The Outer Limits - Original

Season 1 Episode 8

The Human Factor

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Nov 11, 1963 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
44 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

At a military base far in the arctic, a man invents a machine which allows two minds to contact one another. An earthquake causes a malfunction and two men wake up to find that their minds have switched bodies.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • The sci-fi herein is outstanding because it's grounded in a high degree of psychological realism that lays an effective foundation for the fantastic elements.

    I conclude from the site rating for this episode that my high estimation is out of step with the general opinion. This type of story is right up my alley, so perhaps I overrate the production. Gary Merrill, Harry Guardino and Sally Kellerman turn in excellent performances from a script that is fully up to the excellence of their talents. I think the sci-fi herein is outstanding because it's grounded in a high degree of psychological realism that lays an effective foundation for the fantastic elements. Watching this show provides valuable lessons in the history of the sci-fi genre. After an episode of "The Outer Limits," I realize more fully how far shows like "Sarah Connor" and "Fringe" have come, speaking in terms of both literary freedom of expression and visual effects. Back in the early 1960's, sci-fi programs were disadvantaged by shabby visual effects that often destroyed believability. Take for instance "The Zanti Misfits." Site visitors rate this episode highly, so I watched it with expectations of delight. The wretchedly bad visual effects had me swimming upstream against an inclination to laugh out loud. In addition to this, "The Outer Limits" was further hampered by an obviously paltry budget. These circumstances point toward the need for an emphasis upon psychological force and suggestion over and above visual pageantry. This is why "The Human Factor" gets a rating of 8.00 from me. The writer was shrewd enough to use the best asset for telling a high-concept story on a shoestring budget, the actors, and thus the episode is aptly titled.moreless
Gary Merrill

Gary Merrill

Dr. James Hamilton

Guest Star

Harry Guardino

Harry Guardino

Maj. Roger Brothers

Guest Star

Sally Kellerman

Sally Kellerman

Ingrid Larkin

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Ingrid Larkin: (Speaking to Dr. Hamilton) It's your mind that attracts me most.

    • Major Roger Brothers: (Referring to Dr. Hamilton's cowardice) It's a crime to run away from fear.

    • Major Roger Brothers: (Speaking to Dr. Hamilton) I don't drink [coffee]. I've given up all habits that might affect my nerves or weaken my mind and body. These are a lot healthier--sunflower seeds.
      Dr. James Hamilton : Yeah, as the old woman said as she kissed the cow, "each to our own taste."

    • Dr. James Hamilton: (Defending himself before two soldiers) I was born in Billings, Montana, I went to the University of Chicago, and I'm going to destroy everyone on this base.

    • Major Roger Brothers: (Speaking to Dr. James Hamilton) We live in a world of cowards, Dr. Hamilton. Every man is afraid of his brother, and most men try to hide from that awful fact. Even here, the men are afraid to see the evil that is here on this base. And they are responsible for it.

    • Control Voice: (closing narration) A weapon? No, only an instrument: neither good nor evil until men put it to use. And then like so many of man's inventions it can be used either to save lives or destroy them, to make men sane or to drive them mad, to increase human understanding or to betray it. But it will be men that make the choice by itself the instrument is nothing until you add the human factor.

    • Control Voice: (opening narration) In northern Greenland, the mountains stand like a wall along Victoria Channel whose straight course marks the line of the great Baffin Fault. Until recently not even the Eskimos ventured into this arctic waste, but today, as in other lonely places of the world, the land is dominated by those instruments of detection which stand as a grim reminder of man's fear of man. This is Point TABU, a name given this predominately underground base by a young officer who explained that the letters in TABU stood for 'Total Abandonment of Better Understanding'. Some two hundred men and a few women make this their permanent residence. Their task is to maintain a constant alert against enemy attack and be prepared to respond to it devastatingly.

  • NOTES (0)