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Pickets in Burbank Ask NBC to Revive 'Dark Shadows'

March 28, 1991|GREG BRAXTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Most cities have their curses. In Torrance, residents live with refineries. Inglewood and Playa del Rey dwellers get airplane noise. In Irwindale, it's the gravel pits.

So what do neighbors of Burbank's Media District, with the headquarters of several television and movie studios, have to put up with?

Oh, demonstrators carrying miniature coffins and wearing false vampire teeth parading in front of NBC Studios, out for blood.

More than 40 never-say-undead fans of "Dark Shadows," the recently revived--and then dropped again--version of the 1960s cult hit, rallied Wednesday to demand that NBC resurrect the vampire soap opera yet again. Demonstrators in vampire gear swooped down on the corner of Alameda and Olive avenues with protest signs, hoping to leave a mark--um, impression--on network executives.

NBC broadcast the last of 13 scheduled "Dark Shadows" episodes Friday, and the Nielsen ratings appear to have driven a stake in its heart this time, ranking it 64th among 83 shows in its final week.

Despite the small coffin and the abundance of blood-red lettering on signs, the gathering was not an uncommon sight in the area, which is also home to Walt Disney and Warner Bros. studios.

Fans of cancelled programs or dismissed personalities often make pilgrimages to the studios to plead their cases, befuddling Burbank residents and motorists alike.

The best-known instance was when fans of the old "Star Trek" series successfully rallied to have that show returned to the air after cancellation.

Some of the "Dark Shadows" devotees in front of NBC said there is much at stake for them.

"I'll die if they take 'Dark Shadows' off the air," said Tammy Blass, 28, a nursing student. "I would stay home every Friday night to watch--not that I ever had dates before anyways. But I live for it."

Publicist Sarah Lesch said more than 2,500 calls and letters supporting the series have been logged by the network since "Dark Shadows" reappeared in January.

NBC officials did not come out in the sunlight to see the rally.

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