Friday, September 07, 2007

Under The Cover of Dark Shadows

In the 1960's, my sister and I came home every day after school and watched Dark Shadows. We were addicted. The production was hilariously bad, but that was part of the fun. Everybody flubbed their lines. The crew was constantly coughing, talking or laughing in the background. Nobody had a prayer when it came to acting.

Except for Barnabas. He kicked ass. He may have flubbed his lines from time to time, but he was a true thespian, a first class-actor. It was Barnabas, in addition to the eeriness of the ongoing story, who kept us coming back for more. Amazingly, this vampire soap opera lasted 5 years before it was canceled.

I remember so many gaffes, like the forest of cardboard trees that were knocked over and bounced right back as Barnabas chased some victim under the moonlight. The moon played a huge role in the production, as it supplied a necessary cutaway while Barnabas shoved his fangs into place. Many times he was still pushing them in when the camera cut back to him. Umph…umph…ah…there we are. Ready for the evening meal.

I started to think about Dark Shadows recently and decided to take a trip down memory lane and see if there was some video available on YouTube. I wasn’t disappointed. There were more than enough episodes to watch. But then I had a few surprises. First of all, at the age of ten, I don’t think I caught the homoerotic nature of the episode where Barnabas and Burke have a tête-à-tête in a Collinswood (gay) bar, with way too much conversation about thrusting and parrying. All of this was accomplished with Dating Game-style music playing in the background. Have a look:

Dark Shadows 1967 - Barnabas

My sister and I were in love with Barnabas. He was without a doubt the sexiest vampire on TV. Those piercing, dark eyes outlined in charcoal, his head tilted, eyes fixed on his victim. A forelock of hair perfectly arranged in exactly four points across his forehead. That British accent. The cape, the ring, the cane. That air of old money and the ever-threatening danger or titillating possibility of having him suck the life out of us. My sister and I longed to be Victoria Winters. Sigh. But today I found something that forever destroyed my 40-year-long fantasy… Regardez vous ici. Holy Crap! Old “Barny Boo” (I swear that's how he referred to himself!) is Gay! And in case you've forgotten, here's the theme song.


E said...

I love me some Dark Shadows, though it has been a long time since I've actually watched any. The VHS and DVD collections for that show are insane, as there are roughly 10x3534534^3435 episodes available.

Lisa Wines said...

squared and pi and all that too.

Bonez said...

I was never allowed to watch Dark Shadows. I recall my mother thought it was one of the signs of the end times that we would have a vampire soap opera and a obvious ploy of the devil. I guess it tainted the reputations of her favorite addiction, "As the World Turns".

Lisa Wines said...

I remember As The World Turns! Basically, over the years, everybody had affairs with everybody else's spouse and most babies born had different parents than those who appeared on the birth certificate. This was not evil, however. :-)

Invisible Woman said...

Love the post and the comments...Barnabas was the answer...I heard that Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves wanted to play him in a big screen version. It won't be the same, however, if they make it for more than $200, haha

Lisa Wines said...

haha! Just think how much a real forest would cost! Now, I could do with a Johnny Depp Barnabus. That would help me recover from the disappointment of the real one.