For work I use a Mac Book Pro plugged into a second monitor.
Something had gotten messed up when not plugged into my ACD, eventually almost all the time when opening the lid the laptop display would not wake-up. I could hear the finder working/beeping/the hard drive spinning but nothing would get the screen back from black.
This had led to some forced restarts which is never a good thing.
It hadn’t seemed to be happening at work. The clue came when I was at home where I have a DVI to VGA adaptor for sending movies to my TV as a second output.
The screen had gone black again on wake; this time I happened to try plugging in the DVI adaptor to see if there was any video signal and voila; my desktop popped up on my TV. I unplugged the DVI connector and my laptop screen came back on just fine. (seems obvious after the fact)
I searched around and found someone who had seen this, and discovered a potential solution.
“I’ve had this problem too; when I first got my new MacBook Pro it worked fine. Then recently, this problem began to crop up, especially after I had connected an external monitor, put the machine to sleep and restarted — the MacBook Pro screen came up black (sometimes just showing the cursor, sometimes not).
The following seems to have cured the problem for me (at present!). Quit all running applications. Go to /System/Library and find Extensions.mkext. Delete it (password needed). Restart.
I’d like to know if this works for other people.” — http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=6854528
I followed through with his recommendation. My mac took a couple extra minutes to boot up the next time; checking the /System/Library/Extensions.mkext file — it was newly created and seemed to be the same size (10.1 meg).
Seems to have solved my problem for now. I’m almost positive this is something that will be addresses in a 10.5.x to come.