From The Cat Creature to Killdozer and Trilogy of Terror, the ABC Movie of the Week was pure TV gold

Movie of the Week logo

For anyone growing up in the early-1970s, the ABC Movie of the Week (which originally aired in the US from 1969-1976) was their earliest exposure to a world of weird, for it was these ‘big movies made for the small screen’ that both veteran film-makers and young guns got the chance to create crazy, offbeat projects, the most memorable being the ones that delved into horror, the supernatural, sci-fi and psychological terror.

Dennis Weaver in Duel

It was here that Steven Spielberg launched his career with Duel (which ended up getting a cinema release on the back of its success on TV in the US), while the late great Curtis Harrington got to make camptastic fare like How Awful About Alan; and Dan Curtis (he of TV’s Dark Shadows fame) scared the pants off impressionable kids – like myself – with Karen Black’s massive eyebrows and a murderous Zuni doll in Trilogy of Terror (without doubt my all-time favourite).

Karen Black in Trilogy of Terror

The TV strand gave veteran Hollywood stars like Bing Crosby, John Carradine, Gloria Swanson, Gale Sondergaard, Olivia De Havilland and many more the chance to show off their starry talents (although some not so gracefully – like Swanson in Killer Bees: truly dreadful), while household names like Bewitched‘s Elizabeth Montgomery showed they could do more than twitch their nose (who can forget her chilling turn as Lizzie Borden?). Roddy McDowall, meanwhile, seemed be in every one of them. The ABC Movie of the Week was also the launching pad for some of TV most memorable genre-busting shows like The Immortal, The Night Stalker, The Six Million Dollar Man and Starsky and Hutch. Truly, this was the golden age for telly movie making.

ABC Movie of the Week

Are you a fan of the ABC Movie of the Week, then why not check out the Facebook fan group (click here) or check out Michael Karol’s book The ABC Movie of the Week Companion: A Loving Tribute to the Classic Series (available from Amazon)


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on September 25, 2014, in Cult classic, Cult Film News, Disaster Movies, Home Invasion Horror, Horror, Might See, Must See, Must See, Must-See, Psychological thriller, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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