David and Victoria visit the Old House on the Collinwood estate and see the portrait of Josette Collins.

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Victoria Winters (as Alexandra Moltke)
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David and Victoria visit the Old House on the Collinwood estate and see the portrait of Josette Collins.

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30 September 1966 (USA)  »

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"Stay Away from the Old House"
13 November 2011 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

After years of brooding, Liz (Joan Bennett) thinks things may be changing at Collinwood with the arrival of Vicki (Alexandra Moltke), who is supporting the family against Burke Devlin. As the women speak, David (David Henesy) eavesdrops from the foyer; handyman Matthew (Thayer David) catches him. Matthew tells Liz he tried to strangle Burke. David shows Vicki a picture he drew of Josette Collins, which he copied from her portrait at the Old House. Carolyn tells Liz Collinwood needs a housekeeper and suggests Mrs. Johnson. "She's a great cook," Carolyn says...

Later, Vicki accompanies David to the Old House in the woods. Matthew follows. This is the first appearance of the Old House, the original family estate, and it is the first time Vicki or we (the viewers) learn it exists. Against Liz and Matthew's wishes, David plays there. He says it's his house and reveals he sees and speaks with the ghost of Josette Collins, who is always dressed in white. Josette has said she is condemned to roam the estate until a third woman falls to her death from Widow's Hill, according to David. He tells Vicki, "Maybe you're that third girl!" Vicki tells David ghosts are not real...

After they leave, Josette's ghost emerges from her portrait, and dances around outside. This was the first time a ghost appeared on screen. Josette had been mentioned as a character in the show's first week, and was likely responsible for moving around the Collins Family History book (where she is pictured). However, this landmark occurrence (or occurrences) did not, at this point, change the series' direction; it wasn't until the arrival of Laura Collins (Diana Millay) that the supernatural elements became the focus. This memorable episode kept the tone Gothic, but it had little to do with the series present story lines...

Interestingly, Kathryn Leigh Scott later revealed she happened to be in the studio and offered to characterize Josette; probably, this had more planning than that story implies. The filmed footage of Josette outside Collinwood may be another actress - it would seem likely to be Alexandra Moltke, who was filmed along with David Henesy and Thayer David at the Old House location; it is possible that Ms. Scott also accompanied them the day of the location filming, especially if it was after this episode's tape date. Scott would later play Maggie as a brainwashed Josette, and in the 1795 time period...

****** Dark Shadows 1966 ABC #70 (9/30/66) Lela Swift ~ Alexandra Moltke, David Henesy, Joan Bennett, Thayer David…


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