The Outer Limits: Season 1, Episode 30

Production and Decay of Strange Particles (20 Apr. 1964)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 150 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

An accident at a nuclear research facility creates a dimensional doorway in which aliens need to widen to invade our world. A scientist races to discover a way to reverse the damage and close the doorway.

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Title: Production and Decay of Strange Particles (20 Apr 1964)

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Episode complete credited cast:
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Dr. Marshall
Rudy Solari ...
Griffin
...
Collins
...
Konig
...
Laural Marshall
Allyson Ames ...
Arndis Pollard
Barry Russo ...
Dr. Terrell (as John Duke)
Willard Sage ...
Coulter
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Official
Robert Fortier ...
Dr. Paul Pollard
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An accident at a nuclear research facility creates a dimensional doorway in which aliens need to widen to invade our world. A scientist races to discover a way to reverse the damage and close the doorway.

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20 April 1964 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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A really mixed bag. That's why I'm giving it a "5."
11 April 2013 | by (West Virginia) – See all my reviews

I used to watch The Outer Limits with my dad when I was a small child back in the early 1960s. Most of the time it scared the hell out of me. And this particular episode, "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" was no exception. Two things about this episode always stood out for me: (1) The scientists in radiation suits who were suddenly taken over by glowing electric-arc beings, which I found extremely creepy, and (2) the nuclear explosion (and implosion) at the end.

In recent years I learned that this episode is considered by many Outer Limits aficionados to be one of the weakest in the series, if not the worst ... and I found this puzzling, since the episode stuck out so strongly in my memories of childhood. So when this particular episode was broadcast recently on our local "My-Z" channel, I decided to watch it with a more mature and critical eye.

First of all, some context: "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" was made at a time when physicists were really starting to peer beyond the Newtonian world and into the realm of subatomic particles and quantum theory. The episode makes mention of "quasi-stellar" objects, which had only been discovered a scant few years earlier. Scientists were beginning to confront the fact that the Universe was a far stranger place than hitherto imagined, that there might be other realities beyond our own ... so naturally the producers of The Outer Limits decided to speculate about what might happen if high-energy particle physicists cracked that doorway between such realities just a bit too wide.

Watching this episode reminded me of how people have raised nightmare scenarios about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and how it might create a miniature black hole that would suck up the Earth. I was also reminded of a fascinating hard sci-fi novel by John Cramer called "Einstein's Bridge" in which an experiment at such a facility allows a hive-like civilization from another Universe to invade our own world. These fears are, in a way, prefigured in this old episode of The Outer Limits, and it is the hard physics here that makes the episode a refreshing change from the usual weird creatures and spaceships.

Unfortunately, this episode is SEVERELY hampered by melodrama, enough nonsensical techno-jargon to choke a horse, a slender plot and script that have to be padded quite a lot to expand the episode to 50 minutes, and worst of all, some shameless scenery-chewing by George Macready as the tormented Dr. Marshall.


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