Episode 2: A Friend of the Family

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“They said this joint starts jumpin’ when the kids get here,” private detective Wilbur Strake notes approvingly to his client Burke Devlin as they sit at the bar in the Blue Whale observing the action on the dance floor. “They sure were right!”

There’s a party going on, and Carolyn Stoddard, daughter of Collinwood matriarch Elizabeth Stoddard, is at the center of it, frugging her way all around the room as surf-style guitar instrumental music is blaring from the jukebox.

In his story outline, Shadows on the Wall, Art Wallace describes Carolyn, seventeen, as “an attractive, vivacious young girl who enjoys every moment of life” and also as one who plays the field. Her introduction in the second episode of Dark Shadows certainly lives up to this description, because she is dancing with every available young man on the floor – everyone, that is, but her date, Joe Haskell, who sits at their table with a beer before him, looking sullen and forlorn while Carolyn, not bothering to notice, treats him more like a chaperone than a date.

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Episode 1: “Next Stop, Collinsport!”

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From the beginning, Dark Shadows lives up to its name. Full of mysterious characters with secrets to be kept, the debut episode, and the three that follow, is set during the nighttime, when a sense of foreboding pervades the deepest, when the ghosts of yesterday seem the most threatening, piercing the looming shades of darkness like the light of an oncoming train.

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Dark Shadows from the Beginning: Introduction

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Some of my earliest life memories revolve around television, and episodes of Dark Shadows as they were originally first broadcast are among these. I was born on a Monday in 1966, on the day Dark Shadows was taping its thirty-sixth episode. So I remember roughly the last year of the show. Some episodes I can recall in particular, but overall my memory is of general impressions: the stained glass windows over the landing of the Collinwood foyer, the drawing room, Christopher Pennock’s big ball of orange hair, the contours around Joan Bennett’s mouth, a man with dark hair being walled up with brick, the fresh mortar spilling over some of the bricks as the man stoically looks upon the darkened inner wall of his prison. And, of course, that daily intro with the waves and the rolling Gothic letters and the unmistakable music throughout. Such an early familiarity with something becomes second nature. For instance, no matter how much time has passed, whenever you get a glimpse of those stained glass windows atop the Collinwood foyer, whether in color or black and white, it almost feels like going home.

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