Cult series “The Outer Limits” premieres on this day in 1963

There is nothing wrong with your television set

Cult series “The Outer Limits” premieres on this day in 1963

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical.” The words that begin each episode of the 60s anthology series were an opening monologue than a declaration of aesthetic warfare. “The Outer Limits” premiered on September 16th, 1963, originally was broadcast from 1963 to 1965 on the U.S. television broadcasting network ABC and had a total of 49 episodes. It was one of many series influenced by “The Twilight Zone” and “Science Fiction Theater”, though it ultimately proved influential in its own right. In the unaired pilot, the series was titled “Please Stand By”, but ABC rejected it. Series creator Leslie Stevens re-titled it “The Outer Limits”. With a few changes, the pilot aired as the premiere episode, “The Galaxy Being”. Writers for “The Outer Limits” included creator Stevens and Joseph Stefano (screenwriter of Hitchcock’s Psycho), who was the series’ first-season producer and creative guiding force. Stefano wrote more episodes than any other writer for the show. Two especially notable second-season episodes “Demon With a Glass Hand” and “Soldier” were written by Harlan Ellison. The first season combined science-fiction and horror, while the second season was more focused on “hard” science-fiction stories, dropping the recurring scary monster pattern of the first season. The show is remembered largely as “the one that wasn’t The Twilight Zone,” but its tone was in some ways more confrontational, both visually and morally. The series have developed a large cult following ever since, and although was remade in 1995, the original episodes from the 60’s are still the ones that attracts new generations of fans.

By Ken Warren, 2017/18

Watch the original 1963 “The Outer Limits” series intro

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