Collectible Close-up:
16 Magazine, July 1969

Many issues of 16 Magazine featured coverage of Dark Shadows. The July 1969 issue is a prime example. The cover of this classic collectible includes images of Denise Nickerson (presenting a medal to a huge green bear) and David Selby (sharing a bicycle-built-for-four with Bobby Sherman), and a cover line promised readers they'd see Jonathan Frid and David Henesy's lives "in pix." Inside are photos from their scrapbooks, along with some from Denise Nickerson.

Opposite the table of contents page, John Karlen is wished a happy birthday (The Gemini's special day falls on May 28, so, I guess we can gather that the July issue was hitting news stands a couple of months before the cover date....)

A few pages further in, fans are encouraged to go to their local record stores and "demand" the Charles Grean Sounde's 45 single of "Quentin's Theme," if, of course they "dig" Quentin (and who didn't?). (For my younger readers, "records" were big, round, black discs that predated those little silver CDs you buy these days. Another time, I'll tell you about "8-track tapes"....)

Just one more flip of the page and we're in the "Dreamsville" section, where fans could make special requests of their idols. Here, there's a picture of a studious-looking Jonathan Frid looking over a Dark Shadows script with dreamboat Don Briscoe. It seems a young fan named Paitti Dubbs of Altoona, Pa., had written to "16" to say she'd just "die of joy" if she won any kind of Dark Shadows prize. Hopefully she didn't mean it, because she found herself the recipient of several large autographed photos of Frid and Briscoe -- not to mention a script signed by them and several other actors from the show. The editors and actors did this, "just so Patti can prove to any doubters that...'Dreamsville triumphs!'"  

 Also in this issue is an article called "The Whole Truth of Dark Shadows, Chapter Six," which you might think would be a behind-the-scenes chronicle. You'd be wrong. It's the sixth part of a retelling of the DS story line; this installment decribes the introduction of Dr. Julia Hoffman, who arrived at Collinwood to write a history of the Collins family and eventually discovers that the present-day Barnabas is quite a bit older than he looks.....

At the bottom of the page, the "true" story of DS does show up in "Dark Shadows News & Gossip." If this issue had come out a couple decades later, you might hope to read about drug habits or sexual deviances of the DS cast, but this being a '70s teen mag, the most readers learned was that Jerry Lacy and Clarice Blackburn were returning to the show for the 1897 flashback story line, and Roger Davis had a movie coming out. Though the column's author said Roger looked "gorgeous" in "Parachute to Paradise," apparently that wasn't enough to propell it to super-hit status; that's not one you're likely to catch even on the Romance Classics channel. But speaking of gorgeous, Miss Blackburn certainly looks more lovely than she ever did on the show, in a headshot accompanying the gossip article. By the way, the writer referrs to Roger Davis's fans as "Roger luvvers" and the word "because" is abbreviated "cos" throughout the magazine. No wonder a whole generation grew up to be horrid spellers....

Near the back of the book, an ad for "16's Teen Star Birthday Book," includes a photo of Jonathan Frid with a word balloon stating, "I'm Sagittarius! Could YOU and I be CLOSE FRIENDS?" I don't get it... Would the typical reader of "16" really want to be "close friends" with a 40-something bachelor actor living in New York City? What would they talk about?

On the next page is "My Life in Pix, Chapter One" by Jonathan Frid. Starting with a picture of Frid at the age of 3, the actor's youth is chronicled in photos and captions. Readers were treated to a rare set of images, including Jonathan in 1945, in the Royal Canadian Navy, and eight years later, in native costume for a televised play based on "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." In a 1955 shot of Frid playing Aufidius in Shakespeare's Coriolanus, he's sporting a beard and an early version of those spikey bangs we'd later come to love when he played Barnabas. And in Frid's own words, "How about that earring!?" Chapter Two of his life in photographs appeared in the August issue of 16.

And that's not all... Further into the issue is another photo spread of DS actors' lives. This time it's a dual article by David Henesy and Denise Nickerson. I guess since their lives were relatively short so far, they doubled up for "Our Lives in Pix: Dark Shadows' two young stars share their 'secret' past with you!" The biggest secret we learn, however, is that as a 3-year-old, little Denise asked Santa for a full-size elephant and was disappointed. Years of therapy probably ensued....

The back cover finishes out this dream package for Dark Shadows-loving 16 readers: It's a "16 Color Pin-Up" of David Henesy, signed, "To You!" (Click here to see the pin-up.)


Craig Hamrick is author of
The Dark Shadows Collectibles Book.

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