The Dark Shadows View-Master Reels weren't like most View-Master you can tell from the tag line on the envelope--"WITH 16 PAGE FOLIO PRINTED IN MANY SOMBER COLORS."

"Somber" is right: The reels and booklet summarize the DS storyline featuring Angelique as a vampiress, Dr. Julia Hoffman, Barnabas Collins, Nicholas Blair, and the Frankenstein-and-Bride-inspired Adam and Eve.

The 3-D images are great, and the booklet also contains some small drawings of key DS characters. The story (reprinted below) is fairly intense for kids, including a lot of references to murder, Liz's obsessive fear of being buried alive, and Joe's suicide attempt. Surprisingly, also included is the most controversial development in the Dark Shadows storyline: Nicholas Blair's audience with Satan in Hell. It's not exactly on par with the adventures of Strawberry Shortcake or the Smurfs...

This GAF product first hit the market in 1969. Two variations of the packaging exist: the one pictured here, and another with the GAF logo much more prominently splashed across the top. (There's no difference in collectible value between the two.)

Following is the text from the View-Master booklet:

Reel One

Dark were the shifting shadows that waxed and waned among the
turrets and gables of the great house of Collinwood. Darker still were
the shadows that deepened over the souls of those who dwelt within --
shadows of fear and evil and despair...It was fear, and a desperate
necessity, that drove Barnabas Collins to leave the house in the dead
of night to make his way to a lonely dwelling by the sea. Asleep in that
house was Eve, a strange being whom he must destroy before her evil
genius could destroy Adam, her hapless mate within whose man-made body
pulsed the life-force of Barnabas himself. He didn't know that behind
this reasoning was Angelique, who wanted Eve killed to thwart the warlock
Nicholas, who had great and terrible plans for Eve and Adam. As the
curtain lifts we see Barnabas stealthily approach Eve's bed, the lethal
hypodermic in his hand. Overcoming his revulsion, he steels himself,
flings back the covers...

Reel One
(1) An exclamation of dismay escaped Barnabas' lips. The form beneath
the covers was not Eve at all but an artful dummy.
He had been lured into a trap!


From the darkness came a low, mocking laugh and he whirled, stared
incredulously. "You!" he burst out, his voice hoarse with sudden terror.

"But I thought you -- I thought Nicholas..."

Again came the laugh. "You thought Nicholas had destroyed me -- Angelique, your old love. Well, he didn't. At the last he let me live. And now, Barnabas...." She moved a step toward him. He tried to recoil but the heavy bed stopped him. "And now, this is what I am!"

The lovely lips parted in a smile and Barnabas froze in horror. In her mouth were not ordinary teeth -- but fangs!

As the hypodermic clattered to the floor from his nerveless fingers, Angelique lunged, clasped him in her arms and he felt those wicked fangs pierce the flesh of his neck.

(2) His strength ebbed, he staggered to a chair. She knelt beside him, her hypnotic eyes fixing him. "Now you are mine forever," she whispered. "You can never escape me. Your will is now my will."

(3) Every step a monumental labor, so weak had he grown, Barnabas dragged himself back to the great house. Awaiting him was Dr. Julia Hoffman, who had created Adam by a series of transplants as part of Nicholas' great experiment. With her was Prof. Stokes. All Barnabas could tell them were the lies Angelique willed him to voice.

"I didn't do away with Eve," he panted. "She wasn't there. Nobody was there. I searched the one."

(4) But Adam was there in the house by the sea and he had at that moment awakened to the touch of his master, Nicholas Blair, who had sold his soul to Balberith, a Prince of Darkness. He exclaimed as his eye caught fresh fang marks on Adam's neck, identical with those on Barnabas'. Also, Adam was strangely weak, just as Barnabas was, and tormented by fear. His voice was a whisper. "Nicholas -- something horrible has happened, hasn't it --something to do with -- with Angelique?"

The handsome but sinister face of Nicholas was grim as he got to his feet. "It has," he told the frightened Adam. "But it won't happen again, I promise you. Now go back to sleep; I'm going now to have a word with -- with a certain woman, and take care of the matter."

(5) Confronting Angelique, Nicholas told her bluntly, "You will have to
stop seeing Barnabas -- at once!"

"Stop seeing him!" She retorted. "But I need him! You know that."

"Of course I know it. But I also know -- and so will you if you try to recall -- what Eric Lang's tape recorder message was." Her face told him that she remembered. "Well, what he said was true. Just now I found fang marks on Adam -- because of what you did to Barnabas. I forbid you to hurt Adam again, so you must find another to meet your -- your needs. When nightfall comes again, summon Joe Haskell -- not Barnabas."

She sneered. "So you can have Joe's precious Maggie Evens for yourself. You..." He glared her to silence.

(6) That evening, Maggie found Joe at the Blue Whale drinking despondently. They tried to talk, but the evil shadow of Angelique was between them; and as night drew near, Joe left the tavern and went to her against his will. But, filled with her unholy craving for Barnabas, she rejected Joe, taunting him with the mirrored scene of Maggie in the arms of Nicholas. Maddened, he seized a letter opener, plunged it into his chest and fell lifeless to the floor.

The merciless Angelique thought only of getting rid of the body. She needed help. "Barnabas!" she whispered, knowing he must come in spite of

(7) Impelled to answer Angelique's summons, Barnabas arrived to find her in a strange state of excitement, and on the floor, the lifeless body of Joe Haskell, who had been his rival for the frightening affections of the woman in white. "Take him away!" she commanded hysterically.

Obeying, he caught sight of something that turned his blood to ice water. There on the dead man's neck were fresh marks like those on his own. Was it possible? With Joe already dead, had ngelique...? His legs weak with the horror of it, it was all he could do to stagger out of the house with Joe in his arms.

Reel Two
(1) As fate would have it, the next evening was the time the mystery woman, Eve, chose to leave Adam's room for the first time, in defiance of Nicholas' orders, and on the terrace to encounter Jeff Clark. Recognition dawned slowly then ecstatically. "Peter!" she cried out, "Peter Bradford!"

Bewildered, he denied the name, but she insisted. "But you _are_ Peter! My_ Peter Bradford -- but -- but I saw you die! Long -- long ago --" A sob broke from her and she ran from the terrace.

(2) Bewildered, Eve fled back to Adam's room only to find Nicholas awaiting her, demanding to know whom she had seen that disturbed her. Her answer was confusing, but it told him enough to know that Jeff Clark was involved. Needing to know more, he mesmerized her to send her back to her previous life nearly 200 years before.

"Fix your eyes on the candle," he commanded, "and concentrate. You are moving back through the years -- back --"
First Eve went limp, then she stiffened and cried out, "Peter! I did it for us! For you and me I killed Philip -- because he would have killed you! I swear he would! Peter -- don't look at me that way -- don't condemn me -- I tell you I had to do it! Peter -- "

(3) Such was the force of Nicholas' mesmeric powers, that, for a time, Eve lost all awareness of the present, and returned completely to her previous existence in colonial Collinsport, near the end of the 18th Century. Reliving her tragic confrontation with Peter Bradford, she cried out again and again under the merciless lash of his anger at her slaying of Philip, who had tried to come between them. In the end Peter had rejected her utterly with the cruel words: "Get out of my life and never return!"

But now Peter himself had returned! Watching her with fascinated eyes Nicholas saw her suddenly snap out of the trance, tears streaming from her eyes, murmuring, "The man I saw tonight is Peter Bradford -- and I love him!"

The working of implacable fate lay behind Eve's confrontation with Jeff on the terrace. In the Collinsport of Colonial days grim tragedy parted these star-crossed lovers at the very foot of the hangman's scaffold. Jeff, whose name in that earlier incarnation had been Peter Bradford, saved Eve's life by confessing to a murder that she, not he, had committed. Condemned to die on the scaffold, Peter heroically rejected Eve's pleas to save himself by surrendering his soul to the powers of witchcraft which she herself had embraced long ago. Thus an innocent man died in ignorance of the fact that Eve's powers would work on him even in death and that the two of them would meet again after long centuries had passed.

(4) While Eve's retreat to the past was going on at Blair House, fear permeated one of the rooms at Collinwood like a tangible thing. Victoria Winters, trying to tell Elizabeth Stoddard about her plans for marriage with Jeff, found the older woman returning again and again to the dread conviction that had been growing on her for some time -- that her fate was to be buried alive.

Vicki's efforts to make light of this obsession met with no success."It's no use talking," Elizabeth insisted. "I can hear the spirits of the dead. They say I will be among them, but -- but I will not be dead!"

(5) In another room of the great house, time was running out for Joe Haskell who hadn't quite succeeded in killing himself. Poison, however, had been poured into his medicine by Harry Johnson, and now Barnabas, moving like a sleepwalker at Angelique's command, was about to feed the
concoction to the helpless man. He was aware that he was about to commit a murderous act but was unable to stop himself.

At the ultimate moment chance intervened. Julia Hoffman, seeking the Professor, burst into the room barely in time to knock the spoon from Barnabas' hand.

(6) Joe emerged at last, from his death-like sleep just in time to hear Julia say that the medicine was poisoned, and that Barnabas had tried to give it to him. Enraged, Joe seized a cord, and prowled the darkness until he found Barnabas dozing in a chair. Whipping the cord around the defenseless neck, he jerked it tighter -- tighter. Barnabas' eyes bulged -- the world turned black.

Again, fate took a hand in the form of a woman. Mrs. Johnson appeared and, with a scream, hurled herself on the panting Joe, and loosened his grip on the murderous cord. Barnabas slid lifeless to the floor.

(7) Roger Collins, hoping to talk Elizabeth out of her obsessive determination to build a new, "safe" mausoleum, went with her to the family crypt. Sounds they heard there, interpreted by Elizabeth as
spirit voices, turned out to come from Joe, who had come there, weak and terrified, to hide after his assault on Barnabas. Roger, after calming his hysterical companion, carried Joe back to the house.

Reel Three
(1) With the setting of each day's sun Angelique became bolder and more rebellious against her domination by Nicholas. She would outwit him and make Barnabas hers forever. Then he, too, would sleep in coffins by day, and by night roam the world seeking...

Luring him to a secret cave by the sea, she bared her fangs and grasped him in her terrible embrace, draining his life essences almost to the last drop. When he recovered enough to speak he panted, "You've gone too far. I'm going to die -- I hope I die. And Nicholas -- Nicholas will wreak a fearful vengeance on you."

I n reply she shrieked, "I defy him to do his worst. And you -- You will not die. You will be mine forever!" And with that she fled back to her crypt, for day was near.

(2) Though she defied him, Angelique did not deceive Nicholas. Discovering that Adam had weakened to the point of death, he knew that Angelique was endangering the life of Barnabas and ruining his plans. For this she must pay with her life -- and the only way to take the life of a vampire was to drive a silver stake through her breast as she lay sleeping in her crypt...

But when he arrived, armed with hammer and stake, Angelique's coffin was empty! He trembled, aghast, for he knew why. Balberith, his own master, had summoned her to the Netherworld, and the outcome of that meeting could bode nothing but ill for Nicholas because he had been outwitted by Angelique's greed for Barnabas.

(3) The evil miasma of the Netherworld curled around the golden head of Angelique and the hooded figure spoke in awesome tones: "My faithless servant Nicholas has become enamored of a mortal female named Maggie, while you, Angelique, have defied him. You shall be rewarded -- and he
shall suffer a dreadful punishment!"

He paused while the screams of the damned swelled up and then receded. Then he went on: "As your reward, Angelique, I will remove the curse I put upon you -- and you shall return to human form!"

(4) Only moments after the confrontation in the Netherworld, Maggie Evans paid an unexpected call on Nicholas at Blair House. She seemed confused, almost trance-like.

"What is it, Maggie?" he asked uneasily. "Why did you come here?"

"I -- I don't know," she replied. "I only know I had to come. Something made me -- some power that --" Suddenly stark terror filled her eyes. "Oh, Nicholas!" she gasped, "everything is getting dark -- and I can't get my breath -- Oh, Nicholas, help me!"

She reeled, staggered to the sofa, and collapsed. An unearthly hum filled the room, the lights went dim...

(5) "Nicholas!" Every vestige of color drained from Nicholas' face. His name had been called from the throat of Maggie, but it was not Maggie's voice! It was the voice of Balberith, and the room seemed to pulsate with his unholy presence.

"Y--yes, Master," Nicholas quavered.

"Prepare to meet your judgment, Nicholas!"

Nicholas seized a chair to support his weight.

"J-judgment?" he moaned.

"Tomorrow you will appear before me. Prepare yourself."

(6) With supreme effort Nicholas pulled himself together after Maggie had gone. His fertile brain worked swiftly. Balberith was calling him to account for letting Eve die, and for other sins as well. With some kind of plan perhaps he could stave off the utter destruction that threatened him.

In a flash it came to him, and he dashed off to Collinwood to find Julia Hoffman. It all depended on her. Not even caring that Elizabeth was listening, he told her she must repeat the experiment, infusing new life into the dead Eve. Balberith needed Eve so that she and Adam could start a new race of men who would be his servants.

Horrified, Julia refused, and Nicholas played his trump card. "Very well, then I will take Adam's life."

Julia paled. "Then Barnabas too -- will die."

His answer was an evil smile.

She stared at him with revulsion, but at last she sighed with resignation. "So be it. You may bring Eve's body to my laboratory tonight."

(7) Nicholas' hour had come. He stood before Balberith in Limbo, pleading for one more chance. If the experiment worked he could go on serving his master in the human world -- and have Maggie besides.

His proposal met cosmic scorn. "I give no second chance, Nicholas, as you did with Angelique. No -- you will return here -- for eternity. But -- if the experiment is successful you may bring the woman with you."

"Bring her! But that means she must die!"

"Of course! On the Black Altar!" The fiend's laughter rose, filling the vast corridors of Limbo. "Go, Nicholas -- go back to earth -- and prepare your wedding plans!"

Roiling masses of fog billowed about the towers of Collinwood as
Nicholas returned, creating, even by day -- dark shadows.


Craig Hamrick is author of
The Dark Shadows Collectibles Book.

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