Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Outer Limits - The Sixth Finger (1964)

The Outer Limits is an American television series that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1965. Similar in style to the earlier The Twilight Zone with more science fiction than fantasy stories, The Outer Limits is an anthology of discrete story episodes, sometimes with a plot twist at the end. The Outer Limits originally was broadcast from 1963 to 1965 on the U.S. television broadcasting network ABC; in total, 49 episodes. It was one of many series influenced by The Twilight Zone and Science Fiction Theatre, though it ultimately proved influential in its own right. In the un-aired pilot, the series was called Please Stand By, but ABC rejected that title. Series creator Leslie Stevens retitled 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. Future Oscar winning screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) would write "The Chameleon", which was also the final episode filmed for the first season. Two especially notable second-season episodes "Demon with a Glass Hand" and "Soldier" were written by Harlan Ellison, with the latter episode winning a Writers' Guild Award. The former was for several years the only episode of The Outer Limits available on laser-disc.

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" motif of the first season. Each show in the first season was to have a monster or creature as a critical part of the story line. First-season writer and producer Joseph Stefano believed that this element was necessary to provide fear, suspense, or at least a center for plot development. This kind of story element became known as "the bear". This device was, however, mostly dropped in the second season when Stefano left. (Three first-season episodes without a 'bear' are "Forms of Things Unknown", "Controlled Experiment", and "The Borderland" all three of which were produced as pilots for other never-realized series and then re-edited as Outer Limits episodes. Another early episode with no 'bear' was "The Hundred Days of the Dragon" made before the 'bear' convention was established. Second season episodes with a 'bear' are "Keeper of the Purple Twilight", "The Duplicate Man", and "The Probe". Bears appear near the conclusion of second season episodes "Counterweight", "The Invisible Enemy", and "Cold Hands, Warm Heart".) The show's first season had distinctive music by Dominic Frontiere, who doubled as Production Executive; the second season featured music by Harry Lubin, with a variation of his Fear theme for One Step Beyond being heard over the end titles.

This episode
The Sixth Finger - Original airdate October 14th 1963
Set in a remote mining town, which based upon the accents is likely in the Lancashire area, the plot involves a renegade scientist who discovers how to affect the speed of evolutionary mutation. A disgruntled local miner, who volunteers for the experiment, enables the professor to create a being with enhanced mental capabilities, who, incidentally, begins growing a "sixth finger" on each hand. But when the mutation process begins to operate independently of the professor's influence, the mutant miner takes control of the experiment. Now equipped with superior intelligence and powers of thought that are capable of great destruction, such as telekinesis, the miner decides to take revenge on the mining town he loathes. - From Wikipedia

55 MIN

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