“I’ve come for Collinwood!”
Though not written by Art Wallace, today’s episode takes a big page from Shadows on the Wall, the outline that preceded the Dark Shadows television series.
Page 52 in the series bible tells of a significant shift in the story of Burke Devlin, which to this point, despite his vendetta toward the Collins family aiming through shrewd business machinations for their eventual financial ruin, has been more about proving his innocence in the manslaughter conviction that sent him to prison ten years ago. However, with the county coroner having just that day ruled that Bill Malloy’s death was the result of an accidental drowning, therefore slamming shut the lone remaining window of opportunity for Devlin to clear his name, Burke has now fallen back on the one thing that still drives him forth: revenge.
“…[Burke] leaves no doubt that he won’t rest until he is living in the home of the first family of Collinsport” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 52).
Continue reading “Episode 76: Twisting the Lion’s Tail, or Burke’s Law and How to Enforce It”
“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.
Continue reading “Episode 74: Celebration Day: Death Has Come at Last”
Victoria Winters has a brand new best friend.
Witness the new though not yet improved Roger Collins.
It’s going off the series outline, allowing the character to virtually groom the young governess with charm and deceit, but it beats the alternative of having Roger eventually killed off as planned thus consigning the talents of Louis Edmonds to the elusive realm of those famous Collinwood ghosts and legends that get spoken of so often yet never actually seen and realized in full.
Continue reading “Episode 71: School’s Out for Roger”
Burke Devlin is on a rampage; at least that’s what the sheriff of Collinsport has been phoning various residents to warn them about. In episode 60 Sheriff Patterson reached out to Sam Evans informing him that Burke might be out his way, and that if he did show up he should just call in. The same advisory was issued in yesterday’s episode during a telephone conversation with Elizabeth Stoddard.
Thus far Devlin’s rampage has consisted of crashing a dinner party at the Evans cottage, which very nearly resulted in a sandwich, and now he has shown up at Collinwood demanding that he be allowed to speak with Roger Collins. It’s been a long day since morning broke way back in episode 53 and it isn’t over just yet, not even with today’s episode. If Devlin’s rampage is allowed to continue on unabated, it’s liable to erupt in drawing room tea.
Continue reading “Episode 65: Bull in a Collins Shop”
With the death of Bill Malloy now an official fact, on this day in the town of Collinsport measures are being taken to observe his passing. The family-owned business for which Malloy devoted the greater share of his livelihood, first on the fishing boats and then as plant manager, has shuttered its operations for the remainder of the day. It was Roger Collins who made the suggestion to Elizabeth, but of course Roger would do anything to get out of work, if only for an afternoon.
It’s a dead man’s holiday, but the day really belongs to the sheriff of Collinsport. Dana Elcar appears on every set in use during today’s episode, and each appearance made by Sheriff Patterson will have a decisive effect on the actions of whomever he interacts with.
The opening narration by Victoria Winters tells of how “the long shadows of fear do reach out, touching others, darkening their hearts with growing tension.” Sam Evans for one, and Roger Collins for another, each have reason to be tense and fearful, especially with the sheriff making his rounds with hard questions that demand frank answers.
Still, there are others whose hopes and dreams cannot be shattered by the grim fact of Malloy’s demise. Joe Haskell has stopped in at the Blue Whale and is flagged down by Sam who gets Joe to join him at his table for a beer. Then when the sheriff happens in and joins them, he convinces Joe to take advantage of this nice afternoon off and go with Carolyn out for a drive in the country. Joe’s dream is of course to marry Carolyn, and a few hours just getting away from it all might find them talking of plans for the future.
Then there’s young David Collins, who in a morbid twist finds renewed hope through Mr. Malloy’s death. With the aid of a book devoted to local tide charts and currents, David will do his best to see if he can determine where exactly Mr. Malloy fell in the water. David believes that Mr. Malloy was murdered by his father, because his crystal ball told him so, and because having his father sent to prison would mean becoming free of the pervasive threat of being sent away himself. As David admits in this episode, he likes it there at Collinwood, with all his ghost friends, one of whom may even be Mr. Malloy.
Continue reading “Episode 58: Dead Man’s Holiday”
It almost feels like the supernatural era of Dark Shadows starts right here in episode 50.
Aside from the fact that a man Elizabeth Stoddard has known for twenty-five years is still missing, these late evening scenes in and around the Collinwood estate carry a decidedly ominous tone throughout.
There’s talk of ghosts and tragic family legends, the Wailing Widows, and premonitions of death courtesy of a nine-year-old boy with a crystal ball who seems to know for certain what grim and deathly portents this night will bring forth and for whom.
Lately daytime television’s first gothic serial drama has been branching into mystery and suspense, and here in this episode story creator and developer Art Wallace is reaching back for the supernatural and noirish mid-1940s inspirations of Dark Shadows to bring a kind of otherworldly atmosphere to the current story, enough so that the viewer would possibly be wondering whether Bill Malloy’s disappearance may be the result of darker, more paranormal forces at work.
Episode 50 is about as close to the supernatural as Dark Shadows has gotten thus far without actually crossing over; it will be in one of next week’s episodes when the lines between the physical and spirit worlds really begin to blur.
Continue reading “Episode 50: What The Tide Brought In”
Today the talk of Collinsport is Bill Malloy.
Not that he was particularly popular; matter of fact, most folks just seemed to take him for granted, that is, when he was around.
It’s a seeming disappearance that has everyone talking about a man many around town wouldn’t have otherwise given a second thought to.
Even more than this, there exists in the minds of some the possibility of foul play, causing even friends of long-standing to begin turning against one another.
That’s what happens when you bring Alfred Hitchcock to a town like Collinsport; the smaller the populace, the larger the mystery, the more persistent the questions, the greater the concerns.
Continue reading “Episode 49: The Case of the Vanishing Man: Part 2, Questions and Concerns”
It was in episode 45 that Bill Malloy stormed into Roger’s office at the cannery to present an ultimatum: either go to the police and confess his guilt for wrongfully sending Burke Devlin to prison on a manslaughter conviction ten years ago, or let Sam Evans reveal that he’s the only thing standing between Roger Collins and a prison sentence.
This option was reiterated in episode 46 when Bill showed up at Collinwood at ten that night, during which time Roger practically admitted to Malloy that Burke was not guilty but that because it was a long time ago and Burke was now a rich man, Bill should just let the matter slide for the sake of the Collins family.
So when in episode 47 Malloy fails to show up at the meeting he arranged between himself, Roger, Burke, and Sam in Roger’s office for eleven on the dot, Roger begins to relax; just after midnight, he’s positively buoyant as he returns home and strolls into the drawing room for a late brandy before turning in. You have to wonder why in those moments he would seem so carefree. Despite that Bill didn’t show up for the meeting, surely the ultimatum regarding Roger and going to the police would still stand the following day.
So here it is episode 48 and the next day; Bill Malloy has evidently disappeared, and people are starting to ask questions. Now it looks like Roger will have to face a threat even more terrifying than the police – his sister Elizabeth.
Continue reading “Episode 48: The Case of the Vanishing Man: Part 1, Questions and Theories”
The genius of the pen.
Not many Dark Shadows fans would subscribe to such a notion, but it becomes easier to accept when seen in the context of the show’s present transformation; a tale of mystery and suspense fashioned after the sort of nighttime drama anthology shows presented by Alfred Hitchcock.
The story of Bill Malloy, along with its aftermath and consequences, could have been neatly sewn up in just one hour of nighttime television, as Art Wallace did initially with the Jason McGuire/blackmail story prototype The House in 1957, or even a single half-hour as Wallace also did with the initial version of the above story three years earlier. Instead, the Jason McGuire story played out on Dark Shadows for more than eighty episodes, with the blackmail story itself running for a full seventy-nine.
Likewise, the Bill Malloy story promises to generate plenty of episode mileage. In the format of daytime serial drama, the story can unfold a little at a time with the opportunity of providing numerous additional details while various characters are scrutinized for their suspicions and motives. In the process, everyday props like fountain pens and clocks take on a greater significance by serving to shed an occasional spotlight on the inconsistencies of a character’s alibi, should the need arise to account for one’s whereabouts at a given time, thereby building on the overall mystery by adding to the speculation.
Today’s episode is a case in point; the meeting arranged by Bill Malloy between himself, Burke Devlin, Roger Collins, and Sam Evans, instead of resolving the conflict between Devlin and the Collins family, has resulted in the apparent disappearance of Malloy, and a missing fountain pen may hold the key…
Continue reading “Episode 47: Meeting of the Board”
Today Elizabeth Stoddard’s banker John Harris drives down from Bangor to present her with financial documents for a trust fund she has set up for David. Cast for the role is Patrick McVey, who turns in what can only be described as the single least proficient performance of any actor ever to appear on Dark Shadows. An explanation for this is provided in the “background audio” section of the post on episode 43 as well as below in today’s post.
In the summer of 1966, there was a viral outbreak in the Dark Shadows studio, and Patrick McVey was among those infected. Lelarichia swifteria is a rare virus affecting mainly male middle-aged supporting actors on Dark Shadows. Symptoms of L. swifteria begin with confusion and unease followed by a sudden drop in confidence, soon progressing to reduced motor capacity affecting abilities for memory of lines as well as timing and steadiness of delivery.
In some cases, the afflicted sufferer may manage to sustain themselves for multiple appearances over several episode tapings, but in many cases L. swifteria proves fatal to an actor’s duration on Dark Shadows.
There is no known cure.
Continue reading “Episode 44: You Can Bank On It”