“Liz, before you go in there I want you to remember one thing… I’m your brother.”
Welcome to part 2 of What It Means to Be a Collins of Collinsport, in which the matriarch of the great house on the hill sets about once again diverting the sheriff from bringing suspicion in through the front door, this time if not so much to save the neck of her brother Roger, then at least to keep the threat of scandal from making another visitation upon the Collins family name.
For Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, it’s actually rather busy work, stepping forward to quash the sheriff’s line of questioning to keep the good name of Collins off the bad news of local headlines. Imagine all the sedatives it must take, just to go on being the matriarch of Collinwood.
“In my busy workaday life as a notorious recluse, there are those times when I just can’t function as smoothly as I’d like to, when all the ghosts of Collinwood get to be just too great a burden to bear. That’s why I take NerveAyd. Puts those pesky ghosts back in the closets and corners where they belong. NerveAyd; it’s the next best thing to a frontal lobotomy.”
First the sheriff comes up to Collinwood because Liz’s nephew is suspected of causing a near-fatal accident after loosening the brake valve on his father’s car, then just three days later the sheriff is back to question her brother, for the second time that day, because of another fatal car accident from ten years ago that someone else in town thinks Roger may have been responsible for.
What is it with this family and vehicular homicide? Things are so crazy around here that it would make for quite a soap opera, if it weren’t one already.
Like sludge through the sewer pipes, so are the Ways of Our Wives.
The Collins family tree is much like the strangler fig: as months and then years of Dark Shadows episodes come and go, winds of change blow the seeds of new story ideas onto the existing structure, until finally the original tree has been taken over completely.
As a case in point, most Dark Shadows fans would understand it that the father to Roger and Elizabeth was Jamison Collins, but the original outline from Shadows on the Wall had it as Joseph.
Today we learn that Roger’s great uncle was named Benjamin. His portrait hangs in the foyer above the console, which the sheriff comments on as Roger descends the stairs to meet him.
As a lead-in toward mentioning why he is visiting Collinwood for the second time that day, the sheriff makes a rather loaded, cryptic remark on how the history of the Collins family has shaped the town, which leaves Roger understandably perplexed: “…The history of your family has always fascinated me. The way they built this town, this house. They knew what they wanted, and they went after it.”
Let’s refer to the original series bible for a quick rundown on how the town in which Sheriff Patterson keeps his office was indeed built by the Collins family.
“Founded in the late seventeenth century by Isaac Collins, the community prospered through the long years during which fishing fleets and whaling ships struck out from its sheltered harbor.” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 2)
Of the local inhabitants in relation to the prosperous identity the Collins name has given to the town, Art Wallace writes:
“The main industries of Collinsport are still its fishing fleets, canneries, and allied trades. The main body of its inhabitants are imbued with a strong local pride. They love their village square, their churches, their socials, and their traditions.
…They are a hardy people, formed by the bleakness of the cold Maine winters, and the constant danger of a life drawn from the sea. They are suspicious of strangers, but once a newcomer is accepted he is loved and trusted with the warmth of a family group.” (Shadows on the Wall, pp. 2-3)
And of the attitude of the townspeople toward the Collinses in particular, if asked about by “that adventurous stranger” whose “eyes will eventually be drawn to the large house that looms in brooding isolation on the crest of Widow’s Hill, overlooking the harbor, staring out across the waters of the Atlantic”:
“…he might be answered with a curt, ‘Collins House’. If he persisted, he might eventually be told the story of that great dark mansion….a story that would almost inevitably be capped with a casual admonition. ‘Good place to stay away from’.” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 3)
The relationship between Elizabeth and Roger is a strange one, often following a more passive-aggressive pattern, and the more casual viewer who tunes in every blue moon might find it confusing enough to get the wrong idea, given how the sibling nature of their bond is not so readily apparent. Indeed, a regular Dark Shadows fan early on during the show’s initial run did just that in writing in to a local newspaper to extol the show’s merits following a negative review by a Hollywood critic.
Writing for UPI in an article dated June 28, 1966 and dismissing the debut episode of Dark Shadows as “ancient in tone” and finding the show “somewhat less than Gothic in achievement” Rick Du Brow suggested that because of its New England locale Dark Shadows may just as well have been called “Son of Peyton Place.” On July 16 Pasadena resident R.L. Emerson Jr. wrote a short piece for The San Matteo Times in response to the Du Brow review, and even though presumably a regular as well as engrossed viewer apparently thought of Liz and Roger as a married couple: “Collinwood’s breadwinner believes that Miss Bennett has made a mistake in bringing in an outsider to act as governess for their 10-year-old son.”
In actual fact though, because of their steep difference in age as well as the circumstances of Roger’s birth the relationship between Elizabeth and Roger resembles more that of a mother and son. You see it especially in the authority Liz wields governing all matters relating to both Collinwood and the family business. Is it any wonder then that Roger even in middle age should be so reckless and irresponsible? It’s his rebellion. Here’s the backstory as provided by Art Wallace:
“Elizabeth had a happy childhood, was loved by both her parents, and lived the over-protective life of the only child. Long having accepted the fact that Elizabeth would be his only child, Joseph foresaw the day that he would die and the family business would go to her. Even when she was in her late teens, he would consult with her on every phase of the business and was delighted to see how much she enjoyed it. She had strength, decisiveness, and every attribute he wanted in his child….except that she was a girl.
“Then came the astonishing news of Carolyn’s pregnancy at the age of thirty-eight, the birth of their son, Roger, and Carolyn’s death as a result.
“Joseph went to pieces. He seemed immobilized by the death of his wife, and Elizabeth found more and more of the decisions of the business falling to her.
“Three years later, Joseph died. Elizabeth’s time was now fully occupied with managing the fishing fleet, and helping to raise a brother twenty years younger than herself. There was no time for a life of her own, and the years passed.” (Shadows on the Wall, pp. 11-12)
In today’s episode Art Wallace has peppered the dialogue with numerous references to Elizabeth and Roger as a sibling each to the other, with a striking frequency to indicate that due to Roger’s status as a Collins the sheriff of Collinsport is likely going to need more to go on than just run of the mill suspicion and probable cause to make an arrest. As revealed toward the end of the episode, when David comes down to the foyer dressed in his Sunday best to hand over the tide charts he’s been working on and asks the sheriff if he’s come to arrest his father, Sheriff Patterson replies in earnest: “Well, I was thinking of it, but he kind of talked me out of it.”
David: Aren’t you taking him with you?
The first such strategic use of “brother/sister” is spoken by the sheriff, after Roger says he’ll do anything he can to help: “I’m glad to hear you say that, Mr. Collins. Because it just may be that you can help me a great deal. Your sister too perhaps.”
The second is by Roger himself, as given at the top of the post; here are the rest, which when spread out across the length of a full episode become striking in their emphasis:
Sheriff Patterson: …and, as I told your brother Mrs. Stoddard, the blow on Bill’s head was probably caused by his being thrown up against the rocks.
Sheriff Patterson: Well, I’m just trying to fill in the blank spaces, mam, like what your brother was doing between ten and eleven that night.
Mrs. Stoddard: I see no reason why my brother should be subjected to this kind of interrogation by you or anyone else.
Sheriff Patterson: I’m asking your sister, Mr. Collins.
Mrs. Stoddard: You heard my brother, didn’t you?
Sheriff Patterson: Well, I have two stories here; Burke Devlin’s and your brother’s.
When asked by Mrs. Stoddard what Sam Evans had to say, Sheriff Patterson replies: “Exactly the same as your brother.”
Sheriff Patterson asked Roger to invite Mrs. Stoddard in to be present for the questioning, during which he sums up the coroner’s findings about Bill Malloy having received a blow to the head, the circumstances of which could not be conclusively determined.
When the sheriff admits that this fact does in his estimation leave open the vague possibility of foul play, the viewer is treated to a classic example of Joan Bennett’s “mid-Atlantic” accent.
“Surely you’re not considering Roger a suspect in your imaginary myurhderh”
Exactly what is a so-called mid-Atlantic accent, and how does one go about acquiring this? You need a ship to get out to the mid-Atlantic, and because it would be moving most of the time, you wouldn’t be able to stay out there for too long. Oh well; just another of life’s lingering mysteries.
Speaking of that posh Olde-Worlde type of brogue, Louis Edmonds’ affected accent sounds more like Louisiana by way of London; it’s one of the qualities that lends an air of authenticity to his portrayal of Roger Collins, and the sheriff’s questioning provides a solid gold opportunity for the actor to exploit this attribute to maximum effect.
When Sheriff Patterson questions Mrs. Stoddard on whether Bill Malloy’s intention was to clear Burke Devlin of the manslaughter charge:
“He was what?”
Then when the sheriff reveals what Burke believed was the purpose of the meeting, to clear him:
“He said that? Liz, did you hear that? Did you hear what Burke told the sheriff?”
Oh, the outrage! Why, just the patrician tone of Collins indignation would be enough to shut down Bat Masterson himself. No one on Dark Shadows does indignation with such theatrical flair as Louis Edmonds.
To emphasize the perceived absurdity of Devlin’s claims, Roger then proposes the hypothetical case that Sam Evans might have according to Burke been “a mystery witness” to the accident. At last, the exact role of Sam Evans in the manslaughter case of ten years ago is revealed, and in terms of guilt in the matter by the very source himself. Sam Evans will admit as much in conversation with Roger at the start of the phoenix storyline, but the indication is provided here in this episode for the first time, which would make sense given how Sam was not directly involved and only Roger knows of the connection.
In yesterday’s episode, the sheriff was asking Sam if he had evidence that he should have presented at Burke’s trial. Note the difference in tone between how the sheriff handles Sam Evans for questioning versus how he behaves while presenting the same subject matter in the Collinwood drawing room. When bringing Sam into his office earlier in the day, the sheriff was sweating him like a mule.
As if to emphasize the difference in social status between an Evans and a Collins, Roger, on the other hand, is able to move about the room freely and even turn sideways to look away as he lies through his teeth when the sheriff asks if he made any phone calls the night Bill Malloy died:
“…I called the Coast Guard for a weather report…”
Of course we the viewer know otherwise, but not entirely everything. This episode provides tantalizing information about what the sheriff learned from Malloy’s housekeeper on some of his movements following the heated drawing room confrontation with Roger that night.
According to the housekeeper Bill returned home at twenty past ten, then received a phone call at ten thirty. It’s noteworthy that the housekeeper’s account is more precise than mere quarter-hour intervals.
If we look back and review the night in question, episode 46 has Vicki entering the drawing room while Roger is on the phone with someone, which for reasons known only to him he cuts short the moment he notices her there just inside the doorway.
Roger: …Be sure you’re there. I’ll meet you. Yes, I – I’m sorry I can’t talk anymore.
This was at ten fifteen, which means it couldn’t have been Malloy that Roger was talking with as Bill was still five minutes from returning home. When Roger left Collinwood that night, you may recall the slow movement of the camera as it closes in on the foyer clock, which at that moment was showing ten twenty-five. Yet Malloy was said to have received a call at ten thirty. Perhaps it had been Roger after all, since in this episode he does seem to be concealing guilt in lying to the sheriff about not having made any phone calls that night during the ten o’clock hour. Well, once you step outside the front doors of Collinwood, it only takes you five minutes or so to get to… Matthew’s cottage.
Recall episode 54 after the sheriff has questioned Matthew, how he lingers with apparent concern as the sheriff can he overheard saying “…I’ll have to figure out if Matthew didn’t do something worse than just delay the recovery of the deceased.”
So perhaps one can understand why the writers went the route of not having the sheriff check with the phone company for a record of calls made that night, which given what the sheriff says today about probable cause for making an arrest would have strongly implicated Roger, but also in the process would have created something of a red herring. At this point, it looks as though Matthew might have had something to do with the events leading up to the death of Bill Malloy; it could have been that Roger was using him for muscle. After all, before all the mystery of a given suspense tale has been unraveled in full, almost anything’s possible.
After the sheriff has left, brother and sister have a short interval behind closed drawing room doors being truthful about the lies that were told during his visit.
Roger however has a surprisingly potent antidote to the distaste his sister has voiced over the matter, displaying a remarkable capacity for manipulation even when used against one of his elders.
Elizabeth: Didn’t Bill call that meeting because he thought he could clear Burke?
Roger: I don’t think I’m going to answer that question.
Elizabeth: Well you’d better answer it. Did you or did you not know why Bill called that meeting?
Roger: I did not!
Elizabeth: I’m not sure I believe you.
Roger: Alright, I’ll tell you the truth.
Roger: I’m afraid all your suspicions are absolutely correct Liz. Every one of them. Bill learned a fact I have been trying to hide for ten years. The fact that I testified falsely against Burke. Because I was responsible for the crime that he was charged with. It was either him or me Liz. I had to choose. So, I chose to save myself. Bill threatened to expose me, and called this meeting to do so. Again I had a choice, and again I chose. So I killed Bill Malloy. I hit him over the head with a rock and threw his body into the water!
Elizabeth: Ah – I, I don’t believe you! It can’t be true!
Roger: Of course it isn’t true! Not one ugly word of it is true!
Elizabeth: Well then, how could you? Why did you –
Roger: Because I was being your mirror Liz!
No, he was just being one of his inner demons, the sort of manipulative opportunist who can roll up the truth in a clever tale and serve it to you like a turdwich pita wrap with an order of lies on the side.
Indeed, if Roger is in truth guilty of all the things he is suspected of by some people, manslaughter ten years ago and a murder to keep the truth from surfacing, then he should not only be sentenced, he should be paragraphed.
Yet even if it were true, as Roger’s game of devil’s advocate forced his sister for a moment to consider, Elizabeth would have found the necessary wiggle room to rationalize her way around it, just as she did when confronted by Bill Malloy about the accident that sent Burke Devlin to prison instead of her brother. For no one but her knows better what it means to be a Collins of Collinsport; you take care of your own, where loyalty is almost like the solemn vows of a marriage contract… in sickness and in hell, for brother or worse.
In one of the online Dark Shadows fan groups recently, one contributor started a thread asking why Mark Allen was dropped from the show. One of the commenters in that thread provided the explanation that it was because Mark Allen caught David Henesy writing something on his dressing room door or wall and then assaulted him by shaking or spanking him, which left the matter in Lela Swift’s hands. David Henesy walked off the show and refused to return unless Mark Allen was gone. Eventually Lela convinced Dan Curtis to buy out Mark Allen’s contract and let him go.
This is what was reported in this blog two years ago – except that the commenter in the above-mentioned thread from the online group wasn’t referencing this blog. The source for this information was one of the early Dark Shadows conventions, as told by someone who worked on the show. The commenter could no longer remember the man’s name or in what capacity he was employed, but presumably this indicates that it was a member of the crew. It was also mentioned that Mark Allen behaved inappropriately toward the actresses, portraying him overall as a “nasty SOB”; but it was the incident with David Henesy that the crew member at this early convention apparently spoke of in considerable detail.
To this reviewer’s knowledge, this blog has been the only online source for such information that was posted over several blog entries in 2017, which means that the control room deniers contingent of Dark Shadows fandom have evidently felt justified in dismissing this blog as a work of fiction, given that yours truly is the sole source for what has been posted here relating to Mark Allen and the more controversial aspects of his time on Dark Shadows – because, after all, I’m not Ronan Farrow-Sinatra.
In recent months, with the help of sound-editing software, I have sought to provide what in the peer-review world of academic research is known as supporting information, additional materials to back up what I originally reported here in these pages in good faith, which in this case is best supported by audio files to illustrate a story which is told in full behind the scenes in the television studio itself, confrontations and discussions that took place either in the control room, on the soundstage, or around the dressing room area during the taping of episodes.
The matter could be settled once and for all if the principals most central to the Mark Allen Dark Shadows debacle, Alexandra Moltke and David Henesy, would publicly speak out on the matter; but given that these two cast members appear to have permanently disowned any and all associations with the show as well as with fans, this would seem highly unlikely.
Therefore, I will simply soldier on and provide, as best as the existing sound-editing technology will allow, whatever audio clips can be utilized to support the findings as previously reported in this blog.
If you’ve been reading this blog from the earliest entries, you may recall that there was no mention made of control room audio, hidden or otherwise, in the posts for the first ten episodes. That’s because I wasn’t aware of it at the time. In the months leading up to the launching of Dark Shadows from the Beginning, I knew of only occasional instances where you could hear voices talking over, for instance, the closing theme. They didn’t seem to be coming from the soundstage, the way you can sometimes hear crew members talking or coughing just off set; these sounded like voices heard through a transistor radio placed in a sealed tin can. First there was episode 473, where over the closing theme you hear Dan Curtis and another crew member (whose voice I now recognize as John Sedwick, who directed that episode) talking about how they managed to get through the taping without a single blooper and they recall how they did that once before, in a 1967 episode; then there’s the closing theme of episode 513, which begins with that same “transistor in a tin can” sound transfer where you can hear a man laughing almost maniacally, followed by several ribald comments about Joan Bennett. It sounds like the voice of Jerry Lacy in that one.
I took note of these because they just jump out at you, whereas in the first two weeks of episodes in 1966 you wouldn’t notice crew members talking offstage or from the control room unless you train yourself to “look” for it. However, beginning with episode 11, more of those voices from that “transistor in a tin can” could be heard jumping out, and also again throughout episode 12. In these episodes, Lela Swift is particularly heated as she sits before the control room microphone complaining endlessly about Mark Allen.
I would have posted audio clips at the time if I’d only known of the available software to isolate and magnify such instances, but when starting this blog I’d only recently learned how to do something as basics as a screen capture image. But now that this blog is further equipped with such sound-editing tools, let’s continue to examine what there is to be found with regard to control room discussion and the like, with the focus here on episode 11.
Below is a waveform illustration of audio from Dark Shadows episode 11 showing a thirty-second clip as the final scene transitions to the closing theme, with the red vertical cursor showing where Lela’s voice can be heard as a gap of silence falls between the scene-closing music cue and the start of the closing theme as the credits begin showing. The audio of that thirty-second clip at normal volume is also provided.
Now let’s focus on that short five-second-long interval where at the top of her lungs Lela can be heard voicing a complaint…
…which can be made audible for the casual listener (with headphones and the sound turned way up) with the amplification fattened up 24x:
Lela: I can’t stand you!
Dan: Lela, alright…
In the next post, we’ll examine further what the “hidden audio” from the control room in this episode reveals about life on Dark Shadows behind the scenes during the summer of 1966.
It may be useful at some point to put out a special edition post, to gather together in one location all the available audio clip sources relating to the controversy surrounding Mark Allen’s departure from Dark Shadows.
In the meantime, the control room deniers may if they wish remain blissfully ignorant about the fact that such subject matter was not simply made up as “fiction” in this blog to “perpetrate rumors” because, according to a commenter from a thread on Mark Allen in one of the online fan groups, these stories have been circulating among Dark Shadows fans for nigh on forty years now, having originated from what was purportedly said at an early Dark Shadows convention by someone who worked on the show.
“Believe it, …or not.”
With only the sets for Vicki’s room and the Collinwood drawing room/foyer in use, episode 59 is the eighth so far to be set only in Collinwood; the others are episodes 48, 31, 25, 23, 18, 6, and 4.
One of the lines Roger speaks to Elizabeth in Act IV, “Of course it isn’t true!”, was originally written as “You’re damn right it isn’t true!”; but while the script for this episode was being vetted by the network standards and practices department, it was decided that a change should be made to avoid the use of what at that time was considered profanity. A copy of the interdepartmental memo is provided below, as published in Dark Shadows: The First Year (by Nina Johnson and O. Crock, Blue Whale Books, 2006).
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 Act I the sheriff asks Roger that his sister be present for questioning; once Roger opens the drawing room doors to find Elizabeth in the foyer with Vicki, the camera angle catches one of the studio lights from over the drawing room set.
Soon after, as Elizabeth prepares to enter the drawing room, the camera angle is flipped upward momentarily, showing the same studio light.
Just before the above blooper is created with Elizabeth about to enter the drawing room, Vicki has just exited the scene; to adjust the blocking, the camera pulls in closer on Roger and Elizabeth and you can see against the lower right side of Roger’s jacket the shadow outline of both the camera and camera operator.
Early on in Act II as the sheriff gets underway with his questioning of Roger, the shadow of crew-operated equipment can be seen moving up against the back of the arm chair in the immediate foreground.
As Act III begins and David enters Vicki’s room, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen sweeping across the dressing atop the four poster bed.
In the drawing room during the second half of Act III, Roger says to the sheriff: “Burke Devlin has never forgiven me for testifying at his trial. He would do anything to cause me as much anguish as possible.” Then you hear a crew member cough from the production area; a quasi-blooper, given that you would most likely need headphones to hear it.
In the final scene, the boom mic shadows are pulling double duty; there’s one against the wall paneling beneath the landing, and another in the lower right corner against the foyer wall by the bottom of the stairs.
Food & Drink in Collinsport:
After showing the sheriff into the drawing room, Roger makes the offer of a drink but the sheriff declines because he’s on duty.
To be filed under “F” as in “First time for everything”; Roger changes his mind about having a drink and sets aside the one he has just poured for himself.
Soon after the sheriff has left, Roger is pouring himself another drink this time with the intention of actually having one; the other glassful he set aside earlier seems mysteriously to have vanished.
On the Flipside:
On the day that Dark Shadows episode 59 aired (Thursday September 15, 1966), one of ABC’s new shows for the fall lineup, The Tammy Grimes Show, was already halfway through its series run, having debuted the week before during the network’s “Advance Premiere” campaign.
As with all things relating to trivia and television obscurities, there is conflicting information about TTGS and what did or did not go into production, etc., regarding episodes that never aired. Here’s the actual breakdown: ABC initially ordered seventeen episodes for the 1966-67 season; TTGS was cancelled after just four episodes had aired, leaving the two scheduled for broadcast on the first two Thursdays in October unaired. By the time of cancellation, a total of ten episodes had been produced, with the eleventh about to go into production, and multiple drafts of scripts exist for episodes 12 through 15. The four shows that aired circulate among private collectors; the fifth episode, originally scheduled to air on October 6, 1966 (“George Washington Didn’t Sleep Here”), is along with the first four episodes that aired available for viewing in the UCLA Film & Television Archive, showing previews for episodes that never aired which in all likelihood will never be seen by anyone.
As we know from studying Dark Shadows, television shows at that time were typically given cycles of thirteen weeks to either stand or fall. So let’s have a look at the second episode (“How to Steal a Girl, Even If It’s Only Me”) and see if we can determine what factors may have led to the fastest network TV cancellation since ABC dropped the game show 100 Grand after just three episodes in September 1963.
“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.”
It probably doesn’t help that the opening theme music is potentially annoying, a throwaway jingle-type theme that sticks in your mind even though you wouldn’t necessarily want it to; but added to this you see the star of the series breezing into her parking space at work on a strange moped/Go Kart hybrid that surely never caught on.
At least there’s the gag of throwing her hat across the office and having it land on the head of series co-star Dick Sargent.
It’s a touch ironic that Tammy Grimes and Dick Sargent would be co-starring in a series together that would be playing on the same network and weeknight as Bewitched, considering that they were the original casting choices for Samantha and Darrin Stephens but whose other respective contractual commitments at the time led to the casting instead of Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York.
As you may recall from a special feature done here on the first episode of TTGS, Tamantha Ward is permanently flush on a trust fund and so doesn’t really need her customer relations desk job at the bank (which of course is run by her rich uncle), which most of the time finds her dusting her desktop with the tip of a finger. At least her brother over there at the adjacent desk appears to be working.
Straight away there’s a huge disconnect with the intended viewing audience, which from the commercials featuring various household cleaning products would promise to be rather housewifery.
In this week’s episode of TTGS, Tamantha will be kidnapped and held for ransom by these four, led by Gus at left who is eyeing Tammy for a kidnapping and ransom scheme with the knowledge that “she and her whole family own this bank.”
Recognize anyone there? There’s Monroe Arnold as Melvin (second from left), Richard Bakalyan as Tony (right), Paul Mantee as Eddie (second from right), and Jesse White as Gus (left).
Most recently preceding the broadcast of this episode, viewers would have seen Monroe Arnold as Dr. Jason in an episode of Bewitched (It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog; season 1, episode 3; aired October 1, 1964)…
…as The Movie Director in an episode of The Munsters (Herman’s Lawsuit; season 2, episode 31; aired April 21, 1966)…
…and as Dr. Motter in an episode of The Fugitive (Shadow of the Swan; season 3, episode 21, aired February 8, 1966).
Richard Bakalyan’s credits are as wide as life is long. Viewers in 1966 would likely have remembered him as a veteran of The Untouchables series (as Joe Courtney in The St. Louis Story; season 1, episode 16; aired January 28, 1960).
That Untouchables episode is also where future Dark Shadows Burke Devlin replacement Anthony George makes his series debut as Cam Allison, Jr.
Viewers that year (1966) might have remembered Paul Mantee from an episode of The FBI (as Frank Macklin in An Elephant Is Like a Rope; season 1, episode 12; aired December 5, 1965). As pictured at left, Ted Knight played his partner in crime Doc Ventura; it’s kind of funny hearing Knight speak in a lighter more nasally tone, still a half decade away from developing that low and sonorous Ted Baxter drawl on Mary Tyler Moore.
Soon after the episode of TTGS, viewers would spot Paul Mantee again in two of the other prominent Quinn Martin productions of the period, including The Fugitive (as Jack Burmas in Ten Thousand Pieces of Silver; season 4, episode 5; aired October 11, 1966)…
…and The Invaders (as Deputy Vern Hammond in The Enemy; season 2, episode 5; aired October 3, 1967).
Jesse White is one of those character actors whose face would be familiar to any viewer of the early days of television, having been in a million different things, including The Twilight Zone (as Harmon Cavender in Cavender Is Coming; season 3, episode 36; aired May 25, 1962).
(Jesse White with Carol Burnett in The Twilight Zone)
If you’re a fan of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, you’ll remember Jesse White as the warehouse security guard in the Chopper episode. Note the uncapped bottle of booze on the desk, so he can cope with all the strange goings-on in that warehouse during his overnight watch.
Ah yes, the headless motorcycle rider with the sword – great episode!
In the pilot episode, TTGS had Henry Jones, also who you’d swear you’ve seen in a million different things, among which would have been The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and especially Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
(Henry Jones as Alex Morrow in The World’s Oldest Motive, a season 3 episode from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, aired April 12, 1965)
So, obviously, TTGS had no problem attracting all the best, well-known names in character actors of the time.
And then there’s Tammy Grimes… Oh, wait. I’m just remembering something my second-grade teacher Miss Jensen once told the class, and she put a physical emphasis on the point, saying she was just going to jump up and down repeatedly so we’d always remember: “Never [jumps], never [jumps again], Never! [jumps with flailing hands and legs]… start a sentence with And! Oh, hell with it.
And then there’s Tammy Grimes. And here I was, about to do a summary of a TTGS episode but instead I’m enthusing on the supporting cast. And I’m just enthusing on the work they’ve done. And, and, and, well you know.
And if you’re wondering how this episode turns out, well yes Tammy Ward is kidnapped and held for ransom.
And sure she’d rather not be in such a situation, but since she is she may as well just make the best of it, so she cooks breakfast for her captors, which they like because it turns out she’s a pretty decent cook; the end.
And maybe Tammy Grimes, despite all the talent they manage to sign on, just doesn’t have much of a presence onscreen. I mean, with the other sitcoms that have leading ladies on Thursday’s ABC nighttime slots, even if you’re not a female viewer with the potential investment of character identification, you could be a male viewer who, you know, just likes to look at stuff, something that, you know, might stir one’s appetite.
And Marlo Thomas can certainly stir one’s appetite, like…
…a caramel-frosted praline cake on a strawberry ice cream float…
…or banana cream with an intoxicating sprinkle of cinnamon.
No doubt about it; Marlo Thomas is in boxing shape.
Something that makes you think of powdered cinnamon sticky buns – that girl!
One of the other leading ladies of ABC nighttime, Elizabeth Montgomery of Bewitched, has a similar… bewitching appeal…
…shapely and spellbinding in the type of slim-fitting, curve-hugging pants that women of the 1960s were embracing…
…like when Samantha is serving Darrin strawberry pancakes, while at the same time treating the viewer to a delicious glimpse of strawberry sticky buns.
Yes indeed, as the lady in green (Kathleen Nolan as Gerry O’Toole), the “wood nymph” in that episode, observes: “She’s a darlin’.”
A most enchanting wedge nymph.
Tammy Grimes, on the other hand, looks more at home in the type of comedic character role of Sister Mary Anthony that she played in the Trials of O’Brien episode “A Gaggle of Girls”.
“We’re living in super times.”
“Cheeseburger with mayo…”
“Would you like a little more wine?”
“Onion rings… a chocolate malt…”
“So you want something new, to calm the upsets of these super times.”
“Now we have Resolve…”
“…the superseltzer for our super times.”
“Resolve has 20% more pain reliever than any other seltzer tablet.”
“It has three antacids, not just one.”
“It neutralizes excess stomach acid, calmly.”
“And Resolve starts acting immediately to bring your stomach relief.”
“Ah! And nothing is faster than immediately.”
“The Tammy Grimes Show has been brought to you by… Bristol-Myers, the makers of Resolve, the superseltzer for our super times”
Like many other television programs in September 1966, Bewitched made the transition to color with the start of its third season, an episode titled Nobody’s Perfect in which it becomes apparent that Darrin and Samantha Stephens’ two-year-old daughter Tabitha has inherited a very special gift from her mother’s side of the family.
“The Quaker Oats Company presents…”
“Brought to you by…”
“Quaker Life must be for, everybody”
It has been written that some Dark Shadows fans consider Bewitched to be “Dark Shadows with a laugh track” given all the supernatural content and all the leading and recurring characters who are witches and warlocks, etc. But that’s like saying that The Munsters was also like what Dark Shadows eventually became, a so-called vampire TV series, when in fact Bewitched and The Munsters were merely family-oriented situation comedies with a fantasy basis whereas Dark Shadows was neither a comedy nor family oriented and the focus was always on realism, no matter how fantastic the story content.
Have you noticed that hardly anyone on Dark Shadows ever marries, and that when they do the situation and its aftermath become only a vehicle to further the grotesque, or that the only happy couples in a given story, rather than fulfilling the promise of happiness, are met instead with tragedy? Whether in Collinwood or Collinsport, the family unit on Dark Shadows is forever fractured, incomplete.
Family life at 1164 Morning Glory Circle however comes complete with the meddlesome, disapproving mother-in-law who is at every opportunity going to comedic lengths to make life more trying for her less than beloved son-in-law “Derwood”:
Endora entertains herself with a bird’s eye view of the Stephens’ living room after “spiking” the popcorn so that Darrin and any other mortal who happens to snack from the bowl suddenly shirk their responsibilities and blow off work for the day (Oedipus Hex; season 3, episode 11; aired November 14, 1966).
It’s fortunate that Tammy Grimes and Dick Sargent did not take on the roles of Samantha and Darrin Stephens as originally planned, because there is just something so fundamentally endearing about the pairing of Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York, each of whom appear so natural in their roles that together they seem like one of the definitive every-couples of the times.
The focus of this week’s episode is on daughter Tabitha, who Samantha takes in for a routine checkup at the doctor’s office.
The doctor is on the phone with Darrin to let him know the results, and when the doctor beckons Samantha over to his desk to take the call, she leaves Tabitha’s toy horse on the waiting area chair.
So Tabitha, just doing what comes naturally, uses her powers of magic…
…which leaves Samantha the first and fortunately sole witness to Tabitha’s act of witchcraft.
Back at home, Samantha sets the toy horse down on a bureau in Tabitha’s room for a test…
…to see if her daughter really is in possession of the powers of witchcraft…
…which she is…
…leaving Samantha dreading the thought of Darrin finding out.
Worse still Samantha wonders what may happen if her mother finds out, which is a perfect opening for Endora to just pop in unannounced.
Of course it isn’t long before Endora becomes the second member of the family to find out about Tabitha.
With Samantha stepping out for an errand, Endora is left to watch over Tabitha and sets about entertaining the impressionable toddler with a demonstration of witchcraft.
Darrin soon arrives home, and when Tabitha once again uses witchcraft to summon her favorite toy horse, Darrin erupts in thinking it was Endora practicing witchcraft in front of his daughter.
If there’s one rule Darrin asks that Samantha especially adhere to, it’s no witchcraft in the house. Much of the situational comedy content on Bewitched arises from keeping the forbidden magic from becoming known to the outside world, like when Larry brings a client over to the Stephens house for cocktails.
So when the client insists on being taken upstairs to get a look at Tabitha, you can just imagine how well that’s bound to turn out.
And that’s how Darrin comes to find out that Tabitha is a witch – the hard way.
Well, they had such things as the two-car family at the time, so why not a two-broom household.
“There’s a Puss’n Boots treat for every day of the week”
“They’ll come, one by one”
“The seven wonders of the cat world”
“Pretty kitties, here they come”
“The first gourmet dinner is this (tempting treat)”
“Then chicken and liver any cat would love to eat”
“Number three is the culinary masterpiece”
“That Puss’n Boots calls, gourmet feast”
“Kidney & gravy, that comes fourth”
“And five is a hit called gourmet fish & broth”
“Then chicken parts…”
“…then tuna fish”
“Then liver & gravy”
“’Coz Puss’n Boots (Puss’n Boots)”
“Has the best pet food (best pet food)”
“Has the best cat food (best cat food)”
“In the whole doggone world”
“Puss’n Boots (Puss’n Boots)”
“Has the best cat food (best cat food)”
“In the whole doggone world”
“Puss’n Boots has the best cat food (doggone world)…”
Rounding out the Thursday evening lineup for situation comedy in the 9:30 time slot was in this first official week of the 1966-67 season another new show airing its second episode, having also been given an advance premiere the week before.
Given the rise in the 1960s of women taking on stronger, more independent characters with leading roles in television, one could make the argument of That Girl being a precursor to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which debuted in September 1970 just as That Girl was going into its fifth season.
(The Mary Tyler Moore Show opening theme, Love Is All Around, as written and performed by Sonny Curtis)
And you know what? Mary Tyler Moore too has that certain something to attract a male viewer.
As Ted Baxter might say: “Gamdamn!”
That Girl is the story of Ann Marie (sounds like a first name, but Marie is the surname), who leaves her small town world of Brewster, New York for the Big Apple with dreams of making it as an actress. In building a new life for herself, she is completely on her own without even any roommates, because you could do it like that in those days.
In the days before the great cities of the United States were ruined forever by the dual scourge of corporate globalism and gentrification, take a look at what a generous expanse of Manhattan square footage could be had in 1966 for just $50 a month in rent ($396.23 in 2019 currency).
This angle shows the impressive width of Ann’s apartment from the front door to the bedroom. Off to the right of the front door is a kitchen in which you can walk a leisurely figure eight. Just fifty bucks a month…
…in New York City.
There’s a Simon and Garfunkel song from around that time called Bleecker Street, a Paul Simon original recorded in March 1964:
“Thirty dollars pays your rent, on Bleecker Street…”
(Simon and Garfunkel in 1964)
Location exteriors for Ann’s apartment building have it as the East End Hotel…
…situated along the waterfront, overlooking the East River.
In 1966, $50 got you breathing room with a view.
That Girl is one of those television programs noted for its distinguished list of guest stars, the most surprising of which has to be George Carlin. Many years before becoming notorious for his “List of 7 Dirty Words” (and then some!) and around the time he was becoming known for his comedy routine Al Sleet the Hippy Dippy Weatherman, George Carlin landed a part on ABC nighttime as Ann Marie’s agent, George Lester, making his debut early on during the fall of sixty-six. Carlin was supposed to have appeared in two episodes but never showed up for the second one, having in the words of series co-creator Bill Persky “freaked out and then disappeared for a couple years.”
“That Girl. Brought to you by…”
“Lark. America’s most popular new cigarette.”
“There is nothing, like a Lark.”
In contrast to Victoria Winters who is a foundling, Ann Marie is a fledgling, a point which is made clear by this episode’s opening narration:
“You are witnessing a scene which since the beginning of time has been repeated in all species of the animal kingdom…”
“…that moment when the fledgling tries its wings and flies away from the nest”
Whereas the pilot episode which debuted the week before as part of ABC’s “Advance Premiere” campaign tells the story of how Ann met Don Hollinger, the second episode is more of a prequel showing how Ann moved out of her parents’ house in the suburb of Brewster, New York for an apartment in Manhattan while working to become an actress. Ann’s father however is the overprotective type and debates with Mrs. Marie the statistics in support of her decision to live out on her own.
Mrs. Marie: “Thousands of girls every year do exactly what Ann’s doing”; Mr. Marie: “I’m not interested in thousands of girls. I’m only interested in…”
That’s really smart script writing in providing right off the bat for a younger, increasingly emancipated demographic a real and fully dimensional character to identify with, in addition to beginning the episode by highlighting the long-held universal theme of flying from the nest.
Also clever is how they introduce one of the regular characters in the series, one of Ann’s Manhattan neighbors Judy Bessemer, by tying in her initial appearance with the overprotective nature of Ann’s father. Ann has only just begun unpacking her things in her new apartment when her father telephones to check in. Because Ann hasn’t even yet set up her telephone, being worried and resourceful Mr. Marie finds out the name of her neighbor from the downstairs desk clerk and then calls information before finally phoning Judy to have her put Ann on the line.
Almost as soon as she is settled in with her new apartment, Ann begins the day by rushing out the door to meet with her agent about a possible acting job. It’s amazing how many full-grown adults in those days still drank milk.
Even Jim Rockford in the 1970s would pour himself a glass of milk whenever he would snack on cookies. I mean, why milk when you’re already full grown?
With all the New York City location footage, it’s easy to forget about That Girl being filmed at Desilu Studios in Culver City, California. In a lot of this location footage, you always see people either looking on (at Marlo Thomas as she moves through the scene) or gazing directly toward the camera; perhaps in those days they didn’t close off entire streets and hire extras to film location footage, so that real everyday people just became extras by accident.
Ann’s agent has gotten her a job offer that will help her to really clean up in the acting business – as a mop in a children’s television program that will allow the kids to pick her up, hold her upside down, and mop up the floor with her. At least it pays the rent for a while, and from the network logo on the television employee’s jacket, let there be no doubt about which network the children’s program is airing on.
For steady pay Ann works as a waitress in a rather posh restaurant called Grafton’s, a place where you can just walk among the tables lighting up your pipe. It helps the digestion, yours and everyone’s.
Finally Ann has to put a lid on her father’s overprotectiveness when both he and her mother come into the restaurant, leaving diners in her section waiting as she discusses her acting career and explains her life choices.
Ann: Look, whether it was crazy or not is unimportant. We had weeks of discussion before I left home, and we decided that I could take care of myself.
Mr. Marie: As a mop?
Ann: Will you forget the mop?
Mr. Marie: How can I? It isn’t easy to send a girl to college for four years and have her end up as a mop.
Ann: Daddy, will you try and understand something? Today I may be a mop, tomorrow a garbage pail. But eventually, who knows, I may even get to play people.
Mr. Marie: So we’re… not supposed to worry about you.
Ann: Of course you are, but not as much as you do. I know you and mom spent a lot of time and energy bringing me up, but now I’m up.
Mr. Marie: Okay, so you’re up.
Ann: I know it’s hard to accept the fact that your child’s not a child anymore.
Mr. Marie: We don’t think of you as a child.
Mrs. Marie: You vote and everything.
Ann: Of course you think of me as a child. You always will. And I love it. It’s just that I don’t want you to treat me like one. Okay?
Imagine if Carolyn Stoddard had the maturity and well-adjusted life knowledge that Ann Marie has – then there’d be no more Dark Shadows.
“Have a Lark, have a Lark, have a Lark today”
“Have a Lark, have a Lark, have a Lark today”
“Have a Lark today”
“There’s nothing, nothing, nothing like a Lark”
“Lark has an inner chamber of charcoal granules…”
“…for a taste people really like”
“Have a Lark, have a Lark, have a Lark today”
“I happen to know there’s charcoal granules in Lark’s filter.”
“Now that’s the reason for the difference in taste.”
“I switched to Lark because I like the taste.”
“There is nothing…”
“…like a Lark”
(That Girl closing theme for season 1)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents has a 1957 episode called “Number Twenty-Two” starring Rip Torn as a young thug whose compulsively antisocial sense of humor results in bitterly ironic consequences after being arrested for armed robbery.
Notable is the costume Hitch dons for the introductory segment, in acknowledgment of the youth culture of the period; occasionally he will be done up as a beatnik artist or a rock drummer, and for this episode he gives the introduction on the set of a police lineup as a teenage delinquent a la Blackboard Jungle, though he looks more like a taxi driver who sells drugs like meth amphetamine on the side.
Twenty-year-old Steve Morgan is just starting out in his life of crime. After robbing a candy store with a toy pistol, he gets apprehended by police.
While in custody awaiting arraignment, he confides to his cellmate, an old-timer who knows the ropes, that the guys at the pool hall he hangs out at didn’t think much of him and that his mother always treated him like a baby.
Morgan hopes that his escapade will make the papers. In the meantime, he regards the whole process of incarceration as a joke.
There’s something eerily familiar about Rip Torn’s Steve Morgan that has nothing to do with the story, the television series, or even the 1950s. It’s something one might project into the viewing experience that comes from the future, that is, something beyond the 1950s; it’s the bravado of Steve Morgan’s character, his lack of empathy for others, and despite being articulate and intelligent his unwillingness or inability to understand the seriousness of the charges against him – but most of all it’s that sideways grin Rip Torn applies to his portrayal that makes him look so much like… Bundy! Aaaaaarrrrggghh!
“When sniffles and sneezes and other painful cold miseries…”
“…make your head feel like a balloon…”
“Relieve those painful cold miseries, fast”
“Because Bufferin acts twice as fast as aspirin, to relieve cold miseries, headache pain, neuralgia, or ordinary aches and pains”
“Here’s why: As you see, both Bufferin and aspiring take exactly the same time to get to the stomach”
“But for a pain reliever to do its best and quickest work, it must get out of the stomach, into the bloodstream”
“Now Bufferin’s formula combines aspirin with two special antacid ingredients…”
“…which get the pain reliever out of the stomach, into the bloodstream, twice as fast as aspirin”
“That’s why Bufferin acts twice as fast as aspirin”
“What’s more, Bufferin doesn’t upset your stomach…”
“…as aspirin often does”
“So get Bufferin today, and banish cold miseries fast. Bufferin”
If you’ve ever read or heard the words “serial” and “killer” being used in the same sentence, then no doubt you would be familiar with the story of Ted Bundy, the most notorious serial killer of the twentieth century and whose notoriety is rivaled only by Jack the Ripper. But at the time this episode aired Bundy would only have been ten or eleven, and no one could have dreamed that one day his systematic trail of carnage would lead law enforcement to first coin the term serial killer while he was coming to resemble Rip Torn as he’d appeared in that episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents as budding petty criminal Steve Morgan.
Because in Number Twenty-Two, all it takes when viewing this episode from down through the decades is just prison bars as a backdrop, even without that sideways grin, to know that this isn’t Rip Torn, it’s… Bundy! Aaaaaarrrrggghh!
“Brusha, brusha, brusha”
“New Ipana tooth paste”
“Brusha, brusha, brusha”
“Fellow parents, you’ve been missing out on a good thing”
“My wife bought Ipana because the kids were singing that TV jingle”
“We thought it was that old Ipana we used years ago”
“But it isn’t. They’ve changed everything but the name”
“Brand new flavor: fresh, minty”
“Neat new cap – easy to use, hard to lose”
“And a brand new formula”
“New Ipana knocks out decay germs”
“Pow! Better than any other leading tooth paste”
“After all, grownups have to look out for decay germs too”
“So hustle down to the store and buy enough Ipana for everybody”
“New Ipana destroys decay bacteria best of all leading brands”
“Including fluoride tooth paste”
“And Ipana is safe even for children under six”
“Make it your family tooth paste. New Ipana!”
Especially when the character is in a police lineup, grinning with arrogant defiance, all you can see in Rip Torn’s portrayal of Steve Morgan is… Bundy! Aaaaaarrrrggghh!
“Now, new Minit Rub…”
“…the modern greaseless way to rub muscular pain away”
“New Minit Rub relieves deep-down pain without grease”
“Old-fashioned greasy rubs are strong smelling, messy, rub off on clothes and linens”
“But Minit Rub vanishes, won’t stain, smells good, feels cool, yet relieves muscular soreness even bone deep”
“New Minit Rub”
“The modern greaseless way to rub muscular pain away”
Moral of the story: Never let the present day get in the way of great vintage television.
Joan Bennett’s 1970 autobiography (original front and back covers).
The Bennetts: An Acting Family, the 2004 biography (front cover).
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 returning is the actress who played 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 60: Portrait of Her Possible Past
— Marc Masse
© 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.