Although I post history guides so that you can match up show events to the historical events that went by, day-by-day, I am somewhat averse to making too much fuss about the age in which the show was produced. I understand the value of that, but…. One of the magical qualities of Collinsport is that its sense of Sixties is as theatrical, strangely vacuum-sealed, and timeless as any of the other eras into which it plunges its characters.
Today marked an interesting point for the series, and I wanted to point it out.
Firstly, we are 250 episodes and one year (almost) into the run. The show’s transformation since its inception is remarkable, and what struck me the most is its true darkness. Today has seen some especially violent and brutal episodes. We’re in 1967 now, and not 1966. “The Summer of Love” probably found the older siblings of many viewers completely transformed and absent from their lives, both physically and socially. We had enjoyed the delicate fun of 1966’s BATMAN, STAR TREK, PET SOUNDS, and THE MONKEES. But that was so last year. (As important as each of those contributions were, none would really see out the decade.)
By this part of 1967, we had kids home from school for the summer since the show found its voice. A perfect time to discover DARK SHADOWS, and a perfect storyline to ensure they felt as if they were eating at the Big Kids Table. It’s romantic, supernatural, violent, and honestly scary. Willie and Maggie are trapped beyond their control, but are always on the verge of taking action. And Barnabas was a grownup whose evil acts were motivated by and tempered with love. Finally, an understandable adult! And for what kid is love not scary and ambiguous? (Kids, heck. I’m an adult, and it’s still scary and ambiguous.)
This was, in every sense, the perfect time to get kids involved. By late May, Maggie’s a hostage and Barnabas is making his plans! Lots of fog, tombstones, crypts, cobwebs, and creepy basements. No wonder the airing time would be moved to 4:00pm… after a year of understanding the consumer demand they’d whipped up the prior summer.