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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Television  |  Any of you remember old tv shows like One Step Beyond, Thriller, Night Gallery? « previous next »
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Author Topic: Any of you remember old tv shows like One Step Beyond, Thriller, Night Gallery?  (Read 2975 times)
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« on: January 04, 2010, 04:58:39 PM »



 I'm really dating myself here, but I loved these old goodies.  I'm not sure if the show was called Thriller or Thriller Theatre, but it ws hosted by Boris Karloff.  There was another one too ... something Science Theatre.  Night Stalker is another one that comes to mind.

 As some of you mentioned in various previous posts Chiller Theater was a favorite. There was also a horror show in the NY area hosted by a guy called Zacharele, not sure if I spelled his name right.  He was hilarious! He used to do experiments with brains ( heads of cauliflower).  I think he also used to talk to his unseen "wife" who resided in a coffin on the set.  TeddyR
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2010, 07:54:18 PM »

THRILLER was a series on NBC than ran in the early 60's.Karloff hosted (and sometimes starred in).It was also the inspiration for the Gold Key comic book 'Boris Karloff Presents'         
the Science Theater you recall may be the old SCIENCE FICTION THEATER-

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Zacherle was the host of New York's SHOCK THEATER. He had previously been known as Roland in Philadelphia (the birthplace of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine which frequently did articales about him.) He's still alive-and recently did a record album with the punkabilly band Southern Culture on the Skids! Here's a clip with Zach and Bobby'Boris' Pickett!

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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2010, 09:41:31 PM »

Rod Serling's Night GalleryThumbup  Quirky, often thought-provoking, creepy, sometimes flat-out scary, always 'out there' and entertaining.
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2010, 04:03:35 AM »

I'm too young to have seen ANY of those shows in their original run.  But I have seen Night Gallery and The Outer Limits in reruns in the late '80s at odd hours of the night and enjoyed them quite a bit.  Nowadays it's all crappy infomercials.  I used to love watching The Honeymooners, Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, and other old shows late at night, and older or obscure movies (and laugh at the 1-900-MYMY or whatever number commercials shown inbetween).
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010, 01:59:48 PM »

I have seasons 1 and 2 of NIGHT GALLERY on DVD.  I also have the entire TWILIGHT ZONE collection and other old series like THE TIME TUNNEL, LAND OF THE GIANTS, THE PRISONER, THE AVENGERS (Emma Peel episodes only!), and THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.  I love this stuff.
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2010, 11:40:20 PM »

I discovered them later in life thanks to the Sci-Fi Channel's early days when they aired stuff on a late night segment called RETRO TV. There for the first time, I caught Boris Karloff's "Thriller", "Tales of Tomorrow" (a very early 1950s anthology series) and "Lights Outs" (yet another anthology focused more on horror whereas TALES focused more on Sci-Fi). Also caught "Night Gallery" on there for the first time not to mention stuff like the Irwin Allen shows (Lost In Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants and The Time Tunnel). Also got to relive stuff like the classic "Twilight Zone" and "The Incredible Hulk" for the first time in years. Eventually I would discover "One Step Beyond" on public domain DVDs and while the episodes are often uneven, there's some startling stories here and there and man, are these shows ever filled with great character actors. Sometimes the shows were produced for live TV (TALES, LIGHTS OUT) so the quality was a little bit less than it was for taped series. I love all these classic shows as they have a quality when it comes to storytelling and acting you certainly do not get from the vast majority of TV shows produced these days.
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2010, 09:06:35 AM »

Oh, and how could I forget THE OUTER LIMITS!
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2010, 06:06:42 PM »

Yeah, there's no show like an old show. "Thriller," "Night Gallery." Then, now. Still some of my favorites. Stephen King is another big fan of "Thriller." Saying that the episode of "Thriller" called "Pigeons from Hell" is one of the scariest TV episodes he's ever seen.
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2010, 03:25:31 PM »

hulu has all the outer limits episdoes, or alot of them

I posted Corpus Earthling in random thoughts theads the other day
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2010, 08:05:59 PM »

hulu has all the outer limits episdoes, or alot of them

I posted Corpus Earthling in random thoughts theads the other day

I bought the boxed sets of the original series a couple years ago, but I haven't watched all the episodes yet.  My favorite is probably THE SIXTH FINGER.  I remember watching it multiple times when I was a kid and the OUTER LIMITS was on TV in re-runs.

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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2010, 10:12:31 AM »

I watched the zanti misfit one last night. awesome
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 04:17:59 PM »

And here's that article by Stephen King (note I don’t think King got everything originally 100% correct so some appropriate corrections have been made) WARNING: There’s SPOILERS below for some episodes of “The Twilight Zone”, “Thriller” and “The Outer Limits”:

The following essay titled 'In Praise of Old Horrors' appeared in a December 1981 issue of TV Guide magazine in which author Stephen King discusses three horror-themed television series that he personally esteems: The Twilight Zone (CBS 1959-64), Thriller (NBC 1960-62) and The Outer Limits (ABC 1963-65)

"A leading fright novelist says TV just doesn't scare you as it used to.

             Last Month, Darkroom, a Friday night anthology series promising to deliver "spine-tingling tales of terror, suspense and the unexpected," made its debut on ABC. In this excerpt from his latest book, 'Danse Macabre,' novelist Stephen King, the author of such best-selling thrillers as 'Salem's Lot' and 'The Shining,' looks back at the TV programs that pioneered this genre.--Ed.

                It is very difficult to write a successful horror story in a world that is so full of real horrors. A ghost in the turret room of a Scottish castle just cannot compete with thousand-megaton warheads or nuclear power plants that apparently have been put together from kits by 10-year-olds with poor hand-eye coordination. Still, horror can be done, though it has not fared particularly well on TV.

                The powers that be in TV too often overlook one simple fact, the bedrock of horror fiction in whatever medium you choose: You gotta scare the audience. Sooner or later, you gotta put on the gruesome mask and go booga-booga. I can remember an official in the then fledgling New York Mets organization, who was worrying about the improbable crowds that gang of happy-go-lucky bumblers was drawing. "Sooner or later, we're going to have to sell these people some steak along with the sizzle!" he said. The same is true with horror. But television, more often than not, really has asked the impossible of its handful of horror programs...to terrify without really terrifying, to sell audiences a lot of sizzle and no steak. Still, every now and then, something good turns up.

                Probably the best horror series ever put on TV was Thriller, which ran on NBC from September 1960 until the summer of 1962. With host Boris Karloff, Thriller was, like all of the successful TV horror programs, an anthology-format show. Karloff was 72 at the beginning of Thriller's run, and not in the best of health: he suffered from a chronically bad back and had to wear weights to stand upright. Some of these infirmities dated back to his original film appearances as Frankenstein's monster in 1931. He didn't star in many of the Thriller programs, but fans remember the few memorable occasions when he did.

                One of the most significant things about the Thriller series, from the standpoint of the horror fan, was that it began to depend more and more upon the work of writers, like Robert Bloch and Robert E. Howard, who in the period of the 1920s, '30s and '40s had begun to guide horror out of the Victorian-Edwardian ghost story channel it had begun in for so long and toward our modern perception of what the horror story should do. Some say that Howard's 'Pigeons from Hell' was the single most frightening story ever done for TV. Certainly the image of the young man staggering blindly down the stairs of the decaying bayou mansion with a hatchet in his head is one that sticks in your memory. Another unforgettable episode was 'A Wig for Miss DeVore,' in which a red wig keeps an actress magically young...until the final minutes of the program, when she loses it--and everything else.

                These episodes many not have constituted fine art. But during Thriller's short run (a mere two seasons), viewers were guaranteed a literate story, coupled with the genuine desire on the part of the producers to frighten them into spasms.

                Blackness on the TV screen. Then there's a picture there--some kind of picture--but it's rolling helplessly at first, then losing horizontal resolution. Black again, broken by a single wavy white line, oscillating hypnotically. The voice accompanying all of this is quiet, reasonable: "There is nothing wrong with your TV set. We are controlling transmission...You are watching a drama which reaches from the inner mind to...The Outer Limits."

                Nominally science-fiction, actually more a horror program, The Outer Limits was perhaps, after Thriller, the best program of its type on network TV. Purists will scream, "Nonsense and blasphemy--not even Thriller could compete with the immortal Twilight Zone!"

                But, with a dozen or so notable exceptions--episodes that vibrate in the back teeth, years later...The Twilight Zone had very little to do with the sort of horror fiction we're dealing with here. For sheer hard-edged clarity of concept, The Twilight Zone really could not match The Outer Limits, which ran from September 1963 until January 1965.

                The program's executive producer was Leslie Stevens; its line producer was Joseph Stefano, who wrote the screenplay for Hitchcock's Psycho. Stefano's vision of what the program was all about was an extraordinarily clear one. Each episode, he insisted, had to have a "bear"--some sort of monstrous creature that would make an appearance before the station break at the half-hour. In some cases, the bear was not harmful in and of itself, but you could bet that by the end of the show, some outside force--usually a villainous mad scientist bent on fooling around with Mother Nature--would cause it to go on a rampage. My favourite Outer Limits bear literally came out of the woodwork (in an episode aptly titled 'It Crawled Out of the Woodwork') and was sucked into a housewife's vacuum cleaner, where it began to grow...and grow...and grow.

                Other bears included a Welsh coal miner (played by David McCallum) who is given an evolutionary 'trip' forward in time some two million years. He comes back with a huge bald head and lays waste to the neighborhood. The first astronauts on Mars are menaced by a gigantic sand snake ('The Invisible Enemy') and in the premiere episode, 'The Galaxy Being,' a gluttonous creature of pure energy is accidentally absorbed into a radio telescope on Earth and is finally destroyed by being fed to death (?!).

                The cancellation of The Outer Limits was due more to stupid programming on the part of ABC than any real lack of viewer interest, even though the show had become slightly flabby in the second season, following Stefano's departure. To some extent, when Stefano left, he took all the good bears with him.

                "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man...It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. It is the dimension of the imagination. It is an area we call...The Twilight Zone."

                With this rather purple invocation, viewers were invited into a queerly boundless world--and enter they did. The Twilight Zone ran on CBS from October 1959 through the summer of 1964.

                Rod Serling, the program's creator, came to prominence in television's Golden Age. He apparently saw The Twilight Zone as a way of going underground and keeping his ideals alive in television, following the cancellation of the prestige drama programs that defined that period of quality television. And, to an extent, I suppose he succeeded. Under the comforting guise of "it's only make-believe," The Twilight Zone was able to deal with questions of fascism ('He's Alive,' starring Dennis Hopper as a young neo-Nazi guided by the shadowy figure of Adolf Hitler) and ugly mass hysteria ('The Monsters are Due on Maple Street'). Rarely has any television program dared to present human nature in such an ugly, revealing light as that used in 'The Shelter,' in which a number of suburban neighbors along Your Street, U.S.A., are reduced to animals squabbling over a fallout shelter during a nuclear crisis.

                Other episodes generated a kind of existential weirdness that no other series has been able to match. There was, for instance, 'Time Enough at Last,' starring Burgess Meredith as a myopic bank clerk who can never find time enough to read. (MAJOR SPOILER coming HERE) He survives an H-bomb attack, in fact, because he is reading in the vault when the bombs fall. Meredith is delighted with the holocaust; he finally has all the time to read that a man could want. Unfortunately, he breaks his glasses shortly after reaching the library. One of the guiding moral precepts of The Twilight Zone seems to have been that a little irony is good for your blood.

                If The Twilight Zone had bowed on TV in the period of 1976-80, it would have undoubtedly disappeared after an initial run of six to nine episodes. Its ratings were low to begin with, and it was up against some tough competition. But television moved more slowly in those days, and scheduling was less anarchistic. The Twilight Zone's first season consisted of 36 half-hour episodes, and by the season's midpoint, the ratings had begun to pick up.

                It was during that first season that The Twilight Zone presented 'Third from the Sun,' by Richard Matheson. Its gimmick--that the group of protagonists is fleeing not from the Earth but to it--is one that has been utterly beaten to death by now (most notably by that deep-space [1970s] turkey Battlestar Galactica). But most viewers can remember the snap of that ending to this day. It was the episode that marked the point at which many occasional tuners-in became addicts. Here was something new and different.

                In my own view, the hour-long episodes presented during the show's fourth season were among the best: 'The Thirty-Fathom Grave,' in which the crew of a navy destroyer hears ghosts tapping inside a sunken submarine; and 'The New Exhibit'--one of the Zone's few excursions into outright horror--which dealt with a wax-museum janitor (actually the wax-museum curator's assistant), played by Martin Balsam, who discovers that the Murderers' Row exhibit has come to life. In 1964, after five seasons, the series was cancelled.

                For Serling, life was never quite the same after his release from The Twilight Zone. When ABC, which had had some success with The Outer Limits, extended feelers to Serling about doing a sixth season of The Twilight Zone with them, he refused, "I think ABC wanted to make a trip to the graveyard every week," he said. The angry young man who had written Requiem for a Heavyweight began doing television commercials--that unmistakable voice could be heard huckstering tires and cold remedies in a bizarre turn that recalls the broken fighter in Requiem, who ends up performing in fixed wrestling matches. Then, in 1970, he began making that "trip to the graveyard every week" after all, though not for ABC. He signed with NBC as host and sometime writer of Night Gallery.

                Night Gallery was inevitably compared to The Twilight Zone, in spite of the fact that it was really a watered-down Thriller with Serling instead of Karloff. Serling had none of the creative control that he had enjoyed while doing The Twilight Zone. Most Night Gallery episodes were nowhere near as chilling, and the series was cancelled after limping along in one form or another for three labored years. It was Serling's last star turn. A workaholic who sometimes smoked four packs of cigarettes a day, he suffered a crippling heart attack in 1975 and died following open-heart surgery.

                What are we to make of The Twilight Zone? "I guess a third of the shows were pretty damned good," Serling once said. "Another third would have been passable. Another third are dogs."

                The recollection most people seem to have of The Twilight Zone has always bothered me. It is the concluding 'twists' that most people seem to remember, but the show's actual success seemed to be based on a more solid concept. Week after week, The Twilight Zone presented ordinary people in extraordinary situations--people who had somehow turned sideways and slipped through a crack in reality. It is a powerful concept, and surely the straightest road into the land of fantasy for viewers who do not ordinarily care to visit that land. But the concept was by no means original with Serling. Still, the program left us with a number of powerful memories, and Serling's analysis that a third of the shows were pretty damn good may not have been far from the mark.

                If The Twilight Zone is ultimately weaker than our fond memories of it would like to allow, the fault lies not with Serling but with the medium. Rod Serling was only able to do so much in the name of Kimberly-Clark and Chesterfield Kings. Then television ate him up."             
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2010, 05:09:59 PM »

I'm also putting in a vote for ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS.

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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2010, 05:57:59 PM »

Just for fun...Boris Karloff in drag in an episode ofthe GIRL from U.N.C.L.E.-with Boris kARLOFF IN DRAG!-IN THE "THE mOTHER mUFFIN aFFAIR"...

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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2010, 09:56:55 PM »

How about Roald Dahl's TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED?  It was pretty bad.  I only distinctly remember one episode.  I believe Susan George was in it and it was something about a family turning into bees.  At the beginning, they all talked with normal voices, then they started mixing buzzing sounds with their words.  By the end, all they were doing was buzzing.  I'm sure there's some sort of social commentary in there somewhere.
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