Let's not forget Roald Dahl hosted his own version of 'The Twilight Zone'
The children's author hosted a pretty scary show.
Today, most people remember Roald Dahl as the author of several beloved children's books like Matilda and The BFG.
But in the early 1960s, Dahl was briefly a television personality. The author hosted Way Out, a science-fiction anthology series that ran for one season.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? The series was a direct companion to The Twilight Zone, with both series airing on Friday nights on CBS.
Way Out may not have even aired if it wasn't for Jackie Gleason. In 1961, The Honeymooners star hosted the ill-fated game show You're in the Picture. When the ratings tanked, the network canceled the program and scrambled to put another one on air.
The Twilight Zone was such a smashing success for CBS, they decided to tap Dahl to basically write a carbon copy. Dahl also assumed the role of host, similar to Rod Serling's role on The Twilight Zone, even smoking a cigarette while introducing each episode. Of course, the show was sponsored by L&M Cigarettes.
Only 14 episodes were produced, with stories ranging from an abusive husband who chooses to keep his brain alive after death so he can watch over his wife, to a woman who has a light bulb for a head.
Way Out was quietly canceled over the summer and swiftly overshadowed by The Twilight Zone as an inferior anthology series. Dahl only wrote one episode.
Fans of Roald Dahl, or even The Twilight Zone, should give the series a shot. You can catch clips on YouTube, and the whole series is held by The Paley Center for Media.
WAY OUT - WILLIAM & MARY - 1961Directed By Marc Daniels / Written By Raold DahlSTARRING Henry Jones, Fritz Weaver, Mildred Dunnock and Barnard HughesA bullying husband allows his brain to be kept alive after his demise to irritate his wife, but she may have the last laugh.
Did anybody stick around and watch the episode?
And stay long enough for the L&M commercial, with those smoky folkies, The Limeliters?
I've got some 'Way Out episodes on c2c DVDs, many with the original L&M commercials with Glenn Yarborough and the Limeliters front and center.
Actually, one of the reasons that 'Way Out ended so abruptly was that CBS had a hard time finding an alternate sponsor (on most of the shows, CBS had to use public service announcements and network promos; L&M, which Roald Dahl was cheerfully demonstrating on-camera, had no problems at all).
In case you're interested, Martin Grams has written a book about 'Way Out, which you can find at Amazon; very brief (as was the series, comes to that), but fascinating ...