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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Repeat Report: Summer 1964 (Part 1)

Remember when television seasons ran for 30 weeks or more? When so many episodes were produced during the year that the summer rerun season wasn’t enough to repeat them all?  Those days appear to be long, long gone (do the networks even rerun stuff anymore?). These days a show starts a new season, runs for 13 weeks, and then vanishes until almost a year later (but gets a DVD/Blu-ray release before the next season starts). I miss the old days, when a show occupied a time slot year-round. Same day, same time, same channel… that’s where it lived; where you could always find it, new episode or not.

Fifty years ago tonight, The Outer Limits aired its very first repeat, launching an 18-week look back at its triumphant first season. We’ll address the first half here, and the other half… well, halfway through.

5/18/64: The Sixth Finger

6/01/64: Moonstone

6/08/64: O.B.I.T.

6/15/64: Nightmare

6/22/64: Corpus Earthling


The first batch of reruns is a mixed bag. It starts off on a seriously questionable foot with “Specimen: Unknown,” possibly the worst episode of the season (feel free to argue; I know many of you would rate “The Special One” beneath it, maybe “Production and Decay of Strange Particles” too). We do get mostly top-grade episodes throughout, though I’d argue that both “The Human Factor,” "Moonstone," and the aforementioned “Specimen: Unknown” should’ve been ignored in favor of episodes that weren't repeated at all. For your reading (dis)pleasure, here are the episodes that were never reprised:

Kinda horrific, ain't it? I know not every worthwhile episode can be repeated, but there were certainly enough grade-A episodes to fill the entire summer without revisiting the lesser efforts

As you’ll see in a couple of months or so, the second half of the summer will include choices that are even more mystifying.


  1. This is a great way to revisit some of the episodes and recreate the history of the show's run. Thanks Craig!

  2. While Specimen: Unknown was a bad episode I think all the interest in NASA and the whole space program in those days helped it gain support as a summer re-run. I would have rather seen The Zanti Misfits and The Invisibles. Specimen is not the worst episode of Season One. Tourist Attraction my opinion.

    1. I've never directly compared Tourist Attraction and Specimen: Unknown, since they're so different from one another. Hmmmm. Man, I dunno. I'd probably give the edge to Tourist Attraction, since the Ichthy is so much cooler than a bunch of plastic flowers.

    2. While I agree Ichthy was pretty bad ass I guess as a kid I was fascinated by the whole astronaut thing. I am going to have to watch Tourist Attraction again and see if it has improved with age. It's only episode I don't rewatch more than once a year.

    3. Wait. You watch "The Brain of Colonel Barham" and "Behold Eck!" more than once a year, but not "Tourist Attraction"????

    4. Well I have changed my "lower" priorities. "Tourist Attraction" has moved up to third worst episode. "Eck" and "Barham" have been demoted. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. Ichthy will now get three views per year.

    5. Thanks for setting me straight. I always thought I knew what I wanted in an OL episode. How sad it is to realize after 50 years I was wrong. I can stop my therapy now that I am on the right track.

  3. Are you sure The Zanti Misfits wasn't repeated? I distinctly remember seeing it for a second time in 1964, and thinking "Oh no--those BUGS again!"

    1. My list comes from Schow's book. If anyone has access to ABC's rerun schedule for Summer 1964 and finds a discrepancy, I'm all ears.

  4. Hi Craig.
    I have been following your TOL blog for a while and just want to let you know that you are doing another amazing job with your reviews and analysis.
    I am dreading the day over at your Twilight Zone blog when your final review comes due for the final episode in June.
    I do have a thought which I will share with you over at the Zone blog which just might keep the blog going unto eternity.
    Anyway, to my dying day I will always consider the ending to "The Man Who Was Never Born" as one of the most powerful and shocking endings that I have ever witnessed.
    Craig, again thank you for everything.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Scott. I'm already thinking of ways to keep the TZ blog going past the end of season five.... stay tuned.