Dark Shadows - Then And Now

From the desk of romance author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy….

            On summer afternoons in my childhood one thing could draw me away from playing outside or reading a good book – the daily showing of the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows.  I’d been exposed to soaps before through General Hospital, a show my grandmother began watching with the first episode.  Although I’d watch the soap (and confess I still do) it didn’t capture my imagination the way Dark Shadows did.  Nor did the other television programs I remember from my earliest years, programs including Gilligan’s Island, Green Acres, or The Beverly Hillbillies.

            Dark Shadows represented something very different.  I became a young fan in a very short time and when the plaintive strains of the theme music aired each day at three, I dropped all else to settle down to watch.  Thanks to Dark Shadows, I was introduced to a vampire (Barnabas Collins), a witch (Angelique), a child ghost (Sarah Collins), time travel and more dark intrigue than I had ever imagined existed.  In no time at all, my cousins, best friends and constant playmates, were playing Dark Shadows and turning our vintage home into our version of Collinwood.  Years later, the show aired for awhile in the afternoon reruns and I caught the program then as well with the same avid appreciation.


     Although vampires have gained in popularity since Dark Shadows introduced me to Barnabas, a certain mystique remains around the creatures.  Newer programs including the Twilight series of books and movies, movies ranging from comedy to serious dramas keep the legend alive. And, of course, I’ve penned my own vampire romance series, The Love Covenant series from Evernight Publishing.  It probably owes some measure of inspiration to Dark Shadows.

But when I heard a movie length remake of my old favorite Dark Shadows was in the works, I vowed to see it. 

            And I’ll admit because of it my old interest in Dark Shadows renewed.  I happened to catch the airing of the 1991 remake of the television series, a version with far less episodes but some powerful acting and more elaborate sets this past spring.  I became hooked once again and soon bought the series on DVD.  I also bought another DVD, this one with with Barnabas’ transition from late 18th century man to a creature of the night.  The story is woven with scenes from the original program and I’m finding it fascinating.

            So I’m bridging some summers of the past with this current summer.  The same theme music haunts my thoughts and I’m watching different versions of the same story of the Collins family.  So many elements remain the same and yet some are changed.  It’s hard to say just which version I prefer the most but Dan Curtis, creator of the series, came up with an original idea and spun it out in a way fans adored enough to make the series survive for decades.  Now new fans are discovering it for the first time.

            Like many other readers and movie goers this season, I’m into vampires but mine are those of the past, familiar faces from another time and place.

For a change of pace, check out my new urban romance, RED IN THE HOOD just out from Evernight Publishing this week!

Red In The Hood by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Tamara’s known far and wide as the girl in the red hood. Red is not only her favorite color but a way to express everything from anger to love. She hates her mundane existence. After tragedy destroyed her family life, Tamara’s become a loner who shuts out everyone, even her one-time lover, Wulfric.

Wulfric refuses to give up on Tamara, and when she yields to him, her life seems to shift back on track. But when danger hits, Wulfric steps in to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her. His life and their love hang in the balance.

Also available at Barnes and Noble and Bookstrand


  1. Great piece, Lee. I'm an old DS fan myself. I did want to point out, though, that it's BARNABAS Collins, not Barnabus. That'll help with keywords, too.

    1. Thanks Melody - appreciate the heads up!


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