Pit Update: September 2017

2017 September Update

 

Genuine appreciation for pen friends overall, and in a sense that this gratitude may be endless considering the alternative online “prison-camps” we’ve all felt trapped in.

Nothing fancy. Just basic news and me hanging out in my room. Talking about Carolyn and Tony as well as Dr. Hoffman and Prof. Stokes, both on Dark Shadows and in The Pit.

Technical updates on Episode 17, inquiries for chat and correspondence.

Much love for a non fandom related pointer K.L.S. mentioned in an interview. Explanations on the three-year roller coaster of social media versus the calming effect pen, paper and email discussions managed to make in only six months.

Over all some fun rambling, which I know appeals to some new pals.

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A Relieving Return to Script-Writing

That title looks grand doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice to believe that all our troubles were over? Alas, there are wounds. I have photo albums filled with once marvellous friends and relations that I may never hear from again due to them having sold their souls to device technology and social media. Wounds as such cannot fade. Time can heal but this grief is an entirely new phenomenon. The uncertainty of repair is staggering and loud. The change in human behaviour to something so close to the docile Eloi of “The Time Machine” is horrific.

Good people come forward, though. They are new friends and companions, people fed-up with what’s happened. We share this bond with each other. My woes are their woes. There is still that little denial of, “It’s not so bad,” but that denial has receded greatly in this year, 2017. We know it is all very, very bad, indeed.

And yet… shades of delightful 20th Century habits come back to us. Selecting real books to enjoy, real albums to play, true conversation in person and on paper. Recipes to cook, scrubbing to be done. Dishes to be washed. Clothing to be picked out for the weather of the week to come. The seasons remind us that we are of The Earth and of The Heavens.


 

As I sit at my desk and stare into Morning Glory Circle on Bewitched, with two characters from Maine about to knock upon The Stephens door, a wonderful thing finally occurs: The characters let me know what they likely would say to each other. Samantha Stephens is being introduced to Sam Evans of Collinsport and Captain Daniel Gregg of Schooner Bay, at long last.

Samantha

It isn’t coming out as I expected either! I predicted it would get very silly, and Endora’s arrival might have Captain Gregg hiding behind Sam in fear. The thing is Captain Gregg doesn’t really behave that way when set in motion to face a potential adversary, even if that adversary has put him through dire straits as Endora did previously in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. And so far Samantha hasn’t scolded Endora for what she did, but I feel that ought to be in there somewhere, really. (Besides, I am itching to do an Elizabeth Montgomery impression of, “Mother!”)

A book on sea-faring language, that Osheen once suggested, has come in quite handy. I had a little trouble with what Gregg would say until I opened that up. I still have to determine where Tabitha might be, but I notice they don’t always worry about that on Bewitched so maybe it doesn’t matter. (This is a rough-draft, afterall.)

Looking at the word count now I still have plenty of room. Scenes are already mapped out for Chris Jennings, Amy Jennings, Hoffman, Stokes, and later on it appears that bypassing Mr. Wells death and allowing him to live will be easier than I thought. In fact, I found him barricading the door for Chris rather than simply locking it from the outside. After The Blairs staying in Room 13? Mr. Wells is done with being curious about noise. He just wants there not to be any.

 

Vic and Mor 1

That leaves us in wondering what to do with The Addams Family, Victoria Winters and Peter Bradford. Some ideas are there. I’ve made a list of pastimes The Addams Family engage in and I must say, it’s longer than the list of odd recipes they’ve mentioned.

I know that for Victoria there will be further exercises in her powers, but that doesn’t mean she can’t just enjoy herself in a new home she’s almost gotten used to. An interest in history is even there if Wednesday’s dolls have anything to do with it. I smell a rapport happening between those two.

The main thing is finding the discussion between Victoria, Peter and The Addams Family. There is a slice-of-life element to The Addams Family that I didn’t notice before, but it was the more Gothic type I’d been rather wanting for so long. Having a problem to solve needn’t be necessary at all. It’s a staple of television shows but The Addams Family always operate so differently. A great deal of the show itself is often hanging out or goofing off. Whatever problems that come usually take a long time to be solved as they are so busy with all of their hobbies, pets, and basic housekeeping.

So far The Pit scenes I have for The Addams Family have been quite reflective. There was the great cliff-hanger in Episode 13 with, “We need you, Grandmama. It’s Victoria! …She has the gift!” And that got identified in Episode 15 with spell work, as Grandmama stared aghast at Reverend Trask’s stark image via Victoria’s memories projected on vapour. It mayn’t have been due to Grandmama having any aversion to a widow’s peak hairstyle, but the severity of Trask’s widow’s peak can rather blow all of our minds, can’t it?

For Episode 18 I am doubtful any new spell work with Victoria will take place. Perhaps some chat of doing more whilst playing a game of some kind. I still haven’t gotten a spot where Peter is enjoying the delights of Gomez and his trains. There is also Peter Bradford being Peter Bradford in official documents. With either man having practised law, however antiquated like Peter, or out-of-step like Gomez, I’m sure they could devise some method in which they fulfil that requirement neatly enough.

But will Victoria take the name of Bradford? Not yet. I wager she will eventually after discovering enough about her own history and her parents. But she started this life as a Winters and shall continue being one for sometime, married or not.


 

Still, I remain puzzled at what happened with Dark Shadows fans for so many decades that they wanted more horror, twisted troubles, and bizarre romantic pairings in the fanfiction all this time. Were libraries with bummer books and ghastly stories always out of reach? Did the wealth of horror movies not suffice? Perhaps it was a lack of having the program to enjoy that made them want to write down what happened so they could enjoy it that way, and then got caught up in altering it in random directions? Did Roger Corman’s films have anything to do with it?

I’m fine with creativity,  or getting wacky, heck, after I watched “200 Motels” a la Frank Zappa? It was pretty clear anything goes in some areas of entertainment. But Dark Shadows is huge on its own. So huge I’m not sure I’d want to repeat the entire thing over and over again. So with the fanwork I have to wonder if something happened to these fans. Too many drugs in the 1970’s? Sadness that the show ended and re-runs were unheard of at the time? Bafflement at Sam Hall’s wrap-up? (I just listened to Roger Davis read it and shrugged, myself.) I can’t imagine that life was so comfortable that they were in want of more drama. The puzzle remains for me.

 


 

As time goes on, I do want to do more for our Old House couple and family in the pages of “Margaret Josette Dupres”. But discussion of it is necessary and the practice of discussion itself is low. There is only so much I can do for Barnabas and Maggie’s marriage details as it’s based on Dark Shadows which is finished, and The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows which is not.

When a waitress is on holiday might Maggie fill in at The Coffee Shop just for kicks? Sarah and Caleb as children shan’t be a thorn-free bed of roses. Caleb has become a witch’s son after all. Will Barnabas finally get comfortable with being a vampire who is less affected by sunlight? (I have my doubts.) The only surety is the love never fades. What to do on a daily basis with that love? That’s the question. ❤

Of course, as has been very usual, people will listen to me asking for the discussion on the novel during the podcasts, or read this log entry where I explain the practicality of discussion, and rather than send an email or telephone me about it? They will blink and wonder why no one else is doing so. Time has become less of a worry with this new technology. What has really been lost with it is the art of conversation.

Cat’s got your tongue, as they say.

Looks like this time, she’s kept it, too. 😉

Why Bashing Doesn’t Work

Now that much of the online hokum due to bizarro fans I never wanted to deal with has been relieved by pen pals who give a darn, I’m finding simple reflections in things I dearly missed. A breeze, a delightful flower, the simple odour of pines, the feel of paper and a cosy outfit.

And I have to giggle at statistical weirdness. I swear to Zeus, people straggle through, find The Pit script, skip the lot, go straight to the last episode and likely are as baffled as when they started. We’re on 16, it’s a cliffhanger, there is NO wrap up currently to this show! Doi!

I’ve lived through a lotta weird decades, but this one has to be the stupidest I’ve encountered. I’ve heard the 1950’s were pretty dumb from people who lived during it, baring a few beatniks, I guess. I’m trying to imagine it in comparison to these 2010’s. There was sure a ton of products to dazzle, wanting people to lavishly spend like crazy after WWII and keep the money flowing which would maintain our removal from what happened during The Great Depression (hence we have planned obsolescence and stuff that breaks more often so we have to re buy it). But the depth of dopiness doesn’t feel like it was quite so rampant as it is now.

Maybe it was the Establishment vibe that made the 1950’s run differently. This 2010’s decade is flopping all over the place. It dares to be different except you are only allowed to be different through the New Establishment of constantly being connected online. Rather than being shunned for not upholding the status-quo of online connection? You just go unseen and more or less wiped from people’s own memories. It’s a bit like the disappearance of Tony Peterson on Dark Shadows. Things with him and Carolyn were fine, he just kinda didn’t show up anymore.

I have had some good chats with fed-up companions who only briefly tried Facebook. Sudden contact with so many people they hadn’t heard from in decades, and weren’t really that close to at all, “Now they’re all up in my business! Wanting me to look at crap, wanting me to click things that don’t pertain to either of us. After three months? I was done! Bleh!”

Another nice lady was good enough to express a two-day yuck of even trying to understand the point of the social network. “I kept looking and I just had to get as far away as I could!” she explained, in a physical gesture of removing herself from the table where we were having our dinner.

I really do remember when television did some crappy things to people. They’d get all into a favourite movie airing after a hard day at work and someone would need a lift by car. The joy sank out of their grasp as they went to deal with it. We know it’s the honourable thing to do to help a person in need, but that needy person is now tainted with the association of missing out on the company of fictional characters that warm the heart more than living people do. That was the old world.

This new world is scattered with indecision, distraction, and abundance of overwhelming choices far worse than cable or satellite television could provide. It’s also indoctrinated with a TV-screen version of friendship, hygienic connection to people we once knew or have never met in person. It is so hygienic and sporadic that it stifles the flow of natural mood, aggravates the senses, removes facial recognition and tone of voice, all while the eyes are constantly staring at artificial light. “Relaxing” reading is done by tablet, again we’re staring at artificial light. (My own preference is for the paper-screen e reader, by the way.)

Rather than seeing a person you know and starting up a conversation, lights and boxes pop out. Jingles and alarming noises zing in the air. What could be gleaned easier in person is covered entirely with gadgetry.  Then? Paranoia sets in, “How honest is this person being with me?”

How are you to know, eh?

The wealth of human details are cut away from the conversation. Even a personal thing like handwriting doesn’t show in prefabricated textual lettering. Tech wizards always claim that these things will improve with more tinkering. Really? After social media do you think we’re going to trust what tech wizards tell us?

Reminds me of a favourite line in The Golden Girls when Rose confesses they didn’t have a television set in her household because someone felt, “It hadn’t been perfected yet.”

I used to believe my childhood and teen years were so horrendous, and in light of the severe ostracising and constant discouragement to do anything productive, while also being picked-on for not being productive (?????) it is true. However, I’m reconsidering some of the basics like yelling matches and getting fisticuffs with other kids, sometimes out of anger, sometimes from self-defence. I’m not sure this current generation has that much of that. And all that energy and loneliness just wells up inside them so there is this need to bash and be insulting to get it out because it is the only option that’s left! I used to wonder why outdoor sports and competition was considered “healthy”. I think I know now.

But then why get all bent out of shape about Dark Shadows? I’m concerned some of these younger fans don’t understand the format. (And honestly? I’m not too sure the elder fans understand it either.)

I knew other soap-operas. I was very aware of the format going in. Eastenders was probably my favourite. It just got nice and dull, and sometimes I couldn’t understand what the people were even saying anyway. (It confused my sister when she walked in. She knew more British comedy. She was waiting for Eastenders to get funny and… it wasn’t really getting funny. Very perplexing!)

To me soap-operas and their characters were very disposable. I expected Dark Shadows to be nothing more than that. It’s spooky and spooky is my thing. It’s based on old-books which are also my thing. So it’ll be somewhat higher grade but we’ll get some cheesiness from it being so old. We even giggled a ton upon Dr. Woodard’s death with Sam finding him, and his deep and meaningful close-up, staring straight into the camera lens, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” We kept laughing. We played it again and again and again, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” Woo! Going for an award, Mr. Ford!

Then there was humour, real humour coming right from Roger Collins about the séance, Carolyn & Buzz making fun of Jason, The Caretaker just on his own with his comical Edward Gorey woefulness. My goodness! This is incredibly entertaining! I didn’t expect that! I can’t binge on this however much I want to. I gotta re-watch that disk! Made for TV movies like “The Beast” (1996)? That was disposable. But this soap-opera isn’t. How the heck did that happen?

So in that light I can see the appeal. But we, as humans, have the need for closure. Loose ends bug us. A good story degrading irritates us. If we get a tear in our sleeve we want to fix it, or replace the whole shirt. That’s why I went searching five years for a relief-series before starting my own. Someone must have created a relief-series by the 21st Century, right?

Sadly most people go for the band-aid manoeuvre. And considering the bumper-sticker length of attention spans these days? That’s about all most people can do at all. It’s applicable to listeners who get angry at my podcast intros. They don’t want the whole picture. They want it in bite sizes. Molly-coddled and babied for years now? What is the result?

“Waaaaaaa!!! Mommy Internet isn’t giving me what I want! Waaaaaaaaaaa!!! This person is trying to make me think! Waaaaaaaa!!! I don’t like thinking! I just want to make fun of Barnabas Collins being sad! Waaaaaaaa!!!”

They want something to scoff at because they’re mostly trained to do nothing but scoff. Rushing around in a hurry for no reason while they long for these olden days and “simpler times”. (You’ll find it in old books, my dears. It isn’t necessarily online.)

I’m speculating the creation of a stigma for this stupidity. We actually had that with the hipper crowds in the 1990’s. Too much television = moron. Books were approved of, but be wary of the author. If it was an easy read or a very popular author you might as well be watching television. The more obscure it was the cooler you looked. Hoopy froods got uppity if someone read things to them, “What? You think I’m too ignorant not to be able to read it myself?!”

This should explain to you why I don’t care about popularity and I have retaliated against online rudeness with some of my own. Growing up we were made to feel the pain of being an idiot. It was the days of Sophia Petrillo Unbound, my friends. But as she likes to say, “It wasn’t pretty,” which means I’ve also got a ton of patience for better people who really do want to learn and be educated.

Curiously, I see some of that stigma might have morphed into this need to be very randomly insulting and rude. Once upon a time that snootiness truly was meant to encourage self-improvement in a twisted way. Like Sophia would tell Rose, “Quit bein’ an idiot!”

I’m not sure how this mutated into the encouragement to be dim-witted and nasty, as this decade is showing, but that appears to be what’s happened. Cruel=Funny=Cool. A sense of “belonging” by shared hates? Doesn’t work. We tried it with the third “Anne of Green Gables” mini-series Kevin Sullivan put out in 2000. We rallied around online to bitch and moan over how non-canon it was. I made a few friends via email. The friendships themselves were short-lived. Why didn’t those friendships last?

We never discussed what we enjoyed about the original book series.

We were angry at Sullivan for taking our beloved characters through disasters that didn’t occur in the books and not giving us the old joys his production crews had managed closely enough to the books with the first two installments. We wanted enjoyment but as one irritated fan said, “This was more like Lara Croft of Green Gables.”

I still chuckle heartily at her hilarious description. But… those friendships didn’t last.

We didn’t share with each other what we did love. We were too fixated on what we hated. No seeds were planted, we cited nothing to grow from, there were no blossoms we were bringing to life. There was nothing to nurture towards each other.

We had only banded together to frown at the dirt.

Pit Update: August 2017 & Retrospective

2017 August F

 

Study encouragement for The Addams Family, lining things up for Pit Episode 18 in script, wonderful results from pen pals and confusing results from online bystanders. Suggestion of postage stamps if one desires to send a gift. The repercussions of our implicit trust in “Mommy Internet”.

 
Retrospective via Milligan and Hecubus, Sam and Barnabas, gift of lingerie joke for Helena, Dr. Hoffman and Prof. Stokes romance, Clue-like scene in Hoffman’s office, Barnabas and Maggie’s romance.

 
Deep consideration of Willie Loomis’ character overall and his personal challenges between Dark Shadows and The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows.

 
The reasons for variations of Dark Shadows soundtracks in the confrontation scene between Willie and Barnabas, the challenge of the scene and the shock in how it came into being.

 
My favourite scene, thus far, in the whole series: Roger and Elizabeth opening the mail and discussing their supernatural relations in a down-to-earth fashion.

 
All the key points of importance in the final scene of Episode 14 with Wadsworth and Willie, reflections of Dark Shadows, modern life, storytelling, and our interconnection to each other.

 
Where to go from here: pride in new pen friends, encouragement to youth, invitation for more personal contact, and the reflection of Willie Loomis’ heroism reaching to his refusal to remain a bystander.

Theme for this podcast: “Paranya” by Silenzium (2011)

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Downloadable from iTunes, as always…

Pit Update: July 2017 And Retrospective

2017 July Retrospective

 

 

Why pen pals work and social media wastes time. Incorporating “Bewitched” into Episode 18. Social network history. Two books by Nicholas Carr.

Episode 12: Tons on regression therapy for Maggie Evans, music used. Healing Barnabas & Carolyn scene. Captain Gregg helping Sam Evans. Dr. Hoffman’s place in everything. Pivotal point with Lily Munster, Elizabeth and Tom Jennings. Milligan & Hecubus fun.

Episode 13: Purpose of dedication to Kathryn Leigh Scott and importance of her contributions and characters in Dark Shadows. My falling into the Julia/Barnabas trap and how a Julia/Barnabas fan, Helena Clara Bouchet, helped to pull me out of it. Incorporating much more “Clue” with Willie & Wadsworth, and the topic of Willie Loomis in general. Caleb Collins meeting with Lily and Elizabeth.

Why the Morticia scene with Victoria turned out the way that it did. Final scene with car race in construction between my occupations in vision therapy. (Osheen Nevoy’s response to the scene.) How music was chosen throughout podcast: Ennio Morricone, Verne Langdon, Stoa, Claudine Longet.

Better methods in communication, and how to make requests for potential MJD podcast, etc. All methods of which have been available since the 20th Century.

Theme song for this podcast: “All Night Long” by Peter Murphy (1988)

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(Yes, this podcast is two hours long, which means very few people have time for it because Heaven knows our newsfeed scrolling and clicking is, by far, a superior activity of higher importance.)

Pit Update: June 2017 And Retrospective

2017 June Update 1d

 

Talk about social media addiction with its ensuing paranoia. Continual gratitude to pen pals and describing their beautiful influence in my life. (I welcome more!)

Why and how constructive praise is important. The fun of watching First Year Dark Shadows. A little chat over 16 & 17 – Retrospective for episodes 8, 9, 10, and both parts of 11. Fair delving into characters from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Addams Family, The Munsters, and Bewitched in The Pit; particularly Captain Gregg’s stormy weather – story building as well as technical aspects.

The fleshing out of Caleb Collins as based on evidence from the original Dark Shadows program and historical research in the Victorian time period.

Discussion on the marriage novel, “Margaret Josette Dupres” and delving into why the sharing of further chapters are (currently) suspended.

Welcome To The 21st Century – What A Disappointment.

https://thepitofultimatedarkshadows.wordpress.com/

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Downloadable from iTunes, as always…


 

Background music for this podcast:

“Neightbourhood” – Space (1996)

“Beds Are Burning” – Midnight Oil (1987)

“Warblings At Eve” – “A Victorian Parlour Evening” (written in 1858)

“Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” – The Smiths (1986)