Working on Episode 16 And A Ton of Other Stuff

Well, it’s been almost twenty days since I put together a blog post. That latest one about renewed fans and new fans seemed to help a lot of people. And really, it’s sad that we’ve boiled down so many troubles to the basic sibling-rivalry, but I’m often pleased when I finally figure out a problem. Sheesh! I was just writing to my cousin, “Man! This ain’t no Starfleet. DAYUM!”

Then my newest buddy and I were discussing some of the crappier writings out there just dissing on these characters. We’re just flabbergasted to the point it becomes hilarious. It’s like, “Do they enjoy this show, Dark Shadows? Dare we ask, do they watch this show? Why are they so damned confused by the characters all of the time? Probably need a good year doing something else, or paying attention to other things. All the conformity going on, you’d think they’d enjoy Donna Reed or Ozzie & Harriet much, much more! It’s a lot easier to digest.”

I can’t be the only person out there having this experience wherein people write to me and ask, “Um, what’s wrong with everyone who is into Dark Shadows? I went looking for stuff about the program and accidentally came across this mean stuff, and this fanfiction that was poorly written and didn’t contain the real characters at all.” Yeah, I gotta say… there’s a lot of embittered nostalgia going on with it. No wonder so many Ghost & Mrs. Muir fans are so quiet. I can merely deduce that they hear The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows and think, “Blast! This is good but those DS fans are so crazy! Thank God she’s got The Addams Family in there. They’ll have a gas.”

Then even nice fans of Dark Shadows are all tripped-out and scared, as if to say, “I’ll tune in, but you’re on your own. Good luck! ” Thanks a lot, people. Someone else told me, “This has got to be the most dysfunctional fandom I’ve ever encountered.”

To top it off? Watching Dark Shadows? It’s very soothing! It’s as if watching the show is the therapy you need for all the fandom bickering going on.

281 I couldn't let her go through that death again.

You go back and just get lost in Roger Collins having fun with how frightful the costume party séance was and all the enjoyably witty dialogue he has with everyone else, Elizabeth coming down on her brother for being so delighted by the whole thing, and even Victoria, who got possessed by Josette’s ghost, agrees that the party was a success. (DS 281)

Next Barnabas brings over a book for Victoria and Burke Devlin is having a cow over her obsession with the past or whatever, and Carolyn is kind of agreeing but doesn’t feel it’s exactly her place to say. Then Barnabas shows up to ask if she got the darn book, and Anthony George flubs his line, “Hickory—history kick.” We never find out what the hell book it is! (Which ticks me off, of course, as I’m the old-book person.) And then you just kind of decide all the fandom bickering is much like the stupid hullabaloo Burke is having over Victoria’s interest. This was why I didn’t see Burke winning Victoria, really. What did he want? June Cleaver? (He’d probably be unhappy with June too for speaking Jive on “Airplane.”)

As for myself, the pen pal world is actually thriving more than I thought. I knew of three sources in the zine world and now I’m finding more. That’s the deal. You gotta do the paper thing to get the paper thing, and this is likely why the pen pal zines help each other out by advertising each other in their own zine. Try going online these days for pen pals and it’s mostly an exciting novelty that fizzles from a would-be pen pal’s mind after the first exchange, likely brought on by several re-surges back to the five-second attention-span addictions. (I also found another age variable in this technological mess, but I’ll mention that later, or if somebody asks.)

And yep! If you still don’t believe in the powerful love of Barnabas & Josette? Guess whose marriage is still getting the perks from it?

more b and w

And it’s not like I don’t want other people to enjoy a relationship like this. I’m making a relief series for a soap opera. Come on! I obviously like to help people. That’s why I keep telling so many to really, really watch “What To Do On A Date”! It might be corny, but it really does make a good point. Plus with how messed up everyone is we all might need stuff as simplistic as Coronet Instructional Films. They were heckled on MST3K for that reason, but if so many people have regressed, the messages are likely useful once again.

So I’ve been watching the shows I’m incorporating. Getting some good inspiration for Margaret Josette Dupres, as well as appreciating the comments as so many are in it for the couple and are seeing the characters as they are, and able to picture them from their style of speaking. (This goes for The Pit of Ultimate… as well. Just two more Q & A’s done for Episode 14 and we can shimmy ahead.) Oh, and doing some bitty snipping for the audio of Episode 16. It’s not often, but the boys get me through some of it. If the lines they give me weren’t so darned hilarious it would be tough to sit there and work on.

Jonah (who we’ve mentioned on the podcast) called the other night, quite excited. A few others have been in touch too so it does look a bit like the break-away from zombie-mode is beginning. *knock on wood* A generous donation arrived which made me almost faint. (Thank you!) Glad I was sitting down.

Church is still bringing in needed morals for me and others. You can imagine what they say about all the haters I’ve had to put up with. I’m mainly grateful to be sane enough that I can have face-to-face discussions about all of this. I think about all the haters who are so angry at me, and how if they brought up why in conversation with someone in a church setting, they probably wouldn’t get much support; “You’re angry with who? About what? Wait, you like this show that I’ve never heard of, and you hate the characters on it? And this lady is making a new version of the show where things are being solved and getting better and… what? Okay, hold on, hold on. Um… well, why don’t you stop paying attention to her? … Hey, um, I have to… use the restroom… that’s it, yeah… I’ll get back to you, honey.”

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For Episode 16 I’m considering giving my Hawkeye attempt just one more try. He is just so hard to sound out. The lines are great for him, but my impression leaves much to be desired. Then again, we are talking about Alan Alda who has one of the oddest voices you can think of. (Yes, the hardest voice to do is no longer Barnabas Collins!)

There is a spooky scene that I’m really having trouble deciding music for. The brooding sounds I’m imagining in my mind are closer to experimental music than anything simply Gothic. It’s also odd because the theme I’d usually complete an episode with is going to be in the middle rather than the end, so it kind of winds up being similar to certain Monty Python episodes in that regard. The actual episode will finish with a sound effect and Hecubus giggling.

Maggie will finally meet the ghost of Caleb in Episode 16, and the great thing about that is with her various reincarnations surfacing she shan’t be scared of him at all. She’s got some one-ups on the guy and he digs that. I’d like to start the writing for Episode 17, but 16 truly needs to be more or less finished before I can access the next steps. (My only bummer is it doesn’t look like Wadsworth, nor Willie, is going to fit in episode 17, but then again I’m trying to make the episodes shorter for time. It’s awkward having them the length of a Downton Abbey episode.)

What I would love is if I could find out more about the original writers rigmarole. They must have had a balancing act put together to make up for how continual the process was. I’ve got gobs of books about the show but I’m not sure where to look for that precisely.

That’s about it. Hope some people are reading this and digesting the information enough to square away some lifestyle choices. As Ferris Bueller is quoted to say, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ❤

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For New Fans, Renewed Fans and U.K. Fans of Dark Shadows (& perhaps The Pit of Ultimate…)

 

I’d like to open this first post of 2016 with a favourite quotation by a young fan of Dark Shadows, “Perhaps the people bashing Barnabas should find a more contemporary, trashier show to follow. Then they can bash on their favourite reality actors.” I laughed so heartily toward her wisdom. It still gives me a warm glow.

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The year has begun and hopefully with far more enthusiasm and productivity to come than the previous two years of confusion and belittlement. My new beloved friends and I are seeing a change: new fans to Dark Shadows. It was likely to happen and not simply due to the 2012 film. There are also renewed fans; the kids who ran home or were already home, as I was in the days of Monkees re-runs. These “kids” are in their 50’s, rather than their 60’s, now. I was able to suss out a difference in a majority of these fans while talking with my Auntie.

In our conversation she mentioned going back to college to take on her new profession. At the school she attended, their library had the entire series of Dark Shadows, which she watched. Considering how long she attended the school she could easily have used it as her escapism. I was still stunned she could do it.

“You watched the whole thing up there?” I marvelled.

“Oh, yes. Loved it.”

“Leviathans and all?”

“Leviathans and all!” she announced proudly.

Well, okay. This, of course, is the aunt of mine who was able to get through all six books of the Dune series. (God Emperor of Dune just wiped me out.) She and I share that need for the linear and continuity, or at least continuance, flubs or no flubs, in our storytelling. Then I was blown away…

“You ran home from school to watch Dark Shadows?” I practically gaped.

“Oh, sure! Couldn’t get enough of it,” she smiled, happily.

I was almost dumbfounded and pointed out, “Well, what’s the deal? You’re obviously not crazy or messed up by it.” She laughed and I pondered, then finally I asked, “Wait. How old were you when the show ended?”

“Oh, that was 1971… So I was about ten years old.”

That’s when the light-bulb went on, “Ohhh… so you hadn’t gone through puberty yet. All that sexual tension on the show went right over your head.”

“Yup!”

Hmmmmmm… This led me to a new understanding. These “veteran” fans are often much different than the “veteran” fans who watched as teenagers. (Often, not always.) They looked at it in ways I remember watching television and films prior to pubescence. Love meant something much simpler and more wholesome, not the frightful whirlwind that it is once the tragedies of blooming time come in to confuse the crap out of us. Mix that up while viewing a soap-opera filled with romantic pairings switching right-&-left, deceit, black-mailing, kidnapping, a wild-woman out for revenge to trick her ex-lover into being her husband and then some, thwarted romances, and egad! Quentin Collins alone! Could anything be rougher on the emotional reflections of kids just trying to sort out sanitary napkins, under-arm odours, first crushes, insecurities about the boy or girl next door and all the rest? Couple this with “free-love” for the late 1960’s and perhaps we’re seeing that deluge of repercussions. And they’d be less attended to via the 21st century’s technology to seize our minds into shorter attention spans.

Anyway, let’s just say that a ton of the old-hats into Dark Shadows were running home from school. Right now the eldest among them ran home from school during their adolescence, yes? Perhaps this isn’t that big of a deal to the British turn of mind since people with a broader sense of history are usually better grounded in the turmoil of emotions and puberty. That’s my wager, anyway.

Now turn your attention to us Yankees, right? A nation much fixated on Puritanical ideas and *GASP* “scandal”! (As Betty White said in an interview, U.K. humour is very different from U.S. humour because the British don’t belabour a topic.) So a ton of these DS fans are currently living in this make-believe condition of hierarchy: If you are popular you somehow have jurisdiction over other fans. Yeh, I know: What rot! [sad snickering, and head shaking] Many U.S. fans of Dark Shadows, at least the ones on Facebook, are currently re-living that high-school (or secondary school) time period of their lives through association with running home to see Dark Shadows when it first aired. That association puts them back into the high-school frame of mind, and therefore they build pretend hierarchies in the same fashion. It stinks, but there you have it.

Me? HA! I’ve been through multiple layers of this psychological garbage. Sibling rivalry, ostracizing, fair-weather friendships while being told it would last our whole lives, and various interest groups. There are plenty sets of subculture to choose from, and I’d had my run for dressing up to be popular in the dreaded fashion of the 1980’s. I moved on. It didn’t accomplish much of deeper insight; not really my tea.

In no certain order, I went from studying Beatniks, Hippies, hitting up part of the Punk Movement, realizing I was more a Goth type than anything else, but still adoring the lighter side of literature, or the spooky elements. Part of my own abuse growing up was the enforced idleness to watch television constantly and not be creative. Breaking free from the addictive hold of television was hard enough at the time.

Currently we have things like Facebook where the five-second attention span and that peer-pressure to constantly connect to it is reigning supreme. Next one becomes idle and useless minus little blips here and there? Well, I can break free from it often enough now that I’ve seen its addictive quality, but I am still dealing with minds fragmented into that mentality. (I have enough trouble with old-fashioned addictions like alcohol. This new addiction of posting links, photos, memes, articles, and quizzes 5-to-20 times an hour is useless to me. At least with booze I slow-down and get more inspiration.) For fans of a program that spanned over 1,200 episodes coupled with a social-network that encourages five-second attention spans? This has to be a worse combination than oil & water.

Either way what I’m doing goes a ton farther and to more people (not that it doesn’t bother me) because I’m not only creating a Dark Shadows series but a series with a plethora of cameos, and other shows like The Addams Family, The Munsters, Wadsworth from Clue, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir television show, and Bewitched. I also approach those into Halloween, spooky, vampires, and several Gothic communities. Dark Shadows fans, or in this case junkies, don’t comprehend the scope of that at all. They are still set in their sense of hierarchies and feel the need to treat me like some chew-toy or kick-dog.

Hmm… I’ve entertained them, I’ve spent a ton of money on this production, I’ve been harassed, stalked, trolled, put up with pesky buffoons, and I deserve to be insulted by… a bunch of aged pensioners??? Not only that but types who delineate being a fan with high-school ideology and factionalism, perhaps a Collinsport High School in which no one ever graduates? I escaped public schooling for a ton of reasons, and this ideology was one of them. That’s why the idea of popularity to me is absurdly silly. I get to hear people saying, “Well *I* won’t listen to your podcast anymore!” or “Well, *I* won’t read your novel anymore!” It’s like, “Erm, yes, did you ever put in a bloody review or thank you or comment about what you enjoyed?” Being a participant while never showing you are except to bad-mouth your entertainer, send her distractions or further grief…  Whatever, folks. Don’t let the door hit you in the tush on your way out.

Theoretically, I could get into a snit with someone about their band covering a song by The Damned or Siouxsie & The Banshees, but why? We all pay tribute in different ways to those we admire. What a lot of these fans do is attack the characters and their behaviour on Dark Shadows. Trying to understand the characters isn’t really important. No one and nothing is sacred, but they still make out like they “own” it all because they saw the show when it originally aired. They were “the first”. Yes, like many in the Punk movement have a herd-of-cattle over newer incarnations of said Punk movement. It is all so much posing, very petty, and I could not care less.

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For new fans and renewed fans of Dark Shadows, I say let them have a safer haven for discussion and support to their preferences than the previous experiences provided. However, for fans of this radio drama series who have often told me they’re uncertain about it since they haven’t watched enough Dark Shadows to know who the characters are? I’ve been letting them know, “Oh, that’s okay. A vast majority of the Dark Shadows fans that I’ve seen have no idea who the characters are either.”