Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday Memories -- The Only "Cool" Vampire

In certain circles, vampires are a big thing today in Anne Rice's fiction, or the RPG Vampire, the Masquerade, and dozens of vampire movies. There are of course the vampire "babes" such as Vampirella (whom I have a soft spot for) and her less honorable knockoffs such as Luxura (Vamperotica whose stories are little more than pornography), Purgatori (of Chaos Comix, possibly the most purely evil and least interesting of the bunch) and a host of others (not to mention the "Naked Space Vampire Babe" from the pathetic movie Lifeforce.)

But many of the best Vampires have been guys and there was only one truly cool vampire.

When I was 10 I almost became a soap opera fan because of one soap opera: Dark Shadows. I first discovered it in 1967 and quickly became a fan. I was not alone. Kids, teen-agers, and adults were sitting entranced in front of their TVs as Dark Shadows had almost a hypnotic quality to it (indeed more than one church tract, including one by Jack T Chick, suggested that the Devil himself wrote the script for this show.) We loved the show and its main character, the reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid.

In spite of being a vampire, he was viewed as a hero, a decent man stuck in an intolerable situation. (Actually he was less than saintly before he became a vampire; his guilt and horror over what he had became made him more honorable as a vampire than he was as a mortal -- still he was no saint.) He briefly became a major icon as there were guest appearances (not by Jonathan Frid but by Barnabas) on talk shows and even kiddie shows like The Bozo Show, as well as comic books and paperback novels and posters. Sadly the difference between a Cultural Event and a fad is where they are 20 years later and Barnabas was just a fad.

Jonathan Frid, in spite of rumors to the contrary, is still alive and sometimes puts on his Barnabas persona for the fans of Dark Shadows.

The show is still sometimes available on Networks such as the Sci-Fi channel and others. I have seen it there, and I kind of wonder what the attraction was. Perhaps the memory of the show is better than the show itself.


Blogger KurtP said...

I think alot of shows we remember were "good" then, but either don't meet our remeberances, or the production values of today.
I think we remember them as better because we were young, and didn't have as much to compare them to.

I watched "Hogans Heros" the other night and was disapointed, to say the least.

2:59 AM  
Blogger armed_and_christian said...

I concur. The only show that is just as good to watch now as it was when I was a kid is the reruns of Dr. Who, although I'm willing to bet that I'd enjoy The Addams Family just as much if we could get it here.

10:05 AM  

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