A DARK SHADOWS Fan Art Gallery arrives on eBay!

  A DARK SHADOWS Art Exhibition has recently hit eBay, and, I have to say, it is absolutely gorgeous! 

The artist, Dean Monahan, currently has seven matte prints listed of his own original DARK SHADOWS artwork for sale on his eBay store, and they are beautifully made with brilliant colors and exceptional detail. Many of us have seen fan art and reprints of the familiar portraits, and, of course, they are very nicely done and absolutely worth owning.

However, there is something unique and very original about Dean’s artwork. Take these two portraits of Carolyn and Victoria for instance.

  
Dean captures one of Alexandra Moltke’s most famous promotional poses and also the likeness of the drawing room with the Collins family art pieces set throughout with stunning detail and accuracy.

In Carolyn’s image, the famous clock in the foyer is beautifully displayed with Carolyn’s very sixties sweater and hairstyle! I really love the attention to detail of the numbers that closely resemble the iconic clock that reminded us that it was sundown, which signaled our favorite vampire to appear on-screen!

Speaking of vampires, the next set is of vampire bride Josette DuPres. On the left, she is wearing her necklace given to her by Barnabas Collins as seen during the beginning story arc of Barnabas holding Maggie within the walls of the Old House. Notice the attention of detail to Josette’s puncture wound. I wonder who did that? ;)=

  
On the right, the promotional shot of Barnabas Collins glaring out of the Old House window with his protruding vampire fangs has a new twist with his vampire bride, Josette, staring out into the night with him. The overgrown brush hanging outside the window really adds to the haunting atmosphere of the painting!

Featured next are my three personal favorites!

  
The genius of this picture really shows a fervent love for DARK SHADOWS. The sweater worn by Maggie was part of one of her most famous outfits when she wore her multi-colored “hostess pants”! Pay close attention to the ornate design of the banister and stairwell from the foyer of Collinwood. I absolutely love the ghost of Josette emerging from the music box that was given to her by Barnabas as a wedding gift. This music box is my favorite prop from the series, and Dean illustrates its design with extraordinary care. The image of Josette was inspired by a promotional shot from HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS that shows Maggie standing in Josette’s wedding dress near the climactic ending.

Up next is a gorgeous painting of the external view of the Old House!  

 
The overgrown, hanging tree branches really accent the haunted nature of this house. I really appreciate the almost 3-D appearance that the layers of mist and fog add to this incredibly detailed artpiece. Just looking at the image automatically prompts Robert Cobert’s musical cue of the Old House to play in my mind, instantly bringing a smile to my face.

Last, but not least, is my own personal favorite. This is Dean’s take on a picture of my favorite character in the entire series, second only to Barnabas Collins–Victoria Winters, played by Alexandra Moltke. During the show’s original run, Alexandra was featured in a series of photos in a TV Guide article. This was from one of them! The gothic tone of the colors and background really complement this wonderful painting of Alexandra!

 

So now, the big question: “HOW DO I OWN THESE, AND HOW MUCH ARE THEY?”

Well, you my be relieved to know that you don’t have to be a Collins to afford these! These are prints of Dean’s original artwork printed on high quality matte, and to say that they are beyond beautiful is a really underwhelming statement. Simply put, they are a gorgeous addition to my growing DARK SHADOWS collection.

These prints are available for less than $10! They typically range from $6-$8 each. The standard size for each print is 8.5 x 11, but they may also be purchased in limited larger sizes if asked before the purchase. In addition, Dean will personally sign each print that is purchased!

Also, if you are a horror fan in general, there are many other prints of Dean’s artwork inside his eBay store that will be certain to grab your attention and serve as a great addition to your horror collections! 

Some of the artwork features:

  • Classic scream queen Barbara Steele and Vampira
  • Abstract 70s-themed Horror movie posters
  • Memorable scenes from THE TWILIGHT ZONE, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and PSYCHO
  • A terrific mix of fantastic art of vintage HOT WHEELS cars, music legends, vinyl records, and more!

Dean has remarkable and original  talent, and I want all of you to check these out! Below is a link to Dean’s eBay store! 

Dean Monahan’s eBay shop
DARK SHADOWS Fan Boys and Fan Girls, give it a click and go art shopping! You will NOT be disappointed! 

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War declared on DARK SHADOWS bootleggers and….Cannibals?!

   

Well, it’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since receiving my bootleg DARK SHADOWS DVD set. They were relatively a new thing at the time, but thankfully, through fan empires like the COLLINSPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Facebook fan groups, and just fans like you and me, the word has spread and the video I made detailing the differences of how to identify these sets has helped many! However, the fight has reached new heights…or should I say, lows? 

As awareness of these bootleg sets has risen, so have the tricks of those who produce these, and, VERY SADLY, by those who were tricked by them. MPI Home Video has done an amazing job reaching out to many eBay sellers who are marketing these with somewhat moderate success. Minimal cooperation has been given to MPI from eBay itself, but MPI has been doing what they can to discover sources to stop abusing something that means so much to us as a way to take our hard-earned money and run with it. One fan I know very personally has reached out to many of the marketers, warning them of what they were doing as a good neighbor because, as it goes, many of the marketers are unaware of the bootlegs as they are just in the business of marketing DVDs to buyers on eBay. Basically, the main battle has come down to us fans to spread and re-spread the knowledge of how to identify these sets, warn others, and call out to marketers (who may be unknowingly selling them) to stop.

However, there has been a negative pushback from fans supporting these, and bootleggers have been finding new ways to sell these. First of all, let’s talk about the latter. Since one of the tell-tale signs of these bootlegs is the often torn-flaps and corners (as shown above), many are being sold at a cheaper price WITHOUT the coffin case as a lower-cost alternative to unsuspecting buyers. In addition, bootleggers have resorted to “cannibalizing” these sets and selling the DVDs individually, marketing them as the individual collections issued by MPI before the coffin set was released. Please be aware if you are searching through eBay, these are NOT official sets, but CANNIBALIZED BOOTLEG DVDs from the complete set. They often have the photo of the episode numbers (as shown above) or no photo at all, and they’re being listed as “re-packaged” collections.

Now, here’s where a painful truth lies–many fans  who were tricked by these are also redistributing their own sets after learning of their deception. Rather than returning the sets and going through the proper channels to report their defective items to earn their money back, many fans are taking the easy way out and re-selling them to other unsuspecting fans to get their money back or selling the discs individually in the same guise as the individual DVD collections. 

This really hurts. 

On the comment section of Facebook and the video that I made, I’ve been appalled by some negative attitudes of fans supporting the production of these bootlegs, claiming that if consumers wish to sacrifice quality to save money, that’s their right, and that the price for these sets are too high. While yes, it is true that consumers have a right to purchase anything they wish, let’s take a look at the FACTS. These bootlegs sell at an average range of $275-$500. Amazon and MPI often compete to keep the price of the DVDs at an average range of $300-$375. These bootleg discs are extremely defective and not just a grade down from the quality of the genuine sets. Many of them won’t even play, will skip halfway through, and the bonus features on discs will not work. Out of 24 discs that I tried in my DVD players, only 8 of them actually played all the way through. You’re not sacrificing quality for a lower cost. You’re paying an almost equal (and often more expensive ) price for something broken and defective, but, hey, if you’re a bootleg supporter and this sounds like a good plan for you to throw away your money like this, that’s up to you. 

The rest of us will be keeping our money and enjoying our genuine sets. We will be watching and enjoying a television show we love and are passionate about, and also smiling, knowing that our hard-earned money is supporting the wonderful actors and actresses, and also the video company that brought the phenomenon we know and love called DARK SHADOWS into our homes since the late 1980s. 

If you are one of the unlucky ones who has been sold one of these as I was, please do the right thing–don’t re-sell it to other fans. You’re just as guilty as the bootleggers and “coffin set-cannibalizers”.

Please spread the word of this post and also the link to this video detailing the ways to identify and prevent purchases of these sets.

I will also post the link to the MPI Home Video store and Amazon store links to take you right to the coffin set. 

Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series (Deluxe Edition) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007PZ6SYK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_6kDIwbMKSN60D

http://www.mpihomevideo.com/products/dark-shadows-the-complete-original-series-deluxe-edition-dvd

Here is a quick rundown of MPI’s official statement concerning the bootleg sets featured in an article written by Wallace McBride, the owner and webmaster of the COLLINSPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

http://www.collinsporthistoricalsociety.com/2014/04/warning-bootleg-dark-shadows-boxed-sets.html
 

HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS: Somewhere in the Afterglow (Finale)

  

-waving goodbye to my “Greatest Place on Earth”–Collinwood-

As you can imagine, WeepingVictoria, her kids, and I all had a lot to talk about on our drive back to our homes in North Carolina. Also, I got to chat online with some new followers I had picked up on twitter and instagram who were posting their pictures from the festival also!

I thought about all of the places that I was so lucky to see: Collinwood from the two films, the stables, the metro station from the first episode, the part of the Hudson River that David Selby and Kate Jackson sat together by in NODS, the Collins family mausoleum, and also the real Sleepy Hollow town, complete with the resting place of the man who made the town famous, Washington Irving! That’s a LOT of nostalgia to sink in during a weekend!

I thought about Burke Devlin’s famous quote, “Welcome to the Beginning and the End of the World…” Here is how this was relevant: I visited the very first place that is seen in the first episode (on the anniversary of the day it aired), and I saw the final location in the last scene where the original DARK SHADOWS mythos took place. During the last scene of NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS, David Selby, Lara Parker, and Kate Jackson were in the library where Angelique’s portrait was hanging on the wall. I had literally seen the beginning and the end of the original DARK SHADOWS world in that one weekend!

 
-The beginning….

  -…and the End-

One of the best things about this weekend was meeting so many fans! I loved the people I got to meet in the DARK SHADOWS LIVES! Facebook group, and I truly appreciate them for being so welcoming and nice to us all! Without them, we wouldn’t have found the Barnabas mausoleum in time before the cemetery closed for the afternoon, and also we wouldn’t have seen the Victoria Winters metro station! I truly am lucky to have met these fang-tastic people, and I’m so glad I still get to stay in touch with some of them through Instagram and Twitter.  If you’re reading this, you guys rock!

  
-Again, not sure if this was a picture I took, but I will give full credit for it to the DARK SHADOWS LIVES! group-

I loved meeting so many fantastic fans who play a huge part in DARK SHADOWS fan sites such as Patrick McCray, founder of the COLLINS FOUNDATION fan site, and who works with Marie “Mad Margaret” Maginnity at COLLINSPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY, run by Wallace McBride. It was a lot of fun meeting them and listening to the podcasts they made with Chris Pennock and James Storm! 

 

myself and Patrick McCray of the Collins Foundation and CHS-

I also loved meeting the awesome fans in the autograph lines and in the lobby! This is truly a place where DARK SHADOWS crazy and crazy DARK SHADOWS fans can let loose, not feel awkward, be who they are around each other, and carry on conversations with total strangers like you’ve known them for years. This feeling is something that just has to be experienced to truly understand what I’m talking about. It was fun seeing the few cosplayers, too! Better believe I will be one next time, also!  I wish so much that I could’ve met with the people whom I found (or found me) on Instagram and Twitter afterwards. I hope you all are at the next one so we can meet face-to-face! 

 The hotel itself was fun! I really enjoyed being in the lobby and dining area! There was plenty of room for all of us, and the rooms themselves were really nice!

  
Luckily for me, STILL no one has asked for these card keys since I started this series two months ago. Shhhhh!-. 

The Lyndhurst Estate was absolutely gorgeous! The greenhouse, rose garden, guest houses and buildings, stables, and of course the mansion itself, was so pretty and fun to see. We had a great tour guide! I can’t remember his name unfortunately, but I highly recommend this gentleman. I just always called him the Caretaker since he closely resembled the character from the show! He was very knowledgable about the history of the family, and he was very interactive with his audience!  

 
   

  
   

pictures taken by myself and by Bateman Lewis-

   

      

  

  

  

  

 

– I apologize again for the grain-like appearance on some of these. The lighting was too bright for awhile, and it really made taking pictures difficult for a time, but I hope you enjoy them still!- 

Of course, I was totally blown away by how wonderful all of the stars were! I was timid and nervous to meet them at first, but they were all super nice! I very felt relaxed around them when I finally came face-to-face with them (especially my celebrity crush, Lara Parker!). My only regret was not getting to meet David Selby and not getting to talk to Chris Pennock and Kathryn Leigh Scott more than I did when they first arrived at the hotel that Friday evening. I also wish that better health and circumstances would have allowed John Karlen and Nancy Barrett to attend. I hope they are doing well, and that they know that I am one of many who really missed them last year!

I was also taken aback by how generous the stars were to sign DARK SHADOWS goodies (bought AND brought) for free! I do believe I made out like a bandit by the end of the weekend! Here are some of my favorite treasures that were signed by the ones I was able to make it to! 

  

-these two will have as many added signatures as I can get! I am hoping to get Chris Pennock’s and David Selby’s signatures on them since I missed them in the autograph line! SInce the festival, I was able to meet the beautiful Donna Wandrey on Valentine’s Day this year, and she signed them both to me! More about that in the not-too-distant future!-

   
  
   

  

I do have a very big thank you to give to MPI Home Video for the bag of goodies that each and every fan was given. That really speaks worlds about how much the company really takes great care of DARK SHADOWS fans, and has been for over twenty-five years. They had a setup of tables filled with great DS merchandise at special prices just for the fans who were there. These items are always available HERE at the store, but the prices and fun of getting them at the festival really makes it special. I took advantage of a sweet deal on a cast T-shirt and DS sweatshirt bundle for $25.

  
  
-a million thanks to MPI Home Video for this awesome bag of free goodies!-

This was, without a doubt, the BEST weekend I have ever had in my life. This was my first convention, my first time being in New York, and ultimately, my first time meeting the stars of DARK SHADOWS. 

I had a great time the whole weekend, and I appreciate everything that the stars did to keep us all entertianed for the whole weekend! Even by them just coming around and talking to us at random was a thrill! Really enjoyed all of their performances at the luncheon!

  

  
  
   

  -had to share a table witih these two party animals!- 

Now comes the BIG question.

So what are my final thoughts on the festival? Hmmmm….

Getting to go to this festival has really been a life event for me. It’s something I think about pretty much everyday. I have so many fond memories. I met so many fantastic people. I got to meet most of the stars of DARK SHADOWS who were there, and I loved getting to see so many of the set locations that sent my fanboy meter to 11 on a scale of 1-10. 

I love my goodies that I brought home, and I love sharing pictures and memories that I have of being there last summer! Why? Because, to me, DARK SHADOWS is much more than another TV show. I have a deep passion for the show, and, through the best and worst times in life, the show has been there for me as an escape and has always put a smile on my face. My enthusiasm for the show has no boundaries at all. I can’t help but share that enthusiasm anytime I’m on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram because it makes me happy to see others enjoyng it, too. I am fully aware that there is a lot of “life” happenng to a lot of people, but if I can use my love for DARK SHADOWS to give people an escape, then my job is done. For me, this festival was an ultimate escape, and I dare say that it was a life-changing experience for me.

At the festival, there were so many people with so many stories of what they loved about the show and what it meant to them. A great part of this was meeting all of them and hearing their stories. I was really humbled to be welcomed so warmly by the fans. DARK SHADOWS fans are, as I mentioned before, a very tightly-knit community. I was so lucky to meet many of the great people that are pioneer fans and have trailblazed the pathway to make DARK SHADOWS what it is today, and also the fans of the second and third generation that are keeping the show going strong through fansites, fanfiction, social media, and so many great projects such as writing and fan art!

An amazing thing was an observation and comment made by Kathryn Leigh Scott. She said that 2014 was not only the biggest turnout for a festival, but they had never seen so many younger and newer fans than at this one! So what does this mean? That DARK SHADOWS will not die anytime soon! In fact, it’s growing! It belongs to everyone of all ages. Whatever your preference of DARK SHADOWS may be, either the original show, audio dramas, Revival series, the two original films, the 2012 film, comic books, fanfiction, or all of the above, there is a version of DARK SHADOWS out there for everyone!

So, in summary. the DARK SHADOWS FESTIVAL is a place where fans of any age and fans of any version of DARK SHADOWS can come together and have a blast, make lots of friends, make memories that wil last an entire lifetime, and bring many smiles whenever reflected upon. I can’t wait to get in touch with the same friends and new ones face-to-face at each festival to come! Every fan should go at least once!

I really look forward to seeing the places that this fandom will go, and I can’t wait to see all of the great things in store for future festivals and events that will be held by original and new fans alike! 

As HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS has now officially ended, I can only thank all of you who have shown so much enjoyment for reading along each week and for all of the great feedback! it’s been a great two months! Extra special thanks to all of you who shared some of your pictures with me to post here! Also, with future festivals comes a future series! 

COMING NEXT YEAR: HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS II: I’VE COME HOME!

  

DEDICATION

-Thank you all for reading this series! This entire series is dedicated to WeepingVictoria and her family for allowing me to go with and share this weekend with you all. I couldn’t have gone without you, and I can’t imagine ever going to any more of them without you all! Thank you for all of the fun memories, and thank you for sharing your pictures with me to have and post here! Love and happiness to you all!- 

 

HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS (Part VII)

   

where was the best place to put 1,000 DARK SHADOWS fans who were eager to meet the stars and have merchandise signed? Right here in this hallway! Yikes!- (photo taken by Kasia Karol)

  

Sharon “Sarah Collins” Smyth-Lentz’s autograph station-

 

-Marie “Mad Jenny” Wallace’s autograph station. Not sure who left their coffee there! Not me! Promise!-

After the last auction for charity, the autograph session was ready to begin! Needless to say, there was some mass confusion as to where the lines were supposed to start! Some of the festival workers told us that the autograph lines started from the hotel lobby and worked their way into the hallway, and (unknown to me at the time) some were told to start at the end of the hallway and work their way towards the lobby. As you can imagine, nearly ONE THOUSAND DARK SHADOWS FANS crammed inside one hallway going in opposite directions and trying to talk to the stairs equals a hot mess!

Unfortunately, this did lead to a lot of line jumping and some fans turning a little pushy with each other at times. I couldn’t really get pictures during the autograph session because we were so packed together in the line I was in, and my arms were pretty full with goodies that I wanted to get signed! I was so excited!

I was lucky that I had some great people in line to talk to while we made our way through the madness of the autograph lines. I met @KasiaKarol, a super sweet fan who was so much fun to talk to and has a beautiful eye for photography! Some fans I saw, but didn’t get to talk to until later, mostly on Twitter and Instagram. Among them were @Collinsportgirl, @emmythewriter, @heavymetalwifey, and @dccd (David Caruso) from the amazing DARK SHADOWS LIVES! fan group I met the first day I was there! They are all fantastic follows, by the way!

All of the stars had their own individual tables set up, and were selling items like 8×10 photos and merchandise such as books they had written and DS audio CD’s that they were featured in! My funds were limited, but I got some great 8×10’s in addition to the items I had to be signed! I tried, the night before, to sort my DS treasures into four of my favorite items that I wanted to be signed. Some of the items I picked were for one star only, such as a book I had for Lara Parker and Josette’s music box for Kathryn Leigh Scott. I gathered them up and put them inside my DARK SHADOWS coffin box! ( I emptied the DVD’s out before leaving home so that I could carry it around with my goodies inside!)

The first person I came to when I finally made it was Sharon Smyth-Lentz. She hugged me and was so sweet as always! I told her how much I enjoyed her ghost stories and how happy and lucky I was to have met her. She is a truly adorable person inside and out! I chose this picture to be signed by her!

  
-Sharon was so sweet!-

Next, I made it to Kathryn Leigh Scott! She had so many goodies on her table! I had a special item for her to sign for me, and, of course, this 8×10 of her really stood out to me. (All of her pictures were gorgeous, but I really loved this one most! Kathryn was very nice too, but I didn’t really get to say much unfortunately because there were three lines of fans standing to meet her!   She is absolutely gorgeous!

  
-a picture taken during filming of HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS!-

   

 

 -my music box was signed by “Josette” herself!-

Kathryn’s website is now being managed by one of the people I mentioned in an earlier post, Patrick McCray, the founder of the Collins Foundation fan site, and you can click HERE to view Kathryn’s site and visit her store to purchase merchandise from her that she will sign to you for FREE!

Next in line was someone who can always make you laugh and smile just by her smiling at you–Marie Wallace! I said “Hey!” to her, and she held out her arms and said, “Heeeeyyyy!!!!” and she held out her arms and gave me a big hug! She is so much fun, and she brightens up an overcrowded hallway like nobody else in this world could ever do! She had different pictures because her book was already sold out, and I picked one of her and Jonathan Frid together! She starred in the only production he had ever directed, LION IN WINTER, and this was a picture taken during its production in 1993.

  
-Marie is such a classy and fun lady, and she personifies a “great big smile”! Even when she’s not smiling, she still is.-

Marie was wearing the MPI Barnabas Collins ring the whole weekend, too! She started talking to me about how much she loved being there in Tarrytown, and that she had been listening her favorite radio stations there all weekend. She said she was really happy that one of them had mentioned the festival and played a segment of her, Kathryn, and Lara singing “Friendship” earlier that afternoon at the luncheon! 

I was so happy to have met Marie, and I think of her energy and smile often if I ever get the blues. 

Next up, was…-bows-…. the Queen of witches herself, Lara Parker!

Lara had several lines of fans pushing and shoving forward to meet her as well! Again, Lara was so wonderful and so gracious! Those eyes just make you melt. They were really twinkling as fans were talking to her. She was talking to some fans that she was really familiar with, and she would stand and hug them. One of the things that really impressed me about Lara: no matter how many people were waiting in line, she gave everyone equal attention and was so friendly with each one. When it came my turn, she recognized me from meeting her that first night in the lobby. 

She said hi to me and smiled, telling me that she was glad to see me again. She asked if I was having a great time at the festival, and, of course, I told her yes. I also thanked her for coming, and I told her that I was so happy to get to meet her, and that I really enjoyed everything that she had done that weekend. I showed her my things that I had to sign, and she smiled at one particular item I brought with me.

I have a hardcover book of ANGELIQUE’S DESCENT that I bought from a local guy, and I had never seen another one like it ever. A security volunteer standing by Lara also paused and told me that he had never seen one of those in all the years he had worked the festivals. Lara proudly held the book up and showed it off to some nearby fans and gave me a big smile. She said this was a very rare book to have in hardcover, and that I was very lucky to have one!

   
 

-besides being a fantastic book, I will treasure having this if nothing else for the memory of Lara’s smile and reaction when I showed it to her. She was impressed that I had one, and she said they were very limited had not seen one since the release!-

Since I love the character of Victoria Winters, I chose a picture from Lara’s table that had her standing in front of the Salem Witch museum in Massachussetts, a site where she visited for researching for her upcoming novel for next year about Victoria Winters! Lara said she was really excited about writing it, and she really hoped that I would love it!

  

-Lara gives the best signatures! “Love and curses”, and “Best Witches”-

RIght now, if you go HERE to Lara’s website, you can order her books, autographed photos, and audio dramas from her (specially-priced bundles are available, too!), and she will sign them to you for FREE also!!

Unfortunately, by the time I left Lara’s table, the other stars, David Selby, Christopher Pennock, and James Storm were no longer at their tables. People who had started on the other side got to meet all of them, but everyone in my line had received misinformation about where to start. We missed out on the three guys who were there. 

David had left because he had to catch a flight back to his home in CA, and Christopher and James were leaving to do interviews for the Collinsport Historical Society’s podcasts.  If you would like to hear these interviews, click  RIGHT HERE FOR JAMES STORM and RIGHT HERE FOR CHRISTOPHER PENNOCK!

As luck and fortune had it for me, I was able to meet James in the hotel lobby as he was getting ready to meet with the CHS interviewers. I shook his hand and told him that I was so happy to meet him and, along with Angelique, he was my favorite villain in the show. He appeared not too long after I began with the show, so, to me, he was one of my favorite original characters that was part of my endearment and first exposure to the show. He gave me a hug and shook my hand, and we talked about music for a few minutes. He was talking about what kind of guitars he liked playing, and he mentioned that he was a fan of older folk songs and country music from the early days. He asked me if I had stood in the autograph line madness, and I told him that I had, and that I wasn’t able to catch him in time. 

James asked me if I wanted him to sign what was in my hands (I still had everything packed inside my coffin box), and I was absolutely thrilled. I didn’t want to ask because I knew he was busy, and I let him know that, but he said that fans always come first, and that he owed his being there to fans and his whole life. He had a suitcase with him, and he opened it up and took out a sharpie and signed the inside of my coffin box and another special item that I had each star sign that I could. James saw the interviewers coming, but he posed for a picture with me, hugged me again, and told me that he really enjoyed talking. He shook my hand and told me, “God bless you, Mark. Take care, buddy” as he left.

James was fantastic, and was all about fan service. He was one of the friendliest and most genuine people I’ve met. He was so down-to-earth and very approachable. From my small-town experience, he’s kind of like the guy in the neighborhood that everybody would walk by his house just to stop by and start talking about anything and everything. The guy knows no strangers at all. 

 

-James is the coolest guy ever. He’s got a genuine appreciation for his fans, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll meet-

For the 50th anniversary next year, I really hope to meet David Selby this time, and, hopefully, get a chance to talk to Christopher Pennock some more! I hate that I missed a chance to get their signatures on the next two treasures I have below, but maybe next year I will have them!

  
-Sharon Smyth-Lentz, Marie Wallace, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, and James Storm signed my coffin box!-

  

-this is truly one of “my most prized possessions” This is a shirt from 1971 that was made during the last months of the TV-show’s run. The shirt was signed by Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Marie Wallace, James Storm, and Sharon Smyth-Lentz. If you look above the letter “a” and to the left of the collar, there is a silver smudge. Lara made that when she was trying to get the silver sharpie to work! Here’s hoping to get Chris’s and David’s signatures on this shirt and the coffin box next year!-

I met  with @WeepingVictoria  after the madness had died down, and we started packing up our things from our hotel rooms to get ready to start on our way towards home. We compared some of our goodies, and she really did well, too! Sometime this summer, I am going to interview her about her amazing DARK SHADOWS collection! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen! 

For now, it was getting time to say goodbye to Collinwood and the HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS for me for two more years. All the way home, I kept thinking about how fantastic and fun this weekend was! I thought about the great people I got to meet and how much I enjoyed meeting and having goodies signed by some very special stars of DARK SHADOWS! Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about on the way home!

Next time, I’ll be sharing some of these afterthoughts and leftover pictures for the grand finale of this series!

COMING NEXT TIME: “SOMEWHERE IN THE AFTERGLOW”, the grand finale of HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS!

  



HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS (Part VI)

  

-Here is a picture of the conference room where the luncheon was being held. It was gigantic!-

I got up and went to the hotel restaurant area for breakfast. Inside, Chris Pennock was having breakfast with some fans! It was quite an awesome feeling thinking that I was having breakfast only two tables down with Christopher Pennock, one of the actors I have always loved in DARK SHADOWS! One of the greatest things about the guy is his laugh. Chris has an unforgettable jolly laugh. He’s one that can be going through so many things, but he never misses an opportunity to make someone laugh. The guy has a way with humor that makes his smile very contagious. He’s definitly a character you only meet once-n-a-lifetime. Very few people know what a true talent he is. He is an amazing illustrator and artist! He also writes stories and comic books. He’s an extremely talented guy, and a total artist through and through. Meeting him was truly a joy for me. 

At 11:00, there was a special lunch to be held that morning while the stars of DARK SHADOWS were going to put on a show for us! First of all, when we came in, MPI Home Video had a special goodie bag for EVERYONE in each seat!! The amount of free merchandise inside was probably worth $70-$100 for EACH person, and there were over 700 people there! Inside each bag was a Barnabas Collins ring in a leather box (or a 2014 DARK SHADOWS calendar), a Big Finish Audio catalogue, a DARK SHADOWS Fan Favorites DVD, and a Barnabas Collins bobblehead! Since I already had one of the Barnabas rings from MPI that was given to me as a birthday gift, I opted for the calendar. :)=  

  
-here is the bag we received from MPI and the goodies inside! I chose the calendar instead of the ring because I already had one, but I put it in the picture anyway so you could see it. The ring box is made of leather with the DARK SHADOWS logo printed in gold-colored lettering-

We also got a really nice souvenir book with pictures and bios of each of the stars that were scheduled to appear this festival. Here are some of the pages inside!

   
  


We sat down at table #32, and we had our lunch brought to us. We had Cokes and Mushroom Ravioli with grilled chicken and salad. Here is a picture of what was served to us. 

 

-WeepingVictoria attached her “My Name is Victoria Winters” button to her nametag! Here is the dinner and the luncheon ticket-

 I guess those people are used to it, but I’m sure the kitchen staff was overwhelmed by cooking so much for all of us! Don’t let people tell you differently, it was not bad. There seems to be a legend going on about that mushroom ravioli according to some folks there, but I enjoyed it!

Sharon Smyth-Lentz was the first one up on stage, and she was in control of a special door prize raffle! A free gift was to be given to one person at each table just for showing up! Sharon let it quickly be known that she was pulling the numbers for the winners, and that “…Vanna White ain’t got nothin’ on me!”

  -Sharon “Sarah Collins” Smyth-Lentz choosing the random numbers for the lucky winners at the tables-

I was not a lucky winner, but that’s okay! I was happy for the lady at our table who won a prize! 

When the raffle was over, we were in for a treat! Lara Parker, Marie Wallace, and Kathryn Leigh Scott appeared and sang Cole Porter’s classic song, “Friendship”, but with a bit of a DARK SHADOWS twist on the lyrics! If you would like to see them performing, click  RIGHT HERE to watch! (I apologize already for the first 30 seconds or so when someone was scooting in front of the camera and I had to move around a little)

  
-Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, and Marie Wallace goofing off and singing a DARK SHADOWS themed-version of Cole Porter’s famous song, “Friendship”!-

 Next up, Christopher Pennock entertained us with one of his comics he had written with a VERY dramatic reading and storytelling of them like ONLY  Chris can do! The man is amazing! Everyone laughed so hard at him for the nearly thirty minutes he was there on stage. Unfortunately, I had very little space left on my phone from taking other videos and pictures, and I didn’t get to capture videos of his performance. He told SO many great stories about working with Jonathan and dealing with obsessed fans.  

-Chris kept everyone’s sides split with his crazy jokes and stories! He has an amazing theatre voice!-

If you would like to keep up with Chris and see his artwork, comics, and his catch up with his films and stage work, click  HERE for Christopher’s website! He has an art gallery, merchandise, scheduled appearances, and all of the projects he’s involved in! He’s a very active actor and artist, and he’s always into something!

Up next, we had one of my favorite events of the whole festival! James “Gerard Stiles” Storm came on stage with his guitar to play and sing familiar folk songs for us, and he invited us to sing along with him! Let me tell you, James Storm is one of the friendliest down-to-earth people I have ever met, and he’s so talkative to EVERYONE! He is a truly talented musician, actor, singer, and photographer. He told us of a project he was doing last fall where he went to Montana for photoshoots and Wanderlust, and he was going to write a book about it. 

James performed several songs for us, and I had just enough space on my phone to record three of them. One of them was a spiritual tribute to Jonathan Frid, whom he admired greatly. He told a great story about Jonathan, and how Jonathan had such a detailed memory that he could remember the tiniest details of actors and actresses he had worked with many years past, and he never forgot them. James played the song “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” for Jonathan’s memory. Click  HERE to see him playing and everyone joining in! 

 
-James is the epitome of a true fan-service star. He was so generous and grateful for every fan that approached him, and he never failed to entertain. He really made a great impression on me that day, and I will talk more about it in the next post-

  

-James indulged my request to give one of his evil “Gerard” stares. Even beneath that glare, you can still see a trace of the guy’s smile. He enjoys his fans, and is one of the friendliest people on Earth! I couldn’t stop smiling like a fanboy idiot! (and yes, that’s Marie Wallace behind us as she looked at almost any given time–with a big smile on her face!)

For the other two songs I have recorded that James performed, click to hear him singing THE PALE MOONLIGHT and WHO DO YOU LOVE? I could listen to this guy sing all day. His music is really relaxing, and very fun to sing along to and tap your feet and clap your hands! 

After James left the stage, there was another charity auction held with more of the items like the ones that were auctioned the day before. Some of them were actual scripts from the episodes and autographs from late stars such as Jonathan Frid and Grayson Hall! Also, there were Barnabas Halloween costume items from Elope, albums and sountracks, autographed audio dramas from Big Finish, vintage fanzines and magazines, records that were played at the ends of scenes in DARK SHADOWS (music bumpers), and all sorts of things!

Some people like myself that didn’t have the money to keep up with the things at the auctions left to start lining up in the autograph line as the stars were sitting at their tables to sell merchandise and to sign DS goodies all for free! I had picked my most favorite items to be autographed, and I was ready!

COMING UP NEXT TIME….Autograph line madness, meeting new friends, and getting some SIGNED DARK SHADOWS GOODIES!!!!!

  


HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS (Part V)

  

-sunset at Lyndhurst. Photo taken and shared with me by Bateman Lewis-

The sun was setting at Collinwood. The two films HOUSE/NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS had played (as mentioned in the previous post, we had to go out to pick up an SD card) The first day of the festival had passed, but word was quickly spreading when we returned that a very special person was going to be out at the Hotel’s gazebo at 11:00pm to tell ghost stories! I couldn’t wait for this! I couldn’t believe I was about to meet one of the sweetest and funniest people I’ve met in my life: Mrs Sharon Smyth-Lentz herself!

 
I am kind of an earlybird (which pays off at these festivals, I found out! FYI), and so I was in the hotel lobby before 10:00pm to wait for Sharon to arrive and take us all outside. I was fortunate to meet up with Patrick McCray and Brooke Perrin again who were sitting in the lobby getting ready to set up a game of the DARK SHADOWS fiasco. I sat down with them, but we all started talking a lot, and it just didn’t happen. Marie “Mad Margaret” Maginity also joined us, and we all sat around and talked for awhile. If you would like to see how the DARK SHADOWS fiasco game is played, click HERE on the Collinsport Historical Society’s website to learn how to download and play.

Anyway, I followed some fans who were starting to make their way outside. I was in the front row on the right side. The lights weren’t on for most of the time we were out there, so most of my pictures didn’t turn out so well. I could have turned on the flash, but where I was close, I didn’t want to blind her while she spoke. 

Sharon. Was. Amazing!

She talked to us and welcomed us, telling us a little about herself, and how she loved the festival every year because it was the only time of year that she got to dress up and be treated like a rock star for a weekend! She told of different projects she was currently involved in, and how she was now back into acting! She’s acting in some short horror films, and is signed with a production company. Check out Sharon Smyth on IMDB to find out what she’s starred in! Also, her website is a great place to see what she’s into, and see great pictures! If anybody can cure a rainy day, it’s Sharon. Check out her website HERE if you wish! 

Sharon also told us about a video of her in a Pepto Bismol commercial that was filmed after she left DARK SHADOWS. It is now on YouTube! Click RIGHT HERE to see it! (video not mine)

Her catchphrase in it is, “I bet they got the bug!” Sharon said that all through school, that commercial “haunted” her and the kids always teased her about saying that.

Sharon started with the ghost stories. She talked about stories involving missing people, haunted houses, haunted mirrors, and all sorts of things.  I couldn’t start to tell them here because she told them so well! She then became more personal and told us about experiences she’s had involving her late parents and neighbors she had in the past. They were beautiful and very touching stories. She let it be known that she was indeed a believer in supernatural, and then she asked all of us if we had a supernatural experience story that we wanted to share!

How many people would take the time to allow a group of over fifty to stand up and share something so personal? Sharon was so generous and gracious with the few people who came up to tell of their experiences of how they felt past family members and friends with them also. One person spoke of a supernatural experience that he believed led him in the right direction to overcome personal struggles that he felt there was no natural way to accomplish. He mentioned that, since that experience all those years ago, he had overcome the struggles and never looked back. 

Now, regardless of your personal beliefs, these experiences were very real to the people telling them. Sharon let this be known and asked us to be respectful and mindful of this. She was so encouraging and never rushed anyone who wanted to share a very personal part of their lives with her and the rest of us there. Needless to say, it was a very fun and enlightening experience. By the time Sharon had finished and everyone was well-settled on what they were going to share, we all stood up. Many fans embraced each other, and some who shared their experiences were discussing them and sharing them one-on-one with others who were interested in hearing more.

Sharon is a very positive woman, and this night showed it. She was so nice and generous to all of the fans. She was VERY entertaining with the way she told us ghost stories, and she is one of those people that will put you in a good mood after being around her for mere seconds. She has a sweetness, kindness, and funny side to her that makes her a true star and a joy to be around. She is quite a busy woman, and she is often somewhere doing interviews and making appearances! Keep check on her website to track her down! You don’t want to miss an opportunity to meet her!

With the lights around the gazebo now working, many fans were crowding around Sharon to talk and take pictures. I walked toward her, and was lucky that Guy Haines, a man I mentioned in an earlier post who is a well-known and very talented pioneer in DS fandom, introduced me to Sharon and took a picture of us together with my phone. 

  

  
-Sharon was so nice. I’m so lucky to have met her. Special thanks again to Guy Haines for taking this pic for me and introducing me to her!-

@WeepingVictoria’s daughter, Layne, also got to meet with Sharon. We talked about how much she resembled Sharon when she was playing Sarah! Even more surprising was when we told Sharon that, at Halloween last year, Layne and I went to a Halloween get-together as Barnabas and Sarah!

  

-snapped this pic of Layne while she stood with Sharon. @WeepingVictoria showed her this next picture of Layne in her “Sarah” costume from Halloween the previous year (below)-

  

After going back to my hotel room when we had all cleared out, I knew there was going to be a big day tomorrow! I had a lunch date with several hundred people and seven DARK SHADOWS stars, and then autograph sessions to collect some signed goodies!

COMING NEXT TIME….. Attack of the Mushroom Ravioli, a musical show from Marie Wallace, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, and a sing-along with James Storm! 

  

-special thanks to Bateman Lewis for your amazing picture of Lyndhurst at sundown!-



HOTEL OF DARK SHADOWS (Part IV)

LET THE FESTIVAL BEGIN!!!

  -we arrived early, and who did I see? KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT!!!-

I got up, put on my DARK SHADOWS clothes for the afternoon, and I got with my group to get ready to head back to Lyndhurst! We were so excited to see what was going to happen, and I couldn’t wait to meet and see the DS stars scheduled to be there that day!

Unfortunately, two of them were unable to make it for personal reasons. John Karlen’s health was very poor at the time, as he was struggling with diabetic complications. Nancy Barrett had a sickness in the family that kept her from being able to attend. Both made best efforts to be there, but life just didn’t play fair with them when it came time for the festival weekend. We did get a video message from John Karlen telling us that he wished he could be there.

It didn’t take very long for things to get crowded! We were standing where the festival events for the day were going to be taking place inside a tent set up at the stable area. (The location where Quentin met Gerard in NODS and where Barnabas attacked Daphne inside her car in HODS)

Fans quickly lined up at the stables waiting to get their names signed to the guest book and, for those who had pre-paid, to give their tickets to the staff by the gift shop doors. We got our name badges and were sent back outside to wait for the stars to arrive!

  -got my badge! This was a special shirt that was given to me in hopes to find other fans on Twitter and Instagram!- 

As I said earlier, the stables started filling up quickly, and several of us were all talking about how we came into contact with DARK SHADOWS, and many were discussing how many times they had been to the festivals. There were lots of regulars, but also a lot of first-timers like myself. It was so cool. You could just walk up to strangers and start talking as if you’d known each other for years. This was great. They said that this was the biggest crowd that had ever come to the festival, and I am sure they were even surprised at such a big turnout! 

   

Before we knew it, they were arriving! 

  -it’s Marie “Mad Jenny” Wallace herself!-

 -here comes James Storm (Gerard Stiles), Christopher Pennock (Jeb Hawkes), and back there is David Selby (Quentin)-

@WeepingVictoria saw them coming, and David and James shook her hand and thanked her for coming, and they said they were really glad to be there! Unfortunately, I had walked away for a few seconds and wasn’t able to snap a pic of her shaking hands with them. Knowing me, I was probably looking for Lara to arrive.

Lara and her husband arrived and were hanging around outside the stables with some long-time festival goers. As they started ushering us inside the tent, I looked at my program once we were seated. Here are the events scheduled for the day:

-the scheduled events for Saturday and Sunday. Because things were changing around and a larger crowd had shown up, some of the events and times were shuffled around and some eliminated to make more time for other things-

  -the name badge they gave us and the meal ticket for the next day. Will get to that part soon in a future post!-

We were welcomed in by some of the team that put the festival together: Marcy Robbins and Jim Pearson. They gave a history of how long they had been putting together the festivals and advertised their newsletter called Shadowgrams. (At the end of this post, I will share how you can sign up for Shadowgrams!) 

Some of the fans left the tent to begin their tours of the Lyndhurst mansion, but we stayed inside so that we could see everyone!

First up, there was Marie Wallace! She looked great, and she is a fireball. She has SO much energy and a smile that is so contagious and never goes away. Marie was a REAL crowd-pleaser! If you want to get a crowd excited and on their feet, you get Marie Wallace. She performed a deleted scene from HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS as Mr Pearson read the script. 

  
  
Marie Wallace was supposed to be in the movie, HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, but was unable to do it because she was under a contract with another show that wouldn’t release her to film her scene at the beginning of the film. Her character’s name was Ms Hodiak, an art dealer who shows up to buy a portrait from Jeff Clark (Roger Davis) in the film. When she leaves, she is attacked by Barnabas, who has just risen from  his grave. The script had to be changed since she was unable to fulfill her part. The scene was rewritten and given to Lisa Richards who was cast as Daphne Budd. If you would like to see Marie’s re-enactment and her amazing scream when Barnabas gets her, click HERE to see the last minute of the scene! It’s great! :)=

After Marie told us goodbye, she left and they dimmed the lights to give us a slideshow on a giant screen of screen-caps and behind-the-scenes pictures that were taken on the set of HODS and NODS! Really great pictures. Such good pictures of Jonathan Frid, also. After the slideshow was done, there was a charity auction to raise benefit money for the Lyndhurst estate. 

Some of the items sold off were the 1996 re-issues of Josette’s music box, the Barnabas costume accessories by Elope, one of Dan Curtis’ own shirts, vinyl albums of the show, several vintage comics, resins and models of Barnabas Collins! The ultimate prize was a wine-and-cheese party with the stars for the evening inside the gallery from NODS at the top of the tower of the mansion! That sold for approximately $1200! 

Unfortunately for me, my funds were a little light, so I couldn’t get anything, but it was really fun seeing people getting so much cool DS stuff from the series and films! 

There were going to be representatives from Big Finish Audio Dramas  there as well after the auction, but they were unable to make the trip. There was a nice table set up for them though, and every DS Audio Drama was featured there at special prices. The stars of the dramas would also sign them for free for you!

All the cast assembled together to welcome everyone individually and for a Q&A session for about thirty minutes. Click HERE to watch Chris’s introduction! Here are some pics from the Q&A session. Enjoy!

   
       

-I apologize for the grainy look of these pictures. There was a horrible issue with lighting that was too bright, and it was really distracting for the audience and the stars themselves. They were nice about it and professional, but it wasn’t until the end of the session that the issue was resolved-

One of the highlights of the Q&A session was an “evil laughing” contest between Lara “Angelique” Parker and Marie “Mad Jenny” Wallace! It was hard to tell who the winner was! They were both very distinct and spooky in their own ways!! The crowds went DARK SHADOWS crazy with applause and cheering when they went. If you search on Youtube, you should be able to find someone that has posted an “Angelique” laugh video! It is definitely worth a watch and sticks with you! Another great highlight was Sharon Smyth-Lentz’s response to a question: “Who did Barnabas really love?”

Without hesitation, Sharon quickly took the mic from Lara Parker and said, “ME! Girlfriends came and went for my big brother, but little sister Sarah was always the love of his life!”  

I stood in line to ask Sharon a question, but due to time running out because some fans would stay at the mic several minutes only to talk about themselves and not actually ask questions (promise my tone is not hateful here, honest), I never got to ask. I was behind two others who were anxious to ask questions. Maybe the next festival, I will get to!

After the session was over, David Selby was set to perform dramatic readings and poetry set to music with the help of his wife playing the piano and James Storm playing the guitar and singing along! Due to a no-video/picture rule during his performance, I wasn’t really able to snap any pictures.  I did catch a video before he began and a few pictures, though! Click HERE to watch David welcome fans just before his show began, and enjoy the pictures!  

  

 

-I almost got to meet David. I was so excited and was reaching to shake his hand and say hello, but he had to go just as I made my way to him-

  -here is James “Gerard Stiles” Storm practicing guitar and singing during a sound check! James is an amazing singer and guitar player, and I’m going to have a great tribute to him in a not-so-distant future post-  

David performed so well! He had written so many poems and melodramas and performed them for us. Some were very serious and dramatic and very personal to him. Some were lighthearted and very funny! My favorite pieces that he did were called, “Dark Shadows Was Something We Could All Look Forward To”, and “Dark Shadows Dance Delight”! 

At the end of “Dance Delight”, David erupted with a loud werewolf howl! If there had been glass inside that tent, it would have all been shattered with the loud cheers and fans screaming in DARK SHADOWS fanboy/fangirl bliss!

As David’s performance came to a close, it was time to have a special screening of HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS and NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS! Unfortunately for me, the camera we used was full, and we had to leave to get new SD cards. We were prepared for everything, but sometimes things like that are so easily overlooked! We missed seeing the films on the big screen that was setup in there, but, if we were going to make the next event after the films were over, we had no choice but to leave when we did. I really hope that next time I can see them in such a special showing and watching with so many other fans! 

When we came back from town and from another great dinner from the Headless Horseman restaurant, we went to the hotel. News was spreading that there was going to be a very special event at the gazebo at 11:00pm that night! A very special DARK SHADOWS star was going to be telling ghost stories to anyone who wanted to come! I couldn’t get there fast enough! 

COMING UP NEXT TIME….THE NIGHT I MET A GHOST TELLING GHOST STORIES!!!

  

  (EXTRA special thanks to @WeepingVictoria for sharing your pictures for me to post of Marie, Chris, James, and David arriving! Loved them!)

 If you’re interested in signing up for DARK SHADOWS SHADOWGRAM, here’s how!