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Fans, Fangs and Fun

A Vintage View of DS Fandom!!

Page Three

Lara Parker's holiday greeting card issued by her fan club.

This is a picture of Tom Parker (Lara's husband at the time) and Paulette Nordmann, President of Lara Parker's fan club. The pic was taken at The Parker's apartment in NY.

Pic of Lara Parker and Humbert Allen Astredo with fans outside the DS studio in April, 1969.


{Irene Rabba and Maureen Reichardt had taken over running Lara Parker's
fan club from Paulette Nordmann.}

"Hi, Fans!

Hope you've all been enjoying yourselves, swimming surfing and sunning.
It doesn't seem possible that we're already halfway through the Summer.
We've had a lot of fun gathering info for this month's newsletter, so we
hope you all enjoy it.

DATELINE  'DS' -- JULY 3, 1970:

Our Fourth of July weekend started off with a bang as we visited Lara
down at the D.S. studio.  10:15 A.M. found us sitting in the studio
lobby discussing the trials and tribulations of being the D.S. guard,
with 0fficer George.  Just as George decided to escort us upstairs, Lara
made her appearance.  We proceeded to the dressing room where we talked
a little about everything.  Lara had a very busy schedule so pretty soon
we were up and away again.  First Stop--Make-up.  Dennis was putting the
finishing touches on "Roxanne's" makeup, but he found time to show us
photos of make-up masterpieces.  Lara was upset that she couldn't be the
same color as Donna.  While Lara did her own make-up, she entertained us
with comical exchanges with the other D.S.'ers in the room. (When Katy
Scott came in to dry her hair, Lara confronted her with, "Do you die

The P.A. system blared "Lara Parker on stage" and we were off again!
On the set we were introduced to Ernie, stage manager, who allowed us to
roam.  Lara took her place and cautioned us not to get in camera range.
Now, as best we can, we will describe the antics which take place,
during on-stage rehearsals.

At first sight the set resembles a 3 ring circus.  Among other
happenings, Roger is strangling Maggie as Alexis tries to enter the
room, and Claude North and Roxanne are experimenting in the laboratory.
Lara makes this novel entrance - skipping across to a dying Katy who is
scolded for having her feet on the couch.  At one point Lara was shushed
by Ernie, to whom she quipped, "What do you mean, 'Shh!' I'm saying my

Lara was most apologetic when she forgot union rules and moved a prop on
her own.  After Maggie and Alexis counted "strate toopers" (Katy's
ill-fated "state troopers"), Lara had to dash across sets to Angelique's
bedroom. She heralded her feat with a loud and clear "I made it."

After each of her scenes, Lara came over to us and explained all the
technical aspects of a daily half hour TV serial. (Did you know it costs
$40,000 a day to produce D.S.?) Although D.S. is shot in its own
studios, the cameras feed back to master control at ABC.  A TV camera is
a tricky piece of machinery--it spreads a crowded scene so that people
appear to be farther apart--it also spreads your shoulders, your waist,
and your hips!  Lara claims D.S. is the only truly camp serial.  She
explained "camp" as a performance done in all seriousness, not intended
to be funny, and yet producing a humorous effect.

After rehearsal we again found ourselves in make-up having lunch --
sandwiches not make-up.  Lara had a roast turkey sandwich on rye with
lettuce, which she shared with Katy. (Note: We didn't share--not
selfish--just hungry!) Then we went to hairdressing where the famous
Angelique curls were applied to Lara's own hair.  Lara dislikes
plastered down hair and didn't hesitate to make her point.  Our fave
actress is very particular about how she appears on screen.  Earlier, a
more romantic costume had to be found because she just couldn't kill
Roger in an ordinary street dress.  Now you have to admit, that
certainly makes sense!

Soon it was time for dress rehearsals and taping.  No one is allowed on
the set then and so Lara found us a comfy spot in front of a closed
circuit color set.  After watching the finished product on TV, it was a
warm and wonderful feeling to hear that familiar but tired voice call
out eagerly "Where are my girls?"

We finished the day at the studio looking over all your wonderful
letters to Lara.  We also took pix of Lara on the set which will be
available soon.  It was fun greeting the fans as we left.  When Lara had
taken care of all autographs, we all got in the car and headed home.  As
always, we traded some interesting stories during the ride.  We dropped
Lara home amid happy expressions of thanks, and promises of more good
times ahead."

Mark Messina from MO, President of the Grayson Hall and Clarice Blackburn fan clubs.

The Clarice Blackburn Official Fan Club
Mark Messina, President
Excerpt from Newsletter #4
May - June 1969

What's Funny Behind the Set???

"So many of you members have been asking whether Clarice has had any
interesting backstage experience on 'Dark Shadows', so we finally got
around to asking Clarice about it.  Let's all gather around and read what
she had to say:

Here's one that happened a few months ago during the "Mrs. Johnson" period.
We were taping a show, which is just like being on the air, because to stop
and retape can cost many thousands of dollars; so most little mistakes are
allowed to go on just as if you were playing the show live.  They usually
only retape if some technical effect like a fire or the bat etc., were not
to go right; so the actor knows that the taped performance is what will
play on the air whatever stumbles or line mistakes he/she may make.
Anyway, during the taping of this particular show, a stagehand took it into
his head to try and hold me back from threading my way through the narrow
place that was behind a camera, sound boom platform, and the back of
another set.  I was trying to rush to get to the door of Katy Scott's
bedroom.  He didn't realize I was due in the scene.  I couldn't speak to
him because the microphone was right overhead.  The sound man in the booth
had already given the knock on the door which was supposed to be mine.
Katy (Maggie) had started for the door to answer it, when the stage
manager, seeing that I was not in position at the door, turned to see me
wrestling with the misguided stagehand.  He frantically signalled to Katy
not to answer the door yet, which put her in the terrible spot of finding
some reason for starting to open the door, and then not. I was able to
point my finger to the irate, arm-waving stage manager, and the stagehand,
realizing his mistake, with open-mouthed horror, stopped blocking my
passage.  I ran, {picked} up the tray I was supposed to be carrying, which
was set outside the door, and was standing there PANTING when the stage
manager signalled Katy she could open the door."

Janny Farrell from Metairie, Louisiana was President of John Karlen's fan club. She also ran the Friends of Quentin Info. Bureau.

The John Karlen Fan Club
Excerpts from Newsletter #1, 1968
Janny Farrell, President


JOHN KARLEN is an English Leather wearer!  He prefers to dress sporty,

Where do YOU {John}  go to get away from it all?  What do YOU do?  John
retreats to the country...he enjoys taking long walks, taking in all of
the scenery, and just thinking...

If John were not an actor, you would be most likely to find him in a
courtroom!  He says he would have been a lawyer, or something in the
area of law!

He is MAD about the South Seas!  If YOU were stranded on a South Sea
Island, what would YOU wish for?  John says, "A Woman"!  Does THAT sound
like Willie Loomis???

John is also mad about horse racing, and you can find him at the race
tracks often!  John loves the continual suspense and excitement of a
race.  Never knowing what will happen next.  Hey!  That sounds like our
favorite show, Dark Shadows!  Guess that's why John enjoys doing the
show.  Incidentally, (and most fittingly) John describes himself as
being a NIGHT person.


What is your pet weakness, if any?

Have you any superstitions?

Would you wear a string of love beads that a fan sent you?

Of all the performers you have worked with, who do you admire the most?


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