There is probably no more unique a show in television history than the original Dark Shadows TV series, as revealed in a series of exclusive interviews with cast and crew that you’ll find below. A Gothic horror soap opera that ran weekdays on ABC from 1966-71, Dark Shadows turned reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) into a cult sensation, resulting in a phenomenon you couldn’t imagine if you weren’t there when it first happened. Think of Beatlemania or Batmania (as in the Adam West Batman TV series), and you may have a sense of how crazy it was.
Now the TV Network Decades is ready to bring back reruns of Dark Shadows, describing this particular event this way: “Relive the first gothic soap opera television series Dark Shadows when vampire Barnabas Collins arrives on Decades TV Network every weeknight at 12 a.m. ET beginning Monday, Oct. 29. Decades will start airing 260 episodes of the drama featuring the guilt-ridden, 175-year-old vampire, including the episode when he made his first appearance on the noir classic, which originally aired on April 18, 1967.”
The show found its own unique place in TV immortality and had fans running home from school to catch each episode. With its alluring tales of gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue, Dark Shadows earned the reputation of being one of the most unusual and enduring programs in broadcasting history, turning supernatural creatures into unlikely heroes, among them the witch Angelique (Lara Parker), werewolf Chris Jennings (Don Briscoe), the Devil himself, Nicholas Blair (Humbert Allen Astredo); Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall), Willie Loomis (John Karlen), Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott), ghost/zombie/werewolf Quentin Collins (David Selby), and so many more.
“The creation of legendary producer Dan Curtis,” notes Decades, “Dark Shadows tells the tragic tale of the Collins family, a seemingly well-to-do patriarchal dynasty that ran a dark New England town from their family estate, appropriately called Collinwood. Into this world enters a young nanny, Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke), who soon learns there is a lot more to the Collins family than initially meets the eye. Mysterious relative Barnabas moves into the dilapidated ‘Old House’ next door, and soon the household is beset with classic monsters, including werewolves, witches and ghosts.”
Scroll down below for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the history of Dark Shadows.