The Outer Limits (TV Series 1963–1965) Poster



An example of a television network deliberately killing a popular series by moving it to an inappropriate slot on their schedule. This series was a big hit, especially among younger viewers. For the second season, ABC moved it from Monday nights to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. It was not only an inappropriate timeslot for younger viewers, it served as the lead-in for The Lawrence Welk Show (1955), and was scheduled opposite the highly popular Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine (1962) on CBS. The series was pulled halfway into the second season.
The original title for this show was "Please Stand By". But, America was facing the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the executives thought it might make people fearful of an air raid. This is why, in the new series when the show would cut to a commercial, the Control Voice said, "Please stand by." A tip-of-the-hat to the original series title.
Many scenes and some entire episodes of the series were filmed on-location at Series Creator Joseph Stefano's house, called "Villa Di Stefano", from which the production company took its name.
Numerous guest stars on the show had been victims of the blacklist a decade earlier. For many of them, this was their first work before a camera in years. Among them were Jeff Corey, Marsha Hunt, Curt Conway, Lloyd Gough, Howard Da Silva, and Sam Wanamaker.
The opening Control Voice came first during first three episodes ("The Galaxy Being", "The Hundred Days of the Dragon", and "The Architects of Fear"). Then, the executives wanted to see the "Bear" (their name for the monster in the story) first, so, beginning with the fourth episode ("The Man With The Power") it would begin with a scene from the show where the Bear made an appearance. Then, the opening Control Voice would start the show, a commercial, then the Control Voice prelude as the show began. That continued throughout the entire first season to the thirty-second episode ("The Forms of Things Unknown"). With the beginning of the second season, the thirty-third episode ("Soldier") began with not only the Bear, but also the Control Voice prelude, which continued to the final episode ("The Probe").
The first season finale, "The Forms of Things Unknown" (starring David McCallum, Vera Miles, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Barbara Rush), was supposed to be a series pilot that Series Creator Joseph Stefano presented to network executives. When it was rejected, he used it as an episode of this series.
Dominic Frontiere and Robert Van Eps scored the first season of this series. Frontiere composed new music, as well as re-used his music from previous television shows, such as Stoney Burke (1962). The second season was scored by Harry Lubin, who also composed new music, and re-used his music from previous television shows, such as One Step Beyond (1959).
Ended its network run in 1965, the same year as its "rival" the The Twilight Zone (1959) ("The Twilight Zone" ceased producing new episodes in 1964, but CBS broadcast repeats of the fourth-season episodes in the summer of 1965).
When the series finale, "The Probe", was originally aired on January 16, 1965, a live announcer spoke over the Control Voice's closing statement about returning "next week at this same time". The live announcer stated that The King Family Show (1965) would be seen "next week in this time period". The regular Control Voice closing for "The Probe" was heard only in re-runs.
Season two, episode thirteen, "The Duplicate Man", features the famous Chemosphere House. Designed by architect John Lautner, the house is seen in a few exterior shots, but the inside shots were on a set designed to resemble the house's interior.
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Leonard Nimoy, David McCallum, Cliff Robertson, Barbara Rush, and Peter Breck are the only actors to appear on this series and The Outer Limits (1995).
Director of Photography Conrad L. Hall, who shot many of the first season's episodes, went on to receive ten Academy Award nominations, and won three Oscars for Best Cinematography.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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