BY TOMMY ZANE GAYDAR EDITOR OK, I admit it. I’m a bit of a Sci-Fi geek. I’m not sure whether it was news of Johnny Depp’s rumored involvement in a Tim Burton full-length feature film or what, but I decided to descend upon the 40th anniversary convention of ’60s cult classic gothic TV soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Jonathan Frid, who played campy sympathetic vampire Barnabas Collins, scared a generation of pre-teens and housewives out of their wits every afternoon at 3:30 on ABC for 5 years over the course of 1225 episodes. And alas what was once groundbreaking daytime television for its daring supernatural taboos now looks like super-duper camp.
Frid, now 84, was set to appear live to the nearly 1,000 peeps in attendance — not too shabby. The packed room had all the usual freaks and geeks to choose from: some flaky-dandruff dangling fellas, a few snoring participants and the usual host of ga-ga female enthusiasts. If I had known that “Shadows” was so popular with the retarded crowd (I kid you not), I wouldn’t have brought my cousin Stevie so we could get in the disabled line for early seating to the banquet.
One DS freak attempted to sell his wares off a laptop in the hallway of the ballroom. He charmed us with his own DS version of events sung to the tune of “The Patty Duke Show” theme. Genius. I left when the drool formed a pool next to the laptop.
Most of the afternoon was a yawn, literally, with coffee breaks needed as we watched video of various Frid scenes with some comments by the actor. After that, there was a very long auction, mostly Dan Curtis’ personal effects. His little black book, replete with stars’ home phone numbers, went for $1,100 bucks! Lots of VHS tapes and music-box reproduction of the prop used in episode blah blah blah . . . who really buys this crap? Finally, Frid started his oral interpretation of some old ghost story-type stuff from the early 1900s, which was preceded by drag comediennes? The Collinsport Players newly-revised edition of Golden Shadows, a “Golden Girls”-meets-“Dark Shadows” show, complete with ol’ Barnabas taking a shine to dumbass Rose. After this, a rather huge line formed for the banquet; I spied a seat next to Number One “Dark Shadows” Fag Hag and wonderful gal Miss Helen! She goes way back with DS — 20 years or so, which is a wonder since she couldn’t be a day over 35!
She turned me out with queer gossip of the late Louis Edmonds, who played Roger Collins on DS) and Langley Wallingford on “All My Children” for 16 years. She had great stories of Long Island beach romps and all-night parties filled with excess. After a paltry meal of some sort of poultry, I skedaddled on up to get our Frid autograph. Well, I must say the man looks damn good for 84, and so did his bodyguard/companion/hunk!!!! (Wow, four exclamation marks. That’s a lotta man candy! — Th’Editrix)
The actresses who played Maggie Evans and the evil witch Angelique, (Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker, respectively), both said some lovely things about Mr. Frid. I couldn’t help but notice the much-maligned Miss Laura Collins herself, Diana Millay, in the audience and not being invited to speak. Then, Jonathan spoke about his illustrious career. It was riveting. Suddenly, I glanced at my watch and realized I still had an hour-plus drive and it was fast approaching 11 p.m. Off I went into the night, sated for another year and having finally scratched the itch of shaking hands with the one and only master of vampires, Jonathan Frid.
THREESOME OF THE WEEK
Pop-rock tough girl, celebrating her 28th birthday Pink + solo artist and former Til’ Tuesday vocalist Aimee Mann, who’s turning 47 + Senator Larry “I don’t suck the dicks I just loiter in toilet stalls where others do” Craig.
BONUS: Annie Lennox’s smashing new single, “Dark Road.”
ABOUT THIS COLUMN: Are you gay and read Phawker? Or just thinking about it? Becoming gay that is. Because, you know, you “heard good things.” Are you straight but curious how the other team plays? Senator, we have heard your call and answered your prayers. Our Gaydar Editor Tommy Zane is gay all day and queer for a year, and like all gays he is wickedly funny, stylish, tidy and knows from window treatments. He could also probably kick your ass into next week. But don’t worry, Tommy’s a lover not a fighter. He may be going to Hell*, but then most of our straight friends are, too. Every week look for GAYBO. We’ll have a gay old time!
*This is a joke. For the record, gay people don’t go to Hell when they die if for no other reason because there is no Hell. And even if there was, we’re guessing there’d be about as many gay people in Hell as there are suicide bombers in paradise. Which is to say, not so much.