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Dagon
So here we are all you children of the night we have David Selby on the line, the man who played Quentin Collins, not to mention werewolf, zombie, ghost ..... and yes even vampire, in the king of camp classic gothic afternoon soap, Dark Shadows, an absolute one of a kind...Ed is also here as our resident Dark Shadows expert, he is in charge of the annual Halloween Dark Shadows Festival.

Selby
Hello Dagon. Fire away, whenever you're ready.

Dagon
Well, before we start, there is none thing I would like to say; I truly want to thank you for all the cool memories. Thank you for being a part of that adventure, because  I can recall running home everyday when I was just a little fangling, and could not wait for the next day to see what you guys would pull on us next.

Selby
Funny, I was up in San Los Obisbo, its nice little community about three hours north of LA, a great little town. I was standing there and this woman went strolling by and paused and did a double take. She looked and said, " Oh my gooodness" with this big smile, and all she says is " Dark Shadows" ......::laughs:: Its funny after all these years, not hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't mention it.

Dagon
That really is amazing though, after all this time. Now how old where you when you started the show.

Selby
Ohh  I was just out of college::laughs::

Dagon
Now what was that like, because I know it had exploded into a phenomenon and the cast had become very close knit and...

Selby
Right well..now let me see if I can the order  on that right, they had already started on the Barnabus story then and actualy it was the next year, from 68 through 69 and 70, then Shadows went on to the highest ratings, thier biggest sucsess's. Because plotline was back in...1878 or?...what was it Ed?

Ed
It was 1897 was the big Quentin storyline

Selby
Right right, because up to that point I had not been a viewer, and I didn't know alot about the show, it was all new to me and the cast members were wonderful !!! The lovely thing about that show was, it was like a repratory company. Everyone did different roles, and I don't believe I knew any of the actors up untill that point, but they all welcomed me with open arms. And I was very fortunate because the public and the fans loved the character, and so thats what happend and of course I was greatful. ::laughs:: I always tell the story that Quentin didn't speak for about the first three months or so, and I was alittle concenred.... ::laughs::....It would be like the silent movie days and all of a sudden these loud screeching noises came out and some of the actors didn't make it  into the talking films..::laughs::.. So I always joked that once they heard me talk it would all be over:

Dagon
 But, I think it would give you a chance to get acclimated. I mean Barnabus started one day and the very next he was thrown into this major part and he said luckily the character he was playing was scared to death, because he was scared to death...::laughs::...

Selby
....:laughs::....One of the interesting things about this show is we were all on the edge. We  taped as if we were live, at one time we did tape live, but for the most part we just taped as if we were live. Because we lost the camaras to the News department if we didn't finish. So boy, once we rolled camaras we didn't stop and that's why you see all the mistakes and bloopers and so on.

Dagon
So you mean some of the shows were actually  live?

Selby
You know I seem to recall that. You know we should ask Ed!

Ed
I think they were all done virtually live, they were being taped so whatever was done  was on the tape, and the only one that was allowed to stop , it was in her contract was Joan Bennet, God rest her soul, but they...

Selby
Ohhh, but Joan never stopped

Ed
Right, right

Selby
Or if a teleprompter broke maybe, I never could use those teleprompters. I didn't like them. They bothered my concentration to much, but I never had a hard time remembering the lines so. It wasn't a big deal.

Dagon
And is it true that you got your scripts the day before?

Selby
Yes, right.

Dagon
And you never had a stand in like they do nowadays, to block the lighting and set up the scenes, so you had to do all the busy work as well right? And this was 5 days a week!!!.....You didn't have much time to learn the script.

Selby
Yes, that's right. What we would do is......::laughs:: Oh I am trying to remember, we would read the script after we did the show.  We would change out of costume, then we would read the next days script. All head home after that. Now I would go home and usually eat and fall asleep for awhile, get up and then learn lines, and some of those scripts were .....Wow, if I remember some were up to 40 pages. Isn't that right Ed? Do you remember the page counts on some of those scripts?

Ed
They were pretty hefty some were 40+!

Selby
:::laughs::
Ed is our Dark Shadows expert...

Dagon
Ohh, I know.. My goodness gracious, holy cow!! Ed is a Dark Shadows computer encylopedia.

Ed
Well I have to say something, and I have said this to many of your colleagues David. Hats off to all of you guys !! This was real gut acting. I was just telling Dagon this yesterday. It isn't like today were they can just stop tape and take it again, you guys went out there and did it in the one take. What you guys did was phenomenal. It was real acting. To me it was superior acting, because you knew that no matter what you had to know your lines. You conquered the situation I mean if a fly landed on your face ::laughs:: you did the best you could and went right on !!!

Selby
Well I think Dagon mentioned the word earlier, in connection with Barnabus, there was alot of fear driven acting there ...::hardy laugh:....

Dagon
....::laughs::.... And you know I think that is one of the things that comes across, I could not put my finger on it. All the tension you feel as you watch the show. I never realized it untill I started watching the show again recently that everyone is terrified out of there mind, the actor in the shows.... they are scared to death, and it comes across.

Selby
Right exactly, and you don't kmow what that energy is !!! You don't know that sometimes we were racing from set to set, and it wasn't a huge studio, had 4 or 5 sets on it but. So you would have to dash from one set to the next set and then you would realize, Ohhh no, what set am I suppose to be on and by the time you got there you would be on right at that moment...::laughs::

Dagon
Now, who was it that thought the show was over with, it was the last segment and he started changing and they told him Nooo it isn't over yet, he rushed down stairs and they had to film him from the waist up because he didn't have time to put on his pants....::laughs:

Selby
Oh I can't remember.

Ed
It was Loui and they stuck a brandy snifter in his hand and told him to get out there.

Dagon
.....::laughing::... and everyone was just smiling through this intense scene.

Selby
I remember Carlin, John Carlin, he was Willie.

Dagon
He was in the The Night of Dark Shadows movie you were in, but he didn't play Willie. He played the doctor?

Selby
Right, right.....::laughs::.... John he was a character! I remember one time I rushed into the set and he was standing under the camera ......I was already paniced, and he was kneeling so no one could see him but me, and he was making face after face, just torturing me ...::laughing::...... All of those scenes there had that energy that the viewer never knew where it came from, whether it was searching for a line, or not knowing were to go next. It all adds up together to that edge....... so when you watch it you get that sense of things being on the edge.

Dagon
Yeah, being on the edge and that everyone is in a pressure cooker about to explode, and that comes across!!!...::laughter::.......Now I also heard that you were getting a Tarrot card reading one time and just bursted out laughing and threw your cards up and fell face first on the table, and they never stopped.

Selby
::laughs::
I don't quite recall that.... But then again a lot of stories came out of those episodes, they could be true and I may have forgotten them. Certainly there were times when you could barely make it through the scene, not often because we were literaly driven, we were like horses at the starting gate and boy once that gate opened....you went and there was no time for Tom Foolery and no time for loss of concentration. But there were times, like the time the studio caught on fire, I won't forget that.

Dagon
Really!!

Selby
Ohh yeah the drapes caught on fire and we had to clear the studio because of all the smoke.

Dagon
I take it, it was probably a candle that did it?

Selby
I don't know exactly what caused it, because that show was a forerunner for special effects, we were using that blue screen.

Ed
The chroma a key ::laughs::

Dagon
And to be able to use those special effects in a live setting, that is incredible!!

Selby
And the cob web machine, we did cob webs all over each other::laughs::

Dagon
Now when you did a voice over, like when someone was remembering something. Was that dubbed in later and you would have to time it or was it pre-recorded and used in the live show?

Selby
I can,t remember, although I doubt it was live even though we would go in earlier in the day sometimes to record those things. There were a lot of shows  that had voice over things, sometimes you would record them after the show in the sound booth.

Ed
I think that fed that in through the control booth? Because you guys didn't have the musical scores playing while you were acting right?

Selby
Right, right, right and we couldn't see the control booth either, it was just like the voice of God ::laughs:;

Dagon
Now getting back to The Night of Dark Shadows the movie you were in, well first of all what did you think of the movie?

Selby
Well I haven't seen the movie since we did it, I mean after we filmed it we watched it as we edited it ...::laughs::... and I still remember one scene, one I wish they still would have left out, because the scene seemed alittle forced. But, I haven't seen it since then. The movie, if I recall, didn't have to do with the television show because there were concerns from everyone that they didn't want it to be like the TV show. So there was the thought of coming up with a new story, but it might have been better off being tailored to the tv show. You know X-files seemed to do it really well.

Dagon
One thing that I thought they should have done  to set the Dark Shadows mood was play the theme song, I was really expecting to hear that in the beginning.

Selby
Well the one thing that I do know, and I don't know if this is for publication or not but there was a ton of lost footage, it has been found.

Ed
Ohh wow!!

Dagon
Ohh really!!!

Selby
I was discussing this yesterday with Dan Curtis, the producer and visionary for Dark Shadows who is going to look at the material because none of us remember what it is, and there is a significant amount of footage from the movie, scenes that were cut out of the movie, but the problem is now the audio for the clips are lost. You see, the old MGM was sold and where they were being stored...let's just say he was lucky that any of it is still there. We are discussing trying to go back and recreate the voice overs for the scenes while most of the people are still around. That is if Dan feels it will contribute to the film. So that is what they are lookimg at it now.

Dagon
A scoop here at DagonBytes.com!!! We might be seeing a directors cut of The Night of Dark Shadows the movie..... hmm?

Selby
Right, in the next few weeks we should know something. You know.....the wonderful thing about Dark Shadows, the thing about going and looking back at it. It was so sucsessful at creating its own world. And I think that is why we all .........the actors, the writers, the people that watched the show. All got to have their own world. It took us away from the real world and we were all privileged in that way, to be able to get into that world, whether it was heightend realism, certainly there was mellow drama. But all of those things created a wonderful kind of world. And I haven't met too many actors along the way that haven't told me how much the show has meant to them. It's one of the reasons they say they are doing what they're doing, today. Well, Do you remember Harry Sheer.

Dagon
Oh yes, the things that come to mind are Saturday Night Live, Spinal Tap and the Simpsons.

Selby
My god, he said that our show was so imporant to him that he thinks that is why he is doing the things he does today. I remember Whoopi Goldberge and so many people over the years. And you had no idea then but it is so great to be a part of that, to know it changed peoples lives. And I think one of the reasons is...Well, I got a clue recently when I was watching it for the first time in so many years, is it goes back again to that sense of energy you spoke of, something's there. That's the reason people still watch it and still brings in new and young veiwers.

Dagon
True video theater way ahead of it's time. As a matter of fact, I just watched an hour of it this morning on the Sci Fi channel, its on at 10:00 Central, for any of you out there that want to watch it. I want to let everyone know also that the name of the movie that you are in is The Night of Dark Shadows, and the other one was House of Dark Shadows, by the way, did you do all your own stunts in that??

Selby
Yes.

Dagon
Was there a stunt man in that at all?

Selby
We had a guy who drove the car......And I didn't do the high fall, we had one stuntman, as I remember while shooting on a train tresil, that took a nasty fall and cut his head. Then there was another shot were a car wrecked.

Dagon
Ohhh yeah, now that looked extremely real, just like he ran into a tree at a very high rate of speed!!!!

Selby
Well it was, the fellow was suppose to go between the trees and hit one of them, I believe he broke his leg

Dagon
Were you there when it happend?

Selby
Well I had an appendicites attack and couldn't be there. I wasn't on the set. So I couldn't even be on the last couple weeks of the show, I was in the hospital..So Dan came to see me and asked....::laughs::... "You gonna be able to ride a horse?" This is a true story, they were putting me under and I kept saying " I can't do this, I have to ride a horse, I have to ride a horse" ...::laughs:... All I could think of was we were about to start filming for the last final weeks of the TV show and here I am in the hospital, so I missed the final weeks, and a couple days later, sore stomach and all I got on the horse we started filming.

Dagon
And that was some good horseback riding. Have you ever ridden a horse before that?

Selby
Yes.

Dagon
Because it was bucking and tromping on Thayer David.

Selby
Ohh dear Sayer.

Dagon
Oh and I want everyone to know I had a hard time finding this because, if your going by alphabetical order, Dark Shadows are in one spot and House of Dark Shadows is in with the H's and Night of Dark Shadows is in with the N's. So it is kinda tuff to find but if you look for it, youll find it. And did you just do a convention in New York? How did that go?

Selby
Yes , It went well, in the sense that they  talked me into putting this book together, and I wrote some poems to go in the book. It went well. I was very pleased. Fact I wrote a poem about dark shadows, but it was a quicky. I had to put that together overnight.

Dagon
Ohhhh, do you know it by heart?

Selby
well not by heart but I have it here if you would like me to read it?

Dagon
Ohh, sure please!

Selby
Alright here it is, now remember this is called Dark Shadows and it was writen about 2 am.

"From memory 30 some years ago, so far away, but the memories through time do burn,
As if they only happen yesterday and back to Collinwood I do return.
When a certain evil ghost did appears with a spell to cast and a plot to scheme.
Luring childer to a room so to hear an old gramaphone playing quintins theme.
His frockcoat covered a physic so lean, you knew he had something mean up his sleeve.
All his wickedness had yet to be seen, his spirit was such you had to believe,
There was no choice but to pack up and leave, but barnabus came to even the score.
Though ended back were he could not have forseen, trapped back in his coffin a vampire once more,
He travels through time were quentins alive, mysteries, secrets amd intruige galore,
And son of a gun the ratings revieve, with millions of  fans clamoring for more,
Dark Shadows had more suprises of doom, quintens a zombie that rises and walks,
Then as a werewolf that howls at the moon, but in days sounds normal now that he talks,
Suddenly a cure for his curse is found, which Count Battophey finaly affects,
Now Quentin is immortal and more renouned, but with the vampires taste for beautiful necks.
Again reeks havok with Barnabuses life, when Angelic dies Barnabus is lost,
And so is his chance for a beautiful wife, grief stricken he knows what all this has cost,
And as Julia climbs the stair case of time, Quentin destroys the stairs to the path,
But the memories are there yours and mine, the shadows of the night and the spell that they cast."

Dagon
Ahhh bravo

Ed
Bravo is right !!

Selby
Ahh yes it was fun and it was nice to see some of the old cast members and such, we all remained dear friends, it was a good time

Dagon
Now tell me about the book?

Selby
Well it is called In and Out of the Shadows, it combines alot of pictures from my career, movies, tv, plays, and alot of Dark Shadows pictures. From the movie and the show and 9 or 10 poems that I wrote for each section of the book, and that's about it.

Dagon
And its out right now?

Selby
Mm Yes it is out right now, what they are doing for the first printing is you have to order it through mail order, but the second printing we are going to open it up.

Dagon
Well if someone wanted to order it, what would they have to do ?

Selby
They would need to send $17.95 with $4.00 handling to PO box 1766 Temple City, CA. 91780.

Ed
And if it is international shipping its $9.00

Dagon
And that is because your somewhere else than here::laughs::

Selby
By the way Dagon, where are you out of?

Dagon
I am out of Chicago, and I don't know of any Dark Shadows conventions here in Chicago, which suprises me !!!Maybe we will have to start one .

Selby
Well you know, it is ironic because I believe MPI, they are based out of there, and they have all the Dark Shadows tapes and so on. Curtis productions would know more about that.

Dagon
Have you ever had fans confuse your rolls, and almost be mad at you for something your character did?

Selby
Well only in a joshing sense. Well when I was doing Falcon Crest and people would comment about how mean the character was and how evil he was. The thing of it is though that's the only way people know you, they see you in that roll and they see you in person and they only know the perception of what you are.

Dagon
And they feel like they know who you are from being in thier living room for so long.

Selby
Exactly and there is such a familiarity, and no matter were I go I usualy get met with a smile Dagon, doesn't matter were you are. And a lot of times it will be a thank you. I was in Barcelona last summer and this man was playing the gutair and he was so wonderful, and he was a great musician, playing in this park. They had his tapes for sale and I went up to buy one and he came up to me and said " No, no, no, I want you to have this, this is for all the years of joy you have given me" and I thought oh my goodness, you just don't realize the power. And it was so special, and to tell you the truth that's how I feel about the whole thing, I mean when I meet someone that has watched the show, and it has brought such joy to them, it just makes you feel so good.

Dagon
So you have never gone through periods were the whole phenomina thing, you have wanted to get away from it?

Selby
Well I have had times were I might have had over zelous fans...you know what I mean?

Dagon
Oh yeah....I could tell you stories....

Selby
Well its impossible for you as an individual to be ahh err...

Dagon
larger than life?

Selby
Well yes ! What was it John Wayne said..You can never measure up to that character::laughs::

Dagon
Right right, Now and where you married? Before the show? Because I could imagen that dating while in the show you wouldn't know if she was into you or just the character and the dating proccess would just amplify it all the more.

Selby
Well , yes I was married. But after awhile I think those things you mentioned iron themselves out.

Dagon
And you were saying earlier that most of the cast is still alive and a two have passed, Grayson Hall and Sayer Davids. And I guess what I would like to do if you can, is relate a story about each one of those two. Your rememberances of them.

Selby
Well Grayson was a wonderful mentor to me and she had the greatest laugh, sometimes I thought it was a quite wicked laugh..::laughs::... and her husband Sam was the writer of the show and her son Matthew has grown up to be a writer himself, Grayson was just a wonderful mentor and had wonderful stories and for those first couple months took me by the hand and said this, this and that, that, that you know and really showed me the ropes, and I was quite blessed to have her in my life, they would invite me up to thier apartment for dinners and we had dinners out. We had a very special relationship.


Thayer David you know, he goes back to the early days, he was in Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Dagon
He is incredible !!

Selby
Oh yes, he was just terrific and I believe actually Thayer was his first name.

Ed
Yeah your right it was reversed.

Selby
And then he was married when I met him to a girl named Valeri French, my God she was the most beautiful woman and so striking, a wonderful woman. And Thayer had such a sense of style! He always wore this wonderful stick pin in his tie all the time. So later on in years past we were in a mini series together he played J Edgar Hoover in a thing called Washington Behind Closed Doors, and Jason Robards played the president. It was in the days when they had these long mini series. Thayer and I had the occasion that we were shooting on Paramount and we had our dinner and a glass of beer, and he was a drinker ...::laughs::... and it was funny he never drove, he always took the bus. But he was quite special and we had lots of good times, in Washington Behind Closed doors we enjoyed ourselves, in fact in New York we each had our own lives, but out here we lived it together. He had such panache and such style!!

Dagon
Yeah, he was in and of himself. Was there ever a time like when you would get a script that there where creative differences, did you ever say ahh this is silly and so on? Because they did go and break a lot of new ground, always going out on a limb and you would have to play a lot of characters.

Selby
Well Dagon, we really never had time to get into all that then, you know I was young and Dan ran a pretty tight ship over this show, and pretty much we did what we were given to do. Every once in a while we would ask to change a word or something but all in all we tried to make the scripts work just as they were.

Dagon
And I guess if you wanted you could just change it on air since it was live and they couldn't make you go back and redo it ...::laughs::....

Selby
...::laughs::.. Well, the only reason we changed things was out of fear, not because we wanted to.

Dagon
And you know you guys talk about the supernatural a lot, now in your life have you ever experienced any of the sort, perhaps a ghost or strange happenings, anything to that effect.

Selby
Well, I am sort of open to all that and I do remember once in Dan's office in New York, we had a fellow come in and talk to us about that, he was a psychic. But I have never had anything like that happen, but you know ::laughs:: my imagination is so built that I don't need much of that.

Dagon
Absolutely, I mean everyday life is supernatural enough. Just walking around in the world. And when you were into this a lot, I know that when I am working a lot on things like that I take it home with me and I dream about it a lot. Did that ever happen to you? Like your doing the taping and you dream something horrible happens?

Selby
Yes, like forgetting your lines or having the flu. Now that will make you see ghosts quick..But all in all I had a great time with it I am amazed as a lot that the show is still around !

Dagon
I know I am glad it is still around and in syndication, now for awhile I believe even Dan Curtis was trying to shy away from that part of his life.

Selby
Oh and he has moved on and done very well. But sometimes it isn't a question of running away from it, but you think well I have done that already, time to head on. But it always comes back and catches up with you and you think now how do I address this, and you turn and start having fun with it and think now how can we make this new. So that's some of the things we are looking toward today.

Ed
Well I had something to add, when he was talking about his character I wonder if you knew Dagon that he had his own 45 record his own theme song.

Selby
 Yes, Bob Coburt wrote the old music, and it was made for Quentin. It was an old song that they changed to use for whenever Quentin appeared. Someone the other day was asking about that because they wanted me to write something for them because they want to reissue a variation of the theme. It was called Shadows of the night, and I recorded the words on an LP with Jonathon. They had a lot of the Dark Shadows music on it and I recorded the words on it for Quentin's theme.

Dagon
And what was the name of the album?

Ed
It was the Dark Shadows soundtrack. It was a phonograph record put out by Phillips. David had the first track on one side and Jonathan on the other side, with the Quentin's theme Shadows of the Night with the reading.

Selby
Well the theme was quite successful around the country a lot of recording artists used it. Both sung and instrumental .Which was quite wonderful.

Ed
But then he did the 45 titled "I want to Dance with you"

Selby
....::laughs ::.... but it was pitched so high you could hardly sing it.

Ed
Well I remember going to Woolworths as a kid and telling the lady to get the key for the record case because I wanted to purchase the 45 and they were even playing on the radio at that time too. Because Charles Randolph Crean who recorded the album and also did Joseph's music box, he is the gentleman who recorded the instrumental version and made that successful . Shadows on TV and Shadows on the radio and kids couldn't have been happier ::laughs::

Selby
Now tell me more about HauntedAmerica and DagonBytes.com, that's a pretty big site?

Dagon
Well HauntedAmerica along with DagonBytes.com is a haunted amusement park encylopedia. Right now we have about 2500 different pages from haunted house listings, that go by state to state, to listings of graveyards and ghost stories. I have the Fright site, where I do interviews and the complete listings of Poe and Poe readings, set to music and a vampire site, among other things...it is constantly changing and evolving with all types of extremely interesting and cool things.::jovial laugh::

Selby
laughs::
And that's all on the web site?

Dagon
Yes, that and much more!!

Selby
Ed had  mentioned something about the Fox family channel?

Dagon
Yes, yes...this year we have an agreement with Fox family channel in where,we will be putting  links on our pages of thier  13 days of halloween programs and they in return are giving us a bunch of advertisement through the duration of their thirteen days of halloween. And we are carrying Spencer's exclusive line of way cool stuff on line

Selby
And how long have you had this site up?

Dagon
We will be going on our 5th year now. Last year the site recieved ten million hits. Aol is a sponser too. Well Mr. Selby I just want to thank you so much for being a part of this interview and thank you for your time, and like you've heard a billion times before, you touched my life too!

Selby
Well, I appreciate that I truly do and thank you, I wish you my best !


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Dagon at:
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