Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dark Shadows - 1968

Dark Shadows
Packet No. B5031

I love Dark Shadows. Everything about it. The erratic storylines, the so-so acting, the limited budget. For me, all these things just add to its appeal. So when I finally manged to obtain the holy grail of View-Master sets I was thrilled.

And I am guessing that Gaf didn't really expect anyone BUT the Dark Shadows fan base to invest in this set of reels because the story line they chose is a relatively complex one. And to try and sum it up with 21 images and a 16 page booklet, no matter how wordy, is a pretty big task.

But, while I'm not sure they pulled it off, being familiar with this particular story, it is hard not to enjoy this classic show in View-Master form.


Dark were the shifting shadows that waxed and waned among the turrets and gables of the great house of Collinwood. Darker still were the shadows that deepened over the souls of those who dwelt within - shadows of fear and evil and despair ... It was fear, and a desperate necessity, that drove Barnabas Collins to leave the house in the dead of night to make his way to a lovely dwelling by the sea. Asleep in the house was Eve, a strange being who he must destroy. Adam, her hapless mate within whose man-made body pulsed the life-force of Barnabas himself. He didn't know that behind this reasoning was Angelique, who wanted Eve killed to thwart the warlock Nicholas, who had great and terrible plans for Eve and Adam.

As the curtains lifts we see Barnabas stealthily approach Eve's bed, the lethal hypodermic in his
hand. Overcoming his revulsion, he steels himself, flings back the cover ...

Barnabas fell into
trap set by
Angelique to
kill Eve.

Booklet Text
An exclamation of dismay escaped Barnabas' lips. The form beneath the covers was not Eve at all but an artful dummy. He had been lured into a trap! But who ... how ...?

From the darkness came a low, mocking laugh and he whirled, stared incredulously. "You!" he burst
out, his voice hoarse with sudden terror. "But I thought you - I thought Nicholas ..."

Again came the laugh. "You thought Nicholas had destroyed me - Angelique, your old lover. Well, he didn't. At the last he let me live. He tried to recoil but the heavy bed stopped him. "And now, this is what I am!" The lovely lips parted in a smile and Barnabas froze in horror. In her mouth were not ordinary teeth - but fangs.

As the hypodermic clattered to the floor from his nerveless fingers, she lunged, clasped him in her arms and he felt those wicked fangs pierce the flesh of his neck.

"Your will is
now my will," the
mesmeric woman


Booklet Text
His strength ebbed, he staggered to a chair. She knelt beside him, her hypnotic eyes fixing him. "Now you are mine forever.." she whispered. "You can never escape me. Your will is now my will!"

"Eve - no one was
there," Barnabas
lied to Julia
and Stokes.

Booklet Text
Every step a monumental labor, so weak had he grown, Barnabas dragged himself back to the great house. Awaiting him were Dr. Julia Hoffman, who had created Adam by a series of transplants as part of Nicholas' great experiment. With her was Prof. Stokes. All Barnabas could tell them were the lies Angelique willed him to voice.

"I didn't - do away with Eve." he panted. "She wasn't there. Nobody was there - I searched the house - no one."

Adam suffered
identical fang
marks as
Barnabas did.

Booklet Text
But Adam was there in the house by the sea and he had that moment awakened to the tough of his master, Nicholas Blair, who had sold his soul to Balberith, a Prince of Darkness. He exclaimed as his eye caught fresh fang marks on Adman's neck, identical with those on Barnabas'. Also, Adam was strangely weak, just as Barnabas was, and tormented by fear. His voice was a whisper. "Nicholas - something horrible has happened, hasn't it - something to do with - with Angelique?"

The handsome but sinister face of Nicholas was grim as he got to his feet. "It has," he told the
frightened Adam. "But it won't happen again, I promise you. Go back to sleep; I'm going now to have a word with - with a certain woman, and take care of the matter."

Nicholas sternly
told Angelique
to stop seeing

Booklet Text
Confronting Angelique, Nicholas told her bluntly, "You will have to stop seeing Barnabas - at once!"

"Stop seeing him!" she retorted. "But I need him! You know that."

"Of course I know it. But I also know - and so will you if you try to recall - what Eric Lang's tape recorder message was." Her face told him that she remembered. "Well, what he said was true. Just now I found fang marks on Adam - because of what you did to Barnabas. I forbid you to hurt Adam again, so you must find another to meet your - your needs. When nightfall comes again, summon Joe Haskell -
not Barnabas."

She sneered. "So you can have Joe's precious Maggie Evans for yourself. You -" He glared her to silence.

Under Angelique's
spell, Joe left
Maggie to see

Booklet Text
That evening. Maggie found Joe at the Blue Whale drinking despondently. They tried to talk, but the evil shadow of Angelique was between them; and as night drew near, Joe left the tavern and went to her against his will. But, filled with her unholy craving for Barnabas, Angelique rejected Joe, taunting him with the mirrored scene of Maggie in the arms of Nicholas. Maddened, he seized a letter opener, plunged it into his chest and fell lifeless to the floor.

The merciless Angelique thought only of getting rid of the body. She needed help. "Barnabas!" she whispered, knowing he must come in spite of himself.

Barnabas found
Joe, stabbed, and
showing fang
marks, too.

Booklet Text
Impelled to answer Angelique's summons, Barnabas arrived to find her in a strange state of excitement, and on the floor, the lifeless body of Joe Haskell, who had been his rival for the frightening affections of the woman in white. "Take him away!" she commanded hysterically.

Obeying, he caught sight of something that turned his blood to icewater. There on the dead man's neck were fresh marks like those on his own. Was it possible? With Joe already dead, had Angelique ... ? His legs weak with the horror of it, it was all he could do to stagger out of the house with Joe in his arms.

Eve encountered
reincarnation of
dead lover -

Peter Bradford.

Booklet Text
As fate would have it, the next evening was the time that mystery woman, Eve, chose to leave Adam's room for the first time, in defiance of Nicholas' orders, and on the terrace to encounter Jeff Clark.

Recognition dawned slowly then ecstatically. "Peter!" she cried out, "Peter Bradford!"

Bewildered, he denied the name, but she insisted. "But you
are Peter! My Peter Bradford - but - but I saw you die! Long - long ago -" A sob broke from her and she ran from the terrace.

Nicholas sent
Eve on journey
into the past

with lover.

Booklet Text
Bewildered, Eve fled back to Adam's room only to find Nicholas awaiting her, demanding to know whom she had seen that disturbed her. Her answer was confusing, but it told him enough to know that Jeff Clark was involved. Needing to know more, he mesmerized her to send her back to her previous life nearly 200 years before.

"Fix your eyes on the candle," he commanded, "and concentrate". You are moving back through the
years - back -"

First Eve went limp, then she stiffened and cried out, "Peter! I did it for us! For you and me I killed Philip - because he would have killed you! I swear he would! Peter - don't look at me that way - don't condemn me - I tell you I had to do it! Peter -"

The workings of implacable fate lay behind Eve's confrontation with Jeff on the terrace. In the Collnsport of Colonial days grim tragedy parted these star-crossed lovers at the very foot of the hangman's scaffold. Jeff, whose name in that earlier incarnation had been Peter Bradford, saved Eve's life by confessing to a murder that she, not he, had committed.

Condemned to die on the scaffold, Peter heroically rejected Eve's pleas to save himself by surrendering his soul to the powers of witchcraft which she herself had embraced long ago. Thus an innocent man died in ignorance of the fact that Eve's powers would work on him even in death and that the two of them would meet again after long centuries had passed.

Still mesmerized
into the past, Eve
was rejected
by Peter.

Booklet Text
Such was the force of Nicholas' mesmeric power, that, for a time, Eve lost all awareness of the present, and returned completely to her previous existence in colonial Collinsport, near the end of the 18th Century. Reliving her tragic confrontation with Peter Bradford, she cried out again and again under the merciless lash of his anger at her slaying of Philip, who had tried to come between them. In the end Peter had rejected her utterly with the cruel words: "Get out of my life and never return!"

But now Peter himself had returned! Watching her with fascinated eyes Nicholas saw her suddenly snap out of the trance, tears streaming from her eyes, murmuring "The man I saw tonight is Peter Bradford -and I love him!"

"Buried alive"
fear ruled life
of Victoria at
Blair House.

Booklet Text
While Eve's retreat to the past was going on a Blair House, fear permeated one of the rooms at Collinwood like a tangible thing. Victoria Winters, trying to tell Elizabeth Stoddard about her plans for marriage with Jeff, found that older woman returning again to the dread conviction that had been growing on her for some time - that her fate was to be buried alive.

Vicki's efforts to make light of this obsession met with no success. "It's no use talking," Elizabeth insisted. "I can hear the spirits of the dead. They say I will be among them, but - but I will not be dead!"

Angelique tried
to make Barnabas
finish killing
Joe Haskell.

Booklet Text
In another room of the great house, time was running out for Joe Haskell who hadn't quite succeeded in killing himself. Poison, however, had been poured into his medicine by Harry Johnson, and now Barnabas, moving like a sleepwalker at Angelique's command, was about to feed the concoction to the helpless man. He was aware that he was about to commit a murderous act but was unable to stop himself.

At the ultimate moment chance intervened. Julia Hoffman, seeking the professor, burst into the room barely in time to knock the spoon from Barnabas' hand.

Mrs. Johnson
saved Barnabas
from Joe's rage
to kill.

Booklet Text
Joe emerged at last, from his death-like sleep just in time to hear Julia say the medicine was poisoned, and that Barnabas had tried to give it to him. Enraged, Joe seized a cord, and prowled the darkening house until he found Barnabas dozing in his chair. Whipping the cord around the defenseless neck, he jerked it tighter - tighter. Barnabas' eyes bulged - the world turned black -

Again, fate took a hand in the form of a woman. Mrs. Johnson appeared and, with a scream, hurled herself on the panting Joe, and loosened his grip on the murderous cord. Barnabas slid lifeless to the floor.

Roger Collins
and Elizabeth heard
Joe's voice at
the mausoleum.

Booklet Text
Roger Collins, hoping to talk Elizabeth out of her obsessive determination to build a new, "safe" mausoleum, went with her to the family crypt. Sounds they heard there, interpreted by Elizabeth as spirit voices, turned out to come from Joe, who had come there, weak and terrified, to hide after his assault on Barnabas. Roger, after calming his hysterical companion, carried Joe back to the house.

Angelique risked
all in gamble
to outwit

Booklet Text
With the setting of each day's sun Angelique became bolder and more rebellious against her domination by Nicholas. She would outwit him and make Barnabas hers forever. Then he, too, would sleep in coffins by day, and by night roam the world seeking ...

Luring him to a secret cave by the sea, she bared her fangs and grasped him in her terrible embrace, drained his life essence almost to the last drop. When he recovered enough to speak he panted, "You've gone too far. I'm going to die - I hope I die. And Nicholas - Nicholas - Nicholas will wreak a fearful vengeance on you.

In reply she shrieked, "I defy him to do his worst. And you - You will not die. You will be mine forever!" And with that she fled back to her crypt, for day was near.

Nicholas sought
revenge, but
vampire had
left crypt.

Booklet Text
Though she defied him, Angelique did not deceive Nicholas. Discovering that Adam had weakened to the point of death, he knew that Angelique was endangering the life of Barnabas and ruining his plans. For this she must pay with her life - and the only way to take the life of a vampire was to drive a silver stake through her breast as she lay sleeping in her crypt ...

But when he arrived, armed with hammer and stake, Angelique's coffin was empty! He trembled aghast, for he knew why. Balberith, his own master, had summoned her to the Netherworld, and the outcome of that meeting could bade nothing but ill for Nicholas because he had been outwitted by Angelique's greed for Barnabas.

Angelique had
been summoned to
Balberith in

Booklet Text
The evil miasma of the Netherworld curled around the golden head of Angelique and the hooded figure spoke in awesome tones: "My faithless servant Nicholas has become enamored of a mortal female named Maggie, while you, Angelique, had defied him. You shall be rewarded - and he shall suffer a dreadful punishment!"

He paused while the screams of the damned swelled up and then receded. Then he went on: "As your reward, Angelique, I will remove the curse I put upon you - and you shall return to human form!"

Powers of evil
closed in on
Nicholas as
Maggie called.

Booklet Text
Only moments after the confrontation in the Netherworld, Maggie Evans paid an unexpected call on Nicholas at Blair House. She seemed confused, almost trance-like.

"What is it, Maggie?" he asked uneasily. "Why did you come here?"

"I - I don't know," she replied. "I only know I had to come. Something made me - some power that -" Suddenly start terror filled her eyes. "Oh, Nicholas!" she gasped, "everything is getting dark - and I can't get my breath - Oh, Nicholas, help me!"

She reeled, staggered to the sofa, and collapsed. An unearthly humming filled the room, the lights went dim ...

Balberith used
Maggie's voice
to summon

Booklet Text
"Nicholas!" Every vestige of color drained from Nicholas' face. His name had been called from the throat of Maggie, but it was not Maggie's voice! It was the voice of Balberith, and the room seemed to pulsate with his unholy presence.

"Y-yes, Master," Nicholas quavered.

"Prepare to meet your judgment, Nicholas!"

Nicholas seized a chair back to support his weight.

"J-judgment?" he moaned.

"Tomorrow you will appear before me. Prepare yourself."

Nicholas forced
Julia to begin
evil experiment.

Booklet Text
With a supreme effort Nicholas pulled himself together after Maggie had gone. His fertile brain worked swiftly. Balberith was calling him to account for letting Eve die, and for other sins as well. With some kind of plan perhaps he could stave off the utter destruction that threatened him.

In a flash it came to him, and he dashed off to Collinwood to find Julia Hoffman. It all depended on her. Not even caring that Elizabeth was listening, he told her she must repeat the experiment, infusing new life into the dead Eve. Balberith needed Eve so that she and Adam could start a new race of men who would be his servants.

Horrified, Julia refused, and Nicholas played his trump card. "Very well, then I will take Adam's life."

Julia paled. "Then Barnabas too - will die."

His answer was an evil smile.

She stared at him with revulsion, but at last she sighed with resignation. "So be it. You may bring Eve's body to my laboratory tonight."

Prince of Dark
drove hard
bargain with

Booklet Text
Nicholas' hour had come. He stood before Balberith in Limbo, pleading for one more chance. If the experiment worked he could go on serving his master in the human world - and have Maggie besides.

His proposal met cosmic scorn. "I
give no second chances, Nicholas, as you did with Angelique. No - you will return here - for eternity. But - if the experiment is successful you may bring the woman with you."

"Bring her! But that means she must die!"

"Of course. On the Black Altar!" The fiend's laughter rose, filling the vast corridors of Limbo. "Go, Nicholas - go back to earth - and prepare your wedding plans!"

Roiling masses of fog billowed about the towers of Collinwood as Nicholas returned, creating, even by day - darks shadows.

Tune in next time for ...
Aquaman "The Menace of the Land-Sea Beast" from 1966.


  1. So cool of you to go the trouble of posting this! It seems like a real labor of love. I'm a big fan of DS as well, though I was just a wee bairn when it originally aired. I was fortunate enough to see most of the eps when the SciFi Channel was running them a few years ago. Thanks again for this blast from the past.

  2. Bribabylk: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. DS was before my time by a few years and SciFi is were I first saw it and fell in love. It is still one of my favorites and wish so much someone would bring it back again, especially now with DVRs. I would actually tape a week on my VCR and what them over the weekend.

    And yes, each post is tremendously tedious. Much more so than I had ever though they would be before starting this blog. So the posts are slow in coming. But I am always so pleased once one is finished and I can take a breath. (Oh, and correct typos for the never week.)

    Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. What do you mean so so acting? Dark Shadows had some of the finest stage actors NY had to offer..and as far as a limited budget..that isn't so at all...they employed some of the most expensive special effects and sets and costumes of any soap opera during that time period. And about those erratic story lines? Well, that one you nailed right on the head!!LOL:) Thanks for posting this...I really enjoyed it. I know it took alot of time and energy...don't think it goes unappreciated! :)

  4. Anonymous: Oh come on. You can be a good stage actor but put into in a situation where finalized scripts are last minute and you don't have the time needed to know you part, good or not, you are not going to put out your best work.

    And I agree that Dark Shadows put a pretty penny in on special effects, costumes and an unusual number of sets BUT they did that, in lieu of retakes, except in the most extreme of circumstances. Whatever the budget, they didn't let it deter them from the expense of the supernatural story lines they were so great at. I am glad they made the choices they did. The show wouldn't be being talked about nearly forty-five years later if they hadn't made those choices.

    We can at least agree that it was a fantastic show.

    Glad you enjoyed the reels.

  5. Love it, love it, love it! Never knew these existed. Thank you SO much for posting!

  6. Susied: They are absolutely fabulous aren't they! Glad you got a chance to see them. Now quick, go search eBay!

  7. I actually had this packet when it first came out, so the post brings back memories, although this particular episode was a little before my time. I started watching the show about the time of the Quentin Collins/1897 story arc; the story lines with Balberith and with Eve, Adam, and Peter Bradford had ended by then. Since DS was a serial, it would be impossible to find an episode with a complete story. This episode was as good as any as far as showcasing the series' atmosphere.

    1. Dark Shadows was a bit after my time but I was lucky enough to discover it during a series rerun back in the late 90's. I agree that this storyline really catches the series' atmosphere but I feel like it is far enough into the show that the the storyline is more complex and fast pasted compared to the early more singularly focus post-Barnabas storylines.

      But the evil Nicholas is one of my favorites so I certainly would never wish for a different choice!

  8. IIRC, Dark Shadows was not exactly a fantasy or horror show when it first began. Its main influences seemed to be Jane Eyre, The Turn of the Screw, and Gothic romance/suspense novels (the kind whose covers showed Women Running from Houses). After a few months, Victoria actually met the ghost of Josette (or maybe Daphne, or Laura Collins-after forty years, I get them mixed up). Then Barnabas showed up and became the most popular character on the show, and that opened the floodgates for more supernatural story lines. It worked; the ratings went up, and DS developed its cult following that continues to this day.

    1. I believe you are correct. It was Victoria's sighting of the ghost of Josette Dupree that really opened the floodgates for an all out supernatural free-for-all.

      That really set the show apart from the always implied supernatural of the Gothic romance.

      You probably are aware but, If not, I run a blog actually called Women Running From Houses about the very covers you are talking about. Though, sadly, my last entry was at Thanksgiving and it happened to be about bisexual cowboys but I do have many more Gothic covers to put up!