Programming: Ship of Ghouls

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Dark Shadows also has a recorded repertory of 3,000 sound effects and a few tricks that go back to radio days. The werewolf calls are authentic lobo cries, but for the squeak of bats in the night, a technician rubs a cork on the side of a bottle. The bats themselves are plastic and wired for flight. Coffins, cakes of dry ice (for eerie ground fog) and quarts of stage blood litter the studio. To spook up the manor with cobwebs, the crew flings chunks of latex into an electric fan, which scatters them authentically over the walls.

The latex first hits the fan at 6 a.m. most days, earlier if there is to be an extra-special effect, say a burning at the stake. About two hours later, the actors arrive for rehearsals, and then go through a technical run-through to test the special effects. At that point, the vampires with lines prerecord the dialogue: actors can't speak clearly with false fangs in their mouths. Later the lines are put onto the video tape. In the afternoon come makeup sessions, the dress rehearsal, and then the actual taping of the show that will be aired the following week. Since editing the tape is expensive, most fluffs are left in. One exception: Joan Bennett referred to her ghoul-ridden home not as Collinwood but as Hollywood.

That slip was edited out—although it is not clear why. After all, Hollywood's not exactly ghoul-free either.

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