CLICK ON THE ABOVE for all the DARK SHADOWS FANDOM info from Answers.com.
The Pittsburgh Dark Shadows Fan Club was founded in 1987 for fans of Dark Shadows in southwestern Pennsylvania and the nearby counties in Ohio and West Virginia. Founder Dan Silvio also began Shadows of the Night as the club's official fanzine. The club may be contacted c/o Dan Silvio, 4529 Friendship Ave., 2nd Fl., Pittsburgh, PA 15224. Shadows of the Night (4529 Friendship Ave., 2nd Fl., Pittsburgh, PA 15224) is the name of two different vampire fanzines. Dan Silvio edits the one dedicated to Dark Shadows and serves as the official publication of the Pittsburgh Dark Shadows Fan Club. Silvio founded the fanzine in 1987. Each issue contains news, fan art, photographs, and reports of festival gatherings. It also publishes materials about the Collinsport Players.
This Article mentions PITTSBURGH and Dark Shadows and I share it here for you. Please visit THE DARK SHADOWS JOURNAL website.
Picture of the Week: Safety First
Here's a candid snapshot of Nancy Barrett modelling a hard hat on location for Night of Dark Shadows in 1971. In the movie, Nancy played novelist Claire Jenkins, a relatively straight role compared to her previous Dark Shadows characters. Speaking to The Pittsburgh Press
during filming, Nancy joked about being spared from the supernatural
for once: "The girl... isn't bloodthirsty, she isn't even possessed by
anything. All I'm afraid of is that when I kiss a guy in front of a
movie camera, I'll forget and bite him instead."
If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pittsburgh Press
Sunday, January 13, 1991
Section J, Page 6
When: Two-part mini-series air tonight and tomorrow at 9; premieres in its regular time slot at 9 p.m. Friday on NBC.
Stars: Ben Cross, Jean Simmons, Joanna Going, Roy Thinnes.
Good Gothic Fun Lurks In ‘Dark Shadows’
By Robert Bianco
for the memories, Barnabas, but we do have a slight problem: Can a
country facing Saddam Hussein still be scared by some English guy with a
Maybe not, but it could be fun watching him try.
a season that has shown every intention of disappearing without a
trace, this "Dynasty" in the dark is a welcome burst of silly style. The
style may wobble a bit (all the humor is not intentional), and the show
is hardly up to its "Jane Eyre" antecedents, but for four hours, at
least, it's good Gothic fun.
Fans of the original will notice the
change in scenery (production values have skyrocketed) and in our
unhappy Prince of "Dark"-ness, Barnabas. Ben Cross makes Barnabas more
somber and more overtly sensuous. Sex brings out the blood lust in him,
don't you know.
Otherwise, the plot should seem familiar.
Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) arrives in Collinwood to be the
governess of the Collins' family bad seed. Thanks to crazy Willie the
Caretaker (Jim Fyfe), who went snooping around the family tombs despite
his mother's best advice ("It will only lead to trouble"), the family
soon gets another visitor, Barnabas, who claims to be a long lost cousin
Before you know it, Victoria and Barnabas are in
love and blood-free bodies are popping up all over. For some reason, no
one seems to suspect the only stranger in town, but then, people in
horror movies always do have trouble picking up on the obvious.
"Dark Shadows" never aims for camp, it does sometimes hit it
unintentionally. A sympathetic vampire is, in itself, a campy creation.
To honestly sympathize with him, you'd have to take his ridiculous
plight seriously. There's
also some strange sexism going on here:
Male vampires get to look normal, but female vampires have to run around
with ratted hair and too much lipstick.
Then there's the dialogue, said with that straight-faced seriousness you find only in horror movies and medical shows:
"If she lost all that blood, where did it go?"
"Doctor, the curse of my existence is beyond the realm of your science."
"I think she's stable enough to try it. It just... might... work."
And perhaps it might.
is as "horribly romantic"” (his pun, not mine) as a vampire fan could
wish, though he might try being just a shade less intense. Jean Simmons,
as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, is a welcome sight whenever
she appears, but she doesn't appear frequently enough. The rest of the
cast overacts just enough to stay within the tone of the show.
fantasy is a tough genre to sustain in series form; eventually you
start to wonder how so many strange events can happen to one family. (In
its five-year soap run, Collinwood turned into the Grand Central
Station of the spirit world.) But for now, all we have to worry about
are the first four hours, and those four hours are fairly entertaining.
And if Barnabas is a little mild for the '90s, well, who needs TV to scare us when real life is doing such a good job of it?
The Pittsburgh Press
Sunday, January 13, 1991
Section J, Page 1 (continued on J6)
'Dark Shadows' Rises From Dead
By Robert Bianco
ANGELES — It walks among us, a blood-sucking creature of the night. Try
though you might to kill it, IT KEEPS COMING BACK TO LIFE!
A vampire? Of course not — "Dark Shadows."
neckbiters, that Gothic groaner, that classic '60s soap concoction of
witches, werewolves and weirdness, is coming back for a nighttime run.
The vamping starts tonight at 9 with the arrival of a two-part NBC
mini-series (part two airs tomorrow at 9), and continues Friday at 9
p.m. on NBC with the regular premiere of the "Dark Shadows" series.
this bigger budget, big-name remake, Ben Cross ("Chariots of Fire")
takes over from Jonathan Frid as vampire extraordinaire Barnabas
Collins, America's Phantom of the Soap Opera. Hollywood
great Jean Simmons lends class as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, played in the original by the late Joan Bennett.
force behind the show is producer Dan Curtis, who created the original
series before going on to produce such TV classics as "The Night
Stalker," "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance." Considering some
of his casting choices in "War," you might think Curtis enjoyed working
with the living dead, but he says it took NBC officials two years to
convince him to return to the "Shadows."
"It was never my idea,"
Curtis says. "I never intended to do it again. But it wouldn't die, for
all these years it stayed alive... It is more popular today than it was
Well, maybe not more popular in terms of mass appeal;
the original ABC soap opera was a pretty big deal there for a while in
the late '60s. But certainly the intensity of its popularity with its
core cult has done nothing but increase. "Dark Shadows" videocassettes
are best sellers and fan clubs abound. And when cable's Sci-Fi network
debuts this spring, it will air the original "Shadows" twice a day.
Began in 1966
Not bad, considering the show's inauspicious 1966 beginning.
started off as an attempt at a Gothic romance/mystery. It was never
intended to show or actively be involved with the supernatural. There
were a lot of conversations about locked rooms and howling in towers,
but you never saw anything.
The show was rapidly going down the tubes."
As "Shadows" neared the end of its 26-week order, it became clear to Curtis that ABC would not extend its run.
kids, who were 9-10 years old then, said to me, 'Daddy, if it's going
to go off the air, why don't you at least make it scary?' And I said,
'All right, why not?'"
So he scrapped the Gothic plot in
mid-story and wrote a new story around "some jerky kind of a ghost."
When the ratings immediately picked up, he decided to go for broke.
decided I would find out how far we could go, what would the audience
accept. Now for me, as a kid, the scariest thing was always a vampire;
that was my personal scary monster. I decided, I'll put a vampire on
this show, and then we'll kill him off."
Frid was added to the
cast as Barnabas, and a star was born — or unearthed, maybe. And if
there's one thing that's harder to kill than a vampire, it's a star.
couldn't kill him off. He became an instant matinée idol. This guy was
out there ripping throats out, he was doing everything awful, and they
all went crazy over him. The women went insane; the kids went crazy."
can't testify for the women, but I will admit to being one of those
kids who ran home from school to see who Barnabas would put the bite on
next. We made Curtis' life prosperous but difficult.
"Now I had to solve the biggest problem: How do I perpetuate a vampire? So we made him a reluctant vampire."
High hopes for show
his own way, Barnabas was a precursor to all those sensitive '70s
heroes. A romantic at heart, he didn’t mean to treat women so badly. He
just had these, well, urges.
Who knows if Barnabas' ratings magic
can strike twice, but if there was ever a season that could use some
new blood, it's this one. The network has been frantically promoting the
series, a show that NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield
hopes will be the season's first "break-out" hit.
first became interested in "Dark Shadows" during the 1988 writers'
strike; the network figured the show had five years worth of scripts
just waiting to be remade. Curtis, however, was busy completing "War and
Remembrance" and the idea got shelved.
A year later, Littlefield says, "We sat down with Dan Curtis and we screened the 'Dark Shadows' feature, and we loved it.
We just felt it was different. It was fun. It was sexy. It was scary. And we just kind of said this would be great television."
great television turned out to be a bit more complicated than NBC first
thought. Curtis says he couldn't use any of the old scripts; they were
too repetitious. He's rewritten the show, keeping the same tone and most
of the same characters, but changing some of the plot specifics.
basic parameters of the story are the same," Curtis says. "The
incidents within have all been replotted. So there are new and different
ways of getting to some of the same places that we got to."
those old ABC soap viewers, we won't have to wait a year for Barnabas
to arrive. He makes it to Collinwood by the end of the miniseries' first
half-hour -- still bemoaning his extended existence, and still pining
for his first love, Josette. But there is one change in his love life,
"The difference between this
and the old show is that the Victoria Winters character, the governess,
is now the reincarnation of Josette, something we would have done then
if we'd known what the story was going to be."
Now Curtis not
only knows where the story is going, he knows how to get there. He won't
stick in any normal, everyday plot devices because he tried those in
the original and they didn't work; every plot has to deal with the
Under today's TV standards, he could make the new
show more violent, but he’s not interested in that path, either. "We see
no reason to show any more blood than we show.... This is not going to
be a terrifying show. It never was."
And that's the key. For all
its vampires, for all its ghosts, for all its strange music heralding
visitors from beyond the grave, "Shadows" is at heart a romance. A scary
romance, perhaps, but a romance nonetheless.
Curtis may have put it best: "This is not a horror story. This is basically a fantasy."
Will a '90s audience be interested in a '60s fantasy? Only the shadow knows.
(Robert Bianco is The Pittsburgh Press TV-radio editor.)