Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Credit's Due

I love the Dark Shadows closing credits. At the end of each episode, the closing music would wheeze into life over a static shot of one of the studio sets, complete with reassuringly abstract shout-outs for "Miss Scott's Clothes by Junior Sophisticates", "Fashions by Ohrbachs" and "Bat by Bill Baird". Some of these tableaus are striking, some are humdrum, and very once in a while, comes a credits backdrop that stands out from the crowd, be it arty, surreal... or just a bit dodgy. Here's a countdown of five of my favourites:

5. Episode 903: One of the highlights of the Leviathan storyline is a particularly bizarre dream sequence from genius writer Violet Welles, which sees Elizabeth terrorized by fairground impresario David Collins and a pair of freaky robotic mannequins. Doubtless the Dark Shadows props buyer experienced no small measure of satisfaction when the mechanic marvels were given pride of place at the end of the show, cheerily waving goodbye to the viewers.

4. Episode 991: The Seventies had made it to Collinwood, and soon no dream sequence was complete without a spangly backdrop courtesy of the resident Dark Shadows disco ball, resulting in this closing credits trip into the subconscious. All that's missing is a funk remix of the theme tune.

3. Episode 1062: Barnabas and Julia have journeyed through a mysterious space-band-time-warp-disturbance (delete as applicable) to the faraway year of 1995, where Collinwood lies in ruins. Alas, this vision of the future proved to be a disappointingly conservative one, clothed exclusively in plaid shirts and nylon fibres. So, rejoice then, in the futuristic wonder of Victor Flagler's spacey table lamp, flashing in distress as the credits play us out.

2. Episode 928: Another corker from the Leviathan sequence sees one-shot supporting artiste Mrs. Hutchins' Budgie step into the limelight. Cue mild seasickness from the viewing nation, as the bird sits rocking on its perch looking distinctly nonplussed.

And finally...

1. Episode 703: Clocking-off time at West 53rd Street, and first out of the door is man-about-town Jonathan Frid, sashaying into frame with some smart casuals folded over his arm. A bonus point too for the balletic 'oops' moment, as he realises his mistake and quickly tries to veer out of frame. Stunning.


andrew higgins said...

Credits - I've been watching the early pre-Barnabas episodes and I love the voice over in the credits about he next show - "Where the Wild Things are premiered a Year Ago -come along and see some of your top recording artists..." very lively and then the same voice says in a lower voice - "Dark Shadows is a Dan Curtis Production" - Last night (the episode where Vicki realizes David tied to kill Roger) we got a voice promo for F-Troop!!!

Thanks A

Joseph Lidster said...

I loved that budgie. Bring it back on audio please.

David Alex Nahmod said...

Then there's the episode~~I can't recall where it is in the show's history~~where Maggie Evans is credited as being played by Katherine Lee Scott.

DS boo boos are a big part of what makes the show fun!

DS Rubber Bat said...

I enjoyed the closing credits that showed Joesette's bedroom and on the other side of her 2nd story window one can see a stage hand walk by the window during the credits. I LOVE the vision that their studio was so small and cramped that it caused so much chaos and excitement. Since each show was like an opening night for a stage play one can imagine all the hussle n bussle. ALSO, they would set up temp. dressingrooms for the actors behind the sets and Mr. Frid had a temp. dressingromm under the staircase in Mrs. Johnson's kitchen? that week when he came out during the credits with his clothes in hand. He siad it was too small for him and left.
That's the charm of early TV and "Live tappings"

ruby red said...

I recall #4 (love all the Sparklings) & #2 (Mr. Frid/Barnabas looks quite intrique gentalman...'just don't key him off..'smile) quite alot in the ending Credits to DARK SHADOWS: I grow up & was born in San Francisco, Ca/the West Coast. And the SF weather was often times foggy/raining which brought about a real "surreal" atmosphere when my Dark Shadows came on: it's mysterious & chills set the atmosphere just right. Very nice!

Dave VT said...

Perhaps there should be a readers Top Ten Bloopers list here!

Brigham said...

Hilarious! And congrats for the recognition that a lot of us faithfully watched the credits roll by, most often correctly, sometime warpy.

As for me, I'm a huge fan of the Dan Curtis Productions logo, where each first letter (in a script font) got its own little box arranged diagonally.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching a bootleg of the very first episode which also had commercial breaks, apparently taped at some DS Festival.

"Dark Shadows -- brought to you by Raid!" intoned the announcer... ;-D