Eerie, Indiana

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Eerie, Indiana
Eerie Indiana DVD.jpg
The Complete Series DVD cover
Created by José Rivera
Karl Schaefer
Starring Omri Katz
Justin Shenkarow
Mary-Margaret Humes
Francis Guinan
Julie Condra
Jason Marsden
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 19 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) John Cosgrove
Terry Dunn Meurer
Editor(s) Alan Baumgarten
Terry Blythe
Tom Meshelski
Jon Poll
Cinematography John Hora (pilot only)
Jonathan West
Camera setup Single-camera
Production company(s) Unreality, Inc.
Cosgrove/Meurer Productions
Hearst Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 15, 1991 (1991-09-15) – April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)
Chronology
Followed by Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension

Eerie, Indiana is an American television series that originally aired on NBC from 1991 to 1992. The series was created by José Rivera and Karl Schaefer, with Joe Dante serving as creative consultant.

A total of nineteen episodes were produced. The final episode aired for the first time in 1993, when the series was syndicated on The Disney Channel. The show was rerun on The Disney Channel from October 7, 1993[1] to late-March 1996.[2][3] In 1997, the show generated a new fan base, when Fox's children's programming block Fox Kids aired the series, gaining something of a cult following despite its short run. The renewed popularity in the series, encouraged Fox to produce a spin-off Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension, lasting only one season in 1998.

Premise[edit]

The series revolves around Marshall Teller, a teenager whose family moves to the desolate town of Eerie, Indiana, population of 16,661. While moving into his new home, he meets Simon Holmes, one of the few normal people in Eerie. Together, they are faced with bizarre scenarios, which include discovering a sinister group of intelligent dogs that are planning on taking over the world, and meeting a tornado hunter who is reminiscent of Captain Ahab. They also confront numerous urban legends such as Bigfoot and a still-living Elvis Presley. Although the show was host to a plethora of jokes, it also featured a serious X-Files-like tone. After thirteen episodes, one of which did not air during the network run, the series was retooled with Jason Marsden's "Dash X" added to the cast and Archie Hahn's Mr. Radford is revealed to be an imposter, with John Astin revealed to be the "actual" Mr. Radford. The final produced episode was a tongue-in-cheek, fourth wall breaking sequence of events depicting Dash X's attempts to take over as star of the show.

Characters[edit]

  • Marshall Teller, played by Omri Katz, is the protagonist of the series. With the help of his sidekick and best friend, Simon Holmes, he manages to unravel the many mysteries that plague Eerie, Indiana. Before moving to Eerie, Indiana, he and his family once lived in the city is filled with pollution and crime, which he likes. Though occasionally arrogant, Marshall is also intelligent, resourceful and quick-thinking, qualities that come in handy during his investigations. He is sometimes torn between hanging out with Simon and following his burgeoning instincts about girls. Marshall constantly compares Eerie to where he grew up in New Jersey, which is the epitome of 'normal' in his mind. He is a fan of the New York Giants.
  • Simon Holmes, played by Justin Shenkarow, is Marshall’s best friend. Due to the constant arguing between Simon’s parents, he chooses to spend most of his free time hanging out with Marshall. Prior to Marshall's arrival, Simon was a lonely child, as most of his peers in Eerie shun him. Similar to Marshall, Simon believes that something is afoul in Eerie. In the episode "America's Scariest Home Video", it is revealed that Simon has a younger brother, Harley Schwarzenegger Holmes, who was never mentioned before and never appears again.
  • Edgar Teller, played by Francis Guinan, is Marshall's father. Edgar works at "Things Incorporated", a product testing company, for a living. According to Marshall, it was Edgar's idea to leave New Jersey, and move to Eerie. During the course of the series, it is revealed that Edgar interned at the Smithsonian Institution before entering the University of Syracuse to do his undergraduate work in archeology. He later received a scholarship from NASA to attend M.I.T., where he worked on his thesis, "Matter: What is it Exactly?". As Edgar is a scientist, many fans believe that his name was a subtle nod towards Edward Teller, an American nuclear physicist who helped develop the Hydrogen Bomb.
  • Marilyn Teller, played by Mary-Margaret Humes, is Marshall's mother. Marilyn operates her own party planning business at the Eerie Mall. Ironically, as shown in "Foreverware", Marilyn is not an organised person. In episode "Who's Who", she is briefly adopted as a mother by Sara Bob, who is trying to create a perfect family.
  • Syndi Marie Priscilla Teller, played by Julie Condra, is Marshall's older sister. At the time in which Marshall introduces Syndi to the audience, she is practicing for her Drivers Ed. Test. Marshall often ridicules his sister for the awkward spelling of her name. Syndi aims to be a reporter and spends time with the Eerie police and fire department to gain experience. "The Loyal Order of Corn", was the only episode in the series Syndi was absent for.
  • Dash X, played by Jason Marsden, is a character shrouded in mystery. First introduced in the episode "The Hole in the Head Gang", Dash claims that he woke up in "Weirdsville" without any knowledge to how he got there. Dash has no memory of parents, hometown, past or his real name. Since Dash has no home, he is forced to live on the streets and eat out of Dumpsters. Dash is commonly referred to as "The Kid with the Grey Hair". People would later go on to call him the "Sneaky Kid with the Hair" and "The Kid with No Name". On some occasions, Dash would help Marshall and Simon solve some of Eerie's mysteries, most notably by helping them infiltrate the Loyal Order of Corn cult. Dash X gave himself his name in the episode "The Loyal Order of the Corn", as a reference to the mysterious '-' and '+' markings on his hands which were shared by the extraterrestrial leader of the cult. Dash X may believe that the cult leader, played by Ray Walston may be his father, but he returns to his homeworld without revealing whether or not he is.

Recurring characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

A total of nineteen episodes of Eerie, Indiana were produced before the show's cancellation. The episode "The Broken Record" was the only episode which did not air before the show's retooling and was omitted during the show's initial run on NBC, but was later added when it was syndicated on The Disney Channel and FOX.

The show's producers planned to make an episode entitled "The Jolly Rogers", which featured a group of pirates in search for buried treasure in the Teller house.[4]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
code
1 "Foreverware" Joe Dante José Rivera & Karl Schaefer September 15, 1991 1001
Marshall's mother, Marilyn, hosts a neighborhood party of Forever Ware, Tupperware style plastic containers that can keep anything fresh — and Marshall discovers that this extends to human life.
2 "The Retainer" Joe Dante José Rivera & Karl Schaefer September 22, 1991 1002
Marshall dreads visiting the Eerie, Indiana orthodontist (Vincent Schiavelli) and is fitted for a retainer that gives him the power to read dogs' minds.
3 "The ATM with the Heart of Gold" Sam Pillsbury Matt Dearborn September 29, 1991 1003
Simon, feeling left out with no friends but Marshall, comes across an ATM that gives him money to be more popular -- which also causes Eerie, Indiana to sink into a financial depression.
4 "The Losers" Joe Dante Story by: Gary Markowitz & Michael R. Perry
Teleplay by: Gary Markowitz
October 6, 1991 1004
Marshall and Simon investigate a string of disappearances when Marshall's dad loses his briefcase.
5 "America's Scariest Home Video" Sam Pillsbury Karl Schaefer October 20, 1991 1006
Stuck having to baby-sit Simon's younger brother on Halloween, Marshall and Simon fool around with their video camera. However, Simon's bratty brother manages to trade places with a mummy while left unattended, then proceeds to literally "break the fourth wall" in the monster movie by wrecking the set and harassing the film crew. Simon and Marshall learn the mummy is actually a famous actor who is doomed to keep reshooting that mummy movie, and agrees to get Simon's little brother back to them in exchange for them getting him into a happier film.
6 "Just Say No Fun" Bryan Spicer Michael R. Perry October 27, 1991 1008
Simon gets his eyes checked at the school nurse's office — and comes out with huge horn-rimmed glasses with the power to make its wearer boring and disinterested in fun.
7 "Heart on a Chain" Joe Dante José Rivera November 3, 1991 1007
Marshall and a classmate, Devon (Cory Danziger) fall for the new girl, Melissa (Danielle Harris) who needs a heart transplant. When Devon dies in a gruesome accident, Melissa receives Devon's heart — and her personality changes almost overnight. Is Melissa acting out because she feels guilty over Devon's death or does Devon's spirit live on in his transplanted heart, which is now in Melissa's body?
8 "The Dead Letter" Tim Hunter James L. Crite November 10, 1991 1009
Marshall finds an old letter in the basement of the library — and is haunted by a boy named Trip McConnell (Tobey Maguire) who won't leave until Marshall delivers the letter.
9 "Who's Who" Tim Hunter Julia Poll November 17, 1991 1011
A young artist (Shanelle Workman) in a dysfunctional family of slovenly males begins to change her life for the better when she uses an Eerie brand pencil to draw her masterpieces — and ends up stealing Marshall's mother when she draws a picture of her and signs it.
10 "The Lost Hour" Bob Balaban Vance DeGeneres December 1, 1991 1010
Marshall doesn't like the Indiana practice of ignoring daylight saving time, and sets his clock back an hour anyway. When he wakes up the next day, he finds himself all alone — save for a runaway teenage girl (Nikki Cox) and a group of garbage collectors who want the two of them dead.
11 "Marshall's Theory of Believability" Bob Balaban Matt Dearborn February 2, 1992 1012
Nigel Zirchron (John Standing), a professor renowned as an authority on the supernatural, comes to Eerie to observe an extraterrestrial object he believes will land here. Marshall immediately sees an opportunity to blow the lid off the Eerie weirdness, but is the professor really all that he claims to be?
12 "Tornado Days" Ken Kwapis Michael Cassutt March 1, 1992 1013
As the tornado "Old Bob" approaches Eerie, the citizens prepare for their annual tornado day picnic to appease him. But Marshall and Simon insist on staying home, and tornado chasing meteorologist, Howard Raymer (Matt Frewer) left by Bob on his first pass-though, returns to challenge the tornado once more.
13 "The Hole in the Head Gang"* Joe Dante Karl Schaefer March 1, 1992 1014
Marshall and Simon investigate an old mill rumored to be haunted, only to discover that it's a hoax set up by a mysterious young man who doesn't want anybody nosing around ... until they accidentally uncover a rusted gun, containing the ghost of Grungy Bill (Claude Akins) — Eerie's worst bank robber.
14 "Mr. Chaney" Mark Goldblatt José Rivera March 8, 1992 1015
Marshall is chosen to be the Eerie and Mr. Chaney (Stephen Root) as the "Harvest King" and must go face the Eerie wolf in the forest. Trouble is, none of the previous harvest kings have ever returned!
15 "No Brain, No Pain" Greg Beeman Matt Dearborn March 15, 1992 1016
Marshall and Simon help out a homeless man (Paul Sand) after witnessing him being attacked by a woman (Anita Morris) with a ray gun. It is difficult, though, because all he does is mumble nonsense, and reassemble electrical appliances into bizarre contraptions.
16 "The Loyal Order of Corn" Bryan Spicer Michael Cassutt March 22, 1992 1017
Marshall's father, Edgar joins a strange club called "The Loyal Order of Corn". Meanwhile, Dash X gets a job at the club and seeks answers about his past from the mysterious bartender (Ray Walston).
17 "Zombies in P.J.s" Bob Balaban Julia Poll April 12, 1992 1018
Facing bankruptcy due to a possible audit, Radford welcomes a new partner — a pompous businessman known as The Donald (René Auberjonois), who brainwashes the town into buying on credit.
18 "Reality Takes a Holiday" Ken Kwapis Vance DeGeneres April 12, 1992 1019
In this self-referential episode, Marshall finds a television script in the mail and suddenly finds himself behind the scenes of Eerie, Indiana where his friends and family are the actors and actresses on the show and everyone refers to him as Omri Katz.
19 "The Broken Record" Todd Holland José Rivera December 9, 1993 1005
Todd, Marshall's shy, nerdy friend with a verbally abusive father (Tom Everett), suddenly turns into a rebellious punk rocker after listening to one of Marshall's favorite records, but is the music really to blame? Meanwhile, Edgar and Marilyn worry about Syndi taking part in a police ride-along.

* ^ "The Hole in the Head Gang" is the first episode in which the episode titles are shown on screen.

Critical reception[edit]

Eerie, Indiana was well received by critics when it debuted on television. Entertainment Weekly gave it a "B" rating and Ken Tucker wrote, "You watch Eerie for the small-screen spectacle of it all — to see the way, in the show's first few weeks, feature-film directors like Joe Dante (Gremlins) and Tim Hunter (River's Edge) oversaw episodes that summoned up an atmosphere of absurdist suburban dread.[5] In his review for The Hollywood Reporter, Miles Beller wrote, "Scripted by Karl Schaefer and José Rivera with smart, sharp insights; slyly directed by feature film helmsman Joe Dante; and given edgy life by the show's winning cast, Eerie, Indiana shapes up as one of the fall season's standouts, a newcomer that has the fresh, bracing look of Edward Scissorhands and scores as a clever, wry presentation well worth watching."[6] In his review for the Orange County Register, Ray Richmond wrote, "It's the kind of knowingly hip series with equally strong appeal for both kids and adults, the kind that preteens will watch and discuss."[7] USA Today described the show as "Stephen King by way of The Simpsons", and Matt Roush wrote, "Eerie recalls Edward Scissorhands and even - heaven help it - David Lynch in its garish nightmare-comedy depiction of the lurid and silly horrors that lurk beneath suburban conformity."[8] In his review for the Washington Times, David Klinghoffer wrote, "Everything about the pilot exceeds the normal minimal expectations of TV. Mr. Dante directs as if he were making a movie, and a good one. In a departure from usual TV operating procedures, he sometimes actually has more than one thing going on on screen at the same time!"[9]

In-show references[edit]

Each episode was strewn with in-jokes and references to old films, particularly horror films and also had references to previous episodes from the show such as guest characters for example "The Twins" from "Foreverware" in the episode "Zombies In PJs" and other subtle hints from previous episodes such as the schoolchildren wearing glasses in a later episode from an earlier episode "Just Say No Fun" which was a good way to link each episode for a nice hint of nostalgia.

  • In the episode "Heart on a Chain", a scene begins with a shot of spider web before panning right to action taking place. Whilst looking at the spider web, one can faintly hear a high-pitched voice crying "Help me! Help me!", a sly reference to the 1958 version of The Fly. Also in this episode, Marshall's creepy English teacher is called Miss Annabel Lee, a reference to the morbid Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same name. Right at the end of the episode, the Grim Reaper is seen in the background.
  • In the episode "Mr. Chaney", Marshall meets a werewolf that, while in human form, goes by the name of "Mr. Chaney", a nod to Lon Chaney, Jr. who played the title role in the 1941 version of The Wolf Man. In this same episode, there is a reference to the 1981 film The Howling, a film about werewolves directed by Joe Dante, himself an occasional director of the show. There is also a mention of David Lynch's TV show Twin Peaks with Marshall exclaiming at one point 'It's you!' and the Grey Haired Kid, holding a log with which he just hit Mr. Chaney, replying 'Well, it ain't the Log Lady.'
  • In the episode "America's Scariest Home Video", an actor from a classic mummy movie is transported into the Teller home. The actor's name is Boris Von Orloff, a reference to Boris Karloff, who played the title role in the 1932 film, The Mummy.
  • In the episode "No Brain, No Pain", a leather clad woman with sunglasses utters, "I'll be back", before hastily leaving Marshall and his friends. Her appearance and quote reminisces Arnold Schwarzenegger's role as The Terminator. She was also referred to as "Mrs. Terminator" by one of the boys. Incidentally Simon's little brothers middle name is "Schwarzenegger". Additionally, an instrumental variation of the song "My Sharona" is played during portions of the episode, while the song is referenced several times. Marshall's family eats at the Dragon of the Black Pool Chinese restaurant, a direct reference to the film, Big Trouble in Little China.
  • In the episode "Reality Takes a Holiday" Marshall says, "I don't have a dog named Toto. But, if I did, right about now I'd be telling him - Toto, I don't think we're in Indiana any more", a reference to The Wizard of Oz. Later in the episode, Dash X says, "he's the kind of guy who actually believes that there's no place like home".
  • In the first episode, "Foreverware'" Marshall says, "Dad's job is one of the reasons we moved here, because, statistically speaking, Eerie's the most normal place in the entire country". This is a reference to the Middletown studies which served as a sociological case study of Muncie, Indiana in the 1920s and 1930s. Several references are also made to the popular children's show Sesame Street. For example, the two twin boys are named Bertram and Ernest, or Bert and Ernie for short. Also, when Marshall is testing a baloney sandwich made in 1974, he says, "It smells like a baloney sandwich. It looks like a baloney sandwich." This is in reference to the Sesame Street character the Cookie Monster.

Renewed popularity and spin-off series[edit]

In 1997, the show generated a new fan base, when Fox's children's programming block Fox Kids aired the series. The following year, a spin-off series was produced entitled, Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension. The series was filmed in Canada and focused on another, younger boy while still following the concept of the original show. The spin-off lasted one season. The first episode of the spin-off, "Switching Channels", features a crossover between the two shows via a TV set.

In 2012, the entire series added to the Hulu website.

Reruns of the series began on August 2012 on the now-defunct Fearnet, airing weekend mornings on their "Funhouse" block.

Book series[edit]

The Cover of The Dollhouse That Time Forgot

Following the show's "re-birth" on Fox in 1997, authors Mike Ford, Sherry Shahan, Jeremy Roberts, John Peel and Robert James wrote a number of in-universe paperback books relating to Eerie, Indiana. The books featured new stories, which helped expand the Eerie universe. Similar to the television series, the books focused on Marshall and Simon, as they continue to solve various perplexing phenomena in Eerie.

Titles in book series[edit]

  1. Return to Foreverware (Mike Ford) (October 1997) ISBN 0-380-79774-7: Marshall and Simon get jobs cleaning a strange couple's basement out and discover that they were Forever Ware representatives and also used the infamous Tupperware to keep themselves young.
  2. Bureau of Lost (John Peel) (October 1997) ISBN 0-380-79775-5: Eerie's Bureau of Lost suffers a power failure, and all of history's famous figures who went missing and/or died under mysterious circumstances (Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, Amelia Earhart, among others) are on the loose and planning to commit crimes.
  3. The Eerie Triangle (Mike Ford) (October 1997) ISBN 0-380-79776-3: Marshall and Simon try to solve the mystery of why Eerie, Indiana's town founder is not mentioned in the history books and if it has anything to do with a possible alien invasion cover-up in the 1950s.
  4. Simon and Marshall's Excellent Adventure (John Peel) (November 1997) ISBN 0-380-79777-1: Simon and Marshall suspect a new boy, Jazen, who seems to disappear into thin air as he is about to be caught, of being a time traveler.
  5. Have Yourself an Eerie Little Christmas (Mike Ford) (December 1997) ISBN 0-380-79781-X: Marshall and Simon find themselves in a Dickensian London town on Christmas Eve -- and discover that they're trapped inside a snow globe and will remain so unless they can find a way out.
  6. Fountain of Weird (Sherry Shahan) (January 1998) ISBN 0-380-79782-8: Marshall and Simon find themselves at the Old Fogey's Farm, run by Dr. Beelzebug, who has discovered a way to stop people from aging. But he uses hormones from young people to do it -- and he plans for the boys to be his next donors.
  7. Attack of the Two-Ton Tomatoes (Mike Ford) (February 1998) ISBN 0-380-79783-6: Everyone in Eerie begins eating a new line of super-juicy, super-big vegetables to get healthy, but Marshall and Simon soon find that the produce is turning the people into plant monsters.
  8. Who Framed Alice Prophet? (Mike Ford) (March 1998) ISBN 0-380-79784-4: A mysterious painting leads Marshall and Simon on the trail of an artist who makes her paintings too real.
  9. Bring Me a Dream (Robert James) (March 1998) ISBN 0-380-79785-2: When anything the Tellers dream of is delivered to Marshall's door, it's fun at first -- until the delivery van starts leaving nightmares.
  10. Finger-Lickin' Strange (Jeremy Roberts) (May 1998) ISBN 0-380-79786-0: The new chef at World o' Stuff's lunch counter is a sensation: everybody raves about her cooking, but Marshall and Simon discover why the new chef's lunch leaves people wanting more.
  11. The Dollhouse That Time Forgot (Mike Ford) (June 1998) ISBN 0-380-79787-9: Syndi and Mrs. Teller just love the old dollhouse they found at a yard sale, but Marshall and Simon aren't impressed. Still, when they see an interesting doll in a shop window, they make it a present for Syndi. But when Syndi puts the doll into the house, weirdness ensues. And when Marshall sneaks into a real-life house that looks like the dollhouse, he realizes that he's shrinking. What's the connection between all this and the peculiar new girl in school who looks just like Syndi's doll?
  12. They Say (Mike Ford) (July 1998) ISBN 0-380-79788-7: Marshall and Simon help an old woman who tells them about The Gathering of They, a secret society behind the myriad of generalizations, advice, and superstitions in society.
  13. Switching Channels (Mike Ford) (August 1998) ISBN 0-380-80103-5: In an adaptation of the series premiere of Eerie, Indiana: The New Dimension, two boys named Mitchell and Stanley find their television tuned into another dimension, where two boys named Marshall and Simon are looking for a portal into another reality.
  14. The Incredible Shrinking Stanley (Robert James) (September 1998) ISBN 0-380-80104-3: Stanley and Mitchell go to the Eerie Laundromat after Stanley's washer breaks, but when Stanley comes in contact with the laundromat's soaps and powders, he begins to shrink, and unless Mitchell can fix it, Stanley will continue to grow small until he vanishes.
  15. Halloweird (Mike Ford) (October 1998) ISBN 0-380-80105-1: Mitchell's dad is planning a special Halloween show on radio station WERD, a spooky story about invaders from Mars. Then Mitchell and Stanley find some terrific costumes at a local shop, and offer to help the proprietor organize a Halloween parade in return for letting them use the costumes for Halloween. Little do they know that they're about to get caught up in the weirdest adventure of all. Because some of the people in Eerie aren't really people -- and Dad's radio show might just turn out to be true.
  16. Eerie in the Mirror (by Robert James) (November 1998) ISBN 0-380-80106-X: Stanley and Mitchell accidentally break a mirror, but, rather than seven years' bad luck, the mirror creates an inverted reality of Eerie, Indiana. Can Mitchell and Stanley set things right without coming in contact with their inverted selves?
  17. We Wish You an Eerie Christmas (Robert James) (December 1998) ISBN 0-380-80107-8: When the Tellers find themselves on the verge of losing their home, Mitchell's Christmas cheer turns sour, and only the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Not-So-Far-Into-The-Future can help him.

DVD release[edit]

On October 12, 2004, Alpha Video released Eerie, Indiana: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 5-disc box set features all nineteen episodes of the original series.

DVD name Ep # Release date
Eerie, Indiana: The Complete Series 19 October 12, 2004

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 11, no. 6, October/November 1993: pp. 32-33, 36, 40.
  2. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 1, February/March 1996: pp. 28, 40-41, 47.
  3. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 3 (typo in magazine: should be "no. 2"), April/May 1996: pp. 26-27, 46.
  4. ^ Unproduced Eerie, Indiana episode, "The Jolly Rogers"
  5. ^ Tucker, Ken (October 11, 1991). "Eerie, Indiana". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ Beller, Miles (September 12, 1991). "Eerie, Indiana". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  7. ^ Richmond, Ray (September 13, 1991). "Bizarre TV settles in Eerie, Indiana". Orange County Register. 
  8. ^ Roush, Matt (September 13, 1991). "Eerie: Hip horror in the Hoosier state". USA Today. 
  9. ^ Klinghoffer, David (September 15, 1991). "Eerie creators' enthusiasm shows". Washington Times. 

External links[edit]