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Strange Paradise was a supernatural soap opera attempting to emulate the success of ABC TV's gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Produced in Canada the series was syndicated in the United States as a first run production, often showing up on ABC affiliates right after Dark Shadows. Strange Paradise managed to accomplish the impossible and had even lower production values than Dark Shadows did. Similarities in style between the two programs grew larger in the later episodes of Strange Paradise when Robert Costello, a former Dark Shadows producer, became executive producer of Strange Paradise a couple months into the series' run. He brought in former Dark Shadow's staff writer Ron Sproat who became a staff writer on Strange Paradise.
Strange Paradise was set on Maljardin Island in the Caribbean. Maljardin meaning Garden of Evil in French. The series' central character was Jean Paul Desmond, a rich industrialist who decides to settle down to his family's ancestral home after marrying Erica Carr. Erica however soon dies and Jean Paul places her body in cryogenic storage, hoping to revive her.
The first story arc of the series deals with his attempts to revive her which turn from science to voodoo and black magic causing the spirit of Jacques Eloi De Monde, a malevolent ancestor and Restoration period dandy, to be released. Jacques' spirit sometimes possesses Jean Paul and at other times inhabits a portrait of Jacques. Raxl, one of Jean Paul's servants and a voodoo priestess, recognizes the evil that has been unleashed and attempts to send Jacques back where he came from. Jean Paul eventually is able to revive his wife. The price however is steep, the resurrected Erica must kill all visitors to Maljardin Island- she does get help from Jean Paul when he is possessed by Jacques. The visitors to the island include: Dr. Alison Carr- Erica's sister, Dan Forest-Jean Paul's business associate, Tim Stanton- a struggling young artist, Holly Marshall- an attractive young socialite, Elizabeth Marshall- Holly's mother and Reverend Matt Dawson- a man who fancies Holly, whom despises him. Defeating Erica and Jacques takes its toll- Jean Paul's home on Maljardin Island is burned to the ground.
The second story arc of the series shifts location to Desmond Hall, the place of Jean Paul's birth. Conflict occurs here between Jean Paul and Laslo Thaxton, a man who had been living in Desmond Hall and who wants to take control of the Desmond family fortune. The supernatural is still present in the form of a coven run by Irene Hatter; a romance involving the `ghost' of Jean Paul's brother Philip. Jean Paul is also afflicted with a killing curse which forces him to murder each time a mark appears on his hand and a certain star is shining. This curse is an ancient Desmond family curse and occasionally leaves Jean Paul for other members of his family. Learning the origin of the curse and getting it permanently removed from his family are Jean Paul's major goals during the series' second part.
Strange Paradise was partly video taped on location in and around Casa Loma. Casa Loma is a tourist attraction in Toronto which was built between 1911 and 1914 on a 225 acre estate. This castle-like building served as the Desmond family home on Maljardin Island.
Show Description Credit: webwasteland.com
|> Airing History & Information|
|Last Airing||Jul 22, 1970|
|Premiere||October 20, 1969|
|Format/Time||Color / 30 Minutes|
|Upcoming Airs||Not currently airing|
Ada Desmond Thaxton (#1)
Vivian Reis.... Agatha Pruitt (1970)
Dawn Greenhalgh.... Alison Carr (1969)
Jon Granik.... Dan Forrest (1969)
Paisley Maxwell.... Elizabeth Marshall (1969)
Lucy Warner.... Emily Blair
Tudi Wiggins.... Erica Desmond (1969, 1970)/Helena Raleigh (1970)
Sylvia Feigel.... Holly Marshall
Patricia Collins.... Huaco
Pat Moffat.... Irene Hatter
Colin Fox.... Jean-Paul Desmond/Jacques Eloi Des Mondes
Robert Goodier.... Julien Desmond (1970)
Jack Creley.... Laslo Thaxton
Dan MacDonald.... Matt Dawson (1969)
Neil Dainard.... Philip Desmond (1970)
Kurt Schiegl.... Quito
Cosette Lee.... Raxl
Trudy Young.... Susanne O'Clair (1970)
Bruce Gray.... Tim Stanton (1969)
Marion Morgan.... Vocalist (1950-1951)
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