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984 0 0 0 19 8c2. Dark Shadows was a daytime television serial which ran from 1966 to 1971 on ABC. Creator Dan Curtis had a dream in 1965 of a mysterious young woman who was on a train. The following day Curtis told his wife of the dream and pitched the idea as a TV show to ABC. Network officials greenlit production and Curtis began hiring crew members. Art Wallace was hired to create a story from Curtis’ dream sequence.
Wallace wrote the story bible Shadows on the Wall, the proposed title for the show, later changed to Dark Shadows. Robert Costello was added as a line producer, and Curtis took on the creator and executive producer roles. Curtis then set out to find the actress to play the girl who was on the train. Alexandra Moltke, a young actress with little experience, was discovered and cast in the role of Victoria Winters, an orphan who ends up in the mysterious town of Collinsport, Maine, to unravel the mysteries of her own past. Veteran film star Joan Bennett was soon cast as Victoria’s employer Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, a woman who had not left her home in over eighteen years. Stage actor Louis Edmonds was cast as Elizabeth’s brother Roger Collins. Dark Shadows had a rocky beginning.
Critics were quick to deem the show rather boring for its heavy use of unknown actress Alexandra Moltke and the slow progression of the legacy of the show. The earliest episodes consisted of introducing the troubled characters and did not show any of the supernatural elements that later made the show a hit. As production on the series continued, the introduction of many new and mysterious characters and various unknown actors and actresses was prevalent on the set. Most actors also ended up playing multiple characters, and those same characters would often come back from the dead in the unprecedented use of parallel times and flashbacks.
Beginning in the fall of 1970, several ABC stations across the country had taken the show off due to falling viewership. Within six months, ratings dropped from 7. Ironically, Nielsen ratings for March 1971—the last full month that Dark Shadows was on the air—revealed that viewership of Dark Shadows had risen in its final weeks. A timeline covering the continuity of the original televised series.