If you’re a fan of DARK SHADOWS—and all self-respecting vampire marks should be—you’ve been offered a myriad of reasons why the series, a pop culture phenomenon perhaps more beloved today than when it aired for six years in the late 60s and early 70s, came to an end. Why didn’t the show last? Why isn’t it still on the air, like GENERAL HOSPITAL or DAYS OF OUR LIVES or one of the numerous “straight” soap operas? Considering that it’s still so viable 50 years after its debut, these are good questions, yes? We’ve been told ratings were down. They were—but not that much. Not enough to warrant cancellation. We’ve heard that the writers simply “ran out of ideas.” That explanation won’t wash. Easy enough to hire new writers with fresh ideas. We’ve heard series creator Dan Curtis pulled the plug. Why would he? He could’ve handed over producer duties to someone else if he wanted to work on other projects.
No, the real reason the show ended was because Jonathon Frid’s contract was up, and he refused to go on playing Barnabas Collins. Just as the introduction of the vampiric Barnabas had saved the show during its first year on the air, his leaving would have surely doomed it. The powers-that-be knew that there IS no DARK SHADOWS without Barnabas Collins. Simple as that.