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This was a good show. Each episode started out with the TV screen (glass) seemingly shattering. No regular cast, each episode had guest stars who were inevitably thrown into dire circumstances and who then had to save themselves or be doomed! Thus the title.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This has been one of my favorite TV shows in the last 50 years, and
it's wonderful that other people liked it and are collectively piecing
together their remembered episodes. My favorite, by far, was
The teaser: a man is shown (the usual through-the-windshield view) driving a car, in the rain. A woman is in the back seat. Next camera view: from a distance, a car is seen breaking through a barricade, into a deep ravine, and bursting into flames on the other side. There's a scream, of course, followed by a commercial break. When the show returns, the whole thing was a woman's nightmare, and she woke up screaming. She frantically describes it to her husband: "You're driving a car. It's raining. You aren't wearing your glasses. It's in California, on Horseshoe Mountain Road. There's a strange woman in the back of the car. It breaks through a barricade where Horseshoe Mountain bridge has been washed out, and crashes on the other side." Her husband comforts her. "It's only a dream. Why would I be driving in California? We're in New York! And with a strange woman in the car? And you know I never drive without my glasses."
Then the phone rings. It turns out the man is a diplomat working with the new United Nations, which was headquartered in San Francisco at the time. "I have to be at the opening of the UN General Assembly session in the morning. I have to fly out tonight." "But... it's in California!"
One thing after another happens. He drops his glasses on the plane, and another passenger steps on them and breaks them. The ominous words ring in his head: "You aren't wearing your glasses." Bad weather forces the plane to land at Stockton, and they will bus people the rest of the way. He grouses to the powers that be, because he will miss the UN session. Another passenger on the plane also can't wait for the bus, and he and his wife rent a car to go to San Francisco, giving our friend a ride. Off they go. Somehow, they phone back to the airline and find out that the storm is lifting and the flight will be able to continue, so they have to go back to Stockton. I guess the other man knows a shortcut or something. His wife is ill and he needs to take her to the hospital. She has an attack of whatever it is, and he has to stop driving and take care of her (drug injections?) in the back seat. Our friend must drive. He balks. He's broken his glasses, and never drives without them. But he's told he has no choice, so he drives. More ominous words ring out: "YOU are driving." "It's raining." "There's a woman in the car." Then he passes a sign "Horseshoe Mountain Road", but doesn't see it because he's not wearing his glasses. The other man says something like "It's just a little bit farther, after Horseshoe Mountain Bridge."
Our friend slams on the brakes. "What did you do that for?" "The bridge is washed out!" "That's ridiculous! What makes you think that?" "I know it. Believe me, the bridge is washed out!" The two men get out of the car, and they walk a short distance down an incline toward where the bridge is. Sure enough, it's washed out, and there's a wooden barricade. Then the car starts rolling down the incline past them. The woman opens the car door and rolls out, screaming. The car bursts through the barricade to a fiery crash in the ravine.
"How did you know that?" "My wife dreamed it last night."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Panic was one of the all time great thriller shows of my youth. It,
along with "One Step Beyond" and "Thriller", hosted by Boris Karloff
were truly scary stuff.
I seem to recall the beginning of each show, which showed a hand in fire.
One show I recall quite well, involved a performer, who needed to be made up to look like a horribly disfigured person, for his act on stage. He has his assistants find and hire and hire the most horribly disfigured person they can find, so he could make himself up to look like this person. He does so and has a great performance. The problem occurs afterwords as he discovers that the makeup has become permanent! Now, he has become this horribly disfigured homeless person! It's unfortunate that none of these episodes seem to be available any longer. Possibly, someone will find them someday in some archive?
One of the best things about the show was the voice-over at the beginning of each episode done by Westbrook Van Voorhis (you just don't see names like that anymore.) He had a great deep voice that added much intensity to the show intros. I only remember fragments of episodes, one had a scene with two boys hiding under a porch and overhearing some sinister conversation, and the other episode had something to do with a lighthouse. I believe that when I was watching this show in Washington DC, it was on at the same time as "Twilight Zone" and it was always a tough decision which one to watch. I hope these shows are not totally lost or destroyed, so we can see them again.
I wish I had the episode listings of this old show. You were always on
the edge of your seat watching the predicaments the characters got
into. Here are three I remember:
1) My favorite episode was the one where Mercedes McCambridge played a young deaf woman who still lived at home with her struggling parents. She was going to a school for the deaf and seeing ear doctors (pun?)periodically. One day her ear doctor solves her hearing problem. She comes home to excitedly tell her parents that she can hear, only to overhear them plotting her death (for the insurance money I presume). I nearly had a heart attack!
2) A businessman gets a new job in a high-rise office building (25th floor or so). He gets hired on a Friday and decides to bring his family down to the office on Saturday to see it. He uses his key to get in and take the elevator up to the 25th floor. While they are looking at his office a fire breaks out (in the elevator?). The phones weren't working on the weekend, and the stairs were the only way down. For the life of me I can't remember what happened at the end!
3) This one is real fuzzy, but it has to do with a couple of young boys left together while their mother runs to the store. They decide to make some peanut butter sandwiches, but they are tainted with botulism (I don't remember why or how). I think they were ready to take their first bites when the mother returned home.
Probably will never be seen in reruns. I don't think there were more than
or so episodes ever made. I recall my favorite episode that featured a
little boy who was notorious for lying. He is wandering through a desolate
area not far from the town where he lives and comes upon a truck that has
fallen into a pit or hole. It's a circus truck. At the bottom of the hole
a man (the driver) with a broken leg who is trying to fend off a tiger. How
does the boy (remember, a notorious liar) convince the townspeople what has
happened and that the man needs help quickly?
"Panic" was also in syndication for one year, I believe, in the very late 1950's or early 1960's under the title "No Warning"
I remember seeing this in reruns in England when I was around 5 (about 1964). The episode I remember best was about a man, I think he was a professor, who was transporting a deadly snake on a passenger liner. The snake somehow breaks loose and could be anywhere on the ship. They finally find it and the professor subdues it by tying a cloth soaked in ether around a cane and using that to knock the snake out. In another I remember a man in a wheelchair was trapped in a fire. I seem to vaguely remember that he used a ham radio to save himself. I don't remember that episode all that well though. I do remember the series as being a real nail biter though. Wish they'd rerun it or make it available on video.
I just now remembered another episode of the short-lived TV series Panic. This one involved a Catholic priest. He hears the confession of a stranger, who confesses to planting a bomb somewhere in the city. - But before he can reveal where he planted the bomb, he dies of a heart attack. Now the priest is forbidden to reveal what he heard in the confessional - thus his panic. - What the priest is able to do, however, is find the bomb himself -- which is the story line of this episode.
i was only 9 years old when this show was on the air, which may be one reason it was so memorable. the most unique thing about the show was the opening. a narrator introduced a character and gave a time in minutes and seconds when he (or she) would become involved in a harrowing situation. for example: "this is mr. smith. in 2 minutes and 36 seconds he will be in PANIC"! then in that announced time the character would get into some unforseen trouble and would indeed become panicky! the title then came on the screen and shattered into hundreds of pieces. the rest of the show would be how the victims of the situation were saved from their predicament. i think it was always a happy ending. i don't recall anybody actually dying as a result of the initially dangerous (and potentially more dangerous) plot set-up. another reviewer mentioned the plot involving the little boy finding a man trapped in a tank with a tiger. the boy was known in town as a liar so nobody believes him when he tries to get help. in this case, the title could refer to either the boy or the man in the tank. the only other plot i remember vaguely was a woman trapped in a closed and darkened theater with a maniacal killer. i would love to have somebody contact me who remembers more shows of this series.
It was the scariest show (of course I was only 8 years old) but even to this day I recall the opening with the cracked glass. Does anyone know where I can get copies of the show? I've looked on amazon and ebay without any luck. The one episode I recall was a painter or mechanic or somebody like that who was working inside a water tower. He got trapped and had to be rescued. But he was petrified and went a little nuts and the guy who rescued him had to subdue him in the dark inside this metal container. It was creepy and made me claustrophobic just watching it. I recall that he threw a wrench at his rescuer and the way it clanged on the side of the tower scared me.
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