“Good eve – uh, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen… No, that isn’t it either. Good afternoon ladies and shut-ins.”
“From yesterday afternoon’s half-hour, we found out something rather shocking about the Collins family’s gem of a caretaker. Personally, from what I’ve been able to observe thus far, being the caretaker of Collinwood is more akin to being a zookeeper. Half the people living there think of the big house as a sort of cage anyway, and with certain members of the household there is the greatest difficulty in keeping their behavior and drives in check. As with wild animals, tensions exist which are liable to flare up at any moment.”
“However, today’s television playlet concerns itself with the motivations of the caretaker himself, who, when a friend of the family has drowned and washes ashore on the great estate, sees nothing wrong in giving him a push back into the water so that said friend may wash ashore somewhere else, or perhaps not at all.”
“Given Matthew the caretaker’s casual admission of such an act, even when questioned by the police, today’s play is called “They Float Bodies, Don’t They?”. Because that’s what a caretaker at Collinwood does; trim the hedges, carry the firewood, and float bodies that have washed ashore back out to sea where they can hopefully never be found. Now, if only someone could do that with my dreaded sponsors, I would never again have to suffer through another commercial break. In the meantime, I shall consult with the production crew and see if Matthew the caretaker is available for immediate employment. Until then, another sponsor with yet another commercial message is just about to wash ashore.”
Continue reading “Episode 54: They Float Bodies, Don’t They?”
Today Dark Shadows crosses over to the supernatural. In so doing, a new chapter in the story of Victoria Winters is presented; more about this below, in the main body of the post.
Dark Shadows fans have wondered why the original story of Victoria Winters, as outlined in the series bible Shadows on the Wall by story creator and developer Art Wallace, was dropped. It wasn’t; rather, it was revised.
Episode 60, also written by Wallace, strongly hints for the family background of Victoria Winters a maternal rather than paternal link to Collinwood, which is implied further in episode 127.
For now, today’s episode provides the first ever Dark Shadows mashup:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents + The Uninvited = Dark Shadows episode 52
Continue reading “Episode 52: Something Uninvited”
Over this past week of episodes, ever since Bill Malloy became the de facto star of Dark Shadows, there’s something you notice: He doesn’t have a set of his own.
Every main regular player has their own set created to define their base of operations, a place where they seem at home and appear to have the advantage when playing host to visitors: Burke Devlin has his grand three-room suite on the top floor of Collinsport Inn; Roger has his place beside the Collinwood drawing room liquor cabinet – matter of fact, in today’s episode a new set has been created for him, a luxurious office space at the cannery; even Joe Haskell had an office set created for him, which was shown in episode 41 during his phone call with Mrs. Stoddard.
Bill Malloy on the other hand makes most of his phone calls relating to the present storyline from the pay phone at the back wall of the Blue Whale; to meet with the principals involved in his plans, he uses a table right smack in the center of the room. In today’s episode he’s even calling Roger at Collinwood using the phone in Roger’s office, and arranges a meeting with Burke at the Blue Whale from the same location. He never has a phone or room to call his own; as a sudden main player, his character is really little more than a “floater.” The writing staff even addresses this point in today’s episode, just in case the viewer has been wondering about the same thing:
Burke: Are you making the Blue Whale your office now?
Bill: Sometimes you get the most privacy in the most public place.
Oh, alright; so long as you don’t mind the details of your private plans being randomly picked up by other Blue Whale customers and possibly the bartender as well.
Today Bill Malloy is talking card games. He tells Burke that he’s put most of his cards down, and now he’s ready to play his hole card. The term “ace in the hole” has the following definition: “A hidden advantage or resource kept in reserve until needed.” It’s derived from stud poker; while you place your bets, you hold a key potentially winning card face down, or “in the hole,” until you’re ready to play it.
Bill indicates to Burke that the hole card he’s ready to play could possibly be walking right into the Blue Whale at any moment, adding that he’ll know him when he sees him; that means the viewer will as well.
Continue reading “Episode 45: Ace in the Hole”
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”
Bill Malloy these days comes across as the man with all the answers; or at the very least appears to know the proper solutions, and the means of applying them, to save the Collins family from ruin in the face of Burke Devlin’s determined vendetta.
Knowledge can be a blessing; freeing you from short-sighted doubt as well as fear of the unknown. Knowledge can also be a curse; setting you apart from others while leaving you torn over sudden and unforeseen divided loyalties.
So what do you do when you’ve learned too much about the very people you rely on the most? If you’re Bill Malloy, you skip out on work for an afternoon and go to the Blue Whale where you can find a nice quiet table to drink things over for a while.
Continue reading “Episode 43: The Man Who Learned Too Much”
The pen is yours
The pen is mine
The pen belongs
To Dark Shadows fans
Down through time
The silver filigree fountain pen; a story point which many Dark Shadows fans can’t seem to agree on – is it really great, or just a red herring?
This reviewer however has never seen a Dark Shadows prop he doesn’t like, and will instead be enthusing on the many entertaining and memorable scenes generated solely from the existence of Burke Devlin’s one of a kind sterling silver fountain pen as it changes hands from episode to episode.
Would you believe a fountain pen worth killing over? All We Are Saying Is Give Pens A Chance; Devlin’s Silver Hammer; Here Comes The Pen…
Continue reading “Episode 42: The Pen Is Yours”
One of the best things about the first year of Dark Shadows is Nancy Barrett. Despite all of Carolyn Stoddard’s faults, not the least of which being her borderline incestuous crush on her uncle Roger, the emphatic range Nancy Barrett brings to her performances simply makes the character nothing short of enchanting. It’s here in episode 40 where such a quality is brought home to epitomize what makes Nancy Barrett so great in the role of Carolyn Stoddard.
There are a good many fans who only follow the show from episode 210 where the Barnabas era begins, and for this reason alone the first two hundred nine episodes remain one of the best kept secrets among Dark Shadows fandom. Yet for those who appreciate the fantastic performances of talented actors bringing characters to life with definitive depth, these early episodes contain some of the finest, most memorable moments in the entire series.
Here in episode 40, greatness abounds not only in scenes with Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Stoddard, but also in those with David Ford as Sam Evans. In the post for episode 41, we’ll recognize what David Ford achieves in one of his more magnificent moments on Dark Shadows; for now, let’s shine a light on what Nancy Barrett brings to define her portrayal of Carolyn Stoddard in the absolute.
Continue reading “Episode 40: Coffee Time”