Thriller: The Complete Series
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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
Top Customer Reviews
Thriller was originally shown on Tuesday nights in it's first 1960-1961 season on NBC from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m.. Because of parents complaints that the show was too scary for school age children, making them unable to sleep on a school night, NBC moved the show in it's second 1961 to 1962 season to Monday nights at a later time from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m.. The show began with it's host, the great Boris Karloff preparing it's audience for the great horrors and terrors that you were about to see and hear. Boris Karloff not only hosted the one hour long show, but starred in several episodes as well, adding his wonderfully brilliant performances to these extremely well written horror stories. The black and white film is perfect for the super eerie atmosphere of the scary stories and it really does add to the visual terror.
Stephen King calls Thriller the best horror series ever put on television. I call Thriller the only television series that gave me horrendous and terrifying, unable to sleep, nightmares as a child and I don't mean a few of the shows, but most of them! Most of the episodes feature the most disturbing stories of the macabre, twisted murders, terror and a few crime based episodes. The crime based episodes, though very excellent, full of twists and suspense, are not my favorites, as they are not as scary as the supernatural and macabre ones.Read more ›
Executive producer Hubbel Robinson was quoted as saying "the show simply did not have enough time to find its identity". This was true on many levels. Originally slated for the 1960-61 season it was intended to be a successful mystery-suspense anthology series. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to expectations immediately. The first problem was that it was rushed into production based on Robinson's earlier successes of "Playhouse 90" and "Studio One". Robinson, along with producer Fletcher Markle and story editor James Cavanagh simply could not agree on what makes a "thriller" thrilling. The title itself was much too vague. The stories were a combination of both crime and horror, which just didn't mix well with its audience.
When the show aired its first episode in 1960 "Twisted Image", it was slammed by critics as being a repulsive story. The next show was even dubbed by critics as being "Worse than Murder". Worse yet, the audience was not tuning in. During the span of the first 8 episodes Robinson saw what he thought would be his masterpiece crumbling at its base. the critics were relentless, the ratings were low, and the sponsors were mad as a hatter.
Robinson had to make a change and FAST. After the 8th installment, new producers Maxwell Shane and William Frye were called in. Shane took over the crime shows and Frye worked on the horror stories. The new episodes, under new direction, were a combination of bone-chilling horror with supernatural overtones and violent crime dramas.
The new stories were definitely an improvement.Read more ›
MY BROTHER AND I WERE THERE on those 2 consecutive Tuesdays in June of '61 to witness the premieres of "Pigeons from Hell" and "The Grim Reaper", followed a week later by the re-run of "The Purple Room"; LORD, what a time it was--the Golden Age of TV at its horrific height!!! The "Untouchables" had largely managed to evade the censors in terms of its dark, brooding, violent content, and thus NBC and Hubbell Robinson, after weathering the initial chaotic identity crisis of the show, hit their stride as "Thriller" (running concurrently with "Twilight Zone", "Hitchcock Presents", Roald Dahl's "Way Out" and NBC's "Great Ghost Tales") began to earn its reputation as TV's All-Time Greatest Horror Show!
Even after all of the gruesome, demented stuff that has graced movie and TV screens during the past 5o years, "Thriller" still manages to rise above it. There's something that's very hard to put your finger on here...something that's somehow scarier, more disturbing than most anything you will encounter.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To take horror, mystery or a thriller and put it on TV was not done before to this degree. For its time, it was very impressionable using music, good acting, lighting and story... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
there are very very few episodes worth watching...my advise is to try and buy "the best of thriller" dvd first.Published 2 months ago by Francis A. Dabu
I RECEIVED MY ORDER ALL DVDS WERE INTACT AND NONE BROKEN OR SCRATCHED. I READ ALOT OF THE REVIEWS ABOUT THE SOUND QUALITY BEING TOO LOUD OVER THE DIALOG, I HAD NO PROBLEM WITH... Read morePublished 3 months ago by bob b
This series is little known to the casual viewer, but is a true hidden gem. I stumbled across this show on You Tube one day while searching for something else and it looked so... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robyn A. Garner
If you remember this series, you should pick up this set. If you never heard of it but are a fan of shows from the period like Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, you... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert F. Smith
Viewers who tuned into the new "Thriller" program on NBC, on the night of September 13, 1960, a Tuesday, could have had little idea that the mildly suspenseful program that... Read morePublished 4 months ago by s.ferber