PLEASE NOTE: This blog contains adult subjects and content, and because of Google/Blogger's recent nonsense, I HAVE MOVED TO WORDPRESS. For my enlightened friends who wish to visit me in my new home, it's Please bookmark it!

The rest of you? Please take your judge-y selves somewhere more wholesome, like here:

Go on.... shoo!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

OT; RIP, Jonathan Frid

Yesterday's news of Dick Clark made me a bit wistful and nostalgic. But today's news has me flat-out bawling like a baby.

Jonathan Frid, the man who made a daytime Gothic serial vampire into an icon, passed away last Friday, April 13. His family just released the news today.

You all know how I feel about Dark Shadows. And yes, I can step back enough to see how utterly silly it is to weep copiously over the passing of a soap-opera actor. The way I'm carrying on, you'd think John himself had died. But I can't help it. I knew this day was coming; he was 87, after all. And looked very feeble when I saw him at the Dark Shadows convention in 2010. But I didn't know it would hurt this much.

There was something so comforting about just knowing he was still out there, even though the show has been off the air since 1971. It still exists on video, in its living actors and in the hearts of its many fans. The passing of the actor who played the character Barnabas Collins feels like the death of a loved one.

Jonathan Frid saved Dark Shadows from cancellation. It floundered in its first year, originally conceived as a Gothic mystery, minus the horror. The vampire Barnabas was brought in as a last-ditch attempt to bump up the ratings; he was intended to be a temporary character, pure evil, who would wreak havoc and then be killed off. But Frid's portrayal of him was so rich and complex, the fans went insane. And Barnabas remained, becoming an anti-hero of sorts, a reluctant vampire, hating what he was, mourning for his lost love and always hoping for a cure from the curse that befell him in the late 1700s.

Just a sampling of the myriad clips out there, a nice montage of Barnabas's first appearance, when grave-robber Willie Loomis released him from his chained coffin. I like this one; it really captures the creepy air and tension of the show:

Actress Kathryn Leigh Scott, Maggie Evans/Josette on the series, author of several Dark Shadows books and a regular in the conventions, wrote a beautiful tribute to Frid on her blog, here. She is on Twitter, and a couple of weeks ago, to my utter glee, I discovered she was following me. I tweeted directly to her this morning, expressing condolences for the loss of her friend and colleague. She actually tweeted back to me, saying thank you. What a gracious woman.

Scott and Frid, 1967:

Now, because it's my blog and I can, I'm going to indulge in a bit of bitchiness. Next month, the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp remake of Dark Shadows will premiere in theaters. I'll spare you my ongoing rant about what they've done to it; suffice it to say Burton has re-imagined it as a campy spoof, and Johnny Depp has taken Frid's suave, charismatic character and made him into a clown and a freak.

Ugh. Anyway, behind my tears, a small part of me is smiling at the irascible and irreverent Jonathan Frid and his timing. His passing, a scant month before this mockery appears, seems like the ultimate "fuck you." If the DS fans were going to hate this film before, they're really going to hate it now.

I know this blog won't appeal to my usual readers. But please indulge me today. And please, please don't laugh at me.

RIP, Mr. Frid, the one and only Barnabas Collins.

EDIT: For another lovely Frid tribute blog from "one of us," please see my dear friend Dave Wolfe's blog, here.

EDIT #2: Just read this and it made me laugh out loud, which felt good. I do believe this will be my favorite Jonathan Frid quote ever.

In 1991, on the 20th anniversary of the TV show's demise, Frid told PEOPLE: "I only did the part for some pocket money to go teach on the West Coast. And, of course, because I didn't particularly want the job, I got it. An audition room full of cadaverous-looking creeps, and I must have really looked the part." 

He added, "I always thought I looked like this damn silly ass. I couldn't believe people were ever really scared."


  1. I started watching Dark Shadows while in Iraq, The very first episode I saw I was hooked. DS became a regular part of my schedule any time I needed to escape the reality of Iraq I would watch a few episodes. It seemed as though Mr. Frid was always there for me, giving me an hour where I did not have to worry about the real world or the war. There was something strangely reassuring about Mr. Frid's portrayal of Barnabas Collins, in the midst of chaos I could always count on Barnabas Collins to be consistent.


  2. Kevin -- Wow. Sending a big hug to you.

  3. Aw, Erica. I know how much that show and those characters meant to you. Sad day!

  4. Craig -- thanks. Yeah, sucks.

  5. Kevin put that well, as you did, Erica-- one of the reasons Johnathan's death hits us like this is that he was, in fact, part of our family, with so many life memories connected.

    I'm glad you actually got to see him at the convention.

    I didn't know Ms Scott was following our Ms Scott, and what a kind and gracious gesture you both made to each other.

    As you said, you and I will lovingly agree to disagree about Burton's movie-- unless I'm disappointed in it! -- but I do note that, even in his forties, Depp makes a rather baby-faced Barnabas, compared to Mr. Frid, and in most photos I've seen the make up is just a tad too Trick-or-Treat. ("Just a TAD??!" she hollers.)

    Thank you for the link to Barnabas's arrival, I always enjoy seeing that.

    Here's a Geek Note: The original Barnabas plot was obviously inspired by "Dracula," but the vampire finding his lost, reincarnated love was not from Bram Stoker nor the Bela Lugosi movie. It was used in the Karloff movie "The Mummy." But everyone liked Dan Curtis's blend so much that every "Dracula" movie made after "Dark Shadows" had the vampire trying to regain his lost love, including F.F. Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula!"

    I also love Mr. Frid's timing-- Friday the 13h, just before the movie's release date.

  6. Wolfie -- JUST A TAD??? ;-) Thank you for this. I loved what you wrote as well. And I love the Dracula/Barnabas trivia. As I'd mentioned, Barnabas was originally intended to be pure evil, not the poignant character he became. Dan Curtis chose to portray Barnabas as originally intended in the movie "House of Dark Shadows" -- lord, he was nasty in that.

  7. Gosh, I am sadden at the news. Made me break out the LP vinyls I still have. I still have the Dark Shadows LP vinyl and a vinyl of Charles Randolph Grean's album that features "Quentin's Theme" on it. *SIGH*

  8. Bree -- I have the DS music on CD. It's pretty cool stuff. I didn't like the Grean version of Quentin's Theme, though. It was too orchestral; I much preferred the simple piano and violin version.

  9. As soon as I saw this I thought of you! I knew it would be an emotional loss for you as you were so devoted to the series and the man.
    Now after watching your clip I think I will have to join the ranks and start watching the series.
    Its never easy to lose ones idols. :(

    Poppa Mark

  10. Poppa -- thanks. No, it isn't. (sigh)

  11. Hi Erica-- I know how much the character's on DS meant to you i am so sorry :-( This is TERRIBLE all the GREAT actor's are dying.I agree that no one could take the place of the real Barnabas Collins, The new DS movie is a joke they look like a bunch of FREAKY CLOWNS :-( R.I.P Jonathan Frid.much Love and hug's to you my VERY dear friend,from your naughty girl Jade xoxo

  12. Saw the news and knew how much it would affect you. Big hugs.


  13. Jada -- hey, you! Thanks -- big hugs back.

  14. Havent been here in a while , but saw this on the news today and figured u might need a hugg . I to remember the Dark Shadows days , was just a kid myself and it scared me several times . Looking at tv now , it has changed alot. Hang in there kiddo !

  15. DS was before my time but this was a very nice tribute. I'm sure he will be missed by many.

  16. D -- thanks.

    Lea -- funny thing is, a lot of younger people got into it later, when it reran throughout the 90s on the Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi) channel. When one goes to the conventions, you see all ages, even kids!

  17. Hey there Erica. It's been a long time, girlfriend. I want you to know that you were the first person I thought of when I heard the news about Jonathan. Many hugs to you.


  18. Rubysue -- oh my! I'm so happy to see you stop by, even though the circumstances kinda suck. Hope you're doing well! Lots of hugs back; hope to see you at SL this year.

  19. Wolfie -- ah, the lump in my throat just swelled again. How lovely. And how sad.

    So glad the four DS alumni got to work together one last time, even if I don't care what they worked on.

  20. Erica, I only just found out about Johnathan from your blog... and yes, what a shame that Burton has tried to turn DS into Scooby Doo. I will always treasure the weird and wonderful series that I would not have known but for you.

  21. Danny -- I remember getting you hooked on it. :-) It was such fun, watching it with you every time you came over to play. It was like part of aftercare!

  22. Yes, making fun of Count Poodlehead's two lower lips, and you shushing me...