|Genre||Science fiction, horror|
|Written by||Roald Dahl|
Phil Reisman, Jr.
Irving Gaynor Neiman
Sumner Locke Elliott
Robert van Scoyk
|Directed by||Paul Bogart|
|Presented by||Roald Dahl|
|Starring||Various guest stars.|
|Theme music composer||Otto Luening|
|Country of origin||US|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Production location(s)||New York City|
|Running time||25 minutes.|
|Picture format||4:3 black and white.|
|Original release||31 March -|
14 July 1961
Way Out is a 1961 American horror, fantasy, and science fiction television anthology series hosted by writer Roald Dahl. The macabre black-and-white 25-minute shows were introduced by Dahl, his face projected in a disconcerting hall of mirrors effect, dryly delivering a brief introductory monologue, expounding on such unusual subjects as undertakers or frogs or murdering a romantic rival with ground tiger's whiskers.
The taped series began as CBS replacement for a Jackie Gleason talk show that network executives were about to cancel. Producer David Susskind contacted Dahl to help mount a show quickly. The series was paired by the network with the similar The Twilight Zone for Friday evening broadcasts, running from March through July 1961 at 9:30 pm Eastern time. The show's primary sponsor was Liggett & Myers (L&M cigarettes). Writers included Larry Cohen and Sumner Locke Elliott.
The only adaptation from one of Dahl's own short stories was the premiere episode, "William and Mary", a tale of a wife's posthumous revenge on her husband's disembodied brain kept alive in a bowl. In "Dissolve to Black", an actress (Kathleen Widdoes) cast as a murder victim at a television studio goes through a rehearsal, but the drama merges with reality as she finds herself trapped on the show's near-deserted set. Other dramas offered startling imagery: a snake slithering up a carpeted staircase inside a suburban home, a headless woman strapped to an electric chair with a light bulb in place of her head ("Side Show"), and half of a man's face erased ("Soft Focus").
Actors on the series included Martin Balsam, Michael Conrad, Mildred Dunnock, Murray Hamilton, Martin Huston, Henry Jones, Mark Lenard, Kevin McCarthy, John McGiver, Barry Morse, Richard Thomas, Doris Roberts, and Fritz Weaver.
Critical notices at the time were extremely good, especially for Dahl's wry commentaries, suffused with gallows humor. While the series garnered high ratings in urban areas, it fared poorly in the rest of the United States and was cancelled after 14 episodes.
The show was one of the last weekly dramatic television series produced in New York City. Only five episodes have ever turned up on [bootleg] videocassettes and DVDs; as of October 2016, however, 10 episodes were posted on YouTube. The entire run is available for viewing at the Paley Center for Media in New York City and Los Angeles. The episodes are owned by Susskind's estate.
Dahl later hosted an anthology series called Tales of the Unexpected on British television beginning in 1979.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"William and Mary"||Marc Daniels||Roald Dahl||March 31, 1961|
|starring: Henry Jones as William Pearl, Fritz Weaver as Dr. Landy, Mildred Dunnock as Mary Pearl, Barnard Hughes as Dr. Forster|
|2||"The Down Car"||Marc Daniels||Phil Reisman, Jr.||April 7, 1961|
|starring: Frank Overton as Nicholas Bayle, Collin Wilcox as Ellie, Bernie West as Mr. Alvord, Herbert Voland as The Superintendent, Larry Haines as The Radio Announcer, Ray Walston as John Ventry|
|3||"The Sisters"||Tom Donovan||Irving Gaynor Neiman||April 14, 1961|
|starring: Lois Smith as Louise, Carmen Matthews as Harriet, Paul Stevens as Paul, John Gibson as Uncle Robert|
|4||"Button, Button"||Tom Donovan||Elliott Baker||April 28, 1961|
|starring: Tim O'Connor as Captain Stone, Warren Finnerty as Sgt. Gee, William Traylor as 2nd Lt. Hubbard, Conrad Fowkes as Sgt. Burke, Sean Garrison as Specialist Willis, Lee Richardson as Canelli, Dick O'Neill as Sgt. Rockovitch|
|5||"I Heard You Calling Me"||Daniel Petrie||Sumner Locke Elliott||May 5, 1961|
|starring: Constance Ford as Freda Mansfield, Anthony Dawson as George Frobisher, Angela Thornton as Rose Thorn, George Turner as Mr. Burnly, Jean Cameron as The Operator, Neil Fitzgerald as The Doctor|
|6||"The Croaker"||Paul Bogart||Phil Reisman, Jr.||May 12, 1961|
|starring: John McGiver as Mr. Rana, Madeleine Sherwood as Cora Tench, Rex Everhart as Fred Tench, Paul E. Richards as Sgt. McGoogin, Richard Thomas as Jeremy|
|7||"False Face"||Paul Bogart||Larry Cohen||May 26, 1961|
|starring: Alfred Ryder as Michael Drake, Martin Brooks as The Face, Gerry Jedd as Rita Singer, Lester Rawlins as Fred Davis, Dana Elcar as The Flophouse Manager, Louise Larabee as The Waitress|
|8||"Dissolve to Black"||William Corrigan||Irving Gaynor Neiman||June 2, 1961|
|starring: Moultrie Patten as George, Kathleen Widdoes as Bonnie Day Crew, Richard Morse as Harry, Mark Lenard as Paul, Dan Morgan as Murderer Night Crew, James Patterson as Harry, Michael Conrad as Paul, Leonardo Cimino as Murderer Frank Daly as Victim|
|9||"Death Wish"||Boris Sagal||Irving Gaynor Neiman||June 9, 1961|
|starring: Don Keefer as George Atterbury, Charlotte Rae as Hazel Atterbury, Heywood Hale Broun as Mr. Petard, Chuck Morgan as Charon|
|10||"The Overnight Case"||Paul Bogart||Nicholas Pryor||June 16, 1961|
|starring: Barbara Baxley as The Woman, Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Paul Sandham, Martin Balsam as Bill Clayton, Leon B. Stevens as The Other Man, Helen Stenborg as Miss Wickford|
|11||"Hush Hush"||Mel Ferber||Bob Van Scoyk||June 23, 1961|
|starring: Philip Coolidge as Ernest Lydecker, Rosemary Murphy as Bernice Lydecker, Woodrow Parfrey as William Rogers, Nancy Cushman as Margaret Ainsley, Barry Newman as The Policeman, John F. Hamilton as The Superintendent|
|12||"Side Show"||Seymour Robbie||Elliott Baker||June 30, 1961|
|starring: Myron McCormick as The Barker, Murray Hamilton as Harold, Margaret Phillips as Cassandra, Doris Roberts as Edna, Martin Huston as Ronnie, Carolyn Groves as Betty|
|13||"Soft Focus"||Ron Winston||Phil Reisman, Jr.||July 7, 1961|
|starring: Barry Morse as Ronald Pell, Joan Hotchkis as Louise Pell, Mitch Ryan as Bill Fontaine, Dortha Duckworth as Mrs. Bickell, Anne Meacham as Dolly Granger|
|14||"20/20"||Paul Bosner||Jerome Ross||July 14, 1961|
|starring: Milton Selzer as Hervey, Ruth White as Stephanie, Frederick Rolf as Mr. Jellifer, Sudie Bond as Mrs. Jellifer, Tom Shirley as Huddleston|