By Craig Hamrick & R.J. Jamison
In which the authors entertainingly provide informative biographies of the main cast (as well as many minor character actors and even notable “day players”) that appeared throughout the original 1966-1971 run of Dark Shadows…
Originally released in 2003, Barnabas & Company was a landmark labor of love which compiled considerable amounts of information – particularly on the stage careers – of many Dark Shadows actors. But as with any ongoing text, the information changed; mistakes were found and corrected, some actors died and others were tracked down to offer their memories of appearing on the show. Craig Hamrick always intended to release an updated version of the book (and had gathered a lot of new interviews), but sadly he died of colon cancer in 2006 before he could accomplish this.
However, friends and colleagues of Hamrick didn’t allow this project to die with him, and the much-expanded result – several hundred pages longer than the original – is a fitting tribute to Hamrick and his devotion to the show and especially its cast. Released in late April to coincide with the release of the Tim Burton Dark Shadows movie, this revised Barnabas & Company is so up-to-date that it even includes the sudden passing of Jonathan Frid (which happened less than two weeks before the book’s release date).
In addition to the many well-researched biographies, Barnabas & Company includes an impressive amount of trivia. Within the pages of this book one can learn which cast member once shared a flat with Marlon Brando; which one became a successful songwriter; the reasons why one actor is almost universally disliked by his co-stars; and which “day players” later won Oscars. And for those with truly morbid curiosity, there’s even a section detailing which actors have done nude scenes, and where!
Verdict: Its layout may be a bit drab and the pictures aren’t of the greatest quality, but I’d stake my reputation on saying that that this is will be regarded as the definitive tome for detailed information on the Dark Shadows cast’s careers. 8/10
John S. Hall