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Topics - Uncle Roger

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Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / A KLS Christmas TLATKLS
« on: November 29, 2021, 04:16:50 PM »
TLATKLS has announced her latest Christmas bundle packages of assorted Pomegranate Press releases, with a signed holiday card included with each order. She reiterates that she no longer has the rights to publish the DS music book. She adds that her inventory of DS books is "dwindling" and that she has no plans to reprint any of them.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Airport 1975--Not Off Topic
« on: November 15, 2021, 01:59:37 AM »
I think that a lot of us have seen the very campy 1970's "disaster" movie where cross-eyed stewardess Karen Black has to land a huge airplane after a freak accident kills or disables the entire flight crew, including future DS actor Roy Thinnes. The movie is a source for a lot of the goofiness in Airplane, though Airport 1975 is not without its own laughs.
But look closely at the background players, specifically the other stewardesses. Not future Trapper John nurse, Christopher Norris. Pay close attention and you'll see Lara Parker! It's not much of a part. She doesn't have much to do. She does standard stewardess stuff early on and pretty much reacts the same way every one else does once the chaos hits.
Her character doesn't have a name, according to the imdb listing. Nor does she receive screen credit. She's not alone in that. Established performers like Bob Hastings, Judy Lewis and Virginia Gregg also go uncredited.
I know that Lara also went uncredited for her part as Mrs. David Banner in The Incredible Hulk. She gets a fair amount of screen time and is definitely recognizable. But I was completely unaware that she was in Airport 1975. I've never heard her mention it during any of the Q and A sessions at the festivals. I'm not sure that it's even on her resume. It's not a huge part. But it's a mainstream successful movie. I'm sure that there's a story to be told.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Lara Parker's Retrofan Interview
« on: November 03, 2021, 04:34:55 PM »
Lara Parker's interview in Retrofan #17 is currently on sale at Barnes and Noble and other outlets.

It's a fairly long interview, conducted by Rod Labbe, who used to post here back in the day. Her time on the series is glossed over for the most part. While the story of how Lara got on the show, her characterization of Angelique is certainly well known to most, if not all, hard-core DS fans, I don't know how interested new or casual readers are going to be that interested in her writing career but that's what a lot of the interview is about. She states that she intentionally chose to downplay the horror aspect of DS in her books because she regarded it as "a mysterious, supernatural romance." As long as she doesn't go too far from the established canon, the arrangement with the Dan Curtis estate allows her to create new characters and new locations. But she would "never" do anything to damage the show's reputation.
She said that Angelique's Descent was the most successful of her books in terms of sales. But The Salem Branch, which she feels is her best work, sold the least.
The topic of the Burton movie is addressed. She and the others were eager to do the film but ultimately disappointed that they weren't used more. This may well have something to do with Jonathan's health at the time. She says that he was having difficulty standing and there's probably some truth to that. KLS seems to be holding him up at the door. Still, it would have been nice if they had a little more to do. Maybe even some dialog.
She's less than complimentary about the movie itself. Lara felt that the film spent too much time on Barnabas being a fish out of water and not enough time on other things. She cites the lack of a connecting story, instead of a "series of elaborate set pieces."
She seems to have mellowed considerably on Darren McGavin. While she does state that he was less than amiable, she seems more understanding about the pressure of being the lead actor on a show that was not doing well.
To summarize, it's a decent interview. There are some excellent articles in the issue on Mad Monster Party, The Haunting and George of the Jungle. Retrofan costs $9.95, which I guess is the norm for genre magazines these days.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Blair Brown on stage
« on: October 25, 2021, 06:01:09 PM »
Blair Brown, who played Elizabeth in the 2004 DS pilot is currently appearing on stage in NYC with Edie Falco in a new play called Morning Sun. It's currently in previews, with a projected opening date of November 3rd. It is scheduled to run through December 19th. For more information and tickets, go to

 [EvilWitch] [8_1_214] [EvilWitch]

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Donna McKechnie Joins Cameo
« on: October 03, 2021, 11:33:14 PM »
Donna McKechnie has joined Cameo, following the lead of KLS. If you wish to have Donna record a personalized video for you, it will cost $50.00. A video for a business related purpose will cost $1,000.00

Any guesses as to who the next DS person on Cameo might be?

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Kathryn Leigh Scott at Lyndhurst
« on: September 22, 2021, 05:04:41 PM »
TLATKLS will be making an appearance at Lyndhurst on October 29th from 11am to 2pm. It's a Friday, so that could make scheduling a little tricky for those with jobs or kids in school. Tickets are $20, though they are not yet on sale. For further

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / New Interview With Matt Hall
« on: September 19, 2021, 10:00:41 PM »
I just watched a very interesting interview with Matthew Hall, who is, of course, the son of Grayson and Sam Hall. The interview was conducted Melody Clark, who ran Grayson's fan club for many years and knew Grayson quite well. Matt is a very interesting guy who has some great stories to tell. For example, at one point, Sam, Grayson and Matt were all seeing the same therapist, Dr. Harold Kaplan. Kaplan was Nancy Barrett's husband. He also treated Phil Spector. I guess you can't win them all!
Matt also said that he has several file cabinets full of stuff about both his parents which he is in the process of digitalizing to eventually post of the internet. So there will some day be a mountain of Hall memorabilia that will seem brand new. He also mentioned that he still has Grayson's Magda wig.
The interview is posted on Melody's fan flak channel on YouTube. Probably other places as well.
Matt seemed to enjoy himself and agreed to come back for another interview at some point.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Mitch Ryan's Autobiography
« on: September 14, 2021, 03:35:33 PM »
Mitch Ryan's autobiography, Fall of a Sparrow, has just been released. It is currently only available in hardcover, though an ebook and a softcover version should come out later. The price of the hardcover is $37.99, which is a bit pricey for me. I'll wait and see if Amazon or one of the other companies puts it on sale or wait and see if the local library gets a copy.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / At The Newstand: The Darkside
« on: August 28, 2021, 10:22:31 PM »
The current issue of The Darkside, #219, has a cover feature on Dark Shadows. An artist's rendition of Lara Parker and Jonathan Frid graces the cover. The article is written by DS uber fan Rod Labbe, who I believe used to post here in the forum's early days. The first part of the fairly lengthy article is basically a history of the show. It's well written enough but nothing that we haven't heard before. The article has a lot of photos but, once again, these are all pretty common pictures.
The article does come alive when Labbe discusses talking his parents into taking him to see Marie Wallace in a play in New Hampshire. He and his sister made it backstage and met Marie after the performance. And, no surprise, Marie was exceptionally gracious.
There's also an account of his tenure as the president of a fan club for Dennis Patrick. And, for me, the highlight was a visit to DS studio in Manhattan in 1970.
To summarize, it's a decent read. But the $10.50 price tag struck me as a bit much.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Kathryn Leigh Scott Joins Cameo
« on: August 26, 2021, 07:35:16 PM »
The ever industrious Kathryn Leigh Scott has joined Cameo. Cameo, in case you're not familiar with it, is a website/service where celebrities will record personalized video messages for fans. It's a way of making money, er, connecting with fans on an individual basis. The greeting is usually tailored to the fan's request, birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc. KLS is, unsurprisingly, the first DS person to offer this. She probably will not be the only one. And I have no doubt that she'll do very well with Cameo, once word gets out.
The cost is $45, which is a 25% savings over the usual price of $60. Prices vary on Cameo, depending on the celebrity. Some ask over $200. Caveat emptor and all that

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Dark Shadows Music Book
« on: August 26, 2021, 03:49:14 PM »
The Dark Shadows Music Book was published by Pomegranate Press several years ago. It's out of print now and goes for big bucks on the secondary market. The book has been out of print for some time and fans have approached Kathryn Leigh Scott about reprinting it. KLS inquired about it but was "denied licensing through the Dan Curtis estate." Jim Pierson informed her that the book would be reprinted by another company but reformatted and probably for more than the $14.95 price that Pomegranate initially charged.

Calendar Events / Announcements '21 I / Joan Bennett on Burke's Law
« on: August 26, 2021, 03:32:25 AM »
Remember Burke's Law? It was a rather stylish series from the mid 1960's that focused on Amos Burke, played by Gene Barry. Burke was a police captain in the homicide division and was presented with some rather bizarre murders. The suspects were usually played by big name actors who ran the gamut from Gloria Swanson to Nancy Sinatra. Appropriately, this was an early Aaron Spelling production.
Of particular interest to DS fans is the episode entitled Who Killed Mr. Colby in Ladies Lingerie. Mr. Colby is found dead in the lingerie display since cross dressing would have been off limits at the time. Anyway, one of the suspects turns out to be the world weary Denise Mitchell, played by Joan Bennett about a year before she did DS. Denise was involved with the late Mr. Colby and stated that she had a habit of picking the wrong man every time. To corroborate this, she mentions a previous liason with Guy Hawthorne, Jr. Rich guy but basically a failure at everything. Turns out that he is played by mone other than Paul Lynden!
Alas, Joan and Paul have no scenes together but it would have been epic if they had. The episode is available to watch on YouTube. Okay quality but with commercials. There's also a short extract where Joan pours out her soul to Regis Toomey and provides setup for the rest of the episode. It's a decent episode of a decent series.

Retro Fan magazine has scheduled an interview with Lara Parker for issue #17. You can sometimes find the magazine at Barnes and Noble or at a good comic book store. You can also order directly from the publisher at . You can also backorder issue #11, which has an interview with David Selby.

Current Talk '21 I / Semi Off Topic: Gloria Stavers
« on: August 17, 2021, 03:05:19 PM »
A while back, I ran across a Facebook tribute site to Gloria Stavers, who pretty much invented the pop phenomenon known as 16 Magazine. The site was running a contest that involved sharing your memories of 16. Naturally, I wrote about DS. I was reasonably sure that I would win something, as apparently only one other person entered.
What I won was a copy of Who's Your Fave Rave, which tells the history of both Gloria Stavers and her magazine. Gloria had no real experience in journalism. But that was okay, as 16 never aspired to anything close to journalism. What 16 produced was largely a fantasy, meant to give its readers access to their faves, but not too much. Were the articles truthful? To an extent. But unless you saw something that was written in the celebrity's own handwriting, it was usually concocted by Gloria or her staff, with the celebrity's cooperation.
Gloria cultivated friendships with people like Annette Funicello. She sort of barged into Herman's Hermits hotel suite and told them what to do. She is rumored to have had affairs with Dion, Jim Morrison, Mickey Mantle and Lenny Bruce. Coverage in 16 was considered to be very helpful to those who Gloria liked. But those who did not cooperate could find themselves in trouble. When Paul Revere of the Raiders got to be uncooperative, Gloria threatened to reveal his real name. Which turned out to be Dick.
Which brings us to Dark Shadows. Prior to DS, the only afternoon program with a significant teen following was American Bandstand, which was a very different type of show. The show's popularity dictated that someone would emerge as a teen idol. But who? No one in the cast in 1967 really fit the usual 16 criteria. David Henesy was an authentic teenager but a bit too young. No one on the show ever picked up a guitar and serenaded the audience. By default, the idol status fell to Jonathan Frid, who, at over 40, was positively elderly in the context of 16.
In later years, Frid would sometimes say that 16 made it all up. But Steve DeNaut, the editor who covered Frid, said that Jonathan was "extremely cooperative, a willing participant in the frenzy; more flattered than anything else." It's certainly possible that both points of view were valid at different times.
Lightning struck twice when David Selby joined the show. Selby was new to television and to the amount of press coverage. He was also somewhat older than the usual 16 idol and was married. While 16 did acknowledge that David was married and later had a child, that was not dwelled upon.
Gloria was extremely supportive of David, assuring him that this was the first stop in a great career. She gained his trust and he went along with her. There's no better example than the time that she showed up at his apartment for a photo shoot, bringing along a white ruffled pirate shirt. It wasn't something that David himself would have worn but Gloria assured him that he'd look terrific in it. He did. The photos are iconic.
Sadly, Gloria passed away of cancer in 1983. But her legacy does indeed live on.

Merrie Spaeth started out as an actress. She and Elizabeth (Tippy) Walker were the young leads in the 1964 classic The World of Henry Orient. The film is still highly regarded but acting didn't seem to be a long term career for either girl.
So, how's a girl going to pay the bills? In Merrie's case, she turned to writing and somehow ended up working for Gold Key Comics. She wrote a lot of their books, possibly even the adventures of Smokey Bear. She wrote a ton of stuff back then and doesn't quite remember all of it.
What she does remember is writing for the DS comic. It was her favorite to write for because the stories were full ones, not just one of two or three stories in an issue. Writers got paid by the page. She earned $10 per page, so turning out a story that ran 20/22 pages paid a lot better than ones that were only 6 or 8 pages. The full stories enabled her to interject subplots and a certain amount of continuity.
She loved writing the comics but eventually got to the point where she didn't need to do them anymore. Merrie went on to great success elsewhere. She was a speech writer for William Paley. She worked as a producer on 20/20, where she produced segments on Liberace and motorcycle gangs. Separate stories, I presume. And she spent 2 years as The White House Director of Media Relations under Ronald Reagan. She maintains an active website and is available as a motivational speaker.
She would probably make a very interesting guest at a DS event.

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