The other day on Twitter, I re-Tweeted something about the anniversary of the Tunguska incident, which prompted a friend of mine to mention the old 1970s TV show, "In Search Of" which prompted me to remember just how much that damn show scared me as a child.
For those of you too young to have experienced "In Search Of" first hand, allow me to explain. The basic premise of the show was "do anything necessary to scare the shit out of children and scar them for life." How did they do this? By having Leonard Nimoy use a spooky voice to talk about unexplained phenomena and legends such as Bigfoot or the Bermuda Triangle or ghosts or whether aliens built the pyramids. (Of course they did!) Also, there was creepy music and every single recreation video looked like someone's last known photo. By my conservative estimate, I'd guess the show traumatized at least 98 percent of kids under the age of 10 who watched it. Much the way "Rock of Love" does to people with self-respect and a fear of bandannas today.
Most of the things that scared me as a child -- the Grinch, the Abominable Snowman, the horrible things that girl in kindergarten used to do with her snot -- no longer have the ability to shake me up. I say "most," though, because there are one or two things that put such an indelible fright into me, I'll never forgot them. I believe I've already mentioned my abject fear of the gremlin on the airplane wing in that classic "Twilight Zone" episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." Well, "In Search Of" was the other bitter fright pill that's never left my system.
Here, why not check out a clip for yourself? Tell me it doesn't have "Blair Witch" written all over it.
See? That's scary! Okay, the title music is kind of cheesy -- and yet still scary in a "bad episode of 'Buck Rogers' way. But man, were these people craftsmen or what? They knew how to scare the daylights out of you: spine-tingling narrator voice, evocative language, that little owl hoot with the curtains blowing at the beginning and images of weird 1970s people. Add that all up? Terrifying!
So what shows scared you as a child? And do you still blame Leonard Nimoy? Do tell.