AFS’ History Of Television’s Aaron Spelling Miniseries Starts 1/31, Here’s How To Tune In


For many years we have been offering a bimonthly History Of Television screening series at AFS. There we have screened television episodes and provided historical and critical insight into the filmmaking and cultural aspects of the work.

At first, the History Of Television series took place in our on-site screening room, then we moved it to an actual television studio, now, as it returns for the first time since the initial COVID-19 shutdown, we will begin offering the programs as actual television shows.

The first event happens Monday 1/31 at 7pm Central. Join us one of three ways.

  1. Tune in to Austin Public Channel 10, either on your Time Warner-equipped cable television or on Austin Public’s web stream here.
  2. Tune into AFS’ YouTube channel for the live stream.
  3. Watch on Twitch here.

Now the cool part. Over the course of the next six months we will be joined by author and television historian Amanda Reyes to celebrate the work of native Texan film producer Aaron Spelling, who changed the way television operated beginning in the 1960s. We will showcase original Spelling programs in each episode with critical and historical commentary.

The first installment of the Spelling series will focus on his early career. We will play two episodes of Spelling-created and produced series with introductions and interstitial commentary about Spelling, his collaborators and the television production environment at the time these were made.

First up: BURKE’S LAW: “Who Killed Purity Mather?” (original airing 12/6/63). In this episode, scripted by Harlan Ellison, our hero, independently wealthy District Attorney Amos Burke, tries to unravel the apparent murder of bohemian witch Purity Mather by hunting down the fellow members of her coven. The guest stars are typically Spelling: Telly Savalas, Wally Cox, Charlie Ruggles, Janet Blair, and Gloria Swanson, as a particularly eccentric black-arts practitioner.

Also: HONEY WEST: “The Gray Lady” (original airing 12/10/65). This short-lived and rather silly BURKE’S LAW spinoff starred Anne Francis as a sexy private-eye who was an expert shot and a master of the martial arts. This episode, written by future COLUMBO creators Richard Levinson and William Link, is a Hollywood-set jewelry caper with guest stars Cesar Danova, Nancy Kovack and Kevin McCarthy.

About Amanda Reyes: Classic TV lover, slasher fanatic, soap opera addict, podcaster, and stuffed animal collector. Editor of Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium: 1964-1999. Listen to Amanda’s podcast Made For TV Mayhem wherever you find your podcasts or click here.

Here’s a look ahead to February’s installment, focusing on Spellings Made For Television movie work. Tune in!

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