Thriller (1960–1962)
6 user 2 critic
London critic and wit Thomas Edward Griffith finds himself in need of funds and saddled with abrasive in-laws and a disapproving uncle. The solution to his problems lies in his collection of rare poisons.


Herschel Daugherty


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Episode cast overview:
Boris Karloff ... Himself
Murray Matheson ... Thomas Edward Griffith
Sarah Marshall Sarah Marshall ... Frances Abercrombie Griffith
Brenda Forbes Brenda Forbes ... Mrs. Abercrombie
Jennifer Raine Jennifer Raine ... Helen Abercrombie
David Frankham ... Proctor
Richard Peel ... Justin
Maurice Dallimore ... George Griffith
Sam Edwards ... Charles Larrimore
Seymour Green Seymour Green ... Sir John Herbert
Keith Hitchcock Keith Hitchcock ... Lord Danforth
Nelson Welch Nelson Welch ... Doctor
Donald Journeaux Donald Journeaux ... News Vendor (as Donald P. Journeaux)


London critic and wit Thomas Edward Griffith finds himself in need of funds and saddled with abrasive in-laws and a disapproving uncle. The solution to his problems lies in his collection of rare poisons.

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Release Date:

10 January 1961 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Loosely based on the life of author and artist Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, 1794-1847. The authors mentioned by Boris Karloff in the prologue all wrote about Wainewright's reputation as a poisoner. See more »


Thomas Edward Griffith: So a lamb becomes a lion, and for the sake of a serpent.
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User Reviews

A tribute to the vastly underrated Murray Matheson
1 May 2009 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

Episode 17, "The Poisoner," the first Gothic THRILLER, is a solid entry enhanced by the presence of Murray Matheson in a rare leading role (and later to be seen in "Letter to a Lover"). He portrays Thomas Edward Griffith, a 19th-century artist and author accustomed to the finer things, and determined to live life to the fullest. Chagrined to learn that his lovely bride (Sarah Marshall, daughter of Herbert) actually possesses no wealth at all, he is even more displeased by the unwelcome presence of his wife's mother (Brenda Forbes) and wheelchair-bound sister (Jennifer Raine). Adding to his woes is his miserly uncle George (Maurice Dallimore), who refuses to divulge a cent to his debt-ridden nephew. Amazingly, even after turning to poison as the solution to his problems, our hero never once loses audience sympathy (well, maybe once) as he flaunts the wheels of justice. Robert Hardy Andrews loosely based his script on the real-life crimes of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright (1794-1847), who actually was sentenced to life imprisonment in Australia, posthumously defended by no less a wit than Oscar Wilde. Director Herschel Daughterty would go on to do 14 more THRILLERs. Murray Matheson was a vastly underrated actor who did memorable turns on THE TWILIGHT ZONE ("Five Characters in Search of an Exit") and KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER ("Horror in the Heights," as the expert who divulges the Hindu legend of the Rakshasa.) Beautiful Sarah Marshall would reappear in "God Grante That She Lye Stille," but is best remembered by genre enthusiasts for her appearance in the STAR TREK episode "The Deadly Years." David Frankham would return in three additional entries: "Prisoner in the Mirror," "The Closed Cabinet," and "The Specialists." Seen in the later episode "The Closed Cabinet," Jennifer Raine was the stepdaughter of former Karloff co-star Alan Napier ("The Strange Door"), and also the mother of THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY's Brian Forster.

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