Somewhere in the crowd... sometimes you find someone very special. Someone who sees light in the dark.
March 19, 2008 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Between 1981 and 1984, the first network for kids broadcast an unusual show called THE THIRD EYE

The Third Eye was a anthology showcase of supernatural themed television shows from the UK and New Zealand – and scared the mess out of me during my single digit years.

These are the television serials that made up the anthology:






CHILDREN OF THE STONES is available on DVD (Region 2 PAL) and the INTO THE LABYRINTH was once available on PAL VHS. None of the other serials have ever been made available in a legitimate form.
posted by cinemafiend (47 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. I have new plans for the evening. A terrifying film festival.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:11 AM on March 19, 2008

I'm a little too scared to click on the links; this show still haunts my dreams. The older kids in my neighborhood used to use this series and the wolf from the Neverending Story to scare the poop out of the younger ones.
posted by Alison at 9:14 AM on March 19, 2008

Wow, I was just thinking about this show two days ago. Its commercial trailer scared the shit out of me when I was six or seven, and I never saw the actual show. Thanks for the post.
posted by interrobang at 9:15 AM on March 19, 2008

Ah, good. Kids need to be educated about the supernatural.
posted by grobstein at 9:21 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I actually had it in my head to one of these days do a post on this weird, weird show. Kudos for the fine scooping, and for the eerie lunchtime viewing.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:25 AM on March 19, 2008

I miss the early days of cable TV when they were short on programming, and would just fill time with any wacky stuff they could get their hands on. Between Nickelodeon, early MTV and USA's Night Flight I saw a lot of crazy shit as a small child.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:27 AM on March 19, 2008

Thanks for digging this up. Once every five years or so this show crawls into my head, unbidden. I'm curious if it's as gripping as it seemed when I was ten.
posted by phooky at 9:31 AM on March 19, 2008

Does anybody remember the show on Nickelodeon in the early '80s called "the Tomorrow People."
it was british, lo-fi, and creepy as hell. Great intro!
posted by JamesMCS at 9:33 AM on March 19, 2008

"I Deny you the Nidus!" Into the Labyrinth what a great show :)

New Zealand repaid the favour in the late 80's/90's though I'm pretty sure we had a bunch of NZ shows on import in the UK.
posted by invisible_al at 9:36 AM on March 19, 2008

Oh wow, yes. I remember trying to watch these shows and thinking they were too grown-up (and scary) for me. Now I realize they were just totally incomprehensible. Awesome.
posted by nev at 9:44 AM on March 19, 2008

Does anybody remember the show on Nickelodeon in the early '80s called "the Tomorrow People."

Yes! I remember a scene with a melting alien Hitler. Does anyone else remember a scene with a melting alien Hitler? Please?

Children of the Stones creeped me the fuck out. Dammit. I never wanted to think about that again...
posted by mr_roboto at 9:45 AM on March 19, 2008

My favorite of the lot was The Witches and the Grinnygog. I remember finding Into the Labyrinth quite boring. Early Nickelodeon was pretty great. I loved the kids talk show "Livewire" with Fred Newman. Some great bands played on that show.
posted by kimdog at 10:00 AM on March 19, 2008

OK. Melting alien Hitler at 3:40.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:01 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Into The Labyrinth! Holy crap! And Children of the Stones!!!! I had forgotten about these completely.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:01 AM on March 19, 2008

The older kids in my neighborhood used to use this series and the wolf from the Neverending Story to scare the poop out of the younger ones.

Whatever in the hell did the older kids want with little kid poop? Seems a strange harvest, if you ask me.
posted by grubi at 10:06 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Fun with out-of-context quotes:
"So you've come to measure our stones? Well, I never!"
posted by owtytrof at 10:17 AM on March 19, 2008

Oh my god.

I haven't even looked at the links yet, but thanks for the major forgotten-childhood-TV-rushing-back headrush.
posted by anazgnos at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2008

Does anybody remember the show on Nickelodeon in the early '80s called "the Tomorrow People."
it was british, lo-fi, and creepy as hell.

Yeah! They were always "jaunting" all over the place with their "jaunt belts".
posted by Bookhouse at 10:27 AM on March 19, 2008

I bought the Region 2 Children of the Stones and it held up reasonably well, partially due to that creepy opening music. Dug around and got the book to Under the Mountain and found that what I remembered of the show was reasonably faithful to the book, including the ending, which always seems so vulnerable to change. All but the last of these shows are available, bootlegged, off of eBay and the like. Oh, and The Tomorrow People was briefly available in Region 1.

A friend once bought us a pair of polished stones, keeping the blue one and giving me the red one. "Just like Rachel and Theo" got a quick nod from my friend. I still hold to my hypothesis that these shows are responsible for getting at least a portion of a generation of kids into the occult, which entertains me to no end.
posted by adipocere at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

How awesome. I remember these shows! Children of the Stones was the one with the creepy Wilberforce aliens! (would look, but at work)
posted by canine epigram at 10:53 AM on March 19, 2008

Children of the Stones creeped me out, in part, because Nick ran the entire series two or three times back-to-back. **SPOILER** One of the motifs in the miniseries is a period of time running in an endless loop, with those poor villagers destined to live out the same period of their lives over and over again.

Thanks, cinemafiend.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:26 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

*changes tonight's plans from "watching The History Channel" to "watching linked creepy-ass Ancient Nick videos*

Like most people my age, I have bits of weird non-American early-Nickelodeon TV shows floating around in my head. This seemed like a decent thread in which to trot a couple of them out and see if any of my fellow MeFites could identify the shows the bits came from.

I remember a scene involving a teenaged girl summoning a dead teenaged boy from a lake. A younger girl, possibly the summoner's little sister, watched from a hiding place.

Another scene involved dancing, drapey fabric and creepy, atonal operatic singing. It also might have involved the same teenaged girl described above.

posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 11:32 AM on March 19, 2008

Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger, I'm pretty sure the dancing and singing were from Children of the Stones, when the Laird/Magus of the village would conduct Druidic ceremonies with the townspeople.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:40 AM on March 19, 2008

Awesome! I loved these series, and already own Children of the Stones on DVD. Now if they'd just officially release Under the Mountain...
posted by jtron at 12:23 PM on March 19, 2008

Thank you! I think!

I can't watch these yet, but when I do I hope to find the one which involved a sorcerer named Roscoe and a roller-coaster thing that looked like a caterpillar which takes some kids to an underground somethingorother beneath a lake - Under the Mountain looks promising...

(From time to time I remember these and googling that phrase did me no good)
posted by abulafa at 12:28 PM on March 19, 2008

Whoops, looks like I'm looking for Into the Labyrinth...
posted by abulafa at 12:41 PM on March 19, 2008

Rothgo! I was mis-spelling it. Garblammit. All productivity for this day will now cease.
posted by abulafa at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2008

The Tomorrow People ROCKED.
posted by tadellin at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2008

Oh, on that note I did recently go and, ahm, find most of the seasons of The Tomorrow People and Mysterious Cities of Gold in a vain search for my lost youth. Or whatever.

The Tomorrow People rocked, but leave them in the past. They don't, ahm, hold up so well.

Mysterious Cities of Gold, though, is still surprisingly watchable. Sort of. In a wow-they-did-that-by-hand-back-then kind of way.
posted by abulafa at 12:54 PM on March 19, 2008

How could I have forgotten these? That music from Children of the Stones just brought me back to being 10 years old again. My children turn up their nose at Nickelodeon, preferring Cartoon Network. They have no idea how bizarre that channel used to be.
posted by Biblio at 12:55 PM on March 19, 2008

Creepy. Good thing I was busy being unborn during those years.

I guess I'll get off your lawn now.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 1:09 PM on March 19, 2008

i'd managed to miss "children of the stones", but my girlfriend watched it when she was young and remembered it fondly. so when we went to england a few years ago, and went on a bus trip out to Stonehenge, Avebury, and such, we had to visit with the stones in Avebury, which is where the exterior shots in "children of the stones" were filmed.

we avoided the temptation to take a side trip to the resort that served as the village in "the prisoner". too much risk of giant weather balloons.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:35 PM on March 19, 2008

While we're waxing nostalgic (and creepy), I thought I'd toss in my own two cents. Does anyone remember The Electric Grandmother?

Here's a clip of the titles, with a little extra thrown in. And here is, what appears to be, a two minute video of a filmstrip projection, which is undoubtedly how I watched it in preschool way back when.

If anyone cam locate the entire thing, I would be grateful.

For kicks, here's a video of the Ray Bradbury story ("I Sing the Body Electric") on which it was originally based, on The Twilight Zone.
posted by eric1halfb at 3:35 PM on March 19, 2008

Images from UNDER THE MOUNTAIN haunted me for years before I finally learned the name of the show - and it looks like the show has a good chance to arrive on legit DVD: UNDER THE MOUNTAIN - the motion picture is slated to start production later this year.
posted by cinemafiend at 3:50 PM on March 19, 2008

infinitewindow, thanks for the tip! I'll check that one out first.

*prepares for evening of digging on both creepiness and nostalgia*

Man, wasn't childhood awesome before Disney and Elmo got hold of it?
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 3:58 PM on March 19, 2008

Wow. The Third Eye was awesome. Really creepy stuff. Nickelodeon had good programming back then.
Under the Mountain is one of the great unsolved mysteries of my childhood. I never watched the series regularly, so I never got a sense of the story or how it ended. But I vividly remember the two kids going through the slime tunnel into the monster's lair. And that they had two glowing stones. I'm looking forward to finally finishing the story!
Thanks cinemafiend!
posted by bstreep at 7:22 PM on March 19, 2008

ok! anyone who's looking for a *quick* nostalgia shot can see the intro (as cited in the title, but not linked above) at 3:08 in this clip. If you'd like a longer nostalgia trip, you can watch that whole video, and the others cited nearby, until your reverie is ruined when you come to the uncomfortable realization that there's something vaguely dystopian (you think of soma, you think of gleemonex) about an adult, eyes glazed, blood pressure lower than it's been in weeks, blissing out on the commercial television of childhood. Or so I'm told.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:06 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

A scene from Children of the Stones catalyzed my first OCD behavior. All I remember is that some stones were either tossed down or encountered in a vaguely triangular pattern -- one long stone on the left or bottom, and two connected shorter stones meeting at a peak above/to the right.

The next image in my memory of is that of the stone image superimposed upon, fading into, or cutting to, a pair of legs belonging to someone flat on the ground. The legs were in exactly the same position as the stones, and the person was lying on his back. Dead. I don't recall whether the stones foretold his death or caused it, but something deep in my psyche resonated with the idea that some trivial, minute gesture could have catastrophic consequences. To this day, I can't sleep with one leg extended and the other bent.

I can't wait to watch these. This might one of the most therapeutic of internet nostalgia trips I've ever encountered.
posted by treepour at 10:08 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I do remember The Electric Grandmother on Special Delivery also, eric1halfb. I didn't know until years later that it was adapted to The Twilight Zone. I vaguely remember the scenes where they're picking out the parts from which their electric grandmother will be built.

Fun fact: The producer of The Tomorrow People, Roger Price, would go on to create another institution from our 80's childhoods that will hopefully come to DVD one day.
posted by dr_dank at 10:11 PM on March 19, 2008

I auditioned for Under the Mountain. They said I was too drunk to play a 13 year old. Also my hair was the wrong colour, and this was before henna had been invented.

I also have recently 'acquired' some of the earlier Tomorrow People and it really is terribly, terribly shite and borderline pedophilic. Still, my memories of it are awesome, and the unproduced script I have in my drawer that begins with a voiceover saying 'You are hearing this in your mind, on account of me being telepathic' owes it a debt of extreme gratitude.

Not having seen all the links yet, Marianne Dreams (book)/Escape into Night (TV series)/PaperHouse (movie) currently has my vote as to extreme freakiness for the very young and disturbable.
posted by Sparx at 4:18 AM on March 20, 2008

Nickelodeon in the early 80s (back when it went off the air at 8:00 and there warn't no Nick at Nite) was pretty awesome, and the British imports they showed really freaked the heck out this impressionable 7-year-old. I also remember them showing the dramatizations of the Chocky series, based on the story of the boy whose imaginary friend was really an alien consciousness who shared the kid's mind and wasn't all sweetness and light.

Yeah, pretty heady stuff for kids. But damn effective at getting our imaginations going, no matter how crap the acting or how cheap the sets.
posted by Spatch at 6:13 AM on March 20, 2008

Alright, I never saw any of these shows, but that Mysterious Cities of Gold set off a flashback trigger something fierce. There was another animated show that was almost always shown back to back with Cities of Gold, that involved an older fellow and two younger characters, often flying around in a ship or something. I don't think it was anime, but it didn't seem like american animation either - possibly French, but dubbed? My memories of it sort of resonate with comics that Moebius did around the same time (but I didn't read until later). The whole series had this eerie air of desolation to it... If someone could track that down, along with a box of Smurfberry Crunch cereal and a brown plaid couch, my 80's deja vu would be complete.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:38 PM on March 20, 2008

Scratch that, I am thinking of the Cities of Gold. The screencaps didn't seem very familiar, but the plot synopsis does. Still looking for the Smurf Cereal, tho...
posted by FatherDagon at 1:41 PM on March 20, 2008

There was another animated show that was almost always shown back to back with Cities of Gold

Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:51 PM on March 20, 2008

Hot DAMN, I remember this! I was never allowed to watch them, as I grew up in a fairly fundie household, and this was OMG SATANIC. Even the commercials used to creep me out.

I get the same vibe off this that I get from Anna to the Infinite Power. Creepy kids' movie that really doesn't seem to be for kids.
posted by cereselle at 1:53 PM on March 20, 2008

embarassing admission: anna to the infinite power assumed that the viewer had heard of the holocaust. I had not, and the scenes of anna practicing piano all day lead me to conclude that "concentration camp" meant "a camp they send you to where you have to concentrate on something". what a terrifying idea!
posted by moxiedoll at 2:09 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea

Ah HAH! I was conflating the plot of one and the images of the other... this satisfies me greatly! Thanks!
posted by FatherDagon at 2:26 PM on March 20, 2008

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