Andreas Petofi

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Andreas Petofi
Thayer David portrays Andreas (1969)
Dark Shadows character
Portrayed by Thayer David (1969)
David Henesy (1969)
David Selby (1969)
Duration 1969
First appearance July 9, 1969
Last appearance November 12, 1969
Created by Dan Curtis
Other names Victor Fenn-Gibbon
Species Warlock

Andreas Petofi is the name of a fictional character featured in the 1966–1971 ABC cult TV Gothic horror soap opera Dark Shadows. Count Petofi was an extremely powerful warlock who appeared in the 1897 storyline. He was primarily portrayed by Thayer David.[1] However, due to Petofi's body swapping and possession abilities, he was portrayed by others.

Dark Shadows (1966–1971)[edit]

Early years[edit]

Andreas Petofi claimed to be a wealthy Hungarian Aristocrat. He was an over-weight, grey curly-haired elderly man, with very poor eyesight. Most of his magical powers were centered in his severed right hand, which was called the Hand of Count Petofi by the gypsies. The hand, which could not be destroyed, had been taken from him in 1797 by gypsies, as payment for lifting a werewolf curse. At the time of his first appearance in Collinsport, Maine, in 1897, he was 150 years old.[2] According to Petofi, he had once owned a pet unicorn but he had tragically killed it on the night of a full moon, before curing himself of the werewolf curse.

Petofi was a very classy and sophisticated gentleman who loved the arts, classical music, and owning beautiful things. He hated the sight of violence. However, he was also selfish, and obsessed with never dying; and so he was cruel to anyone who interfered with his goals or whom he viewed as an enemy. To handle any needed violence, Petofi employed a young escaped prisoner named Aristede (Michael Stroka). Aristede served as bodyguard and hitman, doing anything Petofi asked, which included killing to protect his master. Petofi's relationship with Aristede would eventually lead to his own demise.


Petofi arrived at Collinwood, using the alias Victor Fenn-Gibbon.[2] His true identity as Count Andreas Petofi was eventually revealed. Petofi began his scheme to get back his hand by possessing young Jamison Collins (David Henesy).[3] After he caused much trouble for the inhabitants of Collinwood, Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) and Quentin Collins (David Selby) were forced to give Petofi back his hand, in order to save Jamison's life.[4]

Petofi gave magical painting powers to Charles Delaware Tate (Roger Davis). While still possessing Jamison, he commissioned Tate to paint a portrait of Quentin.[5] Once finished, the portrait magically changed into the werewolf on the nights of a full moon, instead of Quentin himself, and had the unexpected side effect of virtual immortality.[6]

Among Petofi's greatest enemies were the gypsies, who had severed Petofi's all-powerful hand from his body with a sword they referred to as the Golden Scimitar and thereafter kept as a magical artifact. When first seen on the series, Petofi's detached hand was kept by the gypsies in an elaborately carved and decorated wooden box. After retrieving the hand and magically reattaching it to his wrist, Petofi nearly met his end at the hands of Johnny Romano (Paul Michael), leader of the gypsy clan that had previously taken Petofi's hand. Romano captured Petofi and nearly slew him until Aristede saved Petofi's life, killing Romano in the process.

Petofi's fear of gypsies led to him concocting an elaborate scheme to escape their vengeance by time traveling to the year 1969. Petofi discovered time travel was possible after encountering Barnabas (who had traveled back from 1969 in an attempt to save the life of David Collins (David Henesy)). Petofi devised a scheme where he would travel to the future by switching bodies with Quentin (who was rendered immortal and permanently youthful by the magical painting Petofi had Tate paint).


Using the vast powers at his disposal, Petofi was able to switch bodies with Quentin. Petofi maintained his power despite being in another body and he attempted to reach 1969 in Quentin's body. When Petofi's assistant aborted the mission, Petofi discovered that his magical energy had somehow transferred back to his old body. At that point, Quentin (still in Petofi's body) was able to switch places with Petofi. Petofi tried again to switch bodies but this time, Quentin was able to flee Collinsport, thwarting Petofi's scheme.

Back to 1897[edit]

When his first scheme failed, he tried and failed yet again to body swap with Barnabas, whom he realized also existed in the future. Petofi captured Barnabas after taking Charity Trask (Nancy Barrett) hostage in Tate's studio. Just when Petofi's plan to travel to the future seemed unstoppable, a phantom jailer (who was hunting Aristede) arrived and took Petofi captive. The jailer passed sentence on Petofi and torched Tate's home. Barnabas and Charity fled the home as Petofi was sentenced and returned to find the studio burnt to the ground and no evidence of Petofi left except his spectacles. With Petofi apparently destroyed, Barnabas turned his attention elsewhere.

Powers & abilities[edit]

  • Before being cured by gypsies in 1797, he was a cursed werewolf, causing him to transform during the night before, night of, and night after a full moon. In werewolf form he had no memory of his actions, only acting on primal animal instincts; and possessed accelerated healing from any injury or wound, except for wounds caused by silver weapons or bullets.
  • Powerful warlock, with knowledge of witchcraft and sorcery, adept at body swaps and cursing.
  • Most of magical powers were centered in right hand, which was called the Hand of Count Petofi. With the hand, he possessed vast paranormal powers, the limits of which are unknown, but included astral projection, body swapping, clairvoyance, healing fatal wounds, hypnosis, mind control, possession, telepathy and teleportation.

Other appearances[edit]

The character of Andreas Petofi has since reappeared in the audio drama The Blind Painter in which he has possessed the body of a young woman played by Nicola Bryant.

In addition, Big Finish has strongly hinted at the return of Count Petofi at the end of the second season of the full-cast drama, Kingdom of the Dead. The third season will supposedly be a two disc drama called The Time of Petofi.


External links[edit]