Herbie J Pilato: The Legacy of DARK SHADOWS

Jonathan Frid, who plays Barnabas Collins, left, and David Selby, who plays Quentin Collins, in the Gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows", April 16, 1969. (AP Photo/Bob Wands)

Jonathan Frid, who plays Barnabas Collins, left, and David Selby, who plays Quentin Collins, in the Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows”, April 16, 1969. (AP Photo/Bob Wands)

Part 2
by Herbie J Pilato

EDITOR’S NOTE: Don’t miss Part 1, conveniently located HERE


1969:  20,000,000 viewers are now obsessed with Quentin, Barnabas and DS in general. The show’s popularity reaches mammoth proportions. Followers from every nook and cranny come out of the woodwork…even the woodwork from the White House. For on October 31st, Halloween 1969, Tricia Nixon gives a Halloween Party for 250 underprivileged children, and Jonathan Frid is invited.

Other invitations are accepted. DS cast members help to raise more than $300,000 for Muscular Dystrophy; 680,000 screaming fans show up at a Founder’s Day parade.

Grayson Hall (who plays Dr. Julia Hoffman, and later with utter genius as the gypsy Magda – and who’s married to DS writer Sam Hall), Frid), and a young DS ingénue fear for their lives when rabid vampire fans attack the vehicle in which they are riding. This is it. Frid has had it. He needs a vacation. He demands time off. The writers comply…to deathly consequences.

Edward Collins (as played by the late, great Louis Edmunds) discovers Barnabas’ secret…that he is indeed a knight of the living dead. For the first time in the show’s history, an all-out vampire hunt is underway.

Barnabas is then cornered and staked, which causes a riotous upheaval from fans.

As appeasement, the show introduces a storyline with the powerful Leviathans who rescue Barnabas. The time-line shifts once more, and Barnabas returns to 1969 – the present. But he’s cold and unfeeling – very unlike the Barnabas viewers first fell in love with. He’s free from vampirism, but seemingly more diabolical. It doesn’t register with the viewer. So he’s cursed again to suck blood, so the watchers can once again feel his pain. But the show turns too violent, and becomes a blood bath. He’s sucking people dry left and right. The fans are not happy.

Their dissent worsens, especially since David Selby has by now left the show (when Quentin exits Collinwood to search for a lost love). ARookie-actress and future Charlie’s Angel joins the cast as a ghost hoping to fill the void. But not even a later-day Goodbye Girl in the guise of Marsha Mason can capture the magic of Shadows gone-bye. The situation grows darker, when the “Parallel Time” episode arc begins. The show is different. The fans accept the time-traveling, the actors playing ancestors of the descendants they also portray. But the viewers aren’t buying the parallel universe bit, in which the actors play doppelgangers of the same-time characters.

The plots become confusing, even to the players. To top it all off, there’s a movie afoot.

House of Dark Shadows, the first of two feature films based on the TV series, goes into production. The cast films the movie and the television show at the same time. Everyone’s exhausted. Tempers fly during the scant five weeks all are given to complete the motion picture. Actors are shuttled from Manhattan, where the series is filmed, to Tarrytown, New York – 25 miles away – where the movie is being shot.

The schedule is hectic, and the strain is showing up on both the small and large screens. What’s more, tests audiences object to the hanging scene with little David Collins (played by David Hennesy). So it’s clipped from the movie. But then, MGM thinks the film is too long. The suits request some editing, to size it down to 90 minutes, instead of 2-hours. Dan Curtis protests. But he has no choice. He succumbs, and the movie suffers, creatively. Yet the fans still line-up to see it – by the groves.

However, all is not like it used to be, certainly not the TV show. For the like the new movie, it wreaks with violence. The charm and innocence at the core of Dark’s original appeal has been lost. As Jonathan Frid once put it, the film lacked the “naivete of the soap opera. Every once in a while, the show coalesced into a Brigadoonish never-never-land. It wasn’t necessary to bring the rest of the world into Dark Shadows, which is what the film did.”

Still, House of DS saves MGM from bankruptcy, and a second movie is ordered. This one, titled, Night of Dark Shadows, is worse. It’s not even scary. Again, the blame is pinned on editing. Apparently, the film’s consistent storyline ends up on the editing room floor.

Back on the small screen, things aren’t much better. The “Parallel Time” story arc is killing the show. A time-travel trip to 1995 fails to rev up viewer engines. One last dabble into the occult serving as a possible saving grace. Once more, Dan Curtis borrows from another familiar tale. A curse storyline based on the controversial Shirley Jackson story called The Lottery. But there’s no winning numbers. Soon, the lights are out, and the Shadows are no more.

The series ends with wink-eyed words to the viewer spoken by Thayer David’s marbled-mouthed Ben Stokes: “There was no vampire loose on the great estate. For the first time at Collinwood, the marks on the neck were indeed those of an animal…and for as long as they lived, the dark shadows of Collinwood were but a memory of the distant past.”

And despite thousands of fan letters that form a “Bring Back Dark Shadows” campaign, the lights go out, and newly-made Shadows fade to black.

That is, until some twenty years later.


1990:  Five years before the fantasy 1995 time-line on Dark Shadowsis to actually end the original series, a new DS shows up in prime-time in reality, once a week on NBC – not even its original ABC network. The characters are the same, but the actors are different. As with the two DS feature films and the last season of the first series, missing is the campy charm, replaced with too serious a take and rendering on the Collins family portrait. This new Dark is filmed with a big-budget, and not videotaped on a shoestring. The new DS is just plain no fun to watch, even with the respected Jean Simmons (of classic movie-lore, as well as sci-fi fandom via the Planet of the Apes).

None of it matters. The backlash begins.

It’s the “Old Shadows Fans” v. “New Shadows Fans” scenario.  It’s like “Original Trek” v. “Next Generation.”  Fans of the first Shadows are aghast with what they see – and don’t see – in the new Dark. Where’s Jonathan Frid? Who the hell is Ben Cross?

But then, something characteristically eerie transpires. The DS fans combine and begin to realize that any Dark, is better than no Dark. And a subtle cult following soon begins to take form for the new series.

But it’s too late. NBC cancels the series after six episodes, and Dan Curtis is left wondering if he should have instead taken this new Shadows into syndication.


Cast reprise. So many are gone. The veteran grand Grayson Hall and  Thayer David.  The charming young Joel Crothers (who succumbs to AIDS).

Others are snarled in controversy (Alexandra Moltke finds herself testifying in court over a scandalous marriage).

Still others flourish in many an enterprise. David Selby finds a comfortable regular role on Falcon Crest. John Karlen plays a drunken dad on the Emmy-winning Cagney & Lacey. Kate Jackson goes on to be one of Charlie’s Angels, while we learn her former co-star Jaclyn Smith was once married to Shadows cast member Roger Davis (who at one point replaces the late Peter Deuel on ABC’s prime-time western Alias Smith & Jones).

Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans, Josette Du Pres) discovers further fame as a frequent TV guest star (on shows like the original Police Squad TV series and the aforementioned Star Trek: The Next Generation), and becomes the official DS literary chronicler. Her former Shadows costar Lara Parker now writes Dark novels, while she also continues to act. They all try to make it to as many DS Festivals as they can.

But the one fans still most eagerly stand in line to see is none other than Jonathan Frid. The man who could not see himself in the mirror…the man who brought unanimous joy to countless DS fans throughout the world, throughout the ages.

Until the day he died in real life in 2012…tellingly, right before the premiere of the new Dark Shadows feature film starring Johnny Depp (and directed by Tim Burton), Jonathan Frid – the talented, theatrically-trained thespian traveled with his one-man show variously titled, “Jonathan Frid’s Shakespearean Odyssey” and “Jonathan Frid’s Fools & Fiends,” each hearkening in some subliminal – and maybe direct – way, to the fact that Dark Shadows was indeed a hit show due to this…one and only original iconic man…surrounded by an original cast of legends that can never be fully duplicated – in any time period, parallel or otherwise.

In addition to his work as an author, and TV producer, Herbie J Pilato is the Founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, a formal 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between popular culture and education.  For more information, log on to www.ClassicTVPS.blogspot.com.



Last Tango in Halifax

Anglo Files 15
by Cara Winter

Last Tango in Halifax  is a drama written by Sally Wainwright (writer/creator of the remarkably good Happy Valley) starring Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as widowed Alan and Celia, childhood sweethearts who haven’t clapped eyes on each other for 60 years. Thanks to the ubiquitous (now even for octogenarians) Facebook, they find each other again, meet for coffee, and instantly remember exactly how they felt as kids.

The first few episodes were delightful, and kept the focus on Alan and Celia.  I have been a huge fan of Derek Jacobi since I was a young’n, and watching him in this role is a treat. He is at once an older gentleman, and a child, able to express 60 years worth of longing in a single look.  Jacobi is a genius at his craft, and if you haven’t seen him as anything other than the Archbishop in The King’s Speech… please see him in this.  Anne Reid’s performance is also solid; you don’t feel as though she’s ever forcing a single moment, everything is nuanced, organic, and rich.  And it’s not every day you get to see actors of-a-certain-age in a straight-up love story, either (so kudos to BBC and Wainwright for making Last Tango in the first place!)

From the point they decide they want to be together, Real Life begins to thwart Alan and Celia’s union.  For example, Alan finds out Celia voted for Thatcher, while he’s Labor and reads the Guardian.  They also begin to realize they’re from completely different worlds (Celia’s is posh; Alan’s is salt-of-the-earth).  Yet, more or less right away, they realize how little things like this matter.   Even when their daughters turn on one another, and the whole family seems at odds… as far as their being together, it does not matter.  In it’s best moments, this show reminds us that life is short, and love transcends all.

I was less interested in the plot-lines of Alan and Celia’s extended family;  Sarah Lancashire plays Celia’s uptight, perfect-home-havin’ daughter Caroline, who is a closeted lesbian, and going through a nasty divorce; Nicola Walker plays Alan’s hard-working, sexually indiscriminate daughter, Gillian.  While I tend to be a fan of using over-40 women in any fashion on the telly, I did ultimately feel like their stories were forced.  The performances were not to blame; the actors are wonderful.  It just all felt a bit manufactured; drama for drama’s sake, things constantly thrown at Alan and Celia, presumably to see if their love for one another could be thrown off course. But… how many teen pregnancies, lesbian lovers, and alcohol-infused sexual escapades can one family have?  To me, this exposes the weakness of the premise; once Alan and Celia have fallen in love, the “story” really is over.  Or, should have been.

Last Tango was widely viewed in the U.K. and here in the U.S., and won some awards.  I think mostly this is due to the strong performances by the cast (especially Jacobi and Reid), and the strength of the dialogue (albeit hampered by the plot), and smart direction.  It’s worth watching, for sure, just to see Derek Jacobi in the role of a lifetime.

Last Tango in Halifax was a BBC One production, re-broadcast on PBS, with Seasons 1 and 2 now on NETFLIX.  Season 3 exists (try PBS?), and a 4th is in the works.

Cara Winter is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.

Diana Vaccarelli Sees OUTLANDER


OUTLANDER Returns with a Smash
by Diana Vaccarelli

At the end of last season, this excellent show left viewers with a cliffhanger that made us want more, more more. Because there would be no more, at least for awhile, I decided I had to pick up the first book in the series because I was dying to know what happens. I finished just in time for this season’s premier episode.

OUTLANDER takes a dark turn as our heroine Claire Fraser is held captive by the sadistic Black Jack Randall. To our relief Claire is saved by her husband Jamie. YAY! Just love when things end happy.  Well you’re wrong things take even a more dramatic turn. In a controversial scene when Jamie beats Claire with a belt to her bum for disobeying him.  Afterwards their marriage isn’t in a very good place. Throughout, Jamie makes it up to Claire and they reunite in what I have to say is the hottest scene ever.

I have been in love with this show from the beginning, and it still doesn’t disappoint.  From the costumes, locations, writing, cinematography, directing, and the acting. Everything just flows into place from Diana Gabaldon’s novels. It comes vividly to life. Kudos to Executive Producer Ronald Moore who said from the beginning it’s Diana’s world (wink at the same name) “and we’re just bringing it to life.”

Speaking of bringing the novel to life let’s just talk about Caitriona Balfe who portrays Claire.  She loses herself totally in this badass female, with the result that you simply have to view her as a person and not a character. Beneficiary of a wonderful gift from the acting gods, Balfe brings strength and sensitivity to a woman who is out of her own time yet manages to rise to the occasion and get through the turmoil.

And watch out, Leonardo DiCaprio! I have a new celebrity crush, and his name is Sam Heughan. Heughan portrays our hero Jamie. Jamie is a man of deep faith and trust, which Heughan brings out with sheer perfection. Watching his eyes, you can see the struggle Jamie is having in his new marriage and new responsibilities in life. An Emmy, or at the very least a Golden Globe nomination, is in order.

Let’s not forget about my favorite character in the entire show: Black Jack Randall, the villain of the piece. He is played brilliantly by Tobias Menzies. The darkness of this character would make any other actor run in terror. But Tobias doesn’t shy away from anything. He gets down deep into Black Jack’s heart, and watching him work is a gift.

The writing of the show is utterly brilliant. Moore and his staff have great source material to draw from, and they more than do it justice. I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear the discussions on what they’re going to keep, change, and not add. Yes, I’m very glad the writers have stuck so closely to Gabaldon’s work. Let’s all give them a major high five.

Do I sound a little overboard with my enthusiasm? I told you I love this show. So much, in fact, that I’m urging everyone reading this to tune in for the rest of the series. Watch on demand. Buy and watch the DVDs when they come out. Binge watch.


How to Ruin a TV Series AKA “Oh no, what’s happened to ORPHAN BLACK?!”

Carumba! Our masters in the executive suites are at it again, fixing things that aren’t anywhere near broken. Why, you morons? Why…?”

What’s that? You think we’re being too harsh? Well, let’s look at another way:

obby Ken Levine

As many of you loyal readers of this blog (who pay attention) know,I’ve praised ORPHAN BLACK to the heavens. This little underground thriller/sci-fi on BBC-America (and now on AMC as well) introduced us all to the wondrous Tatiana Maslany – a luminous actress who plays multiple clones, each one distinctive and memorable.

In the pilot, Tatiana, as character Sarah, has a chance encounter with an identical clone… who commits suicide. That gets your attention. If we started BIG WAVE DAVE’S that way we might still be on the air.

Anyway, from there the series is off and running… and chasing and hiding. Sarah discovers other clones and a delicious mystery unfolds. Who is behind all of this, why is someone is trying to kill her, who, and why aren’t they targeting the Kardashian girls instead? The plotting swept you along and you enjoyed the twists, turns, and occasional flashes of humor. And just watching Tatiana was a treat.

Season two wasn’t as good. The conspiracy started becoming unwieldy. There were sinister research labs, a weird cult (Scientology in a barn), and fragments of backstory that go back to England or perhaps Middle Earth. Lots of characters from season one who you wondered – were they good guys or bad guys – this year they started flip flopping so much you stopped caring. Like I said in a past review, just assume everyone is a bad guy and enjoy the ride.

Fanboy geek that I am, I was really looking forward to season three.

But alas, four weeks into it I have concluded the show is now a fucking mess. The plotting is so confusing you need to build another Enigma machine to decipher it.  And even then there’s no guarantees.

This year there are also maleclones. They have their own conspiracy, one of Tatiana’s clones is held captive in a trunk by some other evil organization that may or may not be affiliated with the evil research lab, or the cult, or Enron. Meanwhile, one of Tatiana’s clones has nothing to do with the central plot. She’s a housewife selling drugs to other housewives so can she win an election to get on the school board. I know – HUH??? And for good measure, she has a dead body in her garage that doesn’t smell and no one is looking for the guy.

Read it all at Ken Levine’s sensational blog

Herbie J Pilato: DARK SHADOWS’ Original Incarnation is Originality in Action

the real barnabasPart 1
by Herbie J Pilato

Live performances.  Rehashed ideas.  Retold stories.  Dead-on scripts.

Turn of the ScrewPicture of Dorian GrayDr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeDraculaFrankensteinThe Wolfman.  Even HP Lovecraft’s The Cthulhu Mythos.

Actors play a piece from each, working, temporarily, steadily.  Stereotyped, indefinitely.  Fallen movie stars, resurrected for the small screen. TV superstars yet to be born.  Future TV angels, present spectres.

AIDS.  Death.  Divorce.  Lawsuits.  Murder trials.  Daytime, night-time drama – behind and in front of the camera. Shadows of things to come; dark, but clearly defined.

TV stars return to the big screen.  Convolution.  Suffocation.  Cancellation.  Restoration.  Thrice.  Almost four times.  Nostalgic television actors replaced with unfamiliar faces (except maybe one).  Reality mixes with fantasy in the past, present, future and parallel time, immortal.

This sums up the experience of Dark Shadows – one of TV’s most unique and enduring series – one which debuts on ABC, June 27, 1966 and continues to enjoy a kind of cult following once thought solely exclusive to the likes of Star Trek.  (Or should that read, “occult” following?)  It ends its original run on April 2, 1971 and – more than forty years later – thrives in syndication on the new Decades classic TV channel, a few years after contemporary film star Johnny Depp failed to bring its leading character back to life…this time, for the big screen.

Decades before Decades and Depp, however, the original series introduces scary new American sex symbols, and canonizes nontraditional saints in the church of classic TV.  Dark Shadows becomes the first alternative daytime serial, focusing on the lives of a bizarre troupe, instead of relatively regular ones (ages before NBC lets loose it’s a supernatural persuasion with the daytime soap, Passions, airing from 1999 to 2007).

Its audience is rare among soaps – legions of counterculture teens replace their stereos with TVs.  It becomes the first non-prime-time soap to be syndicated (eons before the onset of the all-soap channels).  It premieres in the mid 1960’s – in a time littered with assassinations, illicit drug use, a sexual revaluation and a misbegotten war; lost souls pine to find themselves in another realm – an era rife with interest in sorcery and the occult.  On prime time TV there be witches, genies and monster families.  On daytime, a little bit of the same – but not as upbeat.

During the day – when the undead are supposed to be asleep – a vampire rises consistently at 3:30 (and later 4) in the afternoon.  His name is biblical, but he’s far from holy (at least in the conservative sense).  The character is immortal, but the actor is middle-aged.  He becomes a pop phenomenon that few people admit to watching, but one of whom all hold dear as their secret love.

Then, the bat is out on the cad.  He winds up on the cover of upscale magazines like Time and Newsweek.  Before the term blockbuster becomes part of the movie-going vernacular, Dark Shadows, or “DS,” as it is known in some spectre sectors, spawns a feature film for which hordes line up to see.  A less-than spectacular sequel is produced, while the TV series moves forward then finally succumbs to a stake in the hardcore of its appeal.

Still, the show does not die.  An updated prime-time addition arises in the early 1990’s.  Lunch boxes, books, memorabilia and countless followers refuse to gather cobwebs, and instead gather for bi-annual Dark Shadows Festivals…and not Conventions.  For indeed there is a clear amount of joy associated with this darkly-premised TV classic, as its fans reach beyond obligation in their dedication to their favorite show, and rest upon it with true, perpetual celebration.


It’s 1966.  DS begins as a soft-focus Gothic soap, with slightly mysterious aura and a few minor ghost tales – a vision that haunts producer Dan Curtis in a dream – an idea that ABC buys into with eager immediacy.  But it soon becomes a nightmare for the network.  No one watches.  It gets pelted in the ratings. Despite the presence of a famed former movie queen in the guise of Joan Bennett and the talented presence of stage-trained actors like Dennis Patrick, the Shadows begins to fade, to hit a brick wall, of sorts, before it even has a chance to rest upon one.

1967:  Curtis entertains a second vision.  He decides to go full-throttle with the “spook stuff,” and creates a tortured bloodsucker named Barnabas Collins, portrayed with earnest torture by Jonathan Frid.  Curtis breaks all the soap rules by instructing his writers to inject something scary into every script, every day. If the vampire-thing doesn’t work, Curtis decides, “…we could always drive a stake into its heart.”

But there’s no need to take such drastic measures.  The stakes, so to speak, are too high.  The viewers love Barnabas, as he falls first for the kindly Collinwood governess Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke) and then Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott), the amiable waitress at the Blue Whale.  Audiences reach 15 million, 90% of which are teens – in other words 13,5000,000.  Originally intended for a mere two or three week visit, Barnabas instantly becomes a permanent resident of Collinsport, or specifically – Collinwood – the centuries-old mansion with eerie ancestral family ties to the past, namely Barnabas himself.

That’s right. He’s lived before – in the “old house,” on the Collinwood grounds.  The new house holds the descendants of today’s Collinwood family.  But Barnabas is the one constant in all time periods…be it the 18th, the 19th or 20th Centuries, all of which are visited “at one time or another” on DS (circa 1795, 1897, 1966, 1969-71).

“Through the years,” however, the 45-year-old Frid waxes apprehensive at portraying the frightful lug, the 200-year-old creature of the night that seduces America by day – with biting commentary.

No wonder the actor is nervous at first, about joining the cast.  He senses something brewing. A hint of things to come, although he doesn’t know just what. He can’t put his finger on it. Meanwhile, he can’t put his fangs on right.  Frid is so manic with anxiety during his first “necking” scene; he slips his fangs on upside down, and chews them to bits. Little matter.  For the viewer, it’s love at first bite.  They adore him, and the show – taped live every day – despite its awkward camera movements, off-stage wranglings, and flies resting upon many an actor’s nose.  That’s part of its charm.

Frid tries to make sense of it all – this happy dilemma he finds himself in. “I suppose women see Barnabas as a romantic figure,” he says years later. “Because I played him as a lonely, tormented man rather than a Bela Lugosi villain. I bite girls in the neck, but only when my uncontrollable need for blood drove me to it. And I always felt remorseful later. As to his appeal with the younger crowd, he says, “Youngsters…are looking for a new morality. And he is Barnabas. He goes around telling people to be good, then suddenly sets out and bites somebody’s neck.  He hates what he is and he’s in terrible agony.

Just like kids today, he’s confused – lost and screwed up and searching for something.  I’m a lovable and pitiable vampire.  All the girls want to mother me.”


The show produces its most controversial storyline. It deals with the witch Angelique (played by hypnotic beauty Lara Parker) – who originally put the curse of the vampire on Barnabas – her fellow partner in evil, warlock Nicholas Blair (Humbert Allen Astredo), and the big man downstairs, Satan, to whom both of them report.  A cameo by the Devil himself provokes negative mail from viewers. Various interest groups and individual viewers are now convinced that DS is dangerous to the minds of children.  Letter-writing campaigns are initiated, complaints from fundamentalist ministers pour in, saying the show is “leading innocent children down the rosy road to Hell.”  Even noted psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers states that the series is “indoctrinating our young people into dissociation.”

Parents are apprehensive as their kids identify with Barnabas, a character who “bricks people” in between walls. Some church groups are especially offended when the person being sealed up is none-other-than an evil minister, the tenacious Reverend Trask (Jerry Lacy, future spouse to Julia Duffy, of Newhart). The DS writers opt to back off, labeling Satan, Diabolos…not “the” devil…but merely “a” devil.

In the meantime, the cast is dealing with demons of their own. Some actors are downright frightened, not by the show, but rather the fans.  Strange presents arrive in the mail.  A gift-wrapped box of live ants labeled, “Appetizer.”  A box of cookies to actress Donna Wandrey (Roxanne Drew) – cutout in the shape of tombstones and painstakingly iced with all the actors names.

While the debate rages on as to where the real evil abides, Dan Curtis begins clandestine negotiations with the suits at MGM. The show needs some new blood, in this case – a new monster, one with the hypnotic appeal of Barnabas.  The werewolf Chris Jennings has become been popular, but DS craves someone more charismatic. The result is Quentin, a ghost (played by David Selby, later of the CBS prime-time soap Falcon Crest).

In the interim, a few actors grow impatient with their fading screen time, and scant character development. Joel Crothers (Joe Haskell) is so unhappy, he exits for another soap (Somerset).  Alexandra Moltke – three years into her five-year contract of playing a once central character in the form of governess Victoria Winters – now complains about her diminishing role in the series. “Victoria is so dumb,” she protests. “All I do is stand around saying, I don’t understand what’s happening. Jonathan (as Barnabas) has hypnotized me into eloping with him, tried to cut off my boyfriend’s head to stick on that goofy monster they made (Adam), even sent me hundreds of years into the past during a séance.  And I still haven’t figured out that he may not be quite normal.”

Never really satisfied with the limitations of her role, Moltke frequently requests to be given another character, a villainess, or at least someone with a dark side. The opportunity never arises.  So she marries in real life a young lawyer named Philip Isles – a very Collins-like heir whose late grandfather founded the famous Lehman Brothers. Now she’s expecting. A pregnant Victoria Winters doesn’t do. She’s released from her contract.  Betsy Durkin plays Vicky for a few weeks; Carolyn Groves for a few days.  But it’s not the same.  They’re never really accepted by the audience.  The character of Vicky is never seen again.

But the audience can see through Selby’s spectred Quentin.  The handsome DS addition is a feast for the eyes.  He first appears as a ghost in present-day 1969, and Quentin’s Theme – heard every time he materializes, becomes a Top 40 hit.  The show once again journeys to another period from the past.  This time: 1897 – when Quentin is very much alive. He’s the womanizer of this era Collins family – and again, the viewers eat ‘em up, especially the female watchers.  The Partridge Family has David Cassidy. Dark Shadows has David Selby.  They both appear side-by-side on Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine.  What’s more, Selby’s Quentin becomes just as popular as Frid’s Barnabas – and Jonathan couldn’t be more relieved.

MORE TO COME (including “The Mayhem of the Macabre”) later this week!

In addition to his work as an author, and TV producer, Herbie J Pilato is the Founder and Executive Director of The Classic TV Preservation Society, a formal 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between popular culture and education.  For more information, log on to www.ClassicTVPS.blogspot.com.


Five Reasons Why DANGER 5 is the Best Show on Netflix

We admit it – none of the TVWriter™ minions has seen DANGER 5 yet. But after seeing the review below, we’re on it. The ’60s! Superspies! Hitler! Is DANGER 5 really a kind of live action ARCHER? Let’s all find out together:

danger50by Sara Zaidi

Danger 5 is one of those rare gems on Netflix that will have you obsessed and wondering where this show has been your whole life. Seriously. Imagine if Quentin Tarantino directed a live action combination of Archer and Team America: World Police that’s set in the 60’s. Danger 5 follows a group of five super spies who are tasked with preventing Hitler from taking over the world. So why haven’t you heard of Danger 5 before?

It’s an Australian produced show that Americans haven’t been able to (legally) enjoy until last month when it was added to Netflix. Still unsure about Danger 5’s mix of silly satirical humor, absurd violence, and intentionally cheesy production values? What if I told you that Nazi dinosaurs are just part of what makes Danger 5 so great? Well here are five reasons why the first season will make Danger 5 your favorite show on Netflix:


1. Hitler’s Henchmen

Danger 5 not only embraces absurdity; it runs with it, too! Our intrepid spies that feature such hilarious characters like Jackson, the super manly American who constantly butchers pronunciations, battle against Hitler’s rather unique forces every episode. See, Hitler (with help from historical figures like Stalin and Mussolini) apparently takes inspiration from the best 60’s sci-fi as the heroes in Danger 5 must go up against everything from Nazi dinosaurs to mutants and, yes, even robots.

As if fighting such wonderfully ridiculous henchmen wasn’t good enough, the brilliant minds behind Danger 5 take it up a notch by bringing the Nazi creatures to life with (laughably) bad animation, costumes, and blatantly obvious use miniature models.

Read it all at Geek Snack