guy. Who knows, maybe he has something to do with Mr. Malloy’s not showing up.
Carolyn: Oh, don’t be ridiculous.
Joe: Now wait a minute! Tell me something. Why should he be so interested in whether or not your uncle asked me to look for Mr. Malloy?
Carolyn: I don’t know.
Joe: You should, you’ve spent enough time talking with him.
Carolyn: Cut it out, Joe.
Joe: And another thing. How come none of this mess started happening until Burke Devlin came back to Collinsport?
The questions are endless, and by now Maggie has a few of her own to ask of her father, enough so that she just walks out on her shift at the diner telling Carolyn to say to any new customers that she’ll be back in a while; and when Carolyn replies that she’s taking off as soon as her car’s ready, Maggie says to tell them to just help themselves. That’s one way a single potentially suspicious disappearance can erode the fabric and integrity of a small town population; it encourages looting. Remember, this is still the summer tourist season, a time when the local population is fifty percent denser, including all those scarcely employed bohemian artists just looking for a free for all on donuts and sandwiches. The diner may have to raise the price of a coffee to fifteen cents to make up for the sudden shortfall.
Maggie of course won’t get any further than Burke did in trying to bring out any answers from her father, but it will at least highlight that she is aware of a connection to the past that he’d rather not talk about.
Maggie: And then with everyone talking about Bill Malloy’s disappearance, I began to get worried.
Sam: Why you?
Maggie: Well I know you’re going to bawl me out, Pop, but it’s the same old story: you and Burke and Roger Collins.
Sam: There’s no connection.
Maggie: Well I wouldn’t have thought so. But Burke seemed to think that Roger Collins had asked Joe Haskell to look for Bill Malloy.
Already fidgety, Sam can no longer remain seated. Growing irritable over Maggie’s continual stream of questions, he heads for the medicine cabinet to pour himself a short one, in no time blowing up with temper and telling her to be on her way and back to work. When she persists with her questioning, he finally resorts to simply ignoring her while pretending to be captivated by a sudden burst of productivity.
Maggie: Now, Pop, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I’m going to ask it anyway. What is it that ties you and Burke and Roger Collins together? Did Mr. Malloy have any answers?
Sam: Reds and yellows, I… greens. Reds and greens, I think I’ll do it all in red and green.
Maggie: Pop, I asked you something!
Sam: Well, with a touch of yellow, just as an accent.
This is the plight of Sam Evans, an artist who pours his feelings and inspiration onto canvas but who must keep the past ten years bottled up inside, unable to confide in anyone, not even his daughter Maggie, his closest remaining attachment in the world but with whom he must maintain the same distance he has no choice but to keep between old friends he has betrayed, such as Burke Devlin, forced instead to maintain an alliance of secrecy with the one person he despises the most, Roger Collins. This is loneliness; when those closest in life are nonetheless the furthest from reach.
Before stepping out to return to work, Maggie leaves one final question to just hang in the air like speckles of dust that slowly settle upon the stillness of a desolate afternoon.
Maggie: Where are we all heading?
When she is gone, Sam answers ruefully to himself:
“Towards death, Maggie darling. We’re all headed towards death.”
This could be telling, given that tomorrow’s Friday; with Dark Shadows now exploring the realm of mystery/suspense, what a Friday episode presents will take on greater meaning as the weeks pass.
After all, the ratings demand it.
There are video clips assembled by Dark Shadows fans which show compilations of favorite bloopers, moments, or lines of dialogue; at times these bits of dialogue, when taken out of context, can seem even more entertaining as they take on a different meaning.
This episode features one such moment, when at Sam’s house Burke is pressuring him to come clean with what he believes Sam may know about Bill Malloy’s disappearance, and Sam retaliates by saying that Burke is crazy.
This exchange is rather amusing when heard only in these isolated few seconds:
Sam: You’re out of your mind.
Burke: I hope to god I am!
Dark Shadows extras:
In today’s episode there are two uncredited extras in the Collinsport Inn restaurant. For some reason the print bible for the first year of Dark Shadows, the Blue Whale Books publication Dark Shadows: The First Year, has neglected to name the male actor, but the female actor is Michael Ann, each in their only Dark Shadows appearance.
From the control room:
[SPOILER ALERT!]: This section contains control room discussion during the taping of episode 49 mainly 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, with special guest players John Sedwick and David Ford; the setting: television studio control room; main prop: the control room microphone; opening scene: teaser…
Lela: Dan, I need to talk to you about Frank Schofield.
Dan: Oh, Jesus fucking Christ, Lela! Every fucking episode you get after me about Frank Schofield. I told you I would take care of it.
Lela: But Dan, I’m just telling you what he said. He doesn’t want to be seen face down in the water.
Dan: Why should Frank object to getting paid? I said I’d keep him in the cast.
Lela: Dan, I have something to say about it too.
Dan: Well save it for the opening theme…
Lela: Dan, I don’t like the idea of Frank Schofield being seen lying face down in the water like that.
Dan: Jesus Christ, Lela, I already told you. Frank Schofield will be paid for both episodes we use the footage in. Now don’t worry about it…
[Act I begins]
Dan: Lela, will you just let it go?
Lela: Dan, it’s not just an issue of being paid. What about Frank’s dignity?
Dan: Lela, I am keeping him in the cast and that’s what he wanted, more than anything else.
Lela: But Dan, you’re showing him drowned. How can you say you’re keeping him in the cast?
Dan: Lela, the Bill Malloy story is going to be spread out over weeks, even months. We can do flashbacks, we can do all kinds of things. In a mystery story, we can do whatever we want.
Lela: But this is supposed to be a soap opera, not a mystery story.
Dan: Lela, I want you to stop arguing with me over the direction the show is taking. I want you to get on board, the way that a good director should…
[middle of Act I, scene change to Evans cottage, Sam pours coffee]
Dan: She’s so temperamental. Look at Lela, storming out of the control room like that… Hey! I like those new coffee mugs with the jazzy stripes. I wish I could put that in color.
John Sedwick: Dan, they have those on Peyton Place.
Dan: I know they have those on Peyton Place, that’s where I got the idea to put them on my show. We get a lot of ideas from Peyton Place…
[after break in scene]
Dan: You know, what Lela doesn’t understand is, we get ideas from all kinds of different places. John, you’re on board with this new mystery story, right?
John: Well, I don’t know, Dan. It’s kind of risky bringing this format to a soap opera on daytime television.
Dan: Don’t tell me you’re siding with Lela on this.
John: I can just kind of see her point, and that’s all I’m going to say.
[closing lines for Act III scene at Evans cottage]:
Sam: Where are you going?
Burke: I told you, fishing!
[middle of Act III, scene transitions to Collinwood foyer]
David Ford [from the soundstage]: That last line, I really hated saying it. It was such an obvious setup for Burke’s big closing line. This mystery story is really going nowhere. This is not what I signed on for.
Lela: Dan, did you hear what David Ford just said?
Dan: Oh, great! Now David Ford’s criticizing me too. Everyone’s against me on this. Well, I’ve got news for you all. [loudly into the mic] We’re going ahead with this story.
Lela: Dan, you’re turning everyone against you.
Dan: David! Come on up to the control room, I want to have a word with you.
Lela: Dan, don’t chew David Ford out just because he isn’t on board with your mystery story.
Dan: I’m not going to chew him out. I just want to explain to him what we’re doing…
[second half of Act IV, transition to Evans cottage, Sam and Maggie discuss Roger Collins]
Lela: Dan, I don’t like the way you just tried to get David on board with your mystery story.
Dan: Lela, he’s working the story. He’s important in this, to the way it transitions.
Lela: But to try and sell it like it should be some great theater performance.
Dan: Lela, David Ford is important to Dark Shadows. If you have any further complaints, just save it for the closing theme. For now, just let David work.
Lela: His acting is kicking back up a notch. But Dan, I still don’t like the direction you’re taking with this mystery story.
Dan: For Christ sakes, Lela!
Lela: Dan, for your information, no producer ever put a mystery story on a daytime soap opera before. There’s a reason these things aren’t being done.
Dan: Jesus fucking Christ, Lela! Will you stop hounding me about the direction the show is taking? Yes, we’re doing a Hitchcock story, and that’s what we’re doing now.
Lela: But Dan, this is supposed to be a soap opera.
Dan: I know it’s a soap opera. But it’s also a mystery now, so get used to it…
Until next time, this has been The Dan and Lela Show.
Location footage for this episode features the Griswold Inn of Essex, Connecticut, used to represent the exterior of Collinsport Inn, shown as the opening scene begins with a car driving past.
As is well known, doorbells in Collinsport were a scarce commodity; in the first year of Dark Shadows, doorbells are heard only three times: in episode 7, 22, and here in 49, each time when Burke Devlin is calling unannounced at Evans cottage. The sound effect consists of a buzzer, which will also be used for the telephone intercom system in Roger’s office at the cannery in episode 54.
Behind the counter at the Collinsport Inn restaurant, the item of “COKE” appears for the first time since before episode 28. In that episode it was originally scripted that when David showed up at the diner and Maggie was supposed to keep him there until his father arrived, he was to have been served a Coke as was still widely the norm at dining counters, especially the still prevalent drug store counters. But because the ABC network’s Department of Broadcast Standards and Practices would not allow the mention of a “gratuitous plug” on the air, that is, product placement, David was instead served a sundae. The Coke item had been on the menu board before episode 28, but this had not caused a problem because network executives never actually viewed the programs they put on the air, at least during the daytime. In 1966, the only oversight Dark Shadows was subjected to was the requirement that the scripts for each week of episodes had to be read and approved by Standards and Practices before they could be taped and broadcast.
(Coke item on the menu board, third up from the bottom, in today’s episode)
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 as Maggie is shown talking with her father from the telephone booth at Collinsport Inn restaurant, it is shown facing the lobby entrance as it had been in episode 40. The roaming phone booth will next be facing the main door by the counter in episode 55.
Also in episode 40 the view out the bay window of the Evans cottage featured a lush assortment of trees.
But here in episode 49 scenic designer Sy Tomashoff seems to be skimping a bit, with just a couple trees and a few assorted branches off to one side with an otherwise mostly blank canvas.
Tomashoff has also left the Collinwood foyer half undressed; as Joe and Carolyn enter from outside, you can see the set flats off to the right…
…and as Burke is preparing to leave only a post where the wall should be.
This creates a blooper when Mitch Ryan subsequently steps outside the set.
Some would consider it a blooper that in this episode Mitch Ryan frequently consults the teleprompter, and perhaps it is; this reviewer however will give him a pass for this considering that during these 1966 episodes the demands of his night job allowed him considerably less time to learn his lines for each episode than the other regular players would have. In the post for episode 54, we’ll take an in-depth look at his involvement in the Broadway play Wait Until Dark.
In Act II, when Carolyn enters Collinsport Inn restaurant, a boom mic bobs into view a couple of times from the top, though unobtrusively enough that it could just as easily be missed.
In Act II, Burke reminds Sam about having been sent to prison five years ago; it was ten. His parole came five years ago.
In Act III, David Ford does a “look-ahead” blooper; a look-ahead is when an actor during a line of dialogue mixes a word that should come later with one spoken that moment. In this case the words mixed up are “Bill” and “big”: “If big – Bill Malloy had some big revelation to make, then why didn’t he just walk right in that office and spill it out?”
In Act IV while Burke and Joe are waiting in the Collinwood foyer, the front of a second camera pokes into view at left of screen.
In Act IV, after Burke steps out the front doors of Collinwood, the undressed part of the foyer set allows one to see Mitch Ryan walking past.
In the final scene, David Ford says: “Go back to work and just leave me do mine!”
Episode 49 marks the debut of the Collinsport coffee mug set. The Collinsport coffee mug appears to be green in color with jagged black stripes around the sides. Beginning its journey here in Evans cottage this episode, the Collinsport coffee mug set will eventually be seen in the sheriff’s office in town, Burke’s room at Collinsport Inn, David’s room at Collinwood, Dr. Woodard’s office in 1967, and eventually back at Evans cottage by the time Dark Shadows is being shown in color. The Collinsport coffee mug set; when your set design needs to be on the go, the Collinsport coffee mug set really gets around.
Food & Drink in Collinsport:
In the opening scene Burke drops in at Collinsport Inn restaurant for a breakfast of orange juice, scrambled eggs, bacon, and coffee.
After Burke has finished his breakfast, Maggie goes to his table to pour him a second cup of coffee.
A moment later Joe Haskell walks in to order a cup of coffee and a donut, but Maggie puts two donuts on his plate, one powdered and one plain; Joe always drinks his coffee black.
After showing up at Sam’s house unannounced, Burke helps himself to a cup of coffee while Sam is having one himself.
At the Collinsport Inn restaurant, Carolyn has a cup of coffee while she, Joe, and Maggie talk about Bill Malloy.
As Carolyn chews out Joe for arguing with Burke over her uncle Roger, Maggie takes a sip from the coffee she has poured for herself.
While Burke is working on Sam over Bill Malloy’s disappearance, Sam has decided to switch to alcohol and pours himself a rather tall glass full (Note that the product information including brand name is crossed out with black marker).
Now with Maggie working on him about Bill Malloy, Sam feels compelled to pour himself yet another drink, but a short one this time.
On the Flipside:
On the day that episode 49 was being taped, Thursday August 18, 1966, episode 39 was being broadcast, followed in the 4:30 p.m. Eastern time slot by season 2 episode 243 of Dick Clark’s music program Where the Action Is.
Among the featured performers was WTAI regular Steve Alaimo. By the time Alaimo began performing on WTAI in the mid-1960s, he’d already been around in the music business for a number of years, having gained regional notoriety in the late 1950s around the Miami, Florida area as guitarist and eventually singer of a rock band called the Redcoats. When Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars arrived in Miami that year, the Redcoats were hired as the backing band for the artists involved.
The Redcoats were initially the group Clark had in mind for WTAI; but since the Redcoats had long since broken up, Alaimo was hired as host and music director instead, eventually being credited also as co-producer.
Steve Alaimo holds the dubious distinction of being the recording artist to chart with the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (nine) without ever once making the top 40.
On this episode of WTAI, Alaimo performed his rendition of a song originally recorded by James Brown the previous year, It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.
Parallel Collinsport, 1966:
On the day that Dark Shadows episode 49 was airing, Thursday September 1, 1966, over in England the BBC was airing the premiere episode of Dusty, a weekly music program starring Dusty Springfield performing several songs each episode, many of which she never recorded in the studio. One of these was performed live in this first episode, the traditional folk standard Poor Wayfaring Stranger.
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 50: What The Tide Brought In
— Marc Masse
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