People ask me all the time what got me into horror. The answer has always been simple. Growing up a kid in the 70s, I was hooked by the weekly documentary TV show, In Search Of.
It didn’t hurt that it was narrated by Mr. Spock, one of my idols at the time. His voiceover work on that show was always, and I mean always, pitch perfect. Somber, serious, Leonard Nimoy took us all on a trip to the weird and paranormal that has been noted as the inspiration for an entire generation of writers, directors and actors. I don’t think I’ve met a writer at Samhain Horror who hasn’t said this show deeply impacted their lives.
In Search Of was my classroom for the bizarre and unexplained. Every week, I sat in my living room sipping on a Nehi, huddled close to our TV that was as big as our couch (at least the cabinet was – the actual screen may have been 20 inches tops). It was where I was first exposed to Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, ghosts, life after death, real buried treasure, aliens, the Bermuda Triangle and ESP, just to name a few off the top of my head. Everything seemed and looked so real, I couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of monster and ghosts populating the same world where I rode my bike with baseball cards in the spokes and played Wiffle Ball marathons until we could no longer see the ball.
The film itself was grainy, the terror palpable as each tale unfolded. Any episode of In Search Of back then was scarier than most horror flicks. And now that I can watch them on YouTube today, it still holds true. I’ve said it many times that the baritone of Leonard Nimoy’s voice is the horror soundtrack of my life. Without him and that wonderful show, I may have never discovered my true passion.
Summer’s winding down and Halloween will be here before you know it. Now’s a perfect time to watch this show for the first time or catch up with a long lost friend. At the very least, it will explain how we horror writers of a certain age came to be.
What’s your favorite episode? I know mine was Bigfoot and my first exposure to the famed Patterson Gimlin film.