As a kid growing up in the 90's, there wasn't too much in the realm of weirdness that I didn't watch, be it "The X-Files" or the good horror movies that the Sci-Fi Channel used to have on. There was one production, however, that gave me the chills more than any other, "Unsolved Mysteries". First airing on NBC as a special in 1987, the show would go on to do fifteen seasons on three different networks: NBC (1988-1997), CBS (1997-1999), and Lifetime (2001-2002). It had the hallmarks of a legendary TV show: A very spooky and foreboding music introduction (I get goosebumps just thinking about it!), an amazing host in the form of Robert Stack, and of course, unsolved mysteries that would both intrigue and keep you up at night! The cases featured on the show covered anything from the down to earth type, like unsolved murders, strange disappearances, dangerous fugitives, questionable accidents, to the more bizarre, such as UFOs, ghosts, psychics, and strange legends. Whatever area the cases covered though, let me assure you that at no point did any of them fail to make me want to hide under my bed. Unlike say "The X-Files", these were real cases involving real people and if that fact alone didn't give you the shivers, Robert Stack's stern and authoritative narration of events would.
With his trademark trench coat and usual abandoned road set in the background, Stack had the unique ability of both comforting and yet disturbing you on some level as well. But despite the show's spooky theatrics, it did help shed light on and solve a number of cases. At the same time though, looking at the various websites that are dedicated to the show, there are many that are still unresolved to this day. For example, the Amtrak sunset limited crash in Palo Verde, Arizona, where twenty-nine spikes were removed from the track that caused the train to derail. One person was killed, seventy-eight were injured. The only clue the FBI ever found was a few notes signed as "Sons of the Gestapo", whatever that's supposed to mean. To this day, nobody has the slightest idea who pulled that off. See what I mean? Spooky stuff. And of course, anything to do with ghosts would send my fear level through the roof, as did anything that had to do with alien abductions and strange lights in the sky. It really was a great show, one that remains as bone chilling today as it was then. A number of segments have been released on DVD box sets collating to a certain subject. Recently I just bought the UFO set and have been happily spooked by it ever since. Also, there are many segments available through you tube and the internet in general. So if you ever feel the need to scare yourself with real life mysteries, don't let "Unsolved Mysteries" pass you by. And who knows, as Robert Stack said in the beginning of each episode, "you could help solve a mystery."
P.S. Rest in Peace Robert Stack (1919-2003)