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Topics - Midnite

Current Talk '02 I / Online articles in FANGORIA, CINESCAPE
« on: June 09, 2002, 10:34:29 PM »
Fangoria's online magazine currently has a feature interview with Dan Curtis.  From their main index page at click on "The DARK SHADOWS of Dan Curtis" (to the right on your screen).  In the article, Curtis discusses his view on what made DS a success, his desire to do a new DS movie, and the status of a Kolchak: The Night Stalker remake.

There's also a very brief article on the DS Vol. 1 DVD in Cinescape's Video News section (under Notable New Releases) at

I was recently sent this interview with Jonathan Frid from Film Threat, a magazine that primarily covers independent and underground films.  In it, he speaks very candidly about the original and revival series.

Spring 1991

Barnabas Collins: Back From the Dead

Low ratings can scare off a television vampire quicker than garlic. But you can't keep a good bat down. Two decades after the demise of the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, that suave 175-year-old fangster Barnabas Collins and his clan have swooped back to TV.

Perhaps best remembered for its eerie music, creepy (if somewhat cheap) sets and blood-tinged suds, the ground-breaking 1960s soap was already enjoying a cult afterlife prior to NBC's primetime remake-- thanks to a 20,000 member fan club and the release of all 1,225 episodes by MPI Home Video. More recently, the old shows began airing on the new SciFi cable channel. Executive Producer Dan Curtis, who created the original in 1966 and saw it through five seasons, has clearly had his fill of Dark Shadows-- just ask him why the saga was resurrected. "Well, a lot of people (namely, NBC chieftain Brandon Tartikoff) wanted it," he says impatiently. "I'm in the television business, so that's why it's back on."

Good enough. What then, killed it the first time around? "Oh, you mean twenty years ago or whenever the hell it was? Um, yeah. We just ran out of steam. We couldn't think of another story. So, with a bad story, so go the ratings."

Curtis, who went on to better things like the highly acclaimed miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, should have known history has a way of repeating itself. Although the new hour-long Dark Shadows benefits from a bigger budget and an infusion of big names including Ben Cross (Chariots of Fire) and two-time Oscar winner Jean Simmons (Guys and Dolls, Spartacus) as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the story is cornier than ever and the ratings have, well, sucked. What's worse, the character that was introduced to bolster the old soap's sagging viewership near the end of its first year has been with the new show since the outset:  Barnabas Collins. Though admirably played by Cross, the lovelorn neck-ripper just doesn't have the same mixture of pathos, dread and dark appeal that Jonathan Frid brought to the role twenty-five years ago.

Frid, now 66, wasn't even asked to be a part of the new show, which is too bad since his career hit a weak vein after the old show's cancellation in 1971. The Yale Drama School grad did a couple of big screen features (House of Dark Shadows and Oliver Stone's 1974 shocker debut Seizure) and some work off and on Broadway (most notably in "Arsenic and Old Lace") before forming his own production company in 1986.

These days the gravelly-voiced Canadian actor, who makes his home in Manhattan, haunts college campuses and community theaters around the country in a one-man show that includes readings from works as diverse as Shakespeare and Stephen King. Herewith he sinks his teeth into the Dark Shadows phenomenon, past and present.

FT:  Were you disappointed that you weren't asked to appear in the new series?

JF:  It was rumored that they wanted me to play Barnabas' father, but I was never approached. I've attended Dark Shadows fan festivals for the last eight or nine years, and people would always ask me if I would reprise the role if the series were revived. I doubted it would ever happen, so I would say that I'd want at least a million dollars or two to do it. And that's my answer now. I'd start with two million dollars, and I might come down to a million for a cameo. I mean, I'd want big money. I'm not going to do it for sentimental reasons. So I'm not surprised they didn't ask me to return.

FT:  Did you like the original show?

JF:  It was absurd. I thought it was perfectly dreadful. But I'm knocking myself more than the show. Some of my performances were so appallingly bad. I'd forget lines, I'd forget names. I had done television previously, but not too much, and the fact that there was a lot of money involved in the production intimidated me to an extent. I was nervous and it showed. The irony of it all is that they're making videos out of those very shows where I didn't even know what I was talking about!

FT:  So you felt your neck was on the line, so to speak?

JF: I was afraid I'd get canned, that I'd get kicked out of the unions. In a sense, Barnabas and I went through hell together. Imagine yourself coming out of a coffin a hundred and thirty-five years from now. You're in a kind of predicament, and you're a little nervous about how you're going to pull this one off. And, of course, that's what I did for four years. I played a vampire. I don't know what that is really. I played the lie. So Barnabas' predicament on television and my own kind of meshed-- one sort of helped the other. I mean, I was just a scared, dumb actor. If I had had to play some cock of the walk, debonair Clark Gable, I would have been canned in two days.

FT: Dark Shadows itself was almost canned before Barnabas Collins was introduced ten months after its debut. How did your character save the show?

JF: True, the show wasn't working until they brought this creep on. I wouldn't know why, because I don't watch soap operas. The silly things are so full of shit.

FT: Certainly, there was something about the character that audiences responded to.

JF: With Barnabas, I played against the obvious as much as I could. It was difficult under this problem I had with nerves. I didn't try to make Barnabas a lovable vampire, but I tried to play common sense; I tried to humanize him.

FT: Barnabas was a hit with young female viewers. How did it feel to be featured on the cover of Tiger Beat?

JF: I had no intention to do that. I was just playing a man with common sense. Of course, mind you, he was pining for his lost love, and I was certainly going through unrequited love at the same time. But I think the fact that Barnabas was always a threat, if you took all the show's shenanigans seriously, was one of his appeals. He was in love and wanted to be cured. He was like a drunk-- belligerent and unpredictable.

FT: The quality of the show was unpredictable, too. You could sometimes see the microphone dangling and the wires holding the bats. I remember one scene where you had this pesky fly buzzing around your head...

JF: Oh, yes. [Laughs] I just tried to pretend it wasn't there. I guess I gave it a couple of swats, but all I can remember about that is thinking, "Keep going.. Keep going... Don't let it make you lose your concentration." It was a little awkward, but it didn't bother me. In fact, I rather enjoyed the challenge of it.

FT: Did you find it tough going after Dark Shadows?

JF: I didn't try to make Barnabas a lovable vampire. In a sense, Barnabas and I went through hell together. Yes. I went with an agency that promised to rebuild my career. And they didn't do a damn thing. I just sat and waited and waited. I eventually took up Spanish so I wouldn't have to wait by the phone all day. But I think the reason was that I wasn't accommodating enough. I didn't want to be used as some sort of a commodity. I wanted to get away from all that. I thought it was perfectly dreadful. But I'm knocking myself more than the show. They wanted to exploit it. So I didn't do an awful lot. But now I'm in control of my own destiny.

FT: Your one-man show incorporates readings from Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. Do you enjoy horror stories?

JF: I'm not a great fan, no. There's enough horror in our everyday life without having to conjure up these strange images. Subtlety is what I don't find in today's horror stuff-- it's all so obvious. It gets more and more violent. It's so boring. But I know what side my bread is buttered on, and I still appear at Dark Shadows festivals because it stirs interest in my current work.

FT: How much longer will you continue with the Reader's Theater tour?

JF: Til I drop dead, I guess. I'm as happy as a lark doing this. I get to play all the parts.

FT: Do you hope the new Dark Shadows flops?

JF: No, because I'm still basking in reflected glory. I'm calling myself the Johnny Weismuller of Dark Shadows instead of a retired sage who's passed the curse on to Ben Cross. If it lays an egg, then I'm pretty well washed up too as far as any reputation is concerned.

Dean LaManna

Calendar Events / Announcements '02 I / DS actors on Bravo Tuesday
« on: June 04, 2002, 06:37:32 AM »
Beverly Atkinson plays an addict on Hill Street Blues tomorrow (Tuesday) at 4 p.m. on the West Coast (7 p.m. in the East).  Her DS role (as Tom's nurse at the Collinsport hospital) was small, but she got to stretch her acting chops in this recurring role.  She's in another HSB ep on Thursday at 9 a.m. Pac./12 noon East.

Mitch Ryan appears on St. Elsewhere, at 10 a.m. Pacific Time/1 p.m. Eastern.

Both shows are on Bravo.

Thanks, Kosmo!

Current Talk '02 I / Reminder:  No DS tomorrow (Friday)
« on: May 30, 2002, 05:23:22 PM »
On Friday, May 31, Farscape will air in DS' timeslot.  It's the last pre-emption, though, til July.

If any unregistered user would like the distinction of becoming our 200th cousin, right now is the time to register! :D

Current Talk '02 I / DVD Review in EW
« on: May 29, 2002, 07:14:31 PM »
From Entertainment Weekly --


From <> --

Join us at tomorrow for the web chat with Kathryn Leigh Scott at 5pm CDT.  She will be answering a variety of questions from fans during this time period.

You can begin submitting your questions for this chat event right now at:

MPI Home Video

Current Talk '02 I / Reminder:  No DS Friday and Monday
« on: May 23, 2002, 09:58:53 PM »
DS'll be pre-empted Friday and Monday of Memorial weekend.  As the alien in the floaties has rapped ad nauseum-- so often, in fact, that I've wanted to poke out all 3 of his eyes-- SciFi's programming department has elected to show a Scinemathon tomorrow in its place. >:(

Please join papa Barnabas Collins, mama Dr. Julia Hoffman
and sibling Willie Loomis
in welcoming

Adam Collins

to the world!

Born Created May 10, 1968 with an encore
creation May 20, 2002 at 10:58 a.m. P.T. (Pacific, not Parallel)
Weight:  280 lbs.
Length:  77 in.
Place of birth creation:  Dr. Lang's Laboratory

Baby gift registry:

Kentucky Fried Chicken
"Chicken legs our specialty"

Zales Jewelers
"Your source for 'shiny, glittery objects'"

Collinsport Big & Tall Baby Duds

Radio Shack

"Toys for big boys, including reel to reel recorders
that even an idiot, er, child can operate"

Current Talk '02 II / OT: Registration
« on: May 19, 2002, 12:20:17 PM »

Since the last message for unregistered members was written as we approached the 100 total, it must be time for an update since we're now nearly 200 members strong, woo!

If you haven't already done so, please take the time to read MysteriousB's message covering the benefits of becoming a registered member.  If you use AOL, a Netscape address, Compuserve, or a Road Runner address, unfortunately these services do not allow you to receive email from dsboards, and since your password is emailed to you, we ask that you not use any of the following to register:

They all use AOL servers, and for some reason mail from dsboards isn't allowed to get through.  There's a bit more information about this in the Registration section of the forum's Help files, including a link to obtain a free hotmail account in the event you have no other address with which to register.

If you already registered but have not received your password, please don't hesitate to let us know at or

Some webtv users were able to receive their passwords and some weren't, so we've been handling webtv registrations on a case by case basis.

After you register and receive your password, logging on with your username and password will give you access to your Profile where you'll be able to personalize it and change the password to one you prefer.  However, if you change your email address, the board will generate and email a new password, so please don't change the address in your profile to one that's listed in blue above.

The forum will alert you if you attempt to register with a name that's already in use.  But once you register a username, it becomes yours alone.  We cannot, however, guarantee that a guest's username will remain available for that guest to use.

Just one more thing about usernames-- We realize that Barnabas is the most popular character on the show, so please know that we're not going to stand in your way if you have your heart set on a name that's some form of that character's name; I just want to point out that the following names are already in use:


If anyone has a question regarding registration, please don't hesitate to reply to this post or ask it on the Testing. 1, 2, 3... board, or you can email it to one of the forum administrators.

Hope to see you on the board! [okb]


Calendar Events / Announcements '02 I / DS mention in BUFFY mag
« on: May 18, 2002, 05:17:56 AM »
June's Buffy the Vampire Slayer magazine has an interview with guest star Tom Lenk (Cyrus the minion and more recently nerdy villain Andrew) that closes with the following paragraph:

"And though Buffy may have endeared Tom to Boba Fett and Liza Minelli, don't expect him to get drawn easily into any other vampire shows.  'I do sit through Dark Shadows every morning,' he says.  'Is it a soap opera?  Or is it just really bad acting?  Sometimes they look over, and they're reading their dialogue off a poster.  It is so frightening!  My roommate has it on every morning, and I wake up to it.  Are they British, or are they not?  I can't tell because sometimes the accents are really bad!'"

Anyone familiar with this guy's annoying character will understand when I say that I'm SO going to enjoy whatever Evil Willow has in store for him next Tuesday.  ("Bored now." ;))

Testing. 1, 2, 3... / testing
« on: May 16, 2002, 10:00:38 PM »
Don't mind me... just testing colors.



"Coming soon to Footlight Records
                                         113 East 12th St.
                                         NY, NY  10003

The Legendary Donna McKenchnie will be 'in store' May 18th from 3 pm - 5 pm to sign the release of her one woman show Inside the Music."

The website provides a link to pre-order autographed copies for shipping after May 18.

Calendar Events / Announcements '02 I / Happy Birthday mrjuggins!
« on: May 08, 2002, 05:50:35 PM »
Our mrjuggins wears many hats-- FAQ host, hard-working moderator of the DS message board on Ezboards, and dear friend to many of us, but today he's sporting a very special hat...

Wishing you a fantastic birthday, mrjuggins!  And thank you for all you do!!

Ecards can be sent to

Current Talk '02 I / Reminder:  No DS on Monday
« on: May 04, 2002, 01:33:22 AM »
SciFi is preempting DS on Monday, May 6 for a Chronicle marathon.

I have no clue why. [hdscrt]

Testing. 1, 2, 3... / OT - Dsboards is NOT infected with a virus
« on: May 03, 2002, 05:04:35 AM »
Dsboards and its administrative addresses are NOT infected with a virus.  The emails being circulated that purport to be from dsboards accounts and from its users are actually originating from one individual's email account; if you expand the headers in the email messages you'll see the actual sender's address.  This person is aware they have the virus and is taking steps to rid their computer of it.  However, I wanted to assuage any concerns that posting here or allowing your email address to be listed on the forum puts anyone at risk because that isn't at all the case-- You're receiving these emails because your address is in the address book of the infected computer, and the names/e-titles from other users/messages in that same address book are merely masking the actual originating computer.  The Klez virus is one tricky little buggar, and it sends out these emails without the user's knowledge.

For your protection, do NOT open any attachments unless you have a CURRENT antivirus program, and update your program if you haven't already done so.  A removal tool/scan for the Klez virus is available on the Symantec website at

Some messages also apparently contain the addresses of ezboards users, but to my knowledge Ezboards itself is also NOT infected.