Ghost Story: Pilot Episode “The New House”

Becca and I got obsessed with this show, which lasted for just one season before it was canceled due to low rating. That’s a shame as this show feels like NIght Gallery if it remained all serious and didn’t have the abysmal comedy bits.

Even better, each episode looks like a movie, thanks to the producing skills of William Castle, and feels like one with Hammer scribe Jimmy Sangster overseeing the stories. It’s hosted by Family Affair star Sebastian Cabot as Winston Essex, who works in the elegant Mansfield House hotel, which is truly the Hotel del Coronado, the same place that Wicked Wicked was shot.

There was even a Peter Pan Records album of the show, which sadly only lasted 22 episodes, which includes a mid-season overhaul of the show’s format. We’ll get to that in a few months, but we thought it’d be fun to post each episode weekly and share it with you.

Originally airing on March 17, 1972, “The New House” has a killer TV movie pedigree, as it was directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and written by Richard Matheson. I mean, this is the team that brought us The Night Stalker.

Barbara Perkins (Betty Anderson from Valley of the Dolls and the maid of honor for the wedding of Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski) and David Birney are a couple that’s just bought a new home. As they wait for their child to be born, they learn that their home was once the site of a lynching and a hanged woman named Thomasina Barros is still there, at least in spirit, seeking new life that will allow it to enter our world. New life like, well, the baby that’s due any day now.

The format of this show is great, as the stories are given a full hour — forty-plus minutes with commercials — and the casts are always stellar, the stories frequently frightening and the sets all share a similar backlot feel. There’s also an orange cat in several episodes, which seems like a theme.

You can check out this episode on YouTube:

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