Classic Video Showplace

Classic Video Showplace #1: Tales of Tomorrow

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

For over a hundred years the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

Imagine “The Twilight Zone” LIVE!

That’s what you’ll experience when watching Tales of Tomorrow, a precursor to the classic Zone series that featured legendary TV and cinematic names.

Each week, Tales of Tomorrow viewers tuned in to see supernatural adventures performed live in front of television cameras.

And unlike other science fiction comic stories of that era aimed at children, Tales of Tomorrow targeted adults and geared its stories for more mature audiences.

This sci-fi thrilling series features an anthology format, with reoccurring characters traveling through the supernatural, taking on new adventures weekly in a style used decades later by shows such as The X-Files, American Horror Story and True Detective.

Included in Tales are early screen performances from:

Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cars 3)

Lon Chaney, Jr. (Wolf Man series, Son of Dracula)

Leslie Nielsen (Scary Movie, Naked Gun film series)

Cloris Leachman (Malcolm in the Middle, Young Frankenstein)

Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas) Bruce Cabot (King Kong)

Lee J. Cobb (On the Waterfront, The Exorcist)

Several of its featured stars would go on to become Academy and Emmy Award winners and nominees.

Furthermore, one of the series directors was Charles S. Dubin, who later directed more episodes of M*A*S*H than anyone else.  His other directorial credits include Hawaii 5-0, Murder, She Wrote, The Rockford Files and the 1965 television production of Cinderella, starring Lesley Ann Warren.

Tales also serves as an early vehicle for Arthur C. Clarke who, in addition to writing novels that would be made into the 2001: A Space Odyssey film series, would later be regarded as one of the “Big 3” science fiction writers of all time.

Some of the storylines for Tales of Tomorrow were “borrowed” by Rod Sterling a decade later when he made The Twilight Zone.  Tune in to see if you can spot any of the original plots that would resurface again years later.

There was also one episode in which an actor forgot that the show was live and made a classic blooper – see if you can spot it. 

Catch the RCN-TV debut of Tales of Tomorrow this coming Tuesday night at 10:30pm. The pilot episode, “Ice From Space,” features Paul Newman and Raymond Bailey. Bailey would later enjoy cult TV status as banker Milburn Drysdale on the long-running TV hit, The Beverly Hillbillies.

To see all of the classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.