I have the chance to buy what is supposedly the entire Dark Shadows collection on VHS. There are 254 tapes, does that sound about right? So many various "collections"came out before things were put on DVD chronologically, was the series ever done in a chronological order on VHS?
When the series was first released on VHS starting in 1989, they started with the beginning of Barnabas. MPI believed that since the Nielsen ratings went off the moon when Jonathan Frid joined the cast, they would sell a lot better. This is also the reason why the local stations in 1975 started there too whereas Syfy aka SciFi would start at the beginning when they launched in 1992. However, on the first 8 tapes released, they only showed the scenes Jonathan Frid appeared in from episode number 210 (which really wasn't his hand coming out of the coffin in the tag and then replayed as the teaser the next day in 211) through 270. Therefor any episodes that he did not appear at all on of these 60 episodes were not included on these 8 tapes. Starting in episode 271 which was the first episode released on the 9th tape, they released them complete at 5 episodes a tape until tape 200 where they only released 4. After releasing these tapes and some standalone special tapes (some with duplicate episodes) they released a second set of tapes they called The Collector's Series. This set included 5 complete episodes per tape starting with Episode 1. When they reached CS tape 42, the first episode on it was ABC number 209 (where Willie goes grave robbing for the first time in the tag), so after that they began to release complete copies of 210 through 270 (the ones previously edited above) which took them to the beginning of CS tape 54. Since when that tape was made, they only had 2 episodes left to do, they filled in the time with 3 episodes previously released but with their original commercials included. Basically if you wanted a "complete uncut" (well sorta) copy of the series, back then, you could have forgone buying regular tape Volumes 1 through 8, got 9 through 200 and then all 54 Collector series volumes. The DVDs make it easier, but before the mega set, they released them in similar fashion WITH THE EXCEPTION, that the copies of episodes 210 through 250 on Red Set 1 and 251 through 270 on the first 2 discs of Red Set 2, (or if you will, all 6 discs in the fifth case of the mega set), were released complete and not edited like the first 8 tapes. However, the summary of episodes 1 through 209 which also appeared on original Tape 1 is included on Red Set 1 disc 1 (Coffin set disc 25) before the copy of episode 210