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Thread: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

  1. #1
    ...or die tryin! Marc Edward Heuck's Avatar
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    "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    While salivating over Fred Adelman's incredible TV Guide ads in the General Movie section, I was getting frustrated in my initial attempts to locate some of these movies in the imdb. Digging further, it would appear that a few do have listings of their own, but most have been lumped into the general heading of the late-night series ABC broadcast them under, "WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY," and even there, some titles were still missing.

    There isn't much of the history of the omnibus at the imdb page, but I think I can fathom that the bulk of these movies were shot on videotape instead of film, and that on a third of them, they were pickups from ITC's "THRILLER" series in the UK. Anyone with a better memory of this show (i.e., someone who didn't have to go to bed at 11:00 pm like I did during those years) who can flesh out the history. It looks like an intriguing, if somewhat cheap, companion piece to the beloved "ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK."
    "What can I say that hasn't already been said by hundreds of panting men with no last names?"

  2. #2
    Senior Member Fred Adelman's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Edward Heuck
    While salivating over Fred Adelman's incredible TV Guide ads in the General Movie section, I was getting frustrated in my initial attempts to locate some of these movies in the imdb. Digging further, it would appear that a few do have listings of their own, but most have been lumped into the general heading of the late-night series ABC broadcast them under, "WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY," and even there, some titles were still missing.

    There isn't much of the history of the omnibus at the imdb page, but I think I can fathom that the bulk of these movies were shot on videotape instead of film, and that on a third of them, they were pickups from ITC's "THRILLER" series in the UK. Anyone with a better memory of this show (i.e., someone who didn't have to go to bed at 11:00 pm like I did during those years) who can flesh out the history. It looks like an intriguing, if somewhat cheap, companion piece to the beloved "ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK."
    Marc:

    You would be correct on all counts. Most of those films were shot on videotape (such as the great unseen WEREWOLF OF WOODSTOCK) and look basically like soap operas, some were repeats of their 8:30 MFTV films and the rest were ITC's THRILLER series retitled to be shown in the States. Channel 11 (WPIX) showed these THRILLER episodes in the early 80's using their real titles. I'll search through my catalogs to see if I can come up with some ads of the WPIX showings.

  3. #3
    Registered User Marty McKee's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    I think the ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY titles are among the great "lost" TV programs of the past few decades. I suspect that most of them have been erased and are gone forever. I don't know how good the shows were, but their combination of favorite TV stars and genre plotting would probably make them a cool DVD package. Also the ABC WIDE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT titles, which included music specials, documentaries, dramas, and talk shows starring Dick Cavett and Jack Paar.

  4. #4
    Fanged Jonathan Douglas's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Those interested in seeing some of these again (the THRILLER lot of them), can do so in their original UK versions, it's available on R2 DVD. They may have a 'soap feel' due to being videotaped, but because they're horror/suspense, it actually adds an atmosphere of tense 'live' immediacy. It helps, rather than work against them.

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  5. #5
    Old Time TV Fan Bill Pissott's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Here is some info that I hope is of some interest:

    http://www.mediagems.de/01filmtv/thrill_menace.html

  6. #6
    Tycoon Of Industry Tim Mayer's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    I used to stay up and watch them in the summertime when I didn't have to go to bed early. Yes, they did have a "soapy" feel to them due to the videtaping. I recall an adaptation of Fritz James-O'brien's "What Was It?" that ran out of steam at the one hour mark. There was also a new version of "Frankenstein" which just didn't cut it.

  7. #7
    Old Time TV Fan Bill Pissott's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)


  8. #8
    Fanged Jonathan Douglas's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Thanks for that info, Bill. I can't believe it's finally coming, they've announced it a few times before, then pulled it back. Even though I already have it on R2, I've been waiting for news of a R1 release and being a big fan of this show, I think I'll have to buy it once more. Hopefully the sales will warrant the continuation, and the coming of the final seasons, I read Clemens intros were filmed for all 43 episodes.
    Addicted to microwave popcorn.
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  9. #9
    Old Time TV Fan Bill Pissott's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Sure thing Jonathan. I'm real interested myself in possibly picking this up.

  10. #10
    Fanged Jonathan Douglas's Avatar
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    Post Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Tvshowsondvd made a mistake though, from the photo it appears to be a 4-disc set not 3, and the running time is closer to 11 hours than 7. Ten episodes, 65 minutes each, or there about.
    Addicted to microwave popcorn.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Fred Adelman's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty McKee
    I think the ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY titles are among the great "lost" TV programs of the past few decades. I suspect that most of them have been erased and are gone forever. I don't know how good the shows were, but their combination of favorite TV stars and genre plotting would probably make them a cool DVD package. Also the ABC WIDE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT titles, which included music specials, documentaries, dramas, and talk shows starring Dick Cavett and Jack Paar.
    Here a TV Guide ad from 1973 which show both an Alan King and Truman Capote special programs along with two long-lost films.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Senior Member Fred Adelman's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    Marc:

    I finally found the TV Guide ads for THRILLER episodes that WPIX (Channel 11) showed in 1979:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Senior Member Fred Adelman's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    I found 1 more:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Fanged Jonathan Douglas's Avatar
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    Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    I loooove THRILLER, one of my favourite British TV series. Some of them, had different titles in the US where they went out as stand-alone TV movies, nice to see those ads.
    Addicted to microwave popcorn.
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  15. #15
    Registered User Mark R. Hill's Avatar
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    Wide World Of Entertainment + ebay/ Re: "THE ABC WIDE WORLD OF MYSTERY" (1973-1976)

    I too remember watching many late night shows on
    ABC's WIDE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT. I'd buy an inexpensive dvd box set to see them again.

    I remember one with Roger Corman, Vincent Price and Forrest J Ackerman? Was it a tribute ot Sam Arkoff?

    And seems like a Dick Cavett talk show was on sometimes.
    And I saw the cheap-o FRANKENSTEIN.

    I watched Vincent Price and Alice Cooper in WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE on ABCWWE in c. May 1975. I was in the hospital and had to lobby to run the TV so late. I think it was the same night (a Friday) that PLANET OF THE APES premiered on CBS. I ordered a pizza during APES and the nurses stopped in to have some.

    I've recently seen WEREWOLF OF WOODSTOCK on eBay
    for less than $10. Bootleg DVD-R, for sure.

    Here it is in 2 versions:

    For $5.00 buy now + $6.00 shipping:

    http://tinyurl.com/m7y2p

    The seller has some huffy buying instructions...

    info there: Considered a ‘lost’ film, producer Dick Clark (yes THE Dick Clark who sold his soul to the Devil for eternal youth) reportedly had all copies of this film destroyed. Seems even Devil Clark couldn’t get rid of all the skeletons in his closet cause here is a very nice print of the movie that shames him to this day!

    And this one for $19.99 on VHS:

    http://tinyurl.com/pn324
    This Has Been e-mail From:
    "Dr. Mark" Hill * The Doctor Of Pop Culture /*/ e-mail to: drmark7@juno.com
    Webpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/popmusicpopculture.

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