The Original Episode of Dark Shadows, the 1960s TV Series That Inspired Tim Burton’s New Film

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For mil­lions of Amer­i­can kids grow­ing up in the late 1960s, it was a thrill to run home from school and flip on the TV in time to hear the creepy theremin music at the begin­ning of Dark Shad­ows. A soap opera with a vam­pire! There was some­thing strange­ly sub­ver­sive about it. As a head­line writer for The New York Times recent­ly put it, Barn­abas Collins (the undead star of the show) was “The Vam­pire Who Came Out in the After­noon.”

Tim Bur­ton was one of those kids who ran home to watch the show. “I should prob­a­bly have been doing home­work or play­ing sports after school instead of watch­ing ‘Dark Shad­ows,’ ” Bur­ton told Ter­rence Raf­fer­ty for the Times arti­cle. “But see­ing that show every after­noon, at home, in Bur­bank, it just does­n’t get much weird­er than that.”

It might get just a lit­tle weird­er tonight, with the Amer­i­can open­ing of Bur­ton’s campy new film adap­ta­tion of Dark Shad­ows, star­ring John­ny Depp as Barn­abas Collins. The movie has been get­ting pos­i­tive reviews. Manohla Dar­gis in The New York Times calls it “Mr. Bur­ton’s most plea­sur­able film in years.” To help get you in the spir­it, so to speak–and to add perspective–we’re tak­ing you back to the very first episode of the orig­i­nal series (above) from June, 1966. Alas, Barn­abas Collins did­n’t make his appear­ance until episode num­ber 211, a year lat­er. The actor who played Collins, Jonathan Frid, died last month at the age of 87. He makes a cameo appear­ance in Bur­ton’s movie. For a pre­view of the film, see below. You can pur­chase the com­plete Dark Shad­ows TV series on DVD here, which comes in a nice pack­age of 131 discs.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Vin­cent: Tim Burton’s Ear­ly Ani­mat­ed Film

Franken­wee­nie: Tim Bur­ton Turns Franken­stein Tale into Dis­ney Kids Film (1984)

Tim Burton’s The World of Stain­boy: Watch the Com­plete Ani­mat­ed Series

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Comments (3)
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  • Steve King says:

    The series can be seen through stream­ing on Netflix—-absolutely the best goth­ic soap you’ll ever have the plea­sure to watch. Whether it’s Barn­abas or Buzz, the qua­si-hip­pie bik­er, you’ll have fun…

  • Kim says:

    Hi there!
    My friend and I have been doing quite alot of research into this tv series and we would like to know if any­one knows where we could find the rights for it?
    We want to do a stage per­for­mance on it and hope­ful­ly trav­el with it one day.
    But legal­ly that’s not hap­pen­ing.
    Please help us!

  • Brad says:

    I would sug­gest get­ting in touch with the Dan Cur­tis fam­i­ly. Dan was the cre­ator of Dark Shad­ows.

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