Friday, May 27, 2022

Book Review: "My Memoirs of the Dark Shadows Conventions" by Anthony Taylor

My Memoirs of the Dark Shadows Conventions by Anthony Taylor (AuthorHouse, 2021)

This very brief ebook (29 pages) focuses on Dark Shadows conventions on the east coast between 1993 and 2016. A presumably Black fan who grew up watching the television show in the 1960s and 1970s—enamored by Lara Parker, “​​a sexy, beautiful … white woman”—discovered fandom several decades later by way of a video tape advertisement for a convention. Taylor attended Dark Shadows conventions in 1993, 1995, 2001, 2004, 2006-2007, 2009, 2012, and 2016.

In a sequence of brief chapters, the author shares personal recollections of the cultural importance of the program, the impact of the show’s supernatural elements, and the many actors he was able to meet and obtain autographs from. Taylor also comments on various aspects of attending cons through the eyes of a newcomer: the speakers and screenings, the openness of the featured cast members, the dealers rooms, con literature such as the 50th anniversary album, and other attendees: “Most were rich, and from the Caucasian race.”

He details his favorite actors, recognizes the deaths of Dan Curtis and Jonathan Frid, and credits his involvement in the Dark Shadows Fan Club in part for his success as a trustee at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Brooklyn. The ebook ends with several personal photographs of what might be Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York.

I was surprised to find this multi-year con report available on Amazon, and I’m glad that Taylor wrote it. I’m also glad he found lifelong enjoyment and involvement through Dark Shadows fandom. His memoir ably communicates its personal importance and meaning.

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