From the Golden Age of TV Anthologies: Boris Karloff’s Thriller, Season One
William Shatner in “The Grim Reaper,” in Season One of Boris Karloff’s Thriller (1961)
The late fifties/early sixties was THE golden age TV anthology genre series. Best remembered, still wildly popular and influential today is The Twilight Zone, of course, followed by Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. There were others, including the interesting TZ precursor One Step Beyond, and a show hosted by one of the legends of classic horror cinema: Boris Karloff’s Thriller.
Like Outer Limits, Thriller had a short run — just two seasons. But TV production schedules were much different then. Those two seasons gifted us a whopping 67 episodes — equal to somewhere between six and TEN seasons now, in the streaming era. Sixty-seven hour-long episodes crammed into two nine-month production periods, each shot on a five-day schedule. It’s no surprise then that the episodes vary in quality, but the series contains some real gems — episodes that hold their own alongside the best Twilights Zones and B-movies of their era.