On August 31, 2010, Image Entertainment will be releasing a complete DVD series set of Thriller, the acclaimed horror anthology series hosted by Boris Karloff that aired on the NBC network from 1960 until 1962. I have the entire set on hand now and am in the process of screening the episodes for my review to be posted in the next week or so, prior to its release date on August 31. I will post a link in this thread to my review after it is posted on the forum. Boris Karloff''s daughter, Sara Karloff, was gracious enough to talk to the Home Theater Forum regarding her father's career on stage, television, and film, and the building anticipation for the release of Thriller on DVD. HTF: I understand that you were actually born on your father’s 51st birthday. SARA KARLOFF: I was. You have done your homework. HTF: Well, I try to. According to reports I read, your father was in costume, as the Frankenstein monster actually, when he received news that your mother was in labor and he went to the hospital in full costume. SARA KARLOFF: Well actually I was born when he was making The Son of Frankenstein, and I really think that is an urban legend that he did go in full costume. HTF: Well it would be a great story if it were true. SARA KARLOFF: It would be a wonderful story but no, he didn’t go in costume, they wouldn’t let him off the set in that. HTF: I imagine. What was it like being the daughter of such a famous actor? SARA KARLOFF: Well you know my father didn’t bring his work home. He was the antithesis of the roles that he played so at home he was a very modest, quiet, gentle, funny, articulate, well-read, well educated man and just a lovely human being. His name, of course, in certain places stood out like a sore thumb but at home he was certainly different than the roles he played. HTF: I have heard that he had a much sweeter disposition than you might expect from an actor who played such "monstrous" roles. SARA KARLOFF: Oh, he did indeed. He was lovely, he was a very gentle typical English gentleman. HTF: Do you have a favorite memory of your father? SARA KARLOFF: Not really, just that he was very self-effacing, a very good listener, he was the consummate professional, he was respected by everyone who knew him professionally and adored by everyone who knew him personally. As far as a father, he set high goals for himself and he expected that I do the best I could at everything that I endeavored. HTF: Among all of the roles he played, do you know if he had a favorite role? SARA KARLOFF: I think he had favorite roles at different times for different reasons in his career. Certainly, Frankenstein, the three times he played that role, it made such a pivotal difference in his life, both personally and professionally, because Frankenstein was his eighty-first film and hardly anybody had seen the first eighty so for that reason alone that was a personal favorite of his during that part of his career, he was an overnight success after 20 years in the business. I think that the 3 films he made with Val Lewton, Bedlam and Body Snatchers and Isle of the Dead. He enjoyed working with Val Lewton, he liked him immensely, they respected each other, they were both well-read well-educated men and those films have wonderful scripts, wonderful direction, they were very atmospheric, they came along at a time in my father’s career in the 40s when the horror films were fading out and my father enjoyed doing those really good fine films at that point in his career. I think later on when he had an opportunity to work with Peter Lorre and Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone doing The Raven and A Comedy of Terrors. Those old men had such a good time on the set spoofing their own boogeyman images and playing practical jokes on one another, driving Roger Corman crazy on the set, I think they enjoyed that time in their career when they reached a point that they could turn their iconic images back around on themselves, spoof their own boogeyman images, that was great fun for them at that stage. Those were favorite times. I know that he loved working with Peter Bogdanovich, on Targets, that was one of my father’s literally one of his last films, and it was a first for Peter, first in direction and writing and acting. Corman had 10 minutes of Karloff time left and gave Peter Bogdanovich the assignment of using that time as some form of vehicle, and Peter wrote Targets and directed it and actually created it and then performed in it with my father and I know my father said "Do I really have to say all of those terrible things about myself?" but it was great casting in casting my father as a fading horror screen star at that point in his life and my father really enjoyed doing that film with Peter. He had a soliloquy towards the end of the film and he did it, a rather long one, he did it in one take and the entire crew stood up and applauded and that brought tears to my father’s eyes. That was a lovely exit line for my father personally and that was a favorite of his and it is one of my favorite films of my father’s. It had a very short shelf life, or screen life rather, because it was shown during the assassination time of Bobby Kennedy and it was taken off the market but now it is back out and its on DVD and it is really a very fine film so I think that was one of my father’s favorite films too so as I say I think he had various favorites at various times for various reasons. HTF: Do you have a personal favorite of your own that may not have been mentioned by you that may not have been of your father’s favorite roles necessarily? SARA KARLOFF: No, I like Comedy of Terrors, I love to watch him play a dirty old man as he did in that film and I know that he was having such a good time and I got to visit that set, and I adored watching him in Targets because he was not just playing himself, I could just see him in that. I loved his Broadway work. I got to see him in The Lark with Julie Harris and he adored working with her and adored her as a person and recognized what a magnificent actor she was although she was very young at the time. I got to watch him in Peter Pan and he loved working with children. Unfortunately, I never got to see him in Arsenic and Old Lace. I loved his doing the Grinch, that is a family treasure, he won a Grammy for that and that’s just such a Christmas classic every year and our family just treasures that. There are all sorts of parts in my father’s career that as a family we adore. I loved the children’s albums that he recorded for Caedmon, now owned by Harper Collins, Rudyard Kipling, just those stories, and Thumbelina and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. He could do anything with his voice so those are family treasures too and or course the TV work he did. In 1949 he moved back to New York from LA and embraced the medium of television and he starred on all of the television shows of the day and again had an opportunity to spoof his boogeyman image on shows like Carol Burnett and Rosemary Clooney and then he had 3 television series of his own, Thriller being certainly the most well known and I think the best and I think the fans are just going to be thrilled when this new set of 14 DVDs comes out. It is sort of a holy grail of my father’s television work. The scripts were so good, some of which were made into television series of their own, individual episodes, some of them were made into films, the writing was so good, Robert Bloch wrote some of them, the direction was good, Ida Lupino, even Ray Milland directed one, and then they had such a wonderful variety of actors, Cloris Leachman, Robert Vaughn, Mary Tyler Moore, George Kennedy, and Mort Sahl, and the scripts were wonderful, they were terrifically not just entertaining but engrossing and intriguing and Thriller was just a gem and it is a shame it only ran 2 years and I think the fans have been waiting and waiting. I know I have letters and e-mails and phone calls with queries from fans through the years wondering why it has not been released before. Image Entertainment has just done a beautiful job of restoring it and adding extras to the discs. I think it’s just going to be a treasure trove of Karloff work for the fans who have waited so long for it. HTF: Do you remember which episodes or stories may have been spun off into other things? SARA KARLOFF: Only a couple of them do I remember but I know one that Robert Bloch wrote was called The Darkroom, I think, and it was spun off in 1981 into an NBC TV series. There is another one that Peter Cushing turned into a horror anthology called Asylum, and Christopher Lee turned one into a horror anthology called The House That Dripped Blood, and I think there is one more that I can’t remember. These anthologies and this TV series just came out of a single TV episode so that’s amazing for a TV series to have such good writing in a single episode that a whole series spins off of it or a whole anthology spins off of it. HTF: I think it is telling for a series that ran for only 2 seasons that it is so fondly remembered so many years later. SARA KARLOFF: Oh, I do too, it’s remarkable. I mean it’s 50 years. HTF: Even though it’s a little before my time, I have always been a fan of TV shows from that era like The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents and I had never seen an episode of Thriller until the other night. I was sent a screener copy of a couple of episodes and I was very impressed with it. I understand that your father not only narrated all of the episodes and appeared in them but also played roles in a number of episodes as well. SARA KARLOFF: That’s true, he did. He narrated them and introduced them but he tailored his introductions and narrations for each particular episode, he didn’t just do a taped interview that was stamped on or glued to each episode of the series. He did a particular interview and narration for each and every episode and he knew the material backwards and forwards, and he enjoyed doing it. His introductions finished with the same line and he enjoyed teasing the audience with what was in store for them, and then he enjoyed acting in those scenes that he did. It was his favorite, he really enjoyed doing it, and it ran at the same time, not the same time zone, but at the same time as Hitchcock did, and unfortunately studio politics caused it to be taken off the air after 2 years because it was immensely popular when it came to its conclusion. HTF: Now that I have seen a little bit of Thriller, I am looking forward very much to seeing the entire series and I agree, I think Image has done a terrific job on restoring the video and audio elements, so I think fans are in for a real treat. Is there anything else you would like to comment on in closing? SARA KARLOFF: I am delighted that the fans have given my father’s legacy the long life that they have and I appreciate their interest and I know they will be impressed with the DVD box set that Image has done for them with Thriller. It is going to be beautiful for them.