GHOST STORY “The New House.” NBC. Pilot episode, 60m, 17 March 1972. Sebastian Cabot (host), David Birney, Barbara Parkins, Sam Jaffe, Jeanette Nolan, Caitlin Wyles. Written by Richard Matheson. Producer: William Castle. Director: John Llewellyn Moxey.

   As the pilot film for a proposed series, Ghost Story: The New House was aired in the spring of 1972, paired up, I am told, with the pilot for another series, the name of which I do not know, nor of course do I know whether the other would-be series was successful or not. [LATER: But see the first comment!] Ghost Story was picked up, however, with the first episode of its first and only season airing on 15 September 1972.

   There were in total 23 episodes in this anthology series with a supernatural slant, including the pilot, but it ran into difficulty 13 shows into the run. The series went off the air briefly on 22 December 1972, and when it came back on 5 January 1973 under the title Circle of Fear. Sebastian Cabot as the host was dropped, and the emphasis was no longer on ghost stories.

   Ghost Story came along a year before Thriller, a somewhat similar series created by Brian Clemens appeared in the UK, and even though the shows I’ve seen so far from the latter have been uneven in quality, unfortunately I think the worst has been better than “The New House.”

   What it is is the story of a young couple, the wife pregnant, who move into a new house, only to find that it was built on the land where a young girl in the 18th century was hanged for stealing a loaf of bread. Soon the wife begins to hear strange noises at night, with no apparent cause, even though she wakes her husband up to go check. He is very exasperated by this, since he hears nothing.

   There was one short scene that made me jump, close to the end with the power off (in the story) and a thunderstorm crashing all around the house, the wife alone with the newly born baby.

   Other than that, I was not convinced. Neither star seemed to really get into the spirit of things, nor — even though I am sure this was done deliberately — do I believe that newly built homes in the US with dishwashers and modern two-car garages are conducive to ghostly hauntings. They seem to do this kind of story a whole lot better in England.

   I also think that once you accept the premise that ghosts can exist, and that they are not necessarily friendly, that they ought to act logically, not bang around and make nuisances of themselves when they really have evil intent in mind.