Friday, April 20, 2012

Farewell Jonathan Frid

Just learned that actor Jonathan Frid, who played Barnabas Collins on the TV series Dark Shadows, died this week. In an odd coincidence, I had just been reading about the series in the new book Return to Collinwood and watched several episodes of the show over the last few days. Like many people of my generation, I can recall watching Dark Shadows after school. I'd get off the bus and hurry to my grandmother's house (she had a bigger TV than we had at home) to plop down and watch the tragic vampire Barnabas deal with whatever supernatural menace the show was featuring that week. Witches, ghosts, werewolves, even a Lovecraftian pre-human race. Barnabas traveled in time and into alternate dimensions, There was never another soap opera like Dark Shadows. It's a little sad that Frid won't get to see the premier of the new Dark Shadows film, in which he and several other members of the cast of the original series have cameo appearances. I don't have high hopes for the movies since it's a comedy (though I do like some of Tim Burton's films) but it would have been nice if Frid could have enjoyed the limelight once more. in any case, I have fond memories of watching Dark Shadows and most of those are related to Frid's performance as Barnabas Collins.


Dougie said...

To the best of my knowledge, Dark Shadows was never shown in my tv region. The extent of my exposure was limited to references in 60s comics like the FF. I have seen a couple of clips on Youtube however; the scene where Trask is walled up is chilling!

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I remember it scaring the bejeebus out of me as a small child. Watching the episodes again for the first time since I was a kid, I was impressed with the still creepy Gothic-ness of the show. Sure the special effects were often rubbish and the sets were cheap, but Frid's performance did a lot to carry the show through the rougher bits, and the writing was strong.

Keith said...

Either this wasn't shown where I lived or I was too young to notice it. I've only seen clips, although I did watch the prime time version that aired for a couple of months around 1990 or 1991 before it was canceled. I'm sorry to hear Mr. Frid has passed.