Widow's Hill Notes to Dark Shadows

Episode 34

EPISODE 34: Learning that Burke's P.I. wrote a report on her, Vicki marches up to Burke's hotel room asking to see it. Burke offers to teach her a few things, but none of them have to do with her past.

Yes, amazing as it seems, Vicki has actually walked into a bar, alone and unescorted, in order to see a man about going up to his hotel room with him alone! (It's amazing this episode didn't get an X Rating back in 1966). That's how desperate Vicki is to find out who her real parents are. On the other hand, what's the point in Vicki finding her parents if they wouldn't admit to knowing her if she did? Burke tries to order Vicki's dinner before they go upstairs, but she's there about her past, not a repast.

Burke wants to know how Vicki found him. Vicki says it wasn't too hard. Burke wasn't at Collinwood, Evanswood, in his room, or at the Collinsport Inn. This is the only other standing set in town.

Being in a bar, they make a bit of small talk first, about how you can tell what people drink just from their personality. Take Burke, for example. He drinks rough, tough He-Man drinks: John Waynes, Bloody Marys, Boilermakers. Malloy, he's a sailor, so he drinks rum. Mrs. Stoddard, is a sherry drinker; elegant, and refined. Carolyn is soda pop. She'd like to think it's something stronger, but it's always soda. Roger is a brandy drinker... Well, "drinker" may not be the right word. "Chugger" is more like it. With David, it's Root Beer, with Maggie Evans, it's Pink Ladies, and of course, Sam drinks everything.

Vicki herself probably drinks Shirley Temples. No doubt about that! To avoid attracting further attention, Vicki disguises herself as a Sherry drinker. And it works. After she orders one, Burke barely recognizes her. (Of course the five Boilermakers he just drank may have something to do with that too.)

Back at Collinwood, Joe recovers consciousness. When Joe learns that he blamed Carolyn's fear of commitment on Mrs. Stoddard, he almost loses consciousness again. Joe assures Carolyn that he didn't mean it. He only said all that because he was drunk as a skunk at the time, but he's better now. (Not completely better, as we see when he apologizes to the hat rack, rather than to Carolyn).

Meanwhile, Burke and Vicki have walked back to the Collinsport Inn. Burke explains that they would have taken his car, but Joe spoke to Harvey Keitel earlier, and blew the budget (It's a long story). As they go upstairs, our innocent little Vicki actually finds herself alone with a single man in his hotel room! She and Burke both agree that future generations will never believe how provocative this show was.

Back at Collinwood, Joe is sobering up by studying the portraits in the Drawing Room. Carolyn shows him the portrait of Great Grandfather Jeremiah Collins. The days he wasn't drunk were the special ones. Carolyn explains how Jeremiah was mortally wounded in a duel with his nephew, Barnabas Collins. (Turns out Jeremiah couldn't hit the broad side of a "Barn"). According to the legend, they were both fighting for the hand of Josette Collins. But if it got as far as the Dueling Stage, they were probably interested in a lot more than her hand.

Carolyn also fills Joe in on the resolution of the Bleeder Valve story. The True Story is that David did it, the Official Story is that the brakes failed on their own, due to Matthew's incompetence. (Carolyn warns Joe that he'd BETTER not get those two stories mixed up!) Joe is disappointed; he'd really hoped Burke was responsible. Carolyn says not to give up hope. They rewrote history once, they might do it again.

Back at the Inn, Burke brings out Strake's report on Vicki. Burke suggests that it might read even better with dim lighting, mood music, or even with Burke wearing his Spiderman costume. Vicki is all business, and just wants to read the report straight. Of course, the more oblivious Vicki is to how sexy the whole situation is, the sexier it is to the viewer. 60's audiences were probably on their 5th cigarette by this point.

Burke warns Vicki that finding out about her family might not be all its cracked up to be, if her family is as nutty as Burke's is. Burke tells Vicki about his Uncle Abdul, who was a garbage collector. No, he didn't work for the Sanitation Department, he was an actual garbage collector! He used to sneak through people's cans in the morning to steal old bottles and leftovers, and mount them in special albums.

Unfortunately, Strake's report doesn't tell anything about Vicki's past, other than a few Foundling Home Stories that she already knows. Vicki tells Burke as much as she knows about her own back story. She tells about being left on the doorstep of the Foundling Home in a basket, just like in those schlocky old movies. (Yes, Vicki was literally a Basket Case!) She tells about how she still owns that basket, and uses it to do her laundry, in the hopes that the facts about her past will eventually come out in the wash. She tells about how the only other thing in her basket was a note saying "Her name is Victoria... she's all yours", and how the Foundling Home just made up a last name for her based on the time of year that they found her. ("Good thing they didn't find you on April Fool's Day", thinks Burke). She tells about growing up in the Foundling Home and getting those $50 monthly checks until she was 19, without ever getting a cost of living increase, or factoring for inflation. Burke asks what happened when Vicki traced the checks back to the bank. (Vicki wonders if she's the only one who hadn't thought of that!)

Joe shows up at Burke's door, to give Burke eight dollars. It seems that when Joe left the Blue Whale in a drunken stupor the night before, Burke paid his tab for him. Joe actually turns a profit when Vicki pays him $16 not to tell anyone about her being alone in a man's hotel room. Joe keeps his promise, but, in true small town fashion, the story makes the evening paper anyway.

The episode ends, but not the story. Thirty-four episodes of a night time series would have been enough to conclude… exactly 34 storylines. As this is a soap opera, our first storyline is only just starting to ramp up. Will Burke get his revenge? Will Vicki find her real parents? Will Roger face justice? Will the viewers ever find out what’s in that locked room in the basement? Will Maggie ever do whatever it is she’s trying to do? Will Barnabas Collins ever show up? For the answers to these and other vexing questions, stay tuned for more Widow’s Hill Notes.


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