Episode 63: A Question of Murder

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Dark Shadows canon is a tricky concept, with consensus drawn mainly from whichever writer gets the last word in storywise. Take for instance the names of the Collins parents immediately preceding the generation of Roger Collins and Elizabeth Stoddard. While many Dark Shadows fans know the name of the father of Elizabeth and Roger to be Jamison Collins, this earlier patriarch as first outlined by Art Wallace in Shadows on the Wall was named Joseph Collins. Perhaps this is why Elizabeth is always so intent on having Carolyn marry Joe Haskell, because he has the same first name as her beloved father. And with Elizabeth’s mother Carolyn having died at the age of thirty-eight while having given birth to Roger, it’s no surprise that she should name her daughter Carolyn as a loving tribute. This is only speculation of course, but either way all these richly symbolic bits of possible backstory get eliminated from consideration when in later years some writer comes along who was never even involved with the beginnings of Dark Shadows, but who nonetheless gets to set the canon only by virtue of having gotten in the last word on a given subject.

Particularly in this run of episodes where it’s yet to be determined whether or not Bill Malloy had met with foul play, it’s worth noting how Roger Collins and Matthew Morgan could indeed have been working together to see that Malloy would never arrive at the meeting in Roger’s office that night to carry out his intentions of clearing Burke Devlin. When the present week of episodes were being scripted, there was still the plan for the story arc to be leading to Roger’s death from atop Widow’s Hill, his mind having been driven to a frenzied state while agonizing over whether Victoria Winters had been conspiring with Burke Devlin to expose him and bring about his downfall. Given how Roger thus far has generally been ice-cold to all those around him in terms of humanity and compassion, having regarded even members of his own family with generous projections of contempt, it wouldn’t be too significant a stretch to assume that he would resort to the ultimate crime if it meant saving his own patrician hide, with the topper being that true to form he wouldn’t actually want to get his hands dirty, but in an ironic twist would enlist the aid of the Collinwood caretaker – to take care of a matter that could bring scandal and disgrace to certain of those who live in the big house, but most especially would compromise the dignity and good standing of Mrs. Stoddard; Roger being Roger, this no doubt would have been his main selling point to the gruff and burly caretaker, whose loyalty toward his long-time employer rivals that of many dog breeds toward their given master. After all, what’s the sense investing story time to humanize a character like Roger Collins when there are only a few weeks at most left to go before he has outlived his usefulness?

Think of how suspiciously Matthew Mach II has already behaved and just in the past twenty-four hours. There’s a hidden yet fatal flaw in Matthew’s character that gets one to question the true nature of his fiercely determined loyalty toward all things Collins and Collinwood. It isn’t in the way he was menacing toward Vicki that time in the basement, when she was only checking on a strange sound she had heard in the night, while he was enforcing the wishes of Mrs. Stoddard by making sure people wouldn’t go snooping around down there; it isn’t even when he ventures down from the hill to intercept Burke over coffee at the Collinsport Inn restaurant warning that he’ll kill him if he doesn’t stop trying to bring trouble to Mrs. Stoddard up at Collinwood – it’s that in the past twenty-four hours, later claiming to have been acting in the best interests of the family by keeping sensational rumors from damaging the reputation and legacy of the Collins name, upon discovering Bill Malloy dead by the foot of Widow’s Hill, rather than notifying the folks in the great house right away, Matthew actually… eased the body back into the water and even watched it float away out of sight, keeping mum about it until finally Mrs. Stoddard confronted him for the truth relating to that alleged dead man both Vicki and Carolyn supposedly saw washed up on the rocks below the cliff the night after Bill Malloy had disappeared.

This is the one instance thus far on Dark Shadows where it’s hard for the viewer to suspend disbelief, to take Matthew’s claims of complete devotion for the Collins family at face value; given how we know that Bill and Elizabeth had been such good friends of long-standing and that we’re supposed to believe Matthew was acting purely out of sincere loyalty, it makes the caretaker’s actions all the more unthinkable. What Matthew did that night below Widow’s Hill would seem more the desperate act of someone attempting to cover up evidence that could possibly lead to the revelation of a dark deed, an action so inconceivable that it may well in fact be a question of murder.

There will come a time on Dark Shadows when everyday conversation treads into the realm of the grotesque, with the focus on the supernatural invariably shifting the context of day-to-day life in Collinsport, and especially at Collinwood, toward the macabre in both tone and content. With today’s episode, Dark Shadows begins dipping its toes in such murky waters when Mrs. Stoddard questions Matthew on the condition of Bill Malloy’s body the night it washed up beneath Widow’s Hill.

“…When you found Bill’s body at the foot of the cliff, before you pushed him out to sea again…”

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It’s the casual tone of the second part, as if encountering the body of a deceased person and then secretly disposing of it would be among the daily chores the Collinwood caretaker is routinely met with.

To add to the absurdity, the script calls for Matthew in this episode to sell the viewer another one of those “That’s why I pushed Bill Malloy’s body back into the water” explanations, because his actions from that previous night – first lying about it and then admitting to it but only when questioned outright by Mrs. Stoddard – run in glaring contrast to the psychological makeup of a man who professes the sort of devotion that would go with being a trusted employee and good friend of the matriarch of the region’s most important and influential family. It’s more the stuff of one of those unbelievably looney Hitchcock dramedies where you’ve got this troublesome fellow out of the way, where it’s “out of sight, out of mind” with the evening tide and so on, only to have your solution wash back ashore as yet another problem… assuming of course that Matthew is on the level and was just trying to keep people from gossiping about more unfortunate souls dying because of Widow’s Hill and the Collins family.

“I liked Bill Malloy, he was always real nice to be but… That’s why I pushed him back in the water, to keep all these people from pesterin’ ya.”

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It’s possible that even Thayer David doesn’t believe these lines he’s required to deliver, with the emotional sincerity of one pledging total friendship and honor no less; perhaps his mind gets momentarily hazy and he wonders if this is all just some kind of black comedy, as he reads the above lines directly off the teleprompter…

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…perhaps thinking, ‘Bib Hadley, I hate Bib Hadley! Hitchcock in the afternoon – is this what my career has come down to? I’d rather be a witch’s accomplice, or a vampire’s valet, anything but this Bib Hadley!’

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While on the subject of Dark Shadows characters and their believability as it relates to their words and actions, one also feels compelled to call into question the startling inconsistencies of Elizabeth Stoddard as presented especially in this episode. Unlike in previous instances where a potentially troublesome situation would call for decisive management, Elizabeth today seems more tentative, hapless even, while being subject to the advice and assurances of a scruffy, marble-mouthed hulk of a man who looks like he stowed away for a week in some industrial vacuum cleaner bag.

Recall how the immediate aftermath of Roger’s accident was handled back in episode 16; whereas Matthew might take it upon himself to avoid fielding questions from a local reporter at the scene of the accident because he figured it was none of the newspaperman’s business, he would otherwise report directly to Mrs. Stoddard to await any further instructions on the matter. There was no question of who was in charge, and one couldn’t possibly picture George Mitchell’s Matthew Morgan committing such an act of betrayal as hiding the fact that the body of a long-time friend of his employer had indeed washed up on the estate.

Sheriff Jonas Carter in episode 32 must have felt something like a junior deputy when he journeyed up to Collinwood to present the findings of his investigation regarding the missing brake valve from Roger’s car, only to be frosted on the spot by Mrs. Stoddard’s assertion that the whole matter was just an unfortunate misunderstanding, despite Roger’s bitterly ironic hinting to the contrary. The sheriff might represent the law in Collinsport, but when it really counts it’s Elizabeth Stoddard who is judge and jury.

Then we get to episode 44, with Dark Shadows all of a sudden having gone off script, at least as it relates to the series bible Shadows on the Wall, as Bill Malloy gets moved front and center in the prelude to a murder mystery with the hope of rescuing the show from an almost certain cancellation. In that episode she receives a visit from an old banking associate, John Harris, who drops by with papers detailing the terms of the trust fund Elizabeth has set up for David. Almost out of the blue it’s a very different Elizabeth Stoddard as she almost passively submits herself to suggestions that she should find someone to manage her life, before her “whole fleet sinks”; that wasn’t the self-sufficient family and business matriarch the viewer had been familiar with to that point – it was more the stuff of character depth and development being thrown under the bus to better serve the needs of a more sensationalized story narrative, something that over time unfortunately would become more the rule rather than the exception as Dark Shadows continued to evolve out of the more standard soap opera format.

Perhaps that one misstep could be overlooked given how that week of episodes had been written by newcomer Francis Swann, whose initial marching orders would likely have had more to do with accelerating the story pacing than with studying the series bible for the more subtle nuances inherent with character motivation and consistency. Yet now here we are in episode 63, with Elizabeth Stoddard once more seemingly not sure about how to handle the situation in a manner that could be deemed as definitively authoritative, as if she needs someone to manage her life; whereas Francis Swann in episode 44 suggested that the someone in question should be former business associate Ned Calder, in episode 63 Art Wallace seems to have nominated for the task her giant dustball of a caretaker, Matthew Morgan.

Matthew: I wish they’d never found that body again!… Well, it’s true mam, they’ll never stop hounding you now.

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Matthew is not only the estate caretaker, but he’s also a public relations expert. Mrs. Stoddard is already well aware of the locals and the Collins family’s visibility as it relates to public opinion. Remember how in episode 16 she instructed Vicki to just ignore the persistent phone calls from reporters? “We’re important news” she had advised her new governess; all Matthew had to do at that time was fetch more firewood and simply follow instructions.

Thayer David’s Matthew Morgan, however, is written to have more a mind of his own; headstrong and willful as the situation demands, especially when he gets it into his head that Burke Devlin won’t stop bringing trouble to Collinwood, Mrs. Stoddard in particular.

Mrs. Stoddard: Thank you for your concern. You’re a good friend.

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It boggles the mind that someone with the backbone and bearing of Elizabeth Stoddard wouldn’t have fired Matthew the moment she realized what he’d done the night he found Bill Malloy’s body beneath Widow’s Hill; rather sad to see when you consider how at the time there were not many female characters on television written to take the lead in matters relating not only to family, but also business enough so that any decisions made would affect the lives of an entire community of thousands.

Even more incomprehensible is how in this episode Elizabeth’s integrity is being sold out by the character’s creator Art Wallace. As has been written, the blueprint for the character was drawn up in the previous decade with Wallace bringing a story called The House to the half-hour television anthology series The Web in 1954, which would be expanded to an hour for another TV presentation in 1957 as part of the Goodyear Playhouse series.

As with Elizabeth Stoddard on Dark Shadows…

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…the character prototype from the 1954 production of The House, Elizabeth Stover, was prone to restless intervals of somnolence while sitting out the evenings alone in her front parlor.

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Awakened by the arrival through the front door of her daughter Louise, it’s evident that the Stover’s never held the lofty social status of the Collinses on Dark Shadows, with the Stover house more of a modest but dilapidated relic of the late Victorian era.

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So what might Art Wallace have drawn upon in the eleven or so years between the initial production of The House and being hired by Dan Curtis in 1965 to draft a backstory for his gothic dream images come to life, to elevate the humble trappings of Elizabeth Stover into the wealthy matriarch that became Elizabeth Stoddard?

Westerns were still a huge deal in the mid-1960s, both in film and television, and the fall of ’65 saw the debut of The Big Valley.

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As part of ABC’s roster of nighttime dramas, The Big Valley was set in 1870s Stockton, California around a wealthy family of ranch owners led by widowed matriarch Victoria Barkley.

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The Barkley ranch has a huge front room where a deceased patriarch like Thomas Barkley nonetheless helps to reinforce the family legacy through the constant reminder of his prominent portrait.

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It wouldn’t therefore be a stretch to consider that the wealthy matriarch who is Elizabeth Stoddard may have been loosely modeled on The Big Valley’s Victoria Barkley, with the many portraits on display in the Collinwood foyer and drawing room just one more added touch taken from the Barkley ranch.

It’s just that in this episode of Dark Shadows Elizabeth Stoddard seems less of a matriarch and more of a troubled recluse whose choice of “a good friend” should rightly be called into question, especially as this revised version of Matthew Morgan is appearing more and more like a servant who just may be more trouble than he’s worth.

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Episode 63 is a banner day for Art Wallace to throw more of his character creations under the bus, with Joe and Carolyn being all but written off in a single, grim appraisal.

The viewer will recall how in episode 58 the sheriff convinced Joe Haskell out of drinking away an afternoon off from work in the dingy low-lighting of the Blue Whale and talking him into taking Carolyn out for a drive in the country. Today it’s a few hours later in story time, which means that after getting away from it all, all that’s left for them as a couple is to return to the bleak reality of it all.

“…We had a few laughs, we even had dinner. Now look at us; trying like crazy, nothing works.”

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“Nothing works”; that pretty much says it all.

The original character prototypes from the initial 1954 Art Wallace production The House likewise had their peaks and valleys.

(Fisherman Joe brooding on the Stover’s front porch over the uncertainty of his future with Louise)

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At least in their case there was always the silver lining of Louise succeeding in helping her mother to overcome the dark forces that hold her prisoner as a recluse in the house. Happiness for Louise and Joe is always less than a half hour away, including commercial breaks.

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Yet finally after months of back and forth and round and round, the characters of Joe and Carolyn are relegated here to a more functional purpose, as has Elizabeth Stoddard in the scene noted above, all mere supporting players to help set the scene for whatever Matthew has in mind for his unlikely evening sojourn out to the Blue Whale.

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Now that looks like a guy who really enjoys a night out on the town. If only there were someone there he could issue death threats to so as to make the evening complete…

…almost forgot – Joe and Carolyn have already left…

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…because by the writer’s own admission, nothing works for them…

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…but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them come back in to help out with story exposition…

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…because if we can’t get anywhere with the story of Joe and Carolyn (or is it Carolyn and Joe?)…

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…we can at least maybe find out why Matthew is at the Blue Whale.

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Turns out Matthew is there waiting for Burke Devlin; he was already frothing at the mouth about Devlin earlier at Collinwood when Mrs. Stoddard expressed her concern that Burke might still bring trouble for the Collins family and their interests. With the Collins family being his main interest, Matthew is once again taking it upon himself to confront Devlin in person and warn him away from whatever plans he may have in store on that front. In his explanation to Carolyn, he even goes so far as to implicate Burke Devlin in the murder of Bill Malloy.

“…He’s done it, miss. Why do you think Mr. Malloy’s dead? Only because of him.”

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How about those sound effects of ships’ whistles in the background, and also in the previous act with Joe and Carolyn where ships’ bells and whistles are heard? Sure, it’s probably just standard stock sound effects, very similar to those heard in the opening bar scene of Art Wallace’s The House from twelve years previous, but still, just another fine little touch to lend a depth of realism to indicate that Collinsport is in fact a real place; A for atmosphere, because really, who doesn’t love the sound of a ship’s whistle.

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There’s another strange irregularity running throughout that makes today’s episode unique unto itself – the “fish out of water” element of having different characters appearing on sets with which they were not previously associated. There’s Matthew at the Blue Whale, and look who’s at Collinwood.

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Earlier in the episode Maggie Evans had dropped in at the Blue Whale, and after spotting Joe and Carolyn approached their table to ask if they’d seen her father there. Deeply concerned with the toll recent events have been taking on him, she is determined to get to the bottom of what the possible connection could be between he and Roger Collins. So Maggie gets it in her head to address the source directly by going up to Collinwood to speak with Roger in person. This accomplishes nothing of course; Maggie has in a previous episode already phoned Collinwood to speak with Roger, with the result being Roger hanging up without even a word. Besides, they’ve already got their maximum quota of actors on the show today; so when Elizabeth goes upstairs looking for her brother, it turns out that he’s conveniently out somewhere. Maggie’s visit to Collinwood is like a retread of her father Sam’s visit back in episode 41 where issues are hinted at but never resolved.

All the main week one characters on Dark Shadows are being given the functional treatment this episode, and Maggie Evans is no exception. Her appearance at Collinwood is merely to set up the moment when Carolyn makes her entrance while arriving home from the Blue Whale to comment as she overhears her mother making a cynical assessment of Burke Devlin:

Carolyn: What about murder?

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Carolyn: Mother, I asked you a question. Do you think Burke is capable of committing murder?

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Elizabeth: Yes. Yes, I do.

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So, “Yes, I do” makes two. Earlier at the Blue Whale, Joe Haskell had expressed a similar suspicion when Matthew named Burke Devlin as the man responsible for Bill Malloy’s untimely death, given the chain of events set in motion upon Burke’s return to Collinsport just days before. Thus far in the Bill Malloy mystery story, Joe’s function has been to be the “Hey, wait a minute!” guy whose excited response is designed to gain traction with the viewer in considering every possible angle of suspicion, just the way he did at the Collinsport Inn restaurant in episode 49 when the possible role Devlin may have had in Malloy’s then disappearance was first proposed.

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For Joe Haskell, it’s easy for him to believe his main rival for Carolyn’s affections may be guilty of murder, because he wants him to be. Likewise for Elizabeth Stoddard, who would like for nothing better than to be free of the potential threat posed by Burke in his business maneuverings.

There is however another, more personal reason why Elizabeth is so willing to believe in Burke’s potential guilt as a murder suspect – it would put to rest the nagging suspicion she harbors for her brother Roger. This is the reason she was probing Matthew about the condition of Bill Malloy’s body when he discovered it out by Widow’s Hill. It came to light in episode 57 that the autopsy exam showed evidence of a blow to the head, but it couldn’t be determined whether this had occurred before or after he drowned.

Elizabeth suspects Roger at the moment because in episode 59, in a stunning display of devil’s advocate to allay any suspicion leveled in his direction, he had trolled his sister with a mock confession where, because Bill had found out that Roger was in fact guilty of the manslaughter charge that sent Burke to prison all those years ago, he had hit Malloy over the head with a rock and tossed his body into the water. And yes, “trolling” back then still held the same meaning as in the modern sense; for further reference, the viewer is invited to watch episodes of Peyton Place to hear characters use the term when calling out another person’s possible hidden agenda.

From Maggie’s Collinwood visit there was one memorable, if somewhat comical, thing that was said:

Maggie: I don’t know how you feel about your brother, but my father’s very important to me.

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That’s true, she doesn’t know how Mrs. Stoddard feels about Roger, and the truth would likely be just as surprising as actually seeing the inside of Collinwood up close and personal for the first time. For a refresher, let’s refer to the series bible. For starters, the sense of responsibility which for Elizabeth went with the fact of Roger’s continual presence in her life:

“By the time she was thirty-five, Elizabeth had weathered two crises in business affairs, seen her brother Roger grow to an irresponsible boy of fifteen, and had given up all hope of romance, home, and children that every woman reaches for” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 12).

Undoubtedly, Elizabeth had to have been disappointed in the way Roger turned out and must have seen him as ungrateful in his recklessness considering how much of a sacrifice she had made in her own life by giving over her best years toward raising a brother twenty years younger after both their parents had passed on:

“Elizabeth’s brother, Roger, grew to manhood in the house. Always close to Paul, Roger resented the attitude of the town towards Elizabeth’s profligate husband, and always felt that his sister had driven her husband away. Like Paul, Roger matured with very little sense of responsibility. Unlike Paul, Roger didn’t have enough charm to pull it off” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 14).

And now, Elizabeth suspects her brother of murder – very reasonable, given that as of September 21, 1966, the broadcast date for this episode, so should the viewer.

Thus far, there’s something about Roger’s obvious prior knowledge of Malloy’s demise – you saw how sure he was in episode 54 that Malloy wouldn’t be returning to work as the Collins Fleet office manager by the way he was revising some of Malloy’s methods of operations – that makes him look just right as the prime suspect; well, let’s say one of the suspects. He would have employed a bit of muscle.

That muscle is now flexing itself while biding time at the Blue Whale, waiting for a certain someone to blame for the death of Bill Malloy. This whole episode was just an excuse to get Matthew Morgan out to the Blue Whale and in position for some as yet undetermined moment of truth. Remember, Matthew doesn’t venture down from the hill for nothing. Last time he did, he threatened to kill Burke Devlin, and that was after a mere sip of black coffee. Imagine what he’ll do after slurping down a half-hour’s worth of draft beer.

Sometimes, a Thursday episode of Dark Shadows can be lots of fun, even more so than Fridays.

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Dark Shadows extras:

Apart from the regular yet uncredited bartender played by Bob O’Connell, the Blue Whale features five additional extras this episode, all making their first Dark Shadows appearance.

Seated at the bar is George McCoy, who will be a returning Blue Whale extra until episode 207.

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The older couple seated along the wall just inside the door are Ann Leeman and Allan Lindstrom, both of whom will be seen at the Blue Whale for three consecutive episodes.

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The younger couple at the table nearest to the bar are Katherine Quint and Russ Karsen, playing Blue Whale customers in tomorrow’s episode as well.

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Katherine Quint would already have been more widely known by the time of these Dark Shadows appearances, having had a co-starring role in the fantasy-musical Disk-O-Tek Holiday released to cinemas earlier that year on June 1, but which was actually a re-edited version of the original British film Just For You from 1964. So Miss Quint would have been more familiar to the kids in 1966 who walked home from school to watch Where the Action Is at 4:30 Eastern, while the usual demographics among Dark Shadows’ viewing audience of September ’66 – the middle-aged housewives, the shut-ins, and the variously unemployed – would have remained blissfully unaware.

Audio from the original film trailier:

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Bloopers/Story Continuity:

During the Act I scene with Matthew and Mrs. Stoddard at Collinwood, the teleprompter positioned just outside the set can be seen reflected in the drawing room window.

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When the scene returns to the Collinwood drawing room for the second half of Act II, the teleprompter is still being reflected in one of the panes of the drawing room window that’s been opened… Perhaps it’s really a spotlight lamp from the spirit world the ghost of Bill Malloy has enlisted to light up his performance as he sings What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor while floating over the edge of Widow’s Hill.

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As Act II draws to a close, a camera shadow can be seen moving against the foyer wall as Mrs. Stoddard goes to answer the front door.

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In the short interval leading up to Matthew Morgan’s Blue Whale entrance in Act III, the studio lights help to etch out the shadow of Thayer David standing there just outside the door.

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As Joe and Carolyn are getting set to leave the Blue Whale, the camera angle shifts upward momentarily to show one of the studio lights overhead. The Blue Whale is the one set on Dark Shadows where the sight of overhead studio lights will not detract from the overall effect of the set, and in fact could be seen to add an even greater depth of charm.

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Elsewhere in the television studio though, depending on the positioning of actors and camera equipment and such, the added effect of the overhead studio lights can become glaringly obvious, as occurs momentarily while Maggie Evans moves about the drawing room waiting for Mrs. Stoddard to return.

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Soon after the scene with Maggie and Mrs. Stoddard resumes for the second half of Act IV, Joan Bennett says the line: “Perhaps for some strage region it suits him to do so…”

During the same scene, with the camera angle showing the foyer as a backdrop, the shadow of the boom mic can be scene lingering along the foyer wall below the electric candles.

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Perhaps you’ve noted the nifty clam shell design of the ashtrays they have at the Blue Whale. The opening segment for this episode has the slating board positioned on one of the tables, with the ashtray there in front. The folks in the background are some of the Blue Whale extras (the younger couple), already in position at the nearby table for the start of taping.

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Food & Drink in Collinsport:

Just before Joe and Carolyn enter the Blue Whale in the opening scene, the bartender serves Blue Whale extra George McCoy a foaming mug of draft beer.

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Joe has likewise ordered a cold one, while Carolyn being four years under drinking age has to settle for what appears to be a ginger ale soda in a tall glass with ice.

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At the start of Act IV, the younger couple look on as the bartender sets a mug of draft beer down on Matthew’s table…

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…while he sits there waiting for Devlin to show up. Beer and brainstorming; the perfect combination.

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Parallel Collinsport, 1966:

Whenever Dark Shadows has a scene at the Blue Whale, one has to wonder what real-life selections the jukebox would be playing if the same allocations in budget had been allowed as for its predecessor in the 4 pm Eastern time slot, the teen-oriented soap opera Never Too Young, which, in addition to having played in its episodes the original studio recordings by many of the best-known popular singing stars and groups of the time, even had the artists themselves appearing in person to mime a performance at the local teen hangout, The High Dive. Imagine the energy on the Blue Whale dance floor if Johnny Rivers were rocking the room with a run-through of Secret Agent Man.

(A crowded Blue Whale, episode 2)

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Surely the jukebox would have been stocked with a disc or two by a garage rock band like The Mustangs, doing their obligatory Rolling Stones cover.

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Not just garage bands were covering the Stones. Ever hear the Supremes doing (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction? A Motown rendition of Satisfaction would seem appropriate, given how guitarist Keith Richards was evidently “sleep channeling” for inspiration of the famous fuzz-tone riff running through the Stones’ first U.S. number one single what the horn section was playing behind an earlier hit by another Motown girl group, Nowhere To Run by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

It’s what should be playing whenever Joe Haskell takes Carolyn Stoddard out to the Blue Whale, only to have his date hijacked by other random patrons.

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The Supremes were peaking in popularity by 1966, having scored one of their dozen number one singles that spring in Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart – which no doubt Carolyn would have been smoking up the Blue Whale dance floor to as she tries coaxing Burke Devlin into a dance by giving him an impromptu lesson…

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…with Joe haplessly looking on. Because that’s what Joe is left to do out on his dates with Carolyn, just looking on.

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The Supremes in 1966 (left to right): Mary Wilson (mezzo/alto), Diana Ross (lead), and Florence Ballard (soprano).

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In her own mind though, despite her frequent admissions of the mutually antagonistic drives that hold her forever running in place, it’s Joe’s own fault if these shortcomings leave him at a loss, because really, who could ever doubt her love…

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Recommended Reading:

Joan Bennett’s 1970 autobiography (original front cover).

Joan Bennett cast member spotlight_The Bennett Playbill_front cover_ep25

The Bennetts: An Acting Family, the 2004 biography.

Joan Bennett cast member spotlight_The Bennetts An Acting Family_front cover_ep25

The Louis Edmonds biography, Big Lou.

Louis Edmonds_Big Lou (front cover)_image 3A

Recommended Listening:

In this eight-CD box set of composer Robert Cobert’s series soundtrack, every music cue used on Dark Shadows is available, including the full-length original recordings of the guitar instrumentals heard at the Blue Whale.

Dark Shadows_Soundtrack Music Collection_Front cover

Coming next: Episode 64: Terror at Collinsport

— Marc Masse
(aka PrisoneroftheNight)

© 2020 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.

3 thoughts on “Episode 63: A Question of Murder”

  1. Considering where the character of Roger Collins went to, the rather pompous and wittily acerbic dandy, one tends to forget what a stinker he originally was depicted to be. Kind of a shame that there wasn’t a ‘twin brother’ waiting to step in so Roger could have that slip off the cliff. Never mind, Roger mended his ways and we had the marvelous talent of Louis Edmonds for the show’s run! (I’m still torn between the best of his roles – – usually I think it was Joshua, but Edward has some pretty great moments too…)

  2. So, why would Liz keep Matthew around after he admitted to nudging Bill Malloy’s body back out to sea? Only one explanation makes sense – she planned to pin bill’s murder on Matthew if the cops ever came up the hill to arrest Roger. Matthew may be loyal to Liz but, her loyalties only extend to her family.

  3. I always found it interesting that Dark Shadows had such trouble finding a male lead to “click” with Nancy Barrett. She was one of the better actresses on the show, but until they put her with John Karlen, there weren’t a lot of sparks between her and her love interests. Joe and Maggie were one of my favorite couples, so I’m glad they went in that direction. Nancy and Joel Crothers did work as Millicent and Nathan but partly because he was using her, not because they worked as a real couple. Carolyn might have worked with Tony Peterson, but his character kind of petered out and the various Trasks were his real highlight on the show. Heck when they did the forward time jump and Carolyn said she never married after Jeb, I couldn’t imagine why. They just never worked.

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