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RERUNS TO RE-WATCH

'Outer Limits' Keeps a Horizontal Hold on Us

December 02, 1990|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There is nothing wrong with your TV set. We are controlling the transmission. We can control the vertical. We can control the horizontal. For the next hour we will control all that you see and hear and think. You are watching a drama that reaches from the inner mind to..."The Outer Limits."

Those ominous words began the science-fiction anthology series "The Outer Limits." When it originally aired on ABC (September, 1963 through January, 1965), the series was overshadowed by Rod Serling's "The Twlight Zone" on CBS. But "The Outer Limits" has developed a strong cult following. MGM/UA Home Video has released more than 30 episodes on videocassette and fans can see it for free on KABC at 1 a.m. every Saturday.

Created and produced by Leslie Stevens, "The Outer Limits" boasted scary, gruesome alien creatures, innovative scripts by such noted sci-fi writers as Harlan Ellison, and such guest stars as Gloria Grahame, Miriam Hopkins, Martin Landau, Sally Kellerman, David McCallum and Lloyd Nolan.

A pre-"I Spy" Robert Culp starred in two of the best episodes. In "The Corpus Earthling," Culp plays a scientist who receives a special implant in his head that enables him to overhear a conversation between two black rocks plotting a war against humanity. In "The Architects of Fear," Culp is another scientist who volunteers to be transformed into a hideous alien in the hopes that a common enemy will unify warring nations on Earth.

"The Outer Limits" also was a great training ground for some now-established stars. Martin Sheen, then twentysomething, gives a terrific performance in "Nightmare," a horrifying drama about a group of Earthmen being held prisoners by the sadistic gargoyle-like people of the planet Ebon.

And a young Dabney Coleman is seen briefly-and has a great death scene-in "Specimen Unknown," a chiller about deadly alien spores which contaminate a space station. "Specimen Unknown" was the highest-rated episode of the series.

"The Outer Limits" airs late Saturdays at 1 a.m. on KABC.

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