For more than a year and a half the characters of "Dark Shadows" used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins ("He's not alive!" "He's one of the undead." "He walks at night but he ain't alive.") It wasn't until the 410th episode that the word "vampire" was actually used on the show.
Ranked #19 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Top Cult Shows Ever!" (30 May 2004 issue).
Jonathan Frid didn't pose for the famous portrait of him that hung in Collinwood. The line producer, Robert Costello, did. The face was left blank until the actor was hired. The portrait was the last image ever shown on the last episode.
The first time Jonathan Frid had to bite a victim, he had to rush to the set in a matter of seconds. He only had a matter of seconds to put his fangs in; they wound up going in upside down and he chewed them to bits.
The interior of the Collinswood mansion was actually built in a studio in New York City. The exterior was a real house, but it wasn't in Maine-it was in Newport, Rhode Island.
Kathryn Leigh Scott was one of the first people hired for the show. A screen test was shot of her wearing a filmy, ghostlike costume-and it was later used on the air, with the explanation that she was the ghost of Josette Collins. They didn't let it die there. When Barnabas was introduced, it was further explained that Josette was his long-lost love, and Scott played that part when the storyline jumped back to the year 1795. They had her coming and going, so to speak.
Josette's music box. Barnabas gave this to her as token of his love, and somehow, through the centuries, he always manages to have it on hand when he falls in love again (usually with someone he sees as Josette's incarnation).
The portrait of Angelique was invested with certain powers, and when something happened to her, it faded and cracked. When her life was restored, the portrait was restored.
Quentin Collins' portrait was the ultimate: they were doing Dorian Grey. He didn't age, the portrait did; and any injuries he suffered happened to the portrait instead.
The character of Quentin Collins was created at the request of Jonathan Frid, who asked that a second villain be brought in to lighten his work load.
The role of Dr. Julia Hoffman, played by Grayson Hall, was only supposed to last a few weeks, but Hall's husband, Sam Hall, was a head writer for the show and eventually made a star out of the character.
The role of Dr. Julia Hoffman was actually originally supposed to be "Julian" Hoffman, and portrayed by a man. In the first episode in which this character is mentioned (before she appeared on-screen), Dr. Hoffman is specifically referred to as a "he" and "one of the finest men I know." Before the role was cast however, a character description was typed up and the name "Julian" became "Julia" because of a typo. Producer Dan Curtis decided to change the gender on a whim, only after he noticed the typo.
Despite their low-budget look, the special effects were very costly for a daytime soap opera. In order to keep within the budget, producer Dan Curtis decreed that no more than five characters could appear in a single episode (this was occasionally relaxed for sweeps-week episodes in which major plot twists took place).
Since the show was canceled rather suddenly, viewers never learned Barnabas' fate. But according to one of the writers, here's what they had planned - Barnabas was going to marry his doctor, Julia Hoffman, and move to Asia, where she would eventually discover a cure for his vampirism.
The portrait of Barnabas was usually in the foyer at Collinwood, and the camera would pan mysteriously to it when something ominous was about to happen (accompanied by eerie music)
Thayer David holds the record for playing the most characters in this series. He portrayed Matthew Morgan #2, Ben Stokes (in 1795), Prof. Timothy Eliot Stokes, Sandor Rakosi (in 1897), Count Petofi (also in 1897), Quentin Collins (his mind in Petoffi's body, also in 1897), Stokes (Parallel Time), aged Prof. Stokes (1995), aged Ben Stokes (1840), aged Ben Stokes (Parallel Time, 1840).
Barnabas Collins was initially the villain, but when the producers turned him into an anti-hero, his character saved the show from the axe. They kept him on as the lead when he was only supposed to be around for a few episodes. This incidentally made Barnabas Collins the first example of a sympathetic vampire seen on screen.
Bert Convy was considered for the role of Barnabas Collins.
Originally David Selby donned fake sideburns for the role of Quentin Collins, but eventually he grew his own so he would no longer have to endure the makeup.
The story outline for the show was titled "Shadows on the Wall." Other titles considered were "The House on Widows' Hill" and "Terror at Collinwood" before the producers finally decided upon "Dark Shadows."
Early publicity materials referred to the mansion as "Collins House," but the name was changed to "Collinwood" by the time filming began.
The producers planned to run the 1897 storyline for three months, but it was so popular that they ended up expanding it to eight and a half months.
In September and October 1988, the Dance Theater Worksop presented a stage adaptation of the 1795 storyline in New York's VIA Theatre.
In preliminary outlines, Barnabas was to be named either Jeremia or Jered.
David Selby was written out because he developed appendicitis and had to undergo surgery. He recovered as the show was canceled and was able to star in the final theatrical spin-off, Night of Dark Shadows (1971).
The first daily soap opera to be offered in syndication.
The first episode shot in color was #294, but it was originally broadcast in black-and-white. Episode #295 was the first broadcast in color. In a twist of irony, the color tape of #294 survived and #295 was lost, so existing copies of the first episode which aired in color are dubbed from a black-and-white kinescope print.
Due to the grueling five-shows-a-week schedule, the expense and the difficulty of video editing in those days, most scenes were shot in a single take. Actors routinely flubbed their lines and searched for the teleprompter, set pieces collapsed, props malfunctioned, crew members walked into shots, microphones and secondary cameras got in the way, and it all wound up being preserved because the production team figured each episode would only be seen one time.