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1989: 'Tales from the Crypt' Debuts on HBO
June 10, 2012  | By Christy Slewinski
 
On this day in 1989, HBO debuted the horror anthology, Tales of the Crypt. The majority of the show's stories were adapted from a series of EC comics from the 1950s.

Each episode featured a campy intro and conclusion by the skeletal Crypt Keeper, a puppet voiced by John Kassir and puppeteer Van Snowden (who also gave life to characters ranging from H.R. Pufnstuf to Child's Play's demon doll, Chucky).

The show, which ran seven seasons, was executive produced by Hollywood heavyweights Richard Donner, David Giler, Walter Hill, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis. During its run, Tales of the Crypt attracted many of the industry's top actors and directors (and actors who also directed).

Because the episodes were produced for HBO, filmmakers did not have to conform to the same content standards as network shows, therefore the original Crypt episodes  often contained graphic violence, profanity and other content generally seen in movie theaters, but not on TV. The episodes were later edited for broadcast on Fox and basic cable. The show also spawned two separate animated kids series, Tales from the Cryptkeeper, on ABC and NEW Tales from the Cryptkeeper on CBS.

One of the show's most well-known episodes, "You, Murderer," ran in Season 6. Director Robert Zemeckis used the same computer-generated imagery he introduced in his multi-Oscar-winning film, Forrest Gump, to insert screen legend Humphrey Bogart into the cast. The episode featured John Lithgow, Sherilyn Fenn and Isabella Rossellini (in an uncanny impersonation of her mother, actress Ingrid Bergman). There's also a CGI cameo by Alfred Hitchcock during the episode's opening sequence, which happens to be a ghoulishly clever parody of Forrest Gump.

 
 
 
 
 
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