Saturday, January 7, 2012

Notes From a Producer

Reader Joe Escobar has kindly shared some rare Dark Shadows production documents from 1968. These original script pages, featuring handwritten notes by the show's line producer Robert Costello, offer some fascinating insights into the day-to-day running of the show. Click on the images for a larger view.

Episode 578 (recorded on August 30 1968): Nancy Barrett missed the taping of this instalment due to illness, so for one day only Carolyn was played by Diana Walker. The script notes the replacement's contact details and a drafted additional opening voice over explaining the change for viewers.

Episode 584 (recorded on September 12 1968): A trying day for the Dark Shadows production team is recorded for posterity. This episode featured a flashback to an episode from 1967 which needed to be re-staged, as the show had since moved to colour broadcasts. A morning pre-taping session was rendered useless by cross-talk (interference picked up on the soundtrack), resulting in "much time lost". As a drastic solution, the episode's dress rehearsal ended up becoming the performance taped for broadcast.

Episode 632 (recorded on November 15 1968): The casting of Molly Jennings (the original name for Chris' little sister Amy) seems to have threatened to cause headaches for the production team. Costello's notes suggest deferring the taping of her debut scene in this episode until the morning of November 25 (the day before broadcast). In the event, the instalment was recorded with Amy present and correct, played by Denise Nickerson. The cast list notes that the character of the Nurse was originally earmarked for Natalie Norwich, a regular stand-in on the show. Bobbi Ann Woronko took over the role, having won the guest spot as part of a Miss Polish America promotion.

Episode 635 (recorded on November 21 1968): Scheduled director Sean Dhu Sullivan was replaced by Lela Swift, and the cast list notes that Victoria Winters will now be played by Betsy Durkin, as pregnant actress Alexandra Moltke had left the show earlier than originally anticipated.

Episode 641 (recorded on December 2 1968): Costello notes that Roger Shope replaces the assigned director, Lela Swift, and records planned script amendments.


Tom said...

VERY interesting. Thanks for posting this. Would love to see more, if available.

And by the way, I started following this website when the movie began production, and I really appreciate the work you put into it. Excellent job!

Dale said...

Thank you and Joe Escobar for sharing these production documents. They are extremely interesting to see. When Betsy Durkin first appeared on the program, I can well remember the announcement which could be heard over the opening title as voiced by Humbert Allen Astredo; "The part of Victoria Winters will be played by Miss. Betsy Durkin."

codeman said...

Thank you! I love looking at these kinds of things. Definitely want more and I will say that I concur that you do an awesome job with the site.

Nick Caputo said...

Fascinating documents that gives one a sense of the immediacy of the shows production. I would love to see more and would certainly buy a book that had these motes and behind the scenes anecdotes about the production of the show on a day to day basis.

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