Today would have been Jonathan Frid’s 91st birthday. He played Barnabus Collins on the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows from the late sixties to the early seventies. He was introduced about 100 episodes in, it was a soap opera so in the few years it was on the show managed to pump out over 1000 half-hour episodes, as a villain that would besiege the modern day Collins family. He was cursed with vampirism in the 1700s and had been awake in a crypt for centuries.
He was an absolute hit with audiences though. He was seen, much like Bela Lugosi before him, as a sex symbol for all the people watching a midday soap opera. I think that he is a perfect example of a fad icon. The show was on everyday for a few years and Dark Shadows was a HUGE deal, but it faded fast. Frid became one of many figures that would be replaced by all but the most dedicated of fans.
My Mom is one of those fans and I have seen hundreds of episodes of Dark Shadows. It is a soap opera and it is very hammy and dull at times, but Barnabus was definitely the highlight of the show. He brought class to the dark world of Collinsport, Maine. Rest in peace, Mr. Frid.