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The Outer Limits - Original

Season 1 Episode 6

The Man Who Was Never Born

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 28, 1963 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
55 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

An astronaut travels to the 23rd century, where he finds the Earth a blasted wasteland inhabited by monsters.

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  • A bit hard to swallow

    This one becomes quite preposterous toward the end, with Shirley Knight's inexplicable defection from her beau for some weird haunted guy she's only known for about five minutes. And at the end Landau's surprise at his fate is rather puzzling; even without the paradox referred to in the title, he already saw his former rocketmate disappear when going through the barrier twice, so why did he think he would be any luckier? And the camerawork gets rather gimmicky and intrusive in places. The notion of having Landau maintain his dual nature onscreen could be argued either way: it tends to increase the whole artificial, manipulative, trick-shotish effect, but on the other hand, it is a constant reminder of that character's situation (as staying with Landau without all the appliances and prosthetics would not be). Anyway, there was one cool moment in all of it: when Landau's hand reaches around a pole and becomes the mutant creature's (spatulate fingers and all) on the other side of it.moreless
  • An episode that makes you think....

    This is an episode that begins in a dark, dismal future type setting with an astronaut, arriving through a weird distortion in space, investigating the surroundings of a ravaged and destroyed Earth. In this hellish landscape, the astronaut encounters a lone mutated survivor, played by Martin Landau. After the astronaut disappears, the mutant takes his ship back through the tear in space to present day Earth in a desperate attempt to prevent the armageddon of the future.

    A fascinating episode for anyone to watch with ideas that have appeared time and again in many science fiction tales elsewhere. Well acted and plotted...solid watching!moreless
  • This episode is very special because of a combination of great acting talent and a thought-provoking, original story line.

    I have seen this particular epsiode (both DVD and VHS versions) of the original Outer Limits series far more times than I have seen any other entertainment. The reason I enjoy it so much is due to the outstanding acting talents of Martin Landau and Shirley Knight, as well as the story line, dealing with time travel, and the ability of one person to change the course of future events. This episode skillfully weaves an entertaining story about influencing future events, that have occured in the past for some of the characters, but for other characters, places those events still in their future. The dialogue is high class melodrama, making it thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining for me since I am quite the sucker for sappy, literate, melodramatic dialogue. I realize that this type of story may not be to everyone's liking, but it is to mine.moreless
  • An astronaut lands on Earth of the future, only to see that it is a desolate place. He sees a horribly disfigured man, who persuades the astronaut to take him back to the Earth he came from, so they can try to prevent the biological germ from being made.moreless

    This episode was skillfully done. When the astronaut dies on return to Earth, the creature is on its own. The cutting between the creature and its other shape (Martin Landau) is perfect, so that the heroine (Shirley Knight) never suspects the truth. He, however, is tormented not only because he has to find the father of the scientist who created the germ but also because he has fallen in love with her. The scientist (the woman's fiance) is jealous. **spoiler alert** In the end, the dream-like photography used whenever the Landau/Knight characters are together adds a new wrinkle. As they are chased along a wooded area, we only see their reflections in the nearby lake. They reach the spacecraft the creature landed in, and take off. What I thought was a happy ending turns into a nightmare, as the Landau character dies. The final scene is a screaming Knight in her seat, secluded in Outer Space!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Andro: (Reminiscing in a library) Here, here lies the protected history of man. The cherished words and pictures of all he has known and loved. The noble Hamlet; Anna Karenina, putting on her gloves on a snowy evening; Gatsby in white flannels; Moby Dick; and Mark Twain's whole meandering Mississippi.

    • Captain Joseph Reardon: (Quoting from Melville) Hope proves a man deathless.

    • Andro: (Decrying the present condition of mankind) But man was too busy, too busy going to the moon, too busy clubbing his brothers over the head with its new found toy, the atom, to anticipate and resist the parasite that was to suck out his right to immortality.

    • Andro: (Emphasizing the importance of remembering history) It's good to cherish old things. Beauty is always on the edge of being lost.

    • Control Voice: (closing narration) It is said that if you move a single pebble on the beach, you set up a different pattern, and everything in the world is changed. It can also be said that love can change the future, if it is deep enough, true enough, and selfless enough. It can prevent a war, prohibit a plague, keep the whole world... whole.

    • Andro: Better to die than to sit and watch the world die.

    • Control Voice: (opening narration) Here, in the bright, clustered loneliness of the billion, billion stars, loneliness can be an exciting, voluntary thing, unlike the loneliness Man suffers on Earth. Here, deep in the starry nowhere, a man can be as one with space and time; preoccupied, yet not indifferent; anxious and yet at peace. His name is Joseph Reardon. He is, in this present year, thirty years old. This is the first time he has made this journey alone...

  • NOTES (1)