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Topics - Midnite

Calendar Events / Announcements '03 I / Happy Birthday liz_collins!
« on: May 29, 2003, 12:33:41 AM »
Hope you're enjoying your special day!

WE (Women's Entertainment) channel is airing a special tonite at 10 p.m. called "Night Bites: Women and their Vampires".  It has clips from Dracula, Interview with the Vampire, BtVS, Angel and will ask various experts the immortal question-- why do the undead always get the girl?

But don't expect a mention of DS, cuz neither Frid nor Cross we included in the channel's polls that asked which vampire you'd most and least like to be bitten by:

Werewolves and the Women Who Adore Them-- now there's an idea for a special.  :P

Recently published in San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter, a gay and lesbian newsweekly, posted with permission of the author:

Big Lou: The Life and Career of Louis Edmonds by Craig Hamrick, iUniverse Press, March 2003, softcover, $14.95

     To fans of the daytime soaps Dark Shadows and All My Children, Louis Edmonds was a superstar. But few others have heard of this journeyman actor, even though he worked steadily for 45 years.

     Louis Edmonds (1923-2001) lived for the theatre and had hundreds of roles on the stage and in early live TV. A tall, imposing, aristocratic man, he was a grand, old school actor. Had he been born twenty years earlier, he could have been one of Hollywood's great character people. But when Edmonds entered the theatre in the early 1950s, method acting was all the rage. Many classically trained actors were relegated to appearing with small theatre companies around the country, working steadily but getting little recognition. Though occasional small roles on television raised his profile slightly, Louis Edmonds never achieved stardom on any level. That changed in 1966, when he was cast in a new daytime drama called Dark Shadows.

     Dark Shadows began as fairly traditional soap opera fare. About six months into it's network run, the struggling show took a sharp turn and began presenting ghost stories. This seemed to attract some attention, so, in April 1967, Dark Shadows presented viewers with Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid), daytime television's first bona fide, blood sucking vampire! Almost instantly Dark Shadows shot from the bottom to the top of the daytime ratings. The show became a pop culture phenomenon, and for the first time in his career, Louis Edmonds found himself thrust into the spotlight.

     The show's bizarre combination of horror movie cliches and soap opera melodrama was perfect or his grand, slightly over the top style of acting. Louis stayed with the show for it's entire five year run, and appeared with the rest of the cast in MGM's spin-off feature film House of Dark Shadows in 1970.

     Louis had a second brush with fame. In 1979 he began a 16 year run on All My Children. He made his role, carnival barker turned dapper aristocrat Langley Wallingford his own. It was a larger than life role that suited him perfectly, and he played it with gusto, earning himself three Emmy nominations along the way and millions of fans.

     His All My Children fans included TV legend Carol Burnett, who, in 1983, asked the producers to write her into the show. For one week, Burnett appeared as Verla Grubbs, Langley's long lost daughter. They made a wonderful comedy team, and the show's ratings soared. All My Children was his moment in the sun.

     Louis Edmonds died in March 2001 after an extended illness. He might have been forgotten, as so many daytime actors are. But now, Edmonds is the subject of the first full length biography of a soap star.

     Craig Hamrick's Big Lou is a superbly written study of Edmonds' life and career. Hamrick, a New York based writer and freelance journalist, was a close friend of Edmonds during the last eight years of the actor's life. Because of this, Big Lou could have been nothing more than a shallow, worshipful valentine to Edmonds. But the courageous Hamrick, though clearly in awe of his subject, is not afraid to expose a few warts.

     The book serves as both a biography and a career study. After some background information on Edmonds' childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the book follows his years as a drama student at Carnegie Technical Institute in Pittsburgh (Jack Klugman and Nancy Marchand were classmates) where he discovered his attraction to men. In the 1940s, there was no gay rights movement, no community to speak of and no positive role models for young gays to look up to. Though he did not officially come out, the enormously self confident Edmonds quietly accepted his sexuality and pursued relationships with men

     He could be quite arrogant, Hamrick explains. Though he worked steadily in regional theatre and had roles in live TV, he was far from a well known actor. He had some bitterness over this. In the company of his theatre friends, he often put on airs and played "star".  He was a superb actor with a strong stage presence, but his arrogance may have done him in. He was aware of his talent and let numerous opportunities pass him by as he waited for "them" to call "him". He was too proud to pound the pavement, and he resented agents.  He felt they took more than their fair share of his pay while he actually showed up and did the work. He often refused to deal with them. Had he "played the game", his career might well have expanded beyond the limited range of daytime TV.

     He was also touchy about money. Hamrick documents his two long term relationships, both of which ended over disagreements about money.

     Louis Edmonds was an enormously talented man who was often his own worst enemy. This led to severe battles with alcohol and depression. Hamrick relates all of this, never losing sight of his own love and affection for the man.

     In the 1980s, Louis Edmonds watched sadly as his second lover, actor Bryce Holman, and his young nephew both succumbed to AIDS. He had seen he struggle for gay rights grow into a major movement. Perhaps inspired by this, he finally, in his 70s, publicly came out at a Dark Shadows fan gathering in the mid-1990s. He also appeared in Next Year in Jerusalem, a gay independent film in 1997, his final role.

     His final years were spent battling a variety of illnesses, including throat cancer, which robbed him of his career and ultimately of his life. He bore his illnesses with a quiet dignity. His final days were spent at his beloved country home, The Rookery, tending his garden and being visited by old friends and fans.

     Craig Hamrick's Big Lou is a lovely and loving tribute to a very complicated but talented man. At no time does Hamrick's friendship with Edmonds impair his ability tell the truth about his dear friend.  His love for his subject comes through on every page. Hamrick, himself a wide eyed semi-closeted gay man fom Kansas when he first  arrived in New York City, is introduced by Edmonds to art, theatre and culture. These memories are lovely to read. It is clear that Louis Edmonds had a profound influence on Craig Hamrick's life.

       Illustrated with many fascinating photographs, some from Edmonds' personal collection, some from the theatre archives of the New York City Public Library, the book is a fluidly written easy read. Big Lou gives a fine, neglected artist his due. Without it, Louis Edmonds may have been nothing more than a vague footnote in theatre and television history.

     Thanks to Craig Hamrick, he will not be forgotten.

     Big Lou is available at and Barnes and Dark Shadows, featuring Louis Edmonds, can be seen weekday mornings on the Sci-Fi Channel, and is available on DVD through  MPI Home Video.
                             by David Nahmod

Current Talk '03 I / Reminder: No DS on Memorial Day
« on: May 19, 2003, 04:14:15 PM »
SciFi will pre-empt DS for a Star Trek marathon.

Calendar Events / Announcements '03 I / 5/7 Birthday
« on: May 07, 2003, 02:48:52 PM »
Happy Birthday to Craig_Slocum --

CS's #1 fan!

Calendar Events / Announcements '03 I / Today is Daphne's Birthday!
« on: May 03, 2003, 05:57:17 PM »
Happy 17th!

Current Talk '03 I / Born to Diva
« on: May 01, 2003, 06:26:08 PM »
I don't know what came over me.

If you'd previously told me I'd one day attend a Donna McKechnie performance I would've called you crazy.  But she brought her show, which has garnered rave reviews elsewhere, to the new Colony Theatre in Burbank (quite possibly the most elegant small theatre in L.A.) and it was, after all, a chance to get together with Bette, so I figured why not?  What follows is my review of Sunday's performance.  If that doesn't interest you, you can skip to the bottom of this post to witness "I don't know what came over me, Part II". :D

"Inside the Music" is a one-woman autobiographical show that follows (through anecdotes and musical numbers, though sometimes confusingly) McKechnie's career as a dancer from its inception while a young girl in a dysfunctional family (her parents "never spoke") who found solace and inspiration in movies and eventually defied a judge and them to run off to realize her dream, and ends with the most exciting number-- a shortened though no less fabulous performance of "The Music and the Mirror" from A Chorus Line complete with huge mirrors that are revealed with a flourish.  It brought back wonderful memories of the first time I'd seen that show (sans McKechnie) at the Music Center some 25 years ago. Yes, I'm saying that Inside the Music's finale gave me a thrill; shhh, please keep that to yourself.

[From the biography section:  "Television audiences remember her from her days on Cheers,
HBO Musical Specials, NBC's Hullaballoo and the cult series Dark Shadows."]

Her singing was wonderful and very effective.  She has lost her slimness, but you'd never know it by her energetic dancing, nor is there any sign of the crippling arthritis she later tells us about.  She was accompanied by a trio of musicians, the piano player serving as conductor and also as participant during a handful of scenes requiring outside dialog.  In fact, the stage was empty if not for them and a single ballet bar that later disappears.  I am not fond of "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises, but how the heck she can still do those movements is beyond me.  She also performed "Inside the Music", a beautiful song Marvin Hamlisch wrote for her but which proves so difficult that she feigns a faint at the end of it, and you feel grateful it was dropped in favor of "TMATM".  Other songs from shows she appeared in include "A Secretary is Not a Toy" (Frank Loesser) from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying during which she dances the choreography created for her by Bob Fosse, "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" (Stephen Sondheim) from Company, "If My Friends Could See Me Now" from Sweet Charity, and "Boogie Woogie Blues" from A Class Act.

We've seen the theme before-- through determination you can realize your dream.  Yet while we all know how the story turns out, you get her message that she was never lucky in love.  When she sang "I Wanna Be Loved By You" early on, who knew it would become a major theme as she continued to tell her life in story and song?  Yet despite this frequent admission, you can't help but think she glossed over some of the negative aspects of her life while focusing on the positive; an example of the latter is a detailed and romantic monologue about meeting Fred Astaire which culminated in a performance of the song "Astaire".  Examples of the former are her all-too-brief mentions of Michael Bennett (whom she married and divorced twice) and Fosse.  Regarding Bennett-- she explains she met him while doing Hullabaloo and even seats herself on the stage steps with a promise to speak frankly, but she never quite lives up to that promise.

The second half is far more entertaining, and she begins it by entering from the rear of the theater.  Unfortunately, the audience for this matinee was positively geriatric, which detracted from my experience because her dialogue, which she delivered flawlessly, occasionally called for our input.  Save for a smattering of male fans, Bette, her friend and I were the young'ns at the performance.  The older crowd seemed most attentive during 2 points in the show--  when she performed numbers from her most popular shows, and when she spoke in great detail about her arthritis treatment, from the 18 Bufferins a day to the miraculous results she got simply from changing her diet and "no fussing".  I stood for her encore appearance, but I'm not sure if the other attendees were less impressed or if they just, well, weren't able.

There are several restaurants within walking distance of the theater, and ProfStokes and victoriawinters graciously drove out to join Bette and me for a fun dinner after the show.

And as promised¢â‚¬¦

Beware the lashes. ;)

Calendar Events / Announcements '03 I / For Michael T. Weiss fans
« on: April 27, 2003, 04:24:24 PM »
You know who you are!

Michael T. Weiss returns to Crossing Jordan Monday nite at 10 on NBC.

A bit of background:  MTW's character was introduced earlier in the season when Jordan found out she has a brother, namely James Horton (no relation to his character on DOOL, hee hee) who isn't playing with a full deck and was the last person to see their mother alive... uh, except for her killer.

Oh, and Weiss played Joe Haskell and Peter Bradford in the '91 DS.

Current Talk '24 I / Copying of forum messages - PLEASE READ
« on: April 26, 2003, 04:49:32 AM »
From the DS Forums guidelines:

9.  Distributing articles, photos, personal information or opinions that have been posted on this forum without the poster's permission may result in loss of posting privileges. Please don't assume that because a writer has chosen to express his/her opinion on any of these internet forums that they would allow it to appear elsewhere. If a post consists of an article or photo, linking to it from another location is preferable and would be much appreciated.

Agreeing to the above was a condition of registration.

No one may copy a personal statement on this forum for the purpose of posting it elsewhere without first obtaining the writer's permission, preferably in writing.  If you don't get the author's permission before using his/her comment, you seriously jeopardize your forum privileges.

I apologize if anyone was misled by my statement in the 2003 Fest Info thread in which I said that a Festival committee member was interested in reading the comments, but if you reread that message you'll see that each participant in that discussion would receive an IM explaining what would be done with the comments if permission was given, and NO comments, including those quoted, were sent to the Fest address without it. 

Calendar Events / Announcements '03 I / 2003 Fest info
« on: April 23, 2003, 04:46:47 PM »
Re: Dark Shadows Festival 2003 Details Now Available
To: Dark Shadows Fans

"Details on the Dark Shadows 20th Anniversary Festival & Farewell are now available online at The Festival will be held on Labor Day weekend at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel. Among several new activities and for the first time ever, the DS actors will reunite to portray their original characters on stage in an exciting new dramatic presentation, 'Return to Collinwood.' You'll discover what happened to Quentin, Angelique and others since DS ended!

Flyers will be sent soon to those on the Dark Shadows Festival mailing list. To be added to the mailing list, email your name and postal mailing address to:

After two decades of annual fan gatherings, this year marks the final full-fledged Festival celebration. It has been a joyous twenty years of welcoming dozens of Dark Shadows alumni along with thousands of fans from all across the United States and beyond. Although interest in DS remains strong - thanks to the video/DVD releases and reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel - the decision has been made to finish the traditional Festival event on this special anniversary occasion with the exciting, first-ever reunion of the original DS actors performing a sequel on stage.

The Dark Shadows Offical Fan Club/Festival will continue to explore the presentation of other DS activities in the future, but we hope you'll be able to join us for this memorable three-day finale in August.

Don't forget to check the Daily Trivia every day on the website to read about what's happening on the episodes shown each weekday on the Sci-Fi Channel.

For up-to-date news on everything concerning Dark Shadows, fans should subscribe to the Official Dark Shadows Online Newsletter, ShadowGram. Send an email to: asking to be added to the subscription list."

Current Talk '03 I / Test your powers of observation
« on: April 12, 2003, 06:24:04 AM »
What's wrong with this picture of Julia and the portrait from Friday's eps?  Anyone can take a guess (except MB, cuz this would be too easy for him ;)).

Happy Birthday to

Have a blast, luv!

Calendar Events / Announcements '03 I / Jim Fyfe on "All My Children"
« on: March 31, 2003, 09:19:40 PM »
It was a nice surprise to see Jim Fyfe on today's All My Children.  He played the father of young boy treated by "David" for a pacemaker-related problem, and the continuous worried look on his face was reminiscent of his Willie Loomis.  It's hard to tell if he'll be on the soap again, but it appears his character already served its purpose.

I know fans are divided on his casting for the '91 series.  I didn't care for him at first because he was so different from John Karlen (and what an act to follow!), but his portrayal grew on me with each viewing.

Bette sent along today's very favorable L.A. Times Review of Donna McKechnie's cabaret act "My Musical Comedy Life" playing this week at the Orange County Performing Arts:,0,1275780.story

Check out these 3 words from the 2nd to the last paragraph:  "McKechnie can act".  :D

From MPI:

In celebration of the DVD release of WAR AND REMEMBRANCE - THE FINAL CHAPTER, you can submit questions and have them answered by Dan Curtis (Producer/Director) or Hart Bochner (Byron Henry) during the week of March 24th. Simply visit the MPI Home Video website anytime before March 24th and submit your question. Answers to your questions will be posted on the MPI Home Video Website from March 26-28.