For an entire generation, the phrase “I used to run home from school every day to watch it” meant only one thing: the gothic horror soap opera Dark Shadows. Airing on ABC from 1966-71, it began as a gothic romance novel brought to life, but ratings were anemic. Going for broke, producer Dan Curtis decided to add a vampire in the form of Barnabas Collins, as played by Canadian actor Jonathan Frid. Dan’s thinking was that if it didn’t work, he could always stake the character through the heart and move on. Well, it did work and Barnabas was spared the stake.
Fast-forward more than half a century and Dark Shadows is still with us. Most recently, that comes in the form of the new Blu-ray release of Master of Dark Shadows, a feature-length documentary looking at the show, the phenomenon it inspired and Dan’s career; a career that would also include the ABC Movie of the Week The Night Stalker as well as the one-two punch of the miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.
Two of the most notable actresses from Dark Shadows are definitely Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker. Kathryn, who has written a number of non-fiction books about the show, including Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood, played both waitress Maggie Evans and Barnabas’ lost love, Josette Du Pres. Lara, who penned original Dark Shadows novels — among them Heiress of Collinwood — played the witch Angelique who, after being scorned by Barnabas back in 1795, responded by cursing him with vampirism.
In the podcast above and the in-depth interview below, both Kathryn and Lara take us back to the beginning of Dark Shadows, discuss the reasons the phenomenon continues to this day and offer their thoughts on the franchise’s future.
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