“Accidental death due to drowning. I think I’ll have it cast in bronze.”
The main thing to be taken from today’s episode is how each of the interested parties have reacted to the news of the coroner’s decision, that Bill Malloy’s death was the result of accidental drowning.
You would expect that Burke should be outraged, because this would leave him hanging with no hope now of clearing his name which is what Bill Malloy had promised would come of the meeting he had arranged that night in Roger’s office.
Generally though most of those involved would be relieved, especially Mrs. Stoddard and Carolyn who considered Bill near and dear, that no violent act on the part of person or persons unknown had befallen the man and that at last the matter could be brought to rest.
It’s Roger’s overreaction that stands out as suspicious; all that expansive euphoria, celebrating with drinks and a carefree stroll along the cliffs – where Bill’s body had washed up just a couple nights earlier – as though Roger were a terminal patient who had just been handed a clean bill of health and the renewed lease on life that would naturally go with such news. There’s just too much of a joyous plateau for comfort.
Either the producers and writers of Dark Shadows have suddenly decided to just make a red herring out of the entire Bill Malloy mystery story or someone has decided that Louis Edmonds is too good of an actor to let go, considering that Roger’s character is, or was, scheduled to be killed off at some point, after Victoria Winters makes one too many visits over to the Evans cottage while hearing Sam’s tongue getting loosened over liquor to reveal details of what really happened ten years ago with the Burke Devlin manslaughter story.
Most likely it’s the latter point, because things in life tend to happen for a reason.
Apart from Sheriff George Patterson and his professional and immediate contacts in the investigation surrounding Bill Malloy’s death, it was Elizabeth Stoddard who was the first person at Collinwood, or for that matter in all of Collinsport, to be made aware of the coroner’s findings.
Sheriff Patterson had himself made a special trip up to the big house in yesterday’s episode not so much because Mrs. Stoddard and Bill Malloy had been close friends for such a long time as he had ostensibly indicated, but really more to hint at where he had actually been proceeding with the facts gathered in his own investigation – that all along he had been considering her brother Roger as the prime suspect in a possible murder.
The sheriff had revealed this in a delicate but definite manner as he led the discussion toward the truth of the coroner’s decision which had just that afternoon been presented to him when visiting the coroner’s office.
“Mrs. Stoddard, if Bill was murdered, you would want the person who did it, the guilty person, apprehended and punished, wouldn’t you? No matter who he was?”
Hint, hint – no matter who he was. Turns out Elizabeth had a similar suspicion about her brother, which she voices in today’s episode when Roger goads her about the coroner’s findings.
Roger: Oh tell me Liz, now that it’s over, you were worried for me, weren’t you?
Elizabeth: Should I have been?
Roger: Well, you harbored a teeny suspicion that I had something to do with Bill Malloy’s death, that’s the truth, isn’t it?
Elizabeth: Well there’s no point in talking about it now, Roger. As you say, it’s over.
Why say “no” when you can just take nineteen syllables to skirt around the matter while agreeing to forget that it ever happened.
Elizabeth: Roger, a moment ago you asked me if I thought you were involved in Bill’s death. Well yes, it did cross my mind.
Roger: Well then, you should be delighted to have been proved wrong.
His own sister has just admitted that she thought he might be guilty of murder, and Roger simply tosses off a reply as casual as the celebratory drink he’s pouring. It makes you think David may have been on to something with what he was claiming to have seen in his crystal ball.
Don’t ask Roger to arrange the catering service for Bill Malloy’s funeral reception; he’s liable to make a Founders Day Festival of the whole affair, as if to indicate for the good citizens of Collinsport that despite all recent doubts to the contrary, Roger Collins has indeed arrived at last.
“Today, on this glorious day of days, neither David nor Burke exist for me!…”
“Stay tuned for Where the Action Is next, here on ABC.”
“Hello stranger, (Ooh) It seems so good to see you back again…”
Today’s episode features at the outset new location footage of the Griswold Inn filmed in Essex, Connecticut as the exterior of Collinsport Inn, with Burke Devlin shown arriving through the front entrance.
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
One of the most difficult sets to design for full effect on Dark Shadows would have to be the area just outside the front doors of the Collinwood foyer, which as one can see in the image below from episode 1, as the taxi brings newly arrived governess Victoria Winters right under the porte cochère, should be grandly and thoroughly represented in the set design…
…but in many cases gets less than minimal treatment especially in the very early episodes, like #8 when Mrs. Stoddard lets in Joe Haskell with a shot that is supposed to represent the middle of the day but isn’t even lit…
…and even when it is visible like here at the end of episode 41 shows none of the stately quality such a traditional structure should hold especially for a mansion the size of Collinwood, as done within the cramped confines of a studio space barely large enough for an actor to stand in, with only a sparse pinch of tree props dressing against a blank and grayish backdrop…
…though somewhat more effort is made for episode 44 when Elizabeth greets her long-time banker from Bangor, John Harris…
…but not too much so for episode 49 when Burke comes crashing in for one of his many unannounced intrusions…
…where Sy Tomashoff must have had other things on his mind that day, having left the Collinwood foyer set itself partially undressed…
…along with part of the foyer wall missing…
…and also that same episode had been skimping on the dressing for outside the bay window of the Evans cottage…
…whereas before there had been more the suggestion of a deep, lush wooded background as in episode 40…
…and just seems to give up entirely by episode 53, where outside the Collinwood foyer the camera picks up a trash receptacle off to the side as David lets in Joe Haskell.
So at least today Sy Tomashoff has made some effort in dressing the columns and ground-level structural elements of the porte cochère, or “carriage porch,” at least as well as one can while still only using blank screens for a backdrop.
As Burke tells Carolyn he doesn’t have the pen Roger had meant to return to him the night Bill Malloy died, the top part of the TelePrompter slips momentarily into view (upper right).
Act IV begins with David and Carolyn returning to Collinwood and meeting with Elizabeth in the foyer to provide further reaction over the coroner’s decision on Bill Malloy, but it’s really just a device to allow Mitch Ryan time to get to the set for the sheriff’s office for the following scene that closes out today’s program. During this exchange Joan Bennett utters something indistinct, perhaps the word “perfect” but not spoken with full clarity:
Carolyn: Isn’t it great news?
Elizabeth: It’s per[****?]…
The end credits for episode 75 show the frequent misspelling for wardrobe.
Food & Drink in Collinsport:
The first time David snuck into Burke’s room back in episode 29, Burke made for David and himself a drink he called “The Burke Devlin Special”; a blend of two fruit juices which in this episode becomes according to David “a lot of different fruit juices all mixed together.”
Act II opens with Roger insisting that Elizabeth join him in a celebratory toast: “To the perception and judgment of the coroner; long may he hold his office.”
With Carolyn’s visit to Burke’s hotel room in Act III, David has been preparing another round of The Burke Devlin Special, and Burke hands his drink to Carolyn, who just winds up stroking the the glass with her fingertips, but without actually sipping from it…
…which one supposes could be seen as metaphorical.
This Week in TV Guide:
Dark Shadows #74 aired on October 6, 1966. As the closing credits rolled for that Thursday afternoon’s episode, ABC announcer Bob Lloyd provided a message for shows in that evening’s nine o’clock hour: “Aunt Clara adds a unique touch to her babysitting chores – she conjures up an extra child. Enjoy Bewitched, tonight at nine, eight o’clock Central Time, followed by the comedy capers of Marlo Thomas as That Girl, on ABC.”
That “Girl” was in fact scripted more as a young woman, somewhere between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two – depending on who was writing the episode scripts of course, for a series that was neither a serial nor an anthology but more or less had the same evolving story at the center of it – that of the relationship between Ann Marie and Donald Hollinger and how that relationship may or may not be progressing toward the status of marriage – the ultimate decision of which would rest more with the unofficial executive producer of That Girl, Marlo Thomas herself.
Having Danny Thomas for a father certainly helped, whose involvement with The Dick Van Dyke Show meant that Marlo would have her very own television series created and developed by that earlier show’s main writers Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, as well as having the clout to form her own production company, Daisy Productions, just so she could act as the show’s actual executive producer. That Girl was essentially what Marlo Thomas ended up with after having turned down several potential TV pilot scripts offered by none other than Edgar Scherick, at that time ABC’s highly influential and productive Vice President of Programming. When Dan Curtis wanted to bring his dream vision of a governess traveling to work in a New England mansion, he pitched his idea to Leonard Goldberg who since 1965 had been the Vice President of ABC Daytime Programming; and when Goldberg signaled to the network that he needed money to develop his vision of a new kind of daytime programming for ABC, shows whose content would specifically target the largely untapped youth demographic, it was Scherick who allotted Goldberg $100,000 to start a development fund.
So for an actress who hadn’t yet fully come into her own insofar as being a household name from having starred in her own TV series, it is notable that Marlo Thomas had the luxury of turning down the more traditional roles initially offered, that of a secretary or housewife, instead for something more unique and groundbreaking, like a young woman who leaves her small town world behind for the big city to make it on her own as an actress. Television had not yet seen the likes of the female lead character portrayal of Ann Marie, living on her own in Manhattan and getting by on the usual menial type jobs as she makes the advancement of her career her top priority – even at the expense of leaving her long-suffering boyfriend Don Hollinger forever hanging on an “engagement” that lingers for years rather than months. Yet, this type of “That Girl” story was happening all over the place at that time, particularly in New York – as evidenced by the bios of several of the actresses that year who were filling out the main and supporting cast of Dark Shadows.
That Girl’s age at the series outset remains a mystery. Marlo Thomas herself recalls that the character had already been through college when flying the nest of her upstate origins in Brewster, New York for the Big Apple, but the actress was nearly thirty by 1966 and had in fact been closer to Ann Marie’s age way back in a 1961 episode of Thriller, an anthology series in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and hosted by Boris Karloff.
In The Ordeal of Dr. Cordell, Robert Vaughn stars as a young laboratory research doctor who after an explosive chemical mishap in his lab struggles with a split personality, whose almost werewolf-like alter ego gets maniacally triggered by the sound of ringing bells.
“I’m new on campus, I thought the library was in this building…”
It doesn’t help that Miss Baker has bells on, literally, with her ear rings, when the Aware-wolf is merely trying to protect himself, and others, by shutting himself away from people…
“How did you get through that door?”
…which means that girl is fortunate…
…to be getting away safely to star someday in a TV series of her own.
Thriller also featured another of the future reigning queens of ABC nighttime, also in 1961 with Elizabeth Montgomery starring in Masquerade.
For an Alfred Hitchcock parallel as noted above, you can’t go wrong in starting off a haunted house type story with a storm-tossed glimpse of the Psycho house.
That’s a young Tom Poston co-starring alongside the future Bewitched star, and if you squint halfway you can detect a general, overall resemblance between Poston here in Masquerade…
…and Robert Vaughn in the Dr. Cordell episode…
…both of whom seem styled more after Ed Nelson, who would go on to star as Dr. Michael Rossi in another of ABC executive Ed Scherick’s creative properties, Peyton Place.
Ed Nelson’s opening credit during season 1 of Peyton Place, 1964-65.
Ed Nelson was quite the star property even in those earlier days preceding his nearly five-year run on Peyton Place, perhaps best known as Philip Redfield in the 1963 Twilight Zone episode Valley of the Shadow, mainly because Twilight Zone is simply one of the most widely recognizable programs in television history.
Ed Nelson had by then already a variety of weighty television roles on his résumé, like Tom Keller who was selected to be among the captive audience for James Mason’s all too real mystery writer Warren Barrow in just the fifth episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour anthology series in October 1962.
In fact Ed Nelson’s silver screen career extends well back into the 1950s, including some of the well-known westerns of the period like the season 2 Maverick episode The Rivals…
…an episode more noteworthy for having Roger Moore in the cast…
…and Mrs. Gladys Kravitz the second reciting a passage from Wuthering Heights, which when you think about it is funnier even than any of her lines on Bewitched.
Ed Nelson’s uncredited role here is significant because his height has been listed as six feet…
…in contrast to James Garner, correctly listed as six-two…
…which means that someone’s publicity department has come up a bit short.
Not that this would keep him from acquiring starring roles in other major westerns of the day like The Rebel, also in the late 1950s, though still a long way yet before Ed Nelson would be showing the type of range on Peyton Place that made Dr. Rossi’s compassionate bedside manner so believable.
Oh, and the following year would find Ed Nelson in two Thriller episodes, just weeks apart, like in The Cheaters from December 1960.
By 1966, Thriller veterans Ed Nelson and Marlo Thomas would each be starring in their own respective series, both in the 9:30 pm time slot, with Peyton Place in the fall of ’66 settling back from three nights a week to Monday and Wednesday and That Girl scheduled for Thursday.
In recalling how ABC exec Ed Scherick had “discovered” her for That Girl, Marlo Thomas says that he saw her in a pilot for a proposed series called Two’s Company, which didn’t sell and so never aired. Nonetheless, Scherick told her that Clairol still wanted to sponsor a show with Marlo Thomas, which they would do eventually…
“That Girl is brought to you by…”
…by season 3 of That Girl. For season 1, however, advertising for this brand of show that would have such a profound influence with girls and young women across America would be handled by… cigarettes, because…
“There is nothing, like a Lark…”
The beginnings of That Girl are somewhat complicated. To say nothing of the unaired pilot from 1965, the actual first season of episodes was preceded by a preview show, with the ABC network hoping to get a jump on the competition by previewing their new shows one week ahead of the official start of the fall 1966-67 network television season, as alluded to in a closing message by Marlo Thomas after showing how Ann Marie and Don Hollinger first met.
“Hi, I’m Marlo Thomas. I hope you liked our first show. Well, actually, it wasn’t our first show. It was our preview show. Our real first show will be on next week, when the season officially begins. Tonight you saw how That Girl met her boyfriend. And in next week’s show you’ll meet Ann Marie’s parents, in the episode that shows what happens when she leaves home and goes to live in New York. And wherever you live, I hope you watch That Girl. In color – or black and white. I just want you to watch.”
Then the next week’s episode has Ann leaving her parents’ house and moving into her apartment and getting her first acting job while having to deal with the fact that her parents do not entirely approve of her career decision, all before she and Don have first met.
Still another curious point is the episode from this week in October, called Anatomy of a Blunder, where Ann takes Don back home to meet her folks, but which was actually just the second episode recorded. It’s a testament to the chemistry between Marlo Thomas and Ted Bessell that they weren’t as confused as the production schedule must have made it seem, and could just play it straight as though a natural progression from one episode in story time to the next.
Lew Parker plays Lew Marie, Ann’s restaurateur father who is as fussy about her daughter’s boyfriends as he is with the menu items he manages. What can you say to a man who has everything – to be grumpy about?
“Oh daddy, will you stop worrying?…”
Ann needs to retrieve her hi-fi set from her parents’ house, and Don is only driving her up that way as a favor. Stopping for a picnic en route is Ann’s idea; while she enthuses about the beauty of the place, Don is commenting on the weeds he had to walk through just to join her in admiring the view of the stream and then lamenting that there’s no grass only dirt where Ann has decided they should spread out their picnic lunch, even calling her a child as he reluctantly agrees to join her wading in the water.
The picnic area in this episode is Franklin Canyon Park in Los Angeles, widely used for location filming before this episode of That Girl and since…
…as in the Star Trek episode The Paradise Syndrome, from a couple years later.
Before That Girl, perhaps the most well-known use of Franklin Canyon on television is for the opening theme of The Andy Griffith Show in the early 1960s…
(Andy Griffith and Ron “Opie” Howard on location in Los Angeles, 1960)
…with the best-known film equivalent being from the 1950s in Creature from the Black Lagoon… which must be erroneous information because aside from occasional shooting on the Universal Studios backlots in California, the majority of location filming was done in Florida.
In this week’s That Girl episode Anatomy of a Blunder, the picnic began blundering even before Ann and Don had set out; Ann made chopped liver sandwiches (which Don likes) with horseradish (which Don is allergic to), which results in Don breaking out in “blotches” all over only serving to heighten the nervousness he has been harboring at the prospect of meeting Ann’s folks, her father especially. To top things, Ann’s insistence on wading in the stream results in Don losing his contact lenses…
…and with Don only able to recover one of the lenses…
…this means Ann will have to drive…
…the standard transmission she’s not used to…
…because a standard has more than one gear.
“Now what you have to do is ease out the clutch… very slowly…”
When getting from here to there is no drive through the park, aren’t you lucky to have a Lark?
Ask your vintage Ford dealer, about their cigarette machines.
Life may not be a picnic…
…but there is nothing like a Lark.
Coming next: Episode 75: On a Clear Day, You Can See Murder
— Marc Masse
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