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Did you watch the original ‘Dark Shadows’? April 22, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
Tags: , , ,

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 show — according to Wikipedia and other websites — had its share of problems:

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)

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:


1. Kathryn McCabe (@McKLEM) - April 23, 2012

You watched it. We had it on after school. Kate Jackson was in it.

Diana McCabe - April 23, 2012

Ohhhh — that’s right. Kate Jackson was in it. Now I’m gonna have to google it again. I honestly have no memory other than the title screen …. d.

2. Emma - April 23, 2012

I’ve never seen this but there was a tv movie with the same name out in 2005. Matt Czuchry from The Good Wife was in it.

Diana McCabe - April 23, 2012

I believe that’s the WB production I mentioned earlier but it was never to picked up. There is a website that talks about it and mentions that it wasn’t fully completed. But — lots of spec on what really happened. If it was completed — would it ever be released on DVD? (Here’s website: http://barnabasundead.com/)

Just think if the WB had released it back then! They would have perhaps ridden great vamp/entertainment wave!!!


3. maria rose - April 23, 2012

I watched the show from the start right after i got home from school (i was in high school). It was the only late afternoon soap opera all the rest were during the daytime. I remember getting a black stone ring like the one Barnabas wore for my pointer finger,too. I was under the impression that the show was live because of all the goofs and the actors trying to act serious around the stage problems. It made the show more memorable because of the goofs. This was filmed before the days of the blue screens and multiple stage sets and fancy cameras. I don’t think George Lucas was filming yet. It was campy but fun to watch.

Diana McCabe - April 23, 2012

Did you have a fave episode. One of my friends on Facebook said there was one episode where they buried a woman alive and it creeped her out. And I still haven’t had a chance to google Kate Jackson’s role. I just remember “flowing” dresses? Are you going to see the movie?

maria rose - April 23, 2012

I do plan to see Johnny Depp’s version just to see how he puts the Barnabas character together especially since he got to work with the original actor for a bit( too bad he died prior to the release.) My best memories were of the conflicts between Angelica the witch and Barnabas. I think Kate Jackson played a relative who came to Collinwood to visit her aunt and wound up getting to know the “family” secrets. I also remember not feeling sorry for the guy who dug up Barnabas and wound up being his gofer.

4. La Deetda Reads - April 23, 2012

I remember watching the original but not on a regular basis. I remember it as being a bit boring. I definitely will see the movie. The trailers make it look really campy.

5. Lisa - April 24, 2012

I never watched the original, but I like what I’m seeing on the trailers – looks odd and funny.

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