The Annotated Tales of the Unexpected
by
Arthur Lortie

I'm using this Wiki for my notes to help identify writers and artists from the DC Comics magazine, Tales of the Unexpected, and as an error reporter for inconsistencies between the Grand Comics Database and Jerry Bails' Who's Who

February 1956 - Jack Schiff’s Tales Of The Unexpected begins

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The covers of the issues reveal an irregular logo design -- "Tales of the" was inconsistently sized and located before issue #13, which suggested a de facto pasting onto a preprinted logo stick-on that read, simply, UNEXPECTED. (4 issues -- #5 7 9 11 -- matched the post-#13 logo; in #1-2 6 8 10 12 the added phrase only extended from the end of the 'n' to end of the 't' in UNexpecTed; and #3 was even horter still)
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The editors may have been trying to play upon the subconscious mind of the buyer by appropriating the title of a 1924 collection of H G Wells’ short stories called "Tales of the Unexpected", which was reprinted by Collins in the UK in 1954, just prior to the comic’s debut (an abridged collection also appeared in 1931 called "The Stolen Body and Other Tales of the Unexpected" -- all of these Wells stories can be read online.

But there had been an NBC anthology series, "The Unexpected", that ran on TV on Wednesday nights from 10:30 to 11:00 PM Eastern Time with Science Fiction alumni Herbert Marshall as host. 39 episodes were broadcast over 41 weeks from March 5, 1952 to December 10, 1952 and were still in syndicated reruns. Its quite possible the editors had originally planned the series to be called "The Unexpected" and for copyright or artistic reasons, chose the Wells title instead.

The series title was shortened to The Unexpected in 1968, and ran for an additional 118 issues (February-March 1968 - May 1982) plus an entry in DC Special Series (#4). The Unexpected #1 (December 2011) was a later oneshot.

Surprisingly, there are no pre-1956 magazines using the Unexpected title, though there were 3 issues of "Tales of the Uncanny" in 1934 - 1938.

DC obviously didn’t trademark the title, so Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (UK title: A Twist in the Tale), became a 1977 American TV show.

In 1979, Roald Dahl released his Tales of the Unexpected book, a collection of short stories, that led to the British Tales of the UnexpectedTV series that ran from 1979 to 1988,adapting Dahl’s stories.

DC reused the title twice following the initial 104 issue run (1956-1968): in 2006 for an 8 issue series (December 2006 - July 2007) and then again in 2008 as a one-shot reprinting the Spectre stories from the mini-series, The Spectre: Tales of the Unexpected.


Wiki PAGES
TOTU 1956 : TotU #1-8

Who's Who 1956 entry