Thursday, March 22, 2012

Alison and Dan's Relationship

A shot of Alison and Dan as they meet at Dan's office to discuss Alison's sister Erica.

Initially, the relationship between Dan and Alison was to be more explicitly detailed than what is seen on screen. The below segments from the pilot script provide some more details of the relationship between Alison and Dan (portions in [brackets] indicate dialogue removed from the televised version). For more on the difference between the pilot script and the televised version, click here:

ALISON: Then maybe I am right. Something is wrong.

DAN: I think you can use a drink.
ALISON: Too early, but don’t let me stop you
DAN: I’ve been trying not to let you stop me. Booze I can resist, it’s you that…

DAN: [Being with the man you love is far from isolation but doctor, try being pragmatic like a romantic lawyer.] Erica is probably happy being hidden away, because Erica is not quite Erica any more. She bulges a little in the middle, wouldn’t you think?
ALISON: It’s a woman’s prerogative – at six months.[ And I’m beginning to think you’re more a misogynist than pragmatist.]
DAN: [Try me, Alison]

[ALISON (CHANGING THE SUBJECT): Do you have any sherry in there?
DAN (OPENING BAR): Don’t tell me I’m driving you to drink]

ALISON: Oh stop it, Dan. You really think that’s all it is about Erica?
DAN: Nope. I think it’s an idyllic love with one of the richest men in the world who owns an island paradise. (SMILING) Wouldn’t you like to hole up there? After marriage, of course
ALISON: Maljardin? You know what it means?
DAN: Of course, all French is Greek to me, but I believe it means – Garden of Evil
ALISON: Exactly. Now why would he call it that?
DAN: It was handed down to Jean Paul – along with the family fortune. Sherry too strong?
ALISON: Just this funny feeling that something is wrong – with Erica.

DAN: Look, I’m flying down at noon. Unless you’d rather I sit here and hold your hand. I’ll call you with a full report when I get back.

ALISON: Suppose I fly down with you?

[DAN (A HAPPY GRIN): The way to a woman’s heart is sherry before noon. I’ll have Ruth book you on. ]

Alison’s line of “and I’m beginning to think you’re more a misogynist than a pragmatist”, along with his reply of “try me, Alison” are eliminated from the televised version. From this line, it can be inferred that Alison disapproves of Dan’s womanizing ways, and wants the assurances of marriage from him rather than just a dating relationship. It is possible that, in this context, the word “misogynist” (which means someone who hates women) was incorrectly used in place of the word “misogamy” (hatred of marriage) which would fit with the scripted Dan/Alison relationship. Also, Dan’s relationship with Alison is more defined in the pilot script. He clearly has a definite interest in her. It is not made explicit, but is inferred, that Alison is more interested in being actually married to Dan before anything more intimate takes place. This is also hinted later in the televised episode when Dan presents a hotel room key to Alison, implying that they will be sharing a room (his preference) and then later shows Alison a second key indicating that they have separate rooms (her preference). Lines present in the script but eliminated on TV add more to this background, implying that Dan is a bit of a philanderer whom Alison wants to tame (by marriage) rather than simply becoming another of his female conquests.

These lines, referring to sherry and drinking, are eliminated from the televised version, possibly due to the lack of an actual bar in the conference room used for this scene. Dan’s line of “after marriage, of course”, which is retained in the televised episode, is the only specific reference in the pilot to some sort of pending future relationship between Dan and Alison. In the context of this scene, the line makes it clear that Alison wishes to marry Dan but he’s not quite ready yet. However, its significance in the televised episode is diminished by the elimination of the expository references pertaining to Dan and Alison, and can be perceived as more of a throwaway line.

Dan’s comments about sherry and Alison’s response are removed from the televised episode. Dan’s comment about “the way to a woman’s heart is sherry before noon” clearly implies that he is happy that Alison will accompany him to Maljardin in that he hopes it might lead to a romantic interlude between them. It’s elimination from the televised episode makes Alison’s accompanying Dan to Maljardin more about Erica and Jean Paul Desmond (for both of them) and removes the romantic subtext.

The Original Dan Forrest

The original Dan Forrest, Jean Paul's lawyer and potential love interest for Alison Carr. In the pilot, the part of Dan Forrest was played by actor Paul Harding. When the show went to series Harding, who could not come to terms with producer Steve Krantz, was replaced by Jon Granik.

Conjure Doll Props

 At right is a shot of the original conjure doll used in the Strange Paradise pilot. When the show went to series, the conjure doll was replaced by a different one, which can be seen in the second shot below it. The original doll, which was hand carved, had a lighter, cruder looking face and slightly different clothing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Strange Paradise Call Sheet

The production of Strange Paradise, like all TV series, required a great deal of organization to keep it running. To the right is a sample of the cast breakdown for May 4-10, 1970, covering the taping of episodes 181-186. The sheet gives information on which actors were needed on what days, and what times they needed to report to the set. As one can see from the sample, Strange Paradise was on such a tight schedule that it occasionally needed to be recorded on the weekends.

CBC Telegram to Steve Krantz

At right is a note dated August 27, 1969, sent from Doug Nixon, Director of Entertainment Programs for the CBC, to Steve Krantz regarding the CBC's agreement to purchase Strange Paradise for its Fall schedule. The note mentions that the show will run in the 2-2:30pm timeslot, with a late September start date. This was later changed to October 20.

Trivia - Episode 61

Tim Stanton's dead body from Episode 61
In the re-enacted reprise of the ending to episode 60, Tim’s body is seen just inside the secret room, whereas in the previous episode his body was completely inside it, behind the door. Additionally, his body is lying perpendicular to the door when Quito finds it, whereas in the previous episode it was parallel.

The Black Rabbit

A new album of shots of the black rabbit, the omen that, starting in Episode 42, signalled big changes to come on Strange Paradise. Check out the photos here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes - Raxl

Behind the scenes with Cosette Lee, rehearsing her entry as Raxl. As you can see, Cosette is not wearing her normal Raxl wig for this shot.

The Vignettes

The Vignettes feature once again in our archives as we bring you an excerpt of the voiceover describing Patrick Stanley, better known to Strange Paradise viewers as Tim Stanton. While Patrick's profession remained the same, his name was changed as well as the plot concerning his involvement with Beryl Forbes - the original character of a voodoo priestess who eventually evolved into the character of Vangie Abbott.

Episode 45 Trivia

Episode 45 Trivia: Jean Paul mentions that he put a locket on Erica’s neck before he put her into the cryo capsule, yet the shot of Erica being put in the capsule shows no locket. Also, Jean Paul wasn't present when Erica was placed in the capsule. He came too late to say goodbye to her. For more trivia, click here.

Casa Loma

A photo of Casa Loma in Toronto, which was used as the outside of the chateau on Maljardin during the initial 13 weeks of the series.

SP Promotional Folder

Part of a promotional folder sent to U.S. TV stations to promote the series. From left to right: Colin Fox (Jean Paul) and Patricia Collins (Huaco) rehearse a scene from the pilot; In a scene altered for broadcast, two unknown actors (as the thug and Patrick Stanley) argue over money while Beryl Forbes (Nonnie Griffin) looks on. Griffin's character was changed to Vangie Abbott and Stanley's name was changed to Tim Stanton before broadcast; Quito carrying Erica's body (a scene never shown on TV); Alison Carr in her lab; Rev. Matt Dennis (later Matt Dawson); Raxl (wearing a slightly different costume to the broadcasgt version) speaks with Jean Paul; Jean Paul and the voodoo doll in the crypt.

Episode 6 Trivia

Episode 6 Trivia - The male quest at Jacques’ dinner table in the flashback sequence is named D’Anton. He is played, uncredited, by John Granik, who plays Dan Forrest in the present day episodes.

Episode 2 Trivia

Trivia from Episode 2: A close up of the plaque on Jacques' casket, which states “He who disturbs my sleep has the devil to pay.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kittaning, PA and Strange Paradise

 A brief article from the Kittaning, PA Simpson Leader Times from July of 1969, giving a brief introduction to Strange Paradise. The show would premiere just two months later, one month ahead of its Canadian debut.

Peg Dixon

A photo from Episode 76 of Peg Dixon as the original Ada Thaxton, along with Cosette Lee as Raxl. To read an exclusive interview with Peg Dixon, check out here:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Archive Item - Three Week Projection

Three week summary for the last 15 episodes of the Maljardin storyline.

This breakdown is part of the revamping of the program instituted by incoming producer Bob Costello. Amongst the changes were a shift in location from the isolated island of Maljardin to the more populated town of Desmondton, and the killing off of a number of major characters.

On this Date - March 16

On this date in 1970, Episode 105 aired in Canada.

Behind the Scenes

A behind the scenes photo showing Staging Crew Chief John Windsor (left) and Lighting/Boom Operator Chuck Magliore setting up a scene. To the right can be seen the edge of the outside of the Desmond Hall set.

Slate for Episode 171

A bit of Strange Paradise behind the scenes, showing the slate used for the filming of Episode 171, filmed on April 20, 1970. As can be seen on the slate, the producer was former Dark Shadows producer Bob Costello, and the Director was George Gorman.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trivia of the Week - March 15, 2012

Jean Paul speaks with Alison in Dr. Menkin's lab in this scene from Episode 21. Although mentioned before, this was the first time that Dr. Menkin's lab was seen on screen.

Strange Paradise Novel #1

The back cover blurb to the first Strange Paradise novel by Dorothy Daniels. In total, there were 3 Strange Paradise novels written and published by the Paperback Library, the same company that published the Dark Shadows series of novels.

Episode 1 Slideshow

For a quick visual reference to the events of episode 1, click the photo on the right. More slideshows can be found in the Photos section of, here.

Photo of the Week - March 15, 2012

At right is photo of Colin Fox rehearsing his lines as Jean Paul Desmond, taken from the viewing monitor of a studio camera. This particular photo was taken during the filming of the series' final episode, Episode 195, filmed May 22, 1970.

CBC Press Release

At right is the CBC press release touting the debut of Strange Paradise. This article appeared in the CBC's internal newsletter, and was also sent out to various media affiliates to sell them on the program.

Click on the photo to read the full article.