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Dark Shadows Set 6 Beginnings

Jonathan Frid , Grayson Hall    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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The Start of a Legend! Named One of TV s Top 25 Cult Shows by TV Guide With its alluring tales of Gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue, DARK SHADOWS (1966-71, ABC-TV) became one of the most popular daytime series of all time. The character of Barnabas Collins, a guilt-ridden, 175-year-old vampire, brought the show tremendous success. Now, for the first time on DVD, MPI presents the spooky series rare, early episodes before Barnabas. Dr. Peter Guthrie and Joe Haskell break into Laura Murdoch Stockbridge s crypt at Eagle Hill Cemetery. David Collins informs Victoria Winters that he wants to go away with his mother, Laura. Guthrie arranges to conduct a seance at the Old House to contact Josette Collins ghost. Victoria makes a bizarre discovery that leads her to believe David s life is in jeopardy after Laura summons him to an abandoned fishing shack. Victoria sees Elizabeth Collins Stoddard coming from the mysterious locked room in the Collinwood basement. A nervous Elizabeth is shocked when Jason McGuire, a devious friend of her missing husband s, arrives in town unexpectedly. He reminids Elizabeth of an old secret that they share. Jason and his traveling companion, a drifter named Willie Loomis, force Elizabeth to let them move into Collinwood. Willie learns that Collins family members have been buried with their jewels and he becomes mesmerized by the portrait of Barnabas Collins hanging in the foyer. INCLUDES: Episodes 179-209, Originally aired March 2, 1967 - April 14, 1967 BONUSES: Episode 191 extra footage Restored Episode 211 (Barnabas arrival) with original 1967 commercials Syndication Sales Reel & Promos Dark Shadows Sci-Fi Channel Commercials Joan Bennett Newsreel Footage New Interviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Start of a Legend! July 16 2008
It has been a year waiting for this remarkable set to be delivered and a total of 5 years to complete the Dark Shadows Collection on DVD. In the DS the Beginning Volume 6, the epic truly begins.

The bonuses in this video are by far the best it includes episode #211 Barnabas' Arrival to Collinwood. Includes commercials which are very gender gear hence soap opera.

All of the Dark Shadows elements are heightened with a seance, breaking into crypts, mysterious ghosts, finally we find out whats in the secret room of the basement and a Phoenix set out to burn down Collinwood. The greatest part is the Portrait of Barnabas Collins that Hangs in the foyer of Collinwood and how a beating heart drives a man to find hidden treasure and a hole lot more.

An excellent intro to the world of Dark Shadows in which all people would enjoy.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Beginning!! July 18 2008
By E. Hornaday - Published on Amazon.com
Fans of the Classic TV show Dark Shadows have wrung their hands in anxiety, held seancés, looked into crystal balls and read tarot cards to divine when - or if - the next DVD release of their favorite gothic soap opera would EVER be released, but mainly they've just plain waited and waited and WAITED. In fact, they've waited for these DVD episodes longer than the beloved series aired - and now it's finally come true.

MPI Home Video began releasing Dark Shadows episodes onto DVD on May 28, 2002, with its first boxed set of 40 episodes, which began about a year after the series debuted and included the fabled first appearance of 175-year-old vampire, Barnabas Collins, impeccably portrayed by Jonathan Frid.

Now, more than six years later, Dark Shadows: The Beginning, Vol. 6, collects the remaining black and white episodes to be released on DVD, truly coming full circle, as it ends with the fully-restored and remastered episode of the fabled first appearance of 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins!

In total, all 1225 episodes from the iconic horror series (which premiered on ABC June 27, 1966, and aired episodes until April 2, 1971) are now available on DVD. Whew!

When MPI began releasing episodes on DVD, they had not decided if they would release ALL of them or certainly the pre-Barnabas episodes, because they tended to be less popular than those after the arrival of everyone's favorite Creature of the Night. In the end, they decided to release everything, calling the pre-Barnabas episodes "The Beginning" series, of which this is the final of six sets.

MPI should be genuinely congratulated for its unwavering commitment in releasing the entire catalog of Dark Shadows episodes onto DVD. Few studios show that kind of dedication to fans, plainly evident by the large number of Classic TV shows that have been dropped after only a couple of DVD season releases, or even dropped in mid-season. Imagine a studio committing to release 1225 episodes of ANYTHING onto DVD, much less a cult TV series from the 1960s. Also, we fans deserve huge kudos for our steadfast devotion to be willing to wait out the lengthy release schedule to enthusiastically obtain the entire series run. The fact that it has even happened is a tribute to the enduring power of Dark Shadows, which cast a powerful spell that has transcended time: It is truly the show that would not die.

The episodes in this set continue to focus on the unexpected return of Roger Collins' wife, Laura Murdock Collins, whose presence has become more mysterious, supernatural and - very, very dangerous.

Roger (Louis Edmonds) had told his young son David (David Henesy) that his mother was dead, but she had actually suffered a mental breakdown and was confined in sanitarium. Since being released, she apparently had been living in Phoenix, Ariz., unbeknownst to the Collins family.

Without warning, Laura (Diana Millay) returned to Collinwood and demanded full custody of her son. Roger's sister, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Joan Bennett) steadfastly refused, and was inexplicably stricken by what appeared to be a trance, but was actually a spell cast by Laura.

Now, Governess Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke) has figured out that two other Laura's (Laura Murdock and Laura Murdock Stockridge,) each died by fire exactly 100 years apart. Now, Laura Murdock Collins wants to take David away with her, despite a series of foretellings that depict them being consumed in fire: exactly one hundred years after the death of Laura Murdock Stockridge.

In a dramatic and fiery finale never seen before that time in soap opera history, Victoria struggles to pull David away from his mother in the midst of a crackling fire that threatens to destroy them all. The Phoenix is Reborn! (This represented the series first truly supernatural story arc, along with its first seancé, which would become a Dark Shadows' staple.)

Classically trained actor Frid became Barnabas Collins at Episode 211, which first aired 04/18/67. Frid was beyond perfect, playing the most unusual role completely straight. He was compelling, guilt-ridden and just as often cruel and dangerous. Almost immediately, the show, which had been constantly threatened with early cancellation, skyrocketed in the ratings and made Frid an international super star. (Note: Many fans who began watching only after Barnabas had become a fixture on the show, either never saw these early episodes when they first aired, or when they were syndicated for a short time years later.)

In this set, Episode 191 has extended footage, and Frid's Episode 211 has been fully restored and remastered. Original 1967 commercials that aired at the time are included as a special feature, along with new interviews and newsreel footage of movie star Joan Bennett.

This set is also noteworthy for introducing the character of Willie Loomis (originally horribly portrayed by James Hall who was VERY thankfully and quickly replaced by the brilliant John Karlen.) It was Willie, after all, who inadvertently let Barnabas out of his coffin and the rest is soap opera, entertainment and cultural history!!

Let's hope that whichever studio or studios that have the rights to the two 1971 Dark Shadows' movies, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, finally allow those dead films rise from their coffins and onto DVD. I just hope that it won't take yet more seancés and spooky incantations, not to mention more YEARS of waiting, to get it done!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Shadows Lover!!!! June 1 2009
By K. K. Hendricks - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
If you're a Dark Shadows fan but never knew how it all started, get this collection series and you'll know. I love Dark Shadows!!! I was a fan when I was a pre-teen and still am today at 52!!!!! I almost have the entire series. When I complete watching it all I'll start over!!!!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forever in the Shadows Sept. 22 2008
By John D. Allen - Published on Amazon.com
I remember as a 6-year old little boy coming home from school each day to see mama having on Dark Shadows at 4:00pm on Channel 13 ( our local ABC network ) . That was back in 1967. Those memories still stick in my head .
Later on , as I got older, and could better understand
storylines, it was great to see those episodes repeated through what is called "syndication ." However, I didn't even know there were these so-called early episodes before the arrival of Barnabas.Those episodes were only shown (to my knowledge) on their first-run air date.
I have purchased every single DVD of this series 1-26 , and now 1-6 of The Beginning.
I highly recommand any DARK SHADOWS fan to purchase and have in their collection all 6 volumes of these episodes that starts from THE BEGINNING to complete their set. I can hardly wait to have the final set of episodes in Volume 6 , and will have my 4:00pm's Monday through Friday relived when I come home from work.
Trust me, and buy this Volume 6.
It is too bad no network - cable or free tv - won't take a chance of reviving the series; unlike the failed attempt of NBC, I think it is worth a try.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Dark Shadows Jan. 25 2009
By J. D. Mcelwain - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I have really enjoyed this collection and highly recommend it to any DS fan. I wasn't sure what to expect from the "Beginnings" because I had read many commentaries stating that the pre-Barnabas series was somehow different, or a pale imitation of the post-Barnabas series.

Not true! The episodes in "Beginnings - 6" felt to me very much like the more familiar part of the series - the same moody atmosphere, the same music (!), the same building of drama and tension, and the same spookiness. So I think these early episodes have been under-rated. For example, right off the bat in collection 6, we have unauthorized grave-openings, coffins, an eery cemetery-keeper, a resurrected-from-the-dead menace to the Collins family, and an apparition. The black-and-white photography enhances the effect of these episodes, much as it does in the early Barnabas period.

Another thing I like about these episodes is that it does straight drama in addition to the spooky stuff, and it does the drama well. Louis Edmonds & Joan Bennett stand out in this regard - and the good dramatic quality continues right into the post-Barnabas era. In short, I see a seamless transition between the two eras of the show.

There are some fun extras, too, in this set. They show the original "take" shots (or whatever you call those) in which someone holds up a writing board stating the episode # and the date aired - and occasionally, there are some surprises in these shots!

Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fire and Fear Aug. 2 2009
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I am enjoying this Season 6 of the Beginning. The episodes seem to be more suspenseful than the first seasons. Laura Collins is certainly an interesting and sinister character as well as Jason Mcguire who is staying at Collinwood. I like the melodramatic introductions to each episode narrated by Victoria Winters.
One strange thing about the Collinwood mansion -only 1 phone in a mansion? I am amused by the characters always rushing downstairs to answer the phone. Can't the Collins afford an upstairs phone?
This is fun viewing and enjoyable in an oldfashioned type of way, in spite of the filming quirks.
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