Daniel Collins (Dark Shadows)
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|Dark Shadows character|
David Henesy (1796),|
Louis Edmonds (1840)
|First appearance||February 1968|
|Last appearance||January 1971|
|Created by||Dan Curtis and Sam Hall|
|Occupation||Master of Collinwood (1820's-1840)|
Unknown New York City residence (1786-1795),|
Old House (former Collins Manor) (1795),
Daniel Collins is fictional character that appeared on the 1960s ABC daytime soap opera Dark Shadows. Initially the character was played by child actor David Henesy during a storyline that has become informally known as the "1795 Flashback". In 1970, the character returned (now an adult) for the "1840 Flashback" storyline, this time played by stage actor Louis Edmonds.
Daniel Collins was born during the latter half of the 18th century in New York City, and spent the first ten or so years of his life there. In 1795, he and his older sister Millicent Collins were invited to the town of Collinsport, Maine and to the estate of Collinwood, to attend the planned wedding of their cousin Barnabas Collins and his then fiancee Josette DuPres. As a child, Daniel developed a close bond with his younger cousin, Sarah Collins (the little sister of Barnabas), but was devastated when the young girl died from what was believed to be pneumonia. In truth, Sarah's illness was actually the result of a spiteful witch known as Angelique (Lara Parker).
Daniel and his sister, Millicent, were heirs in their own right to a large portion of the Collins Family fortune (as the only surviving members of the New York branch of the Collins family). Joshua Collins had hoped to consolidate this fortune by arranging a marriage between Millicent and his younger brother, Jeremiah, but neither Jeremiah nor Millicent had any interest in such an alliance. Millicent secretly married Lt. Nathan Forbes after she had given her share of the fortune to Daniel to prove that Forbes was not after her money. Forbes arranged to become Daniel's guardian and then drove Millicent insane (not a terribly difficult task) and hired an assassin to kill Daniel. However; Daniel was saved by Victoria Winters who killed the assassin (thereby insuring the survival of the Collins family members whom she knew and loved, who were all descended from Daniel). Forbes was killed by Barnabas Collins and Joshua took Daniel in as his heir since Millicent never recovered her sanity. Since Joshua's wife, Naomi, and their children, Barnabas and Sarah were all dead (or undead), Daniel became the sole heir to the Collins Family fortune.
As an adult, Daniel married a woman named Harriet and became the patriarch of Collinwood. He had two sons, Quentin and Gabriel. In 1830, Harriet died from a mysterious fall from Widow's Hill. It was said that the fact Daniel had murdered her was the "most well known family secret". Daniel, plagued by the guilt of killing Harriet began a long slide into senility and dementia. He often believed Harriet was haunting him and could appear anywhere in Collinwood except for the Tower Room, where Daniel had strangled her before throwing her body off the cliff.
In late 1840, the Collins family was set upon by the spirit of centuries old warlock named Judah Zachery. Although dead, the head of Judah Zachery contained the warlock's malevolent spirit, and whomever took possession of the head became Judah's unwilling slave. The head passed through several hands but ultimately came into the possession of a seaman named Gerard Stiles (a friend of Quentin Collins). Zachery took complete possession of Stiles and used the younger man’s personality and charm to insinuate his way into the Collins family fortune.
Gerard framed Quentin for two murders and various acts of Satanism and convinced Daniel to alter his will leaving the Collins estate to Gerard rather than Quentin. Daniel's mental stability was greatly traumatized by the event and his health took a turn for the worse. Compounding the ailing Daniel's stress was the appearance of a woman named Valerie Collins. Valerie was in fact the reincarnated witch Angelique who had terrorized Collinsport nearly fifty years earlier. Daniel recalled Angelique from his childhood memories and the shock of seeing her still alive and youthful drove him over the edge of sanity.
In the end, it was actually Daniel's second son, Gabriel, who ended his life. Upon learning that Daniel had changed his will to disinherit Quentin for practicing witchcraft, he assumed that Daniel left him the entire fortune. Gabriel assaulted his father inducing a seizure which ultimately claimed his life. But Gabriel later discovered that the family fortune was to be left to Gerard Stiles as guardian of Quentin's son Tad Collins, until Tad turned 21; and sole heir should Tad die before then, or be taken from Collinwood by his mother.
In 1970, the series writers began a storyline which focused on alternate realities. The character of Barnabas Collins discovered that the entrance to a specific room at Collinwood led into a parallel dimension where characters and events played out in similar form to their mainstream counterparts. In this parallel time, David Henesy played another character named Daniel Collins. This character was the counterpart to David Collins, but was the son of Quentin and Angelique Collins.
In 1991 Dan Curtis Productions revived the Dark Shadows series as a one-hour night time soap opera for NBC. The series re-imagined the "1795 Flashback" storyline and cast child actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role of Daniel Collins. Levitt also played Daniel's modern day descendant David Collins throughout the series. This version of Daniel Collins also made cameo appearances in Dark Shadows comic book limited series by Innovation Comics.