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MPI Press Release: Dark Shadows The Complete Original Series

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#1 of 178 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 09 2012 - 03:52 AM

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The Complete Original Series

Before ‘Twilight’ and ‘True Blood’ There Was the Gripping Saga of

Vampire Barnabas Collins – It Rises Again on May 8, 2012, in

An Extraordinary 131-DVD Box Set Featuring 1,225 Episodes

Director Tim Burton’s Hugely Anticipated Reimagining Hits Theaters Nationwide In May 2012 Starring Johnny Depp As Barnabas Collins

The vampire romance is one of today’s hottest genres in movies, television and novels, from the Twilightand True Blood to The Vampire Diaries, Underworld and Interview With the Vampire, but it all started with DARK SHADOWS, the ABC daytime series that brought tormented hero Barnabas Collins into the homes of devoted fans every weekday for five years. Now, in an unprecedented event, the entire series – 1,225 episodes on 131 discs – will be released in a single deluxe set. On May 8, 2012, MPI will releaseDARK SHADOWS: THE COMPLETE ORIGINAL SERIES in a custom coffin shaped box with bonus, in-depth interviews and other video extras, a commemorative booklet and more. The SRP for this collector’s set is $599.98.

The creation of Dan Curtis (The Winds of War, The Night Stalker)DARK SHADOWS premiered in 1966 as a unique series in TV history – a gothic daytime serial set in a forbidding, mist-shrouded Maine estate inhabited by a wealthy extended family as well as ghosts, demons and, most frightening of all, vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). For five years, 200-year-old Barnabas and his Collins family relatives made their way through hauntings and possessions, jumped through time, mysterious parallel worlds and were the victims of other eerie events. Add in a vengeful witch, a horrifying werewolf, a count with mystical powers, a female doctor obsessed with Barnabas and young, beautiful women encountering love and other dangers – all framed by haunting music – and you have a series that became a nationwide cult sensation.

Now, 41 years after the series went off the air, the cult continues to flourish. DARK SHADOWS has spun off novels, audio dramas, feature films, a Grammy-nominated hit song (“Quentin’s Theme”) and soundtrack album, DVDs, television reruns and regular fan conventions attended by original cast members. On May 11, 2012, director Tim Burton’s hugely anticipated reimagining of the show will hit the big screen, with lifelong “DS” fan Johnny Depp portraying Barnabas Collins. Original series cast members Jonathan Frid (Barnabas), Lara Parker (Angelique), David Selby (Quentin) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie/Josette) make cameo appearances in the new film.

DARK SHADOWS: THE COMPLETE ORIGINAL SERIES includes more than 100 bonus interviews with the actors and production personnel – its cast included Kate Jackson, Oscar nominee Grayson Hall and Hollywood Golden Era movie star Joan Bennett, plus a 96-page booklet with photographs and episode summaries, DVDs of bloopers, behind-the-scenes documentary and cast reunion – all housed in a coffin-shaped box.

DARK SHADOWS truly lives on in this remarkable release sure to thrill longtime fans and create a new generation of enthusiastic followers.

For fans who do not get the opportunity to purchase the $600 box set, MPI is releasing FAN FAVORITES and THE BEST OF BARNABAS on April 10th. Priced at $14.98, each release offers 9 complete episodes that are among the most popular in the history of the show, serving as an ideal introduction to new viewers as well as an enticing overview for devotees of the series. Included in FAN FAVORITES are Barnabas’ return to Collinwood after being release from his chained coffin; Barnabas and Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall) discovering the secret of the werewolf; Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) becoming the victim of a vampire, and more. THE BEST OF BARNABAS includes Julia’s attempts to cure the cursed Barnabas; eerie trips back in time to 1795 and 1897; the popular Parallel Time story line, and more. Each set includes informative new introductions by Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker (Angelique).

About MPI Home Video
Chicago based MPI Home Video, a subsidiary of MPI Media Group, is a market leader for high-quality releases to both wide and specialized audiences through home video distribution. Founded in 1976, MPI Home Video remains one of the largest independent companies producing and distributing a compelling slate of the world’s most respected cinema, documentaries, performances and television programs.www.mpihomevideo.com

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Street date: May 8, 2012

SRP: $599.98

Running time: 457 hours plus extras (131 discs)

Rating: Not rated

Full screen


Street date: April 10, 2012

SRP: $14.98each

Running time: 200 minutes each

Rating: Not rated

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#2 of 178 OFFLINE   Andorian



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Posted March 17 2012 - 06:00 PM

I'm boycotting MPI because they are not allowing any Dark Shadows episodes to be posted on Youtube.

#3 of 178 OFFLINE   bretmaverick2


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Posted March 18 2012 - 12:13 AM

I don't understand why it is that people get upset when a company owns the rights to certain works and refuse to allow them to be put out for free. Why shouldn't they make money off properties they control? Or at least have control over how that material is used??? Boycott if you want but I don't get it.

#4 of 178 OFFLINE   Ockeghem



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Posted March 18 2012 - 12:38 AM

Ron, Thank you for posting this release. I've been a fan of Dark Shadows since the late 1960s, and I was, like many others, one of those school children who got off the bus and ran home to be certain I didn't miss the opening minutes of this excellent program. This collection is a treasure and its content and packaging look quite enticing, for sure. Brett, Agreed.

#5 of 178 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted March 18 2012 - 01:06 AM

I don't understand why it is that people get upset when a company owns the rights to certain works and refuse to allow them to be put out for free. Why shouldn't they make money off properties they control? Or at least have control over how that material is used??? Boycott if you want but I don't get it.

You're crazy. That poor man owns a computer so he's absolutely entitled to get whatever he wants, whenever he wants and he's not ridiculous in any way for boycotting a company that is trying to stop cheap skates from not paying to see a show that that company has spent thousands of dollars to license. They owe him! :)

#6 of 178 OFFLINE   Harry-N



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Posted March 18 2012 - 10:45 AM

Wow.  Quite a set.  I was a huge DARK SHADOWS fan back during the original run - I actually started watching it before it became fashionable to do so through an odd quirk of fate.  Soap operas surely were not my thing - I preferred sitcoms, and, during the daytime, liked game shows.

As it happened in Philadelphia, our local ABC affiliate broke away from the network at 4 PM, choosing to run the syndicated MERV GRIFFIN SHOW instead. That left whatever the network was running to go to our new UHF station in town that picked up the scraps left behind by the network affiliates.  So DARK SHADOWS started out in Philadelphia on this goofy, low-budget UHF station with the fuzzy signal.  Being the TV geek I was, I found it fascinating just watching how this little station would handle this network show, wondering how they'd handle network promos, transitions, local spots - that kind of thing.  And somehow the show hooked me.  Early on of course it was much more of a Gothic-styled drama centering on the goings on at a spooky mansion in Maine.  There was little more than thunderstorms, flickering lights and spooky situations in those early-going days, but I liked the casting and continued to watch.

When they pulled out all the stops and brought in Barnabas, the vampire, I felt like I was rewarded for sticking with it in those early months.  As the show gained in national popularity, our ABC affiliate was quick to grab it back from the UHF station, so now I could see the show on a full-powered station rather than the fuzzy, snowy picture I'd gotten used to.  Gradually, my whole family began to get interested in the goings-on at Collinwood, and watching the show was appointment television for those of us home at that hour.

I remember taping the audio on some days when I went to college and couldn't get back in time. And I followed the series to its very last episode, which I believe I still have somewhere on an audio reel-to-reel tape.  In the '80s, I watched most of the series all over again when they aired it on the New Jersey Network.  And I caught bits and pieces of it on another run on Sci-Fi in the '90s.

When they started releasing collections of episodes on tape and later DVD, I just couldn't justify the expense nor the time-commitment needed to watch it as real life continued to get in the way.  Now I'm retired, but the price of this set is somewhat prohibitive on a fixed income.

Still, it's enticing - far moreso than the trailer I've seen for the Johnny Depp movie about to come out.  If nothing else, I should be thankful for the movie if it spurs more interest in the old series and allows the powers-that-be to release the two DARK SHADOWS movies.  I have those from the LaserDisc days, but I'm sure they can be a whole lot better.


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#7 of 178 OFFLINE   Ockeghem



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Posted March 18 2012 - 01:27 PM


Your post brings back many pleasant memories for me, as I was also somewhat of a television geek back in those days. I too watched Dark Shadows during its first run, although not quite as early-on in the series as you did. I also recall those fuzzy stations -- we got WSBK TV = channel 38 and WXHR/WKBG (and eventually WLVI) = channel 56 -- back in the 1960s and early 1970s, on which I got to see several Bruins games and reruns of The Outer Limits. I also recall watching Creature Feature on channel 56, and like Dark Shadows, I did not want to miss a single airing of that show either.

I own the entire Dark Shadows series on VHS and DVD (bought over several years very cautiously and gradually), so I do understand the price of this new set being prohibitive. I used to rent the collections released on tape (during the 1980s), bring them home, and record them tape-to-tape and make labels for them, complete with volume numbers, episode summaries, etc. After doing this for a couple of years, I decided finally to purchase the tapes as they became available, and as I could afford them.

I echo your sentiments and hope too that the new film spurs a great deal of interest in the original series. I'm hoping whatever form the film takes, that millions of younger people may take an interest in the original series. My gut feeling at this point (and this is based only on the trailer) is that the film will appeal very much to fans of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, but not as much to fans of the original series. But I would love to be pleasantly surprised. :)

#8 of 178 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted March 20 2012 - 11:06 AM

Scott and Harry, i must have missed this post. I have audio reel to reels going back to 1967 in the 1795-96 flashback and then on until one episode in 1841PT. I also recorded audio from the first rerun in Chicago 11:00 PM until Barnabas states to Barnabas enters Dave Woodards office via a bat in 1976. The show did a rerun again for 1 season where I audio recorded it in 1981 again only audio in an area I could pick up Madison Wi. I then in the late 80s aquired the NJN tapes. I watched from June 1966 let it go and picked it up at 4:30 PM on our local when David was playing pranks on Vicky. I saw the first ghost Bill Malloy while she was in the west wing and that hooked for good. The Burton film. I will go see it.

#9 of 178 OFFLINE   Ockeghem



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Posted March 20 2012 - 03:07 PM

"I saw the first ghost Bill Malloy while she was in the west wing and that hooked for good." Mark, I remember the first time Victoria realized that what some were saying was a dream actually was not -- when she and others eventually saw the seaweed on the floor of the locked room. Chills!

#10 of 178 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted March 21 2012 - 06:53 AM

I just was hooked then Scott. I remember you and I saying we both were able to see the show air twice. Some a day later and some for me one week later. We both sure were lucky in that respect. I would watch Laura put a spell on someone and then get to watch it again. The best part was I would have space on my Audio reel to reel at the end of each show so I would tape it again and edit the second broadcast because I knew what was going to happen. I would like to hear some of your thoughts on the movie if you want to that is. I know it is a very very hot topic!!!! I like very much how Stuart dealt with the subject of the Burton Film.

#11 of 178 ONLINE   Powell&Pressburger



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Posted March 21 2012 - 07:31 AM

So far my amazon pre-order I did the day it got listed on amazon is still showing April 10th Release date... so maybe amazon needs to update the release date unless they are letting the early pre-orders remain the original release date?

Stop the Replacing of original Studio Opening / Closing logos! They are part of film history.

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#12 of 178 OFFLINE   Ockeghem



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Posted March 21 2012 - 07:47 AM

I just was hooked then Scott. I remember you and I saying we both were able to see the show air twice. Some a day later and some for me one week later. We both sure were lucky in that respect. I would watch Laura put a spell on someone and then get to watch it again. The best part was I would have space on my Audio reel to reel at the end of each show so I would tape it again and edit the second broadcast because I knew what was going to happen. I would like to hear some of your thoughts on the movie if you want to that is. I know it is a very very hot topic!!!! I like very much how Stuart dealt with the subject of the Burton Film.

Mark, You were fortunate to be able to tape episodes back when they first ran! I watched the show for an hour a day back then, but never had taping capabilities (at least not video). I recall vividly watching the first half hour on a given day (a repeat of the previous day's final half hour) and then a brand new episode the following half hour. If for some reason I missed a day, then I had a full hour to watch the next day. My children can't comprehend waiting a day for a new episode. Imagine watching sixteen episodes (like we did this past Sunday). We watched for just under six hours. We don't do that much viewing of anything all that often. I too appreciated what Stuart said about the new film. I'm going to keep those insights in mind when I go to see it in May. :) You mentioned original commercials in the other thread. Check out this informative link on the first episode and the work that went into it: http://www.collinwoo.../misc/frame.htm I love this part: "Commercials were an important consideration for those producing the series, not least because the expense of [the] programme was effectively paid for by the advertisers. However, in what seems a bizarre procedure by today's techniques, back in the 1960s, adverts were played in on to the tape as the programme was recorded."

#13 of 178 OFFLINE   dhammer


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Posted March 21 2012 - 11:16 AM

I also grew up in Philadelphia and remember the show after school. I remember hurrying home to watch.I watched it on ABC. I also remember and have the game and many of the graphic novels and all the comics. A friend of mine gave me a poster from the Sunday Inquire or Bullitin from 1968. He was a photographer and did a photo shoot of Johnathan Frid as Barnabus for the paper he worked for. I still am curious how this release will do. I would think everyone who wanted this show would likely already own it???

#14 of 178 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted March 23 2012 - 08:11 AM

I'm not a fan of the show and wont be buying any of these. I just want to say that this might be the sexiest release I've ever seen. If I was a fan, I'd be losing my mind over that complete series package! Heck, I kind of want it regardless! Posted Image

#15 of 178 OFFLINE   moviepas


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Posted March 23 2012 - 11:26 AM

In Australia we had a soap started in March 1972 and made in Sydney TV studios of Ch 10 for the 0-10 Network(indirectly involved Murdoch interests before he owned Fox) called Number 96. In black & white until the conclusion of Episode 584 in 1974 it ran to 1128 episodes. All episodes from 585-1128 in color TV tape are stored in the Australian NFSA. Due to Network policy in the past, particularly in the pre-1975 b&w days, most of the black & white episodes have been junked or wiped. So we have episodes 1-10, 13 and a few others to 19 only surviving. No 450 is the only 1974 episode surviving in that last non-color year. Sixteen of the 19 are on a Volume 3 set I got this past week and time restraints meant they left three out and hopefully will include if they do another set or more. The balance of the set of 4 discs is some storylines like those Soap Classics US sets(which I have some already from them) in the later color era. The episodes have all the episode numbers listed for archive purposes. The quality of the b&ws is excellent with clean sound and clear, unfuzzy visuals. There is the odd tape drop-out or pull so that one episode ends with clean footage but a recap in the next episode of a scene has some drop-out and pulls not seen on the same footage the previous episode. An expert could have restored the better footage from the previous episode but at least we have them. Also some of the surviving episodes are, in fact, from regional copies of the soap which had been ordered censored by the state broadcasting censors after initial first Sydney screening. They say they tried to find the missing footage but considering the destruction policy back then this is wishful thinking. Other shows suffered the same fate like a kids' variety hour back to those times that produced near 700 b&w & color episodes and about half are lost now and cable TV use opportunities were lost on those MIAs. That show has been revived as a new series this year under the blessing of the previous compere(a wellknown pop performer and owner of the the original production company).

Number 96 was a controversial sex soapie that screened after 9pm and produced for the Network by Cash-Harmon productions of which one partner was American. A lot of people from many countries appeared in it and their were many controversial storylines and plenty of naughty words and nudity, sex, gay partners, bombings, fortune tellers, panty raiders, a mystery man going around in the dark putting stickers on female butts etc. Number 96 was meant to be a 4-level old apartment building with a Moms & Dads store on the ground level with additional sets for a coin-laundry that one of the tenants gets a job at. There . Many people went thru it and some became big stars later. Some we knew who came from my city 500 miles from Sydney. There was a feature film made which survives and has been on DVD.

The series was bought for screening on Canadian TV in the 1970s and a film processing plant I used then in my city was sent the tapes to make 16mm copies because at the time they had no equipment available to translate PAL to NTSC signal for Nth American viewing. Somewhere along the line the project was canceled because the Canadians decided that they could not run this series there due to content and censoring would be too complex. I was told that the completed 16mm reels(800-900ft) were dumped in the bay less than 5mins from the lab. Maybe true or maybe not but they don't seemed to reappeared. As we did not have videotape for home use(Philips type 1-hour reels before VHS came along) until 1978 means no home taping happened on these early episodes.

As a sideline, a drive-time(PM) radio show did a 5-mins funny slot around 5pm daily and called it Number 69. The comperes were a wellknown radio personality who died recently and his son is a longtime announcer/compere there to this day, and a woman who was off her rocker and shot herself in the bath many years ago. They were as crude as they could be in that period.

All My Children was very new when I first visited USA in May 1971. But popular in Australia was General Hospital. Today there is The Bold & the Beautiful that screens at 4.30pm Mon-Fri on the same channel that had Number 96.

There are some long running local soaps still here such as Neighbours(our spelling) & Home & Away. There have been some smatterings on DVD of these but not for a longtime.

Earlier series that can be called Soaps have had runs on DVD(color): A Country Practice, All Saints(a recently ceased hospital series), The Sullivans and The Flying Doctors.

The Flying Doctors have had several series released in UK and now probably happening here. A niece had bits as a cop or nurse as required in that one and a major female performer is Mom's age in the theater in WW2 Mom made this woman a requested hat when both were 14!!!.

The Sullivans started in the 1970s set, firstly, per 1939 and went into the war and had a lot of New Zealand actors in it. The series never got to its planned after the war period(new homes construction when the boys came home, etc) because of a possible pay dispute with the lead actor, although this is denied today. I do know that the production company dubbed the original mastertapes to three-quarter inch U-Matic TV tapes. The first three episodes were combined to make 1 90mins DVD offerng and the quality is rather poor picture wise. The current owners of the business(a medium TV station group, WINTV) have started issuing the series in 50-episode sets for around $60 posted mailorder only and the first set, if course, includes that poor footage for the first three episodes. From here on they are remarkedly superior and I have the next 50 with 101-150 due in May. There were over 100 episodes.

From UK I have all the known surviving footage from Crossroads and much from Coronation Street including yearly potpurri sets from the 1970s-up. I have others as well. Last of the Summer Wine is about to issue Series 21-22 & 23-24. There are only about 6-7 series to go after that. First of the Summer Wine has only had Series 1 of 2 issued to date. Heartbeat is up to Series 10 now. The Bill and Taggart are lagging behind a bit.

#16 of 178 OFFLINE   Carabimero



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Posted March 23 2012 - 01:32 PM

This appears sold out at Amazon. Do we expect more stock by street date? Thanks.

#17 of 178 OFFLINE   Nebiroth


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Posted March 24 2012 - 04:35 AM

I'd look elsewhere if I were you. I've seen it rumoured on several forums that this set is just what it says it is: a Limited Edition. And the numbers are quite small...and that Amazon may have already sold their entire allocation to pre-orders. Also, apparently the signed cards are personally autographed by Frid, by hand. I'm sure I;ve read that the production run is limited to 2,500 of these. It;s a shame I got suckered into buying the individual sets, even if they were in a sale at Amazon for $19 each. I'd love to have this set but I can't justify spending out again. I really hate it when the releases do this sort of stuff. It;s like they all say "haha - we've suckered everyone into buying the individual releases, now we can put out a deluxe set with exclusive good stuff at half the price"

#18 of 178 OFFLINE   ScottDombrowski


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Posted March 24 2012 - 05:55 AM

I waited too long to preorder this at Amazon too, so I looked around and ended up preordering at Walmart online, which I noticed the other day now says that their preorders are sold out. I'm glad I got mine in anyway. When I had been looking, they were still taking preorders at Overstock.com, not sure about now though.

#19 of 178 OFFLINE   smithb



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Posted March 24 2012 - 06:19 AM

I couldn't resist anymore either, and just ordered it from Target. Not the cheapest price compared to those that ordered it earlier. But it was the only place I could still locate it for in the low $400+. Most that still have it listed are in the $500+ range. In my case, I only had the six beginnings and the first seven of the original collections. At least selling those will help out some. Looking forward to having it all in one space saving package.

#20 of 178 OFFLINE   Professor Echo

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Posted March 24 2012 - 09:12 AM

This looks to be a fantastic release all the way around and I'm glad some of you are springing for it. I was still a little too young when DS originally aired so I never saw much of it, cut certainly was aware of it and all the encompassing media tie ins. I remember building both Barnabas and Quentin model kits around 1970 or so and I saw the first feature film in a theater (on a double with THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS!).

I'm watching the series now from first episode to last and am loving it. Am only up to what looks like the conclusion of the Dr. Lang storyline so I still have a ways to go. But man was that dude playing Dr. Lang, Addison Powell, a bad actor. Those scenes with he and Grayson Hall are epic, monumentally horrible acting by both, LOL. I love silent films, but both Hall and Powell remind me of the worst of silent film acting. It's still fun though.

Anyway, congrats to all who bought this great set.

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