Phantom melody…Playing soft and low

Although there was nothing supernatural about the show’s initial episodes in 1966, by early 1967 it had become the first daytime television program to introduce ghosts.  Then, a full year into its run, its best remembered character finally flapped-in and the half-hour gothic soap opera took off when its predominately teenaged viewing audience began to hurry home from school to watch it every weekday at 4 p.m. EST, 3 p.m. Central.

Originally aired in black and white, by the time Jonathan Frid began to portray vampire, Barnabas Collins, “Dark Shadows” had switched to glorious (living?) color. The werewolves, witches and zombies soon followed, all played by a small company of “vividly melodramatic” actors whose comings and goings amongst the somewhat rickety sets also meant that various characters were played by more than one actor.  On a show that incorporated time travel and then an entire parallel universe into the story-line, it was all taken in stride.

With a five year run (“Dark Shadows” was cancelled in 1971) the series’ writers borrowed freely from the likes of: Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (and her sister Charlotte’sJane Eyre), Dickens’ Nicholas Nickelby, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, and lets not forget Orpheus in the Underworld among others. But the main go-to guy was (naturally) Edgar Allan Poe with purloined plot themes from The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Premature Burial and The Cask of Amontillado.

At least Robert Cobert’s music score was relatively original with the soundtrack hitting Number 20 on Billboard’s Album Chart in 1969. Also composed by Cobert, and recorded by the Charles Randolph Grean Sounde, today’s instrumental selection, “Shadow’s of the Night” (aka “Quentin’s Theme”) earned a Grammy nomination and peaked at Number 3 on the Easy Listening Chart that same year.

As you may recall, the time traveling “Cousin Quentin” was a ghost, and then a werewolf and finally a Dorian Gray knock-off.  His song also had lyrics that were narrated by the actor who played him, David Selby.

Hey, Andy Williams actually sang and recorded them, as featured on the fifth track of his album “Get Together” … just prior to his version of “Good Morning Starshine” with the Osmond Brothers… And with that truly scary thought, I bid you a Happy Halloween…


Shadows of the Night

Shadows of the night…

Falling silently

Echo of the past…

Calling you to me

Haunting memory…

Veiled in misty glow

Phantom melody…

Playing soft and low

In this world that we know now

Life is here, then gone

But somewhere in the afterglow

Love lives on and on

Dreams of long ago…

Meet in rendezvous

Shadows of the night…

Calling me to you

Calling me to you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s