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I was eight when this show first appeared on TV. I can give no greater example of the potential power of television than by saying that when the control voice came on to take over the TV set, I would run out of the room. I couldn't watch a single first run episode of this show. Yet when it was over, I would relentlessly pump my brothers for information on what happened in each episode. And sitting in my room listening to the sounds in the living room and Dominic Frontiere's brilliant and unmatched score would transport me despite myself into realms of imagination and fear that I quite simply had never conceived of before. When I finally was old enough, and brave enough, to watch this show (and yes, I've seen every episode and now have the dozen best episodes on VHS), I discovered that what the camera had captured was, by and large, every bit as wondrous as what I had imagined. This show changed my life. How can any movie or TV show do more than that? Best 10 episodes: "The Architects of Fear", "Nightmare", "Demon with a Glass Hand", "O.B.I.T.", "Corpus Earthling", "The Sixth Finger", "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork", "The Borderland", "The Galaxy Being", and "The Inheritors". And don't miss the great performances by Robert Culp, Robert Duvall, David McCallum, James Shigeta, Jill Haworth, Martin Landau, Jeff Corey, Salome Jens, Martin Sheen, Henry Silva, Ed Asner, Nina Foch, George Macready, Sally Kellerman, Arline Martel, Warren Oates, Michael Ansara, Ivan Dixon, Leonard Nimoy, and Steve Ihnat - among others. The so-called Outer Limits anthology series running now doesn't have a clue of what "The Outer Limits" is all about. I wish the producers would be honest and just not use the title "Outer Limits". Then I could forgive them their mediocrity. And for those who say the original is outdated, I say you're only missing out on what this show really means. And don't be so sure that what we understand about the universe now - IN OUR SOULS - is better than what we understood in 1963. Thank you, Internet Movie Database. I've finally found the forum to get this off my chest.
I don't care what anyone says, this is THE series that changed television
and ushered in Sci-Fi and human frailty with excellent, excellent
Okay, I'll admit, I was three, four and five years old respectively when this series had its first run. And again I will write the words parents don't want to hear or read about: "I remember". Not all, but most. Many of them I caught on re-runs in syndication when I was in my 20's and said, "Oh yeah, this is the one."
But let me tell you about the ones I remember. I remember -- "The Architects of Fear", "The Sixth Finger", "Keeper of the Purple Twilight", "The Zanti Misfits", "Fun and Games", "Demon With a Glass Hand", "The Man Who was Never Born", "It Came from the Woodwork", "Children of Spider County", "I, Robot", "The Invisibles" and the wonderful, wonderful two parter, "The Inheritors".
Those would be the "classics", but there are so many more. What do I remember about those? The Monsters and/or special effects. I didn't quite grasp how well written these were until much, much later. Make no mistake, they are very well written and thought provoking, alot of lessons to be learned/things to ponder even in 2003.
A few notes from me though -- when ABC executive Ben Brady took over, (I guess around 1965?) some of the stories went more "soap opera" than the ones before it. They were still excellent stories but now with Ben Brady leading the helm, you knew his breakthrough night time series "Peyton Place" was rolling around in his mind. Again, this is something I noticed, way later upon syndication views.
I've always had a secret wish, and that was to take a few of these classic Outer Limits series and develop a feature film out of each them. Some are so well written and hit right to the center of your brain to make you take a moment and wonder, seriously, about your world around you and those who are in charge of it.
I am in love with this series. It is classic television, classic Sci-Fi, classic story writing and even though these folks had a nickel and a dime for a special effects budget, they did very, very, well for its time.
Along with the writers, the creators of this 60's series, The Outer Limits, I also have to add that the music was to die for. It added so much to each installment. That and the main Cinematographer, the late, great, Conrad Hall. Wanta see the beginning of excellent work in cinnematography on a less than shoestring budget? Watch these. A must for all film students. You'll be so overwhelmed and wonder how could they do this for the money they had in the 60's no less.
A must for everyone's library. I own every single one of the issues on VHS and started collecting on DVD. A genius of a series. A wonderful collaboration of Producers, Directors, Writers, Network, Actors, Actresses everyone to make a series that will be immortal. This series is beyond excellent.
From reading the comments many people love this series,and I am another "Outer Limits " fan.The 60's show is far superior to its 90's namesake and the cliched special effects driven SF programs being made today."The Outer Limits" had none of the technological wizardry available to t.v.now, nor even the recources Irwin Allen's productions at Twentieth Century Fox and"Star Trek" at Desilu/Paramount could draw upon in the 1960's.The series was made by Leslie Steven's "Daystar" productions(a small independent),in black and white and on very tight budgets using the Hollywood soundstages of KTTV(and later Paramount Sunset), with some external scenes shot at the MGM backlot at Culver city.The special effects and makeup vary in quality ,some are very good indeed bearing in mind the limitations in budget (examples-the "Sixth finger", "Nightmare","The chameleon", "A feasability study","The galaxy being" "The Bellero shield" and "The keeper of the purple twilight"--what a title!). The show comes from a period when an unusual amount of high quality writing was evident on American t.v.drama (despite what the F.CC. were saying about t.v. being a "vast wasteland").In my view the first season produced by Joseph Stefano is generally superior to the second when Ben Brady of "Perry Mason" took over.Stefano, who had in 1960 scripted "Psycho" for Hitchcock, wrote quite a number of episodes and extensively re-wrote many of the scripts provided by others during the first season. Not just the writing, but the cinematography (often by Conrad Hall),direction and music gives the show a brooding, moody "otherworldly" quality.Gerd Oswald, a minor film director, was used extensively on the show and his episodes are often the most striking. Even the best series will have it's quota of poorer episodes.In my opinion, among "The Outer Limits" worst are "The Probe"(the final episode,with a notably pathetic monster), "The duplicate man"(an interesting idea poorly executed,with another rotten monster), "Behold Eck", "Cold hands, warm heart", "Tourist attraction","The mutant" and "Specimen unknown"(fiendish extra terrestrial plants which sure aint Triffids!--oddly the highest rated episode of the series).Among my favorite shows are "The sixth finger", "A feasability study" ,"Nightmare", "The chameleon"( with Robert Duvall), "Fun and games"(with a great performance by Nick Adams),and "The Inheritors"( a two parter with Duvall again, and featuring a terrific speech at the end, beautifully delivered by Steve Ihnat). A special mention for four outstanding episodes.In "Obit","The Outer Limits" , back in 1963,was warning about that unpleasant instinct in people which leads them to want to spy into the personal lives of others,and which t.v. has sunk to pandering to today with the likes of "Big brother" and "Survivor"."The forms of things unknown",is a stunning piece, an object lesson in what can be achieved by talented people with a limited budget.The car recklessly driven down the road, Andre's poisoning in the lake, and Tone's weird clock machine are all images that you don't easily forget."The man who was never born", a sci -fi variant on "Beauty and the beast", is full of poetic writing and dreamlike scenes.Martin Landau is superb as the soulful mutant from the future, and the poignant final shot where the camera pulls back from a bereft Shirley Knight who is left in a tiny box of light with the dark all around, is the kind of ingenious moment which starkly sets "The Outer Limits" apart from most t.v. productions."The Guests" is a show I often return to.Within the framework of a Sci-Fi horror tale, we find an elegy on the passage of time, love and loss, beautifully filmed with an outstanding musical score. The performances, from Gloria Grahame( cast in type), Luana Anders( cast rather against type),Geoffrey Horne(among others), the direction by Paul Stanley and script by Donald S. Sanford reward re-viewing with further insights and appreciations.A landmark series.
I was a fan of this show from the premier episode of "The Galaxy Being" which I saw when I was ten years old. I just recently was given the DVD set of both seasons. It's great to be able to see THE UNCUT episodes the way they were originally broadcast. It's true that the special effects of the early 60's are rather crude compared to what can be done with CGI today, however, the original Outer Limits made up for it by two things which often are missing in todays science fiction movies and series:excellent story lines with equally excellent acting. Another thing which always stood out for me was the music score which accompanied each episode. I was surprised when my teenage daughter watched some of the episodes with me and like them. One episode which resonated with her was "Don't Open Til Doomsday" It was weird having her discuss the episode with me and express the same feelings that I had 42 years ago when I saw it for the first time. I have to say that when the technology allowed for more realistic and fantastic special effects it seemed to take the heart out of good story telling. Even though I watched The new Outer Limits on Showtime and enjoyed it I feel that it still was inferior to the original series.
I was nine years old when this classic series debuted. The episodes that
scared me the most and the reasons why were: "Nightmare" (the sadistic
powers of the Ebonite control rod), "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork" (a
swirling cloud-monster frightening people to death), "The Guests" (being
dragged upstairs for interrogation by a gelatinous brain), "Don't Open Till
Doomsday" (being seized and drawn into a box inhabited by a one-eyed alien
blob), "A Feasibility Study" (having your neighborhood kidnapped and taken
to an alien world while you sleep), and "The Production and Decay of Strange
Particles" (radiation suits taken over by energy beings whose face masks
glow with lightning bolts). Episodes I really enjoy now are "Demon With A
Glass Hand" (great location in the darkened, dilapidated office building,
total suspense), "Architects of Fear" (Robert Culp's superb portrayal of a
man being transformed into an alien and losing his sanity), "O.B.I.T" (an
early commentary about the dangers of electronic spying and loss of
privacy), "ZZZZZ" (insects turn the tables on humankind and send one of
their own to our world), "The Bellero Shield" (Sally Kellerman's excellent
portrayal of a "murderous wife"), "The Invisible Enemy" (sea serpent-like
beasts dragging their victims underneath the sand) and "The Mice" (who could
forget the grinding claws and constant stalking behavior of this grotesque
monster alien?). I do favor the first season more than the second season,
because the episodes and story plots are harsher and darker with very
In general, series creator Joe Stefano's suspicion of government and scientific research institutions and their motives is truly admirable. Also, he does not always make the aliens the bad guys, as shown in "Nightmare" when the Ebonite wants to put a stop to Earth-government sanctioned torture of POW's. "Outer Limits" on DVD brings an even richer, louder and penetrating quality to this outstanding series. Also, "The Outer Limits: The Official Companion" is a great book for information about the show's production and episodes.
This science fiction anthology series that lasted for 2 seasons and 49
episodes, great acting, superb set design, and wonderful stories made
this in some ways better than even "the Twilight Zone". I know that
statement could very well be considered close to heresy to some, and
don't get me wrong I do love Twilight Zone and hold it among my
favorite shows, I merely find the endlessly thought-provoking and
wonderous episodes of Outer Limits to edge out the great, but reallying
on last-minute twists episodes of Twilight Zone. Followed in the mid
'90's by a revival show on Showtime that while good in it's own right,
just couldn't hope to hold a candle to the original series.
My Grade: A+
I was among the lucky ones who saw this series when first it aired; was
lucky enough to find myself going to bed afterward feeling... uneasy...
It was somewhat unnerving at the time to see the familiar test pattern
flutter and roll and to hear a voice solemnly intone, "There is nothing
wrong with your television set..." That feeling must be akin to the
gut-wrenching dread people felt when The Mercury Theater broadcast WAR
OF THE WORLDS in 1938. Orson Welles, his distinctive voice calmly
modulated, told a tale of terror that panicked the nation. Vic Perrin,
who did The Control Voice at the start of each episode, spoke calmly
and lucidly as he told us not to adjust our television sets: "There is
nothing wrong..." In many respects, he was right: we were now in the
hands of perhaps the most talented group of innovators in television
history. Had Val Lewton (who pioneered "thinking man's horror" with
movies like CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, ISLE OF THE DEAD and
-my favorite- THE BODY SNATCHER, during the 1940's) turned his talents
to science fiction, he might well have produced something along the
lines of THE OUTER LIMITS. I won't bother to list the responsible
parties by name here in these comments (that's what the IMDb is for),
but for the brilliant creator, Leslie Stevens, writer-producer Joseph
Stefano (who had adapted Robert Bloch's novel PSYCHO for mastermind
Alfred Hitchcock), cinematographer Conrad Hall, and composer Dominic
Frontiere (whose music has haunted more than one sleepless night).
From the opening moments of THE GALAXY BEING, it was clear that this was not going to be just another run-of-the-mill show. It was creepy, but in a dramatic, thoughtful way that most TV never is. (Now, of course, we have THE X FILES- but there was a very, very long time when viewers looking for something of genuine worth on television were left wanting.) The fact that the series was being shot in black and white (which always puts the viewer at one remove), with LOTS of shadows and an overall Gothic sensibility underscored (pun intended) by the theme music, marked this as a series of no small consequence; in fact, I've stated before, in print, that THE OUTER LIMITS is the greatest anthology series ever aired. The first season provided some, er, stellar episodes. Among my personal favorites are: THE GALAXY BEING, THE ARCHITECTS OF FEAR, THE SIXTH FINGER, THE MAN WHO WAS NEVER BORN, CORPUS EARTHLING, NIGHTMARE, THE ZANTI MISFITS, THE MICE, THE INVISIBLES, THE BALLERO SHIELD, THE CHILDREN OF SPIDER COUNTY, THE MUTANT, THE GUESTS, FUN AND GAMES, THE SPECIAL ONE, A FEASIBILTY STUDY, THE CHAMELEON, and THE FORMS OF THINGS UNKNOWN. Not a bad percentage for the first season alone...
The second season provided its share of memorable moments, beginning with Harlan Ellison's adaptation of his short story, SOLDIER. (The audio track from this episode would make a great "audio book;" it's THAT well written.) There was also EXPANDING HUMAN, DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND (an award-winning episode and another potential "audio book," again written by Harlan Ellison), CRY OF SILENCE, I,ROBOT, THE INHERITORS, KEEPER OF THE PURPLE TWILIGHT and THE DUPLICATE MAN. Argue the merits of each and every episode I've listed here, but rest assured of one thing: you won't be BORED.
If you wanted to know what really good,really spectacular effects along with a good story for maximum effort,then this show set the standard for all science fiction shows as we know it today. And for good reason. For one the stories were based on science fiction subjects ranging for nuclear explosions,aliens and extraterrestials from another world(and some of the most scariest monsters on TV back then!),and creatures from beyond the depths of imagination,and secondly humans who tried to communicate beyond the point of other dimensions and other lifeforms. This show came along with the status of other science fiction shows that domination TV sets throughout the 1960's,with titles like "The Twilight Zone", "Boris Karloff's Thriller","Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea","Lost in Space","Star Trek",and the UFO series "The Invaders". In my opinion about this show it scares the daylights out of me every time I see it. The new version doesn't have a clue to what the original was like,and to me the original rules. Point Blank. Even though it ran for two astounding seasons and producing a total of 49 episodes running in prime-time for ABC-TV from September 16,1963 until January 16,1965,the science-fiction/horror anthology series "The Outer Limits" brought some of the most electrifying special effects ever devised for TV(it would have really fantastic if the original series would have stayed around for another season to make its transition to color but the entire series was shown in black and white). During its first season, the series brought in astounding ratings then toward its second season the powers that be at ABC torpedoed it when it moved from Monday nights to Saturday nights opposite "The Jackie Gleason Show",and "Flipper" which clobbered it in the ratings. Several episodes do stand out as brilliant that made up the guest star roster ranging from future "Star Trek" cast members William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Grace Lee Whitney, James Doohan and DeForest Kelley. Other guest stars were Donald Pleasence, Adam West, Arlene Martel, David McCallum, Barbara Luna, Jill Haworth to Martin Sheen, Sally Kellerman, Robert Culp, Michael Ansara, Eddie Albert,Cliff Robertson and future Oscar winner Robert Duvall. There were 32 episodes for Season 1 of this series that aired from September 16, 1963 until May 4,1964. For its second and final season when ABC moved the series from Monday nights to Saturday nights in an earlier time slot opposite "The Jackie Gleason Show" and "Flipper" a total of 17 episodes aired from September 19,1964 until January 16,1965 when it was canceled in mid-season. The show that replaced "The Outer Limits" on January 24,1965 was the variety family series "The King Family Hour".
Let me take you back. Let me pull you there. A male human child of 6
cycles. It is 1963. Dad was cool and suggested we watch this new
'weirdo' show. We did that sort of thing together - bonding, don't you
know? From the very first second the show was unlike anything I had
ever seen before. The set up? We just lost control of our TV sets and
'they' were going to show us something - 'awe and mystery'. I'm all for
that. 'The Twilight Zone' had already done this...yet this was
something different. The visuals combined with the truly subversively
semi-subliminal (I hope) sound effects - very compelling. It pulled you
right in, teased and hypnotized. Then, that gut wrenching music slowly
wanders in and disorients. Hurry up, commercial! Get over already!
(Commercials were somewhat shorter back then as I recall)
I believe the first episode, which I haven't seen in years, segued right from the sine-wave intro. I also recall the intro as being a bit longer with the first few episodes. I could be wrong. These were on TV and - you know - TV takes liberties. Later episodes started right in on the action...a prologue to tease you for what's to come. Then - a crescendo note of surprise, awe and mystery - the 'sine-wave- intro. I want to watch this! This same technique was later adopted by such peers as 'The X-files'.
Folks! The original Outer Limits intro was fun! It was almost art...the first season anyway. I do like the 'new' Outer Limits on occasion - but that intro of theirs? Ugh, I can't wait til it's over and the show starts. The intro of the original series came as a part of the package.
Then we have those stories. A child of 6 expects monsters to be monsters. Many of these monsters - each horrific in a surprisingly memorable way - turned out to be well-meaning or benign. That will certainly screw with the perceptive 6 year old mind. So, the monster under my bed might not be a monster at all? Wow!
Yes, those stories were assisted by the most symbiotic music I had heard at the time. Those dirges piped in at just the right moment, working the mood into a niche, and making the plot point. You know, we, the audience, were being seduced by the notes to 'listen up! You might learn something'. The second season unfortunately lost these tunes and were replaced by this wavering 1950-ish B-movie ilk. I shouldn't bash it. It wasn't bad - it just wasn't the Frontiere-groove anymore, man.
I could adorn each episode with praises. Even a bad one was better for me than anything else on TV then. If they were on today I would still watch a bad episode. They still made you consider your place in the Universe. Sometimes they even scared the crap out of you. But the good episodes were gems! Those creatures were fantastic. At the time our local station edited 'Architects Of Fear' so we never got to see the creature since it was deemed too scary. The story still held together even without the extra boost a fearsome face would provide. Many years later I finally saw what the creature looked like. I can see why the stations did what they did for that innocent era. I probably would have screamed myself to sleep. 'Zanti Misfits' had me doing that anyway. The 'Bellero Shield' had me upset for years. I think I actually understood the ending at 6 years old.
So, I am not going to keep listing episodes. I like them all and will be owning them in my library.
Bottomline, folks! If you haven't seen any of these - DO! Unfortunately short-lived, these early episodes are a one-of-a-kind example of good TV. Rare and perhaps extinct. A series that didn't underestimate its audience and nearly always challenged them. Giving this an 8 because of the poor second season - though the first season is frequently easily a 9 or above.
This classic series is so much fun to watch. Everything about it is great. The opening is very well crafted, the episodes are very well written and entertaining with a wide variety of fine actors and actresses and the special effects are truly splendid. It is my opinion that this show serves as a prime example of why classic science fiction is so much fun to watch.
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