Collinsport, Maine

Actor/writer/comedienne and well-nigh miffed with the lack of communication on the internet to support enjoyment rather than hate-mongering and time-wasting.

Once upon a time in the 1960s an idea for a daytime drama was born that would incorporate, loosely, many Gothic classic books and supernatural characters. The books they began with, updating stories for the modern day, were “Jane Eyre” by Bronte and “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Dumas.

The crew was concerned about the ratings and the main creator’s children suggested, “Daddy, how about you make the show scary?” So a character was killed-off and his ghost began haunting the estate.

Later they added a Phoenix character, but made her more of a villain than what a Phoenix usually is. An ancestral ghost was added to play hero to the Phoenix villainy.

After that a character based on “Dracula” by Stoker came in. The audience fell in absolute love and curiousity with him, so it was slowly revealed he was a nice guy who got cursed almost two hundred years previously. (We suspect “Pride and Prejudice” was used for this due to him having many Mr. Darcy tendencies in his tale.)

This daytime drama was titled “Dark Shadows”. Yes, talk about a generic title.

Other books and stories used for this show, often public domain stuff, were “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “Frankenstein”, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, “The Premature Burial”, “Wuthering Heights”, the list is huge. They also brought in plenty of witches, ghosts, werewolves, time-travel, reincarnation, you name it.

This series began in 1966 and ended in 1971. Another production of it came into being with a few of the same original creators in the early 1990’s. A third production was attempted as a pilot in 2004 but never aired, and then a film was created in 2012 with the permission from the inheritors of the original creators.

Where do I come in? In about 2006 I got majorly tired of investing my time, per trends and pressures, to enjoy Harry Potter. Rowling’s universe was very cool but I felt cheated by book number five and announced, to myself, “If I wanted a supernatural soap-opera I’d be watching Dark Shadows!”

My boyfriend (now husband) and I shared a Netflix account before they had streaming, so it was mail home and mail back DVDs, which the company still does and we still receive. I called and asked him to check on his work computer if Netflix had ‘Dark Shadows’ and he said yes, but it only starts in the time frame that introduces the Dracula character. I said, “Let’s do it!”

I’d watched other daytime dramas in my life, the characters usually were dim-witted morons, so I truly expected I would never care much about these characters. Initially, I didn’t, but let’s say the writing from the 1960s, boosted by old book inspirations, made the characters more endearing.

We were watching for a while and my mind evaluated a lot of points at which major dilemmas could have easily been fixed with all my own practice and interest in spooky stories containing resolution. Around about 2007 we saw a favourite character get killed off. This is where I had finally had it with the bummers and began a five year combing of whatever fanfiction I could find.

“This show is majorly loved, has been for decades, with conventions similar to Star Trek's. There has to be a relief series!” I thought.

I kept searching for one without luck. It was around 2009 I decided there might not be one out there, and even though I continued my search, I began taking notes to create one myself.

Now, this show is based on a ton of other stories and books as aforesaid, yes? So what might work to fix it? ADD MORE! ^_^ D.S. is already based on a ton of books so don’t add book characters, I told myself. Add spooky show characters that do have resolution. Those characters can show the stressed-out drama characters how to fix their problems.

One inspiration, for me, was a Star Trek fanfiction that a few people had done, just for fun, which added a ton of other show and film characters from Star Wars, Lost In Space and a few other things. They wrote it in radio drama format and it was easy that way to squish in more characters quickly.

My scripts began as simply text. For radio drama hosts I took from “The Kids In The Hall” characters Milligan and Hecubus that did a recurring performance called “The Pit of Ultimate Darkness”. This is how I conjured my own title by combining the two and my creation became “The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows” weaving both titles together.

I found a point to interrupt “Dark Shadows” when a minion of the Dracula character was taken to the loony bin. I have the vampire advertise for help and Wadsworth from “Clue: The Movie” shows up.

I jump through a few of the DS story lines for a couple episodes and shared those in text before the 2012 film was released. When that film was released we loved it, as did many at the time, and I was very encouraged by the outcome.

I mixed into my scripts “The Time Machine” (1960), “The Golden Girls” with one character having a flashback to the 1960s, a little “Twin Peaks”, and then I watched all of the television show “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” from the 1960s that also took place in Maine like the DS show did. So I added characters from that last one to remain.

I had a snippet from “The Prisoner” added for fun, then there was a stop into the old “Psycho” movie at The Bates Motel, then the couple running away from there and they head to The Addams Family’s house for somewhere else to stay.

Next I added that Lily from “The Munsters” was a cousin to the main DS family and she heads out to help.

Eventually Captain Gregg from “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir” decides they need better witches to help with a bad one, he heads for Samantha Stephens from “Bewitched” but mistakenly encounters Endora first which is a problem, of course.

Amidst all this fun I began making little recordings for myself and husband of all this. I noticed, as I listened, I began to feel better. What I’d only recently found out was Anhedonia, that I’d began suffering from since 2006, was steadily going away! (This was 2013.)

I was also creating a lot of free audio books for Librivox, doing character voices as I went, I decided, and was encouraged by many: make a podcast out of this and have a real show. “It’s great, it’s funny, it’s heart-warming, it solves so many problems. There is no doubt you’ll get so much companionship and admiration if you share it."

So, basically, my project is a one-woman show, written and performed by me (mostly), edited by me, can make no money due to it being a fan-creation, that mixes a tragic show that bears little to no resolution with many other movies and show characters who solve problems, into a relief-series, in audio and text, for the sake of imagining what those characters lives would have been like if they were no longer in a soap-opera anymore and things worked out.

(And the reason I’m still doing this after so many years with little help is a much more complicated story that incorporates 21st Century technology and the entire human race. Alas!)


Well, I guess it's time to focus on pen pals more now that the proof is in the pudding. The internet for "The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows" is likely off-balance, though worth the attempt. The postal service must be it's true source of connection. I hope I catch the postman next time he drops by. I can't wait to tell him. :)

Like to write letters and get mail? Me too.

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