Out of This World: Season 1, Episode 8

Pictures Don't Lie (11 Aug. 1962)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
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Episode credited cast:
Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roger Avon ...
Major Race
Blake Butler ...
Norman Claridge ...
Man from the Ministry
Frank Gatliff ...
Madi Hedd ...
Dr. Trayne
Reginald Marsh ...
Colonel Ford
Bill Mills ...
Jacob Luke
Gordon Sterne ...
Gary Watson ...
Kenneth Watson ...
Richard Wilding ...


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Release Date:

11 August 1962 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Enjoyable but implausible.
19 September 2006 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

I fondly recall 'Out of This World'. This was an extremely low-budget science-fiction series which at least had the merit of basing its scripts on short stories by established authors. The series is sometimes listed incorrectly as horror-themed, due to the presence of Boris Karloff as host. Karloff, collecting a well-deserved easy payday, merely delivered brief preambles from a neutral set, not interacting with the actors even to the minimal extent that Rod Serling did on 'The Twilight Zone'. Karloff's absent manner often implied he hadn't even seen the episodes he was commenting upon. The story lines placed some slight emphasis on twist endings, but there was more interest in thoughtful ideas than in thrills or surprises.

The episode "Pictures Don't Lie", adapted from a magazine story by Maine-based author Katherine Maclean, might have benefited from a larger budget. In the near future, Britain's government (the U.S. government in the original story) have been contacted by aliens from a distant planet. They've intercepted our television transmissions, and have learnt to speak our language. Better yet, they know what we look like (from our t.v. signals), and the aliens look very much like humans. An alien spaceship is now speeding towards Earth, and they've sent us transmissions of their own: sure enough, the aliens look very similar to Earth people. Surely we'll all get along just fine, then.

The aliens have notified us that they intend to land in a particular field at a particular time. Naturally, the military have arranged a reception ... but it's all quite friendly. A television transceiver has been set up, so that we can maintain audio-visual contact with the aliens as they approach. Pictures don't lie, surely.

SPOILER COMING. Something's wrong! The aliens claim to have reached our planet ... yet they don't see anyone waiting for them, and the waiting humans don't see the alien ship. Now the aliens claim to have landed in an ocean of noxious chemicals, and they're being attacked by bizarre monsters. Angrily, they accuse us of lying to them. The transmission fades as the 'monsters' (from Earth, apparently) destroy the aliens.

Eventually, the Earth people suss out what went wrong. Although the aliens look like humans, they are in fact much smaller than we are: microscopic, in fact. Their tiny spaceship landed in a rain puddle, where it was devoured by protozoa. Oo-er! In the mid-50s, EC Comics did very nearly an identical story, in which the tiny spaceship (not quite microscopic) lands in a vat of sauerkraut, and gets chomped by an army officer devouring a hot dog.

There is a scientific principle called the square-cube law which states basically that any life-form which is human-shaped would also have to be approximately human-sized. "Pictures Don't Lie", while enjoyable, simply isn't plausible. Which pretty much sums up this well-thought, poorly-financed series.

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I wonder if this is on DVD anywhere sneezewhiz
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