Thursday, January 31, 2008

TV TIE-IN - 'Mystery and Imagination'

Made by ABC television, 'Mystery and Imagination' was a TV series of period dramas that adapted stories and plays from some of the classics of horror fiction[see episode list below]. Classics by such authors as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, M.R.James, Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe etc. The series was filmed in black and white untill the last 3 episodes which were in colour. Some of the early episodes were linked by a character Richard Beckett played by David Buck. Some of the finest actors appeared in Mystery and Imagination such as Denholm Elliott ['Dracula'], Ian Holm ['Frankenstein'], Freddie Jones ['Sweeney Todd'], Gordon Jackson ['Carmilla'], etc.

It is unfortunate that many of the episodes are believed to be lost, the only known episodes to exist are the following 8 episodes - 'The Fall of the House of Usher', 'The Open Door', 'Uncle Silas', 'Frankenstein', 'Dracula', 'The Suicide Club', 'Sweeney Todd', and 'Curse of the Mummy'.

The series ran from 1966 to 1970. Each episode ran for 90 minutes.

Episode list:

'The Lost Stradivarius'

'The Body Snatcher'

'The Fall of the House of Usher'

'The Open door'

'The Tractate Middoth'

'Lost Hearts'

'The Canterville Ghost'

'Room Thirteen'

'The Beckoning Shadow'

'The Flying Dragon'


'The Phantom Lover'

'Casting the Runes'

'The Listener'

'The Devil's Piper'

'A place of one's own'

'The Tell-Tale Heart'

'Feet Foremost'

'Uncle Silas'



'The Suicide Club'

'Sweeney Todd'

'Curse of the Mummy'

The TV tie-in of the series was published in 1966 by Fontana books, the stories were selected by Bryan Douglas.

'The Body Snatcher' - Robert Louis Stevenson

'Room 13' - M.R.James

'The Phantom Lover' - Vernon Lee

'Lost Hearts' - M.R.James

'The fall of the House of Usher' - Edgar Allan Poe

'The Canterville Ghost' - Oscar Wilde

'The Tractate Middoth' - M.R.James

'Carmilla' - Sheridan le Fanu


Mario said...

The utter loss of the 1966 episode of 'Lost Hearts' verges on psychological abuse. It was an unbelievably chilling episode, much more so than the 1973 re-make, which was nonetheless pretty scary. If you saw that episode in 1966, you'll know exactly what I mean. It's hard to believe no one can ever see it.

Paul said...

I know what you mean, I would have loved to have seen this adaptation, I heard that it was a very chilling episode. It is such a shame that most of 'Mystery and Imagination' are presumably lost forever; I really hope this is untrue and that some of them will be discovered somewhere.