Episode 54: They Float Bodies, Don’t They?

Sheriff Patterson instructs Matthew to accompany his deputy out to Widow's Hill_ep54

“Good eve – uh, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen… No, that isn’t it either. Good afternoon ladies and shut-ins.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_opening monologue (1)_ep53

“From yesterday afternoon’s half-hour, we found out something rather shocking about the Collins family’s gem of a caretaker. Personally, from what I’ve been able to observe thus far, being the caretaker of Collinwood is more akin to being a zookeeper. Half the people living there think of the big house as a sort of cage anyway, and with certain members of the household there is the greatest difficulty in keeping their behavior and drives in check. As with wild animals, tensions exist which are liable to flare up at any moment.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_opening monologue (2)_ep53

“However, today’s television playlet concerns itself with the motivations of the caretaker himself, who, when a friend of the family has drowned and washes ashore on the great estate, sees nothing wrong in giving him a push back into the water so that said friend may wash ashore somewhere else, or perhaps not at all.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_opening monologue (3)_ep53

“Given Matthew the caretaker’s casual admission of such an act, even when questioned by the police, today’s play is called “They Float Bodies, Don’t They?”. Because that’s what a caretaker at Collinwood does; trim the hedges, carry the firewood, and float bodies that have washed ashore back out to sea where they can hopefully never be found. Now, if only someone could do that with my dreaded sponsors, I would never again have to suffer through another commercial break. In the meantime, I shall consult with the production crew and see if Matthew the caretaker is available for immediate employment. Until then, another sponsor with yet another commercial message is just about to wash ashore.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_opening monologue (4)_ep53

“Here’s Phil Hill, America’s first world champion racing driver.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (1)_ep54

“And here are some of the reasons why he uses Super Shell.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (2)_ep54

“The gasoline with nine ingredients for top performance.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (3)_ep54

“Quick starts.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (4)_ep54

“Good acceleration.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (5)_ep54

“Smooth power.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (6)_ep54.JPG

“And Super Shell fights knock at all speeds.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (7)_ep54

“Champion driver Phil Hill…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (8)_ep54

“…needs top performance, and he gets it with Super Shell.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (9)_ep54

“I like Super Shell gasoline. I use it on as well as off the track.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (10)_ep54

“Try the gasoline with nine ingredients for top performance. Super Shell.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Shell commercial (11)_ep54

The dropping of clues. This is one area in which Dark Shadows is beginning to excel as it explores the continuing mystery/suspense of the Bill Malloy story. Such a process could be rather cut and dried if you had just one hour of prime time television to wrap up the story, as in the Alfred Hitchcock anthology shows; but with five half-hours to fill each week this prospect could instead present a significant challenge, especially if said mystery story is extended over several weeks or even months. On the other hand, it could be of great benefit to your afternoon serial by exploring in more intricate detail the many layers of your more complex leading characters, with episode 54 providing a case in point by highlighting the character traits of one Roger Collins.

Previously, back in episode 46, just as it was becoming clear that something may have happened to prevent Bill Malloy from showing up at the meeting he arranged in Roger’s office at the cannery to clear Burke Devlin of guilt in his manslaughter conviction, the viewer was led to believe that more than one person could have easily been responsible for Malloy’s apparent disappearance. Both Roger Collins and Sam Evans had motive to want to stop Malloy from going ahead with his plans. Earlier on, while notifying the principals, as Malloy storms out of the Evans cottage after demanding that Sam be present at the meeting later that night, there is a moment of ambiguity as Sam snaps a paint brush in two which could suggest that a decisive and violent action may follow. Sam is after all being placed in a desperate situation and has everything to lose; in addition, he’s prone to temper tantrums, and as far as artist types go, he is more physically rugged than most.

sam breaking paintbrush gif_ep46

To top that off, in episode 49 while being interrogated by Burke Devlin the morning after Malloy fails to show up at the meeting, Sam slips up in an absent-minded moment and refers to Bill Malloy in the past tense, which Devlin immediately seizes upon as a telltale sign of Sam’s likely guilt in Bill’s disappearance.

Sam lets the wrong word slip about Bill Malloy_ep49

Then of course there’s Roger Collins, who from the very moment of Bill Malloy’s disappearance has been looking especially guilty. Also in episode 46, an hour before the meeting was set to begin, Malloy had stopped in at Collinwood to remind Roger to be at his office at eleven, adding that as far as Roger concealing his guilt any longer, it was the end of the line.

Roger Collins_destroy me moment (3)_ep46

As Roger was preparing to leave for the allotted appointment set for within the hour, the seeming inevitability of his impending downfall had left him visibly shaken.

Roger has a brandy in the drawing room_Act IV (2)_ep46

Yet when arriving at his office a short while later, he had regained his composure such that he exhibited only mild annoyance at having to show up for this mysterious after hours gathering.

Roger asks where Malloy is_ep46

Just past midnight, after having waiting around for an hour because Malloy had failed to show up, Roger is positively buoyant as he returns to Collinwood whistling a carefree tune as he saunters over to the drawing room liquor cabinet for a nightcap, but is surprised by Elizabeth who has been waiting up for him and then deftly evades her pointed questions about Bill Malloy.

Roger with brandy_drawing room_ep47

Something must have happened on the way to the meeting at his office to account for this sudden change in mood, to have just an hour before been heatedly imploring Malloy to reconsider taking on a matter that would mean for Roger something that could destroy him and then to arrive at his office a short time later calm and collected and subsequently to return home without a care in the world. It has only just come to light that Bill Malloy is in fact dead, but clues are being dropped that seem to indicate that Roger may well indeed have been among the first to learn of Malloy’s fate.

In episode 51, just the previous night in story time and some twenty-four hours after Malloy had failed to show up at the meeting in Roger’s office, Vicki and Carolyn came running into Collinwood in a fit of hysterics after claiming to have seen a dead man in the water along the rocks beneath Widow’s Hill. Roger’s immediate reaction, an aside meant only for the viewer, was a look to indicate some degree of guilty knowledge over the prospect of such a grim discovery.

Roger's first reaction to news of a body washed ashore at Collinwood_ep51

Roger does this again later in the same episode when Matthew returns from Widow’s Hill to report to Mrs. Stoddard that there was not in fact a body at the foot of Widow’s Hill as the girls had insisted there had been; a lengthy, theatrical aside once again intended for the viewer alone to scrutinize, a clue as to some degree of knowledge about or involvement in Malloy’s disappearance.

Roger's reaction when Matthew reveals that no body washed ashore (2)_ep51

Here in episode 54 another clue is dropped. Bill Malloy hasn’t been seen or heard from since the night before last, and despite having appeared extremely concerned over talk last night of the body of a dead man having been seen below Widow’s Hill, Roger waltzes into his office in the morning whistling away just like he did the night he returned home from the meeting that never happened because the man who arranged it had inexplicably failed to appear. The clue is when Roger is on the phone with a cannery employee: “I don’t care what Malloy told you. From now on, we’re going to do it my way… I sent you a memo on it. Is that clear enough, or would you like me to take an ad in the paper?… Alright, Townsend. I’m sure you’ll find my new system will work out much more effectively.”

Roger has replaced Bill Malloy's methods for operations at the plant_ep54

Roger has evidently just implemented a new system that has effectively replaced Bill Malloy’s previous methods for operations at the plant. This indicates that Roger knows for certain that Malloy will not be returning as plant manager, which enshrouds him with an additional layer of suspicion given how as of the close of episode 53 only two people knew for certain that Bill Malloy was in fact dead: Matthew Morgan and Elizabeth Stoddard, and as of today’s episode the sheriff. Roger will be informed of Malloy’s demise later on that day when his sister calls him away from the office to have him return to Collinwood, and Roger will feign surprise upon hearing the news, but it’s evident from his phone conversation above that he was somehow already aware of Malloy’s fate.

That’s the key to good mystery/suspense: keep the audience guessing, giving away only a little at a time, and always leaving open the avenue of ambiguity; guilt could involve one key figure, or either of two with sufficient motive, or any one of a whole series of individuals, even those whom you would never suspect.

Another means of maintaining audience involvement is to tantalize, that is, to have a character enter a scene and explicitly state information that expresses what the viewer already knows or suspects, but which has not been definitively exposed as fact; in this case Burke Devlin, who barges in on Roger at the cannery unannounced to level at him a series of accusations concerning his manslaughter conviction ten years ago and the disappearance of Bill Malloy.

Roger: …And so you insinuated to my niece and to one of my employees that I had something to do with Bill Malloy’s disappearance.

Burke: I didn’t insinuate a thing to them. And I’m not insinuating to you. I’m telling you! Loud and clear!

Burke thinks Roger had something to do with Bill Malloy's disappearance_ep54

Burke: Bill Malloy set that meeting up for a reason. One reason only! To clear me of that manslaughter charge.

Roger: How could he?

Burke: Through Evans. And when Bill didn’t show up last night, you must have talked to Evans, and told him to keep his mouth shut.

Burke figures that Roger kept Evans from talking at the meeting_ep54

Burke: You and Evans were thick as thieves!

Roger: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Burke: You sent me up on that manslaughter charge, and you know it!

Roger: I know nothing of the kind.

Burke: And if Bill Malloy hadn’t conveniently disappeared, he would have proved it.

Roger: You not only jump at conclusions, you leap over them! Number one, Bill Malloy has not disappeared, he has simply not appeared.

Roger claims that Burke jumps to conclusions_ep54

Roger: I’ve told you again and again, I don’t know anything about Sam Evans!

Burke: But Sam Evans knows something about you.

Roger: That’s absurd.

Burke: And Bill Malloy knows what that something is!

Roger: I won’t be badgered and bullied about it.

Burke: Yes you will!

Roger denies knowing anything about Sam Evans_ep54

Burke: Bill Malloy made me a proposition.

Roger: What could he possibly offer you?

Burke: He offered me you, Roger. You, on a silver platter!

Burke recounts Bill Malloy's offer of Roger on a silver platter_ep54

To tantalize by bringing everything out in the open is a good technique, because it keeps a running count of the facts for the viewer as the story moves along, that is, suspicions held by some characters and deeds being concealed by others, which is useful given how the average viewer may only be tuning in three out of five episodes a week. For the makers of Dark Shadows, shrewd story pacing was something they were learning right here in the early days of the story of Bill Malloy.

As episode 54 indicates, and which the second half of today’s post will elaborate on, Roger as a figure of suspicion in the disappearance of Bill Malloy is thus far only half the story.

“We have now reached the halfway point in our little teleplaylet. I have brought along another of the sponsors seen during my evening program on most of those other stations. Hopefully the following message will help to clear up any gray area remaining in today’s story.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Terror at Northfield_opening monologue (1)_ep53

“What’s the good of having a youthful figure…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (1)_ep54

“…a lovely face…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (2)_ep54

“…if dull, faded gray hair…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (3)_ep54

“…makes you look older than you are.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (4)_ep54

“Hate that gray?”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (5)_ep54

“Wash it away. Wash years away with Clairol’s great new discovery…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (6)_ep54

“…Loving Care hair color lotion.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (7)_ep54

“Colors only the gray.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (8)_ep54

“Washes it away without changing your natural hair color.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (9)_ep54

“So easy, used about once a month…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (10)_ep54

“…Loving Care washes away gray…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (11)_ep54

“…without changing your natural hair color.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (12)_ep54

“And Loving Care won’t brush off or rub off…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (13)_ep54

“…even in the darkest black brown shades.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (14)_ep54

“Gives all your hair…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (15)_ep54

“…vital, youthful sheen.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (16)_ep54

“Looks so fresh and natural.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (17)_ep54

“Makes your husband feel younger too just to look at you!”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (18)_ep54

“So if you hate that gray…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (19)_ep54

“…wash it away with Loving Care.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (20)_ep54

“Not a tint, better than a rinse.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (21)_ep54

“Hairdressers call it a fountain of youth for graying hair.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (22)_ep54

“Loving Care hair color lotion…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (23)_ep54

“…by Clairol.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_The Black Curtain_Clairol Loving Care commercial (24)_ep54

There’s a new sheriff in Collinsport, except that no one is aware of this, including the new sheriff of Collinsport.

On Dark Shadows the sheriff started out as a constable named Jonas Carter, first appearing in episode 23 as played by Michael Currie in his first regular job in television.

(Michael Currie as constable/sheriff Jonas Carter at Collinsport Inn, episode 24)

Michael Currie_cast member spotlight_lead photo (1)_ep32

The identity of Collinsport’s principal figure in law enforcement then underwent a transformation which could only have been the result of a sudden decision to disregard a detail given in the series bible, Shadows on the Wall, as outlined by story creator and developer Art Wallace. The series bible had Jonas Carter listed as the constable, and that’s how the character was first introduced in episode 23 after having been initially mentioned in episode 22. Then in episode 24, Carter had a patch on his uniform that read sheriff, despite that everyone was still referring to him as a constable. It wasn’t until episode 26 (“I never liked mustard on ham”), when Roger Collins turned up at Carter’s office to remind him of the influential role the Collins family could play in local elections, that scripted dialogue began referring to a sheriff rather than a constable, and it wouldn’t be until episode 28 that during the closing theme the character of Jonas Carter would finally be credited as such. Then as of his next appearance in episode 32, Jonas Carter was out of a job. In episode 45 Bill Malloy makes one final mention of Jonas Carter while in Roger’s office.

Among Dark Shadows fans, Jonas Carter is mostly forgotten in the role of sheriff. With the pre-Barnabas episodes largely ignored, it’s the character of George Patterson that viewers will remember, as played on a rotating basis by several actors over a span of years. It’s here in episode 54 that Sheriff Patterson makes his debut as played by Dana Elcar. Perhaps another reason the Jonas Carter character is forgotten is because of the lack of continuity between the first and second sheriff, given how the character of Jonas Carter was retired rather than replaced.

For viewers in 1966, however, the change in casting would be addressed in the form of scripted dialogue, first when the sheriff arrives at Collinwood after Elizabeth calls in to say they know where Bill Malloy is…

Elizabeth [opens the front doors of Collinwood]: Come in, George. Or, should I say sheriff?

Sheriff Patterson: No, George is fine with me, Mrs. Stoddard.

…and again after Elizabeth has called Roger home from the plant, which begins episode 55:

Elizabeth: Roger, this is Sheriff George Patterson.

Roger: Yes. Yes, I remember the sheriff…

Roger certainly should remember the sheriff, since it was only three days earlier that he’d made the trip up to Collinwood to announce his findings in the case of a certain missing brake valve, but was headed off by Elizabeth’s duty to the integrity of the Collins name.

“Jonas, there’s no reason to go on with this.”

(Sheriff Carter in his final appearance, episode 32)

Jonas there's no reason to go on with this_ep32

You’ve heard of parallel time, well how about parallel sheriffs?

Sheriff Patterson: Matthew?

Matthew: George.

Sheriff Patterson: Do you know where Bill Malloy is?

Matthew: He’s dead. Drowned.

Sheriff Patterson: Oh? How did it happen?

Matthew: I don’t know.

Sheriff Patterson: Well where’s the body?

Elizabeth: We don’t know that either.

Sheriff Patterson questions Matthew on the whereabouts of Bill Malloy_ep54

In addition to parallel sheriffs in Collinsport, at Collinwood there’s a parallel Matthew.

Viewers familiar with how Dark Shadows began will recall the role of Matthew Morgan as having been originated by veteran character actor George Mitchell in episodes 6, 13, and 16. Mitchell’s Matthew could be menacing, as shown by his introduction to Vicki when he confronts her for going down in the basement, which had been strictly forbidden by Mrs. Stoddard…

Matthew_fire poker_Opening GIF_ep6

…but the gruff and caustic exterior would settle into an easy civility if he knew he could trust you.

Matthew's cottage_blueberry muffins_ep13 (3)

George Mitchell just played it straight, the way he’d done for instance in a 1962 episode from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour called The Black Curtain, about an amnesiac who forgets the past three years of his life after having been hit over the head while being robbed by a pair of teens. A taxi driver happens upon the scene which chases away the young men, then takes the stricken man to a nearby all-night drugstore, with the pharmacist played by George Mitchell.

George Mitchell_as the Pharmacist_The Black Curtain_ep54

It turns out that the pharmacist has seen the man in his drugstore several times recently, which is something the amnesiac man will try to recall, whose backstory involves thugs out to murder him as well as a detective out to find him. When the detective shows up at the drugstore with an offer of money for information on the man’s whereabouts, Mitchell’s character turns down the bribe in the following manner:

Pharmacist: Yes, sir?

Detective: Detective.

George Mitchell_as the Pharmacist_The Black Curtain (3)_ep54

Pharmacist [examines the man’s credentials]: Private detective.

George Mitchell_as the Pharmacist_The Black Curtain (4)_ep54

Detective: Have you ever seen this man?… It’s an old photo. [stuffs a ten bill into the pharmacist’s shirt pocket] Recognize him?

George Mitchell_as the Pharmacist_The Black Curtain (5)_ep54

Pharmacist: Nope.

Detective: You barely looked at it.

Pharmacist: That’s all I ever do, mister. Even with the regular police. I have two professions: pharmacist, and coward.

George Mitchell_as the Pharmacist_The Black Curtain (7)_ep54

This would as well sum up George Mitchell’s Matthew, who despite a few rough edges was nonetheless on the up-and-up, with his actions guided by the straightforward principles of sincerity and loyalty.

You could never picture Mitchell’s Matthew Morgan taking it upon himself to journey into town threatening to kill Burke Devlin if he didn’t stop trying to bring trouble to Mrs. Stoddard, the way Thayer David’s Matthew did in episode 38…

Matthew warns Burke he'll kill him if he brings any trouble to Mrs. Stoddard_ep38

…or most recently hiding the fact that he’d discovered the body of Bill Malloy below Widow’s Hill, but instead of notifying his employer simply pushed the body back into the water so that people in town wouldn’t gossip about another death connected with the legends of Collinwood and Widow’s Hill, an admission Mrs. Stoddard naturally found shocking and unacceptable.

Caretaker's a gem (12)_ep53

Aside from wondering why on earth Mrs. Stoddard would even keep Matthew on as caretaker a minute longer, the viewer is left to wonder just what exactly Matthew may actually have been hiding.

Matthew [chuckles]: What would I be hiding?

Matthew has a laugh over what he would be hiding_ep54

And yet, Matthew seems to understand that he did something wrong, based on his discussion with Sheriff Patterson:

Matthew: Aren’t you going to arrest me?

Sheriff Patterson: I can’t think of a proper charge. I suppose I could thumb through the books and come up with something, like… improper burial without a license. The only thing is, I kinda wish you hadn’t ‘uh done it, set Bill afloat the way you did.

Matthew: You’re right George, I shouldn’t have. Wasn’t thinking good.

Sheriff Patterson: Ah, a smart detective would say that you were thinking real good, that you pushed him back into the sea to hide something else.

Sheriff Patterson can't think of a proper charge for Matthew's actions_ep54

The sheriff then sends Matthew out to show his deputy precisely where he found the body, after which Mrs. Stoddard and the sheriff discuss the matter further…

Mrs. Stoddard: What if you don’t find him?

Sheriff Patterson: Well, then I’ll have to figure out if Matthew didn’t do something a little worse than just delay the recovery of the deceased.

…with Matthew hovering nearby to overhear, and looking very concerned.

Matthew overhears the sheriff talking about him_ep54

Enter Matthew Morgan, the latest in the growing rogues’ gallery of suspicious characters in the death of Bill Malloy.

“Between the last commercial break and the end of our little play, I’ve been thinking of a more effective means of floating bodies away that have washed up on shore.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Forecast Low Clouds Coastal Fog_opening monologue (1)_ep54

“I understand that there is quite a high swell of breakers near the area of Widow’s Hill.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Forecast Low Clouds Coastal Fog_opening monologue (2)_ep54

“One could easily have disguised the death of Bill Malloy as a surfing accident.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Forecast Low Clouds Coastal Fog_opening monologue (3)_ep54

“I should begin polishing my skills to take up the sport.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Forecast Low Clouds Coastal Fog_midway monologue_at 25'25_ep54

“On the other hand, it looks as though there may soon be an opening at Collinwood for a new caretaker.”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Forecast Low Clouds Coastal Fog_closing monologue (1)_ep54

“So perhaps I’ll consider applying for the position, but with one proviso…”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Forecast Low Clouds Coastal Fog_closing monologue (2)_ep54

“…I don’t do windows!”

Alfred Hitchcock Hour_Forecast Low Clouds Coastal Fog_closing monologue (3)_ep54


As noted in the main body of today’s post, for Michael Currie Dark Shadows was his first regular job. His first actual job in television was in an episode of the short-lived lawyer series The Trials of O’Brien starring a pre-Columbo Peter Falk as New York attorney Daniel “Danny” J. O’Brien.

Despite having run just twenty-two episodes, The Trials of O’Brien has an impressive roll call of actors who would go on to appear on Dark Shadows. In addition to Michael Currie (as Smitty in “Never Bet on Anything That Talks”; aired October 9, 1965), Thayer David was also in an episode (as Regis Thurlow in “Leave It to Me” aired December 17, 1965), as was Barnard Hughes (as a Chief Judge in two episodes) and Joseph Julian (also in two episodes as Edgar Cromwell), along with Conrad Bain (as a District Attorney in one episode), Dana Elcar (as Sam Styles in “How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?”), Grayson Hall (as Louise Malcolm in the 1966 episode “A Horse Called Destiny”), and House Jameson (in the same episode as Thayer David), who on Dark Shadows appeared in two episodes as Judge Crathorne (270, 271). Unfortunately, given that The Trials of O’Brien has never enjoyed an official home video release and because only a handful of episodes are circulating among collectors, none of the above episodes are available; however, the episode with Kathy Cody is:

Kathy Cody in the pilot episode of The Trials of O’Brien (as Dinah in “Over Defence Is Out”; aired September 18, 1965)

Kathy Cody as Dinah in The Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_1965_ep54

Dolph Sweet, who on Dark Shadows would play Collins fishing fleet employee Ezra Hearne in one episode (99), was a series regular:

Dolph Sweet as Sgt. Garrison in a scene with Peter Falk and Alan Alda (“Picture Me a Murder”; aired November 27, 1965).

Dolph Sweet_The Trials of O'Brien_Picture Me a Murder_Sgt. Garrison_ep54

Also in the above episode is John Harkins (as Ralph Ennis), who on Dark Shadows played the role of Lt. Costa in a pre-Barnabas episode from 1967 and would later return in 1969 as the Ghost of Garth Blackwood and Mr. Strak and in 1970 as Horace Gladstone.

(John Harkins makes his television debut in The Trials of O’Brien, 1965)

John Harkins_The Trials of O'Brien_Picture Me a Murder_Ralph Ennis (3)_ep54

John Harkins_The Trials of O'Brien_Picture Me a Murder_Ralph Ennis (1)_ep54

John Harkins_The Trials of O'Brien_Picture Me a Murder_Ralph Ennis (2)_ep54

As with any TV crime drama series, light humor provides an occasional instance of levity. Just four minutes into the pilot episode, The Trials of O’Brien establishes the main character’s peculiar relationship with hot dogs, which may in fact provide a subtle clue as to the actor’s true ethnicity. Peter Falk’s background is Jewish-American, yet he’s playing an Irish-American lawyer who is forever patronizing street vendors for hot dogs, as he does immediately after leaving the courthouse following a successful round of lawyering.

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (1)_ep54

While loading his hot dog with toppings, a colleague stops by to congratulate him.

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (2)_ep54

They get to talking while O’Brien continues absent-mindedly loading the hot dog with extras.

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (3)_ep54

Before he knows it, his hot dog is buried beneath a mountain of sauerkraut…

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (4)_ep54

…so he just throws it away.

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (5)_ep54

A real Irishman would never throw away a hot dog – especially if he had to pay for it.

Later in the same episode, also outside the courthouse following another successful case, he’s holding another hot dog.

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (6)_ep54

But he gets called away, so he hands it over to his secretary (Miss G., played by Elaine Stritch, center, with Joanna Barnes, at right, co-starring as his ex-wife).

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (7)_ep54

O’Brien: “Here, watch this.”

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (8)_ep54

Which she does, while eating the hot dog.

Trials of O'Brien_Over Defence Is Out_Peter Falk with hot dog (9)_ep54

What sort of Irishman would buy a hot dog and then just give it away? In your typical Irish-American household, franks and beans were an integral part of Saturday nights, made especially appetizing following the obligatory hurdle of fish on Friday.

But to a Jewish-American actor, a hot dog from a street vendor might not be deemed kosher. So with Peter Falk in The Trials of O’Brien, this seems to be a running gag throughout the series, a bit like having an actor portraying a smoker, but who offstage is a nonsmoker, so they just have the actor holding a cigarette in scene after scene but without ever actually puffing from it.

There’s another episode called Bargain Day on the Street of Regret, which features a young pre-Baretta Robert Blake in the role of a boxer named Joe Rooney.

There’s a scene where O’Brien visits his client in jail, who has been framed for a murder rap. Peter Falk is holding yet another hot dog; a bite has been taken out of it, however he was not seen to have taken it himself.

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day on the Street of Regret_Peter Falk with hot dog (1)_ep54

Robert Blake: “You gonna finish that dog? The food around here ain’t too much.”

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day on the Street of Regret_Peter Falk with hot dog (2)_ep54

O’Brien then gives Joe Rooney the hot dog, so that he can be free to resume talking with his hands…

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day on the Street of Regret_Peter Falk with hot dog (3)_ep54

…because that’s what Peter Falk does; each episode even opens with an illustration of this:

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (1)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (2)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (3)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (4)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (5)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (6)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (7)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (8)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (9)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (10)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (11)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (12)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (13)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Bargain Day Street of Regret_opening sequence (14)_ep54

As a side note, despite the apparent refusal of Peter Falk to partake of non-kosher foods for the role of an Irish character, there is a little-known connection of cuisine tying together the cultural heritage of Jewish and Irish immigrants in the U.S. The Irish were never big beef eaters before emigrating to the new world, mainly because they couldn’t afford to be. It wasn’t until after having newly arrived in the U.S. that they began to patronize the many affordable Jewish-American delicatessens which featured among other items corned beef (so named because of the corn kernel sized cubes of salt which flavored the beef), in particular the corned beef brisket. So the next time you sit down to a St. Patrick’s Day boiled dinner, you are actually paying homage to the legacy of Jewish-American cuisine as adopted by Irish-Americans; in the old country, they celebrate with the more traditional dish of lamb or bacon.

Getting back to Michael Currie, there is something which his IMDb page does not include, that he actually appeared in two episodes of The Trials of O’Brien. Two of the final three episodes were a two-parter called The Greatest Game, which are not available even among collectors; however, an adaptation of these episodes is available. In 1967, these episodes were re-edited as a full-length motion picture called Too Many Thieves, with an impressive cast that includes Britt Ekland, David Carradine, and Nehemiah Persoff. Michael Currie appears briefly as a policeman, which may provide a clue as to how he landed the job of constable/sheriff Jonas Carter on Dark Shadows.

Trials of O'Brien_Too Many Thieves_opening credits (1)_ep54

Trials of O'Brien_Too Many Thieves_opening credits (3)_ep54

Michael Currie (second from right): “Oh, sarge! She’s not up there now, that’s for sure, no jewels.”

Trials of O'Brien_Too Many Thieves_Michael Currie (1)_ep54

As Michael Currie exits the scene, while adjusting his hat his expression seems to take on a certain look of heaviness, as surely he must be thinking, Oh great, now I’ll go on Dark Shadows and have to deal with Lela Swift!

Trials of O'Brien_Too Many Thieves_Michael Currie (2)_ep54

Peter Falk will always be remembered for Columbo, but looking back he expressed a greater fondness for The Trials of O’Brien.

From the control room:

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

[Opening scene, as Roger comes whistling into his office]

Lela: Dan, I have something to say to you over the opening theme about Mitch Ryan.

Dan: Oh, for Christ sakes. You’re back to complaining again?

Lela: You have no idea how mad I am about Mitch Ryan being drunk!

Dan: Oh, for Christ sakes, Lela! Is there no end to your complaining?

Burke: Roger, let’s not play any games anymore.

Mitch Ryan_opening scene (2)_The Dan and Lela Show_ep54

Burke: No‘was a-any idea where he’s gone or if he went, how he went, and why. You want to start answering those questions in order?

Lela: He’s messing up every one of his lines! He can’t even read them off the teleprompter. That’s how drunk he is… This is the worst performance…

Dan: Alright, Lela, take it easy.

Lela: You don’t know how mad I am…


Lela: Dan, Mitch Ryan is drunk off his ass! He can’t even read his lines off the teleprompter.

Dan: Mitch carries himself along just fine.

Lela: No he doesn’t! I am sick and tired of working with drunk Mitch Ryan!

[Act IV, Roger’s office]

Burke: If I find out you had anything to do with his disappearance which [is] what I’m thinking, you’d better hope to god the police find it out instead of me!

Roger: Your threats don’t frighten me.

Burke: They better! This isn’t a case of the… Collinwood money who can railroad an innocent man into prison.

Lela: Oh, for crying out loud, the Collinwood money! He hasn’t gotten a single line right yet today.

[Act IV, Roger’s office, following a scene change, after Roger has taken a phone call from Elizabeth]

Roger: I’m afraid your inquisition will have to wait.

Burke: I can wait. But not long.

Roger: I’m sure that the next time I see you, you will have forgotten this whole thing.

Burke: Don’t you believe it, Roger. I don’t forget anything, ever.

[Burke throws a dart at the dartboard in Roger’s office; as it hits, Lela exclaims through the control room microphone]

Lela: Right!

[Scene then changes to Collinwood drawing room]

Lela: Mitch Ryan never forgets anything – except his lines!

Mitch Ryan: Goddammit, I am sick and tired of that Lela Swift always getting on my case. Lela, go fuck yourself!

Lela: What the fuck!?… What the fuck did I just hear coming from the soundstage?! [Elizabeth Stoddard walks from the drawing room to the foyer as Roger enters through the front door] Dan, did you hear what Mitch Ryan just said? Dan, Mitch Ryan just told me to go fuck myself, right from the soundstage!

[Closing theme]

Lela: Dan, I want you to fire Mitch Ryan right this minute!

Dan: Why, Lela? Mitch Ryan’s the best looking guy on the show. I’m not going to fire him.

Lela: Dan, Mitch Ryan told me to go fuck myself, right from the soundstage so everyone could hear!

Dan: Well, good. It’s about time somebody told you to go fuck yourself.

Lela: Dan, what do you mean by “Well, good”?

Dan: I’ve been wanting to tell you to go fuck yourself since day one.

Lela: Dan, how can you say something like that? Mitch Ryan, as an actor, told me to go fuck myself. That’s unprofessional behavior.

Dan: So was yours, Lela. Goading him about his lines.

Lela: For Christ sakes, Dan! You’re really going to let Mitch Ryan get away with that?

Bob Lloyd [ABC announcer]: Dark Shadows is a Dan Curtis production.

Dan: Mitch is my hero.

Lela: Jesus Christ, Dan!…

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

Background/Production Notes:

Today’s episode kicks off with location footage intended to represent the property for the Collins fishing fleet and cannery, showing Louis Edmonds walking around the wharf area as Roger is on his way into work.

Location footage for Collins cannery_Louis Edmonds at Essex Island Marina_ep54

Location footage for Collins cannery_Louis Edmonds waving at Essex Island Marina_ep54

Location footage for Collins cannery_Louis Edmonds walking toward cannery entrance_Essex Island Marina_ep54

In the screen images below, taken from the documentary clip Dark Shadows On Location hosted by Nancy Barrett, period location footage for Roger’s office at the Collins cannery dissolves into later footage of the real-life location, the Essex Island Marina at 11 Ferry Street in Essex, Connecticut.

Location footage for Roger's office at the cannery_Essex Island Marina_11 Ferry Street_Essex CT_ep54

Location footage for Roger's office at the cannery_Essex Island Marina_11 Ferry Street_Essex CT (2)_ep54

In numerous episodes of Dark Shadows, especially in the early days of the series, the names of several characters are mentioned who never actually appear on screen. Today’s episode contains three such instances.

As Roger enters his office in the opening scene his telephone begins ringing, so he steps back in the doorway to call for his secretary, Miss Blackman, who is apparently away from her desk. In Act I, Roger is on the phone with a cannery employee named Townsend who he forces to implement a new system of operations he has created to replace the one Bill Malloy had been using. In Act IV Sheriff Patterson asks Matthew to accompany his deputy Harry Shaw out to Widow’s Hill to show him precisely where the body of Bill Malloy had washed ashore. Harry had first been mentioned, only by first name, in episode 23. In the sheriff’s office of Jonas Carter in episode 26, it was Harry who had brought Sheriff Carter the ham sandwich he’d ordered, but Carter had forgotten to tell him no mustard. Here in episode 54 Harry is given the surname Shaw.

(At his cannery office Roger calls out for his elusive secretary, Miss Blackman)

Roger calls out for his secretary Miss Blackman_ep54

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

Set Design:

In episode 54, the Collinsport Inn phone booth is back in the lobby, but now facing the front entrance. In previous episodes it had been facing the adjoining wall of the restaurant.

Mitch Ryan_opening scene_The Dan and Lela Show_ep54

Bloopers/Story Continuity:

There is a persistent problem with the sound feed throughout today’s episode, especially in the later scenes, where sound keeps dropping out and then back in, a bit like when you’re driving on a highway and you’re tuned to a radio station that’s just fading out of range and you only get flickers of reception.

Following a contentious phone conversation with Burke Devlin in the opening scene, as Roger heads back out of his office the teleprompter momentarily swings into view at right of screen.

Camera blooper (upper right of screen)_Teleprompter swings forward into frame_Act I_ep54

In the middle of Act IV, as Elizabeth whirls around in surprise as the sheriff asks her if she knew of anyone who would want Bill Malloy dead, as the camera frame changes to pick up her movement a crew member, probably the camera operator, can be heard saying in a loud whisper, “Hit me over here!” This is what one might call a quasi-blooper, that is, something easily heard through headphones, but which was likely not heard at the time of broadcast through a single-speaker analog television set with the viewer positioned elsewhere in the room.

Because the credits are running on a scroll, the blooper that never gets fixed, Ohrbach’s spelled as Orhbach’s, comes up again.

Orhbach's credit blooper_ep54

At the very end of the closing theme, someone is seen walking through the frame, probably Mitch Ryan.

Closing theme_someone walks through the frame_Mitch Ryan_ep54


The opening scene concludes with a close-up of Roger’s office phone as it rings after he has stepped out of the office. It can be seen that the number is Collinsport 5000.

Roger's office_phone number is Collinsport 5000_ep54

Whenever a view of the far wall in Roger’s office is given, the Smith Brothers portrait can be seen.

Smith Brothers portrait_Roger's office_ep54

The Smith Brothers portrait is so-named because the image would not look out of place on those old-fashioned Smith Brothers cough drop boxes. But come to think of it, the image bears a striking resemblance to that used for W.B. Mason office products, which would be perfect considering that the portrait first appears in Roger’s office at the cannery, in episode 45. This would be an indication that the Smith Brothers portrait dates from sometime around the 1890s, perhaps intended to represent a former Collins plant manager, like Bill Malloy’s grandfather, Wilfred Malloy.

WB Mason_office paper (2)_ep54

Dark Shadows Cast Member Spotlight: Mitch Ryan

As mentioned in the post for episode 37 and again in episode 38 (The Count of Monte Devlin), Mitch Ryan was extremely busy throughout 1966. In addition to his day job as Burke Devlin on Dark Shadows, he had a key role in the Broadway play Wait Until Dark, which between February 2 and December 31 put on an astounding 373 performances across three separate venues. Already by August, a major motion picture adaptation was underway and would feature an all-star cast upon its release the following year.

Below are images from an original playbill from the Schubert Theatre where Wait Until Dark was playing in August 1966.

(Original Schubert Theatre playbill, August 1966)

Wait Until Dark_Original Schubert Theatre playbill_August 1966_ep38

(Cast credits)

Wait Until Dark_Original Schubert Theatre playbill (cast credits)_August 1966_ep54

Mitch Ryan played the role of Mike Talman, which in the movie adaptation the following year was played by Richard Crenna… They sure targeted theatergoers with a lot of booze ads in those days, didn’t they?

Wait Until Dark_Original Schubert Theatre playbill (Mitch Ryan credit)_August 1966_ep54

More of the cast, with yet another ad for hard liquor.

Wait Until Dark_Original Schubert Theatre playbill (more cast credits)_August 1966_ep54

Of course, you can’t read the remainder of the cast credits without seeing still another liquor ad. They want you to drink before the show?

Wait Until Dark_Original Schubert Theatre playbill (remainder of cast credits)_August 1966_ep54

A section on cast notes reveals a strong Shakespearean background for Mitch Ryan as a theater performer, but makes no mention of his then current day job in television. “MITCHELL RYAN, Mike Talman, alternates between classical and contemporary roles. A frequent participant in the New York Shakespeare Festival, he believes that training in the classical drama enables an actor to delineate a modern role in greater depth. Shakespeare aficionados have applauded him as Agrippa in Antony and Cleopatra, Leontes in A Winter’s Tale, Macduff in Macbeth and Iago in Othello, which he also performed off Broadway at the Circle In The Square. His portrayal of Bertolt Brecht’s Baal attracted nationwide attention. A native of Louisville, he made his stage debut at Virginia’s Barter Theatre.”

Wait Until Dark_Original Schubert Theatre playbill (Mitch Ryan cast bio note)_August 1966_ep54

Page 32 of the program has the staff listing, with “Wigs and Makeup designed by Dick Smith”; a note at the bottom in bold type warns that “The taking of pictures in this theatre is strictly forbidden” which undoubtedly was a standard rule on the Broadway circuit at the time…

Wait Until Dark_Original Schubert Theatre playbill (staff credits)_August 1966_ep54

…however, it seems that somewhere along the play’s run someone managed to sneak a quick one.

Mitch Ryan_cast member spotlight_Wait Until Dark_1966 Broadway play_ep38

Mitch Ryan_cast member spotlight_end credits listing_ep54

On the Flipside:

Over the closing theme of Dark Shadows episode 49, ABC announcer Bob Lloyd provides the following message: “The Tammy Grimes Show is the new comedy about a far-out funny girl in a wild pursuit of happiness. Advance premiere one week from tonight, in color on ABC.”

Making its television debut on September 8, 1966, The Tammy Grimes Show is a curious footnote in the history of network television, notable mainly for having been cancelled after only four episodes due to low ratings, which weren’t helped by less than flattering reviews at the outset:

“The makers of The Tammy Grimes Show had a million-dollar baby, but they put her in a 10-cent script. In the opener, she got stuck on a Navy cruise while trying to give her brother a present. The whole banal mess was reminiscent of the Smothers Brothers in their CBS-TV series last season. Wrong format, wrong everything. What is really sad is that Miss Grimes has enough charm, talent and comedic ability for any dozen performers. It is incredible how so many important people could have mishandled such talent. Just terrible.” (Rick DuBrow, UPI)

Initially under the working title of My Twin Sister, TTGS was one of many projects being developed by William Dozier of Screen Gems, the television branch of Columbia Pictures, both companies of which had Tammy Grimes under contract. Another of Dozier’s television projects was the hugely successful television adaptation of Batman, which had made its debut earlier in 1966 in January. In 1963 it was Dozier who had developed a pilot for a series tentatively titled The Witch of Westport. Dozier had in mind Tammy Grimes for the lead role, and Richard “Dick” Sargent was chosen for the male lead, though neither could take on their respective roles due to contractual obligations with other projects (some sources have it that Miss Grimes turned down the role so she could work in the Noël Coward stage musical High Spirits). Instead, the roles were recast with Dick York and Elizabeth Montgomery and the series went on the air in 1964 under the revised title of Bewitched. Perhaps this is why on TTGS, Tammy Grimes’ character is named Tamantha; Dick Sargent, by this time free for new projects, joined the cast as Tamantha’s brother Terence Ward.

Perhaps the above review hits on something (i.e., “Wrong format, wrong everything”) as a clue to why the series didn’t take off. It couldn’t have been the makers of the show. In addition to having William Dozier as executive producer, TTGS had the same crew as The Green Hornet, a show which would also debut in the ABC lineup in September 1966, with William Self as executive in charge of production, who was also in the midst of fulfilling the same function through all 514 episodes of Peyton Place, along with plenty of talent in guest stars, including Henry Jones in the first TTGS episode to air (Officer’s Mess), who previously on Bewitched had guest starred as an Irish leprechaun, Brian O’Brian. It must have been something that just didn’t connect with the viewing audience.

Tamantha and Terence both work for their rich uncle, Simon Grimsley, at the First Perpetual Savings Association. The clue to a lack of connection with the audience may lie in the fact that Tamantha doesn’t really have to work, given that she has a trust fund. The first episode opens with Tamantha running through a list of the things she bought that day for her uncle and brother.

(Hiram Sherman and Tammy Grimes in the opening scene of TTGS)

Tammy Grimes Show_opening scene (1)_ep54

When her uncle Simon asked how she managed to pay for all these items that she bought, given that it is he who controls the terms of her trust fund, her explanation reflects only the carefree ways of the well-to-do:

“Money? Money? Oh, uncle Simon. It is an insult to offer money in any shop today. Don’t you know, that our entire economy is based on one fiscal policy? The charge account.”

Tammy Grimes Show_opening scene (2)_ep54

She tools into work for the job she doesn’t really need on a less than practical motorbike, probably also acquired through a charge account.

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (1)_ep54

And here’s Dick Sargent, three years before finally landing the role of Darrin Stephens on Bewitched.

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (2)_Dick Sargent_ep54

And of course, she’s late for work as usual, but it doesn’t matter when she’s showing up for a job she really doesn’t need.

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (3)_ep54

And here she is taking her place at a mostly empty desk without a thing to do at the job she doesn’t really need.

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (4)_ep54

She then flings her hat across the room like a frisbee…

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (5)_ep54

…so that a nod can be given to the show’s creator…

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (6)_ep54

…and look where it lands.

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (7)_ep54

Tamantha Ward, “customer relations” specialist, with her exploding Rolodex.

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (8)_ep54

Overall, the show is entertaining enough, with the usual fast-paced comedy hijinks one would expect from situations arising from a comedy of errors.

In the season opener Officer’s Mess (actually the fourth episode to be filmed), Tamantha sneaks on board the naval ship on which her brother is enlisted as a crew member to leave him a bon voyage present, but accidentally locks herself in his cabin as the vessel departs, so she subsequently attempts to avoid detection by dressing up as an officer, here with the ship’s commander played by Henry Jones.

Tammy Grimes Show_scene with Henry Jones_ep54

Elsewhere in the episode, Tammy’s uncle Simon shows up at her apartment wondering where she is and is greeted by her maid Mrs. Ratchett who serves him dinner, which he invites her to sit down and eat with him.

Uncle Simon: Let’s get down to business. How much do you owe me in our weekly gin rummy game?

Tammy Grimes Show_scene with uncle Simon and Mrs. Ratchett (1)_ep54

Mrs. Ratchett: Three hundred thousand, four hundred and twenty-two dollars.

Tammy Grimes Show_scene with uncle Simon and Mrs. Ratchett (2)_ep54

Uncle Simon: We’ll talk settlement when I win half a million.

Tammy Grimes Show_scene with uncle Simon and Mrs. Ratchett (3)_ep54

The commercial sponsors may provide a clue as to the type of audience the network was aiming for in this Thursday evening time slot.

“The Tammy Grimes Show is brought to you by new Behold, the concentrated spray furniture polish. More oils and waxes to give your furniture more protection and a better shine. Brand new Behold.”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (2)_Behold_ep54

“You wouldn’t spray water on your furniture. So why use a thin, watery furniture polish?”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (3)_Behold_ep54

“Does your mommy always get Griffin’s?”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (2)_Griffin shoe polish_ep54


Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (4)_Griffin shoe polish_ep54

“Look at your dress!”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (5)_Griffin shoe polish_ep54

“Griffin, with its new applicator, is the neatest and easiest way you can polish shoes.”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (1)_Griffin shoe polish_ep54

“I love a shiny floor, but I hate this thick wax buildup…”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (1)_Aerowax_ep54

“Get off your knees. New Aerowax gives you a lasting shine, but without that thick-wax buildup.”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (2)_Aerowax_ep54

“We’re living in super times.”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (1)_Resolve seltzer_ep54


Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (2)_Resolve seltzer_ep54

“Cheeseburger with mayo…”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (3)_Resolve seltzer_ep54

“Would you like a little more wine?”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (4)_Resolve seltzer_ep54

“Onion rings… a chocolate malt…”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (5)_Resolve seltzer_ep54

“So you want something new, to calm the upsets of these super times.”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (6)_Resolve seltzer_ep54

“Now we have Resolve…”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (7)_Resolve seltzer_ep54

“…the superseltzer for our super times.”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (8)_Resolve seltzer_ep54

“This Ban roll on is one deodorant I haven’t tried. You won’t tell, will you?”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (2)_Ban roll on_ep54

“Mam, I don’t think I have to.”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (1)_Ban roll on_ep54

“I beg your pardon?”

Tammy Grimes Show_commercial sponsors (3)_Ban roll on_ep54

So, from the above one has a pretty good idea of the general target audience; no after shave commercials in this half-hour. And no doubt not too many of the housewives buying the furniture dusting and floor waxing products could have afforded a maid to do all the housework the way Tamantha Ward could.

Still, there was likely an even greater reason TTGS wasn’t a ratings hit. When during the closing themes of Dark Shadows episodes around this time you hear ABC announcer Bob Lloyd tell of an “advance premiere” it means that ABC was implementing a strategy for introducing its fall 1966 lineup by rolling out new episodes a full week before the actual network season started, thereby with the aim of getting a jump on the competition, which proved effective at least because CBS kept to its usual schedule so that the first episode of TTGS was able to outperform in the ratings a repeat of My Three Sons. However, NBC opted to copy ABC’s idea of an advance premiere, so for the debut of TTGS on September 8 the competition was formidable, going up against the pilot episode of a series that would go on to become one of the most iconic shows ever…

(The Man Trap, debut episode of Star Trek)

Star Trek_The Man Trap (2)_episode 1 season 1_ep54

As a footnote to a footnote, in between missing out on the role of a lifetime and starring in her own short-lived eponymous series, Tammy Grimes was in an episode of The Trials of O’Brien.

(as Sister Mary Anthony in the 1965 episode A Gaggle of Girls)

Trials of O'Brien_Gaggle of Girls_Tammy Grimes as Sister Mary Anthony_ep54

(Opening cartoon logo for The Tammy Grimes Show, 1966)

Tammy Grimes Show_opening logo_ep54

Tammy Grimes, the original choice for the role of Samantha Stephens on Bewitched.

Tammy Grimes Show_opening credits (9)_Tammy Grimes closeup_ep54

Also making its debut on the evening of September 8 was another sitcom featuring another female lead, That Girl, with Marlo Thomas as an aspiring actress who moves from her small hometown upstate to make her way in New York City.

(Freeze frame close-up at the end of the opening scene for the debut episode, aired September 8, 1966)

That Girl_Marlo Thomas in opening scene_season 1_episode 1_ep37A

Unlike with The Tammy Grimes Show, viewers could more readily connect with That Girl’s Ann Marie…

That Girl_opening credits_Marlo Thomas_season 1_episode 1_ep54

…a small town girl with big hopes and dreams which she took seriously, always rushing to be on time to whichever new job she was applying for or acting role to audition for…

That Girl_opening credits_Marlo Thomas (2)_season 1_episode 1_ep54

…with the crucial need for making a good impression in either capacity always leading the way for a never-ending string of unforgettable comedy situations.

That Girl_opening credits_Marlo Thomas (3)_season 1_episode 1_ep54

In the pilot episode (Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There), while working in a gift shop in the lobby of an office building aspiring actress Ann Marie is approached by a producer to star in a TV commercial.

That Girl_Ann Marie is approached to act in a TV commercial_S1E1_ep37A

This is also the episode where she meets her boyfriend-to-be, magazine writer Donald Hollinger, whose office with Newsview Magazine is also in the building.

That Girl_Ann meets Don Hollinger_S1E1_ep37A

The scene in the commercial calls for Ann to be bound and gagged and taken captive…

That Girl_Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue_S1E1 (1)_ep37A

…which of course is something Don Hollinger would have no way of knowing about when he walks right into the middle of a scene in progress.

That Girl_Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue_S1E1 (2)_ep37A

So it’s Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue…

That Girl_Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue_S1E1 (3)_ep37A

…during which he fails to even notice the camera equipment.

That Girl_Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue_S1E1 (4)_ep37A

All Don is focused on is getting Ann out of harm’s way…

That Girl_Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue_S1E1 (5)_ep37A

…and preventing anyone from trying to stop him…

That Girl_Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue_S1E1 (6)_ep37A

…even if it means saving Ann from filming a TV commercial he doesn’t even realize he’s ruining.

That Girl_Don Hollinger to the accidental rescue_S1E1 (7)_ep37A

Despite their initial misunderstanding, Ann agrees to a dinner date with Don and they become a steady couple all the way through to the final episode after five seasons on the air.

That Girl_Ann and Don on a dinner date_S1E1_ep54

“Hi, I’m Marlo Thomas. I hope you liked our first show. Well, actually, it wasn’t our first show. It was our preview show. Our real first show will be on next week, when the season officially begins. Tonight you saw how That Girl met her boyfriend. And in next week’s show you’ll meet Ann Marie’s parents, in the episode that shows what happens when she leaves home and goes to live in New York. And wherever you live, I hope you watch That Girl. In color – or black and white. I just want you to watch.”

That Girl_Marlo Thomas with closing message_season 1_episode 1_ep54

Parallel Collinsport, 1966:

Across the pond in England, September 8, 1966 marked the second episode in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) program, Dusty, which featured performances by singer Dusty Springfield. All performances were one hundred percent live, with no lip synching or prerecorded backing tracks.

DUSTY_series 1_BBC opening theme_episode 2_image 1_ep54

As England’s first female soul singer, Dusty Springfield was always bringing lesser known numbers from the soul genre to a wider audience. In the second episode of the first series, Dusty closed with an encore of a song that opened episode 1, a nugget written by the crackerjack American songwriting team of Ashford and Simpson called The Real Thing (Valerie Simpson, Nick Ashford, Jo Armsted).

Below is a clip of the full-length performance from episode 1.

“Well it looks to me like this could be the real thing…”

Dusty Springfield_The Real Thing_series 1 episode 1 (1)_ep54

Dusty Springfield_The Real Thing_series 1 episode 1 (2)_ep54

Dusty Springfield_The Real Thing_series 1 episode 1 (3)_ep54

The original recording of The Real Thing was done by U.S. soul singer Tina Britt.

Tina Britt_The Real Thing (1)_ep54

Released in May 1965 on the Eastern Records label, despite that the song didn’t make an impression on the national charts, The Real Thing was nonetheless a regional hit in the Philadelphia area that summer. Below is Tina Britt’s original version.

(Tina Britt on the cover of her 1969 LP Blue All the Way)

Tina Britt_The Real Thing (2)_ep54

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 55: Two Shades of Guilty

— 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.

23 thoughts on “Episode 54: They Float Bodies, Don’t They?”

  1. So after all that time spent studying mechanics magazines and monkeying around with brake valves, all David had to do was sneak up behind his father on widow’s Hill and yell BOO. Having a precipitous drop on your property really comes in handy!
    Wonder where the story would have gone after that with Roger dead and David traumatized. If Dan Curtis would have continued with the Phoenix storyline right up to Laura trying to burn David alive.
    That kid would have had to spend some major time at Windcliff, whether Elizabeth liked it or not.

  2. Yes, Count, I’m continually amazed by the revelations I’m visited with regarding the discussion coming from the control room, which serves to tell the full story of Dark Shadows; it shows most of all that Dan Curtis approached the making of Dark Shadows with great spontaneity and passion.

    Percys Owner has it right regarding the originally intended end to Roger; increasingly paranoid over what Vicki may have learned about his connection with Sam Evans in relation to Burke’s manslaughter conviction, he convinces Vicki to accompany him out to Widow’s Hill one night… but then in an ironic yet poetic twist David intervenes and in his surprise Roger loses his footing and goes over the edge.

    We’ll cover all this in greater detail once it’s made clear that Louis Edmonds will be keeping his job, say, in the post for episode 69.

  3. Based on how the story was headed, I’m making the guess that Roger would have tried to kill Vicki, possibly by pushing her off Widows Hill and fallen himself. Or he could have been sent the Matthew Morgan route and been killed by Josette and the other Widows.

  4. @Samantha,

    Yes, all the episodes including the 2 that weren’t broadcast are available on DVD, which also has extras like deleted scenes, etc.:

    The series theme song has a really swinging mid-60s vibe:

  5. I can see the similarities between Louis Edmunds’ performance on DS (not just as Roger but Joshua, Edward and PT Roger as well) and Rex Harrison’s Henry Higgins. I haven’t seen My Fair Lady in years but distinctly remember how taken I was with RH’s performance – I liked him better than Audrey Hepburn whose cockney accent I found more irritating than endearing. “Owwww! Dr. ‘Enry ‘Iggins – Owwww!” I kept hoping RH would just smack her.
    My mother and I watched Coronet Blue when it first aired, mainly because we both had crushes on Frank Converse. I don’t remember too much about it though – do you guys know if it’s available for viewing anywhere? I looked it up and am amazed at how many soon to be famous actors guest starred.

  6. Great research, Count, and thanks! At this point, there’s really nothing to indicate from where the source material for the Roger Collins character originates, or David Collins for that matter. Because of the obvious wide range of elements borrowed from The Uninvited, it only makes sense that these above character templates would have been drawn from the follow-up, The Unseen.

    As far as actors being chosen for their roles, the Louis Edmonds biography Big Lou doesn’t mention anything either, only that Louis himself said: “I met with Dan Curtis and he wanted me for the part — he seemed to, right off the bat…” (p. 64).

    Perhaps the control room audio might reveal something at some point. All that can be inferred for now is that in terms of casting, a good many actors seemed to land jobs on Dark Shadows who had been on shows that, in the years immediately preceding, had a strong writer/crew connection, like East Side, West Side, For The People, and Coronet Blue. When looking for an actor to be cast in a given role, Dan Curtis may have consulted with a writer (Art Wallace) or crew member (Sy Tomashoff) who had worked on these shows. Another show with a strong Dark Shadows pedigree, both in terms of actors and crew, is the early 1960s anthology show Way Out, hosted by Roald Dahl.

  7. As a matter of fact, according to his biography Big Lou, Louis Edmonds had given up on acting by the time he got the call from Dan Curtis. He said that good roles were hard to come by, and it was mentioned that by 1966 he’d “hit a dry spell”. So if they’d followed the remainder of the series bible and had Roger killed off as originally planned, then that likely would have been it for Louis Edmonds as an actor. Dark Shadows meant regular, long-term work, and despite the low ratings in the beginning, Dark Shadows could still make or break an actor’s career.

  8. Thanks Prisoner – these behind the scenes revelations are fascinating.
    I guess I never really thought about how unpredictable a professional actor’s employment status could be, especially for someone working in soaps in the 60’s. You would think that since they worked in NYC with not only television but also the theater industry there would be lots of opportunities for aspiring actors. But if someone really good like Louis had to sweat it, the competition for jobs must have been fierce. Also, it’s one thing to be a young, out of work actor but, it must have been fairly terrifying to be a 40 something, out of work actor.

  9. @Samantha

    Credit should also be given to occasional director John Sedwick. As control room audio will show, it was he who first raised the point to Dan Curtis over the closing theme of episode 68; the next day, after taking some time to think about it, during the opening theme Dan broke the good news to Louis Edmonds, who was relieved because he said he really enjoyed being on Dark Shadows. In the days leading up to that episode, Louis had been expressing his unease during offstage moments, of how he was expecting his walking papers any time soon and that he thought he might wind up like Frank Schofield.

  10. Well, that explains why Harry Johnson went to prison – to get away from his mother’s cooking.
    All I can say is thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Dan Curtis for not killing off roger! I can’t even begin to imagine Dark Shadows without Louis Edmonds.

  11. Yes, Count, all terrific points. There’s a moment in the kitchen during the phoenix story when they’re finishing dinner, with everyone there including Vicki, Liz, Roger, Laura, and David, and Roger makes some remarks about Mrs. Johnson’s cooking, something like suggesting they leave before she serves them another course and asking someone to remind him to provide Mrs. Johnson with a more up to date cookbook. Then again, even Jason McGuire can’t stand Mrs. Johnson’s cooking. When Willie asks if the food is any good at Collinwood Jason replies, “It’s atrocious. She burns everything to death!”

    The post for episode 55 will be all about Roger’s character traits — I say traits, because as the main villain in this period of the show he has yet to display any actual qualities. Whereas Elizabeth carries her pedigree with grace that earns her a well-deserved respect, Roger instead lords it over everyone in addition to regarding everything as his own by birthright; around this time he refers to Joe as “one of my own employees” (here in episode 54, in conversation with Burke) and then refers to Matthew as “my caretaker”; he’s only been back living at Collinwood for a month after having been away for ten years and already everything that his sister has accomplished he claims for his own.

    At this point, they’re still planning on having Roger killed off; thus far, the only departure from the series bible Shadows on the Wall was to have Bill Malloy killed off. There will be control room audio ahead which will reveal the precise moment, to the day, when Dan Curtis decided to ditch that part of the series bible as well — and only because of Louis Edmonds’ talent as an actor, when it was realized by the makers of Dark Shadows that he was simply too good to just let get away, because after all Dark Shadows isn’t yet the “repertory company” of actors it would later become known for. That bit of control room discussion however is still a few weeks of episodes ahead; for now, there’s absolutely nothing to like about Roger Collins, which paradoxically is why you kind of have to like him.

  12. Initially Elizabeth is indifferent toward Mrs. Johnson; while Carolyn is trying to convince her on the benefits of hiring a housekeeper Elizabeth says, “You think we owe something to Mrs. Johnson?” There will be a moment or two early on when Mrs. Johnson tells Burke about being so upset by the goings-on up at Collinwood that she’s about ready to give her notice; I believe this has to do with the first seance conducted by Dr. Guthrie. But of course, the two paychecks per week make it all rather hard to resist: one from Elizabeth Stoddard and the other from her de facto employer Burke Devlin.

  13. Prisoner, too bad Roger didn’t insist on taste testing Mrs. J’s cooking before the final decision was made.
    I guess Liz hired her to give her a place to go after Bill Malloy’s death. She’d already hired misfit Matthew Morgan out of a sens of obligation so, might as well put poor old mopey Mrs. Johnson on the payroll, too. Not that this was doing her any favors – if Mrs. Johnson could have had even the slightest premonition of what she’d experience in that house, she’d have run like hell.

  14. @Samantha

    Even more amusing is the episode where Carolyn, while trying to sell her mother on the idea of bringing a housekeeper into Collinwood, refers to Mrs. Johnson as a “great cook”; I imagine it took only one of Mrs. Johnson’s “famous boiled dinners” to change her mind.

  15. Oh yes, the fresh mayo – Maggie sure earned her 10 cent tip from Mrs. Johnson that day.

  16. There will be an autopsy following recovery of the body, but no mention is ever made of funeral services; however, his housekeeper Mrs. Johnson will deliver a bitter eulogy in episode 72 when she stops in at the Collinwood Inn restaurant to order a roast beef sandwich with “fresh” mayonnaise.

  17. Malloy’s body will be recovered in episode 55. Hopefully it won’t be mislaid before he gets a decent funeral.

  18. I’m sorry John E., I meant to ask if you’ve ever seen the Alan Arkin & Peter Falk movie titled The In-Laws? The Survivors stars Walter Matthau & Robin Williams. I should have thought a bit harder before hitting the submit button.

  19. Was Bill Malloy’s body ever found and funeral services held for him? I don’t remember.

  20. John E., have you ever seen The Survivors starring Peter Falk and alan arkin? It is hysterical!
    Oh yes, I’ve seen all of Liz Montgomery’s TV movies. My favorite is the miniseries, The Awakening Land with Hal Holbrook.
    I remember how hard it was for me to watch sweet Samantha Stephens being raped in A Case of Rape and to watch her murdering people as Lizzie Borden. It must have been tough for EM to shed that Bewitched image and do more dramatic roles. I read that in her home, she had still photos from all her TV movies on the walls but not a single one commemorating Bewitched. Ironic that gentle Samantha is the role she’s remembered and best loved for.

  21. Matthew Morgan – No Collusion! No Obstruction! 😶

    I found a snippet of O’Brien on YouTube; thankfully, Peter Falk didn’t try for an Irish accent!
    Personally, the Falk roles I like best are in “The Cheap Detective” and “Murder By Death” – he’s a good dramatic actor, but what a comic one!

    And re: Liz Montgomery; did you see her as Lizzie Borden?

  22. Victurkey – perfect.
    Why couldn’t Sheriff Patterson charge Matthew with obstruction of justice? Maybe that law wasn’t on the books in Collinsport.
    Now I understand why I never saw the Tammy Grimes Show. I watched every episode of That Girl as they aired though. I never liked it as much as I loved Bewitched. All I can say is thank the maker Elizabeth Montgomery was cast as Samantha instead of TG.
    I absolutely adore Peter Falk and wish I could see Trials of O’Brien. That ongoing hot dog gag sounds like pure Columbo to me. Perfect casting to have Robert Blake playing a jailbird begging for a half eaten hot dog!
    Interesting that Falk prefered that show to Columbo which I always think of as his masterpiece.
    Dang! Where can I get me some Clairol Loving Care? I want my husband to feel younger jus tlooking at me.
    Oh, AND – Mitch Ryan is my hero, too.

  23. First Burke was way better than Second Burke – tougher and cuter. Too bad the edges got sanded down and they just made Burktoria (or is it Victurkey?)

    Sheriff Patterson’s unable to come up with anything to charge Matthew with? Evidence tampering? Contamination of a crime scene (I don’t know if that is actually a crime, but it seems like one)?
    Accessory after the fact? Disrespect for the deceased (okay I made that one up). Concealing a corpse (although THAT became fairly commonplace on DS; corpses sometimes even concealed on their own (See Lang, Dr. Eric)).
    But of course the Sheriff is dealing with the Collins family, whose name is on the badge he’s got. So we can just overlook it, Bill will probably wash in again (somewhere OFF Collins property).

    Well, I knew SOMEBODY was going to say that to Lela, I’m just surprised Mitch Ryan beat Dan Curtis to it. I bet he was a few of his fellow actors’ hero that day, too!

    Tammy Grimes as a madcap heiress? Can’t imagine how that plotline didn’t work. It seemed just fine in the 1930s. What a shame we didn’t get Dusty Springfield here instead.

Comments are closed.