Ghost Train

Amazing StoriesThe Globe family has moved from Chicago to the family’s original farmland, a move that doesn’t excite young Brian, who has only known city life. The one bright side of the move is that Brian’s grandfather, Ompa, is moving in with them. But he too is less than thrilled about his new surroundings: on the farmland are reminders of a railroad line that once ran through here, where a train derailed because of his foolishness as a young boy. Ompa insists that the same train will be coming for him soon – and warns that the house is in its way.

Get this season on DVDteleplay by Frank Deese
story by Steven Spielberg
directed by Steven Spielberg
music by John Williams

Amazing StoriesCast: Roberts Blossom (Ompa), Scott Paulin (Fenton), Gail Edwards (Jolene), Lukas Haas (Brian Globe), Renny Roker (Dr. Steele), Hugh Gillin (Conductor), Sandy Ward (Engineer)

Notes: Lukas Haas and Roberts Blossom both went on to appear in episodes of the late ’80s revival of The Twilight Zone. In fact, Haas then went on to appear in the third revival of that series in the early 2000s. Executive producer Steven Spielberg would only go on to direct one more episode of Amazing Stories, The Mission, also during the show’s first season.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Main Attraction

Amazing StoriesHigh school football star Brad Bender has it made. The All-State all-star barely even has to try, and fully expects to be named the King of the Prom at school. He’s not quite prepared for a rule change that means he has to sell the most raffle tickets, but his popularity among the student body won’t make it too hard to sell more raffle tickets than anyone else…well, almost anyone else. He makes it a point to avoid any and all contact with Shirley, who he considers geeky and unattractive. His science teacher reminds the class of a historic meteor shower that night, and he’s not quite prepared for the meteorite that crashes into his bedroom window, which somehow magnetizes his whole body. Anything made of metal – staples, sports equipment, locker doors, bicycles, other students’ braces – sticks to Brad now. And so does another student, whose home was also hit by a meteorite, and whose body is also now magnetic.

Get this season on DVDteleplay by Brad Bird and Mick Garris
story by Steven Spielberg
directed by Matthew Robbins
music by Craig Safan

Amazing StoriesCast: John Scott Clough (Brad Bender), Lisa Jane Persky (Shirley), Richard Bull (Mr. Hiller), Barbara Sharma (Mrs. Bender), Tom Napier (wylie), Bill Allen (Cliff Rath), Nicholas Mele (Scientist #1), Joan Foley (Scientist #2), Brad Bird (Scientist #3), Dominick Brascia (Billy Johnson – Fat Kid), Isabelle Walker (Francine), Eric Bruskotter (Stan), Michael Joshua Cramer (Kid), Megan Wyss (Girl #1 Blonde), Piper cochrane (Girl #2 Darcy Cook), Larry Spinak (Geek)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Alamo Jobe

Amazing StoriesThe Alamo, 1836: Jobe is a young volunteer, part of the besieged force attempting to hold the Mexican army at bay at the Alamo. One by one, Jobe watches as his leaders and heroes are felled by enemy fire. The Alamo is about to fall, and yet Jobe swears he sees unarmed civilians in strange clothes wandering through the fort as if nothing is happening. Jobe is sent on a last-ditch mission to deliver a handwritten note begging for reinforcements, but is stunned when he darts out of the fort into…

San Antonio: 1985: …where nothing is familiar, no one seems concerned about the fate of the great free state of Texas, and everyone is oblivious to the fighting. To them, Jobe is a wild-eyed youth running through the center of town, armed with a deadly weapon, still living a battle whose grim conclusion is burned into the pages of history.

Get this season on DVDteleplay by Joshua Brand & John Falsey
story by Steven Spielberg
directed by Michael Moore
music by James Horner

Amazing StoriesCast: Kelly Reno (Jobe), William Boyett (Colonel Travis), Lurene Tuttle (Harriet Wendse), Richard Young (Davy Crockett), Robert V. Barron (Curator), Michael Cavanaugh (Storekeeper), Benjie Gregory (Sam), Dick Yarmy (VCR / Man #2), Pattie Pierce (Tour Guide), Chip Lucia (Dad)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Mummy Daddy

Amazing StoriesFilming nears completion on a movie called The Mummy’s Kiss, until a single phone call disrupts the last overnight filming: the actor in the mummy suit is about to become a father. Without thinking, he leaves the set and races off in a car that’s nearly out of gas. It stalls in a small town, where he proceeds to spook everyone with whom he comes into contact. The town is full of old legends of a real mummy, one which the townsfolk are sure has come back to haunt them. Harold isn’t the real mummy, of course…but that doesn’t mean that a whole backwoods town of suspicious simpletons isn’t suddenly out to kill him.

Get this season on DVDteleplay by Earl Pomerantz
story by Steven Spielberg
directed by William Dear
music by Danny Elfman & Steve Bartek

Amazing StoriesCast: Tom Harrison (Harold), Bronson Pinchot (Dean), Brion James (Willie Joe), Tracey Walter (Ezra), Larry Hankin (Jubal), Lucy Lee Flippin (Librarian), William Frankfather (Mayor), Arnold Johnson (Town Sage), Michael Zand (Ra Amin Ka), Len Lesser (Old Grave Robber), Billy Beck (Old Blind Man), Brian Bradley (Actor), Joann Willette (Ruta Mae), Pamela Seamon (Assistant Director), Edlen Ratliff (Freckle-Faced Boy), Dalton Cathey (Doctor), Oliver Dear (Young Grave Robber), Susan Dear (Harold’s Wife), Bill Martin (Guard)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Mission

Amazing StoriesAn American B-17 Flying Fortress takes off from an Allied airstrip in Europe, patrolling the skies during World War II. It’s the last flight for her Captain and crew, who have flown 23 successful sorties over Europe; after their 24th, most of them are going home. But a mid-air dogfight puts their future plans in doubt. The Nazi plane is shot down, but not before its debris slams into the American plane, trapping Jonathan, a young dreamer who hopes to return to the States and become a cartoonist for Disney, in the belly gunner position. Worse yet, the attack destroyed the plane’s landing gear. The Captain is capable of landing the plane on its belly, but Jonathan will almost certainly be killed. His comrades in arms pray, argue about whether to end his suffering early, and bid their farewells as the plane prepares for its fateful landing…but ultimately, Jonathan is left to draw his own conclusions as to how that landing will unfold.

Get this season on DVDteleplay by Menno Meyjes
story by Steven Spielberg
directed by Steven Spielberg
music by John Williams

Amazing StoriesCast: Kevin Costner (Captain Spark), Casey Siemaszko (Jonathan), Kiefer Sutherland (Static), Jeffrey Jay Cohen (Jake), John Philbin (Bullseye), Gary Mauro (Sam), Glen Mauro (Dave), Terry Beaver (Officer), David Grant Hayward (Mechanic #1), Peter Jason (Commander), Karen Hopkins (Liz), Anthony Lapaglia (Mechanic #2), Gary Riley (Tail Gunner), Ken Stovitz (Lamar), Nelson Welch (Father McKay)

Notes: Though the typical format of an Amazing Stories episode was a half-hour timeslot, NBC and showrunner Steven Spielberg agreed that he would direct at least one episode with an extended running time. Kevin Costner, Kiefer Sutherland and Jonathan Lapaglia all went on to greater fame after this episode. Amazing StoriesCasey Siemaszko had already been seen on the big screen (as Biff’s 3-D-glasses-wearing cohort in Back To The Future), and went on to recurring roles in NYPD Blue and Damages. Perhaps even more surprising than Steven Spielberg directing an hour of television at the height of his fame was that he got composer John Williams, one of his most frequent collaborators throughout his career, to score an hour of television. (Williams had already done the series’ theme music.) One of the orchestrators helping Williams arrange the score for this episode was Alexander Courage, better known for writing the theme tune from Star Trek. Spielberg was nominated for best director in the 1986 Emmy Awards for this episode, but lost to Georg Stanford Brown, director of the last episode of Cagney & Lacey’s fifth season. This episode’s cinematographer, John McPherson, did win an Emmy for the show’s lighting and camera work.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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