Anybody out there remember Dark Shadows? I have a distinct memory of coming home from kindergarten, sitting down in front of the TV, and watching that show while my mom fixed me a hot dog. Fried in butter. With the butter drizzled on top afterward. It was the 1960s, after all.

I can’t quite believe it.

If I were parent to a five-year-old daughter—which I’m not—I would not under any circumstances let her watch that show. It has vampires! Ghosts! Even a female Phoenix!

But then, I was child number 6. And my mother told me once I was a very adamant child. Anything to keep the peace, I suppose.

There has to be a connection between that show, my love of vampires, and my fear of ghosts.

Hell, this show is scaring me now. Just imagine what it would do to a five-year-old.

The mystery of whether I really did watch it that young has only one solution.

I’m going to write a poem about it.

I’ve enrolled in a poetry workshop called “Writing in Your Life” on October 11 at the Tivoli in Denver. It’s given by Dorianne Laux, a poet I’ve known of for years but never read. I’m hoping to find a book of hers at the Tattered Cover today.

One of the assignments is to bring to class an “object that holds deep abiding significance for you, something that has a story you need to tell buried within it.”

So I’ll show up to class with a DVD set and a distinct but improbable memory, one of the few I have from that age, and see what I can make of it.

I don’t know yet how I’ll begin the poem, but I figure that information will rise to the surface. That’s how a poem usually comes to me, like a current rising up in a lake.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of DVDs to watch.

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  1. Writer Dad October 1, 2008 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I remember the second version of Dark Shadows (they’re working on the third; no joke). My daughter is six. The thought of her watching it is horrifying to me.

  2. Writer Dad October 1, 2008 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Oops. Didn’t mean to hit that yet (sometimes my fingers move faster than me).

    I do look forward to the time when we can sit down and watch grown up things with our buttered hot dogs. Yummy.

  3. BernardL October 1, 2008 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    I was second of six, and would watch every monster show I could get in front of. Dark Shadows was one of my favorites. The old Boris Karloff hosted ‘Thriller’ TV series was another early great one. I admit to allowing my kids to watch some horror stuff I probably shouldn’t have. My daughter, in turn, lets my grandson watch some horror he probably shouldn’t see. It’s a vicious circle. 🙂

  4. Beth Partin October 1, 2008 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Writer Dad,

    those buttered hotdogs WERE yummy. Even if it makes me a little sick to think of it now.

    I can’t believe they’re going to try Dark Shadows again. Remake mania has gone too far!

    Bernard, there is something about monster shows that attracts kids. But somehow I got scared by horror and not by vampires. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Does your daughter like horror movies?

  5. Matthew Dryden October 1, 2008 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    Buttered hot dogs sound disgusting!

    But then again, I’ve eaten hot dogs that had cheese inside of them…they were made that way.


  6. Beth Partin October 2, 2008 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Yeah, I stopped making them that way in my twenties. It is pretty gross.

  7. BernardL October 2, 2008 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Yeah, my daughter loves horror movies, but not the mindless slasher stuff. I made the mistake of letting Eva and her friend, both fifteen, watch The Exorcist on a sleep over. I had to sleep on guard in the lounge chair while they slept on the living room floor on mats with the lights on. Of course my wife said, ‘serves you right, I told you not to let them watch that’. 🙂

  8. Beth Partin October 2, 2008 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    The Exorcist was really scary. So was Bette Davis’s look at the end of Burnt Offerings. I still think about that even now.

  9. […] I’m much more partial to thrillers, such as Dressed to Kill. That was my favorite for a long time. And I love vampire shows, especially The Hunger and Dark Shadows. […]