Ghost Story (TV series)

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Ghost Story / Circle of Fear
Ghost Story aka Circle of Fear DVD.jpg
DVD cover
GenreAnthology
Presented bySebastian Cabot (1972)
Theme music composerBilly Goldenberg
ComposersBilly Goldenberg
Robert Prince
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22 (and 1 pilot) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producerWilliam Castle
ProducerJoel Rogosin
Running timeapprox. 44 minutes
Production companiesWilliam Castle Productions
Screen Gems
DistributorColex Enterprises
Sony Pictures Television (syndication)
Release
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releasePilot:
March 17, 1972
Series:
September 15, 1972 (1972-09-15) –
March 30, 1973 (1973-03-30)

Ghost Story was an American television horror anthology series that aired for one season on NBC from 1972 to 1973. Executive-produced by William Castle, Ghost Story featured supernatural entities such as ghosts, vampires, and witches. The show's format and tone drew comparisons to NBC's Night Gallery and ABC's The Sixth Sense.[1] [2] By mid-season, low ratings led to a title change to Circle Of Fear and a change to the format.

Premise[edit]

The series was hosted by Sebastian Cabot as Winston Essex, the owner of a mysterious hotel called Mansfield House.[3] Cabot's introductions were filmed in the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, California.[4] Ghost Story dealt exclusively with ghosts, vampires, witches, and other supernatural elements.[5] Starting with the 14th episode when the show was retitled Circle of Fear, Cabot's introduction and ending monologues are no longer featured.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

Guest stars included Helen Hayes, Jason Robards, Patricia Neal, William Windom, Gena Rowlands, Carolyn Jones, Melvyn Douglas, Tyne Daly, David Soul, Karen Black and Jodie Foster.[2][6]

Writing[edit]

Several episodes were also written by Jimmy Sangster, a British screenwriter, producer and director of Hammer Films.

The episode "House of Evil" (working title "The Doll's House"), was an original teleplay by Robert Bloch (written as "The Doll's House").[7].

D.C. Fontana scripted the episode "Earth, Air, Fire and Water", based on a story by herself and Harlan Ellison. Both writers had worked on Star Trek, the former extensively.

Renaming[edit]

Beginning with "Time of Terror", the series' thirteenth episode, which aired on January 5, 1972, the series was renamed Circle of Fear.[8][9][10] The change was necessary, according to executive producer William Castle, because of low ratings. He attributed the title change to the head of the production company, Screen Gems. Additionally, Cabot was dropped as the presenter.[9] This reworked version lasted nine further episodes.[8][11]

Episodes[edit]

Pilot (1972)[edit]

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"The New House"John Llewellyn MoxeyRichard MathesonMarch 17, 1972 (1972-03-17)
A young couple (David Birney and Barbara Parkins) purchase a house that is standing on a site where an innocent woman (Caitlin Wyles) was unjustly hanged. The woman's spirit eventually takes over the family's newborn daughter.

Season 1 (1972–73)[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
Ghost Story
1"The Dead We Leave Behind"Paul StanleyRobert SpechtSeptember 15, 1972 (1972-09-15)
A forest ranger (Jason Robards) and his wife (Stella Stevens) have a television that can predict the future, including the wife's accidental death.
2"The Concrete Captain"Richard DonnerStory by : Elizabeth Walter
Teleplay by : Jimmy Sangster
September 22, 1972 (1972-09-22)
The spirit of a dead sea captain buried in concrete on the seashore haunts two tourists (Gena Rowlands, Stuart Whitman).
3"At the Cradle Foot"Don McDougallAnthony LawrenceSeptember 29, 1972 (1972-09-29)
A father (James Franciscus) learns that changing events because he dreams that his daughter is murdered twenty years later makes things even worse.
4"Bad Connection"Walter DonigerJohn McGreeveyOctober 6, 1972 (1972-10-06)
A young widow (Karen Black) receives warnings from her dead husband over the telephone.
5"The Summer House"Leo PennSeeleg LesterOctober 13, 1972 (1972-10-13)
A woman (Carolyn Jones) is trapped in a strange world between reality and nightmare—a vacation home possessed of its own malevolent personality.
6"Alter-Ego"David Lowell RichStory by : Stanley Ellin
Teleplay by : D.C. Fontana[12]
October 27, 1972 (1972-10-27)
Robert, a bored, ill boy stuck in a wheelchair, creates his own double. Robert soon loses control of the evil doppelgänger, who grows stronger as Robert grows weaker. Helen Hayes guest stars.
7"Half a Death"Leslie H. MartinsonHenry SlesarNovember 3, 1972 (1972-11-03)
Christina (Pamela Franklin) is a young woman distressed to learn of the death of her twin sister Lisa, whose spirit begins to haunt Christina.
8"House of Evil"Daryl DukeRobert BlochNovember 10, 1972 (1972-11-10)
A deaf-mute girl (Jodie Foster) has telekinetic powers along with her evil grandfather (Melvyn Douglas), who uses the child as a pawn in his quest for revenge against his family.
9"Cry of the Cat"Arnold LavenWilliam BastNovember 24, 1972 (1972-11-24)
Rodeo cowboy Dan Hollis (Doug McClure) is delighted about his new marriage to the beautiful Mariah (Lauri Peters). When a cougar brutally attacks a bull that had thrown and trampled Dan in the arena, Dan's stallion, and his former girlfriend, the other cowboys suspect that the legendary cat "Big Red" has returned while Mariah fears that she's possessed.
10"Elegy for a Vampire"Don McDougallMark Weingart & Elizabeth WalterDecember 1, 1972 (1972-12-01)
A college professor (Hal Linden) becomes a vampire and preys on his female students.
11"Touch of Madness"Robert DayHalsted WellesDecember 8, 1972 (1972-12-08)
A young woman (Lynn Loring) inherits a house after her mother dies in a mental institution. Her aunt (Geraldine Page) and uncle (Rip Torn) welcome her warmly, but neither they nor the house are what they seem.
12"Creatures of the Canyon"Walter DonigerDel ReismanDecember 15, 1972 (1972-12-15)
A woman (Angie Dickinson) is troubled by a dog which turns vicious after its master dies.
13"Time of Terror"Robert DayJimmy SangsterDecember 22, 1972 (1972-12-22)
Ellen (Patricia Neal) wakes up alone in a hotel room with no sign of her husband, Harry. She learns at the front desk that he has checked out without her, and further inquiries lead her to a man (Craig Stevens) who helps her discover what really happened to Harry.
Circle of Fear
14"Death's Head"James NeilsonRick BlumJanuary 5, 1973 (1973-01-05)
Carol (Janet Leigh), the wife of a lawyer and devout entomologist (Gene Nelson), dislikes insects and has eyes for her husband's partner (Rory Calhoun). She is susceptible when she meets a gypsy with a potion to offer, and after her husband's "heart attack" she figures to take up with the lawyer friend—until the legend of the Death's Head moth begins to come true.
15"Dark Vengeance"Herschel DaughertyPeter L. DixonJanuary 12, 1973 (1973-01-12)
A construction worker (Martin Sheen) unearths a curious box, takes it home and opens it. His wife (Kim Darby) begins to be terrorized by the object it contains: a toy wooden horse that grows into something more.
16"Earth, Air, Fire and Water"Alexander SingerStory by : Harlan Ellison & D. C. Fontana
Teleplay by : D. C. Fontana
January 19, 1973 (1973-01-19)
Six young artists (One of them played by Tyne Daly) discover ancient, mysterious bottles in a warehouse which wield an abnormal influence over them.
17"Doorway to Death"Daryl DukeJimmy SangsterJanuary 26, 1973 (1973-01-26)
When a family moves into a new apartment in San Francisco, young Robert (Leif Garrett) starts exploring and discovers an empty apartment upstairs. He opens a door that leads to a cabin in the woods, and sees a wood-chopping man who beckons to him. Robert brings his younger sister (Dawn Lyn) to meet the man upstairs, the spirit of an ax murderer who expresses an interest in meeting their older sister, Peggy (Susan Dey).
18"Legion of Demons"Paul StanleyAnthony LawrenceFebruary 2, 1973 (1973-02-02)
A young secretary (Shirley Knight) from a small town joins her more experienced friend in the city only to be baffled by the office's witch-like happenings.
19"The Graveyard Shift"Don McDougallMann RubinFebruary 16, 1973 (1973-02-16)
The unborn child of a couple (John Astin, Patty Duke) appears to be threatened by ghosts from an old horror picture studio.
20"Spare Parts"Charles DubinStory by : Paule Mason & Seeleg Lester
Teleplay by : Jimmy Sangster & Seeleg Lester
February 23, 1973 (1973-02-23)
A transplant specialist (Don Knight) dies prematurely but donates his eyes, hands, and voice to three patients, all of whom suddenly take on his characteristics and seek vengeance on his widow (Susan Oliver), who he believes murdered him.
21"The Ghost of Potter's Field"Don McDougallBill S. BallingerMarch 23, 1973 (1973-03-23)
A magazine journalist (Tab Hunter) is almost destroyed by his doppelgänger until he finds out the true identity of a hit man (Darwin Joston) buried in a potter's field.
22"The Phantom of Herald Square"James H. BrownStory by : Seeleg Lester & Ed De Blasio
Teleplay by : Seeleg Lester & Jimmy Sangster
March 30, 1973 (1973-03-30)
Holly (Sheila Larken) is charmed by James (David Soul) and begins seeing him, but as soon as she does, she finds herself terrorized by an old man (Victor Jory). As her relationship with James grows, she is surprised to discover the connection between James and the old man.

Home media[edit]

Two episodes of the series were included as bonuses in the 2009 DVD box set The William Castle Film Collection. On May 1, 2012, Sony released Ghost Story (a.k.a. Circle of Fear) - The Complete Series on DVD through its manufacture on demand (MOD) program.[13]

On July 22nd 2020 The complete series was released by Via Vision Entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia. As a bonus, it included audio tracks from the original 1972 story LP William Castle's Ghost Story — Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of Fright and the Supernatural, originally released by Peter Pan Records.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buck, Jerry (1972-03-01). "Television Shows on Supernatural Lure Viewers; More Due Next Season". The Telegraph. p. 26.
  2. ^ a b "'Ghost Story' Is Eerie New Series". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 1972-08-20. p. TV Week-9.
  3. ^ "Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot Back in 2 New Series". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 1972-09-15. p. 10.
  4. ^ Perry, Jeb H. (1991). Screen Gems: A History of Columbia Pictures Television from Cohn to Coke, 1948-1983. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 91. ISBN 978-0810824874.
  5. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 533. ISBN 978-0345497734.
  6. ^ "'Ghost Story', 'Banyon' Best". The Item. 1972-11-10. p. 7B.
  7. ^ Randall Larson. The Complete Robert Bloch: An Illustrated, Comprehensive Bibliography. Fandom Unlimited, 1986, p. 76
  8. ^ a b Clute, John; Grant, John (1999). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 408. ISBN 978-0312198695.
  9. ^ a b Buck, Jerry (1973-01-02). "Television's Fascination With Ghost Stories Ends". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. p. 16.
  10. ^ Berard, Jeanette M.; Englund, Klaudia (2009). Television Series and Specials Scripts, 1946-1992: A Catalog of the American Radio Archives Collection. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 58. ISBN 978-0786433483.
  11. ^ Jones, Stephen; Ackerman, Forrest (2000). The Essential Monster Movie Guide: A Century of Creature Features on Film, TV, and Video. New York: Billboard Books. p. 163. ISBN 978-0823079360.
  12. ^ Actual copy of script from D.C. Fontana
  13. ^ Lambert, David (2012-03-26). "'Ghost Story' - The Show Also Known as 'Circle of Fear' is Getting a 'Complete' Release!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2012-03-28.

External links[edit]

Name Ep # Region 1
The Complete Series 22 (plus pilot) May 1, 2012