Did you watch the original ‘Dark Shadows’? April 22, 2012Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
Tags: Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows, Johnny Depp, Jonathan Frid
I don’t really remember DARK SHADOWS but it was on — maybe reruns — when I was a kid. Some of my friends weren’t allowed to watch it, but I’m pretty sure we had it on because I do recall the weird music. But I draw a blank about the plot — other than it was about vampires.
JONATHAN FRID, who played the soap opera’s tormented vampire BARNABAS COLLINS, died April 14 in Canada, just weeks before the release of the Tim Burton version of DARK SHADOWS, which opens May 11 and stars JOHNNY DEPP. Frid, who was 87, has a cameo in the Burton film.
According to Reuters:
“Dark Shadows” ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971, but Frid did not join the show until its second year when he was brought in as a villainous vampire in an effort to improve the show’s flagging ratings. Barnabas developed into more than a villain, as he was shown taking risks to help others and demonstrating sympathy and a romantic side.
The difficulty of keeping up with the demanding schedule of a daily half-hour show manifested itself on screen. In addition to sets wobbling unintentionally, actors — especially Frid and Bennett — often struggled with their lines. Occasionally a stagehand could be spotted wandering onto the back of the set. Other times the microphone boom appeared in the frame (giving the show the unintentional nickname “Mic Shadows”), a TV camera would appear on screen, a fly hovered around the head of an actor, or window curtains fell down. There were many major errors such as a woman supposedly tied up who was not tied properly, and glass objects crashing which often made viewers think that the show was live.
And there were remakes before the Burton flick:
- In 1991, BEN CROSS played Barnabas in “a short-lived primetime remake” that was produced by MGM Television and aired on NBC from Jan. 13 to March 22. “The revival was a lavish, big budget weekly serial combining gothic romance and stylistic horror. Although it was a huge hit at introduction (watched by almost 1 in 4 households according to official ratings during that time period), the onset of the Gulf War caused NBC to continually preempt or reschedule the episodes resulting in declining ratings. It was canceled after the first season.” (From Wikipedia)
- In 2004, a pilot for a new WB network Dark Shadows series starring Alec Newman as Barnabas Collins was written and shot, but never picked up.
Frid’s apparently had an interesting website at www.jonathanfrid.com — but it says the “site is temporarily unavailable.”
Stories about Frid’s death
And here’s a look at one of the Tim Burton movie trailers in his DARK SHADOWS movie: