Wednesday, May 29, 2024

RIP Malcolm Marmorstein, 92, Wrote the Disney Hit, “Pete’s Dragon,” Created Vampire Barnabas Collins for “Dark Shadows,” Wrote Nighttime Soap “Peyton Place”


Writers get no love in the Hollywood obits, especially if they’ve outlived everyone who knew them.

So we’re toasting Malcolm Marmorstein this morning. He wrote the big Disney hit, “Pete’s Dragon,” in 1977, which was revived a couple of years ago in a live action version that was also a hit.

In the 1960s, Marmorstein was head writer for “The Doctors” on NBC, then went to Hollywood. There he took over the nighttime series “Peyton Place,” which starred Mia Farrow and Ryan O’Neal among others. Audiences were addicted to the twice a week program as they are now with shows like “The Walking Dead” or “The Undoing.”

Fans of the cult soap “Dark Shadows” will appreciate that Malcolm wrote 80 episodes of that gothic series about time traveling vampires, in 1967. This show actually aired on ABC every afternoon at 4pm to a devoted following. David Selby and Jonathan Frid were among the stars. Marmorstein created Frid’s character of Barnabas Collins, who was like a rock star back when there were just a few channels. He no doubt saved the show from cancellation.

Here’s Malcolm’s obit. Rest in peace, sir. And avoid the vampires!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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