Monday, October 12, 2009


In 1980, WGBH in Boston began producing the Mystery! series which is still running on PBS stations today. This series is dedicated to presenting classic and contemporary British mystery and crime fiction stories as complete films which range in length from one to six hours (in one hour installments). In the tradition of Masterpiece Theater, each episode in the series is introduced by a host. The host of season one was film critic Gene Shalit, who was replaced by classic horror film actor Vincent Price. After hosting the series from 1981 - 1989, Mr. Price relinquished the role of host to Dame Diana Rigg. Today, the series is introduced by actor Alan Cummings. I have a poster from the first season.

To those unfamiliar with the works of Edward Gorey, the trained Goreyphile can usually say, "Have you seen Mystery! on PBS? He did the cartoons at the beginning and end of the show". This will usually produce recognition, although not as much as it used to since the series is only broadcast sporadically today. The interesting thing is that Mr. Gorey had little to do with the actual production of the cartoons or the set that the host appeared in (a practice now sadly discontinued), both of which are pastiches of Mr. Gorey's drawing style.

In a 1996 interview, Edward Gorey stated that he started drawing backgrounds for the animated sequences, but that the producers of the show changed their minds so often that he finally threw his hands up and turned the entire project over to the animator, Derek Lamb. The earliest version of the animated sequence (taken from is shown below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am proud to say I have an original copy of the promotional poster, it's absolutely gorey-geous!