Friday, February 20, 2015


Yes, just as we did with the “lost” Joe Stefano film THE HAUNTED so now do we encore with a freshly-restored 35mm print of another “lost” Leslie Stevens film – PRIVATE PROPERTY (1960), starring Corey Allen, Warren Oates and Kate Manx (then Mrs. Leslie Stevens). Stevens’ hope was “to bring the (French) New Wave crashing into the heart of Hollywood,” and the movie was promptly condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency for tackling such taboo themes as dominance, rape fantasies, and "latent" homosexuality. This is a pristine, sparkling restoration that has to be seen to be believed, thanks to Scott MacQueen and the preservationists at the UCLA Film Archive. Funding courtesy of the Packard Humanities Institute.

DJS WILL EMCEE (unless Scott tears the podium away from him). Come celebrate with us! (It’s also the UCLA Film & TV Archive’s 50th Anniversary!)

Presented on no less than FRIDAY THE 13th (March 13th) at 7:30 P.M. at the Billy Wilder Theatre (Courtyard Level at the Hammer Museum).

The Billy Wilder Theater box office opens one hour before show times. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024.

General Admission: $9
Seniors: $8
UCLA Alumni Association Members: $8
Non-UCLA Students: $8

Purchase tickets online: $10 via:…

Parking is available in the lot under the Billy Wilder Theater. Enter from Westwood Blvd., just north of Wilshire Blvd.

Monday - Friday before 6 p.m.: $3 for first 3 hours with museum validation and $1.50 every 15 minutes thereafter. To obtain validation, show your ticket stub at the welcome desk in the museum lobby.


Produced on a minuscule budget reportedly just below $60,000, Leslie Stevens’ controversial directorial debut Private Property was hailed by Variety as a “possible forerunner of an American ‘new wave’ movement” and was equally condemned by the National Catholic Legion of Decency for its exploration of seduction, rape and latent homosexuality. Due to the film’s taboo subject matter, the Production Code Administration denied the work a code seal, making Private Property the first U.S. feature to be released without MPAA approval since Otto Preminger’s stark exploration of heroin addiction, The Man with the Golden Arm, in 1955. Lack of Code approval, however, which kept major distributors from picking-up and widely releasing Private Property, didn’t prevent the disquieting independent film from eventually grossing over $2 million in box office receipts and enjoying successful art house runs across Europe.

Framed by Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Ted McCord’s gritty noir shadows as juxtaposed against a tony, sunbathed Beverly Hills location (in reality, Leslie Stevens’ own home), Private Property showcases a trio of edgy, superbly understated Method-esque performances by leads Kate Manx (in her screen debut), Corey Allen (Rebel Without a Cause, 1955), and Warren Oates (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, 1974). As a vulnerable, affluent young woman driven to psychological distress by a sexless marriage, and further menaced by a pair of sociopathic drifters, Manx conveys a muted, permeating melancholy that effectively serves to anchor the drama’s purposeful excesses of Freudian symbolism.

Married prior to the making of Private Property in 1958, Manx and Stevens would divorce in 1964, with the actress tragically dying later that year from a reported overdose of sleeping pills. Stevens continued to successfully work in film and television into the1990s, and is best-remembered for creating and writing and directing episodes of the cult-classic science fiction television series, The Outer Limits (1963-1965). —Mark Quigley

(Director: Leslie Stevens. Production: Kana Productions, Inc., Daystar Productions. Distribution: Citation Films, Inc. Producer: Stanley Colbert. Screenwriter: Leslie Stevens. Cinematographer: Ted McCord. Editor: Jerry Young. Music: Alex Compinksy. Cast: Corey Allen, Warren Oates, Kate Manx, Robert Wark, Jerome Cowan. 35mm, b/w, 79 min.)

Restored from a 35mm acetate composite dupe negative, a 35mm acetate print and a 35mm acetate track negative. Laboratory services by The Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory, Audio Mechanics, DJ Audio, Simon Daniel Sound.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Your Quick Reference Guide to WACT

Welcome to We Are Controlling Transmission! While we've finished our 49-episode marathon viewing and reviewing an episode of The Outer Limits a day, we hope you'll come along for the ride after the fact and post your comments on the episodes as you make your way through the series. While you can access all of the entries in the Blog Archive in the sidebar, we thought it would be helpful to provide this index with links to each of the episode reviews, spotlights, season and series wrap-ups, all of the interviews we conducted, and the other special features posted.

The We Are Controlling Transmission (WACT) Crew (L-R): Peter Enfantino, David J. Schow, John Scoleri

An Introduction to We Are Controlling Transmission
David J. Schow's Season 1 Primer 
David J. Schow's Season 2 Primer  
Season 1 Wrap Up 
Season 2 and Series Wrap Up

Season 1 Episode Reviews
  1. "The Galaxy Being" Review - Spotlight
  2. "The Borderland" Review - Spotlight
  3. "The Human Factor" Review - Spotlight
  4. "Tourist Attraction" Review 
  5. "The Architects of Fear" Review - Spotlight
  6. "Controlled Experiment" Review 
  7. "The Hundred Days of the Dragon" Review
  8. "The Man with the Power" Review - Spotlight
  9. "A Feasibility Study" Review - Spotlight
  10. "Specimen: Unknown" Review - Spotlight
  11. "The Sixth Finger" Review - Spotlight
  12. "The Man Who Was Never Born" Review - Spotlight
  13. "Moonstone" Review 
  14. "O.B.I.T." Review - Spotlight
  15. "Nightmare" Review - Spotlight
  16. "Corpus Earthling" Review - Spotlight
  17. "The Zanti Misfits" Review - Spotlight
  18. "It Crawled Out of the Woodwork" Review - Spotlight
  19. "The Mice" Review
  20. "The Invisibles" Review - Spotlight
  21. "ZZZZZ" Review - Spotlight
  22. "Don't Open Till Doomsday" Review - Spotlight
  23. "The Bellero Shield" Review - Spotlight
  24. "The Children of Spider County" Review - Spotlight
  25. "The Mutant" Review - Spotlight
  26. "Second Chance" Review - Spotlight
  27. "Fun and Games" Review - Spotlight
  28. "The Guests" Review - Spotlight
  29. "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" Review - Spotlight - Second Spotlight
  30. "The Special One" Review 
  31. "The Chameleon" Review - Spotlight
  32. "The Forms of Things Unknown" Review - Spotlight
Season 2 Episode Reviews
  1. "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" Review - Spotlight
  2. "Soldier" Review - Spotlight
  3. "The Invisible Enemy" Review - Spotlight
  4. "Counterweight" Review - Spotlight
  5. "Behold, Eck!" Review 
  6. "Wolf 359" Review - Spotlight
  7. "Keeper of the Purple Twilight" Review 
  8. "Expanding Human" Review - Spotlight
  9. "Demon with a Glass Hand" Review - Spotlight
  10. "Cry of Silence" Review - Spotlight
  11. "I, Robot" Review 
  12. "The Inheritors – Part 1 and 2" Review - Spotlight
  13. "The Duplicate Man" Review - Spotlight
  14. "The Brain of Colonel Barham" Review - Spotlight
  15. "The Premonition" Review 
  16. "The Probe" Review - Spotlight
Interviews in The Outer Limits Tavern
Additional Special Features

And please be sure to bookmark our next blog, To the Batpoles!, in which we turn our attention to the 1960s Batman.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Production Order: 01
Broadcast Order: 01
Original Airdate: 3/26/1995
Starring: Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Dylan Bridges.
Written by Melinda Snodgrass, based on the novella by George R. R. Martin.
Directed by Stuart Gillard.

Simon Kress (Bridges) is an obsessed scientist who sacrifices his family and his life to propagate a species of—brace yourself—ant-like Martian life forms.

JS: Talk about under-promising and over-delivering! It's no wonder the new Outer Limits went on to last seven seasons and 154 episodes. They kicked things off with their own take on "The Zanti Misfits." And just like that episode, there's no disclaimer indicating that none were harmed in the making of the episode.

PE: My first question would have to be: "why was this series so dismissed by the original OL crowd?" Not once during the initial series was I so enthralled by such a smorgasbord of evil delights. Yellow puddles of fright formed around my feet yet I found myself so entranced by and drawn into the drama that I could not rise from my bean bag chair to clean myself. I've read Martin's original story and it was a little too highfalutin' for my tastes (too many of those big sci-fi words) but Snodgrass seems to have found that middle ground between genius and stupidity. I'm in awe.

JS: This episode brings together three generations of Bridges; the always hilarious Lloyd, his grandson Dylan, and his other son Beau. Seeing them all together reminds me what an amazing talent Jeff is.

PE: Actually, John, if you squint, Lloyd is Jeff! Take Beau's silly pony tail and Lloyd's persnicketyness and you've got Bad Blake. Maggie Gyllenhall makes a rare uncredited appearance as one of the sand kings.

JS: It's not hard to believe that Beau was nominated for an Emmy for his performance. Not since Tony Randall in The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao has a single actor portrayed so many varied roles. From the way he tears apart a head of lettuce, makes himself up to look like Fu Manchu, and auditions for the Val Kilmer role in the TV movie on the making of Oliver Stone's The Doors, he's at the top of his form. Yet none of that prepares us for his performance as a sand sculpture.

PE: I'm sorry, I'm still thinking about Maggie Gyllenhall. That's Val Kilmer? Looks like Gyllenhall.

JS: I really enjoyed the Martian death-match. These guys are far more realistic than the inarticulate Zanti puppets of years past. And the sand towers are pretty cool (when they don't look like Beau Bridges). If you look closely, you can even see the little Anti-Misfits scaling the walls of the sand-skyscrapers in the closing shot.

PE: Old-OL fans are so fucking uptight. Get a life, ferchrissakes, I says. This series blows away that dinosaur. And it's in color!!! I thought, given that Projects Limited had $47 per episode to spend on spfx, they did an admirable job of making tumbleweeds and frogs scary. This incarnation of OL obviously had quite a bit more to blow on their little creatures and Land of the Lost sets. I'm really looking forward to discovering new territories and reaching out to new OL fans (especially ones who can appreciate my wit).

JS: The episode falls short of perfection in that it's lacking an OL-babe, but future episodes will rectify that. Alyssa Milano here we come!

PE: Actually, John, if the subsequent stories are just as compelling, I don't need babes. I really do appreciate David J. Schow for changing his views on this show and urging us to cover it after all. Kudos to you, DJS! I'm looking forward to the next 14 months!!!



David J. Schow on "Sandkings":

From The Outer Limits Companion, Copyright © David J. Schow, 1986, 1998.  All Rights Reserved.  Used by permission and by special arrangement with the author. 

Coming soon:

Next Up...

You didn't think we were serious, did you? A very happy April 1st to you all!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Special Thetan Ray Blasts!

It's time for the We Are Controlling Transmission honor roll recognizing our own little band of Zanti Misfits.

The following artists put aside their work, deadlines, crossword puzzles, and pottery to help make WACT the definitive statement on The Outer Limits, for which we are extremely grateful.

Larry Blamire
Matthew R. Bradley
Wayne Carter
Matthew J. Dewan
Peter Farris
Christa Faust 
Jeffrey Frentzen
Gary Gerani
David Holcomb
Mark Holcomb
David Horne
William Lenihan III
Steve Mitchell
John Kenneth Muir
Mark Philips
Larry Rapchak
Ted C. Rypel
Tom Weaver
The Cult of Flat Zanti

We also have to thank the hundreds of readers who made a point to stop by the site every day. When you take on a project like this, it's a huge inspiration to know that there are people anxiously awaiting that next post you're working on.

Last, and definitely not least, we all bow down before the master of the WACT treehouse, David J. Schow. DJS shepherded this nuttiness from the very beginning. Without his dedication and regular contributions (both in the posts you saw and his tremendous behind the scenes efforts), WACT would not have been anywhere near the success it turned out to be. So thanks again, David.

We hope that our small contribution to the legacy of The Outer Limits will continue to attract new fans and instigate further discussion for years to come.

Your Misfit Hosts,

John Scoleri & Peter Enfantino

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ted C. Rypel Presents: An Interview with Joseph Stefano

By popular demand, we bring you Ted Rypel's interview with Joseph Stefano from TOLAIR!

Special Thanks to Ted Rypel for sharing this with the WACT family.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Outer Limits - The Wrap-Up

Here we are, at the end of our 49 episode journey. Unlike Season One, it wasn't easy coming up with a "Top Ten" list for Season Two. In fact, we're taking advantage of the fact that it was essentially a half-season, and narrowing it down to our top 5 picks. (Any more and we may just have to pick from the tripe. -PE)

Our Season 2 Top Five Lists

Peter's Picks:
  1. The Inheritors
  2. Cry of Silence
  3. Expanding Human
  4. Soldier
  5. The Invisible Enemy (and see! I did have to scrape the bottom-PE)
John's Picks:
  1. Soldier
  2. Demon With A Glass Hand
  3. The Inheritors
  4. Cry of Silence
  5. The Invisible Enemy

Season 2 Best Actor

Peter's Pick: Steve Ihnat "The Inheritors"

John's Pick: Lloyd Nolan "Soldier"

Season 2 Best Actress

Peter's Pick: None

John's Pick: Arlene Martel "Demon With A Glass Hand"

Season 2 Best Babe 

Peter and John's Pick: Marriana Hill

Season 2 Best Bear

Peter and John's Pick: The Sand Sharks "The Invisible Enemy"

Our Picks for the Best of The Outer Limits

Top 10 Outer Limits episodes

Peter's Picks:

  1. The Man Who Was Never Born
  2. Architects of Fear
  3. Corpus Earthling
  4. The Inheritors
  5. The Sixth Finger
  6. The Special One
  7. The Zanti Misfits
  8. The Forms of Things Unknown
  9. It Crawled Out of the Woodwork
  10. The Hundred Days of the Dragon

John's Picks:
  1. Soldier
  2. Corpus Earthling
  3. Demon With a Glass Hand
  4. The Architects of Fear
  5. Tourist Attraction
  6. The Zanti Misfits
  7. The Man who Was Never Born
  8. The Sixth Finger
  9. Inheritors
  10. The Invisibles

Best Actor

Peter's Pick: Robert Culp "Architects of Fear"

John's Pick: Lloyd Nolan "Soldier"

Best Actress 

Peter's Pick: Salome Jens "Corpus Earthling"
John's Pick: Vera Miles "The Forms of Things Unknown"

Best Babe 

Peter and John's Pick: Mariana Hill

Best Bear

Peter and John's Pick: The Zanti Misfits (was there any doubt?)

We've pleased to report that we've had more than 50,000 hits on the site since we started.

Your Top Ten Visited Episodes are:

  1. Architects of Fear
  2. The Galaxy Being
  3. The Invisibles
  4. It Crawled Out of the Woodwork
  5. Demon with a Glass Hand
  6. Behold! Eck
  7. Soldier
  8. The Invisible Enemy
  9. The Forms of Things Unknown
  10. The Inheritors 

We look forward to hearing your picks, so bring on the comments!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Creating the Original OUTER LIMITS Trading Cards

Gary Gerani chats with 1964 Topps writer/editor Len Brown…


It’s amazing.  To this day, there are still some fans who mistake the colorful, ‘50s-flavored storylines written for the 1964 OUTER LIMITS bubblegum cards for the actual teleplays (“You mean there wasn’t a ‘Jelly Creature”?).  This unforgettable 50-subject product was an outrageous, delightful hybrid of colorized bears from the TV series (the actual name of this set is MONSTERS FROM OUTER LIMITS) matched with far-out original stories on the backs by a certain fellow named Len Brown. 

The original '64 box and wrap: Chill Charlie (never actually used in the TV show) became MFOL's front man.
Serial buff, comics fan, rockabilly rebel (with a radio show to prove it), Len Brown is like a beloved big brother to me.  As Creative Director of the Topps Chewing Gum Company, he hired Yours Truly back in 1972 as an “idea man,” and even helped me sell FANTASTIC TELEVISION to Crown a few years after that.  But in ’64, he was best known for his involvement with Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R AGENTS comics, and as the guy who wrote the copy for Topps’ infamous MARS ATTACKS! cards two years earlier.  Getting THE OUTER LIMITS set off to a typically disrespectful start, Topps didn’t even want to be associated with another “space invader” product (MARS had been controversial without being commercial), so it released MONSTERS FROM OUTER LIMITS under the alternate company name “Bubbles Inc.”  Nothing personal, OL!

Anyway.  I reconnected with Len recently – he now lives in Dripping Springs, Texas – and he offered to polish up his “rusty” brain for some MFOL-related questions, just for this blog.  So, here goes…

GG: Len, it’s funny to be discussing THE OUTER LIMITS with you after all these years.

LB: Seems like yesterday, almost.

GG: Len and I used to have rather spirited “STAR TREK vs. OUTER LIMITS” battles in the Topps office.

LB: Well I have to admit, the original STAR TREK with William Shatner hasn’t aged very well.

GG: Neither has Shatner.  He’s beginning to look more and more like Jabba the Hutt every day.  Let’s talk about the birth and development of MFOL.  Licensing was very different back in the early ‘60s.  Although OL was a United Artists TV show for ABC, I’ll bet a smaller outfit handled the merchandising.

LB: That’s right.  I forget the name of the company who handled the whole thing.  There were two partners who represented the property, and they had a small licensing company in Hollywood.  I went out there (Topps was based in Brooklyn at the time) and met with Al Schmittman.  I forget the partner’s name.  I seem to recall it was Schmittman who also introduced me to Mary Tyler Moore on the set of THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, as he was showing me around the lot.  I believe we had already done some business with A.S. when he told us about THE OUTER LIMITS.

GG: Who was it at Topps that decided OL was a strong enough property for the company?  Were you and (Senior Creative Developer) Woody Gelman pushing to do the show BEFORE it even went on the air?

LB: The thing that got Woody and I interested was that Schmittman promised a different monster in every episode.  Since we had success with monsters in the past (FUNNY MONSTERS, UNIVERSAL MONSTERS), we were very interested in securing a license for THE OUTER LIMITS.  The show was not on the air and I believe I flew to California to look at the photos they could supply us with.  They had very little color photography, so I believe we accepted their black and white stills and had them painted.  United Artists had even less.  I think we used every picture they had.

Here's a page from Topps' long-defunct archives; cards from all series were literally pasted into loose-leaf books.
GG: Who came up with the idea to do the set in “color”?

LB: I don’t know who or why we came up with the idea of colorizing the photos, except there was a general feeling that kids would enjoy full color cards more than they would black and white pictures.

GG: I’m assuming veteran Topps art director Ben Solomon was involved.

LB: As you know, Ben always liked to have his re-toucher go over photos to improve the quality for reproduction.  In the case of OUTER LIMITS, I guess that would have been Ray Hammond.

GG: I remember Ray – a grouchy-looking guy who was actually very nice.  And for the record, both Ben Solomon and Woody Gelman used to work on the old Fleischer POPEYE and SUPERMAN cartoons of the 1940s.  Often in a meeting, I’d notice Ben doing a Popeye doodle when he got bored.

LB: That’s right.  They both worked on those cartoons.  They even got credit.

GG: Back to OUTER LIMITS…  Let’s talk about the text.

LB: I seem to think we originally thought we could automatically adapt the actual storylines from the TV series, but before we went to press, we were told that the writers of the scripts would want a piece of the action, which Topps couldn’t afford.  So that’s why we came up with those ludicrous stories to describe the front of the cards.

GG: Listen, they have their own special charm!  My favorite is “The Brainless Glob,” your version of Joe Stefano’s “Don’t Open Till Doomsday.”  When I showed Joe the card, he joked that he preferred your storyline to his own.

LB: My God, how embarrassing for us.  This is the screenwriter of PSYCHO, and we re-wrote his story in such a ridiculous way.

GG: Did you write the entire set, or did Woody pitch in?

LB: Woody might have read a few of the card backs, but I pretty much had the freedom to write ‘em all.  Of course, we had to send the copy to California for approval, and since they wouldn’t let us use the stuff from the TV series in story form, they just quickly approved the silly stuff I wrote, without any changes.

GG: How did the set sell?

LB: When we first tested OUTER LIMITS in stores, it only sold fair.  But I seem to recall that ultimately, it was looked back as a successful item.  Initial orders seemed slow, but one day Woody came in looking very happy, and he said that the item had sold about 13,000 cases.  Anything over 10,000 in the early ‘60s was considered a nice hit.  So we never regretted having issued OUTER LIMITS cards.

GG: You’re a huge sci-fi fan.  What were your favorite episodes of the show itself?

LB: I remember really loving “The Galaxy Being.”  That was Cliff Robertson, wasn’t it?  Always a fan of his.  One of my favorite OUTER LIMITS episodes was the Adam Link one (I, ROBOT).  It had previously been adapted for comics by EC in the 1950s, and there was nothing I loved more than WEIRD SCIENCE and WEIRD FANTASY comics back then.  In fact, I still do.  I was buying the hardcover reprints and was heartbroken when they stopped in the middle of reprinting the books.  I understand they are still hoping to continue someday…

GG: You and I used to have all kinds of fun OUTER LIMITS debates back in the ‘70s, when I was writing about the series.  I remember walking into my office and seeing a black and white photo of all the creatures from the kiddie show, SIGMUND AND THE SEA MONSTERS, sitting on my desk.  Written below this photo, in grease pencil, was the description “OUTER LIMITS MONSTERS.”

LB: God, I forgot about that.

GG: You also said the Zanti Misfits had “Sterling Holloway faces.”

LB: I don’t remember equating the Zanti Misfits to Sterling Holloway, but I trust I did.  I know you really liked that episode.  To me, it was just “talking ants” and I didn’t care for it.

GG: Not a problem.  We used to spar over the “talking rocks” episode (“Corpus Earthling”), as well.  I even stayed over your house in Piscataway NJ one weekend, so I could watch that particular show during a telecast on Channel 48 from Philadelphia.

LB:  I remember.  We also used to watch Jack Benny reruns on Channel 29.

GG: Absolutely!  They hadn’t shown them on NY TV for years.  And I couldn’t pull in the Philly stations from Brooklyn, not without a parabolic antenna.  This is all wonderful memory lane stuff for me, Len.  Thanks so much for the look-back.

LB: My pleasure, Mr. G.  Yes, they were the good old days.  The ‘60s were especially sweet.  Elvis was still alive and recording #1 hits.  And I was in my 20s…  Ahhh!  Hope some of these memories helped…


There were two additional, officially licensed OUTER LIMITS trading card sets that appeared decades later.  I edited/wrote one of these for Comic Images in the mid-‘90s.  This set provided all the unit photography (b/w and color) from the original TV series, a Season One Episode Guide at last, along with a handful of Topps ’64 reprints… complete with my explanation of the altered storylines.  

(click cards to enlarge)
A few years after this set hit the market, Rittenhouse jumped in with their own incarnation.  They focused on a half-dozen or so episodes with fan-friendly actors; frame grabs and autographs (Shatner, Nimoy, etc.) were the selling points this time around.  But to most pop historians, it’s the 1964 Bubbles Inc./Topps version that resonates to this day.  They were indeed a significant part of the original OUTER LIMITS experience, and I for one was delighted to collect them as a kid – bogus storylines and all.