Happy 50th, ‘Dark Shadows’!

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the cult gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, so over-the-air channel Decades is running episodes that feature the first appearances of vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid.

You can catch six more of these historic episodes today, three each at 3 pm and 9 pm ET. Three more episodes will air at 3 am tomorrow.

Through the Decades, the channel’s original daily series hosted by Bill Kurtis, will also focus on Dark Shadows, including archive interviews with Frid (who passed away in 2012) and other cast members, plus new interviews about the show with “proclaimed No. 1 lifetime fan” Steven August Papa and Walter Podrazik, television curator at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications. Through the Decades will be shown at 1 pm and 7 pm today, as well as 1 am tomorrow.

If the Decades sampling whets your appetite for more Dark Shadows, don’t worry about finding additional episodes to binge on. The daily soap opera produced 1225 half-hour episodes during its six-year run, and Guidebox tells us that you can view all of them, for a price, on Google Play or YouTube. Our quick calculation finds that binge-watching the entire series – based on a half-hour per show, although they do run considerably shorter without commercials — would take 612.5 hours, or 25.5 days.

Don’t want to devote that much time, or money? ShareTV has 200 episodes for free, while Hulu offers 520 of them.

Here’s Frid’s first appearance as Barnabas Collins, in the 211th episode of the series:

If you don’t have a cable, satellite or telco subscription and would like to watch Decades, click here for a list of stations.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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