Post by Graveyardbride on Apr 13, 2020 22:06:54 GMT -5
Creating Collinwood 1966
NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 1966 – Sy Tomashoff’s house is dark and brooding. Pale light filters through the stained glass windows casting eerie shadows on the foyer balcony. At the foot of the stairs, a huge baroque grandfather clock guards the entrance to the drawing room, where family portraits are fitfully lit by flames from the massive fireplace. Somber velvet flutters funerally, moved by sudden gusts from the latticed windows.
This is a house filled with spooks and mystery, and Sy Tomashoff has designed it exclusively for TV’s Dark Shadows, the daytime suspense drama that is seen weekdays (4-4:30 p.m.)
Tomashoff’s interior sets for Collinwood, the huge stone mansion where ghosts walk and evil lurks behind the balustrades, are probably the most detailed scenic works in daytime television. Months before the show went on the air, be was exploring antique shops, art galleries and even junkyards to create his 19th century manse. “The prototype for Collinwood is a great, Gothic-styled estate in Newport, Rhode Island,” said Tomashoff. “The object was to carry over that kind of mood and architecture in our studio sets. especially in the permanent ones of the foyer and drawing room.”
Each of these two rooms are 18 feet high and because they are built three-dimensionally, they create a massive look in a very limited space. Light and shadow play on the mantlepiece, the candelabra and the face of Joan Bennett, who stars as the mistress of this macabre house, set in a tiny fishing village in Maine.
“According to the story line, the house was built in the 19th century, so we had to find and create material typical of the era,” explained Tomashoff. “In addition to the paintings, which are authentically of the period, we made stained glass windows by painting transparent color on plastic. Balustrades and newel posts were built and walls were antiqued and glazed to lend a stony effect. Much of the wallpaper was imported from England.”
Sy Tomashoff is a small, jovial-looking man who might never be suspected of creating a set in which a ghost of a drowned man appears draped in seaweed. Nor would one expect to find him rummaging through a junkyard, rounding up eight identical sets of door knobs.
Source: The Collinsport Historical Society, July 31, 2019.