What's New on DSO
May 11, 2006
A Preview of work on the new edition of Barnabas & Company
As a tribute to the 40th anniversary of the debut of Dark Shadows, I'm working on an updated new edition of my book Barnabas & Company, expanding the "who's who" section considerably, based on some new cast interviews and new research. There were several actors I wasn't able to reach when doing the first edition of the book, which left their bios shorter than I was happy with -- and many of them I've been able to speak with this time, including Robert Rodan and Jerry Lacy. Plus, I finally got to meet a cast member who I've wanted to interview for a long time: Betsy Durkin, who played Victoria Winters for a month after Alexandra Moltke left DS. I'm saving most of their interview comments for the book, but I will be updating their bio pages here on DSO soon. So far I've added Betsy's bio and a few photos: you see that by clicking here. I've also re-interviewed a few people I've known for a long time, including Nancy Barrett, Diana Millay, Denise Nickerson, and Lara Parker -- who stayed with my partner Joe and I during a recent visit to NYC. (Below is a photo of Lara and me at the Museum of Modern Art.)
Most of my "Dark Shadows time" has been taken up with work on the new Barn&Co., so I haven't made many updates to DSO lately. One other addition is info about the recent sale of one of the rarest DS collectibles (click here). And here's a tribute to DS creator Dan Curtis, who died in April.
I'd like to thank everyone who has been in touch with words of support, about my ongoing battle with colon cancer. I'm feeling pretty good, though my most recent CT scan showed a little progression of the disease, so I'm in the midst of changing to a new type of treatment -- a gene therapy alternative to chemotherapy.
Read a recent interview with "the other Victoria Winters," Betsy Durkin
The actress who assumed the role of Vicki after Alexandra Moltke left DS has written a book called Dressing the Man You Love. Click here to read an interview she recently took part in to promote the book, here for more information about the author/actress, and here to buy the book.
"As a young actress, I learned very quickly that 'dressing for the part' gets you the job. I have done a lot of television commercials over the years. I don't believe for a moment that I was always the best actress auditioning; but I certainly did take the time to present myself as the character for which I was being considered in each of the winning commercials. I think that holds true in any and all professions." -- Betsy Durkin, on readerviews.com
March 15, 2006
Photos from the 2005 DS Weekend in Hollywood:
Due to a work commitment, I wasn't able to attend the 2005 DS Event, but my pal Richard Hatch helped out by snapping some photos for DSO. Click here to check them out.
Since the last update, I've also added Conrad Bain's profile to the Dayplayers section. And my new email penpal Marilyn Ross (widow of the author of the 1970s DS paperbacks) sent me a photo of the painting used on the cover of the first Paperback Library edition (see above). Click here to see a larger image and to read more about it.
January 3, 2006 -- HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :)
New and Expanded Cast Features:
Dayplayers:When I conducted research for my book Barnabas & Company a couple of years ago, one of the things I enjoyed most was learning about some of the Dark Shadows "dayplayers" -- talented actors who played very limited roles on the show, as everything from police officers to zombies. I was surprised that some of the actors had enjoyed amazing success before their brief visits to Collinwood. This winter I'm working on a new DSO section about these dayplayers. Click here to see a the first few entries, short articles about three of my favorites: Anita Bolster, Mary Cooper, and Paula Laurence. More dayplayer profiles and rare photos coming soon.
Core Cast Members: The other project I'm working over the next several months is a special 40th Anniversary Edition of Barnabas & Company, which will debut at this summer's Dark Shadows Festival in Brooklyn. I'm expanding and updating a lot of the biographies. (Sadly, a lot of the new information comes from the obituaries of the cast members we've lost since B&Co.'s first printing two years ago....) I'll also be adding an additional photo section, with behind-the-scenes photos I've taken at Festivals over the past 15 years. Some of the new material will also be posted here on DSO. So far, you can read recently expanded DSO bios of: Marie Wallace, Don Briscoe, and Anthony George, -- and I'll be adding more soon.
Original Comic Art:
Another part of the site I'm "beefing up" a little bit is the Collectibles section. The newest addition there is a feature about original comic book art. I actually don't have that big of a Dark Shadows memorabilia collection, believe it or not. But what I have collected pretty seriously for the past decade or so is original hand-drawn pages (usually in black and white, pen and ink) used in the production of comic books and newspaper comic strips. The core of my collection is Lois Lane pages -- I've assembled pages drawn by just about every major Superman artist, featuring the superhero's spunky gal pal. I think part of the reason I became a newspaper reporter (later a magazine writer and book author) was because Lois Lane comics made it look like such a fun career choice. (And she had quite a hunky boyfriend, something else I aspired to have.)
Anyway ... while I've been collecting Lois Lane pages, I've also kept an eye out for Dark Shadows-related comic art, and found it to be pretty scarce. As you can read about by clicking here, in recent years, several DS covers have hit the market, and I obtained one of them. But I've never even seen even one interior page from the Gold Key series. (I do have a couple pages from the Innovation series, and they're gorgeous -- hand-painted, unlike most of the pages in my collection.) I've also noticed a couple of original DS newspaper strips on eBay, but they've been pretty expensive -- actually, priced higher than I think they're worth -- so I've passed on them. Click on the photo above, to see more pics and read more about original Dark Shadows comic art. And please check back here soon; I'll be adding more actor profiles and collectible close-ups soon.