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Finding Aid for the Dan Curtis Productions Records, 1963-2005
PASC 1  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Dan Curtis Productions Records
    Date (inclusive): 1963-2005
    Collection number: PASC 1
    Creator: Dan Curtis Productions
    Extent: 154 boxes (61 linear ft.)
    Abstract: The Dan Curtis Productions Records span the years 1963-2005. Dan Curtis predominantly produced television series, made for television movies, television episodes, and television miniseries. While Curtis produced many acclaimed productions, he is most known for his 1960's gothic soap opera Dark Shadows and the massive television miniseries Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Curtis also produced four motion picture projects including the horror film Burnt Offerings, Me and the Kid, as well as two films based on Dark Shadows. Series include television projects, motion picture projects, unproduced projects, and business records. Subseries are arranged alphabetically by project title and include scripts, production materials, and audio reels.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. UCLA Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Audio materials in this collection are restricted and require advance notice for use.
    Portions of the Business Records series in this collection are restricted and require advance notice for use.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Dan Curtis.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Dan Curtis Productions Records (Collection PASC 1). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


    Daniel Cherkoss (later changed to Curtis) was born in ca. 1927 in Bridgeport, CT, and was educated at Syracuse University. He began his career in television in 1950 as a salesman for syndicated shows. He had a passion for golf and in the early 1960s created Challenge Golf with Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. He was also executive producer for The CBS Golf Classic, which first aired in 1963 and ran for a decade. He followed this success with the creation of the gothic daytime soap opera Dark Shadows, which first aired in 1966. The show suffered poor ratings until, in 1967, the vampire Barnabus Collins was introduced. Despite the massive following of loyal fans, the show was canceled in 1971 with a total of 1,225 episodes. The program went into syndication almost immediately and has continued to maintain a loyal fan base. Curtis produced two Dark Shadows feature films released by MGM: House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971).
    Curtis produced and/or directed numerous television productions during his 40-plus year career. Among his credits are projects for ABC Wide World Specials and ABC Wide World of Mystery (under the umbrella ABC Wide World of Entertainment) including Frankenstein (1973), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1973), and The Turn of the Screw (1974). His made-for-television movie credits include The Night Stalker (1972), The Night Strangler (1973) and Trilogy of Terror I (1975) and II (1996) which introduced the iconic "Zuni Doll." In 1978, Curtis produced the semi-autobiographical When Every Day Was the Fourth of July which was based on his childhood in Bridgeport Maine in the 1930s. He followed up this project with another semi-autobiographical sequel, The Long Days of Summer (1980). Curtis was the first executive producer of the ill-fated television anthology series, Supertrain (1979), which was one of the most expensive television series ever made.
    The largest of all of Dan Curtis Productions' projects were the ABC miniseries Winds of War and War and Remembrance, both adapted from Herman Wouk's bestseller novels. Winds of War, a seven part miniseries, aired in February of 1983. The miniseries focused on fictional characters interwoven with historical events between the years 1939-1941, culminating in the attack on Pearl Harbor. It cost 40 million dollars to produce, was filmed in 267 locations in six countries, and boasted a viewership of 140 million. War and Remembrance, a twelve part miniseries, aired in both November 1988 and May 1989. It continued with the time period 1941-1945, including both the Battle of Midway as well as the Holocaust. It featured 1,020 sets, was filmed in more than 10 countries including Auschwitz Poland, and had a final budget of 140 million dollars. It was the longest mini-series ever made for network television, winning Curtis an Emmy Award for the production.
    Curtis went back to his roots and produced a Dark Shadows revival series that aired in 1991. Dan Curtis Productions produced 12 episodes of this new Dark Shadows series before it was canceled. Fromm 1999 to 2005, Curtis produced several more television projects and one motion picture project, Me and the Kid (1993). His final project as both producer and director was the May 2005 Showtime production Our Fathers, which dealt with the scandals of the Catholic Church. Dan Curtis died of cancer on March 28, 2006, in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 78.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of production records related to the career of prolific television producer and director Dan Curtis and his production company, Dan Curtis Productions. Included are scripts, production information, press clippings, photographs, audio reels, business records, and other documents pertaining to assorted produced and unproduced television and motion picture projects. Television projects documented include the television miniseries Winds of War and War and Remembrance, made for television movies Trilogy of Terror, When Every Day Was the Fourth of July, The Long Days of Summer, and the gothic daytime television soap opera Dark Shadows, among other, numerous projects. The motion picture files document the projects Burnt Offerings, Me and the Kid, House of Dark Shadows, and Night of Dark Shadows. There are a number of unproduced projects documented which may include scripts, notes, research for possible projects, and development files from Dan Curtis Productions. The bulk of the business records include materials which document the internal business operations Dan Curtis Productions from 1977-1983 and include financial records, employee information, and what appears to be sensitive personal material.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1. Television Projects
    • Series 2. Motion Picture Projects
    • Series 3. Unproduced Projects
    • Series 4. Dan Curtis Productions Business Records

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Curtis, Dan, 1927-2006--Archives
    Dan Curtis Productions--Archives
    Television producers and directors--Archival resources
    Soap operas--Archival resources
    Dark shadows (Television program : 1966-1971) War and remembrance (Television program)

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Television scripts
    Set design drawings

    Related Material

    ABC Circle Films Production Records for the Mini-series War and Remembrance (Collection 103). Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, UCLA.