'Dark Shadows' Returns to Tarrytown Jun 28, 2014 19:38:12 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on Jun 28, 2014 19:38:12 GMT -5
The Show That Wouldn't Die - Dark Shadows Festival Returns to Tarrytown
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Fans of the enormously popular 1966-1971 daytime series have kept it alive and are gathering for the Dark Shadows Festival at Lyndhurst Saturday, June 28, and the Doubletree Hotel Sunday, June 29.
So how groundbreaking and popular was the Gothic horror series? It was the first daytime series to shoot on location, use special effects and find new life in national and international syndication (including on PBS and Sci-Fi Channel), to be dubbed into Spanish and spawn a 1991 remake series, an unaired 2004 pilot and three theatrical film remakes: House of Dark Shadows (1970), Night of Dark Shadows (1971) and Dark Shadows (2012). It was the first soap opera to employ multiple timelines with actors playing multiple characters, launch a line of merchandise (including board games, comic books, novels and audiodramas), become available on home video (including a coffin-shaped boxed set), newsletters and books about the show and its own festivals. A daytime series with a prime time feel (it was originally pitched as a prime time series) , it featured witches, werewolves, ghosts and it made a star of the late actor Jonathan Frid, whose portrayal of the guilt-ridden vampire antihero Barnabas Collins predated shows such as True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and the Twilight film franchise.
The weekend activities include screenings of House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows (both of which were filmed on location at Lyndhurst), panels, Questions & Answers sessions with cast members, memorabilia, autograph sessions and more.
Actor/authors Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby, Lara Parker and Marie Wallace and actor Sharon Smyth Lentz spoke about their classic show, the impact its had on their lives and of course, the loyal fans.
Actor Kathryn Leigh Scott (who played Maggie Evans and Josette DuPres) is founder of Pomegranate Press and author of novels, books about Dark Shadows and other showbiz subjects. “I attend a lot of writers conferences, I try to mix them up with these other events where we do signings. For both Lara and me, it’s a great way to increase your readership. When we go to the Dark Shadows events, it’s all about Dark Shadows. It’s always interesting. It’s really fun to meet new people. In the beginning I was just thrilled to have a job. I was in the very first episode. Even when I started rehearsing the first few episodes, I think we all knew that we were doing something special. When Jonathan Frid came on the show to play Barnabas, that’s when we knew that we had something extraordinary.” The ebullient Scott has been acting and writing for so long she says “the work that I do as an actor feeds what I do as a writer. I have a facility for dialogue and always set the scene carefully. My love of language and my feel for literature probably has influenced my acting.”
Scott says, “Jonathan Frid (as Barnabus) is the grandaddy of all contemporary vampires and Dark Shadows is, fundamentally, the template for all of the many paranormal and vampire films and TV series of the last couple of decades.”
David Selby now lives in Los Angeles, where he is starring in a revival of Edward Albee’s classic play A Delicate Balance. “Dark Shadows was wonderful because it created its own world,” he says. “I wrote a book called My Shadowed Past which dealt with some of the turmoil of the 60s. Dark Shadows being one avenue of escape from that world. One of the [fans] told me Dark Shadows helped them through some difficult times. During that period, New York City was having great money problems and some unrest within the city itself. For a lot of people Dark Shadows was a haven. Whether actor or audience, that was true.” A secret to the show’s appeal was how “everyone was aware that it was a different kind of show. We had the greatest fans in the world. It became their show. If it wasn’t for the fans, there wouldn’t be this interest there is still today.”
Another interest the cast has is giving back. Scott is active in helping the homeless and raises funds for her brother’s peace foundation. Selby is on the board of LA Theaterworks, which records plays at UCLA, broadcasts them on public radio and donates the recordings to schools across the country. Items auctioned at various festivals have raised funds for a variety of charities.
Lara Parker, who played Angelique Bouchard, also lives in LA and has written DS-inspired novels. Recalling her audition, she says the scene she read “was with Jonathan Frid. The scene was one of rejection. I tried to get tears in my eyes. I clung to him and begged him to please love me. After we did the first take, he whispered in my ear, ‘You know, she’s a witch.’ I did the scene again, turned to the camera and gave it that ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ look. I got the part.”
Parker was thankful to be a working actor but remembers “I was surprised by the fan mail that piled up. I began to get recognized on the street. On the subway platform, the children getting out of school would scream their heads off and run as fast as they could in the other direction. Most of the time people were afraid of me. It was strange but also very amusing because I wasn’t that person. We’d have threatening phone calls at the studio saying ‘If she doesn’t stop torturing Barnabus, I’m gonna kill her!’”
Still Parker likes meeting the fans, saying “the people come to see each other as much as they come to see us. At the “cons,” it’s one person that comes running up and says, ‘My God, I ran home form school to watch you!’”
Marie Wallace recalls when “Jonathan was starting to do his one man shows, I started coming to those shows in New York and then we’d go out afterwards. When he was going to direct the play The Lion In Winter in Georgia, he invited me to play Eleanor of Acquitane, which I did. I was very pleased to have worked with him. It was a wonderful experience.”
Sharon Smyth Lentz, who played the mysterious Sarah Collins, has fond memories of working with Frid as well. She relates, “He was very helpful with me. I was very comfortable with him. When I first went to (an early fan luncheon), he treated me like a long lost cousin. He said, “Oh, Sarah, you’ve come back to me!”
The Dark Shadows Festival, including “A Day In Collinwood” and the Dark Shadows Luncheon is sold out. Fans can go to the Doubletree Hotel, 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, June 29 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. to meet cast members get autographs and purchase memorabilia. Admission is $10, $5 if you mention the Hudson Independent. Admission is payable at the door only. There is also a group tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Sunday, June 29 at 5 p.m. at a cost of $9.99.
Source: Richard Antone, The Hudson Indpendent, June 28, 2014.