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.
The show, the subject of new documentary Master of Dark Shadows (more on that later), and which began airing reruns on the Decades TV network last October, found its own unique place in television history and had fans running home from school to catch each episode. Says Decadeds, “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.