'Dark Shadows' Premiered 50 Years Ago Today on ABC

The cast of Dark Shadows in 1967: David Henesy, Kathryn Leigh Scott,
Sharon Smyth, Anthony George, Robert Gerringer, Nancy Barrett,
Dennis Patrick, Alexandra Moltke, John Karlen, Jonathan Frid,
Grayson Hall, Clarice Blackburn, Dana Elcar, Louis Edmonds,
and Joan Bennett. Photo Credit: ABC
Gothic afternoon soap opera Dark Shadows premiered on ABC 50 years ago today. On June 27, 1966, the series aired at 4 p.m. ET, following medical dramas General Hospital and The Nurses in the network's lineup.

A year earlier, creator Dan Curtis told his wife that he had a dream about a mysterious young woman who was on a train. Curtis pitched the idea as a TV show to ABC, who greenlit production.  Art Wallace was hired to create a story from Curtis' dream sequence. Wallace wrote the story bible, Shadows on the Wall, the proposed title for the show that was later changed to Dark Shadows.

From the first notes of its distinctly haunting musical theme, to the innovative storylines that transformed daytime television, to its iconic cast of characters, Dark Shadows transported audiences to the mysterious town of Collinsport, Maine, and they never looked back.

Airing from 1966-1971, Dark Shadows became a pop culture phenomenon with the vulnerable vampire Barnabas Collins, a role made famous by Jonathan Frid.

During its initial run, the series spawned two feature-length motion pictures, House Of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night Of Dark Shadows (1971), as well as thirty-two tie-in novels, comic books, records, Viewmasters, games, models, and trading cards.

Decades Network will be featuring Dark Shadows episodes throughout the day on Monday, including the debut of vampire Barnabas Collins. Decades remembers the premiere of this cult favorite with the 12 episodes that marked the beginning of the Barnabas storyline, one that propelled the daytime series to new heights. The episodes will be presented in groups of three at 9 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. ET and 3 a.m. ET.

In addition to the selected Dark Shadows episodes, the Decades original one-hour daily series Through the Decades will present an exclusive interview with Steven August Papa, the proclaimed #1 lifetime fan of Dark Shadows, who shares his childhood love for the show and why he is still hooked many years later. They also speak with Walter Podrazik, Television Curator at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, about the show's place in TV history. The episode will feature interviews with cast members Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) and Lara Parker (Angelique Bouchard Collins).

Online, Decades.com will present the 1968 Dick Cavett interview with Jonathan Frid. Once thought lost, this rare audio recording is taken from an interview on The Dick Cavett Show not seen on television since it originally aired. The interview covers a variety of topics including the actor's thoughts on researching and playing the vampire Barnabas Collins, a memorable and chaotic press tour he took for publicity, fan mail influencing the show, and his rapport with actress and co-star Grayson Hall who played Dr. Julia Hoffman.  Listen here.

On June 14, MPI Home Video released "Dark Shadows - 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition" DVD set. The 6 discs had been released singly in the past, but now MPI has compiled them together into one package. Among the important points the studio stressed about this collection in the press announcement are these:
* Timed to coincide with the Dark Shadows 50th Anniversary Festival and Celebration in June 2016
* Includes all 6 Dark Shadows singles (The Vampire Curse, The Haunting of Collinwood, Fan Favorites, Best of Barnabas, Best of Angelique, and Best of Quentin)
* Features 38 complete episodes and 2 movie-length presentations of popular Dark Shadows stories
* Over 19 hours of content!
* Special Features include new episode introductions by David Selby (Quentin), Lara Parker (Angelique) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie), and exclusive video interviews with Jonathan Frid & David Selby

Watch the very first episode of Dark Shadows below.

Watch the first appearance of Barnabas Collins from April 18, 1967.

- EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Kathryn Leigh Scott Reflects On DARK SHADOWS and Tells Us About Her New Book, "Dark Passages"
- FLASHBACK: Canadian Vampire Jonathan Frid (1969)

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