Scene Thru The Eye Of A Lens

This Is a Thriller: Site for vintage horror & nuggets series collectors.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

THRILLER episode guide + reviews

Boris Karloff's THRILLER

THRILLER guide + capsule reviews

67 -1 hour long eps.

Originally broadcast: September 13, 1960 to April 30,
1962 - NBC/Revue (Universal)

Executive Producer: Hubbel Robinson

Producers: Fletcher Markle (the earliest shows); William
Frye and Maxwell Shane (later shows).

Associate Producer: Douglas Benton (Weird Tales consultant)

Story Consultant: James P. Cavanagh

Music: Pete Rugolo, Jerry Goldsmith, Morton Stevens

Host: Boris Karloff

Thriller compares favorably to its contemporaries Alfred
Hitchcock Presents, Way Out, Great Ghost Tales, One Step Beyond and Twilight
Zone. These anthologies are no less than the direct successors to the great
live drama anthologies of TV's golden age such as Kraft Theater and Playhouse
Many of the episodes from all four series were directed by luminaries
such as John Newland, Douglas Heyes and John Brahm. Weird Tales, America's
longest running pulp sci-fi/terror magazine, was used eighteen times as
source material for the teleplays. Stephen King has referred to Thriller
as the best horror series ever aired.

THRILLER Episode Reviews - rated 1 (unremarkable) up to 4 (incredible) asterisks

First Season:

The Twisted Image

THRILLER pilot - the 1st episode.

Boris Karloff begins as host. Starring Leslie Nielsen and George Grizzard.
A pair of pathological temps seek permanent positions. George Grizzard is excellent as the mail clerk with delusions of grandeur. Leslie Nielsen gives a fine prformance as the manager who suddenly finds his button down life inexplicably shattered.
The crack'd mirror seen at the denoument symbolizes Grizzard's split personality.
It also reiterates the jagged lines of Thriller's logo (designed
by Jerome Gould) - a motif which reflects the criss-crossing of genre nature of the series. Mirrors are in a fair number of gothic Thrillers, as seen in The Cheaters, The Hungry Glass, Prisoner In The Mirror,
Last Of The Sommervilles, La Strega, and A Wig For Miss Devore. **

Worse Than Murder

An embittered widow seeks revenge on her mother in-law.
A gutsy, hard-boiled performance from Constance Ford. Cleveland Amory panned
this segment as being "worse than murder" in his TV guide column.
Hubbel Robinson had said that the writers' strike was the main reason the
early scripts weren't living up to the name of the series. Therefore, only
those requiring a complete Thriller collection need Mark Of The
Hand, Rose's Last Summer (the best of these 3 early Thrillers perhaps) or Child's Play. One nod each!

The Guilty Men

Good performance from Everett Sloane as a former mobster who tries to go straight. Average TV crime suspense story for its day. *

The Purple Room

Milestone episode for several reasons. The man who was
instrumental in jump-starting Thriller debuted with this weird mystery:
William Frye. Richard Anderson and Rip Torn are both excellent.

The first segment to criss-cross suspense with the supernatural. The
audience is left guessing as to whether or not there had been an actual
haunting. Rip Torn gives a great cynical performance as an heir determined
not to be frightened out of his inheritance. The Purple Room was written
and directed by Douglas Heyes, noted for directing several eerie Twilight
Zones: And When The Sky Was Opened, Elegy, The Howling Man, The Invaders,
The Eye Of The Beholder. ***

The Watcher

First Thriller directorial effort by John Brahm, who also
scored favorable reviews with his fine efforts for Twilight Zone (Mirror
Image, Shadow Play, The Four Of Us Are Dying) Hitchcock Presents and such
films as The Lodger. Some nice kids are stalked by a born-again homicidal
maniac. Watch for the scene described (inaccurately) by author Stephen King:
"I still have fond memories of a guy being squeezed to death beneath
a service-station car lift in a Thriller episode." **

Girl With A Secret

Despite the talents of Twilight Zone writer Charles
Beaumont and a good cast including Victor Buono (as the sinister Carolik),
only occasionally interesting to look at, notably due to the various on-
location long shots unusual for Thriller. Otherwise an unexciting story
of secret agents, stolen brief cases and the like. *

The Prediction

First of Karloff's starring roles on Thriller, playing
a psychic whose fake predictions start becoming unpredictable. Result:
his stage act becomes annoying, not at all entertaining, especially to those
he insists will die violently. Trippy visual effects (dissolves) occur whenever
"Mace the Mentalist" starts losing it. Unfortunately, as Alan
Warren (author of This Is A Thriller) points out, The Prediction is itself
predictable. *

The Fatal Impulse

As always, Elisha Cook is fun to watch, and here he
plays a mad bomber loose in the city. What more could you ask for? How about
Mary Tyler Moore's first appearance on Thriller! **

The Big Blackout

Features Paul Newlan (The Cheaters). as an alcoholic who fears he may have committed murder during a binge. I blacked out during this one. "Hangover," one of the best Alfred Hitchcock
Hour segments, dealt with "blackouts" far better. For completists

Knock Three-One-Two

A taut crime/suspense episode. Warren Oates (Outer Limits, Lost in Space, Stoney Burke and star of the 1973 movie Dillinger) as a psycho killer, his co-star Joe Maross plays a compulsive gambler desperate to try anything to raise cash to pay a debt to the mob.

Man In The Middle

Werner Klemperer (Col. Klink of Hogan's Heroes) as
a ruthless kidnapper. Comedian Mort Sahl is an unlikely hero caught up in
a kidnap scheme. A few interesting moments.

The Cheaters

Story by Robert Bloch, teleplay by Donald Sanford. A brilliant though evil alchemist creates a pair of spectacles which possess a peculiar power: Looking through the glasses reveals the truth underneath the masks and lies people hide behind, but there are risks involved. The hallucinatory side effect brought on by the acute perception of infidelities has a tendency to influence the wearer to react without restraint.

The chilling teaser begins with Henry
Daniell's brief appearance as mad Dr. Van Prinn and segues into
Karloff's inspired introduction. This is when Boris first delivers the immortal tag-line, " a THRILLER!" At last, the waiting was over. Viewers were about to experience something truly extraordinary. Finally the series would quit treading water. . There are some slow moments in the middle perhaps, but don't get too comfortable!

The visual effects created by Jack Barron for the final moments of The Cheaters are among the most nightmarish ever made for TV.****
The Cheaters first appeared in the November 1947 Weird Tales.

The Hungry Glass

A haunted cliff-house almost makes The Purple Room
look inviting! Undead souls lurk in mirrors. Very scary special effects.
Excellent performance by William Shatner. Karloff makes a grand entrance
dressed in Edwardian clothing. Donna Douglas appears dressed up in pre-Beverly
Hillbillies finery. Douglas heyes directed and adapted Robert Bloch's "The Hungry House"****

The Poisoner

Late 1800's period piece about an art collector tortured
by others' lack of good taste. To alleviate his frustrations, he poisons
them in a most efficacious manner, and defaces a painting of his wife with
crossed lines similar to the Thriller titles. **

Man In the Cage

Intrigue involving heroin smugglers in distant Tangiers.
Diana Millay (a Dark Shadows regular) co-stars. *

The Merriweather File

Betrayed wife allows husband to die for her crime.
Very good direction by John Brahm (THE LODGER, Twilight Zone and an innovator of the the German expressionist/film-noir
style). **

Choose A Victim

Pretty Susan Oliver as a slumming heiress, fast-talking
Larry Blyden as an upwardly-mobile beach bum and Billy Barty as a tough
little carnie barker. Vaughn Taylor as the intended victim. **

Hay-Fork And Bill Hook

Druid incantations and ritual murder
make for an especially bizarre teaser, although after Karloff's intro we're reduced to being scared by a little black mutt, hardly the quigley hound of yore. Ironically, when aired on the SCI-FI channel,
the prologue was deleted entirely. Just as well Sci-Fi no longer airs the series, since they tend to favor the classics cut to ribbons. **

Fingers Of Fear

Child-murderer lures little girls with a talking doll.
One of the stronger psycho/crime episodes. Thankfully the onscreen violence
is committed on a doll. **

Well Of Doom

Tour de force performance given by Henry Daniell, looking great in make-up similar to Lon Chaney's in London After Midnight. Great
atmosphere, particularly scenes of fog enshrouded moors where a demonic
duo (Daniell + Richard "Jaws" Kiel) use strange methods to kill Torin Thatcher (veteran villain in fantasy films such as Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Jack the Giant Killer as well as TV science fiction series Lost in Space and other Irwin Allen produced shows.)
They imprison the heir (played by Ronald Howard, who co-stars in the excellent ghost story film Queen of Spades) of the remote estate in the Well ***

The Ordeal Of Dr. Cordell

Brilliant scientist goes into a frenzy whenever bells ring. Stars (pre-Napoleon Solo) Robert Vaughn as the psycho killer.

Dizzy dissolves look like the ones used on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 3
years later. **

Trio For Terror

3 tales of suspense. The first is the best and the weirdest of the 3. Terrence de Marney (Return Of Andrew Bentley) as a Magi who returns from the dead. The other 2 tales are "A Very Strange Bed" and "The Mask of Medusa", and while the cast in each tries hard, the endings miss the boat. Boris plays himself watching the goings on in a19th century London pub where the cast wanders in and each tale begins from there. Ida Lupino's first direction of a THRILLER. **

Papa Benjamin

Voodoo curse brings a down-beat ending for a plagiarizing musician. Jazzy and atmospheric. Later recycled in the British anthology film, Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. *

Late Date

Fighting against time, a fast-thinking man sweats bullets
trying desperately to prevent his older brother (Ed Platt--the "Chief"
on Get Smart) from being caught for a justifiable homicide. **

Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper

Robert Bloch's novella adapted by Barre Lyndon blends the unsettling modus operandi of the Ripper with just the right amount of light touches. Noteworthy score by Jerry
Goldsmith, reminiscent of his catchy List of Adrian Messenger (1963) theme music. **

The Devil's Ticket

Robert Bloch's updated teleplay is adapted from his original short story which first appeared in Weird Tales September 1944. His script is salted with bits of irony, and it holds up as a very enjoyable variation on the deal-with-the-devil theme. No exaggerated make-up job here, as in TWILIGHT ZONE's "Howling Man". John Emery's voice and gestures alone are suitably satanic. MacDonald Carey plays (Outer Limits "The Special One") the poor and hungry artist who hocks his soul for a decent meal. Once he has a full stomach, he decides to wiggle out of the contract. ****

Parasite Mansion

A woman is imprisoned in a ramshackle manor where evil prevails. Her tenuous escape route leads up creaky, spiderweb covered stairs to another prisoner in a far worse predicament, being tormented by an invisible demon. ***

A Good Imagination

Edward Andrews is thoroughly amusing as a cheated
on husband who cleverly punishes his wife and her two lovers. Typically
droll Bloch teleplay. **

Mr. George

A guardian from beyond saves a child from her wicked relatives. A bittersweet tale that plucks the heart strings.

Terror In Teakwood

Egocentric musician steals the hands from the corpse
of his arch rival. Karloff's intro is especially nasty, the desecration
scene having already set the tone. Guy Rolfe (Mr. Sardonicus), Reggie Nalder
(Salem's Lot), and Hazel Court (Man Who Cheated Death) turn in top-notch
performances. After shooting the teaser, inspired by Reggie Nalder's scene, the crew broke
into applause. ***

Prisoner In The Mirror

Undead master of the black arts possesses the living in order to hypnotize and then strangle his companions when the conversation grows the least bit dull. Society isn't redeemed, and no one is spared. Refreshing lack of morals. Possibly Lloyd Bochner (Twilight Zone "To Serve Man"; William Castle's The Night Walker)at his very best, Henry Daniell is chillingly suave. ***

Dark Legacy

A sorcerer leaves his nephew an accursed book on the black
arts. On-target dual performance by Harry Townes (The Cheaters) and Henry
Silva (Outer Limits; The Manchurian Candidate). Superb score by Jerry Goldsmith. ***

Pigeons From Hell

Story by Robert E. Howard first appeared in Weird Tales May 1938, Howard is one of the best writers in that unique magazine; best known for creating the CONAN saga. The teleplay is John Kneubuhl's adaptation.

Starring Brandon DeWilde, who remains forever young having reached fame as the boy in SHANE; he also did well as the lead in the notorious Hitchcock Presents episode "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". Sadly killed in a car crash at age 30... the same age as Robert E. Howard who committed suicide when only 30.

"Pigeons from Hell" is arguably the best known THRILLER episode in the series. The original story is hard to beat, and the episode is dreamy rather than terrifying. Yet it has grown on me over the years, with it's sense of night suffocating the daylight even outside the house.
Subtle little moments such as the kerosene lantern that keeps going dim whenever it's
carried upstairs are memorable indeed. ****

The Grim Reaper

Gruesome legend about a painting proves to be true.
Thriller's first season ended not with a bang, but with a whimper (William Shatner's).
Rod Serling's Night Gallery never displayed any art quite this sinister. Here it is in full color!
Several viewers of the original broadcast have sworn they saw the Grim Reaper appear on screen, in motion. Even Robert Bloch claimed the scene existed, then later cut for syndication. There is a scene in Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS (1925), where The Grim Reaper walks forward, swinging the scythe! ***

Second Season:

What Beckoning Ghost?

A woman is craftily frightened to death by her
cheating spouse. Of course Thriller fans know that the dead rarely rest
peacefully! This episode, Guillotine, and The Lethal Ladies were shown at
the Pacific Film Archive in August 1992 as part of an Ida Lupino festival.
She directed all three episodes, and also directed Twilight Zone's "The
Masks." ****


Poisoned pancakes are consumed by a nevertheless punctual executioner. Quick cuts between the events provide ironic twists throughout.

Fine adaptation of a story by Cornell Woolrich. Similar to an episode from
the 1949 series Starring Boris Karloff entitled "Five Golden Guineas."

The Premature Burial

Thriller's version (by D. Hayes) of the classic
Poe tale which also takes a few cues from Clark Ashton Smith's Weird Tales
entry "The Second Internment." Boris Karloff stars as the wise
doctor who plays on the hysterical fears of a golddigger and her lover.

The Weird Tailor

Bereaved father attempts to resurrect his son using
the Mysteries of the Worm, a rare book said to have been burned with its
owners years ago! The story was adapted again in the all-Bloch anthology
film Asylum (1972) which starred Peter Cushing as the father and Barry Morse
as the tailor. Thriller's version is the better one. ***

God Grant That She Lye Stille

Ghost of a vampire witch possesses the
body of a descendant. Henry Daniell plays the vicar whose ancestor long
ago burned the witch at the stake. Victor Buono has a brief part. Not everyone
lives happily ever after! **


Honeymooning young couple (Elizabeth Montgomery - Bewitched star, and Tom Poston - Old Dark House, William Castle's version and Castle's Zotz) takes refuge at an old hotel (the
Psycho house once again) when caught in a storm. An old woman is heard laughing
insanely in the attic though the raggedly-clothed innkeeper (John Carradine)
denies anything is amiss. Originally aired on October 30, 1961, the Halloween-eve
debut of this segment was more than appropriate.**

The Last Of The Summervilles

Murder and treachery hasten an inheritance.
Karloff is amusing as the clever Dr. Farnham, and Martita Hunt (Brides Of
Dracula) as the eccentric aunt has the best scene when she's electrocuted
in the bathtub. *

Letter To A Lover

Blackmail attempt leads to murder and layers of deception.
Donald Sanford's ("The Cheaters") excellent teleplay is an undervalued
gem. **

A Third For Pinochle

Snoop sisters regularly spy on their henpecked
neighbor, which fits neatly into his plans to murder his wife. Edward Andrews
gives an amusing performance, though the episode's humor is somewhat screwball.

The Closed Cabinet

A ghost wanders the halls with knife in hand, and
only by solving a three-hundred-year-old riddle can the curse be lifted
and peace be restored. Atmospheric direction by Ida Lupino.**

Dialogues With Death

Two tales involving the dead or dying who are quite communicative. Karloff, in both segments, turns in lively performances.

The Return of Andrew Bentley

Original story by August Derleth and Mark Shorer first appeared in Weird Tales, September 1933; teleplay by Richard Matheson. Matheson felt his teleplay was interpreted too morbidly, but undoubtedly most fans
of the series don't mind at all! A sorcerer haunts the resting place of his rival.

Directed by John (host of One Step Beyond) Newland, who also stars as the
heir selected to confront this terrifying development. Antoinette Bower (Waxworks) plays his wife. The demon is played by Tom Hennesy. The late Andrew Bentley is portrayed by one of the masters, Reggie Nalder, who
praised Bowers' acting abilities, as well as calling Newland "a fairly
good director." John Newland (host and director of One Step Beyond) also directed
the classic segment Pigeons From Hell! Terrence De Marney (Trio For Terror)
is also superb, playing Bentley's arch-rival in the black arts. Don't miss
his wild solo on pipe organ that ends on a rather sour note! ***

The Remarkable Mrs. Hawk

A mysterious woman enjoys the company of men, even when they behave like pigs. The moving picture (gif) above is from the opening scene where step by step she takes over the mind of soon to be in living in hog heaven Bruce Dern. John Carradine co-
stars with Jo Van Fleet.***

Portrait Without A Face

A murderer is gradually revealed by a rather
unusual method: an artist completes his final painting posthumously, gradually
revealing his killer's identity. Not a bad little suspense segment, with
a touch of the supernatural to remind us we're watching Thriller. **

An Attractive Family

Kin-folk calmly kill off insured relatives for monetary gain. The eerie prologue gives little hint of the black humor to follow. *


Story by Robert Bloch first appeared in the January 1939 issue of Weird Tales. Wax figures coming to life in order to kill is oft-used though a new twist on the theme is offerred in Robert Bloch's teleplay adaptation. Good performances by Oscar Homolka (Mr. Sardonicus) and Martin Kosleck (The Flesh Eaters). With Ron Ely, TV's Tarzan. Peter Lorre was considered for the lead role. **

La Strega

Our favorite old witch Jeanette Nolan ("Aunt Ada",
"Granny Hart", "Granny") is back at her old haunt of
fear, stirring up a ghastly brew. Ursula Andress, in top physical form rounds
out this romantic tale of lovers fleeing from a terrifying curse. ***

The Storm

Alone in a remote house, a woman attempts logic to overcome her fear that a serial killer is in the house. One of the better non-supernatural entries. **

A Wig For Miss Devore

A witch's wig made from the hairs of victims transforms frumpy has-beens into ravishing beauties in seconds. And vice versa, but of course! Masterfully macabre make-up by Jack Barron. The slo-mo fx are unusual and interesting, subtle and unsettling though low budget. With more subdued lighting those claws might have been a lot creepier. Good cast and a snappy script keep things rolling.***

The Hollow Watcher

Scarecrow comes to life to exact revenge on adulterers deserving of punishment. ("Come get your whuppin'!") Backwoods legends are a great source for spooky stories, such as Twilight Zone's classic Earl Hammer Jr.-scripted episodes. Third season Zone director William Claxton turned in his only Thriller effort with this one. **

Cousin Tundifer

Amusing time warp effects were achieved with the simplest of props:
A rug unfurls across the hardwood floor by itself, and a fireplace ignites in a flash, as music cues to the dated ditty "Narcissus", actually a popular novelty number around the turn of the old century.
Fans of Bonzo Dog Band may recognize the tune, it was adapted for one of their satiric throwback tracks in the late '60s.
By stepping into the parlour of the Tundifer's fully restored Victorian mansion, time rolls back100 years, at least for the Tundifers, but only the non-endowed younger cousin (played by the ever amusing Edward Andrews) discovers the time warp exists. He plans to make clever use of the warp to take control of the the family fortune being frittered away by his eccentric cousin (Vaughn Taylor). **

The Incredible Doktor Markesan

Karloff is directed by Robert Florey in the title role as the slighted professor obsessed with class reunions. Dick York (Bewitched) co-stars as the nephew who's not too particular about his room and board. His wife is ready to bolt but eventually fits right in.

Old man Markesan, despite being past his prime, is hell bent on keeping all his faculties up to snuff for late night weakest link marathons.

Read the original Derleth-Shorer story, as there are subtle elements beyond the fx capabilities and certainly budget restraints of the time. The telefilm as it is might rank as the most grim of all Thriller segments, yet isn't as morbid as it might otherwise have been. Numerous test shots offer glimpses of eerie footage which didn't make the final cut. Thanks to Robert Florey's wife, intriguing scenes of what else might have happened between Dr. Markesan and Molly (Carolyn Kearney) before Fred (Dick York) returns managed to survive. The outtake pictures included here are among several scenes not used in the final edit. ****

Flowers of Evil

Beaudelaire this isn't. Slow going with maybe one good scene of a laughing corpse morphing into a skeleton.

Till Death Do Us Part

Go West, young undertaker! Henry "The Weird
Tailor" Jones gets his turn at droll humor in this light-hearted Bloch crime comedy of errors. **

The Bride Who Died Twice

Poetic tale of a fatal romance. Desperate to
escape an evil despot and his henchmen, a young woman feigns suicide and
flees with her lover (Robert "Time Tunnel" Colbert). Acting chores are mopped up by the
villains (Joe de Santis and Carl Donn) during the effective torture scenes.
Directed by Ida Lupino. This was the final episode produced for Thriller;
the broadcast order differed from the production numbers. **

Kill My Love

Another entertaining crime/suspense segment.
A father knows best how to protect his son: by bumping family and friends off. His conscience bothers him when he decides to kill his son. Veteran B-movie actor Richard Carlson (Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Maze, Tormented) hams it up. Solid script, if a bit incestuous.
by "The Cheaters" Donald Sanford. **

Man Of Mystery

Ruthless tycoon hides behind fictitious corporate identity
in order to savor beautiful women vicariously, until the inevitable point
when he steps out from behind the curtain. Neat little suspense yarn, penned
by Robert Bloch (tongue-in-cheek throughout), with an apropos return by
our host. Thriller's black humor segments easily outclass Rod Serling's
wretched comedy Twilight Zone episodes, and come very close to the better-known
Hitchcock Presents. Great early acting from Emmy award-winning Mary Tyler
Moore - she even sings an entire song. **

The Innocent Bystanders

Loosely based on the (Body Snatchers) infamous
Burke and Hare grave robbing case history. Great Karloff intro, also watch
out for George Kennedy playing his meanest-ever role as an impromptu corpse
deliverer. This was the last of the 1st run terror segments. Summer reruns
and a mid-60's syndication run would be the last hurrah for this often-excellent
series. *

The Lethal Ladies

Superb Karloff intro, not to be missed, followed by
a double-header (two tales of revenge) directed by the first lady of film
noir, Ida Lupino. **

The Specialists

An experimental pilot for an unsold series somewhat similar to Mission Impossible. Interesting. Good music score. *

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Friday, January 13, 2006

The WAY OUT of the Twilight Zone!

I found the Way Out of the Twilight Zone!

It was a good life for the first few TZ marathons. Until I smelled the KOFY and woke up.

Scenes we had seen in the 60's were missing. It was as though they'd never existed.

Here's one example of a glaring continuity cut occuring in syndication prints:

"And When The Sky Was Opened", 3 astronauts vanish one by one.

Rod Taylor knocks but the bar is closed for the night. He smashes thru the glass door to gain entry.

Look at it on any commercial TV channel:
Taylor knocks on the closed door, and gets in without even breaking a sweat.

A casual viewer might not consciouslynotice the cut. Or one might dismiss it as typical low budget production.
But Serling didn't make those kind of slip-ups. When he first saw the show in reruns, Rod was appalled by the edits.

There was nothing he could do, having sold off his share of the series.

Nevertheless, the reruns stirred up memories and interest in other series from the Twilight Zone era.
We hadn't seen episodes of THRILLER in so long, some hed merged in our minds with TZ episodes.

Like the one where the guy deals with the devil, literally gets burned (off-camera), and smoke pours out from under the door.

I mixed that up with the TZ where Satan is locked in a room until a woman hears his howling and opens the door.

The smoke scene was from a THRILLER segment, "The Devil's Ticket".

I started tracking down copies of the series in 1986 to share with friends who had helped alert me to the best episodes.

The Thriller Club (not the Michael Jackson Thriller!) began giving weekly TV parties in 1988.

Underground artist Jim Osborne and power popster Cyril Jordan were among our special guests.

After blasting b-sides. we'd run a THRILLER people especially wanted to see, such as "Pigeons From Hell".

"Well of Doom" had Cyril J. roaring with contageous laughter.

"The Cheaters" tore us up when Dean played the final "meltdown" scene over and over, and over again.

"Dissolve, dissolve, dissolve!"

Eager for even more thrillers one step beyond the outer limits of the twilight zone, we unearthed episodes of WAY OUT.

Way Out's distinctive opening combined the electronic music of Robert (Dark Shadows) Cobert with a view of hands reaching up from a smoldering grave.

Roald Dahl, infinitely reflected in mirrors, calmly introduced the episodes with understated black humor.

Twilight Zone and Way Out aired back to back on Friday nights in 1961.

Way Out has grown in cult status in spite of never having been rerun.

Way Out fans currently share 5 circulating episodes:

William & Mary
I Heard You Calling Me
The Croaker
Dissolve to Black
Death Wish

Soft Focus
Side Show
Button, Button
can be seen in NYC at The Museum of Television & Radio.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

See TV's Great Horror Masterpieces!


10 Essential Hitchcock Hours:

1.The Sign of Satan - Based on Robert Bloch's short story "Return to the Sabbath" first published in the July 1938 issue of Weird Tales. Starts off with chilling music score set to scenes reminiscent of HORROR HOTEL (also starring Christopher Lee) and BLACK SUNDAY!

2. The Final Escape - Bernard Herrman's warped music adds chills to the final breathtaking moments!

3. Captive Audience - James Mason plays absent-minded author who blends fact with fiction

4. Forecast: Low Clouds and Coastal Fog - Some pretty strange people pop by or play hide and seek undetected at an isolated beach bungalow Muggy suspense with a's twisted!

5. Water's Edge - Rejected prior to being filmed at first as unsuitable, with too gruesome an ending. Jaded losers (John Cassevettes and Ann Southern) look high and low for loot.

6.The Life Work of Juan Diaz - Perhaps the finest Hitchcock Hour, beautifully written by Ray Bradbury. Subtle ending.

7. Memo from Purgatory - Written by Harlan Ellison; Walter Koenig ("Scotty" on Star Trek) as gang leader, and James Caan as undercover author who joins the gang. Tony Musante is great as vicious vice-pres of the Barons.
Musante played a j.d. again, terrorizing late night subway riders, in the 1967 film THE INCIDENT.

8. Consider Her Ways - one of the series' only sci-fi stories, definitely a weird one! Woman wakes up in the future, wieghing about 300 lbs. heavier.

9. Where the Woodbine Twineth - Unusual story of a sassy little girl with a make believe friend .

10. Death Scene - with John Carradine as outdated film legend who still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Also among the very best Hitchcock Hours:
A Home Away from Home, The Magic Shop, Wally the Beard, Hangover, A Piece of the Action, Beast In View,

The Photographer & the Undertaker, Bonfire, Lonely Place, The McGregor Affair, Thanatos Palace Hotel, Annabel,

The World's Oldest Motive, The Monkey's Paw- A Retelling

Recommended episodes of the half hour HITCHCOCK PRESENTS:

DARK INTRUDER - '65 TV series pilot expanded and released theatrically. Network execs said it was too scary to broadcast!
With Leslie Nielsen Telefilm about demonic possession still packs a punch today!

THE JAR -(1964) Hitchcock Hour Ray Bradbury classic. New print

An Unlocked Window- '65, Hitchcock Hour 1st gen. print

The Lifework of Juan Diaz - Hitchcock Hour, 1st gen. print

My 20 Favorite THRILLER Episodes:

PIGEONS FROM HELL (Brandon de Wilde)
THE PURPLE ROOM (Rip Torn, Richard Anderson)
THE WELL OF DOOM (Henry Daniel, Richard Kiel)

TERROR IN TEAKWOOD (Reggie Nalder, Hazel Court)
THE RETURN OF ANDREW BENTLEY (Reggie Nalder, John Newland)
THE PRISONER IN THE MIRROR (Lloyd Bockner, Henry Daniel)
WAXWORKS (Oscar Homolka, Martin Koslek)
LA STREGA (Ursula Andress, Jeannette Nolan)

A WIG FOR MISS DEVORE (John Fiedler, Patricia Barry)
THE HUNGRY GLASS (William Shatner)
THE WEIRD TAILOR (George McCready, Henry Jones)

THE CHEATERS (Harry Townes)
DARK LEGACY (Henry Silva, Harry Townes)

THRILLER episodes I have with original "Next week" prevues:
The Cheaters
The Hungry Glass
Pigeons from Hell
Twisted Image

SUSPICION - "Voices In The Night" 60 mins.
adaptation of William Hope Hodgeson weird tale.
superb print, from 16mm.
Patrick MacNee and James Coburn
Suspicion's only supernatural segment.

Suspicion did air a classic suspense episode:
"Four O'Clock" directed by Alfred Hitchcock

JOHNNY STACCATO - new prints of cool crime series.
Starring John Cassavettes, produced by (Thriller) William Frye.

NORLISS TAPES - Roy Thinnes. Dan Curtis shocker 1973. New print.

Picture of Dorian Gray (1961, Dick Smith make-up) Breck Golden Showcase (60 mins.)

WAY OUT (30 mins.)(Make-up by Dick Smith) 5 episodes available, with original 1961 ads


TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN (pilot - 30 MINS) Hammer Studios tries TV


Stephen King, in Danse Macabre called it the most terrifying TV episode he ever saw.

The other infamous Bus Stop episode:
starring Fabian as a unrepentant hep-cat playing musical chairs with the hot seat.

Singled out by PTA and Senate Sub-Committee hearings investigating TV violence
Never aired on prime time TV since.


"Martian Eyes" with Burgess Meredith

"Will of the Wisp", "For Release Today"
(with an early appearence of Grayson Hall), "The Faceless Man" (weird!), "Strange Legacy",

"Perchance To Dream"(David White, + a rare pre-code horror
comic book), "The Meddlers",

"Dead Man's Coat" "The Deal", "And Adam Begot"
(Kent Smith), "The Deal", "Lost Will of Dr. Rant" (Leslie
Nielsen), superb despite low budgets.

Suspense: "All Hallow's Eve"...Mean old man sick of trick or treaters!

Panic: "Moth & The Flame".. One that finally lives up to Panic's promising
opening sequence, always featuring the mysterious talking head hiding in the shadows and titles punctuated by shattered glass. Clammy chills as psycho voyeur (Alan Napier) stalks exotic dancer!

Inner Sanctum: "Face of the Dead", and others.

Dick Powell Theatre (60 mins.): "The Clock". Eerie supernatural gem! "Out
of The Night"
"Crazy Sunday" with Rip Torn;

NAKED CITY: Rip Torn as country boy killer wild in
the streets of the big apple with no respect! "Case Study of Two Savages"
(other episodes avail.)

STACCATO: Great noir TV series, starring John Cassavettes. 10 episodes available.

ONE STEP BEYOND all episodes.

TALES OF TOMORROW: various eps., with James Dean, Paul Newman, Karloff, and:
"The Duplicates"(Darren McGavin), "Youth on Tap" (Harry
Townes), "Search for the Flying Saucers" (Vaughn Taylor as lunatic)

2 hour ride from Coney Island to Playland-at-the-Beach

Comic Book Vid-Scene
2 hr. histeria of the Pre-Code crime, headlight and horror comics that ruined minds!
featuring 50's footage of anti-comic crusaders and blue-nosed buffoons
Bettie Page, Irving Klaw, Bill Gaines, and Dr. Wertham.
Interviews with MAD artists Kelly Freas, Don Martin, Al Feldstein

Shock Theatre 1958 kinescopes
1966 color home movie of Zacherley at zoo
1967 teen music show -Zacherley hosting

BEWITCHED: 4 episodes (color) with original commercials (from 16 mm)

An hour of horror, exactly as aired March 3, 1961:
TWILIGHT ZONE: "Long Distance Call" / WAY OUT: "William and Mary" -

Both episodes with original prevues and commercials as broadcast.
(from 16mm)

6 episodes of Twilight Zone with original ads and prevues:
The Dummy, The Lateness of the Hour, The Whole Truth, Sounds and Silences, Night of the Meek, Long Distance Call

Contact us

*Prices and tape info: 15.00 per title

$25 for 2 hours of your choice

10 hours for $100.

Shipping within USA via priority mail: $4 per order.

Discounts available on large orders. Optional insurance is $1 per tape.

SP playback speed. Extra high grade
brand new TDK or Maxell, recorded on Hi-Fi stereo VCRs.

many more shows- email series wanted.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

John Cipollina - Free Light up

Pam Tillis, daughter of Country Music legend Mel Tillis, became a Country artist in her own right.

Pam initially freely experimented musically and socially before the inevitable career move to Nashville.

Even these days she picks unusual material such as her cover of the Jackie DeShannon/Searchers hit, "Walk In The Room".

Missed by viewers who never got a chance to see it, the video evoked the days of Bandstand, Shindig & Hullaballoo.


Pam was my girlfriend when she was singing in the Sausalito based jazz-fusion band Freelight, featuring my favorite psychedelic guitar "slinger".

Thanks to Pam I met and shared a few laughs with John Cipollina back stage, at Freelight studio sessions, riding in the band's van and in John's home.

John smoked a lot of grass but he was no slob, you'd never see him in a tie-die t-shirt or any of that.
He always looked sharp.


During the Summer of love John had a day job at the Sausalito Heliport. One day he worked for hours customizing a carton of cigarettes.

He opened the carton of cigarettes, and from each individual pack, he emptied out the tobacco from the cigs without tearing the thin paper,
Then he tamped finely ginched cannabis buds into the paper tubes replacing the tobacco, smoothing the surface to a flawless finish.

When 20 cigs were refilled he put them back in the packs and resealed the packs, and put all the packs back in the carton, and reseal the box.
Then at last John was ready for a break.

He opened the carton, unwrapped a pack, free to light up on the premises!

A job well done by Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Further stories and links on the Sausalito '70s:

The Houseboat Rebellion

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