From 1966 to 1971 there was a gothic soap opera on TV called Dark Shadows. It featured vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches etc. After hearing about it from neighborhood friends and wanting to watch it, we learned we were not allowed to see the show. It was forbidden. For awhile this made it one of the most attractive shows on television. ED (older brother, El Dictator), Hipee (my younger sister, High Powered Executive), and I would try to covertly watch it when we thought we could get away with it.
If we were careful and kept the volume low, our only chance to watch Dark Shadows on the sly during the summer was on the small black and white TV in the basement, in ED’s room. ED really didn’t have a room downstairs, per se, so much as his bed and dresser were in the far corner of what would have been the family room - if we were using it as a family room. Instead a corner of the room became ED’s bedroom, but the laundry room and a bathroom were right off of it (as was the doorway to the large Killer Tricycle arena) and the stairs from the main level of that house led directly into this large room. The laundry room presented the greatest threat to our illicit Dark Shadows viewing. At any moment our mother could come down the stairs to put a load in the washer.
The second threat to our watching Dark Shadows on the sly was our youngest sister. Yes, ED, Hipee, and I had a younger sister during this time. She wasn’t part of our gang. She was too whiney, wimpy, and young. We’ll call her Whiy. Because she was so much younger, our mother was often busy with her or doing housework. We kept the TV volume low so we could hear if Mom was on the stairs, or if Whiy was coming, as she might see what we were watching, get scared, and tattle.
After successfully watching several episodes of Dark Shadows, I really can’t remember feeling any particular attraction to the show, other than the scary subject matter that, as far as I can remember, didn’t scare us. Trying to watch it soon lost its appeal unless there was a lot of neighborhood buzz concerning some especially exciting or gruesome upcoming episode. Dark Shadows viewing became an occasional occurrence, done on the sly and easily forgotten.
A few months ago I was flipping through the channels checking out what was on TV, and noticed they were playing an old Dark Shadows movie. My first reaction was, “It was a movie too?” Then I decided that I’d watch it to see if it sparked any memories or if I could recall what all the hype was about. After about the first five minutes, I switched channels. It was really rather silly. Perhaps it would have been more exciting if I still felt it was forbidden. Hmmm… There must be a lesson of biblical proportions in there somewhere.