A Letter to Jonathan

My dear friend,

Once, when I talked to you in Canada, you told me that you were not going anywhere. You said you get out of bed, put on your robe and slippers, have a nibble of breakfast, and then sit down at your computer and check in with the world. So I took you at your word. You always told me what you thought. Now, you just up and go without a word. How dare you.

Barnabas and Quentin Collins

Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins and David Selby as Quentin Collins in DARK SHADOWS

You never mentioned that you were contemplating a long trip. After all, we had just recently returned from a rather long but short trip to the countryside of England where we took up residence in a very fine resort – at least what we saw of it was fine. The food you barely sampled, but the nightcap went down so smoothly that you told me you had not appreciated my entrance onto the show those many years ago. But I never knew. You were never anything but considerate to me, gentlemanly, a throwback to when there were gentlemen – courteous – exquisite charming manners but always with a quiet, respectful, measuring with those skeptical eyes, and then an easy smile.

It seemed right for such fellow travelers to be in England. We were there to replay, visit, all the way back, a bit of our ancient history. That highway never ends. It was worth the trip just to hold your hand as you stepped off the curb….worth it to reflect back on the fine time I had reading that play with you in New York to all your adoring fans, worth it to feel anxious at Pinewood Studios when I could not find you for a few moments.

How rare it is to be able to go back in time to see where it all began. Our hosts could not have been more cordial. After all, as Tim said, in the glorious drawing room of that mansion– none of us would be here if not for you.

Memory is a strange bird. It persists. Why? Memory is vivid. And love?! Well….what was it about Dark Shadows that compelled people like Tim and Johnny to watch, to be affected so, so strongly. They needed to watch, had to watch. They were drawn to Dark Shadows like a moth to light.

Your light was full of mystery, of history, of genealogy, of love. You carried the heavy past with such grace and allure. That need to watch had something to do with love, a love for you.

What is it about love that made Dark Shadows so needed by millions? They loved you, Jonathan, as did I.

The night is long, the candles will stay lit.

Till we meet again.

David

Webmaster’s note: Actor Jonathan Frid, who portrayed vampire Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows, passed away on April 14, 2012. In June 2011, Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott, and David Selby made a brief trip to England to film cameos in the new Dark Shadows movie. In August 2011, David Selby appeared on stage with Jonathan Frid at the Dark Shadows Festival in Brooklyn to read a scene from the play Mass Appeal. It was their final performance together.

While appearing in Divine Rivalry at the Old Globe in San Diego, David Selby recorded audio of the letter to be presented at the Dark Shadows Day at Collinwood held at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York on July 28, 2012.

Thanks to the Dark Shadows Festival for allowing us to share this video with those who were unable to attend.

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