A to Z April Challenge: J is for Jasmine and…

David and I are late to the party. The Dark Shadows party, that is. Dark Shadows is a mid-to-late 1960s/early 1970s era Gothic soap opera. It is kind of All My Children meets Shock Theater.

There are several “J” people and things in Dark Shadows.

The first, and best in my opinion, is Josette’s music box. It plays such a pretty tune. Here is a clip of it that I found on YouTube:

Josette is a ghost from the beginning of the series. Her scent was jasmine, so whenever her ghost is nearby, the more sensitive people smell the scent of jasmine. She died in the late 1700s by falling off of a cliff called Widow’s Hill. There are several different stories about what caused her to go off of that cliff, and all are centered around Barnabus Collins and his uncle Jeremiah Collins. Josette was engaged to Barnabus, but due to a spell that was cast on her by a witch that also loved Barnabus, Josette ended up marrying Jeremiah.

Some of the actors/actresses are “J” people, too. Joan Bennet is the star of the show as the mistress of Collinwood, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. This woman is beautiful and a very good actress. Sure, she forgets her lines sometimes, but with the schedule those working on this show had, it’s a wonder any of them remembered anything. Joan also reminds me of my mama in that I remember my mama wearing her hair in a very similar hairstyle when I was a very little girl.

John Karlan plays Willie Loomis. He is basically Barnabas’ slave after breaking into Barnabas’ coffin to try to steal the family jewels. Ol’ Barney here is a vampire, one of the undead. Before being beaten and bitten into submission by Barnabas, Willie was a thief and a creep, terrorizing the young girls of Collinwood, Carolyn (the daughter of Elizabeth) and Victoria (the governess to little David). After becoming a slave, he was a rather likable fellow. At the part of the series we’re in right now, he’s in between being a sweet guy and a total nut job. Sometimes he does this maniacal grin that reminds me very much of Jack Nicholson from The Shining. They could have been brothers!

Julia Hoffman is a psychiatrist that operates an asylum called Wyndcliffe. Loomis spent some time there as did one or two other characters along the way. She is trying to help Barnabus to become human again as well as trying to keep him out of trouble. The part of Julia is played by Grayson Hall and she is a very expressive actress. Some say that she perhaps overacts a bit, and sometimes they are right. I do think that she often has some very interesting facial expressions that make me say “Uh-oh! What’s about to happen here?”

There have been a fair number of “J” people in my real life, too. My daddy was Jimmy and his daddy was James. My mama’s maternal grandpa was Julius Jared and our oldest son is named Jared after him.

Who are the “Js” in your life?


About Suzanne Gunter McClendon

I am a South Carolina native now living on the Texas Gulf Coast. I have been married to David for just over 33 years. We have 4 surviving adult children and two children-in-law. At this point in our lives, we are adjusting to an refilling nest. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, digital art, fiber arts, and much, much more.
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