Monday, October 29, 2012

“Do not attempt to adjust your television...”

My brother and I watched Outer Limits faithfully, every week, during its first run, 1963 to 1965.

Outer Limits is available on DVD. If you watch these early episodes now you can see it is firmly of its time. It was made on a low budget. The money they did spend seems to have gone into the monsters that appeared every week, and for which us youthful viewers tuned in. There were adaptations of famous science fiction stories, including two by Harlan Ellison, “Demon With a Glass Hand” and “Soldier.” In the eighties writer/director James Cameron cobbled those two together and came up with Terminator, which earned him a quick lawsuit from Ellison. The lawsuit was settled in Ellison's favor, but it showed the power that Outer Limits had in its day. It left a lasting impression on its viewers.

It was remade as a cable series in the nineties. It was slick and well made. But for me it couldn't capture whatever it was that made the original low budget series appealing. I thought about it and realized why I felt that way. Put simply, I wasn't fifteen-years-old anymore.

This article, written by Forrest J. Ackerman, is for a magazine called House of Horror (which contains reprints from Ackerman's more famous magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland). Ackerman, now deceased, was a self-promoter, and as a faithful Famous Monsters reader from it's beginnings, I wondered if the magazine wasn’t as much about him as the monsters. In this article Ackerman shows up in a photo, along with his boss, James Warren. his publisher. Pictures of Warren, who is sort of an elusive figure, are rare.

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