Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big Finish Accepts Story Submissions

Big Finish Productions are to begin accepting story submissions for their Dark Shadows CD Audio Dramas. If you are interested in writing for the range, there is now a set of Writers' Guidelines available, detailing how prospective writers can prepare their pitches. For more information, email

Staged Reading with Marie Wallace

Marie Wallace (Eve) is to take part in a staged reading of War Wounds by Terri Campion, forming part of the ARTC Winterworks event. The production takes place on February 2 from 7.30pm at the Roy Arias Studios, Fifth Floor, 300 West 43rd Street, New York City. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jean Simmons: 1929-2010

Veteran Hollywood actress Jean Simmons, who played Elizabeth Collins Stoddard in the 1991 Dark Shadows revival, has died following a long battle with lung cancer. Jean passed away at her Santa Monica home on January 22 aged 80. Her career included numerous classic films, including Black Narcissus, Guys and Dolls and Spartacus. 

At the time of Dark Shadows' production, she was quoted as saying: "I was a great fan... The children would come home from school and before homework, before tea, we would sit down and watch Dark Shadows. I just wanted to kind of join the club." To read a full obituary from the Los Angeles Times, click here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Movie Costume Designer Announced

Footwear News reports that Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood will be working on Tim Burton's upcoming Dark Shadows feature film. "It's really the most fun a person can have, because Tim really lets you do your thing," she says. 

Atwood's numerous film credits include Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Sleepy Hollow, plus award-winning designs for Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Credit's Due

I love the Dark Shadows closing credits. At the end of each episode, the closing music would wheeze into life over a static shot of one of the studio sets, complete with reassuringly abstract shout-outs for "Miss Scott's Clothes by Junior Sophisticates", "Fashions by Ohrbachs" and "Bat by Bill Baird". Some of these tableaus are striking, some are humdrum, and very once in a while, comes a credits backdrop that stands out from the crowd, be it arty, surreal... or just a bit dodgy. Here's a countdown of five of my favourites:

5. Episode 903: One of the highlights of the Leviathan storyline is a particularly bizarre dream sequence from genius writer Violet Welles, which sees Elizabeth terrorized by fairground impresario David Collins and a pair of freaky robotic mannequins. Doubtless the Dark Shadows props buyer experienced no small measure of satisfaction when the mechanic marvels were given pride of place at the end of the show, cheerily waving goodbye to the viewers.

4. Episode 991: The Seventies had made it to Collinwood, and soon no dream sequence was complete without a spangly backdrop courtesy of the resident Dark Shadows disco ball, resulting in this closing credits trip into the subconscious. All that's missing is a funk remix of the theme tune.

3. Episode 1062: Barnabas and Julia have journeyed through a mysterious space-band-time-warp-disturbance (delete as applicable) to the faraway year of 1995, where Collinwood lies in ruins. Alas, this vision of the future proved to be a disappointingly conservative one, clothed exclusively in plaid shirts and nylon fibres. So, rejoice then, in the futuristic wonder of Victor Flagler's spacey table lamp, flashing in distress as the credits play us out.

2. Episode 928: Another corker from the Leviathan sequence sees one-shot supporting artiste Mrs. Hutchins' Budgie step into the limelight. Cue mild seasickness from the viewing nation, as the bird sits rocking on its perch looking distinctly nonplussed.

And finally...

1. Episode 703: Clocking-off time at West 53rd Street, and first out of the door is man-about-town Jonathan Frid, sashaying into frame with some smart casuals folded over his arm. A bonus point too for the balletic 'oops' moment, as he realises his mistake and quickly tries to veer out of frame. Stunning.