Sunday, August 3, 2014

News In Brief

  • We were sad to learn of the recent death of legendary make-up artist Dick Smith, who passed away this week at the age of 92. His Oscar-winning career encompassed pioneering prosthetic make-up for numerous films including The Exorcist, Little Big Man, The Godfather and Amadeus. His pioneering old-age creations were put to good use on Dark Shadows, memorably ageing Jonathan Frid's Barnabas for television and later on the big screen in House of Dark Shadows.
  • Online broadcaster Hulu has recently expanded its library of original Dark Shadows episodes. 240 installments can now be viewed, beginning with the introduction of Barnabas, with more additions planned in the coming months. To watch online, click here.
  •  Jonathan Frid's starring role in Oliver Stone's directorial debut Seizure is set to get a new lease of life with the release of an official restored Blu-Ray in September. The new edition can be pre-ordered on DVD and high-definition Blu-Ray by clicking here.
  • A host of Dark Shadows stars can be seen in the new independent film Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar, which has just been released in video-on-demand format. The retro-styled thriller features Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask), Lara Parker (Angelique), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) and Christopher Pennock (Jeb Hawkes) and can be viewed online by clicking here.
  • And finally, the team behind Dark Shadows-inspired online soap Ragged Isle are raising funds for a new horror project, On a Country Road, which will star Dark Shadows' very own Sharon Smyth-Lentz (Sarah Collins). To read more and donate online, click here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Remembering Jonathan Frid Book Released

The life of Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) is celebrated in a new book from Evil Twin Publishing. Remembering Jonathan Frid is a 200-page paperback that gathers memories and insights from Jonathan's friends, colleagues and fans, illustrated throughout with rare and unseen photographs.

The book includes contributions from Lara Parker (Angelique), Marie Wallace (Eve) and Jonathan's longtime producer and writer Nancy Kersey, along with Dark Shadows News Page editor Stuart Manning. From the publisher:
Jonathan Frid was thought to be something of a mysterious figure: He disliked the celebrity spotlight, he never aspired to stardom and seldom spoke about his private life. What made him tick? What kind of a man was he? From his early days on the stage to his time as vampire Barnabas Collins on the cult television classic Dark Shadows, Remembering Jonathan Frid gathers friends, family and colleagues to share their insights and memories of this complex and talented actor, illustrated throughout with over 130 rare and unseen photographs.
Remembering Jonathan Frid is available in paperback and can be ordered at a discount price by clicking here. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the John H. Frid Foundation, the charity fund Jonathan that established in his name.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Robert Costello: Kathryn Leigh Scott Pays Tribute

Earlier today we reported the death of longtime Dark Shadows producer Robert Costello, who passed away last month, aged 93. Actress Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) has written in to share her memories of a friend and colleague:
"Memories flood back with the sad news of Bob Costello's passing. He was a delightful, accomplished man, and I was so lucky that he was the first producer I ever worked with. He and Lela Swift, our director, were on hand from the very beginning, actually from my first audition for the role of Maggie Evans. I remember that during my final reading for Dan Curtis, Lela and Bob, Alexandra, Louis and I were all waiting together in the reception room. He knew I'd never been on camera before, that Dark Shadows was my first job.  
"During that first two weeks, when we read and rehearsed several episodes before going on camera, Bob was instrumental in helping me develop my role and getting me to relax. He frequently took me aside to give gentle guidance, particularly correcting my Minnesota pronunciation of, such words as 'milk', 'water' and 'hover'. I insisted Minnesotans had no accent, which really made him laugh!  
"He was in charge throughout our run, first at the studio in the morning, the last to leave after our afternoon rehearsal. I remember him as a solid, beloved presence, fun-loving and a joy to be around. My heart goes out to Sybil, who must miss him terribly. I think I'll have an Irish coffee tonight to toast and celebrate the life of this charming, lovely man!"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Robert Costello: 1921-2014

It is with sadness that we learned of the passing of television pioneer Robert Costello, the first producer of Dark Shadows. Robert died of heart attack on May 30 at his Hampton summer home, aged 93. His health has been in decline in recent years.

Costello began his career in illustration and theatre design, before graduating to early live television on The Armstrong Circle Theatre. The show gave early breaks to a number of top-flight talents, including James Dean and Jack Lemmon. After working as producer on The Patty Duke Show, he was offered the chance to set up a new gothic-styled soap at ABC for Dan Curtis Productions, which would eventually reach the airwaves as Dark Shadows.

During his three years on Dark Shadows, Robert Costello's expertise were crucial in establishing the show's unique tone and production methods. He recruited the show's production team, while ushering in innovation through location filming and special effects – concepts practically unheard of in 1960s daytime television. He also served as an important mentor to Dan Curtis, the show's novice creator, as Curtis cut his teeth to become an accomplished producer and director in his own right.

Following Dark Shadows, in 1969 Costello was recruited to oversee copycat supernatural soap Strange Paradise, which taped in Canada. During the 1970s, he produced the acclaimed PBS miniseries The Adams Chronicles, which won him a Peabody award. Latterly, he helmed daytime shows Ryan's Hope (produced at the Dark Shadows studio on West 53rd Street), winning two Emmys, before taking the reins of Another World. When he retired from the industry in the early 1980s, Costello lectured on television production at New York University, and continued to enjoy life in Manhattan with his wife Sybil Weinberger, Dark Shadows' music supervisor.

Speaking in an interview for the Dark Shadows DVD range, Costello remembered his time on the show with affection: "We were not what you'd call a big-budget show because ABC was not a big budget network," he joked. "The thing we had going for us was mood... Most soaps were lit like they'd torn the roof off the house – we were lit like there were practically no windows. We could get away with a lot... you could imagine things off in the gloom. It worked just fine."

Robert is survived by both his wives, along with his children and extended family. To read a full obituary published in the East Hampton Star, click here. Below is a 1998 video interview conducted by Emmy TV Legends, discussing Dark Shadows; the segment about the show begins at 13:20.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dark Shadows Festival Sleepy Hollow Tour Update

As we recently reported, the Dark Shadows Festival will be hosting a tour of the  historic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery on June 29, as part of their weekend of fan events in Tarrytown, New York. Tickets are now available online, priced at just $9.99 per person. To buy a ticket online, click here. Cash payments will also be accepted on the day, but no change will be given.

The tour starts at 5.30pm following the Dark Shadows celebrity luncheon at the nearby Tarrytown DoubleTree Hotel, which ends at 5pm. Fans will need to make their own way by car or taxi to the cemetery, which is located at 540 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591.

The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery tour is a rare opportunity to visit the location after hours, specially arranged by the Dark Shadows Festival. The site featured prominently in the feature film House of Dark Shadows in scenes featuring the Collins family mausoleum and Carolyn's funeral. For more information about the weekend's Dark Shadows events, click here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hermes Press Launches Dark Shadows Appeal

As we recently reported, Hermes Press are currently preparing a new volume dedicated to the 1971-72 Dark Shadows daily newspaper comic strip, which will include the Sunday panels presented in full colour as originally printed. In association with Dan Curtis Productions, Hermes are looking for complete copies of the Sunday Dark Shadows comics covering the publication dates of November 14 1971 to March 4 1972.

Dark Shadows fans or comic strip collectors who may be able to help with some of the needed Sunday clippings will be acknowledged in the upcoming book with a special thank you and will receive a complete set of all the Hermes Press Dark Shadows books for their assistance. If you can help, please contact

Dark Shadows: The Complete Newspaper Dailies and Sundays is due out in August and can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dark Shadows Newspaper Strips Reprinted

Hermes Press have announced that they will be reprinting the 1971-72 syndicated Dark Shadows newspaper strip in a deluxe 224-page collector's hardback. The strip originally ran for a year in various newspapers across the US, featuring stunning art by Kenneth Bruce Bald. 

The new book will feature the complete run of strips digitally restored, along with the Sunday instalments reproduced in full-colour as originally published. Bonus content will include surviving examples of original artwork and an accompanying essay.

Dark Shadows: The Complete Newspaper Dailies and Sundays is published in August and can be pre-ordered at a discount price by clicking here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Michael Maitland: 1956-2014

It is with sadness that we report that actor Michael Maitland passed away in a hospice on April 23 following a battle with cancer. He was 57. At the age of 13, Michael enjoyed a short but memorable stint as the Leviathan child Michael Todd on Dark Shadows.

Away from the show, he acted on Broadway in The Rothschilds and alongside Angela Landsbury in Mame. His other television work included stints on the soaps Search For Tomorrow and The Edge of Night, before his retirement from acting in the mid-1970s. 

Michael's family have posted a video tribute on Youtube, featuring personal photos taken throughout Michael's life, which can be viewed in the window below. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Counterfeit Dark Shadows DVD Warning Issued

MPI Home Video, the official distributor of Dark Shadows on DVD, have responded to reports that inferior illegal copies of their Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series DVD box set are being sold. The official sets are available from Amazon at this link. MPI's statement is as follows:
Dear Customer 
It has come to our attention that there are counterfeit sets being sold and distributed for Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series Deluxe Edition (MPI item # DVD7991). These counterfeit sets appear nearly identical to the authentic sets. If you are experiencing playback issues with your discs, it is possible that you have purchased a counterfeit set. If so, please alert us as to where you purchased the set. The more detail you can provide us (seller, links, pictures, etc.), the more it will help us put a stop to this illegal distribution. Below is a list of ways you can tell you have purchased a counterfeit set:
  • The authentic set is wrapped in a plastic polybag whereas the counterfeit set is shrink wrapped.
  • The authentic set has a thread that prevents the coffin lid from opening too far. The counterfeit set will open all the way (i.e. no thread).
  • The colours are much purer on the authentic set (stronger reds and blacks).
  • The pages in the booklet are a thinner/poor quality whereas the authentic set is a thicker glossier stock.
  • The corners of the set might be banged up on the counterfeit set.
  • MPI used eco-friendly trays in the amaray cases which have holes in them to save on plastic where the counterfeit sets have solid black plastic backing behind each disc.
  • The picture quality of the actual program will be poorer. The counterfeit sets use a single-layer disc, compressing the quality onto one disc, whereas the authentic version contains dual-layered discs.
  • The counterfeit set will have defective discs whereas the authentic set should not.
MPI is not responsible for the purchase or quality of counterfeit sets. If you have purchased an illegal set, we recommend contacting eBay and putting a claim against the seller of the counterfeit set. We also encourage you to make your purchases through established retailers such as eBay is not a recommended outlet for this item, and MPI does not sell this item via eBay. 
MPI Home Video

Friday, April 4, 2014

News Digest

  • The departed Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) has been posthumously nominated for the Cineplex Legends Award, awarded by his native Canada's Walk of Fame Association. Jonathan is one of nine nominees this year, alongside Bonanza's Lorne Greene, who worked with Jonathan at the Toronto Shakespeare Festival in the 1950s. To vote for Jonathan online, click here
  • David Selby (Quentin Collins) and Susan Sullivan (Ghost) are to star on stage in a new production of A Delicate Balance, which runs at Los Angeles' Odyssey Theatre from April 26-June 15. For more information and to book tickets online, click here.
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) and Lara Parker (Angelique) are to appear at Alabama's Mobicon convention, which takes place in Mobile on May 23-25. To visit the event website, click here.
  • Big Finish Productions have announced several new Dark Shadows audio drama titles. Recent releases include Curtain Call, The Harvest of Souls, The Happier Dead and Carriage of the Damned with The Devil Cat and The Darkest Shadow due out in May and June. To order the stories online, click on the hyperlinked titles.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dark Shadows Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Tour

The Dark Shadows Festival has announced an additional event for its previously announced fan weekend, taking place on June 28-29 in Tarrytown, New York. After the Festival weekend events end at the DoubleTree Hotel at 5.00pm on Sunday, June 29, attendees are invited to join an optional no-host fan field trip to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. By special arrangement, the cemetery will be open after normal closing hours, allowing fans to enjoy a private guided tour of the historic site where House of Dark Shadows filmed back in 1970.

Opened in 1849, the 85-acre cemetery was a filming location for the scenes involving John Karlen's Willie character breaking into the Collins Family mausoleum, along with Carolyn Stoddard’s memorable rain-lashed funeral. The cemetery will extend its normal Sunday hours exclusively for Dark Shadows weekend guests, offering a one-hour paid tour.

To take part in the tour, please send a brief confirmation email to, indicating how many adults/children would like to visit. The attendance fee of $10.00 per person must be paid in cash upon arrival at the cemetery. 

Fans may carpool or take a five-minute group taxi ride to and from the DoubleTree Hotel Festival venue and Sleepy Hollow. The cemetery is located at 540 N. Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591. For more information on the Dark Shadows Festival's Tarrytown weekend, click here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dark Shadows Cruise For 2015

The Dark Shadows Festival is to hold a Caribbean Cruise from January 10-15 2015, setting sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Martinique and the Virgin Islands on the Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas ocean liner. 

Dark Shadows viewers will know Martinique as the beautiful island where Barnabas Collins first met both his beloved Josette duPres and the evil witch Angelique. Joining the trip will be Josette and Angelique themselves, actresses Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker, along with co-stars Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask), Kathleen Cody (Hallie Stokes) and Marie Wallace (Eve).

Activities will include special Dark Shadows screenings and a themed costume party with the stars, question-and-answer sessions, autographs, a special Dark Shadows Origins in Martinique presentation, performances by the stars and a bus tour of Martinique.

Rates are per person based on double occupancy and include all meals, all shipboard entertainment, all port charges and the Dark Shadows registration fee. Fans who book with a refundable deposit by March 31 2014 will be able to attend a private cast party on the ship. For further details and to make reservations, call Hartford Holidays Travel on 1-800-828-4818, or visit their website by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Doctor Mabuse and Dracula Screening

On Wednesday, April 30, the world premiere of Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar will be held at the historic Vista Theatre in Hollywood as part of a double feature celebrating the 40th anniversary of Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis' Dracula in a newly-restored print. Guests from both films will be in attendance to sign autographs and meet fans.

Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar is a new independent film starring Dark Shadows actors, following on from last year's Doctor Mabuse. Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask) reprises his role as the mysterious title character, alongside Lara Parker (Angelique) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) as supernatural sisters and Christopher Pennock (Jeb Hawkes) as a new nemesis.

Dan Curtis' Dracula stars Oscar-winning actor Jack Palance as the legendary vampire in a critically acclaimed adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel which originally aired on CBS-TV in 1974 and was released theatrically outside America. Shot on location in Yugoslavia and England, the film includes an atmospheric music score by composer Dark Shadows composer Robert Cobert, who turns 90 this year. Cobert will attend the April 30 event and sign copies of the new CD of his Dracula soundtrack music, along with the Blu-Ray release of the film.

Doors open at 6.15pm, with the actors signing in the lobby, where a selection of merchandise will be available. A charity auction of special Dark Shadows memorabilia will be held at 7.30pm, before Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar is screened at 8.00pm. Afterwards director/writer Ansel Faraj and cast will take part in a question-and-answer session, before Dracula is screened at 10.00pm.

The Vista Theatre is located on 4473 Sunset Drive, Los Angeles, California 90027; Telephone: (323) 660-6639. Tickets for the evening are only $15.00 per person and can be purchased via PayPal from or by sending checks payable to: ShadowGram, PO Box 1766, Temple City, CA 91780.

To pre-order Dracula on Blu-Ray at a discount price, click here. To pre-order the Dracula soundtrack, click here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

News In Brief

  • Round 2 Models have re-released the original 1960s Dark Shadows model kits in a special collector's double pack, which includes brand new bonus heads featuring new improved sculpts of Jonathan Frid and the werewolf. To order the kits online at a discount price, click here.
  • Nostalgia convention Monster-Mania is holding a Dark Shadows reunion as part of their March 7-9 event, which takes place in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. In attendance will be Lara Parker (Angelique), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans), Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask) and Marie Wallace (Eve). For more information, click here.
  • The Dark Shadows Festival is now accepting registrations for its previously-announced June event in Tarrytown, New York. Joining the guest list are Sharon Smyth-Lentz (Sarah Collins) and Christopher Pennock (Jeb Hawkes). For more information, including a printable registration form, click here.
  • The new Colin Farrell film Winter's Tale features scenes shots at Lyndhurst, which appeared as Collinwood in both original Dark Shadows movies. It can be seen in cinemas now.
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott has just filmed a new guest spot for ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. Kathryn first appeared on the show last November, with her new episode set for broadcast soon.
  • Dynamite are to release a second volume of their Dark Shadows comics in a collected format. The 224-page trade paperback is out in June and can be pre-ordered by clicking here.
  • And don't forget, you can also follow the Dark Shadows News Page on Facebook and Twitter for daily Dark Shadows updates, on-this-day trivia and other exclusives. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Picture of the Week: Taping Dr. Jekyll

This week, it's a rare colour shot of Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis and director Charles Jarrott on the set of Curtis' 1967 adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde. After Dark Shadows was commissioned in 1966, the show's producer wasted no time in getting more gothic-themed projects off the ground, and this lavish Canadian co-production was the result.

When the two-part TV special was first announced in October 1966, The Pittsburgh Press reported on plans to tape in London from a script by Twilight Zone supremo Rod Serling, and Jason Robards playing the title roles. By the time Dr. Jekyll finally stepped in front of the cameras in Spring 1967, Serling had moved on and taping had relocated to Canada via New York, with Jack Palance taking the lead role.

The finished production slouched in ABC's ratings but received critical acclaim, netting four Emmy nominations, including one for Dick Smith's special make-up. Dan Curtis used Smith again to create Jonathan Frid's memorable old-age make-up for Dark Shadows. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is available on DVD and can be purchased by clicking here

If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Poster Poser

Reader Alastair Baker has written in to shed some light on the distinctive poster art seen in David Collins' bedroom on Dark Shadows in early 1969: "I finally figured out the two posters on David's wall," says Alastair, "They've been driving me mad for months. They are from the Fillmore Auditorium in late 1967. The one by his bed is from August 22-27 featuring the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Cream and South Side Sound System. The second on a far wall is from August 29–September 3 1967, featuring Cream and Electric Flag."

During the mid 1960s, San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium was a hub for counterculture and psychedelic music, playing host to Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, amongst others. "For a show not renowned for cultural referencing, aside from women's fashion trends, this was a surprise," says Alastair. "Do you know how they got on set? Did an actor or a tech visit San Fran on holiday and check out these gigs and decide to update David's room?" 

Who knows, but it's a rare example of contemporary culture making it across the threshold of Collinwood. Here are the original posters in all their retro glory. Click on the images below for a larger view.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Dark Shadows Festival Announced

The Dark Shadows Festival have confirmed that their 2014 weekend event will take place in Tarrytown, New York on June 28-29, marking Dark Shadows' 48th anniversary.

Activities begin on Saturday, June 28 from 12.00- 9.00pm at the historic Lyndhurst Estate, which served as Collinwood in the films
House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows. David Selby (Quentin Collins) will be making his first return to the property since shooting the latter film over four decades ago and will perform a special music and dramatic tribute to Dark Shadows and its fans. Joining David will be James Storm (Gerard Stiles), Lara Parker (Angelique), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans), Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard) and, health-permitting, John Karlen (Willie Loomis). Other guests will be announced in due course.

In addition to guest talks and high-definition screenings of both classic Dark Shadows movies, there will also be the premiere of Collinwood at the Cinema – Behind The Scenes, a new video featuring unseen material, and other surprises. These activities will be held in the Lyndhurst stable complex and tented courtyard, all with air conditioning. Additionally, each attendee may tour the interior of the historic Lyndhurst mansion, which featured prominently in both classic Dark Shadows movies. More information on Lyndhurst, click here.

On Sunday, June 29, day two of the Festival Weekend will move a few hundred yards down the street to the DoubleTree Tarrytown Hotel for the
Dark Shadows Celebrity Luncheon from 11.30am-5.00pm. Each attendee will enjoy a three-course meal and receive a Dark Shadows gift bag. After lunch, actors will be signing autographs, and there will be a special stage performance from Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker and Marie Wallace (Eve).

The Tarrytown DoubleTree Hotel is the host venue for the weekend, located at 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. A special
Dark Shadows Festival sleeping reduced room rate of $149.00, plus tax, is available by calling 914-631-5700 and quoting the group discount code "DSF". The same code may also be used to receive the discount rate when booking online at the Doubletree Tarrytown Hotel website. Reduced rate rooms are limited and fans are encouraged to make reservations as soon as possible.

Festival membership rates and other information will be available soon at the
Dark Shadows Festival website. You can also receive an advance postal mailing for the event by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Dark Shadows, P.O. Box 92, Maplewood, NJ 07040

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Dark Shadows Merchandise From MPI

MPI Home Video have just mailed out a Dark Shadows merchandise bulletin, showcasing their latest products and promotions. New products include a Barnabas Collins tote bag, a ballpoint pen and a branded water bottle. Click on the images below for a larger view.

Additionally, MPI have teamed up with Amazon to offer their Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series DVD box set at a new low price of $289.99, a saving of 52% from the original retail price. The 131-disc collection includes all 1,225 classic episodes plus bonus features in a coffin-shaped presentation case. To order the set, while stocks last, click here.