Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm a Sucker For This Stuff


   In the mid-1960s I used to run home from school every afternoon.  Not only to get away from bullies, but to see my favorite TV show.  Broadcast right after General Hospital and One Life To Live was Dark Shadows.

NOTE:  The fact that I knew when these soap operas were on may give you some indication why I was usually being chased by bullies.

    I realize most of you probably never saw, or even heard of, this
Wrong character.
Oh, seriously, does it matter?
"Gothic Soap Opera" set in Collinsport, Maine.  To you, Dark Shadows was the 2012 comedy starring Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabus Collins, proving that he was much deeper than Captain Jack Sparrow, the Mad Hatter, Willy Wonka, Tonto, or Edward Scissorhands.

    
    Yeah, right.
    
 
Let's never speak of this again
  Or some of you may remember the television series from 1991.  Starring Ben Cross, who should have known better, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, before he became Robin in The Dark Knight Rises, Roy Thinnes, who people think is dead but isn't, and Jean Simmons, who people think is dead and is, this dreadful show lasted for a couple of days before it was replaced by a Wilford Brimley commercial. 

    
Yeah, Ludden, I'm talking to you.
You suck!
    No, my Dark Shadows was on ABC from 1966 until 1970 until replaced by the insipid game show, Password.  Yeah, General Hospital is still plugging away and you see how sucky that is!
    
    Yes, I'm bitter.

 
"Psst!
Keep an eye on the creepy dude
with the cape.
He sucks."
  DS was a delight for a pre-teen boy who hadn't yet discovered girls and needed something to do with his afternoons besides getting some exercise.  Every afternoon, I'd rush across the street to the Thompson Food Market to purchase a bag of pretzel nuggets and bottle of Coke from Gladys, who wanted to know if I remembered how to give the Land O' Lakes lady boobs.
Clearly shoulda cut back
on those pretzel nuggets.



        NOTE:  That Gladys used to do this was a topic of a post from last month.

    Then, seeing if the coast was clear of the Zowine brothers (memories of being hung from a STOP sign by my underwear still fresh), I'd rush home.

    For the next half hour, I'd happily munch my snacks while
"Help!
Johnny Depp has Helena Bonham-Carter!
Look what I got!"
watching vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches, zombies, mummies, disembodied hands, gypsies, and hippies (this was the 60's, after all) raise all sorts of mayhem in the small New England village.


    Since I was a child, I never noticed the dreadful acting, simplistic story lines, ridiculous plot twists, cheesy special effects, or the fact that one day in Collinsport equalled one month everywhere else.  It was escapist fare whose horrors were make-believe.  Unlike the horrors we saw on the evening news.
"Women cops?
Yeah, they think this show is way out there!"

    So, yes, I was sad when it was cancelled.  To this day, though, I still remember the names of the actors and the characters they portrayed.  Most of them disappeared into obscurity, however.  Only a few of them actually starred in anything else.  HINT:  One of them was in Charlie's Angels.  A FURTHER HINT: I don't mean Bosley.

    But, life went on for me.  I discovered girls, the Zowines were arrested, I joined the Navy, married, remarried when the first didn't take, and settled down to write Penwasser Place.  How 'bout that?  Forty-three years in two sentences.

    The Johnny Depp movie notwithstanding, Dark Shadows became a part of my childhood.   Sometimes I miss it (I can still find pretzel nuggets, though), but I stopped writing hate mail to ABC years ago.

    Then, Sleepy Hollow premiered on FOX this fall.  Sleepy Hollow, based loosely on the Washington Irving story (by loosely, I mean there's an Ichabod Crane and a headless horseman), has filled a void to an extent.  It is poorly written, historically suspect (e.g., I strongly suspect George Washington did not fight demons.  Although, Lincoln was a vampire hunter.  So...),  and chockfull of ridiculous plot points.  A middle-school boy could write this story.
But, Ichabod hasn't changed his clothes in two months.
I think they've got bigger problems than headless horsemen.

    But, I love it.  Supposedly, it is somewhat of a hit which is stunning to me, given how ridiculous it is.  Apparently, a viewing public which follows the antics of the Kardashians as if they were the British royal family doesn't see much wrong with demons, tree creatures, sin-eaters, and witches raising mayhem in a small New York town.

    I'm not holding my breath, though.  I check TMZ every night to see if there's a new version of Password in the works. 


It had Christopher Walken in it, too.
So normal is a relative term.
EPILOGUE:  Interestingly, Johnny Depp starred in a Sleepy Hollow movie.
Playing a more normal role, Depp portrayed schoolteacher Ichabod Crane who visits a small New York town to defeat the headless horseman and get a peek at Christina Ricci's boobies.


49 comments:

  1. I never got into Dark Shadows but I know many people who were totally captivated by this show. It certainly was ahead of its time. Now Vampires and zombies are everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I even had the Barnabus Collins board game.

      Delete
    2. My first two thoughts about that are, "You suck" and "Bite me". Probably should quit while I'm behind.

      Delete
    3. Especially if you're bitten in the behind.

      Delete
  2. I am currently watching Sleepy Hollow myself. It's an ok show, could be better, could be worse. And I liked The Headless Horsemen movie with Johnny Depp a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked the movie very much. I also really like the show, as I said. Even though you could drive busses through all the plot holes.

      Delete
  3. OMG DS was a ritual for my sister and I. The thing that sucked was we only got to see it on one side of Daylight Savings Time because of school. I remember a few nights sleeping with blankets up around my neck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The good news is that you can get an entire storyline on 1,000 DVDs.
      Yeah, it dragged a bit.

      Delete
  4. What the what? You drank a bottle of coke every day and you're still alive? :P
    I watched SLEEPY HOLLOW till episode 6 or 7 and after that just couldn't go on, it is just so monotonous ... pity for the actors in it, they're rather great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It IS kinda draggy. I'm gonna stick with it though to see what the point is.

      Delete
  5. Sleepy hollow I want to like but it has so many plot holes a gopher must have went through the script 50 times over indeed. Where's Bill Murray when you need him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it doesn't make sense. But it's like a train wreck. I can't look away.

      Delete
  6. I ran home faithfully too so I could see DS. I had a crush on Barnabus, wanted to look like Angelique and Willie Loomis creeped me out more than anyone else. I even read all of the DS Series books. One went on to become Klaus Von Bulow's mistress, Willie went on to movies and Cagney and Lacy. I could go on and on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read all those books, too. While I obviously didn't have a crush on Barnabus...Angelique...hubba, hubba.

      Delete
  7. It sounds to me like your life is haunted by Jonny Depp. I knew he was hiding a great evil behind those devilishly handsome eyes of his. I knew Dark Shadows was originally an old TV series but I didn't know too much about it. I didn't even see the movie so I didn't know much about that either. It's pretty sad when a TV show dies but if you wait long enough, the TV studios repeat themselves eventually and something that's either the same as what you lost, or just pretty similar, comes along.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My mom said she used to watch the original show, she loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mom actually watched it before me. She stopped watching after a character, who'd been killed off a few times, returned.

      Delete
  9. Funny!
    I watched Dark Shadows a few times, but couldn't take much more than that. I also watched the first two Sleepy Hollow episodes. That didn't do much for me either. I will however, watch anything Mr Depp is in.
    Those damn bullies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My hatred for those guys is such that, while Penwasser is not my real name, I have no trouble identifying them by THEIR real names.

      Delete
  10. Unfamiliar with Dark Shadows - not sure whether it was ever shown in the UK. I can identify with programs that we once thought were terrific, only to see them now and cringe at the bad acting, lousy special effects etc. Perhaps it is best to leave these favorites in our memory bank rather than re-visiting them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would be surprised if it WASN'T shown. It really was quite popular. Plus I really cringe when I see it now.

      Delete
  11. I have never heard of this show but it actually sounds intriguing. I wonder if it's on Netflix?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you do find it, get one of those "Best Ofs." Don't subject yourself to single episodes. Nobody has that much time.

      Delete
  12. I knew of Dark Shadows. My dad was a huge fan, he had not yet married my mom &, as such, I wasn't even a bad idea yet when it ran. You shouldn't have closed off mentioning Christina Ricci's boobies because any further attempt at formulating anything more of a comment went out the window for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boobies have that effect. At least on me.

      Delete
  13. I remember watching Dark Shadows, too!

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Christina Ricci's boobies" are the perfect way to end a post. I might have seen them in a film called The Opposite of Sex, but sadly I can't remember. I'm sorry Dark Shadows got cancelled, but wasn't I Dream of Jeannie a good enough replacement?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara Eden sure could fill out a harem costume. At 70 something, she pretty much still can.

      Delete
  15. I found this so cool because it reminds me of the love that I used to have for certain television shows and how worries about girls or jobs or the direction of my life didn't exist, I just enjoyed watching shows, quite cool that it was your favourite and that it didn't matter how corny it was because like you say you were a child. Loved it Al.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those innocent days.
      Except for the bullies part.

      Delete
  16. Whoa, now this is really, really, before my time.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ok never heard of Dark Shadows but it does sound like something I might have liked, I think when we are young we don't notice the bad acting at all we just take the acting as it is and enjoy the show

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was silly, campy, and poorly acted, but it kept me off the streets.

      Delete
  18. School let out early on Mondays, so I also looked forward to watching the end of General Hospital before Dark Shadows came on. Pretzels were also my favorite after school snack, but I drank 'healthy' Hawaiian Punch instead. I remember seeing Quentin on several shows, but never saw much of Barnabus after the show ended. I still liked the Johnny Depp version, though it was completely different from the original series. This was a fun blast from the past!

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quentin (David Selby...good grief, I DO remember) was one of the actors who went on to other things. He never changed into a werewolf on those shows, though.

      Delete
  19. I remember seeing an episode once when I was a little girl and getting so scared I had nightmares - I can still Barnabas coming toward me with a knife!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And those fangs! Forget about it. Here's an unsolicited story... See the little guy to the left of the picture (not the even littler dude with a bottle of ear drops in his mouth)? Like I said in one of the comments above, I had the Dark Shadows board game. Part of it included little plastic skulls which glowed in the dark. One night when he went to sleep, my other brother (not pictured) "powered up" the skulls by holding them under a light. Then, we went into the darkened bedroom, started moaning "Oooooooooooo" and shoved the glowing skulls in our little brother's face.
      He's still in therapy.

      Delete
  20. Did you ever watch Passions? It was an equally ridiculous soap opera, and one of my best friends used to rush home every single day to watch it....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't but I heard about it. Despite my affinity for the ridiculous, I never watched it.

      Delete
  21. I'm happy for you to have this perfect memory of your favorite TV program when young. (And you didn't like girls yet??? ummmmm). I've never seen it or heard of it but I've never been much of TV fan. I guess it's because there was no TV when I was growing up and I never got really hooked into it.
    I enjoyed this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, maybe I liked girls. But, did you get a load of that picture? I don't think they liked me so much.

      Delete
  22. Hm, I guess I turned off the TV after General Hospital. Do you remember Luke and Laura's excursions to attain the Ice Princess? Yes? Oh no, those bullies got you bad.

    I linked to you on my blog, Al.

    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't remember to put on pants, but...
      I remember Luke and Laura's wedding, I remember that Luke raped Laura, I remember that "Richard" was their aerobics instructor, so yes I remember the Ice Princess.
      Unsolicited story: "The Wedding" happened in 1980 when I was still on the USS America. I remember very clearly how the crews lounge would fill every afternoon to watch "GH."
      Sailors. Yep.

      Delete
  23. Hm, I guess I turned off the TV after General Hospital. Do you remember Luke and Laura's excursions to attain the Ice Princess? Yes? Oh no, those bullies got you bad.

    I linked to you on my blog, Al.

    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That picture of Richard Simmons sure comes in handy, huh?

      Delete
  24. I liked Dark Shadows the movie, plus it had Eva Green hhnngggg

    Followed.

    ReplyDelete