Destruct that ship, General!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Episode Spotlight: "The Galaxy Being" (9/16/1963)



"The Galaxy Being"
Season 1, Episode 1
Originally broadcast 9/16/1963


Fifty years ago tonight, ABC presented something never before seen on television (well, unless 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still had made it to TV by then). On that historic date, America got it's first look at The Outer Limits.


"The Galaxy Being," written and directed by series creator Leslie Stevens, opens with Cliff Robertson intently watching a TV screen (which kinda looks a modern HD set; wow, how prescient!), upon which something akin to electrical waves are being displayed (a robot’s EEG? the sci-fi-obsessed child in us wonders). Something else appears on the screen, an indistinct blur, which our boy Cliff is clearly shocked to see. We cut to the opening sequence (detailed here) and then, having been relieved of control of our television, we are thrust into act one.


Allen Maxwell (Cliff Robertson) is the owner/operator of radio station KXKVI. An amateur inventor/scientist, he’s illegally leeching power from the station to (deep breath) study the three-dimensional visual representation of interstellar static in the hopes of discovering extraterrestrial life (good thing I sent away for that online rocket scientist degree, so I know exactly what the hell it all means; so do you, right?). 

Andy tunes in.

The indistinct blur mentioned above sharpens into crystal clarity (ha! See what I did there?) and reveals an alien life form from the Andromeda Galaxy, which rudely never gives its name, so from here on we’ll call it Andy (I know, it's actually called The Galaxy Being; funny story, when I first discovered The Outer Limits in the early 80’s, I interpreted the title as something far more existential versus a literal reference; I was evidently a much deeper thinker back when I was 13). 

Allen and Andy exchange information about their respective planets, biological natures and theological leanings (it’s a fascinating and well-written conversation; its easily the high point of the entire episode), after which Allen must leave to attend a social function in his honor (which is never explained; I can only presume KXKVI is at the top of the ratings in the Los Feliz market). 


His brother Gene “Buddy” Maxwell, who is apparently the station’s only deejay, is also attending the function, so a sub (DJ Eddie Phillips) is called in to cover. Allen warns him that under no circumstances is he to tamper with the power. Eddie naturally does it anyway, which boosts the station’s signal tremendously and increases the power of Allen’s interstellar scanner array, dragging Andy across space into our world, Trek transporter style.

Heeeeeeeeere's Andy!

Disoriented, Andy terrorizes the town in search of Allen (killing several people in the process, including that dickhead Eddie). Andy eventually crashes Allen’s shindig, scaring the hell out of everyone and, while Allen leads it back to the station, causes the military to deploy tanks to contain the threat. Andy destroys KXKVI's radio tower for no apparent reason (a show of force? Yeah, that’s the appropriate tactic for a peaceful visitor), then encourages the crowd to “go to their homes” and consider the awe and mystery of the universe.

Wait, what? Talk about a mixed signal! So Andy causes all kinds of chaos and destruction, murders several innocent citizens, and then encourages mankind to explore the universe?  I’m pretty sure the good people of Earth will do the exact opposite, given the horrors that seem to await them out there. Andy should’ve told them to stay the hell in their own backyard. At least there’d be some consistency.


Andy tunes out.

Oh, and after confusing the hell out of everyone present, Andy proceeds to cut the power to Allen’s equipment, effectively committing suicide. Really? That’s the best ending Stevens could come up with? I would've preferred the hoary old cliché of mankind killing what it doesn't understand to this. Andy has already indicated that contact between it and humanity is prohibited, so he couldn't go back home (especially since he already destroyed the radio tower). I suppose he could’ve stuck around earth, providing he did something to prove its good intentions (maybe providing cheap and abundant radioactive power and uniting the nations of the world), but that’s probably too much story for 52 minutes). So instead, the first Outer Limits episode ever ends on a total bummer note, which I wouldn't necessarily object to if it was appropriate to the story… which I’m not convinced it is. If the overarching theme is the wonder of the universe, coupled with the glorious potential of inter-species contact, then maybe a more positive denouement would've rang truer.

I dunno, maybe Stevens’ underlying point is that extraterrestrials might be as short-sighted and stupid as us humans. Andy’s erratic behavior and questionable decision-making could certainly support that.


RANDOMONIUM


In the opening scene in act one, Gene "Buddy" Maxwell casually refers to Carol, Allen's wife, as "babe." Now, I don't have a brother, so maybe I'm not exactly qualified to comment here, but I have to believe that, if I did have a brother, I probably wouldn't be calling his wife "babe," and he damn sure wouldn't be calling my wife "babe." Am I crazy here? Maybe it's totally harmless... but then again, Allen is clearly an absent husband, and dammit, a woman has needs. Maybe brother and sister-in-law are knocking boots while Allen's busy scanning his three-dimensional static in abstinent solitude.



There's a really weird shot at time stamp 24:36. Allen is walking from his workshop/lab to KXKVI's main building and absently tying his tie. The dramatic music, coupled with the extreme low angle and handheld camera, implies some pretty heavy goings-on, but nothing is happening to justify it. It's just odd, distractingly so.



And it needs to be said, dammit: the whole episode is a little too reminiscent of The Day the Earth Stood Still. I guess if you’re gonna crib, do it from the best. But still, you're launching what will be one of the greatest sci-fi series of all time, and you rip off a twelve year-old movie? It's too bad they didn't show "The Architects of Fear" first, since it's superior to this episode in every possible way. You know I'm right.

Distant cousins?


I know, It sounds like I hate “The Galaxy Being.” I really don’t. There’s much to appreciate here. The scene in which Allen and Andy make first contact and answer one another’s questions is so well written and played that it’s probably inevitable that the rest of the episode can't measure up to it (Allen's irrepressible smile as he explains his nose and mouth to the orifice-challenged Andy is adorable). The episode is certainly well-acted and produced, and John Nickolaus's cinematography is competent (though not as arrestingly beautiful as the rest of season one will be thanks to Conrad Hall). There’s definitely some production value achieved by shooting in and around an actual radio station. And the scene in which Andy wanders around inside a store, transfixed and perplexed by the various objects on display (a music box, binoculars, etc), is a nice quiet moment in the midst of the “monster on the rampage” scenes.



But the episode’s single biggest success is Andy himself. Sure, a large part of his appeal is the negative exposure effect used in post-production, but he still looks pretty damned cool without it. Just for fun, I loaded up a few screen caps in Photoshop and inverted 'em. Check it out:



I gotta say, it's a pretty damned cool design on its own, sans effects. Rubbery, but cool.


AURAL PLEASURE


The Outer Limits is a rich minefield of brilliant, expressive music… but not here, unfortunately. Some source music pops up here and there (appropriate, given the radio station setting) but, other than that, there’s less than five minutes of actual underscore in the entire episode (mostly it's just the end title theme repeated multiple times), which is surprising given the series’ strong musical identity. Many of the more dramatic scenes feature lots of sound effects (the electronic crackling buzzing sound emanating from Andy, etc.), so maybe the music was kept to a minimum so's not to distract from it. I dunno.


DRAMATIS PERSONAE


Cliff Robertson needs no introduction. He played JFK in 1963’s PT109 and the title character in 1968’s Charly, the big screen adaptation of Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” (for which he won a Best Actor Oscar). He also visited The Twilight Zone twice (“A Hundred Yards over the Rim” and “The Dummy”) and, more recently, played Uncle Ben Parker in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Robertson passed away two years ago last week (9/10/2011).


TOL Babe alert! Jacqueline Scott co-stars as Carol, Allen’s long-suffering (and kinda bitchy) wife, and we’ll see her again in season two’s “Counterweight.” She also appeared in “The Parallel” over on The Twilight Zone just six months prior to her work here, and she enjoyed a recurring role as Richard Kimble’s sister Donna on TV's The Fugitive. Scott, 81, is still with us as of this writing.


Lee Phillips plays Gene “Buddy” Maxwell his only TOL appearance. He starred in two episodes of The Twilight Zone (“Passage on the Lady Anne,” which co-starred TOL alum Joyce Patten, and “Queen of the Nile”) before going on to a fairly prolific career as a television director, putting his stamp on several beloved series, among them M*A*S*H, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Waltons and The Andy Griffith Show (for which he directed a whopping 60 episodes).



Another TOL Babe alert! Allyson Ames has a minor role as Loreen, Gene “Buddy” Maxwell’s make-out partner and this episode’s designated screamer; we’ll see her again later this season in “Production and Decay of Strange Particles.” She also costarred with William Shatner in Incubus, Leslie Stevens’ notorious 1966 horror film (all the dialogue is in Esperanto for God’s sake! That qualifies it as notorious, right?). I do have the film on DVD, so I imagine I’ll spotlight/review it at some point in this blog; probably next fall when we get to Shatner’s episode).




DJ Eddie Phillips is played by Bert Metcalfe, who also appeared in “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” on The Twilight Zone. More importantly for our purposes, he produced, associate produced, and executive produced M*A*S*H throughout its entire 11-year run, so he undoubtedly crossed paths with director Lee Phillips (I fervently hope that Phillips called him “Gene ‘Buddy’ Maxwell” each time they worked together).


HOME VIDEO RELEASES



"The Galaxy Being" has seen a whopping nine distinct home video releases. It first arrived on VHS in 1987 in a plastic clamshell case (one of only three episodes to be released in this fashion), which was later superseded by a re-release in a standard cardboard slipcase matching the rest of the standard VHS releases. It appeared even later with a different cover (the design suggests a cross-promotion with Showtime's reboot series, which would place it around 1995).


Columbia House (remember them?) also made the entire series available on VHS, but I couldn't tell you exactly when (I'm guessing around the same time the episodes were being sold on VHS at retail). Their subscription-based club offered two episodes per tape, and they all had the same cover, which looked pretty ugly compared to MGM/UA's releases.  On the other side of the pond, 9 VHS volumes were released in the UK (which featured essentially the same artwork as their US counterparts), the first volume of which paired "The Galaxy Being" with "The Hundred Days of the Dragon." Wait, the UK only got 18 episodes on VHS? Poor bastards.

"The Galaxy Being" also appeared on LaserDisc in 1990 in the first of four collections. I never had a LaserDisc player, so I can't really comment. I imagine the episodes looked better than the VHS tapes, but not as good as the DVDs would look 12 years later. 



The episode arrived on DVD with the rest of season one in 2002. This 6-disc DVD set was later split into two different volumes, then later combined with season two for a mega-omnibus-type set, but the actual discs in all three releases are identical. Unfortunately, they're double-sided discs, which is prone to failure (I had to replace the first disc in my season 2 set a while back).


I'd love to be mentioning a blu-ray release at this point, but the sad fact is that, as of right now, none has been announced (gee, way to miss the 50th anniversary, guys). The Twilight Zone didn't hit blu-ray until a year after it turned 50, so maybe there's hope. The Outer Limits is my #2 blu-ray holy grail (right after the 1948 supernatural romance Portrait of Jennie, which is my second-favorite film of all time after Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo; wow, you're learning all kinds of things about me today, aren't you?).


TRADING CARD CORNER



Many of The Outer Limits' monsters were featured in a trading card set from Topps in 1964, and "The Galaxy Being" is no exception; in fact, it's represented on the very first card in the 50-card series. The cards were notorious (or hilarious, depending on your point of view) for the text descriptors on the backs of the cards, which had virtually nothing to do with the actual episodes that the monsters came from. "The Galaxy Being" is probably the most accurate which, as you'll see in the pic below, ain't saying much.


Here's a pretty comprehensive rundown of the classic card series, which are worth quite a bit of money if you have mint specimens. For poor schmucks like me, Topps brought 'em back in a limited-edition run of 5000 sets in 1995 (I picked up a set of these reprints a few years back; they can found pretty cheap on eBay). I'll be posting my own personal scans of the cards as we go; however, if you're impatient and want to see 'em all in one giant chunk, go here (whoever did those scans jacked the contrast a bit too high, but they still look great).

Rittenhouse produced a set of 72 TOL cards in 2002, 9 of which depicted scenes from "The Galaxy Being." Now, despite my mixed feelings about the episode, I could easily find 9 compelling images to use... unfortunately, Rittenhouse couldn't.



Compared to the Topps cards, these are boring as hell (but yes, I have a set of these too; just the base set, mind you). Rittenhouse produced several autograph cards as well, including ones signed by Cliff Robertson and Jacqueline Scott. I've never attempted to collect any of them, but I'd love to snag the Robert Culp autograph card one of these days (I'll be talking a lot about Robert Culp in the weeks and months to come).


MERCHANDISE SPOTLIGHT


The only Andy collectible I'm aware of is a model kit, sculpted by Chris Choin, from Dimensional Designs (the same folks responsible for the Behold, Eck! model depicted in this blog's masthead (and detailed here). $49.95 plus shipping and he/she/it can be yours.



In the "so weird and esoteric there's no category for it" category, the cover of electronic musical artist Enigma's 2006 album A Posteriori strongly evokes this episode:


Coincidence? I dunno. I'll save the conspiracy theory stuff for next week.



THE WRAP-UP




"The Galaxy Being" is obviously not a favorite episode of mine; however, I can certainly appreciate it for what it accomplished: it sold the series to ABC, and it launched my second favorite TV series of all time. It's really not representative of the series, as it lacks the noirish, shadowy atmospheres and twisted psychologies that will characterize the majority of the first season; as such, it's far from the best the show has to offer, but it's certainly nowhere near the worst either. I'm not assigning specific ratings here, but I will say that, for me, it lies somewhere in the middle of the pack.





30 comments:

  1. Hi Craig, Your website is great. Your insights into The Outer Limits are on target -- and very funny, though you also take it seriously at the same time. FIFTY YEARS AGO TONIGHT I was watching the very first broadcast -- I'm that old. TOL was 50% of my consciousness when I was a kid in '63-'64. Today I know no one who ever saw the series or even heard of it -- except for two friends whom I made watch some on DVD. I will be back to your website and send the link to others.

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  2. This a fabulous first spotlight, man.

    This is also really lame of me, but I totally name-dropped you over on my blog.

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  3. Troy, you'll never hear me complain about my name being dropped. :D

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  4. Adrian - thanks for the kind words. I must admit, I'm envious of anyone who saw the show when it originally aired....

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    1. I saw this when I was 8 yrs old and it scared me to death. I just watched it again on hulu and learned that the monster was not really all that evil.

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  5. This first episode is loaded with great moments. When Allan Maxwell first sees "Andy" the Andromedan, his look of astonishment is perfect. The way that he and the alien establish a means of communication and then discuss their being, their God and death...it all makes the episode pretty extraordinary.

    Andy's rampage through the town as he/it explores the new surroundings is a treat. The alien effect is spectacular in its originality, although I would have liked to see the entire alien onscreen instead of just waist-up shots.

    The ending of the episode is very entertaining as we see the Andromedan "stop death" by healing Allan's wife. I'm still not sure how tense or trigger-happy that cop would have to have been to plug Allan's wife so quickly, but it does build some sympathy for Andy after he's ransacked the town.

    I also wonder how the National Guard fired so many machine gun rounds into the transmitter shed yet we see no bullet holes anywhere. That's some terrible aim.

    The advice Andy gives to the gathered crowd to "go to your homes and give thought to the mysteries of the universe" always struck me as being rather preachy, as if delivered by my junior high teacher. If I were ever addressed in such a fashion by a glowing thing from another world, though, I would probably never have another Earth-bound thought for the remainder of my days. Perfect for a pilot...10 of 10 score from me!

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  7. It's hard to see, but the Being actually creates a radioactive force field around the tank --- this is why the bullets don't hit anything (they either drop to the ground or vaporize entirely).

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    1. Well I'll be damned. I never noticed that before. Now I'm sure my time here has been spent wisely.

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  8. Craig -- Thanks for your reply. You're right, there were advantages to watching it "back then" in first run (though I had to "protect" my parents by concealing the fact that they LET me watch a show that teachers and other parents considered off "limits").

    Have you seen this? On YouTube, "End of Transmission [Youtube Version]- b.cotton". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN_R9y5VHQo
    It's a hypnotic paraphrase of "The Galaxy Being", a distillation of its message (with plenty of Leslie Steven's processed voice). As an Outer Limits "purist" myself, I probably should have doubts about the video -- but I think it's very moving, and is especially appropriate as a 50th anniversary tribute. In its own way, it enhances understanding of the episode -- just as you and Troy are doing in your valuable blogs.

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  9. That's beautiful... thanks, Adrian. I'm gonna post an entry directing traffic to it.

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  10. You reminded me that it was the 50th anniversary, so I watched the episode on Monday night. And I actually went to bed giving thought to the mysteries of the universe, just like I probably did back on the same night in 1963. You and your blog made that possible, so thank you!

    10 comments and counting. I'd say that makes this blog a success.

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  11. By the way, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" was shown on NBC Saturday Night at the Movies on March 3, 1962. I'm old enough to have seen that one too!

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  12. Bill, I had a feeling you probably knew when TDTESS hit TV!

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  13. Great to see another Outer Limits blog out there, Craig! I have a couple of responses to your review, particularly these two statements.

    "Andy... murders several innocent citizens..."

    ''a show of force? Yeah, that’s the appropriate tactic for a peaceful visitor."

    Actually, I think that Andy is more peaceful than you make him out to be. To quote David Schow:

    "...the alien visitor is benevolent, even passive. The destruction it causes is unintended, as is the panic it later prompts. It is here by accident, and only resorts to a show of force to get everybody to shut up and listen to it." (Emphasis mine)

    Just wondering what you'd think of this. Looking forward to more reviews!

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  14. Mark: to me, Andy did murder those people. Maybe we can cut him some slack for his first victim (Eddie Phillips) since maybe he didn't know what would happen when he launched those radioactive rings at him. But surely Andy saw the result of that, yet he does it several more times and kills more people. I’m not saying he was expressly trying to kill all those folks, but he sure as hell wasn’t trying NOT to either.

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  15. What an impact it had on a young kid in 1963. It had an even bigger impact on my Mom. She forbade me to ever watch the show again. It would give me nightmares (and it did) but I found other households that were more receptive to the show. After putting it into perspective over time and many viewings and Season One comparing I agree with Craig. It is somewhere in the middle of my favorites. Carol Maxwell describes Allan's 3D experiments as electricity frozen. Perfect way to describe the screen and the Andromedan. Most people remember Andy coming out of the screen (maybe even the TV) and why not...it was an incredible thing to see in 1963. It still looks pretty cool even today. The sine wave and the radioactive rings became a staple of the show's visual. I can't see a sine wave now without thinking of The Outer Limits.

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  16. Awesome to watch TOL as a kid in 1963 along with all the other space and sci-fi offerings.The space program also contributed to my growing interest in astronomy. In 64-65 I built a decent size telescope. Looking at Andromeda was cool, expecting at least a few alien photons were reaching me.

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  17. Cliff Robertson turns in a smooth, likeable performance as a tinkerer who stumbles upon something "tremendous". Unlike the stereotypical mad scientist or eccentric, absent minded professor you would expect to see in something like this, Robertson plays Allen Maxwell as a thoroughly regular guy who's distracted by his work, his work consisting of tinkering with electronic equipment in his spare time, while neglecting his day job and, his wife. Allen tries to impress his wife Carol (Jacqueline Scott) with his viewer screen but she's not impressed, and accuses him of becoming less human. "Allen, do you even care anything about your own family"? she throws at him. Without pausing for even a split second to ponder the implications of such a confrontational question, Allen reassuringly replies, with almost childlike earnestness, "Sure". Then, without missing a beat, he changes the subject to, "You see, that's a three dimensional TV scanner". Allen gives her a great sales pitch, to which she sadly replies, "Well, I'm sorry Allen, but I don't like it, because every day it takes you away from me more and more". Allen's response to this is brilliant, he listens respectfully but with obvious disappointment and dismay, he's properly solemn and somber at this "bad news", but through it all he's still DISTRACTED, it's obvious that his wife simply isn't getting through to him. Robertson plays Allen as distracted from start to finish, more so at times than at others, but never really "snapping out of" his distraction. An amazing, effortless performance from a great actor.

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  18. The Galaxy Being creature effect was produced by negative reversing shots of William O. Douglas Jr. wearing a wet suit, with a specially crafted headpiece and "gloves", coated with oil and glycerin. The result was a ghost-like image with what looked like clusters of black "speckles", which seemed to sort of crawl across and beneath the creature's body. This fascinated me as an eight year old, I imagined them to be "sun spots" on the surface of the "being's" sun-like body. In some scenes, the background was shown negative reversed along with the creature, which made it seem more life-like. Examples of this are the scenes of the creature as seen on Allen's scanner screen and the scene where the being is walking away from KXKVI with the transmitter tower visible in the back ground. This scene looks like a night shot but was actually shot during the daytime, to make the tower visible, and then negative reversed. The tower in these "night" scenes appears as ghostly white, which it obviously wouldn't if these had been actual night shots, in fact it wouldn't have been visible at all, I would think. This "day for night" trick was also used at the end, for the tower explosion scene. And, when the being breaks into the pawn shop, the shop interior is negative reversed along with the being, but this works because we can imagine the being's radiation casting an eerie ghostly glow on the objects in the pawn shop. In other scenes however, for obvious reasons, the image of the being had to be superimposed onto the night background, as in the scene where it's walking toward the oncoming car that it then flips over with its radiation power. In these superimposed scenes, the being's image is unavoidably somewhat transparent, as this sort of effect always was in science fiction movies of the 1950's.

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  19. Since Outer Limits, esp. Galaxy Being originally aired I've been trying to find out what effects were
    used to do (is it Andy's?) voice. The best I can figure is the "just-slightly-off-from-an-octave-high" effect might have been side-band or Ham radio transmitted from a car outside possibly? and there's another effect that sounds like a Leslie (rotating speaker cabinet usually used on Hammond organs),set to "High" speed. I was nine yrs. old when O.L. began airing. Now I'm 60 and when I watch Galaxy Being that's still the best I can do on the 'Aliens' voice.As a self taught guitarist, (Hendrix fanatic) , I've always noticed. Well, now the answer's always so and so software.A Ring Modulator with (side-band effect?), and any rotating speaker pedal, I use the Boss RT-20. Or,...two ham radios and a 200 lb. old Leslie cab. to be more accurate.
    Jimmie
    kingvox@snet.net

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  20. As was previously mentioned, I also always enjoyed Gene "Buddy" Maxwell's referring to Allen's wife Carol as "babe". It made him seem really, really cool. It must be pointed out, however, that "Buddy" calls his girlfriend Loreen (Allyson Ames) "babe", also. I guess Gene is one of those lucky guys who gets to call all hot women "babe", and get away with it. And really, that's kind of what we all want, isn't it? Presumably Loreen, who knows Buddy best, has OK'd this, at least I hope so. "Cool music, cool night air, and the cool lips of Gene Buddy Maxwell on your fevered brow". Anybody should be able to get to first base with a line like that. Real life radio stations can have either three, or four call letters as station ID, never five (KXKVI), they did this to avoid possible legal problems. Ironically, in Seattle, where I grew up, there actually was/is a station KVI (AM 570), and I always wondered if that was more than just a coincidence. The AM frequency mentioned, "1820 on your radio dial", was also fictional, 1600 kHz being the upper limit of the AM band. The big question, as mentioned, is whether or not the being's acts of havoc, destruction and death were intentional. The official line seems to be that they were not, but from what you actually see on the screen, that's not at all clear to me. After accidentally arriving on earth, the being peers through the glass portal in the studio door, sees Eddie Phillips and, realizing that Eddie is not Allen, fries him with radiation. THAT was unintentional? Maybe "Andy" is just super paranoid, thinking that every human other than Allen is out to get him. When the being approaches the warehouse, "Collins", who's pulling the night shift, freaks out and fires his gun at Andy. Andy throws up his hands in a defensive gesture, then blows Collins away. After realizing that bullets can't harm him, why not just walk away and let things be? When the recklessly speeding car approaches the creature, you'd think, wouldn't you, that the being could simply step aside to avoid getting run over. Or if he couldn't move that fast, why not just use his force power to gently shove the car aside, avoiding a collision? Instead, he flips the car over and fries it, killing all the (probably) drunk humans inside. And when the being finally tracks down Allen at the town center, he just walks right in and starts killing more people with radiation, stopping only when Allen implores him to: "Don't touch us. No! Radiation! You'll burn us"! The being then follows Allen back to the transmitter, like the little lamb following Mary. Moreover, we've seen from the beginning that the creature is extremely intelligent, probably more so than humans, and you would think that it would have easily figured out that humans pose no threat to it. As illogical as all this might seem, it's actually clever writing by Leslie Stevens. If, for example, the creature had been portrayed from the beginning as malevolent, bent only on destroying the earth and all the people on it, there would have been nothing intriguing or compelling about that idea, that was old hat, we'd seen it all before in countless science fiction movies of the 1950's. Not that I have anything against those movies, in fact I love them, but The Outer Limits was supposed to be different, taking this stuff in a new and far more thought provoking direction. On the other hand, if the creature had been portrayed as being totally peaceful, passive and harmless, it wouldn't have been SCARY. So Stevens came up with the perfect solution, an alien that was peaceful and intelligent, but also terrifying and destructive. As a result, we're never quite sure exactly WHAT it's motives are, we're forced to think about that. And, if you think about it, how could humans understand an alien's motives anyway?

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  21. Just watching this now, I note that the scientist uses the universal language of speaking in English more slowly . . . good to know that even works intergalactically (or inter-dimensionally). The idea that his computer can translate binary impulses into actual words (with meaning and a defined structure that goes well beyond the simple issue of communicating a series of on/off signals) is, of course, utterly ridiculous. (There is a similar problem when people say that mathematics would be a common language. Exactly how does one communicate only using numbers and equations?) Yes, yes, I need to keep repeating to myself that it is a 50+ year old tv show, and not have such lofty expectations.

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  22. The "ThisTV" network runs two TOL episodes back-to-back starting at midnight Sunday nights/Monday mornings and they run them in chronological order. I sometimes wonder if a scene or two has been clipped in order to sneak in an extra couple of commercials. This practice was done to many shows in the 1960's when they went from prime time to the after-school re-run slot. You can see the same thing happen to episodes of Lost in Space and plenty other shows. I have yet to begin watching the long-running TOL series that was part of Showtime's line up. I have to wonder if they're half as good as these black & white gems from the early 1960's.

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  23. I was 7 yrs old when I saw it. Then again 50 years later on u-tube.
    WOW,..I still feel the same feelings as when I saw it in 63' / 64?
    For a 7 yr old, it was a powerful show.

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  24. The original network broadcast of "The Galaxy Being" included a one minute clip of coming attractions at the end of the episode. The control voice intones "Thrill to the awe and mystery of the hidden world in these coming episodes of The Outer Limits". Then followed 30 seconds from The Architects Of Fear, ten seconds from The Hundred Days Of The Dragon, and 20 seconds from The Borderland. When The Outer Limits was sold into syndication, a 52 second scene from act two, which has Gene Maxwell sound checking replacement DJ Eddie Phillips, was cut from the syndication print of The Galaxy Being. The preview clip was retained however, and I'm guessing the reason for cutting that short scene was so that the preview clip could be utilized by local stations to promote the series in syndication, while at the same time keeping the episode from running a minute longer than the other episodes, which presumably would have affected commercial time. I saw The Galaxy Being a number of times in syndication, and only once, around 1980, did I see that one minute preview clip. The missing 52 minute scene was restored to all home video releases of The Galaxy Being, but the one minute preview scene has yet to see the light of day. Hopefully it will when, or if, the series comes out on Blu Ray.

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  25. Watched the DVD of this last eve for I cannot tell you how many times. Saw it when it first aired, too.

    There was a pictorial in the TV guide around that time as I seem to recall. Would be great if you can find a copy at one of those collectible mag shows that come around on on Ebay.

    The actor (apparently there were two individuals according to Wiki) wore a standard underwater wet suit but had in on backwards so no opening for noise and mouth. The protrusion on the face was from the air mask like from a fighter plane. The protrusion on his chest was the air tank. I also seem to recall the tank being dragged around on a furniture dolly. Again, that article will show and tell all.

    George in Connecticut

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  26. The main studio building and transmitter for KXKVI in "The Galaxy Being" was actually KCBH in Beverly Hills. The studio building itself, while not used as a broadcast center, still stands and looks very much like it did in 1963. The tower and shed have since been replaced to accommodate more modern technology.

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  27. This is the episode that got me into science fiction. It terrified my nine year old self, but I loved it then and I still do almost 54 years later.

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