Cult TV Essentials

Cult TV Essentials: Mystery and Imagination

Mystery and Imagination was a British television horror anthology show that ran for five series  (24 episodes) between 1966 to 1970. It featured television plays based on the works of well-known authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, M. R. James, and Edgar Allan Poe.

All bar one of the first two ABC series starred David Buck as Richard Beckett, originally a character from Sheridan Le Fanu’s story “The Flying Dragon”, as narrator. Beckett was made the central character of the series, taking the roles various characters from some of the original stories. The first two series, although transmitted as two separate runs, were recorded in a single production block. The episode without Buck (“The Open Door”) features Jack Hawkins in the lead.

Only series 5 was filmed in colour.

Sadly not many episodes of the show remain. Only “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Open Door” (series 1) have survived. All the other episodes from the first three series are not known to exist, although series 4 and 5 survive. A brief clip from Casting the Runes (from series 3) also exists. Domestic audio recordings of the otherwise missing episodes “The Lost Stradivarius”, “The Body Snatcher”, “The Tractate Middoth”, “Lost Hearts”, “The Canterville Ghost” and “Room 13” also exist.

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