My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning, a journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me, and link my past with my future, a journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea high above widow’s hill, a house called Collinwood, a world I’ve never known, with people I’ve never met, people who tonight are still only shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of my tomorrows.
Long before American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries. Dark Shadows, a gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971 and has become one of the Top 25 Cult TV series in history.
The series which had a rocky start and was facing cancellation but became hugely popular when vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) appeared ten months into its run. Dark Shadows also featured ghosts, werewolves, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel, and a parallel universe. A small company of actors each played many roles; as actors came and went, some characters were played by more than one actor.
Dark Shadows was distinguished by its vividly melodramatic performances, atmospheric interiors, memorable storylines, numerous dramatic plot twists, unusually adventurous music score, and broad and epic cosmos of characters and heroic adventures.
Although the original series ran for only five years, its scheduling as a daily daytime drama allowed it to amass more single episodes during its run (1,225) than most other science-fiction/fantasy genre series including Doctor Who and the entire Star Trek television franchise.
Dark Shadows has the distinction of being one of the few classic television soap operas to have all of its episodes survive intact except one, although a handful of early episodes are available only in 16 mm kinescope format. Dark Shadows was filmed LIVE daily.
For a blast to the past all episodes are currently available on Hulu and many on YouTube.
- Veteran actress Joan Bennett and Louis Edmonds are the only actors to appear in both the first and the last episodes of the series.
- For more than a year and a half the characters of “Dark Shadows” used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins (“He’s not alive!” “He’s one of the undead.” “He walks at night but he ain’t alive.”) It wasn’t until the 410th episode that the word “vampire” was actually used on the show.
- Bert Convy was considered for the role of Barnabas Collins. (Oy!)
- Charlie’s Angel Jaclyn Smith, was offered the role of Victoria Winters when Alexandra Isles exited the show, but she declined. Kate Jackson would later join the cast in a separate role.
- The series was ABC’s first soap opera to appear in color, beginning with the August 14, 1967 telecast. Many shows which transitioned to color endured radical set overhauls, but following some screen testing the crew discovered they didn’t have to change a thing.
- At least 11 Dark Shadows Actors were gay. Including: Jonathan Frid, Humbert Allen Astredo, Don Briscoe, Christopher Bernau, Joel Crothers, Louis Edmonds, Anthony George, Gene Lindsey, Keith Prentice, Craig Slocum, and Brian Sturdivant