As it's Oscars night, here are some rare photographs of Dark Shadows' very own link to old Hollywood, actress Joan Bennett. These images were taken for Life magazine in 1940 during her filmmaking heyday, picturing the future mistress of Collinwood at home fielding calls, catching up with correspondence and signing autographs while taking lunch. Coincidentally, today would have been Joan's 101st birthday.
When I first saw Dark Shadows, I wrongly dismissed Joan as an awkward actress struggling to keep up with pace of live television. But on recent viewings, I've really come to appreciate the genuine air of class that she brought to the show. She never seemed to relax enough during tapings to overcome her anxious, slightly halting delivery, but her natural bearing and elegance always shone through. Nothing about Joan Bennett was mundane or everyday, and as the show's first headline performer, that quality set the tone for Dark Shadows from the very beginning.