Dan Curtis(Series Creator and Producer) had a dream in which he saw a young woman riding a train to an old gothic mansion. The woman in his dream would become Victoria Winters. Dark Shadows was also based on a previous work by Art Wallace(Story Creator and Writer), "The House", a teleplay about a reclusive woman who's husband had been missing for many years. This woman would become Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, and the house would become Collinwood.
The first few months of the series centered around Victoria Winters and the search for her past, but then a couple of ghosts appeared, then a Phoenix, and finally a Vampire named Barnabas Collins. The show became incredibly popular and has since refused to die.
Dark Shadows Premiered on ABC June 27th, 1966 and aired 1225 episodes until April 2, 1971.
In 1970 Dark Shadows became a feature length motion picture in "House of Dark Shadows". It was heavily adapted from the TV series plot lines with one major twist, Barnabas Collins is destroyed at the end of the film. "House of Dark Shadows" was followed in 1971 by "Night of Dark Shadows", the film adapted some elements from the TV series but also contained a great deal of new story. It is widely believed that far too much material was edited out of the final version, making a rather confusing film that leaves you wondering what the characters' motivations were. Plans for a third Dark Shadows film were made but it never materialized. In recent years Dan Curtis has once again shown interest in the possibility of a new Dark Shadows film, however nothing firm has developed.
Dark Shadows was resurrected in 1975 and aired in syndication on various local TV stations and PBS until 1990 when the Sci-Fi Channel purchased exclusive rights to air the show.
Dark Shadows crawled back to life(briefly) on NBC in a completely new series with a new cast which took many plot elements from the original series. However, this incarnation of Dark Shadows was darker, and the production was more extravagant than the original series. After a very short run, the series was canceled. Dark Shadows aired on NBC From January 13th to March 22nd 1991.
In 1992 the Sci-Fi Channel debuted with Dark Shadows being the first TV series purchased. It was the first time since its original broadcast that all of the episodes of had been seen(syndication packages only aired episodes from the arrival of Barnabas and excluded the entire last year's worth of episodes). Between 1992 and 1997 Dark Shadows aired almost every weekday. The Sci-Fi Channel has also aired the 1991 series a couple of times. Dark Shadows was aired in its entirety twice. The Sci-Fi channel concluded its brodcasts of Dark Shadows Sept 1997. Jan 1999 Dark Shadows will return, however the broadcast will skip most of the first year's worth of episodes starting shortly before Barnabas' arrival at Collinwood.