I was one of those kids back in the late 60’s and early 70’s who would rush home from school to watch the soap opera “Dark Shadows.” It was an original type of soap. It had vampires and witches and was a bit dark. Campy, sure, but still dark.
Barnabas Collins was the sympathetic vampire that made the show. Barnabas was only to be a short-lived character, but that character caught on and helped the show get badly needed ratings. Everybody loved Barnabas.
Well, not everybody. Keep in mind I was only a kid, but I remember the program director at Channel 12 in Cincinnati decided to drop “Dark Shadows” from the afternoon lineup for some local programming. Channel 12 carried ABC programming back then and “Shadows” was an ABC soap.
There was a new start up television station in Cincinnati in the late 60’s—Channel 19, WXIX. When Channel 12 stopped programming “Dark Shadows,” Channel 19 picked it up and ran it at seven o’clock in the evening. This was perfect for us school kids. We didn’t have to rush home anymore. We could watch our favorite show in the evening.
It only took a matter of a few weeks for that program director at Channel 12 to realize he had made a big mistake. “Shadows” was getting big ratings on Channel 19.
“Dark Shadows” returned to Channel 12 in no time at all and us school kids were back to racing home to watch it. A good thing never lasts too long for kids who like vampires.
Yep, it was all a long time ago and the reason why I’m writing about it now is because the actor who played Barnabas Collins, Jonathan Frid, has died. We found out last week he passed away April 13 at the age of 87.
Johnny Depp, like me, was one of those kids who would rush home to watch “Dark Shadows.” He’s playing Barnabas in a movie based on the series that will be released next month. Jonathan Frid has a cameo in the movie.
This is all well and good but I think even Johnny Depp knows there will only be one Barnabas Collins and that’s Frid. We old timers who watched that show will never forget him.
The video of Frid playing Barnabas is very short and won’t mean a lot to you youngsters out there. Just humor an old timer.