Now remastered and packed with hours of exclusive, fascinating extras, Thriller is the ultimate must-have collection for any horror or classic television fan. Featured stars include: William Shatner, Leslie Nielsen, Mary Tyler Moore, Elizabeth Montgomery, Rip Torn, Richard Chamberlain, Cloris Leachman, Alan Napier (Batman), Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), Werner Klemperer Hogan's Heroes), Russell Johnson (Gilligan's Island), Donna Douglas (The Beverly Hillbillies), Richard Kiel (Moonraker), Marlo Thomas (That Girl), Edward Platt (Get Smart), Marion Ross (Happy Days), Tom Poston (Newhart), Natalie Schafer (Gilligan's Island), Richard Long (The Big Valley), Ursula Andress (Dr. No), and many more.
The 14-disc Thriller: The Complete Series offers all 67 episodes of the series, each remastered and uncut for the first time since their original broadcast. Some 50 hours of supplemental features have also been included; chief among these are 24 hours of commentary tracks by Thriller participants like directors Arthur Hiller and Ted Post and actors Richard Anderson and Beverly Washburn (Spider Baby), as well as genre experts like Tim Lucas, David Schow, Gary Gerani, and Lucy Chase Williams. Episode promos and isolated score tracks by composers Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen) and Morton Stevens all help to underscore why no less an authority than Stephen King declared Thriller to be the best series of its type to ever air on television. --Paul Gaita
We chatted with the late Karloff's daughter, Sara--who runs Karloff Enterprises to preserve, protect, and share her father's memories--about her famous father and the Thriller series.
Question: Thriller has been something of a Holy Grail for fans of suspense and horror and television. It must be a source of considerable pride to see it finally arrive on legitimate DVD.
Karloff: Thriller has always been some of the most popular of my father's TV work. For years I have been receiving inquiries from his fans as to just when the series was going to be released in its entirety and what was holding it up and why Universal would not let it out for the fans to once again enjoy. I, of course, had no real answers to the fan's questions. So I, along with my father's fans, am delighted that the entire 67 episode series is finally being released and that Image Entertainment has done such an exceptional job with the DVDs and all of the extras.
Question: Though your father was best known as a movie star, he was actively involved in television from nearly its inception. Do you recall his feelings about the medium and Thriller in particular?
Karloff: In 1949 my father moved from Hollywood to New York. One of the major reasons for the move was to embrace the new medium of television. It was in its infancy and for those actors, like my father, who were accustomed to "take one," "take two," etc., live television could be terrifying. It was also thrilling and challenging.
My father fortunately was "a quick study" and had had almost 10 years of repertory theater training in British Columbia prior to his arrival in Hollywood. So that all helped him in his new endeavor. He loved the challenge of television and the whole new audience it gave his work. It also brought him an entire new body of work and allowed him to show the breadth of his talent.
My father had two other TV series of his own, Colonel March and The Veil, but Thriller was his favorite. He not only enjoyed his hosting duties and had great fun tailoring each introduction to the episode itself, but he appeared in several episodes. He was proud of the writing and directing by some of the finest writers and directors of the day, but the actors were first rate talent too.
Question: Like The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller is fondly remembered by viewers, some of whom saw it during its original network run. To what do you attribute its longevity in the minds of critics and fans, including Stephen King?
Karloff: Thriller was well written, beautifully directed, and had some of the finest actors performing these great shows. As if that were not enough, the episodes were not gory. They were suspenseful and intelligent. They invited the audience along on the adventure; they included the audience in the experience; they did not insult the audience's intelligence as some of today's viewing trash does.
It was the sheer quality of the content of the work of the participants--crew, writers, directors, actors, and my father's hosting--that made this magical package called Thriller and that has given it its long legs and its immense popularity with the fans.
Question: Your father appeared in five episodes of Thriller. Do you have a favorite among these?
Karloff: I really don't have a favorite episode in which my father appeared. I wish, and I think the fans do, too, that he might have appeared in a few more than just 5 out of the 67.
Question: Which aspects of the DVD set do you feel will delight fans the most?
Karloff: As with anything, it will be the new material--the extras on the DVDs that will delight the fans. I wish there were more interviews with the people who worked on Thriller, but Image Entertainment has a beautiful product that the fans have been waiting for for a very long time.
I know my father would be amazed and flattered beyond belief at the longevity and enormity of the legacy he has left and the multi-generational appeal of his wonderful work.
Please thank his fans for their continued interest in his work and his life. He truly was a lovely human being. --Paul Gaita