Victoria Winters hasn’t had a lot to do lately what with the scramble to restore the show’s ratings having made Dark Shadows the “What Happened to Bill Malloy?” show. Most recently she’s had lunch at the Collinsport Inn restaurant consisting of a two-week-old lobster roll and year-old clam chowder and in that one episode also evaded yet another of Burke Devlin’s equally stale but persistent dinner invites. One has to wonder whether she would have accepted Burke’s offer even if she were free, but as it happens tonight she’s having dinner as Maggie’s guest at the Evans cottage.
First mentioned back in episode 46, Victoria’s visit at the Evans cottage is a key story element in the original series outline written by Art Wallace, Shadows on the Wall. Ostensibly for David’s benefit so that she could perhaps reach out to her young charge and encourage his creative talents by getting him to meet a real artist like Sam Evans, this occasion would instead become a decisive turning point in the Burke Devlin story arc where Roger, increasingly fearful that Sam would likely reveal to her his guilt in the accident of ten years ago that sent Burke to prison on a manslaughter conviction, brings about his own sudden downfall after dragging Victoria out to the edge of Widow’s Hill to voice an explanation, but who instead when startled by the presence of David observing them from a hidden vantage point nearby goes over the edge of the cliff himself.
That was the original story vision slated for the first half or so of that initial thirteen-week episode cycle, as outlined during the preproduction stage in the series bible. Dark Shadows: The First Year, the long out-of-print yet authoritative source guide for these first 210 episodes, has the following rather telling bit of trivia for when the casting decisions had become finalized: “…During Alexandra Moltke’s screen test, her resemblance to a younger Joan Bennett became apparent, furthering the story idea that Vicki was the long-lost daughter of Elizabeth” (Dark Shadows: The First Year, by Nina Johnson and O. Crock [summary writers], Blue Whale Books, 2006; p. 14).
Today’s episode thus presents a striking bit of information to deepen the mystery surrounding the identity of Victoria’s parentage; whereas the series outline was written with Paul Stoddard as the father and the identity of the mother unknown, perhaps one of the many summer tourists who would account for a seasonal influx to boost the Collinsport population figures by upwards of fifty percent, here in episode 60 a maternal link is strongly implied, more in keeping with the casting impressions acquired postproduction. Further along through the fall of 1966, this new direction toward revealing the truth of Victoria’s background as connected maternally with Collinwood will be reinforced when she finds an old ledger sheet in the closed-off wing from the days when many servants were employed to run the great estate; yes, the mystery of Victoria Winters’ origins was to have been solved by that old reliable standby of the big house/mystery story twist: the butler did it!
Episode 60 is therefore a milestone, in that it gets to the heart of the very mystery as first presented that night on the train, the quest of a young woman in search of herself and the lives that become intertwined with her own along the way. In so doing, this episode becomes one of just a handful of the most significant moments in the story of Victoria Winters, one to which this blog will consistently return as a clear and revealing reference toward solving the mystery even as we look back from the far-off space year of 1968, when Alexandra Moltke at last leaves the show and the character is finally written out, with the central element to her story, the truth of her family background, left forever dangling even after attempting two cast replacements in quick succession.
Despite this, there are still enough details presented in today’s episode, as well as a couple more episodes to come in 1966, to piece together the likely answers from what is first implied here so profoundly, the maternal link that connects the life of Victoria Winters to those up at Collinwood, a trail of clues that begins at the Evans cottage when she happens on a portrait of her possible past.
Look who’s coming to dinner at the Evans cottage, invited as a guest by the J.E.R.K. committee of the Collinsport Chamber of Commerce, Maggie Evans, whose cautionary words of introduction that first night to Vicki in the Collinsport Inn restaurant were followed by such acid-tongued denouncements as: “I could tell you things about that house that would rock you from here all the way back to the railroad station.”
In one sense you can understand why Maggie and Vicki would become friends, given that they’re both outsiders in relation to Collinwood; the viewer gets to know Collinwood and its residents as Vicki does, through her day-to-day interactions, while Maggie represents more the attitude of suspicious locals who after growing up on the notoriety of all the ghosts and legends associated with the Collins family have the good sense to stay well clear of the ancestral palace. Maggie is almost awestruck as to how Vicki could have the courage to live and work in such a spooky place, while Vicki tells her that it’s just a house only bigger.
When Maggie asks Vicki if she has seen a ghost up at Collinwood, this provides the show with an opportunity to highlight the ambiguous nature of its gothic tone as Vicki recalls the incident from episode 30 when the lights had gone out during a thunder and lightning storm and relates how a series of lightning flashes revealed in the drawing room doorway the presence of a hooded figure.
As Vicki recounts the story for Maggie, she is still uncertain whether or not that image from a few nights before was an actual ghost, or the more likely explanation that it had been Roger having just come in from the rain and seeing the lights were out had gone downstairs to check the fuse, which is where Roger was coming from when Vicki had gone out to the foyer to investigate. Regardless, Maggie thinks her new friend is crazy to stay up in Collinwood.
One of the more striking things about this episode is how normal Maggie seems; that is, how the rough edges around the Maggie character were smoothed quite literally overnight once the actress playing the role was given the okay to drop the blonde wig. That had been back in episode 20. Before then, the portrayal of Margaret Evans had run more in accord with the outline provided by Art Wallace:
“…Maggie Evans is a cynic. At the age of twenty-three she has bounced through a number of love affairs, and has finally settled down behind the counter of the Collinsport Diner. There she watches the parade of arrivals and departures, a parade provided by the fact that the bus from Bangor picks up and discharges its few passengers at her door.
“She’s the kind of girl who is everybody’s pal…and nobody’s friend. A wisecrack can supplant reality, and a big laugh can avoid truth. For essentially, Maggie is a lonely person…hoping for something and expecting nothing” (Shadows on the Wall, pp. 34-35).
Minus the blonde wig, it’s as if Maggie’s essential character traits as outlined above were likewise tossed aside, bringing about a fundamental transformation into the kinder, gentler Maggie Evans most Dark Shadows fans are familiar with, but without any situational elements as experienced by the character to have justified such a sudden shift in tone. One day there was Maggie Evans in costume and playing according to how the character was originally written, while the next day there was Maggie Evans with the actress playing the part just being more like herself (whoever that person might happen to be).
The irony about Maggie and the blonde wig is that starting out on Dark Shadows, that actress would have been sporting one regardless, having “originally tried out for the part of Carolyn, complete with blonde wig” (Dark Shadows: The First Year, p. 13).
Even after being cast instead as Maggie, the actress was asked to wear a blonde wig regardless over producers’ concern that viewers might confuse her with Alexandra Moltke.
Such concerns over viewer satisfaction in those days were not restricted to young women just starting out in their acting careers, but could even affect well-established names in the business as well. For the entire first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show for instance, Mary Tyler Moore had to wear a wig so that viewers wouldn’t confuse her with Laura Petrie, her character on the popular and beloved Dick Van Dyke Show, especially considering how early on Mary Tyler Moore had initially been written as a divorcée.
Of course in retrospect such concerns seem unfounded, because the actress who plays Maggie Evans looks nothing at all like Alexandra Moltke.
Vicki’s visit to the Evans cottage this episode is a page right out of Shadows on the Wall; for it is on this occasion that she will finally learn the backstory that set in motion this long-running antagonism between Burke Devlin and Roger Collins. She is there because of her burgeoning friendship with Maggie, but she also holds a special interest in Mr. Evans’ work as an artist if only for the sake of David.
While Maggie takes the groceries into the kitchen, Vicki looks through a stack of paintings in one corner and makes a startling discovery.
A portrait whose subject holds a striking likeness, so much so that Maggie comments: “She could pass for your sister!”
So profound is the immediate effect of seeing her likeness in this portrait that Vicki begins recalling her days at the foundling home:
Maggie: You really hang on, don’t you?
Vicki: Every night in the foundling home, I used to lie in bed and stare at the dark…and pray that when I woke up in the morning I’d know who I really was.
When Mr. Evans arrives home, he provides Vicki with what little information on the portrait he has to offer. It was twenty-five years ago when he painted that portrait; it was of a local girl named Betty Hanscom. When Sam mentions that he knew a great deal of her in those days, assuring Maggie that it was well before he’d met and married her mother, it is hinted that there may have been a romantic involvement between the painter of the portrait and its subject.
Naturally given the resemblance, Vicki initially believes that the young woman in the portrait may in fact have been her mother, but is crestfallen to learn from Sam that soon after the portrait was done she’d left town and died a few months later, still several years before Vicki was born. Sam adds that Betty had a mother and father, but who had since passed on as well, and no other relatives.
Still, the source of the portrait prop introduced in today’s episode carries a hint of a maternal connection with Collinwood being planned as a possible direction in the story of Victoria Winters; it was copied from an early (c. 1966) publicity photo of Alexandra Moltke, with the implication that the young woman in the portrait and Victoria Winters are of the same flesh and blood. The tip-off is when Maggie comments to Vicki on how the woman in the portrait could pass for her sister; that Betty Hanscom and Vicki are indeed half-sisters – same father, different mothers.
How ironic when you consider that it was Roger who was responsible for Victoria being hired on at Collinwood in the first place. If he had not returned to the ancestral home a month earlier pleading with his sister his reinstatement for the good of David, then surely Elizabeth would never have had reason to reach out to the foundling home in New York.
There does seem to be in these early episodes the subtext of an unspoken mother-daughter bond in Elizabeth and Victoria. In time Elizabeth will come to think of Vicki as a member of the family, and she has expressed regret over the apparent loneliness of Vicki’s upbringing in the foundling home. However, Elizabeth has on occasion been unduly harsh with the young governess, like when she suspects that Vicki herself might have been responsible for tampering with the brakes on Roger’s car and not David, and is the last one to finally come around to the truth, well after others closest to her have resigned themselves to the unfortunate fact of David’s guilt.
Both Roger and Elizabeth have secrets to keep hidden. Roger never wanted Vicki around to begin with, and yet here he is the main reason she is there at Collinwood; through Vicki’s dual associations with Burke Devlin and now with Sam Evans, Roger fears that she may be instrumental in exposing him. Elizabeth also has reason to fear being exposed should Vicki succeed in piecing together the puzzle of her past; at that time there was still a social stigma toward illegitimate offspring, so Elizabeth has to choose between acknowledging Victoria as one of her own or preserving the name of Collins in good social standing.
Here at the center of it all is Victoria Winters, to certain members of the Collins family their biggest ghost of all.
(Joan Bennett, Louis Edmonds, and Alexandra Moltke during episode rehearsals, June 1966; photo as published in Dark Shadows: The First Year)
In Act II of today’s episode, the sheriff clues Burke in on the two possible locations where Bill Malloy’s body might have fallen in the water; Sims Cove (two miles north of the cannery) and Lookout Point (halfway between Bill’s house on the water and the cannery).
Inspiration for naming a location in Collinsport Lookout Point could have come from a variety of sources, like A Matter of Murder, a 1964 episode from the Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
It’s a place where, while driving around with a murdered woman in your trunk, you can just stop off at and, you know, look out at stuff.
There’s another, earlier episode from the Alfred Hitchcock Hour where a spot named Lookout Point is used, and as with the Matter of Murder episode above functions as the central location for criminal deeds as well as the main perpetrator rendezvous.
(The blackmailer’s accomplice practices a signal from the picnic area at Lookout Point, a forestry location in the 1962 episode Night of the Owl)
Most recent to today’s episode of Dark Shadows was a 1965 episode from The Fugitive, with Lookout Point as the highest elevation in town being designated as a place where you can, you know, look out at stuff…
…that is, if you don’t already have another place you should be running to instead.
Location footage for the Lookout Point of Collinsport is first provided in episode 75, where Vicki finds a certain filigreed fountain pen that may have been left there by the person who may have killed Bill Malloy.
Dark Shadows episode 11 is where I first really started listening more closely for to the background chatter which in this blog has been called “hidden audio”; episode 11 is where discussion from the control room becomes more obvious. Especially audible, albeit mostly as a “scratchy” transistor radio in a tin can type of sound, is this lady’s voice the tone of which would suggest heightened displeasure coupled with urgency: director Lela Swift complaining to executive producer Dan Curtis as the episode taping unfolds.
First let’s be sure to acquaint ourselves with the sound of Lela’s voice as she directs from the control room. There’s a moment from Act I of episode 13 where location footage is shown of Victoria Winters walking the grounds of Collinwood and then knocking on the front door of what is intended to represent the exterior of Matthew’s cottage. Just before the location footage is synced back into the studio sets, you can hear Lela signaling to a crew member, presumably her associate director John Sedwick down on the soundstage, to cue in camera 2 for Alexandra Moltke’s entrance.
The red cursor in the below waveform illustration shows where in the following clip at normal volume Lela’s voice can be heard.
Here is that section of the audio from the above clip…
…with the amplification tweaked up 32x:
Lela: Okay John, hit her on two!
As of the taping of episode 11, Lela is having a huge problem with Mark Allen, the actor who originated the Sam Evans role. It’s only his third episode appearance thus far, but already Lela is complaining to Dan during the opening scene that she has had enough of Mark Allen.
The below clip is of part of that opening scene, with the vertical red cursor showing the point in that clip where the faint background voice of a woman can be heard.
Here is that portion of the clip…
…with the amplification heightened 32x. Even with a bit of noise reduction, you’ll need a pair of headphones with the sound turned all the way up, but even so it may take repeated listens to be able to make out clearly what is being said as actor dialogue on the soundstage falls momentarily silent:
Lela: Dan, how many times do I have to tell you? I’m sick of working with Mark Allen!
By the end of taping for this episode, just as a gap of silence falls between the last music cue of the final scene and the start of the closing theme, Lela is practically shouting into the control room microphone, so that her displeasure over Mark Allen can be quite clearly heard – again with headphones and the sound way up, and with amplification raised 32x along with substantial noise reduction:
Lela: I can’t stand you!
Dan: Lela, alright…
We’ll keep gathering audio clips for this episode as we go along, post by post; at this point, it appears that Lela’s method of complaining about an actor she doesn’t like, directly into the control room microphone for all in the studio to hear, may be a means of sabotaging said actor off the show.
“Believe it, …or not.”
In today’s episode we learn the names of two key but deceased figures, the man killed in the hit-and-run from ten years ago and the woman in the portrait that Vicki finds at the Evans cottage; and thanks to the authoritative source guide Dark Shadows: The First Year, we also know the spellings of their surnames as originally scripted for this episode: Hanson and Hanscom.
During Vicki’s visit at the Evans cottage, when Sam recounts the story of the accident that resulted in Burke Devlin’s manslaughter conviction, he says that after driving from a tavern along the Bangor Road the car hit a man and he was killed, but that the car with Burke, Roger, and Laura kept going. This version suggests that the man may have died instantly at the scene; however, back in episode 17 Dr. Reeves mentions that he treated the man who was killed. This earlier implication that the man may not have been killed immediately and could have been helped makes the hit-and-run all the more indefensible. By 1967, as Dark Shadows bides its time between the end of the phoenix arc and the beginning of the Barnabas/vampire storyline and the Burke Devlin manslaughter story is revisited, Sam will emphatically state that the man died the instant he hit the pavement and that there was nothing that could have been done for him; of course, by that point the decision to have the Roger Collins character killed off was changed, and over time the portrayal of Roger had become somewhat “nicer” overall.
(Roger being treated in the office of Dr. Reeves on the night his car ran off the road on his way down the hill from Collinwood)
Today’s episode is bookended with representations of the Evans cottage. The end credits have the main set for the living room, including the studio area by the bay window where Sam works.
Following the usual exteriors for Collinwood during Victoria’s opening narration, today’s episode kicks off with a location shot of the house in Essex, Connecticut used to represent the front exterior of the Evans cottage.
This undated photo shows what the Evans cottage looked like in later years.
The actual real-life address is 17 Little Point Street, which runs perpendicular to the North Cove waterfront.
Episode 60 is the first where there is no slating announcement, as usually read by ABC announcer Bob Lloyd. Also missing are the announcements over the closing credits. This apparently took crew members in the control room by surprise. In the below clip, with headphones on and volume up you may or may not be able to make out the following:
Lela: I don’t hear any slating announcement. Where’s Bob?
Dan: One of his kids had a doctor’s appointment, he couldn’t make it in…
As noted from the above audio clip, running throughout the episode is a huge underlying and continual stream of white noise. Although the voice of director Lela Swift can be faintly detected in the magnification of the slating portion, in addition to the roaring static of white noise there are other faint voices barely audible “beneath” the episode as it plays out, voices not of crew members or anything to do with Dark Shadows. This suggests that the tape reel for this episode had previously been used in another television production, then “wiped” for reuse.
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
As the opening teaser scene builds to a dramatic conclusion with Victoria Winters excited upon discovering the portrait, the camera moves in for an up-angle shot of Alexandra Moltke on the landing by the front door of the Evans cottage, with the mirror reflecting studio lights overhead.
In Act II, as Maggie and Vicki set the dinner table at the Evans cottage and Maggie mentions how she would never stay up at Collinwood, Alexandra Moltke says: “Well all big house have stories and legends atta-attached to them…”
Toward the middle of Act II, following the news that Vicki will be staying for dinner, the lens of a second camera pokes into prominent view at upper right of screen as Sam heads out of the room to wash up.
While Sheriff Patterson is warning Burke against taking matters into his own hands, a teleprompter as well as other equipment can be seen reflected in the door of the sheriff’s office.
Toward the end of Act IV, when the phone call between the sheriff and Sam is concluding, as the camera focuses on Sheriff Patterson at his end, when Sam says “Sure,” you can tell it comes from the adjacent set; then when the camera is back on Sam at his end, you can hear the sheriff setting down the receiver and it’s obvious that the sound of the prop is coming from the nearby set.
While Dark Shadows lists a credit for wardrobe, there is none for catering; it seems there should be, given how most all the characters are frequently eating or drinking. Doing things on the cheap as they must, you would think that the producers may probably have purchased the food and drink seen consumed on the show from the nearby “greasy spoon” said to have been just around the corner from the television studio.
Without doubt, that greasy spoon/coffee shop is long gone by now, and no one will ever know the name of the establishment in question which supplied the sheriff of Collinsport his ham sandwiches and the Collinsport Inn restaurant its cheeseburgers.
A tantalizing clue is provided today in the sheriff’s office, with something printed on the coffee cup there on the sheriff’s desk.
On closer inspection, the lettering across the container reads: “It’s Our Pleasure To Serve You”; wherever that cup of coffee was purchased, the owner(s) of that long-defunct coffee shop were among the uncredited caterers to Dark Shadows.
Food & Drink in Collinsport:
For dinner at the Evans cottage, it’s never specifically stated what’s being served, only that the ingredients are evidently contained by the two grocery bags Maggie brings home. In episode 65, however, with Roger prying for clues as to what was discussed when Burke Devlin was present, Sam will sardonically remark: “What did you do Collins, bug the clam chowder?”
At the sheriff’s office, Burke walks in while the sheriff is trying to get down a late lunch, which he begins by watering down his coffee perhaps to cool it off a bit…
…then takes up what looks to be a ham sandwich, evidently checking to see that they remembered to include mustard.
Sam tells Vicki about the accident that sent Burke Devlin to prison ten years ago, taking a drink himself as he tells about the hazards of drunk driving.
On the Flipside:
The day that episode 60 of Dark Shadows aired, September 15, 1966, was a Friday. Kicking off the official start of ABC’s Friday night lineup at 7:30 Eastern for the 1966-67 season was the second episode of The Green Hornet, “Give ‘Em Enough Rope”; the first episode had debuted the week before as part of ABC’s “Advance Premiere” campaign.
There must have been something about the timing of the mid-1960s that made it just right for television to present adaptations of iconic comic book superheroes not just once, but twice that same year, first with Batman and again with the even more venerable Green Hornet, though over time it seems that Batman has won out in terms of universal appeal if all the revival films made since their initial run on network TV is any indication. In fact, it was only the success of the Batman series on ABC earlier in 1966 that allowed for the Green Hornet character to be adapted by television; George W. Trendle, co-creator for when the crime-fighting superhero made its debut on radio in 1936, had already failed on two attempts to make the transition to television in 1951 and 1958.
Indeed, simply because of the wider popularity of the famed caped crusader of the fictional city of Gotham, one might assume the Green Hornet to be derivative of the Batman story given how each character shares key qualities like super-high intelligence, unparalleled detective skill, and unbeatable proficiency in the martial arts; in addition, each has a secret base of operations where when heading out for a masked crime-fighting call they can access a technologically superior super car (the Batmobile and the Black Beauty) as well as rely on a faithful and capable assistant.
It may in fact be that there is a Robin alongside Batman because of the connection to the Lone Ranger used for the original 1930s Green Hornet radio serial, in which Britt Reid, the man who uses the Green Hornet as his alter ego while by day publishing a big-city newspaper called the Daily Sentinel, is the son of Dan Reid, Jr., the nephew of Lone Ranger John Reid, which makes the Lone Ranger a great uncle to the Green Hornet; and, of course, where would “Kemosabe” be without his ever faithful assistant and friend Tonto?
Originally Japanese for the 1930s radio serials, subsequent events toward the end of that decade led creators to change the nationality of Britt Reid’s valet Kato first to Korean and then to Filipino, while in the Green Hornet movie serials of the 1940s the character was played by a Chinese-American actor, and these changes would seem to have made the casting of Hong Kong-American actor Bruce Lee the logical one especially given how he brought a genuine expertise in martial arts to the role, which as a fellow masked vigilante accompanying the Green Hornet on missions was one of Kato’s essential prerequisites.
Even before the television debut of The Green Hornet in September 1966, the character of Kato had already been recently revived in film (though spelled as Cato), in a role outside the previous Green Hornet associations as the servant and martial arts training partner to… Inspector Clouseau in 1964 for the second outing of the long-running Pink Panther film franchise, the Blake Edwards production A Shot in the Dark.
To settle a long-burning question, for that famous scene where Maria Gambrelli and Jacques Clouseau are driving around the city naked…
…were Elke Sommer and Peter Sellers really in the buff for that scene?
(Clouseau and Maria Gambrelli get caught in a gridlock)
Apparently not. In fact, those look to be uncredited doubles…
…but that shouldn’t affect one’s suspension of disbelief, particularly with Elke Sommer.
“The Green Hornet, is brought to you by…”
“Creators of the exciting natural look in beauty”
“And tonight, by Summer Blonde”
“The new gentle hair lightener that lightens like the sun does”
Syndicate figure Joe Sweek has a conflict of interest that’s about to get him in big trouble. He’s been acting as a mob informant through Britt Reid’s Daily Sentinel newspaper exposing a fake accident and insurance racket and has been found out by fellow syndicate members.
The title for this episode comes from the method of “accident” being planned once Joe Sweek has been lured into a warehouse, with the “man in black” swinging from a large conveyor rope down at where he is to be positioned.
The one setting up Joe Sweek for the hit is named “Charley” who you may recognize elsewhere from other roles.
That’s Joseph Sirola, who you may remember from Kolchak: The Night Stalker in the second episode from the series, The Zombie.
Tracing the killings plaguing a local syndicate, Kolchak hides in a warehouse while secretly taping a summit meeting between two opposing factions, after which he accidentally hits rewind on his tape machine alerting them to his presence.
Kolchak has to do some fast talking to the boss, especially after being recognized by Mr. Sposato, that it wasn’t he who crashed his daughter’s wedding taking loads of pictures, but his brother Sydney Kolchak.
“What’s a Kolchak?”
Around that time Sirola also played the part of Charlie Hughes in the movie Seizure, which starred Jonathan Frid as a writer plagued by strange, repetitive dreams. In the shot below, lounging in the background is co-star Mary Woronov, who is perhaps best known as one of Andy Warhol’s Factory entourage of the 1960s.
The fate of Joe Sweek will get the Green Hornet interested in working for the syndicate version of the insurance business, at least undercover. Meanwhile, Britt Reid has his hands full when one of his reporters forgets to add the word “alleged” in the text of a story naming one of the syndicate figures (Alex Colony) suspected of working for the very racket the demise of Joe Sweek was supposed to stop the flow of information on to Reid’s paper.
Reid is informed by his secretary, Lenore “Casey” Case, that Colony has hired a lawyer to bring a lawsuit against the paper implicating him in the insurance racket. Lenore is one of only three people who know of the Green Hornet’s true identity, the other two being Kato and District Attorney Frank Scanlon. Casey mentions that the lawyer is in the newspaper office that very moment, and that it’s a she.
Enter Diana Hyland in the role of Claudia Bromley.
It seems Diana Hyland was in just about every TV show that decade, though she is perhaps best known as having been a regular character for several months on Peyton Place toward the end of its run, Susan Winter, the hard-drinking and unhappy wife of local minister Tom Winter.
(Calling in drunk; Diana Hyland in Peyton Place episode 457; aired September 2, 1968)
Perhaps as a testament to the popularity of Diana Hyland’s presence in those days, fast forward to 1970 as the first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show gets underway. Check out Phyllis Lindstrom’s look at the time, right down to the spaghetti swirls of hair down the sides; it certainly does appear as if she were emulating Diana Hyland’s “60s It-girl” look.
(Diana Hyland in the 1966 pilot film for the Iron Horse TV series)
(Cloris Leachman in the debut episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, doing her best Diana Hyland)
You know, if they’d filmed Goodfellas instead back in 1966, they would’ve cast The Green Hornet’s Van Williams for the part of Henry Hill.
Listen to the opening harpsichord music in this commercial, a direct rip of the piano solo played by producer George Martin on the Beatles song, In My Life, released on their Rubber Soul album the previous December. Surely you’ll recognize the narrator’s voice as that of Jack Klugman.
“If you’ve been using a cream on your hair, why do it clear?”
“Now you can use something else”
“Because now Vitalis comes out of a tube”
“And it’s as greaseless as Vitalis liquid”
“Only it’s not liquid”
“Only it’s not liquid”
“It’s… something else”
Also airing its second episode for the start of the new network season due to an advance premiere from the week before was the new big-budget sci-fi adventure series The Time Tunnel.
“The Time Tunnel. Brought to you by…”
“Old Spice lime”
“The new aftershave lotion and cologne that’s so wild…”
“…it’s barely civilized”
“And by, Alka-Seltzer”
“Now packed in foil”
“To stay fresh”
Last week on The Time Tunnel, Drs. Tony Newman (James Darren) and Doug Philips had to be rescued from the RMS Titanic before it collided with the iceberg and sank after Newman, anxious over the progress of the project and worried that crucial Washington funding is about to be pulled, made an unauthorized entry into the Time Tunnel and sent himself back in time to 1912. Philips decides to follow and they both manage to escape the doomed liner in time, after which the crew in the Time Tunnel control room, who were able to track Newman and Philips in their journey, manage to freeze them in limbo; but before they can be returned to the present, Newman and Philips instead move forward in time, through their own future, to find themselves in a rocket ship that is just about to blast off for a mission to Mars.
The third episode to be produced but the second to air, “One Way to the Moon” finds Newman and Philips caught in the middle of a space race for Mars in 1978, ten years past their own time. You have to marvel at the sly humor of setting your time-travel television series not in the actual present broadcast year of 1966, but instead two years later, so that even the “present” is something of a time travel story in itself.
It says a lot about the states of mind inspired by the “Space Age” 1960s that midway through the decade they would put a show on network TV which realistically envisioned the possibility of manned space travel to Mars in the following decade. Moon fever was everywhere; that season on Bewitched manned space flights to the moon are discussed in one episode while Darrin is watching a TV show about astronauts and their missions, a topic which grows argumentative when he learns that Samantha has already seen the moon herself, close up.
They did of course send ships to Mars in the mid-1970s to relay photographs and other data, but the prospect of sending astronauts on such a round trip remains elusive. For one thing, means of space travel would have to progress beyond the standard rocket-type design. It takes eight months to get there, and there’s the psychological risk of stuffing a group of humans into a round container the size of a studio apartment to sit around month after month like this.
They would have to come up with something like a large, virtual village a la Starship Enterprise. With the addition of a lava lamp, you could just as easily escape the infinite boredom and desperation of cold black empty space punctured only by the pinprick light of a billion unattainable suns, just outside your window.
Naturally Newman and Tony won’t go for long without getting discovered by the crew; having emerged from time limbo in the service module of the rocket, their added 335 pounds means that the crew may have to scrub the mission because escape velocity from Earth’s gravitational field cannot be reached.
The Time Tunnel’s budget was huge; most of the production cost was allocated to the make-up department for glycerin applied to actors’ faces to simulate the adrenalin of sweating out a tense life or death situation.
Rocket crew begin contacting their mission control to announce that they will soon jettison the overweight service module and attempt reentry, while on the ground ten years earlier the crew of the Time Tunnel control room frantically track the rocket’s flight progress.
Even when Newman and Philips do manage to escape from the service module and alert the crew to their presence, they still have to get past (!) the invariable awkward time travel conversation of “I’m from a different time” and “What year is it now?”, etc.
But to suspend the disbelief of the audience, and more importantly to get them rooting for team Time Tunnel, it helps that certain characters within the story would not have their belief suspended, at least not so easily and not at first.
They’re telling you the truth man! They really do come from the late 1960s – just look at that green turtleneck.
“This is the hat that Jack wore”
“This is the head that lived in the hat that Jack wore”
“This is the ache inside the head that lived in the hat that Jack wore”
“This is the tablet that went in the glass that relieved the ache inside the head that lived in the hat that Jack wore”
“This is the name of that marvelous tablet that went in the glass that relieved the ache inside the head that lived in the hat that Jack wore”
“Hey! This is the belt that Jill wore”
“And this is the trouble that upset the tummy that lived in the belt that Jill wore”
“This is the tablet that went in the glass that relieved the trouble that upset the tummy that lived in the belt that Jill wore”
“This is the name of that marvelous tablet that went in the glass that relieved the trouble that upset the tummy that lived in the belt that Jill wore”
“And when is the time to take Alka-Seltzer?”
“Bedtime, man, bedtime”
“Bedtime, man, bedtime”
Over the closing credits of Dark Shadows episode 55, ABC announcer Bob Lloyd reads the following message: “The king is coming. Watch the advance premiere of The Milton Berle Show in color, tonight on ABC.”
“Brought to you in color by Johnson’s Pledge”
At first when you hear “king” especially as it pertains to the second half of the twentieth century, you might think it’s about Elvis, but no it’s about one of the early television pioneers of the comedy variety show whose Milton Berle Show is aiming for a comeback with the 1966-67 television season.
Berle’s comedy guest was Phyllis Diller. While plenty has been written on Diller’s wide influence for being the female comedy figure who in the 1950s and 1960s broke the gender barrier in the male-dominated national circuit, one has to wonder if her electroshock hairdo might have been an influence on the punk rock and “new wave” styles of the 1970s and 1980s. Surely David Bowie must have been a fan?
In 1956, The Milton Berle Show had on Elvis Presley as a musical guest; in 1966, they had to settle for Paul Revere and the Raiders.
At least they got the house band for the popular Dick Clark daytime program Where the Action Is, which followed Dark Shadows at 4:30 Eastern.
Aiming for the emerging demographic in turn provided Milton Berle with a chance to lampoon the younger generation.
As much as The Milton Berle Show was using every opportunity to promote Uncle Miltie’s act for new audiences, it seems as though the ABC network was using the good name of The Milton Berle Show to promote newer shows from its evening lineup with Berle’s loyal fans of long-standing.
Not only Van Williams and Bruce Lee from The Green Hornet, but also Adam West from Batman appeared as guest stars in this episode and even performed a skit together. Curiously, there was no Robin the Boy Wonder present, perhaps because Adam West preferred hogging the spotlight all to himself, even appearing out of costume in one segment for a solo singing spot.
Needless to say, Adam West was upstaged by the stars from The Green Hornet, because how can you compete with Bruce Lee?
“Hi citizens. I’m Louis Nye, the cleanup man. I’m in no mood for remarks like, Business is picking up haha! My business is too good! When will people give me and the landscape a break? Doesn’t it make you fightin’ mad to see litter like this? It’s an eyesore, a health hazard, a menace to navigation. And it cost tax dollars, too. Every litter bit hurts you. Carry a litterbag in boat and car. Keep America beautiful.”
Before Dark Shadows, several actors would appear in or do voiceovers for television commercials, even David Henesy.
Sources place this ad for Sugar Rice Krinkles cereal in 1964.
“Hey kids! Now you get free SoHei acrobat toy inside Post Rice Krinkles”
“What’j you say?”
“SoHei say, rice sparkled krinkles is sweetest to eat ‘cause it’s crinkled with sugar, and sugar is sweet”
“Now, what you say?”
“Same as you! Krinkles are krinkley and sweetest to eat”
“Coz, coz they are…”
“Krinkled! Krinkled with sugar, and sugar is sweet”
“And look, free acrobat inside”
“Let me see!”
“It looks like you, SoHei”
“Sure, it’s a SoHei acrobat toy boy, look”
“Twirl it in your fingers, and I do tricks”
“I hang by heels”
“I hang by toes”
“How I end up, nobody knows”
“This is fun!”
“SoHei say, get my free acrobat toy now, in Post Rice Krinkles”
This commercial for Vicks NyQuil cold medicine features the narrative voice of Thayer David.
“If you’ve ever gone to bed with a cold”
“The Vicks company has very big news for you”
“A new nighttime colds medicine called NyQuil”
“NyQuil relieves major cold symptoms”
“Like sniffles, sneezes, nasal congestion”
“Scratchy throat and coughing”
“To help you get a good night’s sleep”
“The most unique nighttime colds medication ever developed”
Embellishment: “So if you don’t buy this product, and thereby bring financial trouble to the people who own it, I’m going to kill you.”
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.
Coming next: Episode 61: Sorry to Drink and Run
— Marc Masse
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