science-fiction

For those who watched the original Outer Limits on flickering black and white screens in the early 1960’s the experience is imprinted on a section of our brain labeled awe and terror. Baby-Boomers have deep and dark memories from The Outer Limits original airing or early re-runs. With tilted camera angles, nerve jarring close-ups and shadowy surreal sets; many episodes of Outer Limits already had the feel of half remembered nightmares. Mentioning of the series at a party will instantly produce a...

In the middle of the twentieth century, fear and paranoia were ingrained into the subconscious of every American. The 1957 launch of the Sputnik satellite had Americans wary of Soviet attack from the skies. And the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 assured the world that Soviet Premier Khrushchev was serious in his threat when he said “We will bury you.” The spectre of mutually assured destruction was ingrained throughout much of American culture. In movie theaters, Soviet invasion of America...

The man and his wheelchair sat silhouetted against an endless vista of bright unblinking stars and twisting nebula. He was a very old man. Born in 1920. That made him one year into his ninth decade of life. Very old indeed he mused … except for the fact that he was already dead. Well, if this was Heaven it wasn’t half bad he thought. Sitting here for eternity staring at outer-space might even be rather pleasant. The stars were a...

In America, the 1950s and 60s spawned The Monster Kids. These were kids, mostly pre-adolescent boys, who assembled Aurora model kits of Frankenstein or Dracula after school; read Tales From The Crypt comics with a flashlight under the covers at bed time; and sneaked downstairs on Saturdays to watch the late-night horror movie show on TV with spooky hosts like Zacherle, Chilly Billy, or Ghoulardi. And they discussed it all in their super-secret tree houses on Sunday — no girls...

“Here at home we’ll play in the city. Powered by the sun. Perfect weather for a streamlined world. There’ll be Spandex jackets – one for everyone.” – Donald Fagen, “I.G.Y.” Americans of the 1950s and early ’60s had a love affair with technology that, some would say, continues to this day. Nineteen fifty seven saw global scientific cooperation with the beginning of the I.G.Y., the International Geophysical Year. And 1966 saw the conceptualization of EPCOT, Walt Disney’s “City of Tomorrow.”...

In the 1959 premiere episode of The Twilght Zone, Earl Holliman explores a town completely deserted. After helping himself to some ice cream from the drug store soda fountain, he encounters wire spinner racks full of paperbacks, one of which is filled entirely with copies of the ominously titled “The Last Man on Earth.” In the age of the electronic book, wire book racks (as well as drug stores that serve ice cream) are things of the past. In the...

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) begins with a hastily prepared animation sequence set to the sonic stylings of children singing “Hooray for Santa Claus.” Once the songs ends, we are told by the newscaster for KID-TV that they have sent a news crew to the North Pole to interview Santa Claus. I got excited upon hearing this news, only to find out in the end credits that the role of Santa was played by someone named John Call, which...

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