‘WAY OUT: A History and Episode Guide to Roald Dahl’s Spooky 1961 Television Program

In the spring of 1961, CBS premiered a short-lived television program hosted by author Roald Dahl, titled WAY OUT. Thecreepy late-night horror program aired right before THE TWILIGHT ZONE, but spun a gruesome tale of horror for horror’s sake. With no parables or social commentary, devout fanatics with more than a few qualms about the horror material considered the program a bottom feeder’s form of entertainment. Such ghoulish delight included a headless woman at a traveling sideshow who entranced and enticed a skeptic to help her escape from the brutal carnival barker. An unhappy man decides to kill his annoying wife after he discovers there is a funeral home that offers this special service for people like him. A commanding officer of an underground military bunker must decide whether to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike after all communications with the outside world suddenly ceases.

The telecasts were quickly condemned by concerned parents who wrote letters to their local CBS affiliates with complaints, causing the program to go off the air prematurely. This book documents the entire history of the program, what specifically led to the creation and the details regarding why the program went off the air after 14 episodes. Scans of archival documents (one reprinted below as an example), photographs and production files are reprinted, along with plot summaries for episodes that never went before the cameras. For fans of the television program hoping there would be a one-stop source with tons of material about the television program, this is that book.