Oct 17

Dark Shadows star Jonathan Frid dies

Canadian actor Jonathan Frid shot to fame as the reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins in the campy gothic TV soap Dark Shadows. Frid has died at the age of 87. Canadian actor Jonathan Frid shot to fame as the reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins in the campy gothic TV soap Dark Shadows. Frid has died at the age of 87. (Dan Curtis Productions/Canadian Press)

Jonathan Frid, the Canadian actor best known for playing Barnabas Collins in the 1960s original vampire soap opera Dark Shadows, has died. He was 87.

Frid died last Friday of natural causes in a hospital in his home town of Hamilton, Ont., said Jim Pierson, a friend and spokesman for Dan Curtis Productions, the creator of Dark Shadows.

Frid starred in the 1960s gothic-flavored soap opera about odd, supernatural goings-on at a family estate in Maine.

His death comes just weeks before a Tim Burton-directed version of Dark Shadows is due out next month starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins. Frid has a cameo role in the new movie in which he meets Depp’s character in a party scene with two other original actors from the show.

Pierson said Burton and Depp were fans of Frid, who played a vulnerable vampire in one of the first sympathetic portrayal of the immortal creatures.

Lasting influence

“Twenty million people saw the show at its peak in 1969. Kids ran home from school and housewives watched it. It had a huge pop culture impact,” Pierson said.

‘He had this vampire that was very multidimensional. It really set the trend for all these other things that have been done with vampires over the last 40, 50 years’—Jim Pierson on Jonathan Frid

Pierson said Frid, whose character was added in 1967, saved the show and stayed on until the end of its run in 1971.

He said Frid was never into the fame and fortune and just wanted to be a working actor. He said he loved the drama and finding the flaws and the humanity in his characters.

“That’s why he had this vampire that was very multidimensional. It really set the trend for all these other things that have been done with vampires over the last 40, 50 years,” Pierson said.

“Vampires were not in the vernacular. In 1967, there wasn’t a pop culture of vampire stuff, so here he was in this mainstream network show that aired at 4 P.M. that really took off. And then he did the movie which was also a big hit.”

Frid had been an accomplished stage actor before Dark Shadows made him famous. The show has lived on in reruns.

Stuart Manning, editor of the online Dark Shadows News Page, said Frid brought a new dimension to the role of the vampire by injecting the role with depth and a sense of regret for his immortal existence.

“Now that idea has been taken many times since — Twilight uses it, shows like True Blood, Buffy — which again I think shows the influenceDark Shadows has had,” said Manning, who worked with Frid as a writer on the 2010 Dark Shadows audio drama spinoff, The Night Whispers.

Stage background

The youngest of three sons, Frid served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. After graduating from Hamilton’s McMaster University, he got a degree in directing at the Yale School of Drama and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

Frid starred in various theatre productions with illustrious actors including Katharine Hepburn. But it was his turn in Dark Shadows and its first feature film adaptation, House of Dark Shadows, that made him a commercial success and kept him busy throughout his career with reunions, fan events and dramatic readings.

He lived in New York for several decades before moving back to Canada in the `90s. His other credits include the 1973 TV movie The Devil’s Daughter, co-starring Shelley Winters, and Oliver Stone’s directorial debut, Seizure. He also starred in the Broadway revival and national tour of Arsenic and Old Lace in the `80s.

Pierson said Frid been in declining health in recent months. At Frid’s request, there was no funeral and there will be no memorial.

“He really was kind of a no-fuss guy,” Pierson said.

Frid never married. He is survived by a nephew, Donald Frid.

Oct 17


Monday October 4 at 10 pm ET/PT & Sunday October 10 at 6 pm ET on CBC News Network

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45:26 min


Beyond any face cream, cosmetic surgery or antioxidant pill, an extraordinary secret of renewal lies in the discovery of Australian scientist, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn.

She has won the Gruber Prize and the Lasker Prize, two of the top international awards in medical research and has just recently been announced as the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize.

Professor Elizabeth BlackburnLiz Blackburn discovered that as our cells divide and grow, a telomere – a small DNA cap at the end of each chromosome – protects our precious DNA from damage. She showed that an enzyme, called telomerase, repairs the telomeres and ‘keeps DNA young’.

Her breakthroughs have revolutionised our understanding of the ageing process. Several new telomerase-based drugs have entered Phase II and III clinical trials. And there is a very real race for the ultimate anti-aging pill.

Liz also masterminded new insights into stress and cancer. Current research reveals stressed people have shorter telomeres. Shorter telomeres appear to predispose us to disease and cancer and lead to shorter lives. Yet astonishingly, Liz discovered meditation appears to stall the process.

Ironically, cancer is the true immortal. It has the ability to replicate effectively, endlessly. And cancer cells are overly rich in telomerase. Is the key to cancer’s deadly success the clue to endless life?

Aging, stress and cancer: three of the greatest fears of our times. All interconnected, and profoundly linked to the discovery of one remarkable Australian woman.

Oct 17

Rin Tin Tin: The legacy of Hollywood’s biggest canine star


Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

by Susan Orlean

Buy this book at:

Save on Music, Books and Dvds at Indigo

From Random House of Canada:

“He believed the dog was immortal.

So begins Susan Orlean’s sweeping, powerfully moving account of Rin Tin Tin’s journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker who has been hailed as “a national treasure” by The Washington Post, spent nearly ten years researching and reporting her most captivating book to date: the story of a dog who was born in 1918 and never died.”

Read more at Simon & Schuster.

Oct 17

Cirque du Soleil’s Jackson show debuts in Montreal

The show packed 60 hits into about an hour and a half, starting with the Jackson 5 and ending with Jackson’s last studio album. It did not, however, dare imitate the man himself — no single performer plays the role of Jackson.

“We were very clear on this, and I think the family was too,” said Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil.

Lamarre said he had the blessing of Jackson’s mother to go ahead with the show.

“Many people were interested in doing shows to pay tribute to Michael Jackson,” Lamarre said.

“His mother said Michael has always wanted to do a show with the circus, so if there is a show about Michael, it will be Cirque du Soleil.”

Jamie King wrote and directed the Cirque's Immortal World Tour.Jamie King wrote and directed the Cirque’s Immortal World Tour. Jake Novak/Cirque du Soleil/Associated Press

While a wholehearted tribute, the performance didn’t glaze over Jackson’s eccentricities, with Bubbles the chimpanzee making more than one appearance. It also alluded to a darker side. To the tune of Jackson’s songChildhood, where he laments never having had one, dancers swayed above the entry sign to the now infamous Neverland Ranch while a child looked longingly through a window.

In another tune, Jackson is heard pleading “I need my privacy, get away” as clips of the TV news media play in the background.

The $60-million tour has stops in cities across Canada and the United States, with Ottawa as the next stop on Oct. 7. The Jackson estate authorized and took part in the project.

Before the show, more than 100 fans waited in the rain for a glimpse of the famous family on the red carpet. One group of women wore single white gloves and black leather jackets in homage to Jackson.

“I’ve been a fan since I first saw him on TV in 1969 when I was nine,” said Montrealer Shirley Elvis.

“When I first heard this show was coming, I think everyone was in a really dark place and when we heard that they were going to do this it was like another gift from Michael from beyond.”

A new album tied to the show, and titled simply Immortal, is set for release in November.

An image from the Cirque du Soleil's new Michael Jackson show, The Immortal World Tour, which debuted in Montreal on Sunday.An image from the Cirque du Soleil’s new Michael Jackson show, The Immortal World Tour, which debuted in Montreal on Sunday. Cirque du Soleil

Oct 17

The Ottawa Immortals

As you can see in this trailer, there is a whole lot of fighting in the new mythological 3D epic Immortals.

And let’s face it, to do all that fighting, the gods might search everywhere to find the men mighty enough for the job. And they found them… in Ottawa.Yup, in the multimillion dollar Hollywood film, if you look carefullyyou will see no less than 6 Ottawa actors, but you won’t have to look too closely to see Ottawa’s own Alain Moussi — he’s the stunt double of Henry Cavill, who has the lead role of Theseus. Alain is in L.A., where on Monday night they had the big launch party, and his friends Andre Givogue and Dennis Lafond joined us in studio, where they told us about their own roles in the film.

Oct 17

It’s news, but is it true?

There’s no such thing as a slow news day on the health beat. Even if there are no killer viruses on the loose, and no deadly bacteria spreading in the food chain, there is always “a new study” to report.

Every day we check science news sites, like this one, that give reporters advance notice about studies about to be published. It’s not unusual to see up to a hundred studies stacked like planes over an airport, each one hoping to land in the headlines, sometime over the next few days.

Research about chocolate and coffee tend to get in the news no matter what the finding.Research about chocolate and coffee tend to get in the news no matter what the finding.(iStock)

Experience tells me that if a study is about chocolate, coffee or red wine, it has an excellent chance of getting in the news no matter what the finding. It’s the same for studies in high profile journals, such as Nature, Science, Lancet, and certain conditions like breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, obesity, and autism. And if the study claims to have made a novel, ‘first ever’ discovery, then it will probably be in the news.

But what if a study found that most studies end up being wrong? Would that study make the news? Well, it happened. A paper with the startling title: “Why Most Biomedical Findings Echoed by Newspapers Turn Out to be False” was published a few weeks ago by a French research group. And no, that study did not make it into the headlines.

The researchers, lead by neurobiologist François Gonon, examined the way newspapers reported on a number of high profile studies on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They asked the question: do scientific claims reported in the media end up being proven true over time? Their answer: in most cases, no. Then they asked: do the media go back and set the record straight? No again.

In other words, we, in the media, make a big deal over a new research finding, but when it turns out to be less exciting, or even wrong after future research, we don’t tend to report that. ‘Never mind’ doesn’t usually make it into the news.

Oct 09

Immortal or Virtualization?

Virtualization is a great advancement to datacenters, consolidating operating systems onto a smaller number of physical boxes and providing the foundation for services such as the private cloud. However, the consolidation onto a fewer number of physical boxes can magnify the effect of a single hardware failure.

This session will look at how virtualization features can increase availability and how the virtualization technologies work. We’ll cover high availability for virtual machine workloads and provide guidance for when you should use the various technologies.

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  • every year, when the licensee has held the licence less than three years from the date of issuance;
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  • every three years, when the licensee has held the licence for nine years from the date of issuance or more.


Oct 01


In the distant future, Earth is occupied by ancient gods and genetically altered humans. When a god is sentenced to death he seeks a new human host and a woman to bear his child.

The Immortal Story was entered into the 18th Berlin International Film Festival in June 1968.[5] The film had its U.S. premiere at the 1968 New York Film Festival. In February 1969, it had its U.S. theatrical release on a double feature bill with Luis Buñuel‘s Simon of the Desert.[6]

To date, The Immortal Story has never had an official home video or DVD release in the U.S., although it has been released in European home entertainment markets.[2]

In September 2010 Madman Entertainment will release both the English language and shorter French language versions of the film on a single Region 4 DVD.

The film has been recently aired on the Turner Classic Movies cable television network. The film is now available to view on Hulu under the hulu plus catgory.[7]