The REAL Real Reason DARK SHADOWS Was Cancelled
One more time, for the peanut gallery! I know I’ve written about it before, but some people didn’t get the memo. I’ll just keep telling the truth until everyone hears. There is the official reason, or actually reasons, plural, that are always given. Then there is the real reason. Before I state it–again–however, let’s see if the COLLINSPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY got it right. What did they say: “[F]ans…have blamed its demise on fatigue, the Leviathans, changing demographics, and the result of a production spreading itself too thin to include feature films…there’s an endless supply of suspects…but the truth is probably more like the conclusion of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. There are simply too many hands on the murder weapon to place the blame on any one individual.” Okay. That’s a fair statement. But there are some factors that weighed more heavily than others. One in particular delivered the killing blow. One individual whose hand was way more import6ant than all the rest–and that hand didn’t belong to Count Petofi or to series creator Dan Curtis.
The president of ABC at the time, James Duffy, took the credit for the decision, but all he did was sign the paper that made it official. His hand isn’t even on the murder weapon. Maybe like one fingerprint. Who, then?
Says the site: “Also unlike other soaps, DARK SHADOWS was forever going to be The Barnabas Collins Show. ALL MY CHILDREN could find a way to [continue] without Erica Kane, but Collinwood would always feel a little empty without Jonathan Frid’s presence…” They ALMOST nailed it, here. The fact is, the show wouldn’t just feel “a little empty” without Barnabas Collins. The show could not EXIST without Barnabas Collins. Barnabas was the heart and soul of DARK SHADOWS. Everyone knew it. Dan Curtis sure as hell knew it.
Here’s the fact, folks: Jonathan Frid’s contract was up. And he refused to go on playing Barnabas. They would’ve had to recast the role or write the character out of the show, and they knew that neither of those things would’ve flown. When Frid chose not to re-sign, it signaled the end of the series. Sure, there were other factors, too. But this one carried all the weight.