One of the really fun things about Burke Devlin is the way he just goes wherever he pleases, which is to say where he’s not wanted. What a change from how the character was first introduced, a dark but affable Trojan Horse working his hidden agenda by schmoozing his way from person to person aided by a smug, deceptive charm that just below the surface is as patronizing as it is ingratiating. Yet it’s true that a lot has changed in just these few days since his return to Collinsport.
A missing brake valve from a car brought Roger Collins unannounced to his hotel room for a midnight tirade. The following morning, his breakfast was interrupted by another unannounced visitor, this time Bill Malloy, who as Burke finished eating just hovered nearby with the determined gruffness of a drill sergeant pulling a surprise inspection on the barracks. Speaking of surprise inspections, while Burke was away in Bangor meeting with a business associate, the sheriff walked through and made a full search of his wardrobe. That last one was actually courtesy of Collinsport’s parallel constable, Jonas Carter, who besides mustard on ham had other preoccupations to consider apart from missing brake valves: “I had a lot of time to make a pretty thorough search, Burke. You know, you’ve got some nice clothes up there. Where’d you buy ‘em?”
Bill Malloy’s untimely sudden, and for some folks convenient, demise has lately provided Burke with ample justification for making unwelcome cameos in other people’s domains in search of clues; whether inviting himself up to Collinwood, barging into Roger’s office armed with allegations intended to extract an admission of guilt or at the very least some telltale hint of perfidy, or simply storming into the sheriff’s office demanding an explanation, Burke has all the questions that no one wants to answer.
Today it’s to be the Evans cottage that’s added to Burke’s roving itinerary, crashing a dinner party in grand fashion like a grizzly bear wandering into a picnic area and helping itself to any discarded or neglected edibles while the hapless campers keep huddled in their camper vans nearby.
Burke of course had prior knowledge of the dinner party, having chatted with Vicki earlier while fueling his afternoon coffee binge at the Collinsport Inn restaurant. Hot under the collar over Bill Malloy and fresh from a heated exchange with the sheriff, Burke wants to talk manslaughter with Sam Evans. At the back of your mind, though, you have to be wondering whether Burke may be going to such a bother on this evening because he knows Victoria Winters will be there. After all, any host would be on his best behavior with a dinner guest in their midst, regardless of whether someone showed up at the front door uninvited. Burke might not get an honest answer out of Sam, but at least under the guise of civility he could be sure of an opportunity to pose a certain pointed question or ten.
Then again, there is still that underlying question about Burke and Vicki. Art Wallace, being a middle-aged male writer, couldn’t resist adding to the series outline Shadows on the Wall an additional story fragment suggesting the possibility that the two might eventually be linked romantically:
“…The reappearance of Burke relights a flame that once burned between them…and Vicki is trapped in its center” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 89).
Art Wallace envisioned the two enmeshed in a “violent triangle” with none other than Frank Garner, junior partner in the family law firm which looks after the legal and financial interests of the Collinses and who we shall be meeting further along in 1966, by which time the mystery of Victoria Winters will appear to hold an irrefutable link with Collinwood’s past.
Comic relief is provided by Sheriff Patterson and Burke Devlin, an indication of the smooth working rapport between the two highly skilled actors, something not attainable with the somewhat stiff and stilted performance of acting novice Michael Currie. Whereas the tone of Burke’s confrontations with Jonas Carter were mainly angry and grim, the well-timed fluid ease of Dana Elcar’s George Patterson allows for personal dynamics between the sheriff and Burke which remind the viewer that these two men have known each other for a long time; no matter how much Burke may get on the sheriff’s nerves, there nonetheless remains a mutual respect that goes with the old world of small-town familiarity, an added dimension that makes their camaraderie at once engaging and fun.
Patterson: Sorry I had to walk out on you like that Burke, but I had to get something… Of course, if you’re in a hurry, there’s not much sense in your hanging around.
Burke: I’m not leaving here until I get some kind of an answer.
Patterson: Well, this seems to be your day for making threats, doesn’t it? First you threaten to do something about Evans and Collins, and now you’re pulling a sit-down strike in my office. My advice to you boy is to slow down, right now. And keep your hands off the papers on my desk!
The above is from episode 60, with Burke’s dissatisfaction over the sheriff’s approach to the Bill Malloy investigation serving as the basis for an additional sojourn out to Evans cottage and the dinner party that awaits his intrusion.
Meanwhile the dinner party in question is lingering in the Sam Evans Cocktail Hour phase, as Sam reluctantly illuminates for Vicki the circumstances that led to Burke Devlin’s term in prison.
The topic of the events leading to Burke’s manslaughter conviction was not something Sam would otherwise have been willing to discuss. While recalling for Vicki the name of the woman in the portrait that she had picked out from Sam’s studio, Maggie emerged from the kitchen after checking on dinner to ask if Hanson was the name of the man who was hit and killed ten years ago, only to have Sam admonish her by pointing out the key difference in the spelling of the names Hanson and Hanscom.
Then you realize what a clever writer Art Wallace was, especially by soap opera standards with his layering of tantalizing details which at some point could make for nutrient-dense food for thought. This is the only reason the hit and run victim over whose death Burke Devlin was charged with manslaughter is even given a name, so that it can be mistaken for another as Maggie does while off in another room only half-listening to their conversation; from there, Vicki’s curiosity is aroused and in a cottage minute Maggie is goading Sam into a retelling of the whole sordid affair. And there you have it – for the viewer at last, the complete story of what motivated Burke Devlin’s vendetta against the Collins family, all the essential details distilled in a single scene like the convenience of one-stop shopping. Art Wallace may have his detractors, in part due to his more relaxed level of story pacing, but in creating characters and fleshing them out with myriad detail, as a writer he brings forth clever touches in multilayered spades.
Maggie: Wait a minute! Hanson, wasn’t that the name of the fellow that Burke killed?
Sam: No. Hanscom, with a “c”; Hanscom.
Over on the main set of Bactine Presents: The Patterson-Devlin Comedy Hour, the zingers just keep on coming:
Burke: Have you seen Roger Collins or Sam Evans yet?
Burke: Well, what did they say?!
Patterson: Burke, I haven’t had much chance to do much eating today! Now don’t make me spoil my digestion by getting angry at you.
Patterson: Based on tides, ocean currents, and so on, [Bill Malloy’s] body could have hit the water in any one of three different spots.
Burke: Where are they? [Patterson turns the paper over when Burke leans forward] Come on, sheriff. What difference does it make?
Patterson: Well, Malloy’s house is on the water, it could have been there. Sims Cove, too. You know the place? It’s about two miles north of the cannery.
Patterson: And, at Lookout Point.
Burke: Lookout Point. That’s halfway between Bill’s house and the cannery.
Patterson: I know.
Burke: [Roger Collins] was lying then, and he’s lying now. And Sam Evans is lying. And one of them murdered Bill Malloy. And if you want to sit around here playing truth or consequences, not me! I’m not about to let ‘em get away with it!
Patterson: Burke! Come back here!
Burke: So you can tell me not to play detective?!
Patterson: Now you listen to me! If you get any idea about taking things into your own hands, I’m going to pull you in here, put you in a cell, and forget there ever was a key!
[Burke flings the door so that it almost hits Patterson in the head]
Then Patterson flings the door shut after Burke steps out, his good mood derailed for now; that ham sandwich will have to wait.
Back at the Evans cottage, it’s finally time for dinner to be served; so with the storytelling portion of the gathering now complete, Sam hurriedly instructs Maggie to lock the door so they can sit down and eat. That’s right, lock the front door so they can sit down for dinner; you know what the Collinsport crime rate is like around the evening dinner hour.
The sheriff had phoned a moment earlier to warn Sam that Burke Devlin had just left his office in a huff, after having named Sam Evans as one of the two men he thinks may have killed Bill Malloy, advising Sam that if Burke should turn up out his way he should call in if needed. Already grumpy from having been made to tell the story of Burke’s manslaughter conviction, Sam takes on an added edge as he gets Maggie to go and slide the bolt on the front door, his voice heightened with urgency upon hearing the sudden round of determined knocking – “Maggie, don’t open the…”
“Do you have room for one more?”
Let’s see Vicki turn down a Burke dinner invite now with a dining table all set up and just within arm’s reach.
Sam is adamant that they were just about to sit down and have dinner, and Maggie is hesitant to agree to Burke staying after checking her father’s look of disapproval. Burke then illustrates for Vicki, but also to remind the viewer, that he once upon a time was always a welcome guest in their house any time of day or night, the reminder being that Burke and Sam were once good friends of long-standing, a fact which makes Sam’s eventual betrayal a major shortcoming characterwise.
With Maggie finally relenting after Vicki assures Burke that she has no reservations about his joining them for dinner, the Sam Evans Cocktail Hour promptly derails into the Burke Devlin Unhappy Hour. Once drinks are poured all round, Burke sends things reeling on a cryptic note.
Burke: Well, tonight just might be the first step toward judgment day. Shall we drink to that, Sam?
Sam: I would if I knew what you were talking about.
Burke displays all the cocktail charm of the grim reaper when Maggie returns from the kitchen to wonder what everyone was talking about.
Burke: Bill Malloy’s death, that’s what we were talking about.
For a suggestion of something more cheerful to talk about, Burke rolls out yet another choice party favor.
Burke: Why don’t we talk about my manslaughter trial?
Sam: Burke, please!
Looks like jokes and charades are off the table, and speaking of tables even dinner is becoming more unlikely by the minute, especially when Vicki reveals that Burke’s choice of conversation topic was what they were discussing before he showed up.
The makeup department went all out today on glycerin, with Sam sweating out Burke’s account of the accident and his subsequent trial.
Sam: Burke, this is nonsense!
Burke however is only just beginning to unwind and is clearly enjoying himself, probably thinking I really should get out more often.
The very essence of Burke Devlin is distilled in a seemingly random instant, with Mitch Ryan in perfect pose; the pride, the arrogance, the look so Devlinesque.
Burke: It’s funny, Vicki, how everything becomes a symbol in your life.
When presented with the possibility of reasonable doubt, Burke’s overall approach to life, the past, and his hungry vendetta can all be summed up in one key line said by him today.
Burke: I could be wrong, but I’m not.
Dinner goes completely out the window when Sam quietly slips out the back door, on the pretext of grabbing another bottle of spirits from the kitchen. See Sam drink, see Sam run, see Burke add together one plus one.
Burke: Five years, Sam, that’s a long time. You begin to think, you begin to wonder, who you love and who you hate, who are your friends and who are your enemies…
You can see it written all over Sam’s face throughout, how Burke’s unwelcome visit is about as much fun for him as a root canal.
Once it’s revealed that Sam has ducked out, Burke begins working on Sam through Maggie especially when she attempts to defend her father’s loyalty as a friend.
Maggie: Burke, my father was always your friend.
Burke: I don’t care what he was! I’m interested in what he is!
Maggie: Burke! I wish you’d leave.
Maggie will nonetheless keep defending her father’s virtues, despite Burke’s high-volume hysterics like a prosecuting attorney pouncing on a vulnerable defense witness, because after all it was Sam who held their home together following the death of her mother, making it pretty much all the way she and her father on one side and the rest of the world on the other.
As for Vicki, she finds herself as usual caught in the middle of other people’s conflicts. This however is the Art Wallace version of Victoria Winters, the version who can hold her own against even a hulking, hollering Burke Devlin; she speaks up and brands Burke a bully while getting him to stop badgering Maggie over her father and Bill Malloy.
Vicki: Burke, leave her alone!
Burke: Why, because you think I’m being ungentlemanly?
Vicki: I think you’re being a bully.
As for possible romantic pairings, perhaps Burke and Vicki are well suited after all, given how she at least has the maturity and assertiveness to put him in his place, which is far more than could be said for Carolyn. Yet the dynamics between the two thus far are kind of comical. Every time he sees her, he’s either inviting her out to dinner or telling her to move away. First it was “Welcome to the beginning and the end of the world” followed by “Why don’t you just pack your bags and go back home to New York”; this time he advises her with a slight variation of the former.
Burke: Well, I was gonna to say I’m sorry that you’re here, but I think it’s better that you know what you’re living with.
Wait until she meets the supernatural branch of the Collins family.
Note: To hear the contents of the audio clips in this section, you will need headphones with the sound turned way up.
Presented below is a further installment of “hidden audio” from episode 11, to show how over time such audio can be detected to eventually tell a complete story of life behind the scenes during the taping of Dark Shadows episodes, a story which explains among other things why certain casting and/or recasting decisions were made in addition to story development and direction.
To review, so the listener is acquainted with the sound of director Lela Swift’s voice, here is the clip from episode 13 where Lela’s voice directing through the control microphone can be clearly heard, in this instance when she instructs for the camera to get Alexandra Moltke’s entrance on the set for Matthew’s cottage:
Lela: Okay John, hit her on two!
It is in episode 11 where Lela’s voice can be heard prominently throughout, sometimes directing but more often complaining and arguing with executive producer Dan Curtis. As added with the previous post, the clip below from the opening scene of that episode finds Lela complaining about one of the actors.
Lela: Dan, how many times do I have to tell you? I’m sick of working with Mark Allen!
Today’s addition to the collection of hidden audio from episode 11 is from Act I, where during the drawing room scene actors’ dialogue goes momentarily silent as does most other sound to be heard either in the studio or from the episode as broadcast, as Dan and Lela argue over the merits of a certain actor:
Dan: …a good actor, Lela.
Lela: He’s not!…
By the end of taping for that day, as the music cue from the final scene concludes and a momentary interval of silence follows before the closing theme begins, Lela is erupting from the control room:
Lela: I can’t stand you!
Dan: Lela, alright…
“Believe it, …or not.”
At the beginning of the scene in the lobby of Collinsport Inn, a crew member can be heard in a loud whisper prompting David Ford to make his entrance: “Sam!”
During the scene in the lobby of Collinsport Inn, Conrad Bain interrupts David Ford’s line “It was an envelope about, oh, this big…and” with “Yeah I remember it”. David Ford can be heard chuckling to himself as he finishes his line: “and it had Maggie’s name on it”. Conrad Bain then repeats “Yeah I remember it” and says the rest of the line where it was supposed to go.
The usual running blooper misspelling the name of Orhbach’s appears in the end credits.
The Ralston Purina lamp is in its usual place for these early episodes on the front desk of the Collinsport Inn. This episode marks the seventh episode appearance overall; the previous ones were episodes 1, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 24.
Food & Drink in Collinsport:
As the episode begins, Sam is already holding a drink, likely the one he had when telling Vicki the story of Burke’s trial and conviction during the previous episode.
When Sam points out that Maggie may not have prepared enough food for four people, Burke says that he’d be happy with a sandwich: “Well what do you say, Maggie? A sandwich for a lonely man?”
Once it’s agreed that Burke can stay, he asks Sam for a drink.
While bringing Burke his glass, Sam asks Miss Winters what she would like, but she declines.
While Burke assures Maggie that he wasn’t driving at the time of the accident, Sam pours himself another drink.
On the Flipside:
Weekends on ABC-TV for the 1966-67 television season were slated to look like this:
“A night to remember”
“The Lawrence Welk Show”
“The Hollywood Palace”
“One of seven nights to remember”
“A season you won’t forget”
“All in color”
Between September 1965 and April 1974, Sunday nights on ABC from 8 to 9 pm Eastern belonged to The FBI.
“Next, The FBI, in color”
It is within the hallowed walls of the Washington, DC headquarters that The FBI has its basis…
…with stories said to have been based on actual federal cases.
As noted in the disclaimer, names of people and places are changed for purposes of dramatization.
There’s one person however whose name is not changed and whose likeness appears onscreen from time to time…
…the FBI director who Ward, Erskine, and Rhodes seen above are to be meeting with.
Indeed, the infamous long-running FBI director was given an acknowledgment over the closing theme of each episode.
Portraits of Uncle J. show up like a perennial series mascot, like the one in the Los Angeles field office of SAC Bryan Durant.
Portraits of Uncle J. had a tendency to show up in other series as well, even years in advance of The FBI. Perhaps you are familiar with the first televised adaptation of a well-known Mickey Spillane character, with Darren McGavin in the role of the brawling, womanizing private eye Mike Hammer.
Hammer’s main police contact was a precinct captain named Patrick Chambers, whose office displayed an image of Uncle J. in semi-profile. It seems like some set props ought to have their own IMDb page.
“The Ford Motor Company presents…”
“A Quinn Martin Warner Brothers production”
The original commercial breaks that went with The FBI episodes as first broadcast would go a long way toward explaining for the modern viewer why just about everywhere you look there seems to be only one make of automobile represented. Well, why not if your main sponsor is doing a large part in maintaining your very televisual existence. It also explains why in the end credits Inspector Lewis Erskine is seen driving off in the latest model Ford, in his case always a sporty-looking Mustang.
(Efrem Zimbalist Jr. starring credit for season 1, 1965)
It would also explain certain aspects relating to how the show is scripted, for instance a moment like this:
“Fifty-three to all units. Subject has picked up the money and is heading north on 76. She’s alone, driving a blue ’61 Ford. Intercept.”
Here in the episode The Plague Merchant, an international black market operative, after just having changed his license plates, is ferrying flasks of liquid which he thinks is a new skin lotion not yet on the market that a financially needy research chemist procured for him, but which is in fact a deadly viral contagion capable of decimating half the world’s population, here shown being transported in what looks to be a Futura Club Coupe.
In the episode Image in a Cracked Mirror, Erskine and Rhodes pursue a bank employee who after stealing $100,000 in bank funds is making a run for Mexico. In the below image, under the hotel marquee you can see the blue Custom 500 four-door sedan that Erskine and Rhodes drove in on; that white car behind looks like a Falcon Club Coupe; then there’s an ancient Ford pickup on the left, along with a “random” black Mustang parked across the street in the foreground.
The suspect is fleeing in a Ford station wagon (with a blue two-door Mustang by the opposite corner)…
…driven by Oscar Madison, five years before meeting his childhood friend Felix Unger.
Quinn Martin’s FBI is a Ford, Ford, Ford world.
Here a Ford.
There a Ford.
Everywhere a Ford-Ford.
Early on in the series run, the main characters were presented with backstories who also had personal lives of their own when away from the Bureau. The viewer gets their very first look at Lewis Erskine just minutes into the pilot episode, groggy from being awakened by a phone call notifying him of a new assignment. The viewer is left to wonder why Erskine is sleeping single in a double bed.
Meanwhile Special Agent Jim Rhodes, Erskine’s colleague at the Bureau and the one who most often accompanies him on case-work assignments, has a steady romance with a young woman named Barbara, seen here visiting where she attends college and running along the campus quad…
…then pausing for a winded embrace.
Rhodes and Barbara are soon to be married…
…but must be on their best behavior when duty comes calling in the form of Erskine and the boss (Mr. Ward)…
…especially since Barbara is Erskine’s daughter.
Yes, Lewis Erskine represents a fierce presence as a Bureau inspector who more often than not will gun down at least one armed and fleeing fugitive per episode, but he is also a devoted family man.
Yet there is a reason why when walking in on Rhodes and his daughter, who shows up in his office to take him to lunch…
…Lew seems less than pleased.
Barbara: Jim has asked me to marry him.
Early on we learn that Barbara’s mother was killed in an ambush relating to Erskine’s work at the Bureau. He insists she is too young, that she should wait until twenty-one rather than getting married at nineteen, but his concern is that she shouldn’t have to put her life in danger like her mother did by marrying a man from the Bureau. Naturally the memory of his late wife impedes him from moving on to explore relationships with other women, like Joanna “Jo” Lauren who works in one of the crime labs in the building.
Before long the personal angles behind the two main co-stars of The FBI were unceremoniously dropped. Barbara Erskine was played by Lynn Loring, who received a visual credit at the start of each episode and whose name was spoken by the series narrator as one of the co-stars as well as a listing during the end credits; all of a sudden she simply disappeared, after just twelve episodes.
Very soon into the series, any personal angles on the lives of Erskine and Rhodes, either outside the Bureau or on the job, were no longer given so much as even a single page of script time. Perhaps viewers just decided, or the makers of the show simply picked up on, that putting ordinary human lives behind the faces on the Bureau would not be a top priority; what mattered most was the drama unfolding among the crimes committed and the people affected, so that it was merely enough that in addition to being competent and thorough, agents like Lewis Erskine were also kind and compassionate, and this came through enough just in Efrem Zimbalist Jr.’s onscreen presence and demeanor.
Not surprisingly, the actor who played Jim Rhodes, Stephen Brooks, left the show after just two seasons. Undoubtedly for some, being a successful actor represents more than just a steady paycheck. Indeed, the TV Guide page ad for the start of the second season shows images of two men – both of which, however, are of EZJ with the caption mentioning only one agent doing all the heavy lifting.
One could see why Efrem Zimbalist Jr. should have been considered the star of The FBI, having already become well known in a leading role on the popular noirish 1958-1964 detective series 77 Sunset Strip.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as private eye Stuart Bailey, on the phone with a client in his office at 77 Sunset Strip.
Viewers may also have known him from the popular Maverick TV series, in a recurring role as Dandy Jim Buckley.
(Buckley and Maverick plotting the location of buried treasure near a place called Twin Peaks)
The star billing that EZJ commands may result in the viewer overlooking one crucial quality: his height. Listed as having been six feet tall, EZJ in fact may not have been that much larger than life.
Take Brett Somers for instance, who was listed as five-nine, as was Jack Klugman, both of whom co-starred together in the 1965 FBI episode Image in a Cracked Mirror. Shown here in an Odd Couple episode, you can see they were the exact same height.
Now look at Brett Somers and EZJ side by side – that ain’t no six-footer.
From his Maverick days alongside six-two James Garner, it’s evident that someone was being a Fibber Magee about their height – either Mr. Jr. himself or the publicity department.
Observe Russell Johnson in his FBI appearance (1968 episode The Dynasty), looking slightly down at EZJ.
Russell Johnson was only barely a hair taller than Bob Denver, who was five-eight.
Check out Dr. Lang, lording it over EZJ during his appearance in that same 1968 FBI episode; and, sssstretch!
Russell Johnson and Addison Powell in the 1968 episode The Dynasty, where Gilligan’s Island meets Dark Shadows.
“Ride Ford’s new wave of 1967”
“Three new ways to answer the call of Mustang”
“Start with a new Mustang 2 + 2 Fastback”
“Molded for motion, this one is designed to be designed by you”
“Mustang’s optional new tilt-away steering wheel leaps aside to let you out or in”
“It also adjusts to nine different driving positions”
“Now, here’s the new Mustang hard top”
“Longer, with a wider grip on the road”
“Choose the six or any of four V8s”
“And, the new Mustang convertible”
“With new features like turn indicators recessed in the hood”
“In ’67, ride Ford’s new wave with Mustang”
“You’re ahead in a Ford all the way”
Dark Shadows from the Beginning wishes to acknowledge the Ford Motor Company for its brochure on the Ford models for 1967, which made prop identification easier for the above special feature on The FBI TV series.
For the episode Image in a Cracked Mirror, the car that Erskine and Rhodes drove in on does look like a Custom 500…
…based on what’s given in the Ford ’67 brochure, the shape of the roof and windows and so on.
In that same episode, that white car in back of the blue sedan under the hotel marquee…
…and the blue Ford in the Plague Merchant episode with the foreign agent transporting flasks of viral contaminants…
…could both be identified by page 7 of the brochure, respectively as the Falcon Club Coupe and the Futura Club Coupe. For the Futura, those tail lights give it away whereas with the Falcon the tell-tale signs are the shape of the back passenger window and the curve of the fender above the rear tire.
Page 3 of the brochure, lower right, touts the Ford station wagon’s “magic doorgate…”
…which for a youngster would add to the novelty of an outdoor camping experience…
…especially if you’ve got a rough day ahead with your father on the run from federal agents because of that hundred grand he stole from the bank he used to work at.
Ford; where even fugitives on the run can be “ahead all the way” with the Ford Motor Company’s new wave for ’67.
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 62: Destroy Me, Pt. 2
— Marc Masse
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