More than 40 years before True Blood and Twilight made angst-ridden vampires the hot new thing, there was a wicked little afternoon soap called Dark Shadows. At its center was Barnabas Collins, a brooding bloodsucker played with equal parts torment and relish by Jonathan Frid, and if you were an offbeat kid in the late 1960s there's a good chance you raced home from school to watch it. Tim Burton, the acclaimed director, was one of those eager young fans. And now he's put his own spin on things. His movie version of Dark Shadows opens May 11 with a starry cast headed by Johnny Depp — yet another boyhood buff of the soap — as the reluctant, guilt-ridden and immortally sexy Barnabas.
This week in TV was as notable for the legends who left us as for what actually happened on TV in the last full week before the May sweeps begin (next Thursday). So let's start there, acknowledging two figures who loomed large in my formative years of being weaned on TV.
It's impossible to imagine TV without Dick Clark, the genial host and canny impresario...
Jonathan Frid, best known for playing vampire Barnabas Collins on ABC's Dark Shadows, has died. He was 87.
Lara Parker, Dark Shadows
Producer-director Dan Curtis passed away on Monday from brain cancer. He was 78. Although he helmed such acclaimed miniseries as The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Curtis was most beloved for dreaming up Dark Shadows, the cult supernatural sudser that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971.
In a daytime first, DS told soapy tales of vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yeah, this show was famous for its funny gaffes — the harried actors often flubbed their lines on live TV — but fans adored it for its originality, warts and all. My fave Collinwood stories involved Angelique (Lara Parker), the jilted witch who condemned Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) to dwell in misery as a broody vampire.
"When I heard of Dan Curtis'