Though it’s been 41 years since the cult daytime drama Dark Shadows originally left the airwaves, the coffin never really remained shut on vampire Barnabas Collins and the show’s cast of other creepy characters. Between spinoff movies, syndicated repeats on television, yearly fan conventions, a 1991 remake series, merchandise and numerous home video releases, interest in the gothic sudser has remained strong throughout the decades.
To celebrate the May issue of Rue Morgue and our coverage of both the original 1966-71 television classic and the soon-to-be released film version from Tim Burton (out this Friday, May 11), here is a look at some of the various Dark Shadows collectibles that have been produced over the past 46 years.
The following is just a small sampling of some of the hundreds of items that have been released bearing the Dark Shadows name or featuring the familiar fanged visage of Barnabas Collins. Although a great deal of merchandise was produced during the height of the program’s popularity in 1968/69, there has also been a steady release of collectibles over the years, with numerous items having been released during this past year.
With only a few exceptions, much of the recently released merchandise shown here can be found in stores and from such online retailers as amazon.com and entertainmentearth.com. In the case of vintage memorabilia, many of the items can be easily found on eBay. And for those who enjoy the experience, garage sales, flea markets and used bookstores may also yield some results. Prices and links are included for select items that are still available for sale from their respective sites.
Now, without further ado, here’s a look at some fangtastic Dark Shadows memorabilia …
This vintage mail order ad for Dark Shadows tie-in novels was featured on the back cover of a 1969 issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland. When Barnabas Collins (portrayed by the late Canadian stage actor Jonathan Frid) became a hit with television viewers, companies were keen to cash in on the interest generated; as a result, the majority of Dark Shadows memorabilia – both vintage and recent – features the character’s familiar fanged visage.
Here are a few of the thirty-three tie-in novelizations (some of which are featured in the above ad) published by Paperback Library from 1966-71. Written by Marilyn Ross (in actuality, Dan Ross), these particular volumes were printed between 1968 and 1971.
This is the 11×22 inch double-sided poster of stars Jonathan Frid and David Selby (who played ghost/werewolf/zombie character Quentin Collins) that was included inside the Dark Shadows Original Soundtrack LP.
A Dark Shadows trading card wrapper, featuring an ad for Barnabas Collins mail-in ring promotion. The ring, which could be obtained with 50 cents and five wrappers, is now a rare collectible and can sell for up to hundreds of dollars. The cards were manufactured by the Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corporation and released in 1968 and ’69.
A vintage 1969 comic book ad for the MPC Barnabas Collins and Werewolf plastic model kits. The company also released a kit of a hot rod-styled “Barnabas Vampire Van”. Among some of the rarest Dark Shadows collectibles, mint condition specimens of these kits have been known to command prices of hundreds of dollars apiece. They were re-released last year by Round 2, a hobby company specializing in retro-themed model kits.
Dark Shadows was showcased in numerous magazines, including this October 1974 issue of Monsters of the Movies, published by Magazine Mangement Co. (Marvel Comics). The series was also featured in the first issue of the 1970 satirical comic book, Spoof, also published by Marvel.
The 1991 prime-time remake series starring Ben Cross and Barbara Steele spawned a small number of collectibles, including this short-lived but beautifully illustrated comic book line by Innovation, published from 1992-93.
And here is the Barnabas bobblehead. The figure, along with others in the series, can be purchased at a discounted rate from MPI Home Video at http://www.mpihomevideo.com/Store/?Filter=ByProductType&value=Merchandise
The fantastic-looking Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins 12-inch figure, produced by Majestic Toys in 2006.
This highly-detailed Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins 12-inch figure from Majestic Toys not only sported an amazing likeness of star Jonathan Frid, but also came with a cloth costume and several accessories, including a wolf’s head cane, stand and changeable heads and hands.
This nicely detailed 8-inch Barnabas Collins figure was released by Spectre Toys in 2010. The figure, which was produced and packaged in the style of 1970s “Mego” action figures quickly sold out, but another run of the figure (along with a second line that includes Quentin Collins, Barnabas’ doomed fiancée Josette DuPres and servant Willie Loomis) is slated to be available this November. All are available for pre-order from Entertainment Earth.
The 8-inch Chris Jennings Werewolf figure from Spectre Toys, released in 2010. A figure of witch Angelique Bouchard was also made available. Both are for sale at $19.99 from Entertainment Earth.
The reissue MPC Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins plastic model kit, released by Round 2 in 2011. For years, if you wanted to own one of the original kits from 1969, you had to pay up to a couple of hundred dollars or more. This reproduction version will set you back a mere $24.99. Available in select speciality stores and online at:
Here’s a peek at the contents of the reissue MPC Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins plastic model kit from Round 2. Included are optional glow-in-the parts, a base, numerous creepy accessories and instructions for assembly.
Those contemplating dressing up as Mr. Collins this Halloween will want to pick up the recently released Deluxe Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins Inverness Cape from Elope. This high quality, standard sized replica (made of a wool-blend fabric) carries a SRP of $82.99 and is available from Entertainment Earth.
Here’s a close-up of the fully adjustable Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins Ring, Elope, 2011. It’s a great-looking replica of Barnabas’ black onyx ring from the TV show.
And for the finishing touch to your costume, there is the Dark Shadows Barnabas Collins Cane (available in both a sturdy plastic version for $19.99; and a deluxe wooden one for $76.99); and Barnabas Deluxe Fangs ($7.99), all of which are slated for release in July. They can be pre-ordered now at:
Dynamite Entertainment has a new Dark Shadows comic book line available ($3.99 per issue), featuring gorgeous art that perfectly captures the likenesses of the original TV series actors. The company has also recently released trade paperback compilations of the issues. The line is available in bookstores, comic shops and numerous online retailers.
MPI Media Group recently released this numbered, limited edition 131 DVD set of the series (SRP $599.99), which includes all 1225 episodes, plus documentaries, bloopers, a personally signed postcard by Jonathan Frid and more. It has since sold out, but the company is putting out another run (slated for July release) minus Mr. Frid’s autographed card. It can be purchased from amazon.com and numerous other online retailers.
The company has also released single disc compilation releases like the The Greatest Episodes Collection – Fan Favorites. SRP is $14.99 and it’s available from stores and numerous online retailers like amazon.com.
And finally, a number of items from the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film will soon see release, including this Original Score CD from WaterTower Music. SRP is $9.99 and it’s available as both a download and CD from amazon.com.