Title Episode

Starring: Robert Culp, Geraldine Brooks, Leonard Stone, Martin Wolfson, Douglas Henderson, Janos Prohaska, Lee Zimmer, Hal Bokar, William Bush, Clay Tanner

Produced by Joseph Stefano

Written by Meyer Dolinsky

Directed by Byron Haskin

A Villa Di Stefano Production in association with Daystar Productions

"Is this the day? Is this the beginning or the end?... 'Why is it finally happening?' There is time only for fear, for the piercing pain of panic. Do we pray? Or do we merely run now, and pray later? Will there be a later? Or is this the day?"

To unite the warring nations of Earth a group of scientists secretly create a "common enemy", an all powerful alien monster to threaten the world. They hope that such a monster would unite all nations to work together .

The meeting room Choosing the name

It's me?

Robert Culp plays Alan - the unlucky 'volunteer' to become the Thetan alien.

The first step... Alan and wife

After he starts the experimentation to become Thetan his wife (Geraldine Brooks) announces that she is pregnant.

The experiments continue Hearing that Alan is 'dead'

Whilst the experiments continue, Alan's wife is told that Alan was killed in a plane accident.

The experiments start to take effect... Almost human

The experimentation starts to take effect on Alan, as he starts to become dellusional.

Discussing the next change to be made Becoming hysterical

After rampaging through the lab Alan tries to phone his wife but is restrained before he can talk to her.

The alteration to his respiration system underway The transformation almost complete

The final stages of the experimentation are underway - at this stage Alan can only communicate through a vocal box and gets confirmation from the scientist that what he is going through is for the greater good. He is also assured that he has a good chance of success of completing his mission - Once his rocket ship is built and his final transformation complete, he is to take the ship and land it near the UN congressional building, then go through and break into the UN talks.

Radar Campers on a hunting trip

Launching off from a secret location, the Thetan ship is tracked by radar - however it crash lands off course...

A hand... A face peering through...

Scaring some hunters he is shot and shambles off...

Going to the lab Something else also goes to the lab... Seeing the Thetan

Meanwhile, Alan's wife, sensing something is wrong, goes to the laboratory. The Thetan follows, and finds Alan's wife there.

A look of repulsion The Thetan points...

At first she is scared by the figure, but when it collapses in front of her and points, she realises who it once was...

She realises whom the Thetan was... Sobbing over her husband

The scientists rush to the laboratory to find the creature dead and Alan's wife realising who it was. She asks them what right they had to try and stage manage this event, and the price that Alan had to pay...

Robert Culp gives one of his usual excellent performances here as the self virtuous Alan, who is at first willing to be transformed into the creature that will unite the nations but who then can only think of his wife and their unborn child. Culp made several notable appearances on "The Outer Limits", including "Demon with a Glass Hand" as well as making notable guest appearances on shows like "Rawhide" ("Incident at the Top of theWorld", one of the best episodes of that series) and "Columbo". Along with Bill Cosby, Robert Culp starred in the successful " I Spy" series in the 1960s, and co-starred in "Greatest American Hero" with William Katt.

I have deliberately tried to avoid showing pictures of the Thetan. The video release states that "The creature (a special effects masterpiece) was so frightening some local TV stations blackened the screen during his appearance!" However, in my opinion the creature could quite happily appear on children's television and I suspect that the producers of the show were also of a similar opinion as the creature rarely makes a full screen appearance, instead they make good use of the excellent camerawork of Conrad Hall and keep the creature in the shadows as much as possible.

Although this is one of my most favourite episodes of "The Outer Limits", it is not the one that scared me the most originally. That honour falls to "A Feasibility Study" which really scared me as a child when I first saw it.

You can now buy this episode, along with the rest of the first series on DVD:

 

cover

The Outer Limits

 

 

The Outer Limits

I also have a page looking at the history and the people behind the original Outer Limits.

One of my favourite filmsWhat's one of my favourite films? Click here.

My favourite TNG episodeWhat's my favourite Star Trek: Next Generation episode? Click here.

My favourite Original series episode What's my favourite Star Trek original series episode? Click here.

All images &sounds (c) MGM/UA 1998

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