Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 27, 2013
Dark Shadows cast

Dark Shadows cast

June 27, 1966: Dark Shadows premieres on ABC. The show was created by Dan Curtis and based on an episode called “The House” written by Art Wallace and aired on Goodyear Playhouse in 1957. The original story “bible” had no supernatural elements. The action took place at the Collinswood Mansion, a 40 room house that was built in 1795 by Joshua Collins and trouble brewed within its walls.

Victoria Winters arrived at Collinswood as governess to David Collins. Vicki, an inquisitive young woman, sought out the strange family history. The set was eventually occupied by vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, monsters, witches, and warlocks. Creatures not only traveled through time to both the past and future, but also to a parallel universe. The whole show was portrayed against the eerie background music provided by Robert Colbert.

The soap opera ran until April 2, 1971. In that time, over 200 cast members had appeared in 1,245 30-minute episodes. Due to pre-empted holiday dates, news interruptions, and other vagaries of daytime TV “only” 1,225 shows were aired. One of the reasons for the unparalleled success was an airtime coup. The groundbreaking series ran at 4 PM Eastern / 3 PM Central – a time slot that permitted teenagers just home from school to turn in while adults were busy with household tasks, like making dinner.

The show has gained a cult following and remains in syndication even 30 years after it was cancelled. It was sold on VHS tape and is now available in DVD sets, one of only two soaps to reach this milestone (the other is the Australian Prisoner). There have been unsuccessful attempts to revive the series as well as movies based on Collinswood and its occupants. There is talk of making a new movie and Johnny Depp may get to fulfill a childhood dream and become one of his heroes, Barnabas Collins, the vampire.

“My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning. A journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me and link my past with my future. A journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea high atop Widows’ Hill – a house called Collinwood. A world I’ve never known, with people I’ve never met. People who tonight are still only shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of my tomorrows.” – Dark Shadows opening

“For most men, time moves slowly, oh so slowly, they don’t even realize it. But time has revealed itself to me in a very special way. Time is a rushing, howling wind that rages past me, withering me in a single, relentless blast, and then continues on. I’ve been sitting here passively, submissive to its rage, watching its work. Listen! Time, howling, withering!” – Barnabas Collins

“Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn’t have it any other way!” – Quentin Collins

“I wonder why Willie went in the secret room? Maybe there’s something in there he doesn’t want anyone to see-maybe something… horrible!” – David Collins

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Dan Curtis, nee Daniel Mayer Cherkoss, was born in Connecticut in 1927. While he is famous for this soap opera, he has other credits to his name. His film, The Night Stalker, was the most watched TV movie for many years and it inspired other series as well. He usually used the macabre genre for his many films, but it 1978, he wrote and produced When Every Day Was the Fourth of July, a semi-autobiographical work about growing up in Connecticut. His miniseries The Winds of War was nominated for several Emmy Awards. He directed War and Remembrance, a miniseries to follow The Winds of War. It was split into two series since it was 30 hours in length. It received 15 Emmy nominations and won for best miniseries, special effects, and single camera production editing. Also nominated were best actor (John Gielgud), best actress (Jane Seymour), and best supporting actress (Polly Bergen).

Also on this day: The Oscar of the Children’s Library – In 1922, the Newbery Medal was first awarded.
ATM – In 1867. the world’s first ATM was installed.
Helen Keller –  In 1880, Helen was born.

One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on June 27, 2013 at 10:27 am

    The first season or two of Dark Shadows did not have any so-called supernatural events in the traditional AMERICAN way of thinking. In the credits of the “The House” the location was stated as being in England which matched the story of supernatural beings in that mansion but not to Americans. Gradually “Dark Shadows” added on characters and story lines that Americans could recognize as supernatural. So many supernatural characters and storylines that normal people were not there anymore, so I got bored when all the characters were about the same without any good against evil in the stories-even all the fangs looked the same(and no normal people for the vampires to suck out their blood!).. Dark Shadows went back to the stories of the England location in its last year but that was too late after years of losing money(one of the actors said that Dark Shadows should receive an Emmy for wasting the most money).

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