I don’t know how many couples would spend their first wedding anniversary at a Dark Shadows Festival — but my husband and I did, with pleasure. Hugo began watching Dark Shadows when it aired in Argentina back in the ‘70s — then the government cut it off for being too disturbing, just as Barnabas was about to kill Dr. Woodard. So Hugo never knew what the heck happened with that particular plot line until I showed up more than 30 years later with some DS disks.
And thus, it was a nerdy dream come true to drive down to Coronado Island, California last weekend and meet some of the actors and actresses from the show. There she was, Kathryn Leigh Scott — the doomed, beautiful Josette du Pres. And there’s Lara Parker, the relentlessly evil witch Angelique!
Sure they’re seniors now, but they both still look great. Kathryn Leigh Scott in particular was amazing. Can you believe this woman is 70 years old? Hugo couldn’t — check out his stunned look.
I consider myself an especially generous new wife for driving my husband down to SoCal to meet beautiful women. Of course there was something in it for me, too. I look like a drunken fool here, clutching my autographed books — but Jerry Lacy, the wicked Reverend Trask, still looks pretty damned good. Fabulous eyebrows intact.
As festival newbies, Hugo and I were somewhat . . . overeager. When we spotted Lacy, Hugo hustled me over next to him and whipped out the camera for this shot. “Oh, so we’re doing a photo?” Lacy asked wryly. The next day the heady excitement of meeting performers we’ve watched for 740-ish episodes finally wore off a bit (no, we’re not finished yet — last night Magda put a curse on Quentin, so we’ve got quite a few episodes to go). Sheepish about the previous evening’s pushiness, I sought Lacy out again and apologized. He laughed it off, not offended at all. God knows he’s probably seen worse behavior over the years.
And that’s a good transition to sharing a bit about the other fans. There was definitely some silliness going on, which I discreetly chose not to photograph — but I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the Master of DS Ceremonies pushing one fan around on a luggage caddy.
Still, there wasn’t too much public tomfoolery — probably because the median age of DS fanatics is seriously on the rise. But there were some young people around. At our luncheon table, in fact, there were three generations of fans in one family.
That’s grandma in the middle. She was such a good DS mom that when her daughter couldn’t make it home from school in time to catch an episode, she’d record it on a tape recorder (ah, ‘60s technology). Then she’d play the tape back and explain anything not clear from the dialogue alone. That’s a fan.
And speaking of fans, fewer than half of the people we met that weekend live in California. There were seven other people at our table for the festival luncheon — two from California, one from Iowa, three from Utah, and one from Virginia. Earlier that day we’d spoken to a couple who’d flown in from Bloomington, Indiana, and I met two Texans, each one proudly believing she was the sole representative of the Lone Star state. I was definitely petty enough to bust that bubble, and Texan #2 stalked off looking for Texan #1 looking seriously put out.
For me, the height of the festival events was meeting my favorite performer from the show — David Selby. Mostly it’s because of his hotness — but in part, because he’s a fellow grad from West Virginia University.
Here’s a nice bit of news about Selby — he’s been married for 50 years. 50! You’ve got to love a man who honors a promise. Judging from seeing him and his lovely wife together at the festival, it’s been a pretty good 50 years.
And here’s another tidbit — Selby’s the second cousin of one of my best friends from my WVU days (we’re about to celebrate a 30 year friend-iversary ourselves next year). Selby and Susan haven’t seen each other since the mid-80s, so he was happy to get an update, via a photo on my cell phone.
He wasn’t the least bit phased to see his cousin proudly holding up a balloon dachshund in the photo (long story). Like Lacy and the other cast members, no doubt he’s seen stranger things over the years. And may they all do so for many, many years to come.