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David Collins was the name of several characters that appeared in the Dark Shadows franchise. The first and most well known version of the character was played by David Henesy in the original 1966 television series. He debuted in the fourth episode and remained a steady cast member throughout the entirety of the series. Henesy reprised the role for the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows, which itself, was a quasi-remake of the series. The character was also featured in the 1991 Dark Shadows revival series, this time played by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Biography[edit | edit source]

David Collins was born in the year 1956 to Roger and Laura Collins. The circumstances surrounding David's birth proved quite controversial at the time, as it was revealed that Laura had been having an affair with Roger's friend Burke Devlin. For a time, Burke suspected that David was his son, but it has become generally accepted that Roger is David's true father.

The mysterious nature of David's birth did not stop with Burke however. As he learned years later, David's mother Laura was a supernatural creature known as a Phoenix, a being that lives for seventy years, dies in a corona of fire, only to be reborn in a new body.

Growing up at his family's estate in Collinsport, Maine was never easy for David. From a young age, the boy suffered severe emotional and psychological stress. This was caused primarily by his father, who likewise suspected that he was not his true father. As such, Roger often mentally abused David, driving the boy to despise him. By the time he was ten, David was remorseless and spiteful towards Roger, causing the man to wonder if the child would be better served living in an institution.

Hoping to find some way of controlling him, Roger hired a young woman named Victoria Winters to serve as David's governess at home. This was as much to help David as it was to keep him out of Roger's hair. [2] David initially hated Vicki and did little to hide his feelings about her. He event went so far as to repack her bags with the sentiment that she should return to New York where she came from.

In 1966, David attempted to murder his father by removing the bleeder valve from his automobile, causing brake failure, resulting in Roger being in a near-fatal accident. David's scheme did not bear the desired results however and Roger survived. [3]

That same year, Laura Collins returned to take possession of David. An impressionable child, David longed to be with his mother, but was forced to witness her destruction when the power of the Phoenix caused Laura to burst into flames before his very eyes.

David was often very lonely and escaped into worlds of fantasy. He enjoyed playing at the Old House, the original Collins family estate, which had long ago fallen into severe disrepair. While playing there, David encountered the ghost of an 18th century family member named Josette DuPres. He believed that Josette's spirit protected the members of the Collins family and he looked upon her as a friend. One of David's most treasured objects was a portrait of Josette, which hung upon the mantle at the Old House.

In 1968, a new mysterious figure came into David's life. This was his cousin Barnabas Collins, who allegedly relocated to Collinsport from England and took possession of the Old House. In truth, Barnabas was actually a 175-year-old vampire who masqueraded as his own descendent. Although David was fond of Barnabas, the distinguished man earned David's scorn when he removed the portrait of Josette from the living room at the Old House. [4]

David eventually came to befriend another ghostly spirit. This was the ghost of Barnabas' younger sister Sarah Collins who died of pneumonia in the year 1795. Sarah knew that Barnabas was a vampire and tried to protect the Collins family from his murderous schemes. Sarah even brought David to the secret crypt at the Collins family mausoleum where Barnabas maintained his coffin. [5] When Barnabas learned that David knew of the coffin, he feared that the child might expose him and plotted to kill him. Fortunately for David, Barnabas' colleague Julia Hoffman used hypnosis to make David forget about the incident and Barnabas' secret was safe. [citation needed]

In 1968, a young girl about David's age named Amy Jennings came to live with him at Collinwood. David and Amy became fast friends and they enjoyed exploring forbidden areas of the house. They discovered an abandoned playroom in the West Wing, which contained a panel that lead into a separate secret room. They soon discovered that this room housed the trapped spirit and corporeal remains of a 19th century ancestor named Quentin Collins. [6] Quentin, along with the spirit of his lover Beth Chavez, used his supernatural influence to manipulate the children into serving his own need for vengeance against the Collins family.

David adopted several of Quentin's characteristics and even began referring to himself as Quentin for a time. Under the ghost's instruction, David and Amy conspired to make another murder attempt on Roger Collins; this time by placing a thin trip wire on the staircase. Though Roger suffered many bruises after tripping and falling down the steps, he nonetheless survived. [7]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The character of David Collins was created by director Lela Swift and writer/story developer Art Wallace based on concepts originally developed by Dan Curtis.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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