Friday the 13th: The Series

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Friday the 13th: The Series
Friday The 13th The Series.jpg
GenreHorror
Created byFrank Mancuso, Jr.
Larry B. Williams
StarringLouise Robey
John D. LeMay
Steve Monarque
Chris Wiggins
Composer(s)Fred Mollin
Country of originUnited States
Canada
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes72 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Frank Mancuso, Jr.
Producer(s)Iain Paterson
CinematographyRodney Charters
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Lexicon Productions
Triumph Entertainment Corporation
Variety Artists International
Hometown Films
Paramount Domestic Television
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channelSyndication
Audio formatMonaural
Original runOctober 3, 1987 (1987-10-03) – May 26, 1990 (1990-05-26)
 
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Friday the 13th: The Series
Friday The 13th The Series.jpg
GenreHorror
Created byFrank Mancuso, Jr.
Larry B. Williams
StarringLouise Robey
John D. LeMay
Steve Monarque
Chris Wiggins
Composer(s)Fred Mollin
Country of originUnited States
Canada
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes72 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Frank Mancuso, Jr.
Producer(s)Iain Paterson
CinematographyRodney Charters
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Lexicon Productions
Triumph Entertainment Corporation
Variety Artists International
Hometown Films
Paramount Domestic Television
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channelSyndication
Audio formatMonaural
Original runOctober 3, 1987 (1987-10-03) – May 26, 1990 (1990-05-26)

Friday the 13th: The Series is an American-Canadian horror television series that ran for three seasons, from October 3, 1987 to May 26, 1990 in first-run syndication. The series follows Micki and Ryan, owners of an antiques store, and their friend, Jack Marshak, as they try to recover cursed antiques, to put them into safety in the store's vault.

Originally, the series was to be titled The 13th Hour, but producer Frank Mancuso, Jr. thought this would turn away viewers and instead took the name Friday the 13th to deliberately draw in audiences. Despite this title, the series has no story connections to the film series of the same name, as Jason Voorhees does not make an appearance, nor does any character connected to the films. In the United Kingdom it was listed on TV schedules as Fridays Curse, though when going to advertisement breaks on ITV it would show as Friday the 13th: The series.[1]

The two series have several cast and crew ties, however. The show's producer, Frank Mancuso, Jr., was producer of the movie series from Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) until the final installment distributed by Paramount (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan in 1989, a year before the TV series ended). The show's star, John D. LeMay, went on to star in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, guest star John Shepherd played Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, and episode director David Cronenberg appeared in Jason X. Fred Mollin, Rob Hedden, and Tom McLoughlin worked behind the scenes of both series.

Premise[edit]

"Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store... and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back and the real terror begins." -- prologue that opened each episode

An antiques dealer named Lewis Vendredi (played by R.G. Armstrong; "Vendredi" means "Friday" in French) has made a deal with the Devil to sell cursed antiques out of his shop, "Vendredi's Antiques", in exchange for wealth, magic powers, and immortality. In the show's first episode ("The Inheritance"), he rebels against the Devil and breaks the deal. The Devil kills Vendredi and claims his soul for breaking the deal.

After Lewis' death, his shop is inherited by his niece, Micki Foster (played by Louise Robey) and her cousin by marriage, Ryan Dallion (played by John D. LeMay). They decide not to keep the store, and sell off many of the cursed antiques before being stopped by Jack Marshak (played by Chris Wiggins). Jack was Lewis' friend, a retired world-traveller and occultist who originally collected many of the antiques for Vendredi before they became cursed.

The series follows the protagonists as they hunt down the cursed antiques, which are usually in the possession of people who have discovered their magic powers and are unwilling to give them up. In some cases the object is in the possession of the one who originally discovers the curse ("The Inheritance"), while in others (e. g. "Tales of the Undead", "A Cup of Time", "Vanity's Mirror", "Read my Lips", "The Mephisto Ring", "The Prisoner") another person has learned of the object's power and obtained it before the object is recovered. Since the cursed antiques are completely indestructible, they must be locked away in a vault beneath "Curious Goods" (the rechristened antique store) that is designed to magically render the objects inert. A manifest, written by Lewis, holds the records of all the cursed objects sold by him. The city of this antique shop is unidentified, the series mostly being vague about whether it is in the US or Canada, but in the third season episode "My Wife as a Dog" showed the local fire department crew wearing the US flag on their uniforms and a bar's cash register filled with US currency.

Most of the stories in the series deal with people using the cursed objects' magic for personal gain or for revenge. To use the objects' magic powers, a human sacrifice is required, with the victim being killed by the object itself or in some particular manner reflecting the object's history. Typically, the person using the cursed object ends up becoming a victim of the object's curse after failing to meet its demand for more and more human sacrifices. Some objects are sentient and intelligent, such as the doll ("The Inheritance") and the radio ("And Now the News"). Others do not actually speak but demonstrate intelligence and awareness in other ways ("Spirit of Television", "The Playhouse") or confer intelligence on other inanimate things ("Read My Lips", "Double Exposure", "Wax Magic"). Still others function without intelligence, mechanically dispensing a certain benefit in response to human sacrifice ("Root of All Evil", "The Mephisto Ring", "The Prisoner"). Occasionally, there would be an object-free episode in which the trio would confront their uncle's spirit or some other Satanic evildoer ("The Prophecy", "Hellowe'en", "Wedding in Black").

Like other sci-fi/horror shows in syndication in the late 1980s (such as War of the Worlds and Freddy's Nightmares), Friday the 13th: The Series pushed the limits of "acceptable content", featuring violence on par with that of the R-rated horror movies of the time. Certain episodes such as "Night Prey" also depicted a level of sexuality that was taboo for network television.

Second and third season[edit]

The second season saw the introduction of Johnny Ventura (played by Steve Monarque). He helps recover the relics and eventually replaces Ryan permanently in the third season. A romantic interest between Johnny and Micki is hinted at, but not realized.

Character bios[edit]

Micki Foster[edit]

Michelle "Micki" Foster (played by Louise Robey) inherits the store, which she co-owns with her cousin by marriage, Ryan Dallion. At first, Micki is a bit of a snob, a fashion plate, and fairly vulnerable. As the series progresses, Micki becomes stronger willed, more independent, less materialistic, and darker in character.

She is 5'6" or 5'8" ("Mightier Than the Sword") and both her parents are still alive ("The Long Road Home"). Her mother, Catherine, is Irish and her father is English ("Shadow Boxer"). She has an irresponsible sister and a nephew, J.B., who is often left in Micki's care ("A Friend To the End"). She is engaged at the beginning of the show, but breaks it off in order to continue recovering cursed antiques ("Root of All Evil"). Her fiance, Lloyd, was not her first love ("Badge of Honor"), nor her last ("Master of Disguise"). Micki gets killed once when a cursed coin is used on her ("Tails I Live, Heads You Die"). Ryan and Jack eventually trick the bad-guys into bringing her back to life.

Ryan Dallion[edit]

Ryan Dallion (played by John D. LeMay), Micki's cousin by marriage, also inherited the store. In the beginning he is portrayed as a failed art student and obviously has feelings for Micki that get stronger as the series progresses in spite of her firm, consistent rejection. He is excited about fixing up the store, but Micki talks him into selling off the inventory, a decision they come to regret. Their relationship at first is cool but they grow to be very special to each other over time, especially after Micki's first death in the beginning of the second season ("Tails I Live, Heads You Die").

Ryan's relationship with his father, Ray, was not a good one ("Pipe Dream"). Ryan's brother Jimmy died at age 10, and his mother, Elizabeth, ran out on them shortly after ("Scarecrow," "The Prophecies"). She returned just before Ryan went to France with Micki to help a comatose Jack. At the beginning of the third season, he is removed from the show by being transformed into a small child ("The Prophecies").

Jack Marshak[edit]

Jack Marshak (played by Chris Wiggins) is a former stage magician and an expert in the occult. He has travelled all over the world and he has diverse skills including bartending ("Cupid's Quiver"), picking locks ("Pipe Dream", "Brain Drain"), ornamental metalwork ("Poison Pen"), and forgery (ibid.). He has a great many peculiar old friends. In so far as the trio has a leader, he is it; the cousins often try to work without him but have to turn to him for aid ("Read My Lips", "Pipe Dream") and moral support ("Root of All Evil", "Face of Evil", "The Quilt of Hathor"). He renames the store "Curious Goods" ("The Inheritance").

Jack had been married once and had a clairvoyant son, Peter, who died in a young girl's dream plane ("Bottle of Dreams"). When Jack was younger, his father disappeared, only to return ten years later. However, the man who came back was a spirit ("Midnight Riders"). Jack served in World War II and nearly died in a Nazi death camp ("The Butcher"). He was engaged to a scientist, who left him to do field research in Kenya. She shows up in his life years later, but gets killed shortly after they get re-engaged ("Brain Drain").

Johnny Ventura[edit]

The naïve "kid" Johnny (played by Steve Monarque) is introduced toward the end of season two and becomes a regular in season three. He is first introduced as a vain, sleezy skirt-chaser with an eye for Micki ("Wedding Bell Blues"). The interest begins to wane, but briefly heats up again after he has matured through hard experience, when the two take a road trip to retrieve a cursed object and end up in an empty house ("The Long Road Home").

Johnny's mother died before his introduction into the show; his father, a security guard, gets shot and killed on the job ("The Prisoner"). Johnny has been arrested three times: once for having "boosted a six-pack of beer" ("Wedding Bell Blues"), once for breaking and entering ("Wedding Bell Blues"), and finally as a suspect in his father's murder ("The Prisoner"). He has useful friends (from his father) in the police force. His unsophisticated, easily-tempted character contrasts with Jack and Micki, and the third season includes several "Johnny screws up" episodes ("Crippled Inside", "Bad Penny", "Hate on your Dial").

Rashid[edit]

An Egyptian mystic (played by Elias Zarou) who helps the trio when they are dealing directly with Lewis' ghost, who tries constantly to re-enter the world of the living ("Bottle Of Dreams", "Doorway To Hell"). Though mentioned more than actually appearing in the series, Rashid is very much competent in helping his old friend Jack and the cousins one way or another.

Rashid was the one to help Jack bring back Ryan and Micki from Lewis' clutches twice, and even revealed to them the fate of Jack's son.

Always knowledgeable in occult, sometimes even more so than Jack, Rashid is most capable as Jack's psychic-link during his first trial against Lewis. The second would be more guidance as to help Jack enter a cursed mirror and lead the cousins out of Lewis' possessed house.

During the series run, Rashid only appeared in two episodes though there are several others where he was mentioned ("Vanity's Mirror" and "Voodoo Mambo" are examples).

Lewis Vendredi ("Uncle Lewis")[edit]

An antiques dealer, played by R. G. Armstrong, who sells his soul to the Devil (Satan) in exchange for immortality, wealth, and magic powers, including the power to heal wounds ("Pipe Dream"). His agreement with the Devil requires him to sell cursed antiques from his store "Vendredi's Antiques" (later renamed "Curious Goods"). In the series' first episode ("The Inheritance") he breaks the pact and is killed and taken to Hell by the Devil. His niece Micki and nephew Ryan inherit his store and are soon joined by Jack.

Except for the first episode, Uncle Lewis is always a pure-evil character, the principal recurring villain of the series. He appears in occasional flashbacks (for example, in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do") and as a malevolent ghost ("Hellowe'en", "Bottle of Dreams", "Doorway to Hell"). He is alleged to have been the leader of a witches' coven while he was alive ("Coven of Darkness").

His name, "Vendredi", is French for "Friday".

Production[edit]

Friday the 13th: The Series was created by Frank Mancuso, Jr. and Larry B. Williams originally under the title of The 13th Hour; the series ran for 72 episodes. Mancuso, Jr. never intended to link the television show directly to the Friday the 13th film series, but utilize "the idea of Friday the 13th, which is that it symbolizes bad luck and curses". The creators wanted to tie-in Jason's trademark hockey mask to the series, but the idea was discarded so that the show could have a chance to exist on its own. Mancuso, Jr. was afraid that mentioning any events from the films would take the audience away from "the new world that we were trying to create". The decision to name the show Friday the 13th, over the original title, was made because Mancuso, Jr. believed a "Friday the 13th" moniker would better help to sell the show to networks. Filming took place in Toronto, Canada.[2] Friday the 13th: The Series aired in first-run syndication, initially in a late-night spot; the success of the series as a late-night show prompted some broadcasting stations to move it to primetime. Produced on a budget estimated below $500,000 per episode, the first season placed second in the male 18 to 49 year old demographic, just behind Paramount's Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition, the first season placed fifth in the female 18 to 49 year old demographic.[3]

International broadcasts[edit]

The series was broadcast by Tele 5 in Spain in 1991 under the title of Misterio para tres, in Greece by ANT1 and Makedoniatv under the title To mystirio tis Paraskevis (The mystery of Friday). It was also broadcast in Indonesia on TVRI in 1991.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Friday the 13th: The Series was nominated for two Emmy Awards in 1988 and 1989 for Visual and Graphic Effects. The series won two silver plaques in Chicago for the episodes Scarlet Cinema and The Sweetest Sting. In 1990 the series was nominated by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as Best Series. The series was nominated twelve times for writing, editing, directing, production design, acting, sound and music by the Gemini Awards in Canada.[4]

Home video release[edit]

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released all 3 seasons on DVD in Region 1 between 2008 and 2009.

CBS Television Studios/Distribution currently owns the rights to the TV series (as successor in interest to Paramount Domestic Television). Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures retains the rights to the eight films they released (recently leased to Warner Brothers), with the franchise rights now owned by New Line Cinema (which collaborated with Paramount on the latest entry in the series, released in 2009).

Episodes[edit]

Adaptations[edit]

There is a popular rumor that the last episode was to unite the movie and television franchises by having the final item recovered (see "Premise" above) be the hockey mask belonging to Jason Voorhees. This remains unfounded and while there was talk about having a hockey mask on one of the sets as an in-joke,[5] there was never any serious intention to mix the film series into the television series.[6]

The 2009 Syfy original series Warehouse 13 has been accused of "borrowing" much from the 1980s television series Friday the 13th: The Series.[7][8][9] The show stars two agents, Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) and Peter Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), led by older, wiser Arthur "Artie" Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) as they collect artifacts, powerful items which are "imbued with human energy" and have supernatural powers. These artifacts are stored in the warehouse, safely hidden from both the public and those who would make use of the artifacts for evil or selfish purposes. However, the artifacts featured in the Warehouse 13 series are not evil by nature nor cursed, do not require a human sacrifice in order for them to function, and can be destroyed.

Syndication[edit]

NBC Universal's horror-themed cable channel Chiller, which launched on March 1, 2007, airs the series in sporadic weekday marathons. During a viewers' choice marathon on October 7, 2007, "Scarecrow" was voted most popular episode. The top five episodes were rebroadcast on Election Day, November 6, 2007. The show has been among the many second-run programs aired on Syfy channel (formerly SciFi) starting October 10, 2008. As of August 16, 2012, Chiller still hosts weekday marathons of the show.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092357/releaseinfo?ref_=tt_dt_dt#akas
  2. ^ Grove, David, pp. 189–196
  3. ^ Aljean Harmetz (1988-07-05). "TV Producers Discover New Path to Prime Time (page 2)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  4. ^ "Friday the 13th: The Series awards and nominations list IMDB". IMDB. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ Fangoria #70
  6. ^ Fangoria "84
  7. ^ "Warehouse 13 Review". HDFEST. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Warehouse 13 Steampunk TV". Closet Sci-Fi Geek. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  9. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 5, 2009). "Warehouse 13". Variety. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 

External links[edit]