Out of This World

Tagged: TV

1. US tv series (1952). ABC TV. Produced by Milton Kaye. Narrated by Jackson Beck. One season of 25-minute episodes. Black and white.

Out of this World hovered between sf and lectures on science. In episode three, for example, directed by Milton Kaye and written by Robbie Robertson, we see a young couple in 1993 going to the Moon for a vacation and then telephoning their relations on Earth to give impressions of their holiday. Between these dramatized segments the narrator discussed with a Scientist, Robert R Cole, the actual possibilities of Space Flight and conditions on the Moon. Apart from describing such problems as weightlessness and the lack of air, the scientist told Beck that "a trip to the Moon is closer than one thinks." [JB]

2. UK tv series (1962). ABC TV. Produced by Leonard White. Story editor Irene Shubik. 13 50-minute episodes. Black and white.

This short-lived but relatively ambitious sf anthology series – the first such in the UK – was hosted by Boris Karloff. Stories adapted for the series included Little Lost Robot (March 1947 Astounding; rev 1977 chap) by Isaac Asimov, "The Cold Equations" (August 1954 Astounding) by Tom Godwin, "Impostor" (June 1953 Astounding) by Philip K Dick and "Pictures Don't Lie" (August 1951 Galaxy) by Katherine MacLean. Of the two original teleplays used, one was "Botany Bay" by Terry Nation, later to become a driving force behind Doctor Who. Out of this World's success inspired Shubik to make the similar (but better) Out of the Unknown series three years later, this time for the BBC rather than for commercial television. [JB]

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3. US tv series (1987-1991). Bob Booker Productions/MCA Television. Syndicated. Directors included Bob Claver, Scott Baio, John Boni. Writers included Booker, John Boni, Dave Hackel, Mike Scully. Cast includes Joe Alaskey, Steve Burton, Maureen Flannigan, Doug McClure, Christina Nigra, Donna Pescow and Burt Reynolds. 96 22-minute episodes, Colour.

In the late 1960s or very early 1970s, Alien Troy Garland (Reynolds) from the planet Antareus crash-landed his Spaceship on Earth and shortly met Donna (Pescow), whom he married in 1971. In 1974, Troy was recalled to his homeworld to participate in an interstellar War, but not before having daughter Evie (Flannigan) with Donna. On her thirteenth birthday, Evie begins to develop Superpowers due to her half-alien parentage, and also comes into possession of a crystal "genetic" cube allowing her to communicate with her father on his planet. Her primary power is the ability to stop Time, then alter the course of events before restarting it by simply clapping her hands. Evie can also produce objects via Psi Powers. Her mother Donna at first runs a school for gifted children – also attended by Evie – later launching a catering company and being elected Mayor of their small town of Marlowe, California. "Uncle Beano" Froelich (Alaskey) is the only other person besides her mother who knows Evie's secret; best friend Lindsay Selkirk (Nigra), and frequent boyfriend Chris Fuller (Benton) are often seen as the series progresses. The original Mayor Kyle Applegate (McClure) shows up fairly often as well, oblivious to Evie's unusual powers. In the final episode, Troy and Evie accidentally switch places, with Evie sent to Antareus in a cliffhanger that was never resolved owing to the programme's cancellation.

Despite its sf aspects, Out of This World was essentially a teenage situation comedy similar to other programmes of the era such as Charles in Charge (1984-1990). Reynolds' face was always somehow concealed when he made his few actual appearances – his primary presence was voice only. Mayor Applegate was a Parody of McClure himself as he had appeared in many 1960s Western Television series, primarily The Virginian (1962-1971). [GFi]

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