Count Petofi

Count Petofi

Count Petofi is the name of a fictional character featured in the 1966–1971 ABC cult TV Gothic horror-soap opera "Dark Shadows". Count Petofi was an extremely powerful warlock who appeared in the 1897 storyline. He was primarily portrayed by Thayer David. [ [ Thayer David page at] ] However, due to Petofi's body swapping and possession abilities, he was portrayed by others. From episode 802 through episode 814, Count Petofi possessed young Jamison Collins, and was portrayed by David Henesy. From episode 856, when Petofi body swapped with Quentin Collins, until episode 875, when Quentin reversed the spell, he was portrayed by David Selby.

Character's background

Count Petofi claimed to be a wealthy Hungarian Aristocrat. He was an over-weight, grey curly-haired elderly man, with very poor eyesight. Most of his magical powers were centered in his right hand, which was called the Hand of Count Petofi by the gypsies. The hand, which could not be destroyed, had been taken from him in 1797 by gypsies, as payment for lifting a Werewolf curse. At the time of his first appearance in Collinsport, Maine, in 1897, he was 150 years old. [ [ Dark Shadows episode 793] ]

Petofi was a very classy and sophisticated gentleman who loved the arts, classical music, and owning beautiful things. He hated the sight of violence. However, he was also selfish, and obsessed with never dying; and so he was cruel to anyone who interfered with his goals or whom he viewed as an enemy. To handle any needed violence, the Count employed a young escaped prisoner named Aristede (Michael Stroka). Aristede served as bodyguard and hitman, doing anything Petofi asked, which included killing to protect his master. Petofi's relationship with Aristede would eventually lead to his own demise.

The Count arrived at Collinwood, using the alias Count Victor Fenn-Gibbon. [ [ Dark Shadows episode 793] ] In episode 801, his true identity as Count Andreas Petofi was revealed. In episode 802, he began his scheme to get back his hand by possessing young Jamison Collins. [ [ Dark Shadows episodes 802 & 803] ] After he caused much trouble for the inhabitants of Collinwood, Barnabas Collins and Quentin were forced to give Petofi back his hand, in order to save Jamison Collins life. [ [ Dark Shadows episode 814] ]

The Count gave magical painting powers to the artist Charles Delaware Tate. While still possessing Jamison Collins, he commissioned Tate to paint a portrait of Quentin Collins. [ [ Dark Shadows episode 806] ] Once finished, the portrait magically changed into the Werewolf on the nights of a full moon, instead of Quentin himself, and had the unexpected side effect of virtual immortality. [ [ Dark Shadows episode 832] ]

Among Petofi's greatest enemies were the gypsies, who claimed his all-powerful hand as a Gypsy artifact. After retrieving the hand, Petofi nearly met his end at the hands of King Johnny Romani, leader of the gypsy clan that had previously taken Petofi's hand. Romani captured Petofi and nearly slew him until Aristede saved Petofi's life, killing Romani in the process.

Petofi's fear of gypsies led to him concocting an elaborate scheme to escape their vengeance by time traveling to the year 1969. Petofi discovered time travel was possible after encountering Barnabas Collins (who had traveled back from 1969 in an attempt to save the life of David Collins). Petofi devised a scheme where he would travel to the future and switch bodies with Quentin Collins (who was rendered immortal by the magical painting Petofi had Charles Delaware Tate paint).

Using the vast powers at his disposal, Petofi was able to switch bodies with Quentin Collins. Petofi maintained his power despite being in another body and he attempted to reach 1969 in Quentin's body. When Petofi's assistant aborted the mission, Petofi discovered that his magical energy had somehow transferred back to his old body. At that point, Quentin Collins (still in Petofi's body) was able to switch places with Petofi. Petofi tried again to switch bodies but this time, Quentin Collins was able to flee Collinsport, thwarting Petofi's scheme.

When his first scheme failed, he tried and failed yet again to body swap with Barnabas Collins, whom he realized also existed in the future. Petofi captured Barnabas after taking Charity Trask hostage in the studio of Charles Delaware Tate. Just when Petofi's plan to travel to the future seemed unstoppable, a phantom jailer (who was hunting Aristede) arrived and took Petofi captive. The jailer passed sentence on Petofi and torched Tate's home. Barnabas and Charity fled the home as Petofi was sentenced and returned to find the studio burnt to the ground and no evidence of Petofi left except his spectacles. With Petofi apparently destroyed, Barnabas turned his attention elsewhere.

According to Petofi, he had once owned a pet Unicorn. But the Count had tragically killed it on the night of a full moon, before curing himself of the Werewolf curse.

Powers & abilities

* Before being cured by gypsies in 1797, he was a cursed Werewolf. Werewolf physiology caused him to transform into a berserk, wolf creature during the night before, night of, and night after a full moon. In werewolf form he had no memory of his actions, only acting on primal animal instincts; and possessed accelerated healing from any injury or wound, except for wounds caused by silver weapons or bullets.
* Powerful warlock, with knowledge of witchcraft and sorcery, adept at body swaps and cursing.
* Most of magical powers were centered in right hand, which was called the Hand of Count Petofi. With the hand, he possessed vast paranormal powers, the limits of which are unknown, but included astral projection, body swapping, clairvoyance, healing fatal wounds, hypnosis, mind control, possession, telepathy, & teleportation.
* The Hand of Petofi could regenerate from being destroyed and burned; fly or teleport; cure someone of a curse; heal a person near death; deform or restore someone's face; help someone win a fortune gambling; temporarily paralyze or blind a person by touching them; control a werewolf; remove magical powers from a witch or vampire; grant paranormal powers to others, such as giving visions of the future to a person; gifting an artist with the ability to bring anything he paints to life; have a painting trap a curse or even render a person immortal.


"Count Petofi appeared in the following episodes of Dark Shadows"
793 794 798 800 801 802 803 806 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 823 825 826 827 828 831 832 834 838 840 841 842 843 844 847 848 849 851 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 861 862 863 865 871 873 874 875 876 877 878 881 882 883

External links

* [ Count Petofi article at CollinWiki]
* [ Quentin Collins (1897 version) article at CollinWiki]
* [ Thayer David article at]
* [ Thayer David biography page at IMDB]
* [ - Thayer David]


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