NBC (ended 1962)
Rate Show
139 votes
  • Episode Guide
  • S 2 : Ep 30

    The Specialists

    Aired 4/30/62

  • S 2 : Ep 29

    The Lethal Ladies

    Aired 4/16/62

  • S 2 : Ep 28

    The Innocent Bystanders

    Aired 4/9/62

  • S 2 : Ep 27

    Man of Mystery

    Aired 4/2/62

  • S 2 : Ep 26

    Kill My Love

    Aired 3/26/62

  • Cast & Crew
  • Boris Karloff


  • William Shatner


  • Leslie Nielsen

    Alan Patterson

  • Cloris Leachman


  • John Carradine

    Jason Longfellow

  • show Description
  • Welcome to the Thriller guide at This hour-long anthology series was hosted by Boris Karloff, who each week brought you a tale of spine-tingling suspense. Karloff would open each episode with a brief onscreen appearance (in the tradition of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"), setting the scene for the story to follow and introducing us to the cast. Occasionally the hour was divided into two or sometimes even three separate tales, and Boris Karloff himself acted in several episodes. The earlier entries lean more towards straight mystery and suspense, while later shows deal directly with horror and the occult.moreless

  • Top Contributor
  • jokipper

    User Score: 451


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (44)

    • Dalloway (in the garden where Rose died): It's so lonely here. You'd think no one was here. Frank: They probably keep this end of the house closed-up. Dalloway: Oh, no. She should never have died like this...not Rose. She should've been surrounded by people.

    • Annie: Rose, you've got company. Now, don't come out unless you're dressed. Rose (walking out from the bathroom): Why not? I've kept my figure!

    • Boris Karloff: When a man shuts himself off from his neighbors, when he conducts mysterious experiments behind locked doors, there's bound to be talk. There were those who whispered old Dirk Van Prinn was a sorcerer and worse. He might not have been remembered at all had not his research lead him to the discovery of a most unusual formula for making glass.

    • Boris Karloff: Dirk Van Prinn hanged himself before dawn. His story might have ended there if he'd have the courage to smash those spectacles. But like many another scientist, he couldn't bear to destroy his own creation. Too bad, because years later, others tried them on. In "The Cheaters," our story for tonight, a junk man named Joe Henshaw, played by Mr. Paul Newlan. A little old-fashioned lady named Miriam Olcott, played by Miss Mildred Dunnock. A nephew, Edward Dean, played by Mr. Jack Weston. And finally, a man who discovered the real purpose of the spectacles, Sebastian Grimm, played by Mr. Harry Townes. What they saw through those yellow-gold lenses, they never forgot. And neither will you, my friend, because as sure as my name's Boris Karloff, this is a thriller.

    • Boris Karloff: This is an English pub. Just the place for a little something to warm the cockles of your heart... while I chill your blood. They give you a mild claret, guaranteed to fortify you against, heh, well, against anything. If the people's clothes seem strange, well, it's because we're in 1905, when the dollar was still a dollar and a British pound was a beautiful gold coin. We're going to see three forces of evil. Three stories, each a masterpiece of strangeness and terror. In this room is a young man who is on his way to commit a murder.

    • Boris Karloff: She wants money, he wants her. Well, to satisfy both these desires, young people, someone will have to die. Drink your claret. You're going to need it. You are about to meet the extra passenger in one of the eeriest tales ever told.

    • Boris Karloff: You'll take another glass of this claret, of course. It'll brace you for a different force of evil. All the night birds show up sooner or later at a pub like this. Musicians between shows. Detectives looking for someone. Peers of the realm, reporters, actors, men about town. Flotsam of a great city. And people in trouble or looking for trouble.

    • Boris Karloff: I sometimes think--perhaps you do, too--how outrageous it would have seemed to anyone a hundred years ago, if they had been told that some day men would be doing exactly what you're doing now. Listening to a voice, watching a picture plucked as if, uh, out of the air. We've learned a lot in the last hundred years. But how much do you suppose has been forgotten in the past five thousand? You know how scientists scoff at folklore and ancient beliefs. But every now and then they amaze themselves with a discovery that our remote ancestors were right after all. Our third tale of terror contains the echo of an ancient fable that may not be a fable at all. It begins with a manhunt, a search for a murderer. A strangler, if you will.

    Show More Quotes

    Notes (32)

    • At one point, Thriller and Alfred Hitchcock Presents both aired on NBC on the same night, back to back. Ratings for Thriller averaged a 29% share, which was considered average at that time.

    • Within weeks of Thriller's premiere, Allstate (one of the show's sponsors) found some of the content objectionable, especially scenes of an axe murder and a strangulation.

    • Reactions to the first episode of Thriller, "The Twisted Image", were mixed. The Los Angeles Times wrote "slightly out of focus, but there was still enough flesh-crawling qualities to keep one fascinated." Variety wrote "Cavanaugh seemed more anxious to make his script a heart stopper than an engrossing, plausible play. He succeeded in neither."

    • This episode's story is based on the 1952 novel by Margaret Millar. The Canadian-born Millar (1915-1994) wrote numerous mystery and suspense novels that were appreciated for their sophisticated characterizations and pioneering examinations of female psychology. In 1956, she won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel (Beast in View, which was adapted for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents).

    • Details of the ghost story related in this episode, as well as the plot device used to test the authenticity of the ghost, were used four years earlier in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, "The Gentleman from America", which also centered around a man required to spend a night in a haunted place.

    • At NBC's request, Universal replaced producer Fletcher Markle with William Frye. NBC had threatened to cancel Thriller after its first six episodes because they felt the stories were all too similar and weren't pleased with the production values.

    • The frightening house used for "The Purple Room" is the same house used in the movie Psycho.

    • "The Cheaters" by Robert Bloch was first published in Weird Tales (November 1947).

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (4)

    • Boris Karloff refused to have a double take his place in the wet gutter, despite director John Brahm's insistance in the matter. Karloff did all three takes of the scene himself.

    • This episode features Boris Karloff's first acting appearance of the series.

    • The outside facade of the house in this episode was also used as the ouside facade of the Munster home on the TV series The Munsters, (1964-1966).

    • In one scene, before quaffing a glass of wine, Lloyd Bochner toasts Marion Ross (best known for her role in the Happy Days series) with the words: Happy days.

    Allusions (4)

    • Collins: Forward the Light Brigade. Collins and the Hussar quote from Lord Alfred Tennison's 1854 war poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade", a story about six hundred heroes that rode "Into the jaws of Death... Into the mouth of Hell" without knowing why they did it. It is based on the charge by Lord Cardigan and his cavalry during the Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854, during the Crimean War.

    • Frank: D'Artagnan. That's a character in The Three Musketeers. Frank references the 1844 serialized novel by Alexandre Dumas. D'Artagnan is the primary character of the novel and its sequels, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. D'Artagnan travels from Gascon to France to seek service in the King's Musketeers, and meets the three heroes: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. He eventually succeeds in his goal after much intrigue and becomes a Musketeer.

    • Frank: We're like Jean Valjean and Javert. I'm the hunted, he's the hunter. Frank is referencing Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. In the story, set in early 19th century France, Inspector Javert is the official who unswervingly pursues Jean Valjean, a man sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. Javert refuses to accept that Valjean is anything other than a ruthless criminal until the very end, when Valjean saves his life. The inspector commits suicide rather than accept that a moral man can commit criminal acts or vice versa.

    • Boris Karloff: Here is the condemned man, Robert Lamont, who desires to keep his head while others about him are losing theirs.
      Karloff paraphrases Rudyard Kipling's 1895 poem "If--", first published in the "Brother Square Toes" chapter of Rewards and Fairies. The actual line is "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you."

  • Fan Reviews (1)
  • Thriller began as a poor man's rip of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and ended as one of the greatest anthology horror shows ever made.

    By Sotaria, Apr 11, 2007