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DARK SHADOWS of the Kinescope

Have you ever wondered why those early episodes of DARK SHADOWS, the ones in black-and-white, show this inky black aura surrounding the flames on the candles and the flames in the fireplaces? The most probable explanation for this is that those episodes are rendered in Kinescope. Out of the 1225 episodes of the series, 26 of them survive only in Kinescope format. This is also the reason why, after the series transitioned to color, if you’re watching it now, the occasional episode will still be in black-and-white amidst the ones with colorization. This means that that particular episode exists only as a Kinescope print.

A Kinescope, by the way, is a camera that is focused on a television screen, that records what is displayed on that screen onto film. During the six-year run of the series, there were some television stations that aired the show at different times than the prescribed network broadcast time; there were also some smaller stations that couldn’t afford videotape recorders. The Kinescope recordings were for the benefit of those stations. They were also backup recordings, but with some of the episodes of the series the original recordings have been lost and the backups are all that remain. These backups weren’t of the same picture quality as the original recordings and were always rendered in black-and-white.

TheCheezman • August 30, 2019

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