Josette's music box was a small, ornately crafted French music box given to Josette DuPres by her lover, Barnabas Collins. Josette had little time to enjoy it however, as she committed suicide soon after receiving the gift (425). The music box has a strange effect on both Maggie Evans and Victoria Winters, entrancing both women. Just how this happens is unknown, but either Josette's spirit still lingers in the box or Barnabas' own vampiric powers enhance the effect for his 'intended' (Barnabas tries to transform first Maggie, then Victoria, into Josette and make her his bride).
The most well known version of Josette's Music Box theme was composed by Dark Shadows composer Robert Cobert. The original piece of music was one created by Canadian music composer, Robert Farnum. It was a stock file found in ABC's library. Dan Curtis disliked having music used that he didn't own, so he asked Cobert to create a new version, the one most well known to Dark Shadows fans. This piece of music was used between late 1967 and late 1970 on the show. It also appeared in the MGM feature film, House of Dark Shadows.
Also known as Josette's theme, variations of the piece have been featured on the Original Music From Dark Shadows (Deluxe Edition), the Dark Shadows 30th Anniversary Collection and the House of Dark Shadows / Night of Dark Shadows Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
The music was used in an episode of "Ryan's Hope" toward the end of 1975. Crime boss Nick Szabo gave a music box to Delia Reid Ryan, wife of city councilman Frank Ryan, whom Nick had been trying to control.
A tune which sounds very like Josette's Music Box theme is heard on the episode "Dance of the Dead" in the British series The Prisoner.
The music box first appears in episode 236, where Barnabas presents it to Maggie in Josette's room in The Old House, right after Maggie disappears from the hospital. Barnabas tells Maggie he brought it back from the Orient to give to Josette. This is not the first website I've read that said the music box came from France, though I know not what source started such a rumour. Nonetheless, the original show cites the Orient as the source of the music box. Barnabas Collins, having just told Maggie that she is to marry him (as Josette):
"What, are those tears? Oh please, no tears. There mustn't be any tears ever. You're going to be happy here. Wait, I have something else for you. I brought this with me back from the Orient. This gift. And I intended to give it to you on a very special day, and that day has come. And this has crossed the seas as I have crossed the centuries, all for your sake. Listen. Do you hear it? This is your music. Listen to it. The past will fade away to nothing, not even a memory. Listen, and you will forget what you have been, and yearn only for what you are now. Listen. All fears, all loneliness, all unhappiness will disappear forever. Listen. Listen."