Famous Monsters of Filmland, October 1968
Video Vampire Number One
His parents christened him Barnabas Collins. Nothing unusual about that. Except, it took place 175 years ago.
Grown to Manhood, one dark night in Barnabas' life he became unchristened. The night he took on an unholy kind of pseudo-life, a living death. The night he became--a vampire.
But Barnabas is such a human vampire that his vast television public has great sympathy for him. His gentility has endeared him to the hearts (and hemoglobin) of millions of mesmerized TV watchers who can't live with out their daily dose of DARK SHADOWS.
DARK SHADOWS, the daytime thrillodrama of eerie suspense,murder,ghosts and
even, most recentlly, a Frankenstein-type monster, began in the drowsing
brain of Dan Curtis, television producer.
The Dream Merchant of Menace!
"The dream was extremely vivid," Curtis told Famous Monsters Magazine. "I saw a girl on a train, huddled against the window and looking out into the brooding night of the small New England villages. She was a quiet, dreamy looking girl, and her long flowing hair fell back over the top of her coat. I remember watch her reflection in the window and hearing her whisper: " 'My name is Victoria Winters. I am going on a journey that will bring me to a strange dark house on the edge of the sea at Widow's Hill. There, I am going to be governess to a young boy and the companion of a mysterious woman.' "
Curtis' dream was given body--in fact a number of them--in DARK SHADOWS, the first TV series ever patterned on the lines of the Gothic novel, the type of fright book that members of the Count Dracula Society read for bedtime stories.
Death stalks the great halls of Collinwood, the sinister mansion
that is the locale of DARK SHADOWS. Before the series' final title
was decided on, such suggestions were considered as Terror
at Collinwood and House on Widow Hill. Then, accidentally,
the producer stumbled on the answer.
"Maybe," he quipped, "I should go to a museum and film some dark shadows." He mused for a moment, did a devil-take, slapped his horns and cried, "That's it!"
And daytime television's spookiest show was born.
Gaining experience in the eerie from DARK SHADOWS, its producer covered himself with gory--correction: glory--by masterminding the exciting televersion of Jack Palance as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
One writer has called him
"The ghoul the girls go for."Another,
"the grooviest vampire."His fangmail arrives in sacks at the rate of 2000 a week.
After changing his phone number several times he got an unlisted number. And after a short while had to change that because too many admirers somehow found out where to call him.
Clubs dedicated to him have sprung up like mushrooms all over the nation.
At night when he removes his fangs (from a victim's throat, that is) he is really mild mannered Clark Kent--correction, Jonathan Frid. Of English, Danish and German ancestry, he stands 6` tall, weighs 175 lbs., and has brown hair and hazel eyes, Hazel says she'd like to have them back.
Canadian born, the acting bug bit him when he was in college. After graduation he went to England to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and appeared on stage in 1949 and 1950.
Asked about his working habits while portraying Barnabas Collins, Jonathan Frid told Famous Monsters Magazine:
"When I leave the studio I go home and work 2 or 3 hours on the script. I have no social life at all. I must get up at 6:30 or 7 and work for an hour over breakfast before going to the studio. At the studio I work on the script all day long, when I'm not rehearsing."And remember: before you can rehearse you have to hearse!
"I play Barnabas as a lonely man with a conscience," Frid continued. "He is a guilt-ridden monster because of his need for blood. But he is also a sympathetic human who yearns to be a normal man. My character is unpredictable: I'll go along for awhile being very quiet and tragic, then suddenly I'll lunge as the lust for blood overwhelms me."
ABC is the network that features Barnabas Collins.
In fact, it was rumored as recentally as April 14th that ABC had
taken on new meaning:
On the occasion of the celebration of Barnabas Collins' first year of fear on TV, ABC released the following bulletin far and wide thruout the land:
BARNABAS COLLINS fans and all those whose blood kindles at the thought of vampirism, hear ye!.
A darkly memorable date in the annals of daytime television history
is rapidly approaching:
April 14, 1968.
On this day, television's most macabre matinee idol will celebrate his first anniversary on ABC TV's weekday drama series DARK SHADOWS.
It was just one year ago tha Barnabas Collins, alias actor Jonathan Frid, made his first appearance on ABC-TV's eerie series seen weekdays in color from 3:30 to 4 p.m. He was originally slated to hover around for just 3 weeks but he created such a great flap that Barnabas stayed...and stayed...and stayed.
The 175 year-old vampire has become so popular with daytime television viewers that recently he signed a new contract to stick with the series for at least 2 more years.
His malevolent magnetism spreads from coast to coast and encompasses fans of all ages.
And don't think that his impending First Anniversary has been ignored by his followers. Many of the letters he has been recieving lately have focused on this important date. In fact, Frid did not recall the exact day on which he joined the DARK SHADOWS cast until his fan mail brought it to his attention.
One of his most faithful worshippers, a Californian, even sent him an engraved plaque to commemorate the event. In an accompanying letter she wrote:
"I cannot let your first year's anniversary as Barnabas Collins on DARK SHADOWS go by without doing something about it. I shall never forget the first time you appeared on the show. From that instant on, I was hopelessly 'hooked' on this outstanding series!" "Your mystery and magnetism make DARK SHADOWS irresistable. In your matchless way, you have managed to captivate hundreds of thousands --nay, millions--of hearts." "And so, in my small way of saying 'thank you' for a year of splendid acting, and a superb portrayal of an extremelly difficult part, I am sending you a plaque which I hope will bring you as much pleasure looking at it, as it did for me in having it made up for you." "Happy anniversary, Barnabas! May you have many, many more in the future."What is Frid's reaction to the tremendous stir he has created with his portrayal of Barnabas Collins?
"It's simply ghoulish," he says with a sinister smile.