Everyone is scared of something. Phobias are the most common of psychiatric disorders. So many of us are scared of creepy-crawlers, snakes and spiders that the fear seems like a genetic characteristic. Some people seem more susceptible to fears than others, but phobias are learned behaviors. The only truly instinctive fears are of loud noises and falling. Everything else that we are afraid of, we have learned to fear.
When a baby sees a spider or a snake, her reaction is more likely to be curiosity than terror. However, when she hears her mother scream and bat the monster away, she learns that she should be scared. Since the lesson is learned at such a young age, it is implanted in the subconscious where it will have a huge influence on the rest of her life.
Even though they are generally small and shy, snakes have given us the willies since the Garden of Eden. Naturally, the slithering nightmare residents make up a substantial portion of our collection. On Crime Photographer, Casey and Ann meet "Graveyard Gertie" wandering around the cemetery in the middle of the night and find out that she lives alone with a stuffed snake. When Gertie disappears, Casey sets a trap for the killer with a real snake.
The Escape story "Snake Doctor" is about an old gentleman who makes his living boiling cottonmouths for their oil. As a change of pace, Irma's brother on My Friend Irma is on a lecture tour, but her friends do not realize he lecture is about snake oil!
Snakes are frightening enough, just slithering through the grass. Not all snakes are poisonous, but those that are more than make up for it in frightfulness. Roy Rogers, Trigger and Bullet are riding to town one morning when a huge rattle snake frightens a pretty girl's horse. Philip Marlowe believes he is being hired to watch a golden idol in “The Gold Cobra” only to find out there is a real king cobra in the case. Hollywood Star Playhouse brings us “Venom”, the story of a hunter who meets a woman in the jungle who gathers the venom of cobras.
Next to snakes, one of the most universal fear is of spiders and insects. Even when they are small enough to easily mash, bugs and spiders frighten us with their multiple legs, funny eyes and the mindless way they go about their business. George Valentine of Let George Do It trails the bad guys into a hideout called “The Ant Hill” and has another adventure called “The Spider and the Fly”. In “Leiningen vs The Ants” on Escape, a swarm of huge ants is approaching a South American plantation. As morbidly fascinating as the huge army of ants is, they are no match for the determination of Leiningen, or are they?
The most frightening thing about the creepy crawlies their mindlessness, but none seem more determined than those in the sea. Favorite Story present adaptations of Jules Verne's “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” where Captain Nemo's fascinating machine is no match for the might of a creature of the deep. Escape shows us how the ocean treats arrogance off the coast of Central America in “Shark Bait” and NBC University gives us the classic tale of man's impotence against the sea in “Moby Dick”.