This entry will be for my friends, like Erica Scott, who share my passion for "Dark Shadows," the good-n-spooky show that ABC began running in the afternoons the summer I was ten. Schedules at various schools made me miss a lot of episodes during its run in those pre-VCR days, but I was there every time I was able, and was a huge fan of Johnathan Frid, AKA Barnabas Collins.
I even tried to do a "Frid-esque" vampire one Halloween, spikey bangs and all. My fangs were fashioned from pottery clay, and the sticky stuff I used to try to glue them over my real canines kept coming loose.
They put out a record album of the "Dark Shadows" background music, the wonderful stuff by Robert Cobert, and my best friend in junior high, Bill and I employed it in innumerable tape recorder skits, dramatic and comedic and juvenile. But then, we were juveniles. The years took their toll, and the vinyl was gone, but then it was reissued on CD, along with two bonus tracks of radio interviews with the cast done at the height of "Dark Shadows" popularity. I have that now, and, in fact, was just playing it in the car the other day! (You can get a copy, too, like Erica did after I told her about it, HERE!)
Some years back, the SciFi Channel (which has since altered its name, I think) ran all the episodes of "Dark Shadows" from beginning to end, in chronological order, two per day, so I caught up on the ones I missed. During the run of the show, about five years, there were some goofy gaffes, to be sure, because they were doing a very complicated show very quickly and without enough dough, and once in a while the scripts meandered in a lost sort of way, but mainly they had remarkably involving stories with a wonderful cast and some particularly chilling, scary moments that hold up even in my jaded age.
Mr. Frid passed last week, Friday the 13th, at the age of 87. The Los Angeles Times has a very nice article, which includes a link to co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott's tribute, HERE.
(That's a recent "Dark Shadows" cast reunion picture.)
I would have loved to have been able to hear the readings from Poe and Shakespeare that Johnathan Frid performed in the last decade or two, or to have seen his performance as Johnathan Brewster in "Arsenic and Old Lace."
Friends, by definition, share a passionate interest in something, but don't have to agree about all its aspects. Erica won't agree with me about the worth of the new Tim Burton movie out next month (she feels it does a disservice to the original, to put it mildly) but I plan to see it, and will especially be watching for the party-scene cameos by the original cast, and Mr. Frid in particular.
I suppose more people are rocked by the loss of Dick Clark yesterday, but there are already some splendid tributes up for him, including Erica's. I saw "American Bandstand" frequently on Saturdays, and the "Bloopers" shows and more, but my connection there was different. I never tried to be Dick Clark on Halloween.
(Addition Saturday, April 21: Co-star David Selby-- AKA Quentin Collins-- has shared a beautiful note to his friend HERE..)