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Topics - Midnite

Calendar Events / Announcements '15 II / Happy Birthday to Julia99!
« on: September 30, 2015, 04:39:26 PM »
Happy Birthday

Calendar Events / Announcements '15 II / More DS on Jeopardy!
« on: September 26, 2015, 04:29:36 AM »
Tonight on Jeopardy!:  Fictional TV Towns for $2000
Answer:  Collinsport, Maine

No one rang in, sigh.

September 20, 2015
Hello, Dark Shadows Fan,
ShadowGram (SG), The Official Newsletter & News Source for Dark Shadows (DS), announces the following key breaking news in this Official Dark Shadows News Online Update "Bulletin."
DAVID (Quentin) has just joined the cast for the classic drama JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, the premiere show in the 2015-16 season for Los Angeles Theatre Works. The presentation of Abby Mann's stage adaptation of his 1961 Oscar-winning drama follows a U.S.-led war crimes tribunal weighing the fates of German judges after World War II.
LA Theatre Works website: “Judgment at Nuremberg” is “an absorbing probe of the ethics of personal responsibility versus public duty.” The LATW cast “performs without sets or costumes” while being recorded live, with live sound effects and audience response. The drama will be “broadcast later on public radio nationwide.”
There will be 5 performances: Thurs., 9-24 (8 pm), Fri., 9-25 (8 pm), Sat., 9-26 (3 pm & 8pm), and Sun., 9-27 (4 pm).
The shows will take place at the James Bridges Theater on the UCLA campus at Melnitz Hall, 235 Charles E. Young Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90095.
Parking - enter UCLA off Sunset & Hilgard and park in Lot 3 – Visitors Section.

Box office: 310-827-0889, M-F 12 til 6. After hours: 866-811-4111. Online:
David has participated in a number of LATW’s recorded-live presentations over the years. These performances were detailed in SG print issues and email SG Updates at those times.)
JOE (1991 DS David, Daniel) portrays the renowned French high-wire artiste Philippe Petit in THE WALK, screening in IMAX and regular theaters beginning 9-30.
The film chronicles Petit’s solo 45-minute walk along a cable strung between the tops of the 110-story Twin Towers of Manhattan’s World Trade Center on Aug. 7, 1974. With no net, harness, or other safety gear, Petit carried only a 60-pound balancing pole as he covered the ¼ mile between the then-recently opened landmark towers.   
The movie embraces 3D and special effects technology but is based in Petit’s life and his determined drive to accomplish the feat. Joe met and trained with Petit at his home in upstate NY. The actual walk scenes were shot in-studio with Joe on a real cable 12 feet off the floor. Camera angles and post-production realistically re-create the sensations, experience, and immense distance of being alone on a narrow cable 1350 feet above the streets of New York City.
THE WALK official trailer can be viewed at
SG asks fans to please hare any media coverage of THE WALK and Joe’s role: on-air, print and internet articles, interviews, reviews, related stories, etc.
Please include your full name and identify the source and date. Send all materials to SG’s e- or postal- mail addresses below. Thank you.
SG Online Update #365 (8-25-15) explained that I’d have surgery the next day for a hole in the retina of my left eye, a recurring consequence of lifelong severe myopia (near-sightedness). The gas-fluid exchange us done entirely inside the eye under local anesthesia and requires a long, gradual healing process which restricts daily activities and more. I’m still recovering, adjusting, and coping. I can see somewhat with the eye, though it’s hard to read, type, etc. My vision should continue to improve in the coming weeks. My next check-up with my excellent surgeon is in mid-October.
When “all is well” with my eye and I’m settled into my life again, I’ll prepare the next print newsletter – SG #127 – for publication and have it ready to mail to all current subscribers as soon as I can
My deepest thanks for all the encouraging good wishes, thoughts, cards, notes, and messages from so many. Your kindness is very appreciated. I especially thank Kathy Resch for her wonderful help working with me on my correspondence for the SG published newsletters, the SG Yahoo Group, and more.
Time-sensitive SG Online Updates like this one are posted first through the SG Group, then in other social media, as I receive confirmed DS-related news. These Updates always will premiere-announce official news for our upcoming DS Festival DS 50th Anniversary Celebration in Tarrytown, NY, June 24-26, 2016.
News related to DS, its personnel, the Fests, merchandise, and other references occur at any time. SG welcomes everything you share for the email SG Updates and print newsletters. As always, please send any DS materials with your full name and the source name/date to SG’s e- or postal- mail addresses below.

Marcy Robin

Calendar Events / Announcements '15 II / Happy Birthday to Teresa!
« on: September 16, 2015, 04:50:55 PM »
Happy Birthday


Calendar Events / Announcements '15 II / John Connell 1924 - 2015
« on: September 11, 2015, 06:44:03 AM »
John Connell, who originally played Lt. Riley, the State Policeman investigating a mysterious fire in Laura's Phoenix apartment, passed away today.

John P. Connell Dies: Multi-Hyphenate Former SAG Board Member Was 91

With thanks to Kosmo!

Calendar Events / Announcements '15 II / Happy Birthday to Ben!
« on: September 06, 2015, 06:19:50 PM »
Happy Birthday


I'm asking for your help.

A fundraiser was set up for Taeylor Collins via crowdfunding by his dear friend-- another Forum cousin.  I'll let Anna explain his situation for you:

Support for Taeylor

I recently heard from Taeylor, and his discomfort and despair came through in his voice.  It was heartbreaking.

Life's challenges could become overwhelming for any one of us.  I'm sure that, like me, you've witnessed many instances in which members of the DS community turned to each other for support, whether it be emotional, financial, or spiritual.  Our Taeylor is more than halfway to his goal, but more is needed.  If you're able, would you be willing to contribute?  Any amount would help.

Thanks for listening.

Calendar Events / Announcements '15 II / Happy Birthday to Elmont!
« on: August 27, 2015, 06:21:00 PM »
Happy Birthday


August 25, 2015
Hello, Dark Shadows Fan,
ShadowGram (SG), The Official Newsletter & News Source for Dark Shadows (DS), announces the following key breaking news in this Official Dark Shadows News Online Update "Bulletin."
Big Finish Productions (BFP) continues its exciting regular releases of DS audio dramas with the original cast on CD and available as digital downloads. These all-new DS
episodes run over 1 hour each, with dramatic tales from Collinwood and beyond.
The latest releases are "In the Twinkling of An Eye" with Marie Wallace, and "Deliver Us From Evil" with Christopher Pennock and Lisa Richards.
--- "In The Twinkling of An Eye" Summary: “Fully recovered from her hospital stay and back behind the bar of The Blue Whale, Jessica Griffin (MARIE WALLACE) welcomes Nate, a stranger in town claiming to be ‘just passing through.' But how come he knows so much about her and why is he so keen to lure her back to the house she hasn’t set foot in since the death of her husband? And he really is so very familiar….’”
---"Deliver Us From Evil" Summary: “Cyrus Longworth – the man who has carried the Son of the Dark Lord in his head since the day he was born.  Sabrina Jennings – the woman who murdered her husband on their wedding night.  Alfie Chapman – the British tourist with a psychopathic streak.  And Danielle Roget – the French murderess who possesses his girlfriend’s body.
“Unknown to all of them, they are caught in a tangled web of the Dark Lord's making, which on this night will bring them together and see the culmination of a diabolical plan stretching back since the dawn of time. Because the Dark Lord has manipulated them all. And all hell is about to break loose.”
Coming in September and October are "Tainted Love" starring KATHLEEN CODY, and "And Red All Over" starring KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT and MITCHELL RYAN, returning to his role of “Burke Devlin” after 48 years.
Other recent DS Big Finish titles include "Panic" starring DAVID SELNY and SUSAN SULLIVAN (in her first DS audio drama).
To order the CDs in America, go to:
Download versions as well as the CDs may also be ordered from
CD – US $13.00
Download – US $7.99
Following up on their previous single DVD releases "The Best of Barnabas" and "Fan Favorites," MPI Home Video has just released a pair of companion sets: "The Best of Quentin" and "The Best of Angelique."
Each DVD features 9 complete original DS episodes with new introductions hosted by David Selby for "The Best of Quentin" and Lara Parker for "The Best of Angelique." The DVDs are intended as both samplers for new or casual fans and as entertaining collections at a budget price. They can be ordered online at and from the MPI website at They also can be found in some retail stores.
Recent SG Updates and the Triple SG #124-#125-#126 published newsletter editorial briefly explained the Real Life challenges I’ve faced since 2010. I’ve had severe myopia (near-sightedness) all my life. By early adulthood, I was having retina detachments, holes, and tears that required many operations and treatments. Over the years, eye doctors who’ve checked my eyes are “amazed you can see as well as you do!”
After a welcome lull of quite a few years, retinal problems reappeared in 2010 and have continued since then. Each occurrence meant a major emergency surgery with a long restrictive recovery period. Thankfully, every operation was a success, but there’s always a potential – and unpredictable – possible recurrence.
Last week, my longtime eye doctor plus my eye surgeon (an internationally-known pioneer in the field) diagnosed a new hole in my left retina. On Wed., Aug. 25, I’ll undergo another vitrectomy (gas-fluid exchange), done totally inside the eye under local anesthesia. To close and secure the hole as it heals, I must remain face-down 24/7 for a week, with very limited activity for weeks more. As my vision gradually clears over that time, I’ll start to be able to watch TV, do daily things at home, take walks outside, read, use the computer, drive, etc. I have every hope that again – thanks to my doctors and medical techniques – my eye will heal quickly and completely, so I can be fully “back to normal” by late October (and STAY that way!).
All this impacts my daily life in every way. I give tremendous THANKS to Kathy Resch and other friends. Kathy will check my email and postal-mail daily. She’ll handle SG subscriptions and renewals, send out SG issues and requests for DS information, etc. I’ll be fully informed and involved with this correspondence and as SG reports the DS news as usual, including official DS Festival developments.
Kathy will work with me to write and post the SG Updates whenever I have key DS news to premiere-announce and report. We continue to welcome all DS-related news you share for the email SG Updates and print newsletters. As always, please send any DS materials to SG’s e- or postal- mail addresses below.
When “all is well” with my eye and I’m settled into my life again, I’ll prepare the next print newsletter – SG #127 – for publication and have it ready to mail to all current subscribers as soon as I can.
Sharing a fan interest like DS leads us to many experiences, opportunities, friendships, creativity, and much more. Since my first involvement in DS fandom 45+ years ago, I’ve been grateful for all the fun such sharing can bring.
Through my years in many fandoms, my life’s been expanded in countless ways. And during my latest years of health crises, I’ve been greatly touched by so many good wishes and caring thoughts. I appreciate your understanding and patience now. Thank you.
Marcy Robin

Happy Birthday

August 23, 2015
Hello, Dark Shadows Fan,
ShadowGram (SG), The Official Newsletter & News Source for Dark Shadows (DS), announces the following key breaking news in this Official Dark Shadows News Online Update "Bulletin."
SG happily shares the confirmed news that Joe (1991 DS David, Daniel) and his wife Tasha McCauley welcomed their first child – a son – who was born over the Aug. 15 weekend. “Everyone is happy and healthy.”
SG Updates and the recent Triple SG #124-#126 published newsletter announced their wedding, quietly held Dec. 20, 2014 in their home. SG reminds fans that “Joe and Tasha are interested in keeping their private lives private.”
Both age 34, they met through mutual friends and began dating in 2013.
SG Updates and SG in print have long included Joe’s own news, also sharing and applauding his many-faceted talents, career, and creative interests. Joe’s been involved in directing, producing, screenwriting, acting, and other projects.
Joe’s innovative collaborative production company openly encourages and works with creative people of every type worldwide. Its Pivot cable TV series “hitRECord ON TV” won an Emmy Award in 2014 for its first season of episodes. Its second season has been airing on Pivot.
Tasha is a co-founder and CEO of Fellow Robots, a robotics company based at NASA Research Park in the Silicon Valley, CA. She has a Masters from USC and has taught about robotics, artificial intelligence, and other technologies at the university level. “She is a director of the Ten to the Ninth Plus Foundation, an organization focused on empowering exponential technological change worldwide.” An area of interest is “how technology can facilitate and enhance creativity.”
Joe stars in 3 major films scheduled for later this year. The first 2 noted here are fact-based, each a true story.
He is “Phillippe Petit” in THE WALK, exploring the renowned French high-wire artist as he prepares for his 1974 attempt to cross on a strung cable between the 110-story Twin Towers of New York City’s World Trade Center.
The movie is due out in IMAX and 3D on Oct. 9. A theatrical trailer can be viewed at:
Joe plays the title role in director Oliver Stone’s SNOWDEN, about the former Army soldier / CIA intelligence analyst / NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who released 1000s of classified government documents to the media in 2013.
Its release is Dec. 25. A theatrical trailer can be seen at:
Joe is “Ethan” in the holiday comedy THE NIGHT BEFORE, joining his colleague Seth Rogen. Synopsis: “In New York City for their annual tradition of Christmas Eve debauchery, 3 lifelong best friends set out to find the Holy Grail of Christmas parties since their yearly reunion might be coming to an end.” Another description: “A drug-fueled comedy about 3 childhood best friends who have spent every Christmas Eve for the past decade-plus partying in a completely debauched haze. As they all enter far more adult phases of life – career and impending family being pretty good reasons for the party to end – the trio decides to go all-out one last time. Presumably a lot of fun and a lot of life lessons ensue.”
It’s slated for release Nov. 25 (the day before Thanksgiving). .
The official theatrical trailer is a “red-band,” meaning “the material may be offensive” to some and is considered “inappropriate for audiences under the age of 17” (adult themes, language, images). It can be viewed at
ShadowGram readers are welcome and encouraged to please share all media coverage they find related to any of Joe’s 3 films. All materials are appreciated for upcoming SG Updates and newsletters. Please send all items to SG’s postal- and / or e- mail addresses below. Please include your full name and the name and date of the source. Thank you.

You can see the gorgeous painted image of Barbara Steele on the cover of Fangoria here or on newstands now.

With thanks to Kosmo!

Current Talk '15 II / Violet Welles interview in 1991 TWODS
« on: August 20, 2015, 04:38:54 AM »
Last month, while visiting Nicky, he let me take iPhone pics of his copy of the issue (while he cooked his famous lasagna... so delish!).  ツ

Conducted by Meghan Powell-Nivling

QUESTION:  When did you write for DARK SHADOWS?

VIOLET:  I wrote for Dark Shadows for about one year, from 1969 to 1970.

QUESTION:  How did you get the job?

VIOLET:  I was a press agent then.  I had been working with Gordon Russell.  I’d been ghosting for years on everything he’d done.  Dan Curtis had a sort of a horror series, an hour anthology series that he was doing that I think never actually got on.  Gordon was doing a show called MR. SPLITFOOT and I wanted on it with him.  It never got on the air.  And it came time for a story conference with Dan Curtis, and Gordon said, “Look, you have worked on this script as much as I have, you come to the story conference.”  So I came and we talked and at the end of it, I knew they’d been looking for a writer for Dark Shadows because Gordon told me this.  It was nothing that particularly interested me.  So we talked, and at the end of the story conference, Dan Curtis said to me, “How’d you like to be one of the writers, how’d you like to write for Dark Shadows?”  And I said “Nonsense, I’m a press agent. I have 3 shows on Broadway, and I have this and this and this.”  What I didn’t know was that in television, the rule is if you’re unavailable, you must be had.  So Dan Curtis pursued me and insisted that I do it.  And for a while I was being a press agent and writing DARK SHADOWS.  And finally someone said, “You know this doesn’t make a while lot of sense.  You’ve got to do one or the other.”  So I went to Dark Shadows.
     I had ghosted it quite a lot, actually, with Gordon.  We had a kind of arrangement.  I would do a flimsy.  What happens first is there’s the 6-month story projection, the long-range story projection.  The writers get together and do the flimsy, which is breaking down the story projection into actual days.  It’s structured so we have the prologue and 3 scenes or 4 scenes.  Within each one is a 1 or 1 ½-page that will say, “David goes to Bangor to meet So-and-So.”  And it was difficult, because each one of the scenes had to end with a certain zinger.  That was one of the interesting things about writing Dark Shadows.  I’ve done other soaps and you can kind of meander on forever.  I remember ghosting one and sort of whatever was happening in my life, I would put in it.  I was painting my house; everybody (on the show I was writing for) started painting.
     In order to do the flimsies, Gordon and Sam and I would get together and it was like a no-exit.  We’d get together at one or the other’s houses and you did not get out until you finished the flimsies.  We’d get so silly.  I remember once, when things got bad, Sam would retreat, he’d like to lie under coffee tables and say “I’m in China today.”  And one day we were having lunch and all of a sudden Gordon said, in a very thoughtful voice, “Did you ever realize that Tad is ‘dat’ spelled backwards?”  It totally cracked us up, we couldn’t work for several hours.  We really had a lot of fun.  Strange but fun.
     The roughs—Gordon would give me the roughs.  I would always write sub-text, I would write kind of the emotional, the way-out stuff I thought should be in the series.  I’d write it kind of out of left field.  He would take that material and very quickly he’d shape it and turn it into a scene and keep the different threads to fall in line.  I’d been doing that and I loved doing that.
     When I became a full-time writer…. I had to be at my desk at home at 9:00.  At 4:00 I had to be at the studio with 5 copies of a completed script and that was usually anywhere from 38 to 42 pages long.  Usually we were a couple of weeks in advance, sometimes we’d crunch it, sometimes there’d be an extra thing, sometimes the story wasn’t working and we’d have to go in a different direction.  Then we’d have meetings with Dan Curtis.

QUESTION:  Which storylines did you work on?

VIOLET:  There was one, kind of where the Wolfman meets Rebecca (Rachel Drummond and Quentin Collins in 1897).  I did one in Victorian times, then we went into the present.
     We were all so tuned into it.  It became such reality to us.  I remember once Gordon and I were in the elevator, and we were talking about one of the problems we had and one of us said to the other, “Yeah, it would be great to bring such-and-such character back from the dead.  And in order to do it, you’ve got to have a body for him to come back in.”  And we suddenly realized we were in a public elevator, and everyone else was sort of cringing against the walls wondering what they have in with them!  We truly believed in it.  If you had to call up the dead, you did that.  It was as real to me as going to the supermarket, after a while.
     You know the telephone scene in BYE-BYE-BIRDIE with people on the phone?  Well, that was us.  We were all on the phone constantly, the 3 of us to each other, saying, “I’m writing next Wednesday’s script, Number So-and-So.  Is David in thrall today or isn’t he?  Is Quentin alive or dead?  Does Elizabeth know that Quentin is dead?”  Nobody knew.  We would just laugh hysterically about this.  We got to the point that we didn’t understand it…. But it didn’t matter at all….  There were infinite possibilities in infinite combinations.
     There’s one character I remember, Count Petofi.  Count Petofi started as just throw-away in one of Sam’s scripts, somebody said something about “the notorious Count Petofi”, and for some reason I just loved the idea of Count Petofi.  I kept nagging and nagging until they said “all right, we’ll do Count Petofi,” and they did.  And it was a great storyline, he had the hand, and he put everybody under—he was another one who put people under thrall.

QUESTION:  How did the show’s popularity effect [sic] you?

VIOLET:  We had reporters around all the time, and the endless articles in the teen magazines for all the kids, or the TV magazines.  David Selby was already becoming pretty hot.  I was so popular with my friends’ children!

QUESTION:  Did you ever get any fan mail?

VIOLET:  Occasionally, I would get one, but I never got too many.  The ones that I got—my mother had been a school teacher, and she had a friend who was teaching on an Indian reservation in the Dakotas, and this woman, Mrs. Cook, told the children that she knew me, and they all wrote me letters, and they wanted a photograph, etc. etc.  So there I was, pinned up in the school!  The only fan letters I got were really from people who had some connection to the family or me and used it with people they knew.  Not a whole lot of letters.
     One sort of perk we could do that’s sort of funny was I would write in, if somebody had to be named, or had to go visit So-and-So, I’d write in like all the names of my godchildren:  “We’re going off to see Steve Simmons today.”  And this child in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, would sit around with all his friends!

QUESTION:  How were the storylines developed?

VIOLET:  Dan Curtis decided.  It was Dan Curtis’ privilege to say.  He’d get some idea, that he’d want to sort of play around with this notion like parallel time, and we’d go right into it.  If we read something or thought about something, we’d discuss it, but by and large, it sort of came down to us.  The story bible was handed to us, and I thought it was very strange because, sitting in my little house, writing it, I could never really think a whole lot about the fact that what I was writing was going to be seen by 6 million people.  But then, I think that I would’ve really gotten terrified.  I’d just sit there and write a scene because I just loved to write the scene.  We believed it.  We took it very seriously—I mean, we did our best.  Basically, I thought it was a very well-written show.  We all kind of wrote a little differently, but we were all able to write into each other.
     Mine was a little more sentiment, a little more subtext.  I responded to different things about the characters.  Sam (Hall) I think was the wittiest.  Sam could be just devastatingly funny and arch.  Gordon (Russell) was just the best all-around.  Sam and Gordon developed the plotlines.  I was a terrible plotter, awful plotter!  It’s because I was writing into characters, not into story.
     You know what the characters sound like and look like, and you just write for that person.  That character more than that person, they become the same thing.  Certain characters can sustain certain kinds of speech.  The characters more than the actors become very very close friends, and you know them inside out.  Some got to do great death scenes.  In Dark Shadows, they got to do a lot of death scenes!  Many, many, many!
     When you did the show, you felt Gothic all the time.  You really did.  When you work on a show, you get so into it, it becomes your reality.  We were doing this 6 days a week, and then after I finished a script I’d go into the studio and hang around and watch the rehearsal and watch the taping, and didn’t have much time for anything else.
     The only time we really used research was if we were going to go into something, if we had a character like Gilles de Rais or a couple of times I think I had to call up the Devil.  How do you do that?  You know, it’s a little hard to do that!  So occasionally I’d read books about it, just to get the names.  We would occasionally try to find new things, new wrinkles on the vampire thing.

QUESTION:  What were your favorite episodes?

VIOLET:  I like the one where Quentin turns into a zombie at the end.  That used to terrify me.  It terrified me so much, in fact, that most of the time, I wouldn’t let my husband leave the house, I was afraid of it!  That is a terrible confession to make, but I must make it.

QUESTION:  Do you have any other observations on Dark Shadows?

VIOLET:  It got to the point where it [sic] like a stock company.  Very often, when I’d see a show when it finally got on the air, I could swear that I’d already seen it, because I knew who was playing it, I knew all the voices, I’d heard it all in my head, I saw it before it happened.  If you had a fairly easy flimsy to do, one that really excited you, you could even go off the brink.  The difficult ones were—we were in 13-week segments, and there were sometimes characters that didn’t work, and because they didn’t work, they didn’t use them as much, they weren’t part of the plot.  So at the end of the 13 weeks, toward the end of the cycle, you’d have characters who were really not a lot of interest who had to play scenes with other characters who really didn’t have a lot of interest, dealing with things that basically didn’t concern them.  But those were hard to write.  You never felt particularly overwhelmed.
     I always watched it.  I was astonished that I’d written that!  It was so far removed from sitting at home doing it.  I think it was a very well-produced show.  I was always astonished.
     I think that there was a level that the show worked on, and somehow it had been struck.  We were all most comfortable writing it that way.  Somehow we all just did it that way.  We were all very literate writers, we three, anyway.  That’s what came out.
     I got to know (the actors) somewhat.  I remember one thing we did that was very nice.  There was one Thanksgiving, and we suddenly discovered there was a whole lot of people in the show who had no Thanksgiving plans.  So we went to Nancy Barrett’s house and we had a Thanksgiving where everybody brought something from the part of the country that he or she had originally come from.  It was such a nice Thanksgiving.  There were about 10 or 12 of us.
     The actors stuck pretty much to the script.  There really wasn’t room to ad-lib on that show because it was so structured, and you had like 8 pages to get to a plot point, to build to really a high scene, and you couldn’t really play around.  It was an awfully-paced show.
     I always liked Dorcas Trilling, one of the doxies.  They had these poor little girls who got written in just so Barnabas had somebody to munch on.  Was Quentin the one who did in Dorcas?  Sam thought of that name, and that was such a sad name.  Dorcas Trilling.

QUESTION:  What kind of person do you need to be to be a soap writer?

VIOLET:  I think you need no ego.  Because you have to write a lot and you sit down and you write it the best you can and if somebody said this is wrong, you go and change it.  It’s a very workman-like role.  You have to think of yourself as doing the best that you can, but you can’t think of yourself as the only art….  It never occurred to me that you could look at this as writing.

QUESTION:  Why do you think DARK SHADOWS has experienced this revival of interest?

VIOLET:  I think because it was the only thing of its kind and it continues to be the only thing of its kind.  It was just something that worked well.  I think to the degree that the 60s were a period when people were dealing with things that they hadn’t been dealing with emotionally or intellectually with before.  They were opening up.  I think that in a way it was a product of that time, that people were sort of looking into time and space, and this opened up time and space.  That was kind of it.  I think it continues to do that.  One one level, we’re dealing with a much more literal world, and on the other level, we’re still kind of wondering.  There was a certain amount of “What if?” on the show.
     When DARK SHADOWS went off the air, I was very busy doing some other things.  As a matter of fact, I came back in the last couple of weeks and wrote some of the final stuff, like the last 2 or 3 episodes.
     I don’t know if the show could be written today.  I think we’re in a different period of time.  I don’t think people are as free, as receptive, as they were, or as tolerant.  I think in a way the show requires a great deal more than tolerance.  Think about the fact that this cousin’s a vampire, this one’s a werewolf, and yet they all got along fine.  In a way, the show said people who are different may still not be all bad.  Maybe people that maybe you have to cope with, I don’t think people are still like that.  It’s acceptance.

(TWODS) NOTE:  The previous interview was done a few weeks ago, prior to the announcement of the new series.

August 5, 2015
Hello, Dark Shadows Fan,
ShadowGram (SG), The Official Newsletter & News Source for Dark Shadows (DS), announces the following key breaking news in this Official Dark Shadows News Online Update "Bulletin."
LELA SWIFT, who was with “Dark Shadows” from Episode 1 to the final Episode 1225, died of natural causes at age 96 at her home in Santa Monica, CA, on Aug. 4 (yesterday).
She was born Lela Siwoff  2-1-1919 in NYC. In the early 1940s, she worked in the secretarial pool at CBS. She was assigned as a researcher for CBS chief engineer Dr. Peter Goldfarb, who developed the initial technology for color broadcasting and explored the concept of video recording. In 1948. Lela became an assistant director on the network’s “Studio One.” As television and the CBS network became more popular and available, she emerged as a pioneering female TV director for other shows, such as “Suspense,” “The Dupont Show Of The Week,” “The House On High Street,” NBC’s  “The Purex Specials For Women,” and the farmland documentary “Years Without Harvest.”
Dan Curtis was an upstart TV producer when he created DS in 1966, with Lela on board as director from the start. In early 1968, Lela helped train Dan to become a director as he learned on the job with DS, ultimately directing several episodes starting with the 1795 storyline finale. Lela directed DS from the very first episode (6-27-66), a total of 588 episodes as she alternated with other directors. She was the only director to stay with DS for its nearly 5-year run. She also produced DS’ last year to the final episode (4-2-71).
Lela also assisted Dan on location when he directed his first theatrical movie “House of Dark Shadows” in 1970. She thus launched him on his extensive directing career, highlighted by his acclaimed, multiple award-winning miniseries “Winds of War” and “War & Remembrance,” plus TV anthologies, series, films, and theatrical movies as well.
Lela directed Dan’s 1969 TV pilot “Dead of Night" (with the episodic subtitle of "A Darkness at Blaisedon”) written by DS writer SAM HALL. Dan Curtis Productions '1974 “Nightmare at 43 Hillcrest,” part of ABC-TV's late-night “Wide World of Mystery” series, also was helmed by Lela.
In 1975 she began as director for ABC’s new soap “Ryan’s Hope,” ultimately directing 800+ episodes to 1989. On the show she was working again with DS’ Scenic Designer SY TOMASHOFF, who was the original Set Director for “Ryan’s Hope.”
Lela participated in an illustrious DS event and in a DS retrospective project more recently.
--- On 3-8-2003, she joined almost 20 DS cast and production personnel onstage in her only DS-related public appearance: The Museum of Television & Radio’s Paley Festival “Dark Shadows Tribute” at the MT&R Museum in Los Angeles. This special event also saw the only DS-related public appearances to date by DS actresses Alexandra Moltke and Kate Jackson.
This prestigious event was spotlighted in SG #99 (Aug. 2003) with photos and details. For info, contact SG Editor Marcy Robin at
--- Lela also was interviewed in 1991 for the MPI Video documentary “Dark Shadows: Behind the Scenes.” Additional footage from that session subsequently was included as bonus features on MPI's DVD releases of the original DS episodes.
She is survived by her brother, Seymour Siwoff; sons Russell Schwartz, SVP Business and Legal Affairs at Starz, and Stuart Schwartz, an Emmy-winning TV producer; their wives; and 5 grandchildren.
DONNA (Amanda Harris, Olivia Corey) is a renowned award-winning actress/dancer/singer who has performed in many live productions, tributes, salutes, retrospectives, and more on stages worldwide. She candidly reviews her life, career, and experiences in her one-woman shows, featuring songs, dance, and her own perceptive commentary and observations.
Her new CD “Same Place: Another Time” is released 8-7.
---- Donna presents her “Same Place, Another Time” show at “54 Below – Broadway’s Supper Club” in 2 performances: Thur., Aug. 6 (tomorrow) and Sun., Aug. 9.  She’s previously performed at the club.
The 54 Below Club is located at 254 W. 54th St., Cellar, NYC 10019. (646) 476-3551.
Doors open at 5:15pm both evenings. There is a $50-$60 cover charge and a food & drink minimum of $25. Premiums are $95.
54 Below publicity: “Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie graces the stage of 54 Below with a return engagement of Same Place: Another Time: a musical déjà vu celebrating the scintillating 70’s in New York City – the heyday of Studio 54. McKechnie, best known the world over for creating the role of Cassie in A Chorus Line, is also well-known for her Broadway appearances in State Fair; On the Town; Company; Promises, Promises; and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. For these two very special performances, Donna will salute this remarkable era via the music of Jim Croce, Peter Allen, Marvin Hamlisch and Stephen Sondheim. The evening will also include a special tribute to Kander & Ebb, celebrating their last musical The Visit.”
SG previously announced that Donna is the stand-by for star Chita Rivera in this acclaimed new play “The Visit.”
---- ALSO:
Donna will perform and sign copies of the CD at a special “Author Event,” starting at 7:00pm on Mon., Aug. 10, at Barnes & Noble at 150 E. 86th St., NYC, NY 10028.
The store is on the Upper East Side at 86th St, and Lexington Ave.
Publicity: “Tony Award-winning performer Donna McKechnie and music director Steve Marzullo perform songs from and sign copies of her new CD, ‘Same Place: Another Time.’ This event will be wristbanded. Priority seating with CD purchase.”
SG invites and welcomes all fans attending Donna’s events to please share with SG their reports, photos, video footage, event handouts, local publicity, media articles, interviews, reviews, etc.  Each experience and perspective is unique and helps let SG readers who can’t attend “be there with you.”

July 1, 2015
Hello, Dark Shadows Fan,
ShadowGram is happy to release the first announcement about hotel sleeping rooms at the Tarrytown Doubletree Hotel for the Dark Shadows Festival’s “DS 50th Anniversary Celebration” over the anniversary weekend – June 24-26, 2016.
The hotel asks ShadowGram to please inform everyone:
“In order to make a sleeping room reservation, you must stay a minimum of 2 nights.”
“One-night stays are not available at this hotel for this special event.”
To make a reservation, you must call the hotel’s direct phone: 1-914-631-5700 and ask for Reservations.
To receive the special DS Festival reduced sleeping room rate when making a reservation, you MUST mention the special CODE – DS1.
The reduced sleeping room rate when using the code is $159.00 (+ tax) per night.
All Fest programming on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 will take place at the Doubletree Hotel.
The Tarrytown Doubletree Hotel is located at 455 S. Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591.
Tarrytown is approximately 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan on the eastern shore of the Hudson River.
Saturday-Sunday activities will include our DS cast/crew guests in audience Q&A sessions and possible onstage live performances. The guests also will be available during the Fest for autographs and photo opportunities.
Special programming is under consideration and development, including possible unique and premiere screenings, presentations, and more.   
The DS Festival Marketplace will feature and offer a vast variety of items, available for purchase across a wide price range.
Items will include DS photos, ShadowGrams, books, and other publications: DS magnets and key chains; Big Finish DS audio dramas; MPI’s DS episode DVD Collections and special video releases; DS-themed clothing, décor, and accessories; DS calendars; collectibles; and much more.
On Friday, June 24, fans are welcome to visit the historic Lyndhurst Estate, where the 2 theatrical DS movies – HOUSE OF DS (1970) and NIGHT OF DS (1971) – were filmed on location. The movies starred members of the daytime TV series re-creating their TV roles or playing new characters. Tours of the stately mansion will be available. 
Lyndhurst is about 1 mile from the Doubletree Hotel. Fans can walk, drive, carpool or share a taxi ride to and from the Estate. Lyndhurst, 635 S. Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10951.
See recent SG Online Updates and the new Triple SG #124-#125-#126 print newsletter for more information about this milestone Celebration event.