As a cub reporter, I had a chance to interview Dan Curtis, who was busy finishing the massive miniseries "War and Remembrance," a sequel to "Winds of War" whose cost had reportedly ballooned to more than $100 million. That represented a hell of an investment for a miniseries in 1988, even one that ran 32 hours.
Although the focus of our conversation was on "War," I felt kind of compelled to ask Curtis about another of his best-known projects, "Dark Shadows." Curtis sighed, and muttered something about how he dreaded the prospect that when he died, the obituary would begin "Dan Curtis, creator of 'Dark Shadows' ..."
So I was a little surprised, three years later, when NBC introduced a new version of "Dark Shadows" from Curtis, starring Ben Cross. The show has been playing as a marathon on Chiller all weekend, to cash in on the movie release.
Curtis died in 2006, and indeed, many of the obituaries led with "Dark Shadows," or at the very least prominently mentioned it.
Curtis certainly had a distinguished resume, but his relationship with "Dark Shadows" always fascinated me. After all, if he dreaded being associated with the show -- or perhaps more narrowly, the risk of having it obscure his other accomplishments -- why take part in revisiting it?
If Curtis was conflicted about the series, though, he's hardly the only talent to be associated with a hit -- cult or otherwise -- to feel uncomfortably tethered to it.
The lesson, I think, is that in the course of a long career, we don't always get to be the judge of what winds up casting the longest shadow.
That said, I hope I'm not remembered for this blog post.