On this date in 1987, the NBC network debuted the two-hour TV movie, Bates Motel, which picked up on the legacy of the Psycho series. In the film, an inmate by the name of Alex West (Bud Cort) is cell mate with the notorious Norman Bates (Kurt Paul). Near death, Bates encourages the soon-to-be-released West to take over ownership of his infamous hotel and bring it back to respectability. West is aided by a runaway named Willie (Lori Petty) in his new venture, but strange things begin to happen.
Marketed at the time as a thriller/comedy, Bates Motel was originally conceptualized as the pilot to a potential new series. As it turned out, it had a respectful debut and placed number one in programming against reruns on other networks. Regardless, studio executives decided against continuing the storyline in series format and the idea was shelved. Today, copies of Bates Motel are hard to come by, as the TV movie has had no known official DVD release. Naturally, the infamous Bates Motel and Psycho House on the Universal back lot were used for the new take on the Psycho mythos, as they were for the films (with one exception). While they are easily recognizable from those works, it is not generally known that the motel and house have also made quite a few appearances in other unrelated works as well.
Read more on the history of the famous set pieces - Psycho House and Bates Motel.
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