Debuting in 1985, the Steven Spielberg-helmed Amazing Stories was a new sort of Twilight Zone, and the network showed their faith in the project with committing to an unprecedented two year, forty-four episode run. The result was a whimsical and creepy series of stories that were unlike anything else on television.
Spielberg directed two episodes himself in the first year, “Ghost Train” and “The Mission.” “The Mission” was a one hour special which starred Kevin Costner as the captain of a World War II B-17 bomber and Casey Siemaszko as Jonathan, it’s gunner. After a dogfight, the plane heads home without any landing gear, and the crew tries to get Jonathan out from the belly of plane before it’s too late.
Other favorite episodes include “Mummy Daddy”, where an actor dressed as a mummy is mistaken for a real mummy and is hunted by the townsfolk while he runs to the hospital to witness the birth of his child. “Family Dog” was an animated show which followed the exploits of a family through the eyes of their dog.
Amazing Stories boasted a who’s who of accomplished directors – Danny DeVito, Clint Eastwood, Joe Dante, Timothy Hutton, Burt Reynolds, Martin Scorsese and Robert Zemeckis. In addition, the acting talent was second to none – Sid Caesar, Loni Anderson, Dom DeLuise, John Lithgow, Christina Applegate, Beau Bridges, Drew Barrymore, David Carradine, Kevin Costner, Lukas Haas, Mark Hamill, Harvey Keitel, Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Annie Potts and Kyra Sedgwick. Spielberg turned to longtime musical collaborator, John Williams, to compose the adventurous score.
The series developed a cult following, and garnered five of the 12 Emmy Awards for which it was nominated, but it’s quirkiness proved a little too difficult to grasp for the majority of the public. Perhaps it was just another example of a television show a little too ahead of its time. Then again, what else would you expect from Steven Spielberg?
If you remember watching this captivating series each week, we hope you’ll share your recollections of Amazing Stories with us in our comments section.