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Willie Loomis
DS 210 2.jpg
Willie Loomis
Franchise: Dark Shadows
Notability: Main character
Type: Servant
Gender: Male
Location: The Old House, Collinsport, Maine
Status: Alive
Born: 1933 [1]
1st appearance: Episode 199
Actor: James Hall
John Karlen

Willie Loomis was a central character featured on the 1960s-70s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Introduced in episode 199, he was originally played by actor James Hall. Hall played the part of Loomis for four more episodes until he was replaced by actor John Karlen beginning with episode 206. Karlen maintained the role throughout the remainder of the series.

Willie was introduced as an unscrupulous weasel and con-man who was partnered up with an opportunistic sailor named Jason McGuire. Life changed drastically for Willie however, after coming into contact with the vampire known as Barnabas Collins. He then filled the role of the "Renfield" character in the series, characterized by a sycophantic demeanor, nervous behavior and a perpetual stammer.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Arrival in Collinsport[edit | edit source]

As a young man, Willie lived the life of a seaman, working aboard various ships. In the 1960s, he befriended another sailor named Jason McGuire. Willie and Jason shared several common interests and both were willing to resort to criminal means to accomplish their goals. Jason and he parted company briefly when Jason sought to eke out a fortune in the town of Collinsport, Maine in 1967. After a telephone call, Willie met up with him a short time later.

When Willie first arrived in Collinsport, he learned that Jason McGuire had involved himself in a scheme to blackmail Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the reclusive matriarch of Collinwood. Willie wanted to be part of Jason’s plan and Jason decided to let Willie do his dirty work. (DS 199) The villagers in Collinsport grew to quickly despise Willie, and his harassing, belligerent nature earned him the enmity of several people, including fisherman Joe Haskell and industrialist Burke Devlin.

Jason eventually convinced Elizabeth to let Willie stay at Collinwood. Liz wanted nothing to do with the violent young man, but Jason forced her to acquiesce. Almost immediately, Willie began harassing Elizabeth's daughter Carolyn and the family governess Victoria Winters. Carolyn was even forced to threaten Willie with a gun in order to protect herself. [2] Burke Devlin volunteered to usher Willie out of town, but Willie had no intention of leaving. The two finally came to blows at a pub called the Blue Whale, and Burke slapped Willie down to the floor. [3]

The Vampire[edit | edit source]

During his stay at Collinwood, Willie took notice of a portrait of a Collins family ancestor named Barnabas Collins The image of Barnabas showed him displaying fine jewelry, and Willie began to wonder what might have become of the antique gems. The Collins family housekeeper, Mrs. Sarah Johnson told Willie a legend about an ancestor named Naomi Collins who was allegedly buried in the Collins family mausoleum with all of her jewelry intact. This sparkled Willie's interest greatly, and he initiated a scheme to acquire the Collins family jewels for himself, without alerting his good friend, Jason McGuire. [4]

That evening, Willie broke into the Collins family mausoleum. In an effort to disinter the remains of one of the Collins ancestors, he inadvertently discovered a secret room in the rear of the crypt. Inside was a single coffin wrapped in large, heavy chains. Willie removed the chains and opened the coffin. Rather than a cache of jewelry however, Willie found the vampire Barnabas Collins. (DS 210) Barnabas attacked Willie and made him his unwilling servant. Willie eventually made his way back to Collinwood, but fell gravely ill as a result of having large quantities of blood drained from his body. [5][6]

Return from Windcliff[edit | edit source]

Willie was released from Windclass Sanitarium under Doctor Hoffman's orders. This was necessary because Julia and Barnabas needed him for an important task. They needed Willie to watch over the living scientific experiment known as Adam. Willie was frightened of the patchwork man and wanted nothing to do with him. On the first night he was supposed to watch over him, Adam burned his hand on Willie's cigarette and went berserk, briefly escaping from his restraints and running off into in the night. (DS 493)

The following evening, Willie tried another trick in the hopes of keeping Adam calm. Knowing where the Collins family jewels were hidden, he took them out from their secret compartment and showed them to Adam. He was relieved to discover that the sparkling gemstones had a soothing effect on Adam. Willie stole a pair of emerald earings from the collection and secretly left them with Maggie Evans as a gift. [7]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • A version of Willie Loomis also appeared in the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows. Played again by John Karlen, this version adapted plot lines from the first major story-arc involving Barnabas Collins, which spanned episodes 210 to 230. One notable difference between the versions however is that the film counterpart to Loomis dies at the end of the movie whereas the canonical Willie Loomis lives on beyond the discontinuation of the series.
  • John Karlen played several other characters on Dark Shadows including Carl Collins, Desmond Collins, William Hollingshead Loomis and Kendrick Young.
  • Willie had a fondness for foreign cigarettes. [8]
  • In the Parallel Time story-arc, he was known as William Loomis.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Date approximated based upon the age of actor John Karlen, who was the primary actor to play the role of Willie Loomis on Dark Shadows.
  2. Dark Shadows: 204
  3. Dark Shadows: 207
  4. Dark Shadows: 209
  5. Dark Shadows: 215
  6. Dark Shadows: 216
  7. Dark Shadows: 494
  8. Dark Shadows: 216
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