Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits.
— Opening narration – The Control Voice
For those of us who grew up huddled around black & white TV sets and could get an ABC affiliate in 1963, these words remind us of one of the great, early science fiction shows of television.
Although not a commercial success at the time (only 49 episodes over 1 1/2 seasons was produced), it is now widely regarded as having been ahead of its time.
Following in the footsteps of The Twilight Zone, and to a lesser extent Science Fiction Theatre, The Outer Limits presented a darker view of the future, and the dangers of technology.
Interestingly, some of the special effects that were used on this seminal series ended up on Star Trek a few years later. The `transporter effect’ was first used to represent an `ion storm’ in an episode called The Mutant.
And just like Star Trek, it’s first pilot episode, was turned down by the network.
You’ll also find a number of actors who would either guest, or even star, on Star Trek in these shows. James Doohan and Grace Lee Whitney appear in two of the episodes below, but William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both starred in episodes as well.
The Outer Limits was an hour long anthology series. There were no continuing characters, no ongoing story line. Each story took place in its own `universe’.
YOUTUBE has a small selection of episodes in the Classic TV section. Hopefully they will add to this collection, but for now we have 5 1-hour episodes for your viewing pleasure.
There is a short commercial to endure before each show begins. A small price to pay for a return to . . . The Outer Limits.
1006 The Outer Limits: The Man Who Was Nev... (51:21)
(V) Martin Landau portrays a time-traveller desperately trying to stop the birth of an inventor whose bacterium turns humans into mutants.
1008 The Human Factor (51:30)
(V) On a military base, in the frozen vastness of Greenland, an army psychiatrist devises a machine which enables him to tune in directly to his patients' thoughts.
You’ll find a lot of familiar faces in this one including Gary Merill, Harry Guardino, Sally Kellerman, and Ivan Dixon.
1016 Controlled Experiment (51:28)
(V) The inhabitants of Mars and its satellites, worried by the fact that Earth's warlike humans might spread their ways to other planets, send two messengers to research the peculiar phenomenon known only to the human race -- murder.
Look for Carroll O’Conner, Grace Lee Whitney, and Barry Morse in this episode.
1036 The Expanding Human (51:18)
(V) Roy Clinton, a university professor experiments with a drug that expands human consciousness.
Starring Skip Homeier, James Doohan, and Keith Andes.
1048 The Premonition (51:14)
(V) Under instruction from flight control director Baldwin, test pilot Jim Darcy executes a maneuver which causes his supersonic plan to exceed heretofore known velocities.
My thanks to a reader who pointed out that HULU also has episodes from the original (and revived during the 1990s) version of The Outer Limits. These show may only be available inside the US.
You’ll find 32 episodes from the original series here.