Exclusive DSO Feature:
Dark Shadows Festival 2000
The 2000 annual meeting of Dark Shadows stars and fans took place July 7, 8, and 9 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott -- and Dark Shadows Online was there. Celebrity guests included David Selby, Mitch Ryan, Nancy Barrett, Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Louis Edmonds, John Karlen, Marie Wallace, Roger Davis, Diana Millay, Christopher Pennock, James Storm, Dennis Patrick, and Paul Michael. (Mr. Michael was accompanied by his lovely longtime companion, Marion Ross, who didn't appear on Dark Shadows, but is well-known as "Mrs. C.", the mom on Happy Days.)

Activities included Q&A sessions with the stars, an autograph line, a costume gala in which fans dressed up as their favorite characters, memorabilia auctions, and video and film presentations--including the film I, and a surprise treat: a portion of a recently rediscovered US Steel Hour TV movie starring Diana Millay.

Actors took the stage
Throughout the weekend, the actors appeared on stage in groups to answer questions from the fans. Several actors also took to the stage solo to entertain the audience. David Selby read excerpts from his two books, In & Out of the Shadows, (on Saturday) and My Mother's Autumn (on Sunday).

Christopher Pennock followed suit, hilariously performing the story portrayed in his comic book, Fear & Loathing on Dark Shadows.

Marie Wallace read a humorous vampire tale, The Vampire in His Closet, by Heather Graham); John Karlen read a story in character as Willie Loomis (Secret Room Soliloquy, written by fan and Festival Committee member Mary E. Overstreet); and Lara Parker read poems from her mother's book, Bugs and Other Critters, and described an outline she hopes to turn into the next Dark Shadows novel, titled Angelique's Vengeance. The story, set just after the series left the air, features a lovely reincarnation of Angelique, a band of gypsies, and of course, Barnabas Collins.

Displaying musical talents he never exercised on DS, James Storm entertained the crowd on Sunday afternoon singing set of country songs which are featured on his new CD, Shadows of a Storm. And the festivities were capped off by a musical show starring Nancy Barrett at the traditional banquet Sunday night.

On Saturday, Kathryn Leigh Scott discussed the books published by her company, Pomegranate Press. One of the newest, The Charlie's Angels Casebook, was a big hit at the Pomegranate table. (Charlie's Angels has at least two Dark Shadows connections: Kate Jackson started her TV career on DS before landing the featured role of Sabrina on Charlie's Angels, and her angelic castmate Jaclyn Smith was married to DS star Roger Davis while DS was on the air. In fact, she was even considered for the part of Victoria Winters.) Pomegranate has also published a number of Dark Shadows-related books, including The Dark Shadows Movie Book, The Dark Shadows Collectibles Book, and the newly updated Dark Shadows Almanac: Millenium Edition.

DS stars joined the Collinsport Players
Each year, the Collinsport Players acting troupe performs sketches based on DS. This time around, however, there was a delicious twist: On Saturday night, members of the original DS cast took part in "The Spy Who Bit Me," in which a very different "cousin from England" shows up at Collinwood: sassy, sexy Austin Powers (played by the skit's author, Richard Halpern). Joining the Collinsport Players was Lara Parker, as Mrs. Evil (Dr. Evil's widow), Diana Millay as Laura Collins, John Karlen as Willie Loomis -- and Caitlyn Hawkins (Lara Parker's daughter, playing Mrs. Evil's offspring). On Sunday, "Cliff Notes IV: On A Dark Night You Can Live Forever," written by Jonathan Harrison, was performed. In this skit, a cross between DS and the Barbra Streisand classic "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," Barnabas tried to change Maggie into his beloved Josette, only to find her possessed by someone else....

Nancy Barrett and Mitch Ryan each made their Q&A Festival debuts this year, on Saturday. Mr. Ryan had never attended a Fest, before taking the stage for a cast reunion on Saturday. And Miss Barrett had performed musical shows at past Fests, but on Saturday afternoon, for the first time she took the stage with her on-screen uncle, Louis Edmonds, and took questions from the audience. She told the crowd she had spoken with DS creator Dan Curtis earlier that day, and that he had confirmed he's working on a new Dark Shadows stage musical. Later that afternoon, Miss Barrett also joined the cast reunion, which she brought to a humorous ending: A fan told her she was the best screamer on the show, and asked how she did it. To answer, she let out a blood-curdler.

The following behind-the-scenes photos are DSO exclusives:


 Dennis Patrick signs an autograph for a fan.

Chris Pennock prepares to read from his comic "Fear and Loathing on Dark Shadows."


During the encore to her musical show, Nancy Barrett used a long boa as a prop. After the show, backstage, it was a popular prop for photos. Above: Nancy shares the boa with the show's musical director, Steven Silverstein, and its producer, Craig Hamrick. Then Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker get into the act. And finally, Diana Millay tries the boa on for size.

 David Selby and Louis Edmonds chat between events.


Louis Edmonds, Nancy Barrett, and John Karlen pose for a photo as Louis and Nancy prepare to take the stage for a Q&A.


 Fest newcomer Mitchell Ryan talks to Paul Michael after the on-stage cast reunion.


 Marion Ross, best known as Happy Days' Mrs. Cunningham, waits for her longtime companion, Paul Michael, as he takes part in the DS cast reunion.


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Dark Shadows Online © 2004: Craig Hamrick/Broadway Media Services Inc.

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