Estimated reading time — 14 minutes
Occurring to the fact that most kiddie shows have turned up dead ends, one show, Candle Cove, has made an impact here. I made myself hunt down whatever cast remained of the show, regardless of their fear. I wanted to know EVERYTHING about this show. But in the process, I came to understand that there hid something much darker aboard it than just what I was told and what I had heard. I have posted some of my thoughts into the page at points, to have a feel for the interviewees here. I note that those being interviewed are indicated by the quotation marks around them. You may notice that a censor will appear. I did that so no one may want to bombard me with questions and such. It’s a privacy thing and I’m sorry if I offended the readers. With that, I present to you this page in the lore…
CANDLE COVE EXPERIENCES: TALES OF THE LAUGHINGSTOCK (DAY 1)
My first knowing of the CANDLE COVE lore came out on the NetNostalgia Forum back some time, however many of the episodes have never been found and many of the props are either long gone or spread out over the world, however after this mention of the show, I had to dig further into it.
What I discovered over my round trip was something dark residing within the studios itself…
The show, originally called “Pirate Place” was loosely based on an old, quite lost short story called “The Nickerbocker’s Tale” from 1767 about a little Irish boy arriving to a land of pirates to find his way back home. The story’s writer, a man believed to be named Collin Caulkry, vanished into the dark. Stories about it say that he was a madman who married well and had a daughter who vanished without a trace near his home. This inspired him to write the story and shortly after, he was found dead by his wife.
The story was lost for several years until in 1970, when a local TV station in Ashland found the rights to the story and converted it into a children’s series. I managed to find some of the studios workers but none of them were able to tell me about it…Well, there was one…
Asking this woman to nearly relive her nightmare of 1971 was nearly impossible. But thankfully she decided to, reluctantly anyways…
“Ok Ms…” “I’m not comfortable giving my last name OR my first.” Okay then, mind if I call you ‘Jane’?” “No, I don’t.” “Okay then. Well Jane, I understand you had a part in the kiddie show ‘Candle Cove’ correct?” “Set designer, well part of it. I helped in the construction of The Laughingstock and many of the characters as well.” “I see, was it a good experience?” “Oh very. It was a great one, until towards the end of the show itself.” “How so?” “Well that damn Grimes, that’s what it was.” Grimes? Emerson Grimes, the show’s director? “Is there another Grimes you know on the series?”
Here she lit a cigarette, something that from her appearance and fear of Grimes fortold, I actually expected from her.
“Well how did he manage to scare you?” “How did he…HE WAS A NUTJOB! A LOONEY! He forced a five year old girl (Jodie Silver) to near heatstroke, changed scripts. Everything was fine until the show grew darker and darker.” How dark was it getting?
Now this I kind of knew about, the infamous question to the Skin-Taker and his answer to Janice.
“When a skeleton named the Skin Taker proclaims that the reason for his mouth to move weird is for grinding your skin, you will have some problems. Grimes was insane. But the last straw was the LAST episode of the series.”
I knew about this and moved onto her designs of the show. She explained that it was a damned kiddie show that turned into a “puppet show from hell” overnight. She wanted to end the conversation but not before I asked about any surviving members or crew…
“There are a few of them still around but you’ll have to find them on your own…”
I did however manage to find Jodie Silver, who played Janice on the show, now an adult of 45. She resides with her husband, Damon Louis and her two kids. If you see her now, she has lost all of that childhood spunk that she had on the show. She works as a writer of Pirate stories and haunted mysteries. I managed to record, on tape, an interview with her…
“Um, are you Ms. Jodie Silver?” “Why I haven’t been called that in years. Yes, I am Jodie Silver, but people call me Jodie Louis nowadays.” Oh, I’m sorry about the mixup, I’m (censored) and I am writing a book on an old kiddie show you used to be on.” “Jesus Christ. Please tell me you are joking!”
It was here that I noticed she seemed agitated at the sound of a book being written on something she was trying so hard to put behind her.
“It’s no joke Mrs. Louis.” “Well I won’t warn you that you are a total nutcase for doing it. That show has given me bad dreams, ruined my childhood and I have even had therapy because of it. I don’t wish to speak about…” “Please Jodie, just one interview, that’s all I’m asking for. Just one. Hell, if you have to go through therapy again for it, I’ll personally pay out of pocket.”
It was here she stood long and hard.
“Christ! Fine fine, meet me here for an interview.”
With that, she handed me a card with her address on it. I promised she wouldn’t regret this, but I had a feeling that she already was…
“Hello there Mrs. Louis.” “Well, hi there. Come on in.”
Her house wasn’t big, but not small either. I could tell she had little ones running about from the sounds of kiddie shows floating faintly from the television set and many toys scattered about. It was like trying to walk through a forest of mousetraps without setting one off. Eventually we got to the small dining area of the home, with a good outlook over the water. A place to dream dreams.
Okay, now about the show. “Well (censored) it started out as a dream come true. I was a huge fan of shows like Jumbo’s Circus, Sunshine City and Fisherman Fred, and I really wanted to be on a kiddie show. I got my wish when I heard the studio was looking for a young girl to play the role of ‘Janice’ for their new show. And sure there were many little girls who wanted the role so badly, so i did my best to win the studio over, which happened. I loved the idea of the show. I did my very best to do everything right. Turned out you should be careful of what you wish for.” Why is that now? “I really don’t want to tell you but I must…You see, on set, some changes started happening. Grimes would change scripts, things seemed to be a bit scary. And for the first episode to seem so mean and such was odd for a kid’s show. And then that horrible last episode…” “What episode, the last episode of the first season?” “Wow (censored), you REALLY need to brush up on your history of this. There were two seasons of the show. The final episode of the second season was the worst ever.”
I tenatively and carefully asked her to tell me…
“Screams! Just screams. Everyone screaming and that sick man Grimes destroying the sets. He told everyone to just scream, and loudly; many did. It got to the point where one of the actors, the man who played the Skin Taker (referring to Michael Colon) started to bleed. He nearly choked on his own blood. I bawled my eyes out.”
It was there she started to cry, all of these memories coming back to her. She asked me to stop and I did. I explained I was sorry to bring back these memories. I never meant that as my intention.
“I remember the Skin Taker. He hung, his head tilted and low, his jaw hanging from one socket and parts of his arms torn off…”
I left to go find Michael Colon when I came across a yard sale (I know Creepypasta-ish right?). I asked them about some old recorded tapes I saw and they said they were mostly shows for their son when he was young. I noticed that some of them were from Candle Cove. Although they were very smudged and probably in horrible condition, I bought the videos from them anyway.
(Now its probably here where you would expect me to say that I popped in the tape and evil shit happened, blah blah blah yadda yadda Satan appeared threatening to rape my soul and Pirate Percy came at me in a dream as a cannibalistic demon. Something like a Creepypasta-ish event, right? That’s not the case, folks.)
I popped it in and sure enough, static. But eventually it came on. Sure it was jumpy and it was a static juncture but eh, it was the show nonetheless. It was an odd first show, being that Janice was made fun of so horribly and that Percy would proclaim for her to not kill him. And the thought of kidnapping on the show was an odd tidbit to be in there. But I had to continue, sadly I didn’t make it past Episode 2.
There was a gap due to a break for a while. I pursued my interest in finding any contact with crew members or cast member aside from ‘Jane’ and Jodie. I managed to find a Mr. Walter Shay, who was a stagehand on the show. I managed to write this letter:
Dear Mr. Shay, My name is (censored), and I am writing a book entitled Candle Cove Experiences: Tales of the Laughingstock. I am interviewing whatever remaining crew and cast there are from the show. I was wondering if we could arrange a possible meeting with one another, or an actual interview. Of course, if that is alright with you? I can be contacted at the Nohoma Motel address (censored) thank you for your time.
I received a letter some time later…
You may be the dumbest person I have ever met. Why in the hell would you dare to bring up such a subject that has haunted me and everyone else on that show. Do you know the absolute tragedy that has accumulated from that? But it’s also a way to get things off of my chest from it. I will meet you for an interview, but what I say about that show is the 100% truth, eyewitness. You must not judge what I will say. If you do, I’ll make sure that your journey will end with me. Enclosed is a card for where to meet me and at what time. I am not a snobbish man, but I won’t do this again.
I met with Walter Shay later on within the week, having to time it right. I left after Day 10 for Tulsa. It took some time to watch the other episodes but I managed. They did seem darker, as ‘Jane’ had stated before. Some of them are getting hard to watch, but i have to keep watching. The infamous ‘To Grind Your Skin’ episode came on. That was the worst, its one thing with a shitty motel tv that makes EVERY program like watching something from the 70’s, its another when the damn tape keeps jumping and staticing out every two minutes. I felt like those people trying to watch porn on their old boxes, if you know what I mean. The scramblers.
Anyhow I got to meet him where he wanted. He came in on a wheelchair, explaining how he was paralyzed…
“Okay. Now Mr. Shay, you said you had information?” “Yeah. That whole damn show is a curse.” “What do you mean by that?” “You only could dream of what I mean. It’s exactly how i said it. That show is a curse.” “I don’t understand. Really, I don’t.” “I broke my leg on that show when a damn ladder fell off and smashed on my leg after I fell. I felt something when that hit, like something pushed that ladder down. Then the episodes got darker. There were two episodes that never aired in Season 2. Those two were the worst of the worst.” What happened? “That Grimes in one episode has Janice, implied of course, to be cannibalized by The Skin Taker in a dream. Another one was to reveal that Nathan had been kidnapped and turned into part of a cape for that bastard. Hell, Grimes wanted to fucking have Janice killed and skinned alive. ON CAMERA! The end of the series was to have continued with Melrose winding up in the world looking for Janice. Me and the cast had to make sure that never happened so we shot those ideas down every time. This pissed him off, I think thats why he did that final episode, you know. The ‘Screaming’ Episode.” “You mean he wanted to show a little girl being skinned alive?” “Yes. and that fucker is a monster too. He didn’t vanish, I will tell you something I have never told anyone.” “Go on…” “After we finished filming that episode, I went back to get something of mine. I saw Grimes pleading to the set pieces, as if they were all alive. He was pleading that he did his job right, he made sure. He started ripping his hair and teeth out. Screaming, trying to get whatever it was away from killing him. He fell backwards and hung himself on a cord. The sound of his neck snapping. God, it still haunts me.” “They said that he just vanished. You’re stating he lost it and accidentally killed himself?” “Yes!”
Now I knew something horrible did happen. It was freaking me out and now I wanted to stop, but I had to know what happened to Grimes.
“They never found the body. I got rid of it. I couldn’t let them think that he had just wanted to make things happen to himself, I had to do something, out of the decency of my being at least.” “What did you do?” “I buried him. I took his old lanky body out to the woods behind the studio and I buried him. I told myself there was nothing to fear but fear itself. But there was something there. I walked back through the studio and i felt something eerie present in the Skin-Taker puppet. Like it was watching me. I got out of there as quick as I could. Some time later, that damned final episode aired and I will never forget what I saw. It was horrible.”
I was afraid of the show now. What was lying ahead of the episodes for me? I had some more stops to go to but I advised myself that if things get too deep, I would stop there and work with what I have….
It has been hard to sleep, I keep having the same nightmare: the Skin-Taker coming at me threatening to grind my skin. It’s hard to wake up to just static because I can hear that fucking theme song in my head every time I do. I gave up a little but I had to keep going. I made a list of people who claimed to have items from the series. Some proved to be idiots who made the items themselves, indications were of the modern look to them. However, there were SOME who did have items. The items I have gotten so far are listed:
One of the Skin Taker’s glass eyes
The arm of Pirate Percy
The Hat (albeit somewhat in tatters) of the Skin Taker
One of the eyes of Horrible Horace
Tooth belonging to The Laughingstock
The most unique item I found, and I swear to you I found this one at a house in Missouri. The original owner was a man named Kyle Bartlett. His daughter, Judith, was nice enough to show me part of a collection he had. He had the original Skin Taker head. Now I thought it was a fake since the jaw was intact, whereas ‘Jane’ had stated that the Jaw was partially torn off. As it turns out, Kyle was one of the crewmen on the show. He loved the Skin-Taker as a villain. When he found that it was so destroyed, he put much time inserting the jaw back in its place. I asked to have it, but she denied that request. I did see that it was missing one eye and its famed hat. I brought these items back and put them inside by myself. The head is now complete but she allowed no photography or video to be made, stating that her father wouldn’t want his favorite to be spoiled. She sounded like a mother to a child.
I had to keep up. My search led me to New York, where one Mr. Michael Colon lived. The very SAME Michael Colon who voiced the Skin Taker on the show, the same Michael Colon whose son, Trevor Colon, was murdered in the Fall of 1981. Meeting him was hard, he wanted nothing to do with this but I had to interview him. Really I did. He refused for some time, until he decided to…
“Hello there Mr. Colon” “Yeah, Hi there.” “Um, I am sorry about this.” “Must not be REALLY sorry to make a man who lost his son TEN years after that goddamn episode had aired talk about this fucking show. The nightmares still haunt me! Every night, I can see that episode playing in my head!” “I’m sorry about your son and the nightmares.”
He took a shot of Jack Daniels and said “Don’t be. Not your fault this happened. My wife left me three years after he passed on. I had a dream the night, the very NIGHT it happened. It was the Skin Taker, holding a knife, chasing him and brutally murdering him. It’s odd that he was in a neighborhood where a local gang known as the ‘Walking Skulls’ just so happen to be in. But they don’t use knives in their crimes. So it was someone else.” “I never knew that. “Never asked me to tell you. And that damn episode screwed my voice up. Which is why I sound so different that how I should.” “I’m sorry to hear that.” “Understand. You see, Grimes wanted the show to be dark; I thought he was nuts. I didn’t want to do the ‘grind your skin’ episode at all since I read that damn script. He threatened to fire me and I couldn’t do that; I had a wife and a kid on the way. I couldn’t lose work like that. So I did it, unfortunately.” “Ah, I see. What happened the night the last episode premiered?”
He sighed. took another shot of the Jack, and told me.
“After that damned episode, I got the hell out of there. I went directly home to get all that I could. I grabbed my wife and my infant son and got the hell out of town. I left that damn place with dignity and got to a nearby township. I had the misfortune to be in the hospital in time for that final fucking episode to air. I had no choice but to watch it. And I regret doing so.” “Oh dear, I’m so sorry to hear that. If you want to, I could leave here. We could finish if you’d like for it to.” “Sounds good. I’m sorry, I just can’t do this. I’m just….Sorry!”
I left him there, crying, actually regretting that I’d left him. I wish I hadn’t…
I was reading a news paper and I skimmed the obituaries. I am unfortunate to say that Mr. Michael Colon committed suicide some time ago. He shot himself in the head. He left a suicide note; the NYPD stated that it was a letter to me. It had my name and address on it.
I’m sorry to announce that by the time you read this, I’ll be gone. It’s not your fault, but the dreams came back hard after the interview. It’s much harder for me to deal with it but last night’s dream was the final straw. The Skin Taker came to me, in that damned hat, stating that my son has a special place. I saw a part of my boy’s face on the upper right side of the hat, looking at me with a glassy kind of stare. A single tear rolled down his face and I heard him screaming in agony. It broke my heart. I can’t take the dreams anymore, I can’t handle it and I want you to understand that you musn’t go on. Jodie told me about your interview with her and she is planning on coming to New York for the funeral. I told her that she should forget about it, but since you came around, it’s been harder for her to forget. I have to cease this. I’m so sorry. Really I am.
Because of this letter, the death of this man, and the nightmares I have trudged up, I am ceasing this project and going home. It’s unfortunate to have to quit this, being that I was far ahead in it, but it is the right thing to do.
My name is (deleted). (censored) was a close friend of mine and he asked for me to post it here. Recently he killed himself, or it was a homicide. I’m not so sure. Police said that he was working on something, but when the interviewed were questioned, they never said a word, because they knew better then to rat him out and trudge up more nightmares for themselves. (censored) was a wonderful man in life, his girlfriend, who is expecting a baby some time within the year, is broken up about this. I am sorry to say that in his message to me, he wrote that he met with one final person after the Michael Colon interview. He stated it was a man named Adrian Grimes, Emerson Grimes’ nephew. He asked for me to put the interview on here. This interview was made via telephone.
(censored): Is this Adrian Grimes?
Adrian Grimes: This is he? May I ask what this is about?
(censored): This is about the show ‘Candle Cove’…
AG: That show.
AG: Look, I don’t know who this is but my uncle has been dead for years. His body was never found and I swear to you that if this is some prank, It’s not funny.
(censored): It’s not a prank at all. I swear.
AG: Look, you want to know about that show? My uncle was a sick man. He told me about it and I watched it. Now I will tell you that every single person that was on that show is in their own place on it. I however want nothing to do with it. I got to see the making of one episode, alright. ONE EPISODE! It never got aired, and I hope it never will either.
(censored): Season two, meaning either episodes 5 or 6…
AG: What the hell are you talking about? No, this happened AFTER the season ended. A new director, can’t remember his name, it was supposed to be the SEASON 3 starter. I was invited to be on the show as a character, and my father took advantage of it. Since then, I hate all of the show because my fucked up uncle was a part of it. Now leave me alone!