See study by J. O'Higgins (1970).
THE RETURN OF BARNABAS COLLINS: In 1967, Willie Loomis (John Karlen) was foraging in the Collins family crypt in Eagle’s Hill Cemetery for the family's "lost jewels". He stumbled upon the chained coffin in which Barnabas slept. Believing the coffin to contain the lost riches of the Collins family, Willie accidentally released the vampire. Barnabas attacked Willie and turned him into his unwilling servant.
Barnabas introduced himself to the modern Collins family as a cousin from England - a hard working businessman never seen during the day. The family accepted this story, even though they’d never heard of him before, because of his ‘uncanny resemblance’ to a portrait of the ancestral Barnabas (actually one & the same). Thirsty for new blood, Barnabas made victims of several Collinsport residents. He was particularly taken with waitress Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott), who resembled his lost-love Josette (whose spirit he was told still haunted the Collinswood estate). He kidnapped her, hypnotized her into believing she really was Josette, and planned to make her his vampire bride. Maggie escaped, but not unscathed. The emotional distress of being kidnapped (by a member of the undead, no less) caused Maggie to regress to a child-like mentality, and to forget all that happened to her. Barnabas next targeted Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke), the governess at Collinwood, as his potential vampire consort. He opted to use alternate methods though, first trying to seduce her away from her fiancée Burke Devlin (Anthony George) before biting her. While this was happening, the ghost of Sarah appeared in & around Collinwood, tormenting Barnabas (who felt responsible for her untimely death) and warning him not to do evil deeds.
Meanwhile, Maggie was sent to Wyncliffe sanitarium, where Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall) tried to make her remember what happened, as well as to identify her kidnapper. Dr. Hoffman soon found out that the answer lay somewhere at Collinwood. She discovered who and what Barnabas was. Julia fell in love with him however, and attempted to cure him. Barnabas initially distrusted Julia, and when her medical cure failed, he viewed her as a risk – she would be able to expose his true nature. He attempted to kill her, or drive her mad so that no one would believe accusations of vampirism from her. Ultimately though, Barnabas realized he needed an ally and eventually became rehabilitated to the point that they became friends. Even though the romantic relationship Julia desired never happened, she became Barnabas's chief confidante and helped him many times, even risking time travel to aid her afflicted friend over the next several years.
VICTORIA WINTERS TRAVELS BACK IN TIME: Barnabas had genuinely fallen in love with Victoria by this point, but even more bizarre machinations prevented him from opening up to her. During a séance, Victoria was thrown back through time back to Collinwood in 1795, when Barnabas was still a human being. She became a witness (if only peripherally) to Barnabas’s transformation into a vampire. Victoria herself was accused of being a witch, and stood trial. She fell in love with her legal representative Peter Bradford (Roger Davis). When Vicky returned to her proper point in time (1968), she had only hazy memories of what occurred. Peter managed to follow her through time, and under the assumed identity Jeff Clark, was reunited with her – much to Barnabas’s disappointment.
ADAM THE GOLEM AND NICHOLAS BLAIR: Another doctor cured Barnabas of his affliction by using his vampiric life force to give life to his golem creation ‘Adam’ (Robert Rodan). For a time, Barnabas & Adam were spiritually joined - if harm befell one of them, the other would suffer the effects. This strange connection prevented Angelique (who also reappeared in the 20th century) from enacting a dream curse that, if successful, would have made Barnabas a vampire again. Barnabas was then put in the difficult position of becoming an enemy of Adam, who was being used by the warlock Nicholas Blair (Humbert Allen Astredo). Nicholas wanted to create a female golem as a paramour for Adam, in order to create a new race of beings to supplant humanity, one consecrated to evil. Barnabas destroyed the female golem and defeated Nicholas, after which Adam left Collinwood for parts unknown (Nothing is known of how Adam was affected when the Leviathans reverted Barnabas to his vampire state a few years later, see below).
BARNABAS VERSUS QUENTIN COLLINS AND COUNT PETOFI: Barnabas was able to use the I-Ching to transport his consciousness back into the past in order to inhabit his body in the past. By doing this, he undertook several trips through time in order to save friends. Once was to save Victoria (who was once again trapped in 1796 and in danger of being hanged as a witch.) Another incident was to save David Collins (David Henesy), who in 1969 was possessed by the spirit of his great-uncle Quentin Collins (David Selby). To save David, Barnabas’s consciousness went back to the year 1897 and inhabited his imprisoned body (but freed by the gypsy Magda – another Grayson Hall role). He was once more a vampire in this time. Aside from combating Quentin’s villainy, he yet again faced off with Angelique, as well as immortal phoenix Laura Collins (Diana Millay), and the sorcerer known as Count Petofi (Thayer David) . Along the way, he met up with Lady Kitty Hampshire, the reincarnation of Josette.
THE LEVIATHANS: After his adventures in 1897 were wrapped up, Barnabas again went back to 1797 along with Kitty/Josette. Their reunion was short-lived however, as Barnabas became the pawn of an ancient mystical race known as the Leviathans, who ruled Earth before humanity, and wanted to return to power. They forced Barnabas to travel back to the 20th century and aid in their plans to resurrect their leader. Eventually he broke free of their mind control and turned against them. But in defeating them, he paid a terrible price – they changed him back into a vampire. During the Leviathan affair though, Barnabas had one last contact with the spirit of Josette, who finally forgave him and allowed him to move on. Also, Barnabas became enamored of Maggie, who had taken over Vicky’s position as governess at Collinwood following the latter woman’s departure.
PARALLEL TIME: Barnabas and Julia discovered a room in Collinwood’s east wing that was a gateway to a strange Parallel Time universe, one in which Collinwood, Collinsport and most of their inhabitants existed, but in strangely different ways. Observing this otherworld several times, Barnabas deduced that he was long dead – apparently in that world he never became a vampire. He surmised that if he were to enter that world, he would again revert to being normal human – since the curse never having been invoked, it would not affect him there. He did manage to cross over to the other world, but alas he was still a vampire. Worse yet, he was imprisoned by the Parallel Time version of Willie Loomis, named William, who was an alcoholic author. William chained Barnabas up in his coffin for many weeks (thus, reversing the events of ‘normal time’ in which Willie freed him from his coffin) while he forced him to relate the history of his vampiric existence. (William wanted to write an exploitative book about Barnabas.) Meanwhile, the Parallel Time version of Angelique proved to be just as destructive to the Collins family as her normal time counterpart. After escaping from William’s imprisonment, Barnabas fell in love with Roxanne Drew, a young woman whose life-force was being used to sustain the Parallel Time Angelique (a succubus who survived by stealing the life force from other people.)
THE MYSTERY OF GERARD STILES: Julia ultimately rescued Barnabas from Parallel Time. But when returned to their proper universe, they inadvertently appeared in the year 1995 – 25 years into the future. While there, they discovered that Collinwood and most of it’s inhabitants befell a calamitous disaster in the year 1970, one linked to the ghosts, Gerard Sties (Michael Storm) and Daphne Harridge (Kate Jackson), from the early 19th century. Barnabas & Julia returned to their proper point in time, the year 1970, several months before the disaster was to occur. The two raced against time to discover who Gerard & Daphne were, and how to prevent the disaster from occurring. (During this time, Barnabas encountered the ‘normal time’ counterpart of Roxanne Drew. This Roxanne was herself revealed to be a vampire, and she blamed Barnabas for making her one, even though Barnabas had never met this Roxanne before. This would be explained in the next time travel escapades.) This adventure met with failure, as Gerard possessed David and through him summoned an army of the living dead to invade Collinwood and kill most of the Collins family.
THE FINAL ADVENTURE:In a switch, Julia rather than Barnabas was the one to escape into the past, this time to the year 1840, while Gerard & Daphne were still alive. Aware of Barnabas’s previous time traveling experiences, Julia assumed he would use the I-Ching to inhabit his past self. While this assumption was correct, Julia released Barnabas from his coffin too early, before his rehabilitated 20th century mind inhabited the body. Thus the Barnabas she released was the evil vampire self whom Willie initially set free in 1967. He fed off an innocent victim – Roxanne – before his ‘modern’ self was able to possess his body, and therefore become Julia’s ally.
During the 1840 adventure, Barnabas once again confronted Angelique (who used the name Valerie during this time). Angelique/Valerie finally lifted the vampire curse from Barnabas once and for all, leaving him a normal human. She also used her magic to counter Gerard’s evil plots (and was stripped of her own witch-powers by him). Valerie was a more compassionate person now and Barnabas genuinely fell in love with her. Unfortunately she was shot and killed by Lamar Trask (Jerry Lacey), the vengeful son of Rev. Trask from 1796.
A GOTHIC FINALE: Eventually, Barnabas & Julia (and their oft-time ally Prof. Stokes – Thayer David again) unraveled the mystery of Gerard Stiles and prevented the events that would precipitate the 1970 disaster. When Barnabas and his allies returned to 1970 (’71 by then), the disaster had simply never taken place. At that point, the storyline for “Dark Shadows” shifted back to Parallel Time in 1841 for its’ final months on air. The last story was a conventional gothic mystery, minus any supernatural trappings, featuring Jonathan Frid in the new role of Bramwell Collins. Barnabas Collins had faded into history.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: (It’s worth noting that the events of the 1840/41 storyline involved major contradictions to established history within “Dark Shadows”. Since ‘Valerie’ removed the curse of vampirism from Barnabas in 1841, he could not possibly be a vampire in 1967, when Willie set him free. Also, while Barnabas’s mind inhabited his physical body of 1840, he returned to the 20th century by physically traversing Quentin Collins’ time-travel stairwell. So, not only was he not a vampire, there was no body lying in his coffin for Willie to discover. Being THE central character since his debut, his absence from the modern period would massively impact every single storyline shown since 1967. But the ramifications were never explored, as the show was cancelled soon after the storyline’s conclusion, and we never saw the modern day Collins family again.)
Jonathan Frid first appeared as Barnabas Collins in episode #210 in 1967. However, the character's hand was briefly seen in the climax to episode #209, prior to Frid's introduction. Production staff member Tim Gordon (uncredited) provided the hand, which was first seen choking the character of Willie Loomis.