During the course of my research for Barnabas & Company, and while I've worked with several DS cast members on various projects, I've found dozens of great photos. Keep an eye on the homepage for the newest featured picture, and they'll be archived on this page.
—Craig Hamrick

Nancy's New eBay Purchase
Have you ever wondered if actors surf though the pages of eBay, checking to see if there's any cool stuff for sale with their pictures on it?

I know for a fact that a couple do, and also that a couple haven't yet learned enough about their computers to even find eBay itself, let alone anything on it.

Nancy Barrett is pretty web savvy, but she had not noticed a cool set of HODS lobby cards, with Italian text and unusual images (her "vampire suit" is pink instead of white, as it actually was in the film). So I emailed her a link, she took a peak, and she just had to have them. It's an interesting example of how much smaller the world has become, because of the Internet. The cards were produced in Europe, and they were in the hands of a collector in Spain. What are the odds (before eBay) that those cards would end up in New York City, in the personal collection of one of the actors featured on some of the cards? Slim, I'd say.

"Avon Calling!"
Marie Wallace is nearly finished with her career memoirOn Stage and In Shadows. The book, which will be available at the Dark Shadows Festival this summer in Hollywood, includes Marie's recollections about her work on stage and in television.

One of the plays she appeared in was Mert and Phil, starring Estelle Parsons (pictured here with her). In the avant-garde production Estelle played a woman facing breast cancer, and Marie's out-of-touch cosmetic saleswoman showed up and pushed her wares.

Read more about Marie's book on Marie Wallace Online, which is part of Dark Shadows Online.


Shadows on Stage
Since Dark Shadows was taped in New York City, the show's casting directors were able to draw from an impressive pool of local stage actors to populate Collinsport. Here are two clippings promoting DS actors in stage endeavors: Addison Powell (Dr. Lang) and David Ford (Sam Evans). In the photo with David is Valerie French, wife of his DS costar David Ford.

Joel went Barefoot
While on DS, Joel Crothers was also starring on Broadway in Barefoot in the Park. To make sure the right people (critcs, casting directors, etc) caught his B'way performance, Joel placed this ad in Variety.

At the Big Apple Con in April '05, Nancy Barrett told me she remembered when the full-page ad came out: "Joel was very clever about the business side of acting. At the time, I thought placing the ad was a very smart move. He really knew what he was doing."

A friend of mine is considering writing a book about Joel's life and career. He's already done preliminary interviews witha couple of Joel's cast mates, to determine if the project is do-able. (It's more difficult to write a biography of someone who is dead, since you can't interview the book's "main character." But if former friends and co-workers are willing to talk, it's certainly possible to create an interesting, intimate portrait.)

If my firend does decide to move forward, you'll find out about it right here on Dark Shadows Online, very soon.

Here's a look at an even younger Joel:

That Darn Grayson
Before joining the gang at Collinwood, Grayson Hall played a resourceful kidnapping victim in the 1965 Disney movie That Darn Cat. Facing a murderous kidnapper, played by future Batman star Frank Gorshin, Grayson's character slips her wristwatch around the neck of that (darn) title cat, as a cry for help. The kitty's owner, played by young Hayley Mills, gets the message and rescues the stranded bank teller.

From Nancy Barrett's Video Collection:
One Life to Live
As Nancy Barrett and I are working to develop her new website, we're going through her scrapbook and video collection -- which has given me a chance to see some of her TV work for the first time, including her second stint on One Life to Live.

In 1982, she played a steely, no-nonsense District Attorney named Debra Van Druden. (In '74 she'd played a murder victim who fell prey to a character played by Tommy Lee Jones.) Her determination to put criminals behind bars made Debra pretty unpopular with most of Llanview's most prominent citizens, giving Nancy some meaty scenes with series stars Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser, and many others.

She also got a chance to share a little bit of screen time with two of her former DS costars: Anthony George and Grayson Hall, pictured above in screen captures from Nancy's own tapes of her shows.

I'm still going through the tapes, and so far I've only seen one of Grayson's scenes -- in which her character is a slightly daffy Southern lady talking on the phone. It's amusing to watch Grayson struggling to juggle a handheld fan and the bulky, now-old-fashioned-looking receiver. I don't know why, but she plays the scene as though her character has never used a phone before -- she has trouble figuring out how to talk into it, and looks at it like it's an animal about to bite her. I don't know why this is, but maybe it will become clearer in her future appearances, and I'll write more when I watch them. It's fun to see Ms. Hall play a character that reminds me of Josette's stuffy aunt on DS.



Bathia Mapes (our favorite blooper-er) drawn by the Line King, Al Hirschfeld

Anita Bolster (Bathia Mapes) was drawn by Al Hirschfeld while appearing on Broadway in Lady in Waiting in 1940 with costar Gladys George. (Gladys is probably best remembered for playing the wife of Sam Spade's slain partner in the film noir classic The Maltese Falcon.)

I know there are some people who take Dark Shadows deadly seriously, and if you're one of them, odds are you aren't a happy DSO reader anyway -- so I won't waste any time apologizing for the fact that I love the DS bloopers. A huge part of the show's charm, for me, lies in the fact that watching it is a lot like seeing a live stage performance: Anything can happen. Props fall apart (or catch fire), tombstones fall over, actors forget their lines -- or accidentally read their scene-mate's lines from the teleprompter. Because of time- and budget-constraints, DS was rarely edited -- lots of bloopers went on the air. At least the actors could rest assured that soap opera episodes are never rerun. Well...DS was a rule-breaking soap....

Thankfully, for those of us who don't mind chuckling at the show, the bloopers did survive and have been assembled in a video compilation released by MPI. And my favorite clunker stars Anita Bolster. During one of her scenes, the over-70 actress obviously totally forgets her lines and goes totally blank. And if that's not bad enough, you can clearly hear someone reading her lines pretty loudly -- and she cooperatively repeats them.

Before playing the good witch Bathia, Anita had carved out an impressive career of supporting roles on stage and in film. Click here to read her IMDB credits (Joan Bennett fans will notice she was in Miss Bennett's favorite film, Scarlet Street.) And she's one of several DS stars who were immortalized by the legendary artist Al Hirschfeld. (Others included Marie Wallace, David Selby, Mitch Ryan, and Diana Millay.)


Sam Hall Holds Court
Soon after the 2001 DS Festival, and only a couple of days before the September 11th terrorist attack, Sam Hall was among several DS personalities who were interviewed at the World Trade Center hotel, by Dan Curtis Productions' Jim Pierson. The hotel was destroyed when the twin towers collapsed. Jim had checked out on Sept. 10. (The Fest was also held at that hotel.)

While Jim interviewed Bob Costello (DS' producer) in a suite upstairs, Diana Millay and I had drinks with Sam and his son Matt in the hotel bar. (Of course you know that Sam wrote for DS, and his wife -- and Matt's mom -- was Grayson Hall.) I'd never met either of the Hall gentlemen, and I found them both fascinating. Sam told some stories the DS cast that I wish I could share.... He has a wicked sense of humor! :)

Above: Matt Hall, Diana Millay, and Sam Hall in 2001.


Jim's interviews have been seen as DVD extras on the Dark Shadows releases from MPI. One of the things Sam mentioned about his late wife was that her very favorite character was Magda, and that she had one of the bubblegum-card-like pinups that featured a picture of her in full Magda drag.

Read bout the DS pinups.


Nancy Catches Anthony Quinn's Eye
Nancy Barrett and I are going through the scrapbook kept for decades by her mom, working on a fun new project I'll write more about here on DSO in the near future. Today (Feb. 13), we pulled out one of her very first clippings: As you can read in the caption, her picture was one of several shown to movie star Anthony Quinn, when he judged a beauty contest on the set of his 1958 film Black Orchid. (Nancy's pic is on the far right.) She doesn't remember who won, "so it must not have been me!" she said with a laugh. We'll be sharing more photos from her scrapbook soon. Below is another little teaser! :)


Louis Cracks Richard Up
Several DS stars have appeared on TV game shows over the years -- including Kate Jackson, Joan Bennett, Jonathan Frid, and Kathryn Leigh Scott. But no one has made quite the impression Louis Edmonds did, when he played Family Feud in 1980 along with some of his All My Children costars.

Louis played Professor Langley Wallingford, who was married to one of Pine Valley's grand dames, Phoebe Tyler, portrayed by the legendary Ruth Warrick. Shortly after their AMC characters were married, Louis and Ruth were contestants on a celebrity episode of the Feud .

When I interviewed Ruth about ten years later, for my biography of Louis, Big Lou, she told me about the game show:

To win, contestants had to guess how a group of people had answered various questions.

"Louie is a very erudite man, but he didn't understand that you're trying to think what the mass mind thinks," Ruth told me.

Host Richard Dawson posed the question, "Name a small animal that terrifies people." Other team members correctly guessed "mouse," "dog," and "bat." Then came Louis' turn.

"Louie got very excited and he said, 'armadillo!'" Ruth said. "Well, everybody absolutely fell apart! It was a correct answer, but, of course, it was out of the ballpark. He was so confused. He thought it was a great answer. You can't lump him in with the common man. He doesn't belong there. He's a very individual gentleman."

After Louis earned his team a strike, Richard Dawson and Ruth joked about the answer: "When you're a professor, do you see what happens to you?" she asked.

"I know. That's exactly what happens," Richard replied. "'Too smart for the room,' we call it, my love."

The AMC team was not victorious.

Photo from The Big Lou Scrapbook, published electronically by Dark Shadows Online in 2003.
"Julia" as a Mom
This publicity shot of Grayson Hall shows her in a pose she never struck as DS' Julia. She played an emotionally distraught adoptive mother in the very short-lived play "Shout From the Rooftops" in the early 1960s. You can learn more about this and other stage appearances by the stars of DS in my book Barnabas and Company.
"Uncle Roger, You're Soaking In It...."
In 1961, Louis Edmonds starred in an off-Broadway musical called The Decameron. His leading lady, pictured here, was comedienne Jan Miner. Miner later became a pop culture icon in a long-running series of dishwashing liquid commercials as Madge the Manicurist -- with the catchphrase, "You're soaking in it!" (Madge gained some odd pleasure from tricking her customers and using dishwashing liquid to soak their fingers.)

Engaging Image
One of the first times the future DS star made headlines, Nancy Barrett was presented in her hometown newspaper as a bride-to-be soon before she moved to New York City. Special thanks to Nancy for providing this image for DSO readers!

Many more rare images coming soon! Keep an eye on the main page of Dark Shadows Online.





For information about the cast of Dark Shadows, check out the book Barnabas and Company, available at Amazon.com.

Read Nancy Barrett's bio.

See a gallery of photos.