In 1885, I worked on an amazing television series produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. The show was ‘Amazing Stories’. It lasted for only one season; but not because of a lack of viewers.
The opening sequence, which would be considered first-year film school by today’s standards, was ground-breaking at the time.
As I remember it, Spielberg sold the concept of the show based on his name, not on a pilot he had made. Once the television show went into production, each episode was constructed and shot like a feature film. There was always multiple episodes in production; occupying many of the sound stages at Universal Studios. I was a lead painter and usually had 10 – 20 set painters on my crew. When you consider that other paint crews were comparably staffed, Amazing Stories employed a disproportionate number of local #729 members.
When the show was canceled, rumor had it that it was too expensive for television. My research on IMDB revealed that the show lasted two seasons. However, I’m almost certain that all 24 episodes were shot in one season.
I happened across the series on Netflix this evening. I recall working on a big wooden train in the mill at Universal Studios. I also worked on a living room which had been parted like the red sea by the train.
The train in the painting above, ‘Loco Notion’, is not the one we used for filming. The one shown here is something I painted from a sketch I did in the same year as the launch of Amazing Stories. Whenever a tour tram approached the railroad tracks, the train would come speeding down the rails and stop just short of hitting the tram. The voice of Mr T would shout, “Watch out sucka!”
You can see the entire Amazing Stories series here.