One of the best television programs to come out of the 1960's, the brainchild of Dan Curtis was a revolutionary break from what daytime television was and changed the way the soap opera was considered! It focused around the mysterious, wealthy Collins family. A family that housed many dark secrets. An innocent young lady named Victoria Winters arrived to be a governess for a spoiled brat rich kid named David Collins.
His Aunt, Elizabeth is the patriarch of the family and she has her own secrets, forbidding Victoria to enter the Collinwood (the name of the family mansion) basement. The audience seems to suspect that Elizabeth may have murdered her husband and buried him in the basement and that Victoria may be Elizabeth's illegitimate child. As the show moved along we have David playing with his father's (Roger) brakes, which almost kills him. Roger has his own issues and has been blackmailing Burke Devlin.
Curtis was ready to dump the show because at the beginning the ratings were not too good. He decided to add a ghost to the story (what's and old mansion without a ghost?). This immediately caused the ratings to go up. Then Curtis came up with one of the most inovative ideas to daytime tv and that was to introduce a vampire to the plot. The vampire arrives mysteriously and bears an amazing resemblence to one of the Collins' ancestors as well as the same eerie name of Barnabas Collins.
This stroke of genious shot up the ratings and with the later introduction of Quentin Collins the show became number one and not only had older people watching but many school kids would rush home from classes everyday so they could follow the show. The show later became the first tv show to reach the big screen with the movie House of Dark Shadows followed by Night of Dark Shadows.
All told, along with Star Trek, Dark Shadows went on to change what was expected of television and spawned legions of fans and fan conventions many years after the show was cancelled. Today, Johnny Depp owns the Dark Shadows franchise and it is expected that he will launch a new film with himself as Barnabas Collins soon!
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