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Dark Shadows (TV Series 1966–1971) Poster

(1966–1971)

Trivia

Ranked #19 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Top Cult Shows Ever!" (May 30, 2004 issue).
Due to the grueling five-shows-a-week schedule, the expense and the difficulty of video editing in those days, most scenes were shot in a single take. Actors and actresses routinely flubbed their lines and searched for the teleprompter, set pieces collapsed, props malfunctioned, crew members walked into shots, microphones and secondary cameras got in the way, and it all wound up being preserved, because the production team figured each episode would only be seen one time.
Barnabas Collins was initially the villain, but when the producers turned him into an anti-hero, his character saved the show from the axe. They kept him on as the lead when he was only supposed to be around for a few episodes. This incidentally made Barnabas Collins the first example of a sympathetic vampire seen on-screen.
Joan Bennett and Louis Edmonds are the only actors to appear in both the first and the last episodes of the series.
The first daily soap opera to be offered in syndication.
Since the show was cancelled rather suddenly, viewers never learned Barnabas' fate. But according to one of the writers, here's what they had planned: Barnabas was going to marry his doctor, Julia Hoffman, and move to Asia, where she would eventually discover a cure for his vampirism.
The character of Quentin Collins was created at the request of Jonathan Frid, who asked that a second villain be brought in to lighten his work load.
Jonathan Frid didn't pose for the famous portrait of him that hung in Collinwood. Line Producer Robert Costello did. The face was left blank until the actor was hired. The portrait was the last image shown on the last episode.
Originally, David Selby donned fake sideburns for the role of Quentin Collins, but eventually he grew his own, so he would no longer have to endure the make-up.
The role of Dr. Julia Hoffman was originally supposed to be "Julian" Hoffman, and portrayed by a man. In the first episode, in which this character is mentioned (before she appeared on-screen), Dr. Hoffman is specifically referred to as a "he", and "one of the finest men I know." Before the role was cast however, a character description was typed up, and the name "Julian" became "Julia" because of a typo. Producer Dan Curtis decided to change the gender on a whim, only after he noticed the typo.
For more than a year and a half, the characters of this show used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins ("He's not alive!", "He's one of the undead.", "He walks at night, but he ain't alive.") It wasn't until the four hundred tenth episode, that the word "vampire" was used on the show.
The producers planned to run the 1897 storyline for three months, but it was so popular, that they ended up expanding it to eight and a half months.
The story outline for the show was titled "Shadows on the Wall". Other titles considered were "The House on Widows' Hill" and "Terror at Collinwood" before the producers finally decided upon "Dark Shadows".
The first episode shot in color was #294, but it was originally broadcast in black-and-white. Episode #295 was the first broadcast in color. In a twist of irony, the color tape of #294 survived and #295 was lost, so existing copies of the first episode which aired in color are dubbed from a black-and-white kinescope print.
The first time Jonathan Frid had to bite a victim, he had to rush to the set in a few seconds. He only had a few seconds to put his fangs in. They wound up going in upside down, and he chewed them to bits.
Kathryn Leigh Scott was one of the first people hired for the show. A screentest was shot of her wearing a filmy, ghostlike costume, and it was later used on the air, with the explanation that she was the ghost of Josette Collins. They didn't let it die there. When Barnabas was introduced, it was further explained that Josette was his long-lost love, and Scott played that part when the storyline jumped back to the year 1795. They had her coming and going, so to speak.
Thayer David holds the record for playing the most characters in this series. He portrayed Matthew Morgan #2, Ben Stokes (in 1795), Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes, Sandor Rakosi (in 1897), Count Petofi (also in 1897), Quentin Collins (his mind in Petoffi's body, also in 1897), Stokes (Parallel Time), aged Professor Stokes (1995), aged Ben Stokes (1840), aged Ben Stokes (Parallel Time, 1840).
Quentin Collins' portrait was the ultimate: they were doing Dorian Grey. He didn't age, the portrait did; and any injuries he suffered, happened to the portrait instead.
The role of Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall) was only supposed to last a few weeks, but Hall's husband, Sam Hall, was a head writer for the show and eventually made a star out of the character.
The portrait of Barnabas was usually in the foyer at Collinwood, and the camera would pan mysteriously to it when something ominous was about to happen, accompanied by eerie music.
David Selby was written out because he developed appendicitis and had to undergo surgery. He recovered as the show was cancelled, and was able to appear in the final theatrical spin-off, Night of Dark Shadows (1971).
The interior of the Collinswood mansion was built in a studio in New York City. The exterior was a real house, but it wasn't in Maine. It was in Newport, Rhode Island.
The portrait of Angelique was invested with certain powers, and when something happened to her, it faded and cracked. When her life was restored, the portrait was restored.
Bert Convy was considered for the role of Barnabas Collins.
Despite their low-budget look, the visual effects were very costly for a daytime soap opera. In order to keep within the budget, Producer Dan Curtis decreed that no more than five characters could appear in a single episode (this was occasionally relaxed for sweeps-week episodes, in which major plot twists took place).
Early publicity materials referred to the mansion as "Collins House", but the name was changed to "Collinwood" by the time filming began.
Josette's music box. Barnabas gave this to her as token of his love, and somehow, through the centuries, he always manages to have it on hand when he falls in love again (usually with someone he sees as Josette's incarnation).
In preliminary outlines, Barnabas was to be named either Jeremia or Jered.
The first daytime soap opera to appear in syndicated reruns. A selected batch of episodes was syndicated in the U.S. from 1975 to 1990. Then, in 1992, the Syfy Channel obtained exclusive rights to rerun all 1,225 episodes.
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The series was ABC's first soap opera to appear in color, beginning with the August 14, 1967 telecast. Many shows which transitioned to color endured radical set overhauls, but following some screentesting, the crew discovered they didn't have to change a thing.
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Following its appearance in a few early episodes, the set of The Old House was scrapped, and later had to be re-created when Barnabas arrived to inhabit it.
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Roger Davis' new bride, Jaclyn Smith, was offered the role of Victoria Winters when Alexandra Isles exited the show, but she declined.
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In 1969, Roulette Records issued a novelty song based on the show, titled "Barnabas" by The Vampire State Building.
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The show was the first daytime soap opera to have three motion pictures based on it, and a revival series: House of Dark Shadows (1970), Night of Dark Shadows (1971), Dark Shadows (2012), and Dark Shadows (1991).
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The secret passageway in the Collinswood drawing room was designed from the outset, but it wasn't utilized on-screen until much later.
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Although she had left the show in 1968, Alexandra Isles returned to attend the series wrap party in 1971.
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Cast members Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans), Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard), and Lisa Blake Richards (Sabrina Stuart) originally auditioned to play Victoria Winters.
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In September and October 1988, the Dance Theater Worksop presented a stage adaptation of the 1795 storyline in New York City's VIA Theatre.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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