SEARCH: 50th Anniversary of Dark Shadows

In the Spring Issue of SEARCH Magazine,
we have an article about the 50th Anniversary of Dark Shadows
by Kristin Battestella.

darkshadowsFifty years ago this summer, on June 27, 1966, Dan Curtis’ supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows premiered on ABC without the ghosts, vampires, witches, and werewolves for which the 1966-71 series later became so well known. Although short-lived compared to other decades-long soaps like Guiding Light and Days of our Lives, Dark Shadows began as a black and white gothic moody mystery inspired by a dream Curtis had and quickly grew into a paranormal pop culture phenomenon years before today’s modern horror and merchandising obsessions made haunts hip. Governess new to a creepy mansion? Check. Namesake family with murderous secrets? Check. Vampire ancestors? Ghostly phone lines? Crazy wives locked in the tower? Check, check, check.

In the middle of the turbulent sixties, moms watched the doomed romance of vampire Barnabas—cursed by the scorned witch Angelique—as he continually pined for his lost love Josette, who was reincarnated, traveled through time, or made ghostly appearances as needed. Teens rushed home from school to catch the unique same day taped production, caring not when the trick candles didn’t work, the Styrofoam tombstones wobbled, or if stars Joan Bennett and Jonathan Frid flubbed their convoluted melodrama meets macabre lines. These fly by night special effects and live mistakes didn’t detract from the loosely based literary plots—Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Rebecca, and Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde themes peppered Dark Shadows’ scenes—but instead brought in family viewings and big ratings. Those seemingly scary incantations and ominous wolf howls don’t seem so bad when the set walls were falling over. Gothic romances and period horror are new again on screens large and small thanks to Showtime’s Penny Dreadful and Crimson Peak…” to read full article, check out the free eCopy here.

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