Author Topic: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series  (Read 824 times)

The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« on: May 06, 2020, 07:34:59 PM »
Is anyone else a fan of this?

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2020, 08:13:08 PM »
I've only seen the later adaptations, but being a shameless rip-off of The Twilight Zone - the original series had its fair few influential episodes.. one of them sued James Cameron for The Terminator, for example. Though the story similarities seem a bit specious to me.

Attila

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2020, 10:22:52 PM »
This was banned in our house by my mother, when I was still barely five years old. My brothers loved it, but the episodes freaked me out so badly I was having night terrors over it. (This would have been the late 1960s, so the show would have been in syndication at that point). I still remember a couple of the vivid dreams it inspired.

It's a fab show; I finally got to watch it again when I was in my early 20s off an oldies station out in Minneapolis. And understood why some of the episodes freaked me the fuck out as a little'un. The one where they transform Robert Culp into another being is horrifying. (It's not the episode that led to the maternal banning -- as I recall, it was the one where this dude ends up stopping at a house and not being able to leave, and discovering that the mismatch of inhabitants have been trapped living there for years, if not decades, in some cases).

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2020, 08:58:06 AM »
Part of my late night supposedly revising for my O-levels but actually watching late night TV regime in 1982. That and Bilko. I passed five of the things. That was enough.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2020, 11:50:28 AM »
They did a remake of this in the nineties (or maybe late eighties?) - I recall it being must watch tv - wasn’t aware it was based on a show from the 60s

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2020, 03:44:11 PM »
It was from 1995, I think many assumed it was an X-Files (1993) ripoff, unaware it was an existing ip with no continuous arc.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2020, 06:12:28 PM »
I see David MacCallum starred in a couple, obviously aiming at the British market.  The depiction of a Welsh village and villagers in one was so cliched and quaint.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2020, 07:00:17 PM »
It was from 1995, I think many assumed it was an X-Files (1993) ripoff, unaware it was an existing ip with no continuous arc.

Cripes, I was practically an adult, my distorted memory has me enjoying it in my early teens/tweens

Attila

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2020, 07:45:34 PM »
I see David MacCallum starred in a couple, obviously aiming at the British market.  The depiction of a Welsh village and villagers in one was so cliched and quaint.

I had a lovely BBC version of Midsummer's Night Dream I'd recorded off PBS when I was in high school (starring Robert Lindsey as  Lysander); I loved that version of the play. And some twat in my family recorded right over the middle of it with one of the David McCallum episodes -- the one you've mentioned, where he's a lowly Welsh miner who gets a super-sized IQ injection or is super-accelerated evolved or some such.

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2020, 12:18:29 PM »
I didn't see the original at the time because I wasn't born, but I was aware of it and it was something I wanted to see, finally got the chance when it was repeated on Sky One in 1993.  I wasn't so keen on the remake though as it lacked the creepiness of the original.


Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2020, 02:38:05 PM »
I watched the final episode last night.  I’ve been working through the whole thing on and off for the past couple of years - there a some episodes that are fairly padded out to stretch to the 50 minute run time but generally they move along quite nicely.  Series 1 is definitely the better of the two, particularly the ones featuring Conrad Hall’s cinematography - it’s a real shame that he was only involved in a fairly limited number of episodes as his are easily the best stylistically.

I can understand the Twilight Zone comparisons but there’s not really the same breadth of themes with The Outer Limits which is usually more focused on the ‘monster of the week’.

The whole Harlan Ellison/Terminator plagiarism thing is pretty ridiculous and James Cameron is right to feel aggrieved by the outcome.  If you watched ‘Soldier’ without prior knowledge of it I doubt that ‘The Terminator’ would cross your mind as anything more than a passing thought.  It smacks of Ellison being an opportunistic wanker which is a shame as ‘Demon with a Glass Hand’, the other episode he wrote, is easily the best of the second series.

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2020, 05:17:46 PM »
Never seen the original series. Remember being quite stimulated in some reptile brain way as a 16 year old by the reboot episode with the sexy topless robot. Also had an exceedingly life-fuckingly difficult experience with LSD on the same night as watching an episode, though I don’t think the two were linked.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2020, 07:20:42 PM »
Martin Landau-the future Captain Koenig in Space 1999-starred in two episodes: the Bellero Shield and The Man Who Was Never Born-the last of them being one of my favourites.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2020, 08:57:04 PM »
I see David MacCallum starred in a couple, obviously aiming at the British market.  The depiction of a Welsh village and villagers in one was so cliched and quaint.

Genuinely had no idea this episode was supposed to be set in Wales until I read up about it afterwards.  The accents certainly didn’t give it away.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2020, 11:58:06 PM »
Leonard Nimoy (original Star Trek's Mr Spock) was in the episode I, Robot, as a journalist.

petrilTanaka

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2020, 12:25:17 AM »
Leonard Nimoy (original Star Trek's Mr Spock) was in the episode I, Robot, as a journalist.

I actually remember that from when BBC2 showed it

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2020, 05:45:14 PM »
Just watching the episode O.B.I.T. today.  It's very prescient on the subject of government surveillance, ubiquitous close-circuit television and reality television (a colonel in the story talks with self-disgust about becoming 'addicted' to watching people on the secret spy system of the story title).

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2020, 05:52:55 PM »
The Man Who Was Never Born is a corker.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2020, 03:48:48 PM »
Really good series. I first saw the 90s version, which I enjoyed and would like to see again to compare against the original now.

...The whole Harlan Ellison/Terminator plagiarism thing is pretty ridiculous and James Cameron is right to feel aggrieved by the outcome.  If you watched ‘Soldier’ without prior knowledge of it I doubt that ‘The Terminator’ would cross your mind as anything more than a passing thought.  It smacks of Ellison being an opportunistic wanker which is a shame as ‘Demon with a Glass Hand’, the other episode he wrote, is easily the best of the second series.

Arguably, that situation was of Cameron's making.

Cameron was reported to have said that he 'ripped off' a couple of Ellison's stories for The Terminator - IIRC, this was related in a biography about the director. There's a story with has wide currency that Ellison's lawyers learned that Cameron had been directly quoted saying this in an interview - and at that point, the studio became very keen to settle.

Not sure about 'anything more than a passing thought' as people did latch on the similarity to the beginning of the film and Soldier - I certainly have friends who commented about it.

From a business point of view, it often makes more sense to settle than gamble on a court case. A similar thing happened with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and from what we know about that, Larry Cohen's claim is much more a stretch than what was being claimed with Ellison.

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Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2020, 04:31:25 PM »
The more obvious plagiarism is the military computer becoming self aware and then turning on humanity, which was in "I have no mouth and I must scream". But that was a book so the the owners of the Outer Limits wouldn't care about it. Reading a synopsis of ‘Demon with a Glass Hand’ I can see why some people thought the law suit was a bout that as well. Humanoid robot sent back in time, fighting a future war in the past.

It does feel like Ellison was a major influence on Cameron, and Cameron perhaps should of had a wider range of influences - maybe some who weren't as litigious as Ellison.

Re: The Outer Limits-early 60s American sci-fi series
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2020, 07:10:39 PM »
Really had forgotten how many episodes there were in the new version!

The more obvious plagiarism is the military computer becoming self aware and then turning on humanity, which was in "I have no mouth and I must scream". But that was a book so the the owners of the Outer Limits wouldn't care about it. Reading a synopsis of ‘Demon with a Glass Hand’ I can see why some people thought the law suit was a bout that as well. Humanoid robot sent back in time, fighting a future war in the past…

Good call on I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream - collectively, it does rather suggest a significant influence, as you say.

The lawsuit named Demon with a Glass Hand and Soldier specifically, but Ellison (I think) only talked about the latter in conjunction with Terminator.

…It does feel like Ellison was a major influence on Cameron, and Cameron perhaps should of had a wider range of influences - maybe some who weren't as litigious as Ellison.

Hmm, possibly that’s what happened with Avatar!

Ellison did say that his (legal) beef was about acknowledgement, rather than money and would not have had an issue if Cameron has just asked. However, even if he had been amenable to that, I’m not sure how many people would have advised Cameron to have done that and suspect that such an approach could have created issues, particularly further down the line.

I do rather wonder Cameron’s phrasing - assuming what’s reported is accurate - was like a red flag to a bull. Had the language been more like when Ellison described his influences, Ellison would have had less of an issue - or at the very least, the studio would have been on stronger ground to hold firm.

Slight tangent, but Ellison named a few old-time radio shows as influencing his writing. One of those, Lights Out one of the earliest horror series - there was a television version in the 1950s and is relevance to The Outer Limits and these type of anthology shows. Arch Oboler, who took over over the radio version, cried a legal foul over the film, Duel (and the original short story), citing a LO episode where a couple are terrorised by an unseen truck driver. Oboler claimed that he got paid off but don’t think it’s been established one way or another - however, that the sort of outcome easily imagined, even if Matheson had a good story about how he got his story. Complicating matters perhaps, Oboler had pitched the episode to be redone to The Twilight Zone and pretty sure that feeling that Serling had intended filming it; Serling was a massive fan of Lights Out and of Oboler.

Ellison was also a huge admirer of Quiet Please and its writer/creator Wyllis Cooper (who also created Lights Out - sadly, many of his episode of the earlier series are lost). The series was largely performed by Ernest Chappell; mostly told in the first person and really is tremendous.

One episode highlighted by Ellison was The Thing on the Fourble Board - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9B6x505InU - lovely stuff to listen to when you can just focus on Chappell’s wonderful voice and to go in blind.

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