This has been coming up rather frequently with new friends in my endeavour so I wanted to relay what I am sharing with them in recent letters.
I can see how many fans would look at Victoria Winters as the likely marriage partner for Barnabas on the grounds that Barnabas longed for her and often. For some elder fans that longing could have really stuck, as well as the strong person Victoria showed herself to be from The First Year of Dark Shadows.
I also expected that, in the 1960’s soap-opera, this relationship would develop naturally into a romance. As I continued to view the program, it was hedging in that direction via Barnabas’ bite on Victoria that had an hypnotic effect. Then she sees someone, who to her, is Peter Bradford from her time-travel period into the 1790’s. It then turns out to be some schmoe named Jeff Clark instead.
After many, many, many episodes Jeff Clark discovers that he is INDEED Peter Bradford. Victoria and Jeff finally get married, supernatural weirdness happens to Jeff to take him back to the 1790’s (along with wacky stuff of him being involved in Eve’s previous life filling up some prior episodes).
Victoria then endlessly bemoans the loss of her husband. Barnabas proposes marriage to her quite a few times and with that she declines, at first politely but in stronger terms with each successive proposal. (Yes, the actresses changed but I rather doubt the writers would have gone in another direction with Victoria if her role was still portrayed by the original actress.)
I was also extremely touched that when Victoria returned to the past to find Peter again, Barnabas went back as well to help the both of them through the struggle. It showed he loved her in a very selfless way, which was part of his own personal growth. (And then FINALLY one couple could live happily ever after on this bloody show!)
Now there are other productions of Dark Shadows. In the original I found evidence, as many others did, that Maggie Evans was the reincarnation of Josette duPres, Barnabas’ long-lost love.
Newer versions switch the reincarnation of Josette duPres to be Victoria Winters.
This is known as condensing.
Other productions of Dark Shadows are much shorter.
One good example of condensing a story is taking the book Anne of Green Gables and making it into a film as was done in 1934. The film was 78 minutes in length and didn’t provide an enormous amount that was in the book for the sake of time. Rachel Lynde and Mrs. Barry, Diana Barry’s mother, became a single character. Other components of the original story were changed for a faster pace, as well.
With the Revival of Dark Shadows in the early 1990’s, Victoria Winters is the reincarnation of Josette duPres. (Maggie Evans gets the shocking role of being Roger’s cheap affair girl. Ewl…)
In the unaired 2004 WB pilot, that many more of us have been able to watch, Victoria Winters is shown to be that reincarnation of Josette duPres yet again. (And there is no untoward version of Maggie Evans in our midst. Thank you!)
For the Dark Shadows motion picture that was released in 2012, there is a merge where Maggie Evans changes her name to Victoria Winters for the sake of covering up a tragic past, and for which I was very grateful! Again, she is the reincarnation of Josette duPres.
(Yes, I mentioned the movie. If you have just suffered a heart-attack because of this please dial 911 on your telephone to get some help and, after you recover, seek a good therapist. Some of us aren’t so sensitive to entertainment we don’t like. We simply turn it off.)
There is also “House of Dark Shadows”, released in 1970, giving Maggie Evans the role as the reincarnation of Josette duPres once again. Although it was definitely more horror than romance however much some enjoy the photos to get a sense of romance from it. (I am included in this fun, if startling, group of people.) Barnabas maintained his sense of villainy throughout much of it, which was an original intention on the television show that changed when the audience got hot for the guy.
So the pattern just keeps coming up to the point I stroke my chin when viewing “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) or even “Love At First Bite” (1979).
In any case, the big reason in the switch from Maggie Evans to Victoria Winters to merging the two characters is condensing a very long story into a much shorter one. And I am grateful I have reached the sanity, along with others, to be able to actually have these conversations as we might have had ten years ago.
In The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows we are focusing on the original 1960’s characters from Dark Shadows. Within that show Victoria Winters briefly agreed to marry Barnabas Collins and changed her mind upon seeing her own long-lost love from 1795. Later Victoria was determinedly devoted to Peter (Jeff). His disappearance led her to almost jumping off of Widows Hill to die and be with him again. (Much repeating of Professor Stokes words on the topic echoing throughout these episodes.)
This is why I often express that I ask the characters what they want and do my best to provide that. Our 1960’s Victoria Winters didn’t reciprocate Barnabas’ romantic affection minus a very brief spell. I can see the allure of it and I’m also grateful that it exists.
However, with Victoria Winters of the 1960’s program I saw a lot more unveiling in her own personal needs, choices and desires. It’s just that Barnabas Collins wasn’t one of them. Believe it or not I have even heard long complaints when Barnabas pines for Victoria to which I respond, “Cut the guy a break. He’s in love. It does that stuff to a person.”
So, in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, that is why it is not a Victoria/Barnabas story. I know many fans cling to that for the 1960’s original. Part of it might be those long ago memories that faded and are now coming back in finally re-watching the series. Emotions linger, for humans they can be memory keepers. Another part might be due to the newer productions of Dark Shadows that are more geared toward Victoria Winters with Barnabas Collins, whether she has changed her name or hasn’t.
With this in mind I felt it was important to finally write up a log entry about it. Hopefully it will help those who read it.