Dan Curtis (Series Creator/Executive Producer)
September 18th Web Chat Event Transcript
To all the Dark Shadows fans who are here today -- welcome! I hope I can answer your questions. I'll try my best!
Question from akent: Over the years, there have been some shows where Barnabas character has been used as a prototype for a more humane type of Vampire; shows like "Forever Knight"; - Currently shown on Sci-Fi - And "Angel"; on the WB channel. Have you ever seen these shows and what is your opinion of them? Are you flattered that they have used your character of Barnabas? And as the creator, he mustve been your idea?
Answer: I've never seen any of those shows. I'm not particularly flattered that other shows have used my characterization of Barnabas. People have been ripping off ideas for years, including myself.
Question from Doomboy: Do you have any idea if we can expect to see the 1991 Dark Shadows or your classic Burnt Offerings on DVD in the near future?
Answer: Burnt Offerings will hopefully be coming out in the next year or so on DVD. Don't know about the 1991 Dark Shadows.
Question from drkfnlbm: Hello Mr. Curtis!!! Mine is a two-part question; first, why was the question of Vickis parentage never answered during the course of the series, and WHY did the Adam storyline simply just stop????
Answer: We never got around to what Vicki's background was and I never knew it. I thought putting Adam into the closet and ending his storyline was a fun way to end it -- my bizarre sense of humor.
Question from Troy Tempest: Will there be another Dark Shadows TV series on the Fox Network?
Answer: We wrote a pilot script for Fox TV for a new Dark Shadows series but they decided not to make it.
Question from hstry1775: I heard a rumor that there may be another DS movie in the works with Bill Murray playing the role of Professor Stokes? While I think he is a fine comic actor, I can hardly believe him in a role like that. Is it true...is there another movie in the works?
Answer: No it is not true about Bill Murray. He will never play Professor Stokes. But there's always another Dark Shadows movie in the works.
Question from pace2000: First of all, I love DS. It was my favorite show when I was in High School. What I want to know is: why do you always insist on remaking the beginning of the series? Youve done it three times now. Why not move on to a "next generation" type show instead, using both the original actors and new faces as well?
Answer: The reason we always start at the beginning, which incidentally we didn't when I made the first Dark Shadows movie, is because it was a long time ago and you just can't jump in in the middle.
Question from ronbellajanick: ABC has a soap called PORT CHARLES, which has, for over the past year, dealt with vampires, witches, ghosts, and angels. One family, on the show, is Collins. If the writers of PORT CHARLES asked if they could make a connection with their Collins family and yours from Maine, would you allow it? And what restrictions would you set?
Answer: No, I would not allow Port Charles to use Dark Shadows characters. One of the 1991 Dark Shadows writers has written for Port Charles, by the way.
Question from sdamian: Before Alexandra Moltke departured from Dark Shadows had there been any stories written with her character in mine giving us a clue as to her parentage. Why did you not replace her character permanently with another actress? Star Damian
Answer: We tried to replace Alexandra Moltke with a couple of actresses, but they didn't work out, so the character of Victoria was dropped. I thought Alexandra was very good as my image of Victoria Winters. We couldn't replace her successfully.
Question from vam: what was the formula used for selection of the cast since they worked well together?
Answer: The only way I cast is the only way I've always cast -- and that is to follow my gut instincts.
Question from Doughboy: Dan, at the end of "Night of Dark Shadows" why did you kill off Alex and Claire Jenkings in a car accident by using a teletype bulletin?
Answer: Night of Dark Shadows really wasn't a Dark Shadows movie. It was a movie utilizing the Dark Shadows cast. And I'm a great believer in sometimes ending a horror story with everyone getting it, especially when I wasn't going to be bringing them back.
Question from Caprice: Are you in plans of making a new movie?
Answer: We are always trying to set up a Dark Shadows movie somewhere, somehow. At the moment, there's really nothing happening though.
Question from victoriaw : Will there ever be a next generation type of Dark Shadows, instead of rehashing the old story again?
Answer: You have to start the Dark Shadows story at the beginning, tell it as quickly as possible to get your players in place and then you can go off in any direction you want with new stories. The problem is there is always a big time gap between the last time and the next time so there would be too many who you just can't start somewhere in the middle with a new story. At least that's what I think.
Question from victoriaw: I really loved NIght of Dark Shadows, once I got a copy of the original script to read. It was a shame it had to be cut so badly. What is the status of a new release of NODS with the newly found footage added back?
Answer: Restoring Night of Dark Shadows is an ongoing quest. Hopefully it will happen eventually.
Question from Caprice: What are you doing now?
Answer: I am developing a number of different projects. Two for HBO, a movie called The Price of Honor about the West Point cheating scandal in 1951 and the other is a series based on the James Lee Burke books about the detective Dave Robicheou, a cajun guy. Also a story about the Catholic Church scandal for Showtime, the Four Freedoms for CBS based on FDR's 1941 State of the Union address. I'm doing Saving Milly, a book by a journalist about his wife who has Parkinson's disease.
Question from Laura: Dan, what was it like doing WAR AND REMEMBRANCE and do you remember woriking with actor Billy Moses?
Answer: War and Remembrance was the project of a lifetime.
Question from lauram16: Which character was your favorite and which actor was your favorite to work with?
Answer: I liked working with all the Dark Shadows actors.
Question from neoamerika: Dan, what character in all of Dark Shadows history is most like you?
Answer: There are no Dark Shadows characters like me!
Question from josettedupres: Dear Dan, I love your 1991 Dark Shadows remake that ran on NBC. I was very bummed when it was cancelled. So my first question is: Are there any plans to have the 1991 Dark Shadows Revival Series brought to DVD? And my second question is: will the 1991 series ever be replayed on the Sci-Fi network? Thanks for your time.
Answer: Hopefully once the original series is all out on DVD we can get the 1991 show on DVD. The 1991 DS aired on Sci-Fi a few years ago.
Question from boogs: Do you have a memorable anecdote you would like to share about working on the Dark Shadows set?
Answer: Louis Edmonds made me hysterical when discussing his great fun turning into a cat. He said "I always thought there was a touch of the pussy in me"!
Question from Josette: Which storyline did you enjoy the most?
Answer: My favorite storyline is when Vicki first goes back into the past -- the 1790s.
Question from fmh: Dear Dan, Ok, the remake didnt work and a lot of that had to do with Ben Cross. He claimed hed never even watched the old DS, didnt want to be "influenced" by J. Frid. But lets face it. Barnabas is the hub of it. Listen, this will work--try again only with Johnny Depp as Baranabas. In a recent interview he talked about having been Barnabas fanatical as a kid (as we all were), with a cape and the whole bit. This could work with a spin. If you need a good writer, give me a holler.
Answer: I agree that Johnny Depp would be great as a new Barnabas.
Question from Josette: Dan, What's your releationship with Jonathan Frid during the late 1960s and early 1970s?
Answer: I thought Jonathan Frid was terrific as Barnabas. It was great to work with him.
Question from Troy Tempest: Would you consider doing a commentary track on an eventual release of HODS and NODS on a special Edition DVD?
Answer: Sure, I'd be interested in doing directory commentaries for the DS movies on DVD. I'm doing some of that for the upcoming MPI release of War & Remembrance on DVD.
Question from dsfan0944: What was your first directing experience like? What's your most memorable directing moment??
Answer: My first directing experience was one week of Dark Shadows and it was the greatest nightmare experience of my life. The very first show was the biggest disaster that was ever put on videotape and I almost gave up all thought of becoming a director as a result of it. The Winds of War and War & Remembrance were the most memorable professional experiences of my life.
Question from ronbellajanick: Mr. Curtis, have you made any decision, yet, as to what mansion will be Collinwood in the new DS movie and, possible, tv series? Seaview Terrace (the original Collinwood), Lyndhurst(HODS & NODS), or Greystone(1991 series)? Also, thank you for bringing back our dear friends from Collinsport, Maine.
Answer: I have very fond memories of location filming for the original TV series up in Essex, CT and in Newport, RI. Nobody had ever done it before on a soap and it was my crazy idea to go up there and film these generic locations to somehow get the feeling of opening up the series. The experience was a lot of fun. We all had a great time doing it.
Question from drkflnbm: Is there a particular storyline that has remained a favorite of yours or one you particularly regretted having done and if so on either point, what is it and why???
Answer: As for storylines, I always wanted to the Dark Shadows Players present Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". My plan was to do it over the two week holiday period when there were no ratings but we never got the opportunity to do it. It's too bad. Would Frid or Edmonds play Scrooge -- that was the question! Of course, David Henesy would have been Tiny Tim. Thayer would have been the Ghost of Marley. There would have been a part in there for everybody. Nancy Barrett or Alexandra with Roger Davis could have been Scrooge's nephew and wife. It would have been great fun!
Well, this is about it for today, my friends. I enjoyed myself immensely. Hope you all had a good time too. Until next time. Dan Curtis