Sunday, June 9, 2013

Classic TV: In Search Of..... (1976)

Conspiracy theorists might love this show.

In Search Of..... bowed in 1976 as a half-hour documentary series that took a close look at unexplained phenomenons and unsolved mysteries, among other things. The series lasted six years, and then, was brought back 20 years after the end of its original run. However, the revival didn't last, ending after a year or so.

Producer Alan Landsburg had produced a trio of documentaries, such as "In Search of Ancient Astronauts", prior to the launch of In Search Of..... What you might not know is that Leonard Nimoy (ex-Star Trek, Mission: Impossible) wasn't Landsburg's first choice to serve as host-narrator. Given the subject matter in a lot of episodes, it seemed as though this would've been a perfect comeback vehicle for another 60's icon---Rod Serling. The man behind The Twilight Zone & Night Gallery had passed away prior to the launch, and so Nimoy was chosen to serve as host. Nimoy even wrote one episode himself, on Vincent Van Gogh, since he'd already done extensive research on the famed painter before performing a 1-man show prior to In Search Of.....

The following episode was pulled from a 1990's broadcast on A & E, which explains the new logo, opening, and theme music. In 2002, Sci-Fi (now SyFy) attempted a revival, with actor Mitch Pileggi (ex-The X-Files) as host-narrator, but, as noted, that didn't take. Here, Nimoy examines the mystery behind the disappearance of aviatrix Amelia Earhart..........

Landsburg wrote a number of books spun from the show, with forewards by Nimoy. Good luck trying to find them these days, even at the local library.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I remember ISO!

However in my area, it was syndicated on Sunday afternoons on WWOR-TV.

I remembered the episode you speak of - the one about Vincent Van Gogh. Learning that a man cut off his own ear for love creeped me out!

Half the fun was the conjecture surrounding its subjects: what happened to Amelia Earhart, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, and Lizzie Borden.

ISO's spiritual descendents live on in cable TV. I've seen several psudo documentaries on many of the same subjects on A&E & Military Channel among other networks.

hobbyfan said...

The then NBC (now CBS) affiliate in Albany had ISO, and ran it Thursday nights and sometimes on Sunday afternoons when there was available time before the 6:00 news.

It's a pity the A & E nets (including History) butchered the original prints to eliminate the true opens.