Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Borderland



Production Order #02
Broadcast Order #12
Original Airdate: 12/16/63
Starring Peter Mark Richman, Philip Abbott, Nina Foch.
Written and directed by Leslie Stevens.

Professor Ian Fraser (Richman) has made a staggering discovery in an accident that occurs during an experiment. His hand is slipped into another dimension and comes back...backwards! He's sure that further experiments are in order but he needs to convince mega-rich Dwight Hartley (Barry Jones) that Ian and his merry band of scientists should be funded. Hartley's desperate to contact his dead son in the afterlife and will grasp any straw to achieve that goal.

PE: Here's an odd one: an episode that begins like Thriller but ends like The Fly. A nice, atmospheric and (dare I use the word?) noirishly shot episode filled with scientific gobbledygook and bad science fiction flick trappings. The faux seance scene in particular is nicely handled and I did like the "what's in the bag?" shots of the cast looking down into the camera. On the downside, we have any of the shots to do with Fraser's duplicate hand, which look exactly like what they are: someone else off camera inserting their hand in the shot.

JS: While the idea of the flopped hand makes for one—count that one—creepy reveal, it doesn't hold up to much thought. At the point where he was in and out of the field, his arm is correct and reversed, you would think that the bones, tendons, veins, etc. wouldn't line up, right? And why did the mouse reverse but not his cage?

PE: You want examples of unneeded science talk? How's this for an exchange between Dwight Hartley and scientist Lincoln Russell (Abbott):
Hartley: I saw it. It turned around.
Russell: It did more than that. It reversed polarity and stabilized.
Hartley: Did they go into the other dimension?
Russell: They had to. They became negative matter.
Now, all that may make sense in scientific terms and in a theorem published in Reverse Polarity Weekly it might read smoothly but in a 60-minute sf tv show it could leave John Q. Public scratching its head and mumbling "huh"?

JS: You certainly can't complain about the production values. There were visual effects abound (not counting the stunt 'right hand' actor). Oddly enough, I thought one of the coolest images in the entire episode was probably the most simply achieved—the opening sequence with metal shavings being moved around magnetically. My other favorite image was when Ian was trapped in the field and we got the multiple exposure of his tortured self.

PE: POLARITY REVERSE!!! is my new catch phrase after watching Fraser man the controls of the get-me-to-another-dimension-whatchamajig. Every time he screamed the command to his wife and science lab partner, Eva (Nina Foch), he cracks an imaginary whip. In my script, Eva would patiently call out to her husband "Not until you say please."

JS: Richman certainly is committed to the role. I remember him fondly as the somewhat creepy Reverand father of Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Sommers) on Three's Company. Fans can order an autographed Outer Limits photo directly from the actor at his website.

PE: The fake seer, Mrs. Palmer (Gladys Cooper) and her dopey bodyguard/ P.R. man are a hoot wandering the halls of the power plant (this power plant is so important that anyone can wander in?). They reminded me of the Muppet hecklers, Statler and Waldorf, the old guys up in the theater box.

JS: Coming off of "The Galaxy Being", one can't help but be disappointed at the lack of a Bear in this episode. Of course, had one stepped out of the magnetic field, that probably would have felt a little too similar to the prior episode's hijinks. The closest we get is the "Man with Two Right Hands," and an all-too-brief fade into a particularly un-Thriller skeleton bit (which methinks means ol' man Hartley (Barry Jones) is joining his son, although perhaps not in the manner intended). (Look how shiny that skeleton is! the producers must have picked it up at Ed's Hobby Shop just that morning! -PE) (I wish! That's a paint-by-numbers skeleton if I've ever seen one... -JS)

PE: I would have hoped that all this scientific yaddayadda would lead up to something other than a Talking Heads video. Professor Fraser’s constant cry of “Eva Eva Eva!!” reminded me of the two sprites who stand on the Tokyo cliffs and call out for “Gamera, Gamera!!”

JS: Um, that would be Mothra, Peter.

PE: Do I get points for not knowing that?

JS RATING:







PE RATING







David J. Schow on "The Borderland":




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

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29 comments:

  1. This episode was not impressive at all and consisted mainly of everyone yelling at each other. No wonder it was held back for quite a while and not only because of the lack of a monster. It simply was not one of the better Outer Limit shows.

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  2. Yeah.......not much I can really say about this dud. Funny though, you guys mentioned Thriller and that's what I was thinking about half way through the ep. when I was trying to stay awake. Did the bad Thriller crime show creators come up with this one?

    Maybe way back in the early 60's when people's imaginations were open to the wonder and possibilities of what science could do, this might have been interesting. But If your a generation-x cat living in our modern day of easy access internet porn, this one show comes off as dated and uncreative. Oh well, at least now when I see a future ep. with a cheesy looking Bear I'll appreciate that at least they put one in the ep.

    I don't recognize any of the actors in this one and I'm not going to look them up on imdb either. I'd like to forget that I ever saw this dull, 5th grade science project monstrosity.

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  3. Richman was cast because he has two right hands. I'm surprised they didn't frame differently to take advantage of that. It was him or Russell Johnson or Peter Breck who also have two right hands (each). Shatner was considered but he has two lefts, and that would have gone against the script, unless they flipped it.

    All anthologies are erratic, but I actually think OL has more consistent quality than others, including THRILLER. Even a so so entry like this has stuff to recommend (as DJS pointed out in THE book): interesting cast, moody sets, some decent FX, Bonestell's painted world, and ideas that TV just didn't talk about at that time. I'm also okay with it being bearfree.

    Mark Richman has the dubious distinction of having starred in the last OL, "The Probe", and I believe the last original TWILIGHT ZONE shot, "The Fear"--neither of them very good. 60s TV mainstay Alfred Ryder was in that wild ONE STEP BEYOND "Forests of the Night", and of course that creepy BUS STOP ep we talked about, "I Kiss Your Shadow".

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  4. I could so see The Shat in this role.

    "Polarity..............Reversed!"

    A missed opportunity.

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  5. You too kind Larry. Did you ever get around to watching any "Tate," episodes? Particularly The Bounty Hunter guest-starring Robert Culp, Robert Redford, and Louise "Nurse Ratched" Fletcher?

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  6. UTW, that is SO on my list, noted when you mentioned it. What a cast! I'm behind in my viewing stack (though the recent WAGON TRAIN marathon has not left me impressed so far).

    I am admittedly soft on OUTER LIMITS, particularly Season One, particularly when they're not so great.

    But when they're great, they are truly phenomenal.

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  7. I think that there's a solid case to be made that Paddy Cheyefesky/Sidney Aaron saw "The Borderland" at some point and it was hovering around in his unconscious when he started plotting ALTERED STATES.

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  8. What's absolutely goddamned TRAGIC about the first OUTER LIMITS episodes out of the gate is that, while they hew more toward conventional TV drama (or bad capsule movies), they are sumptuously mounted. Just look at the budgets on display in "The Borderland," "The Human Factor," and "Tourist Attraction" ... right before the accountants came down on the production like a hammer, for over-spending. Leslie Stevens compensated by shooting "Controlled Experiment" for practically nothing. Byron Haskin was moved up to a director slot for the fourth episode filmed — "The Architects of Fear," a game-changer for the whole series. While it is fanciful to imagine how those early budgets might have been better-applied, it doesn't really matter because the LACK of budget is one of the things that helped make the episodes of the "golden period" so inventive.

    What's ridiculous about "The Borderland" is that the names "Eva," Ian," and "Dion" all sound alike when people are screaming them over a barrage of sound and visual FX ... a tiny detail that helps the last act collapse into a mudslide of confusion.

    And my gf pointed out that while there's no "bear" per se in "The Borderland," there IS a monster — Benson Sawyer, the corporate dick.

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  9. I guess if the edifice in HOUSE OF USHER can be categorized as a monster (Corman's reassuring pitch to AIP in 1960), then Fraser's force-field chamber sort of qualifies as "bear" of the week, especially since it provides glimpses of a weird alien world, ghostlike images of the scientist himself, and a guy turning into a skeleton. You're right about that "name" thing, David... always bothered me that "Ian" and "Dion" sound so much alike (that's a screenwriting 101 no-no). And yep, there's a lot of OUTER LIMITS in ALTERED STATES, just as "Man Who Was Never Born," "Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand" inform THE TERMINATOR, "The Chameleon" is the prototype for AVATAR's premise, etc. As for "The Borderland" itself, sure, it has the flaws everyone has mentioned, along with the virtues. But I have to admit, it's kind of an enjoyable episode to watch every so often, like going to a nifty light show; the ensemble cast is colorful and entertaining; scientific absurdities are spouted with straight-faced conviction (totally fun); the "feud" between metaphysics and science is interesting and evocative; and the big fx payoff, similar to Bowman experiencing his "stargate" trip in 2001, pretty much lives up to our hopes for it. Also worthy of praise is Frontiere's brilliant piece of extended music for this final sequence, re-used memorably in "The Sixth Finger" and "The Special One." So sure, we needed more character development (some of it obviously cut with a forced dissolve) and less fx-centric razzle dazzle, but "Borderland" still winds up being a handsomely-produced, relatively engaging early episode.

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  10. I remember watching this as a kid in the early '80s and being bored, too much talk and no "bears".

    Then I saw it again probably 10 years ago and was drawn into it because, as an adult, I could relate to Barry Jones' yearning pain to be reunited with his son (a powerful performance evokes and works as well as, if not better the similar yearning in Thriller's 'The Weird Tailor') and Richman's driven scientist made a far more tangible impression on me. I'm now somewhere in the middle between those two positions.

    It's curious that the first scene lasts for 10 to 11 minutes, with a short takeaway to a phone call and then a full 35 minutes plus in the confines of the lab.

    I think what hurts the show is Stevens' penchant for extreme "Hard SF", a sub-category which can be overladen with techno-babble dialogue and lose audience interest fast. Another aspect is the idea of having an alien landscape, another dimension here, being the evoker of the sense of wonder, rather than the core idea motivating the perceptual frissions (he's in good company, Wells' 'The Crystal Egg', Weinbuam's 'A Martian Odyssey' that have a dated, truncated feel too).

    'The Borderland' is also the counterpart to 'The Twilight Zone' episode 'Little Girl Lost' both of which deal with other dimensions, lost children and the thresholds to these new landscapes. The approach though is profound. TTZ has an ordinary couple whose daughter inadvertently falls into one, TOL perversely has the scientific and moneyed elite (only the military are missing) trying to prise one open.

    On the plus side, Richman, Gladys Cooper and Barry Jones and others give committed and honest performances that work quite despite not being given much by way of material in Stevens' script.

    Stevens' the director saves Stevens' the writer with lively, aggressively inventive compositions to compensate for the talky stretches. And the photography's a treat.

    One Zanti

    bobby J

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  11. As Gary says, "Borderland" is certainly worth an occasional viewing. After you've ticked off all of its drawbacks (none of which I disagree with) it's a DAMN GOOD SHOW! It's very engaging and the cast is totally invested in whatever the heck it is they're supposed to be doing. What's really fun is the fact that you are sure that---off-camera----none of them have the SLIGHEST idea of what the hell they're talking about....but they do it so DAMNED convincingly! That's why I enjoy this one.

    And the cast IS worthy of note: Nina Foch, Barry Jones (mostly in England), and Gene Raymond had substantial careers, and assembling a cast of this stature was a pretty impressive (and costly, I'm sure) accomplishment. Check Gene Raymond on IMDB...has was a top-rank, light leading man in the '30's; it was HE and NOT Fred Astaire who was Ginger Rodgers leading man in 1933's "Flying Down to Rio"! He also starred in that cultish film "Zoo in Budapest" (was that the title?) in the '30's. I also believe he was the real-life brother of Blossom Rock--"Granny" of TV Adams Family fame!

    Then there's the two conspirators, played by as off-the-wall a pair of actors as could be imagined: the distinguished Brit Gladys Cooper and the very legit stage actor (and one of my very favorite quirky character actors) Alfred Ryder. Too bad he had so little to do here (other than affect his vocal stuttering and get himself fried at the climax); check him out in most anything else he did---always an impressive guy (his real-life sister, Olive Deering, will model a mink-coat in a mid 1st-season OL episode).

    "Borderland": Big, handsomely mounted production, big, impressive cast--all having a great time doing practically NOTHING! Definitely worth an occasional viewing.

    LR

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  12. Yeah, this one's impossible to hate, even though I hated on it a little in my spotlight. It's tight and fast and captivatingly weird, and like DJS said the money's all over the screen. Mostly it just never feels like anything other than THE OUTER LIMITS, which I can't say for either "The Human Factor" or "Tourist Attraction." (Strangely enough, it's also one of the handful of episodes I remember from OL's original run rather than from initial syndication.)

    Funny you should mention Blossom Rock, Larry: My bro David and I watched her in Kurt Neumann's SHE DEVIL over the Xmas break. It's a pretty great little movie, and she's a kick.

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  13. John Townsley RiddleJanuary 4, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Baby the Ionic Rain Must Fall or: Stroked Out

    Although it possesses magnetic properties——lab sets James Whale wouldn't have been ashamed of; an imaginative science/seance springboard; moody photography from John "Gray Lensman" Nickolaus (who, for once, put the black into his black and white); and unprecedentedly trippy small screen FX (including a proto-slit-scan shot of an inverted hand reassembling)——"The Borderland" spends most of its running time sending out repelling waves of reverse polarity.

    With a tempo tripped by breaker-blowing redundancy, plot developments log-jammed by loquacity, and characterizations atomized in an electronic squall, "The Borderland"'s most interesting aspect is how it foreshadowed the CGI overkill school of filmmaking.

    To be guilty of putting production values over story values and effects over affects in the early 1960's (an era when the average TV show had all the flash of a washed out kinescope) is a dubious but highly impressive accomplishment.

    Two Zantis.

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  14. Gary said: "The Chameleon" is the prototype for AVATAR's premise, etc.

    Boy, is it ever. “The Chameleon” with a $300m budget!

    I’ve always thought THE LAWNMOWER MAN owed a huge debt to “The Sixth Finger,” as well.

    Someone sent me a link to a renewed discussion of the TERMINATOR suit (on another board), claiming Harlan Ellison never championed the rights of anyone but himself. Not true. When the whole TERMINATOR suit arose, Ellison filed on behalf of himself and Anthony Lawrence, who wrote “The Man Who Was Never Born,” with which TERMINATOR had more in common than either of Harlan’s shows individually. Tony Lawrence declined to get involved in a costly legal fracas, leaving Harlan to pursue the judgment alone.

    Completely irrelevant side-note: THE MIST originally had a 4-page opening scene taking place at Arrowhead Project, a quasi-military lab where the “dimensional accident” occurs that drives the whole plot. The scene was deleted – probably wisely – but while it was still in, Frank Darabont asked me to consult with production designer Greg Melton on the look of the facility, with the mandate that “it has to look like an OUTER LIMITS lab.” There’s no better one in the series than the one in “The Borderland,” and the resultant designs evoked this perfectly, except in place of the “coil cell” we had a huge bathyspheric contraption with cables and wires hanging down, dotted with thick windows of chemical-glass (we actually executed this thing in Styrofoam and I still wish I had it). The setup for the dimensional breach was VERY similar to the one described in Stevens’ later episode, “Production and Decay of Strange Particles” – that is, the “hole” via which the dimensions intersected was microscopic … but enough.

    It’s also interesting to watch bits and pieces of the “Borderland” lab get recycled through later episodes. The dividers are here, the control panels are there, and those garden-hose “power pylons” are EVERYWHERE.

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  15. John Townsley RiddleJanuary 4, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    In an alternate dimension exists an episode of PLEASE STAND BY entitled "the Marchland," starring Lloyd Bochner and Anne Francis. Its plot involves electromagnetic research into the nature of reality from a Gnostic perspective: glimpses into the borderlandscape are insights into the infinite. Co-starring Murray Hamilton as the Demiurge.

    Decades later, "the Marchland" gets bloated into a mega-budgeted plagiarism by director James "Cameroon," who is successfully sued by claimant Leslie "Stevenson."

    I give this version three Antiszay.

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  16. R.I.P. ANNE FRANCIS (one talented babe)

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  17. Ah..."The Man With Two Right Hands." Sounds like a Richard Stark novel.

    I suppose the dialogue Stevens cut between Eva and Russel would have offered a little more subtext to that "look" she fixes him with when informed that if anything were to happen...she'd be "taken care of."

    Indeed, Eva's got it pretty good. Despite all the high voltage explositrons, rats inverting, bouquets polarizing, stuttering sons still living with their clairvoyant mothers dropping fuse boxes from the catwalks, billionaires committing orgasmatronic skeletonizing, and a brown dude wearing Allen Ginsberg glasses...rest assured Eva will be taken care of.

    Two Zanti's and an ECK! for effort.

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  18. Larry R, thanks for reminding me about Gene Raymond; I forgot to mention one of my favorite Raymond roles--the lead in PLUNDER ROAD, a crackerjack 50s B heist-noir that deserves way more attention. Written by Steve "The Werewolf" Ritch. Hell, Elisha Cook is in it.

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  19. This whole thing is a largely monotonous hard science mish-mash. The techno-babble template developed here is used again later in "Production And Decay Of Strange Particles". And having to hear Mark Richman yell "REEEE-VERSE" about five times was quite enough for me.

    The characters, with the exception of Mr. Hartley, are uninteresting. Barry Jones who plays the millionaire Hartley, portrays a man who would pay any price to see his son again. His son was killed in an accident and Hartley's strife and distress regarding the death is pretty heartbreaking. I guess the love between Ian (Mark Richman) and Eva (Nina Foch) is passable, too, especially when she holds Ian's hand while the rest of him is stuck in a different dimension.

    Speaking of that dimension. it is displayed ever so briefly and basically presents us with only an uninteresting alien landscape. And as previously mentioned, nothing too remarkable and not at all like the odd dimension entered by Tina in the Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost".

    I really can't get past the total silliness of Edgar Price attempting to sabotage the experiments by dropping a toolbox onto a little breaker. It jeopardizes the experiment by somehow bringing the power output of the entire plant to dangerously low levels. - 1.5 Zantis.

    - Whit

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  20. @DJS...

    I would love to see the "Arrowhead Project" scene from "The Mist". I really enjoyed that movie and have conjured up my own mental images about how that dimensional accident could have looked.

    Thanks for the inside "scoop".

    - Whit

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  21. This episode is one of those things that's always made me a little leery of electricity! No suitcases into power generators, no hairdryers into bathtubs, not for me!

    I've always imagined the horrible pain that the grieving father must have felt as he was being skeletonized on the other side -- yikes and ouch!

    The transition between our world and The Borderland has always put me in mind of the disastrous interaction when Dr. Emilio Lizardo made his headlong smoosh into the creepy alien world in "Buckaroo Banzai".

    And Alfred Ryder! Don't forget he was the Salt Monster's husband in ST:TOS "The Man Trap" -- and I didn't realize he was Olive Deering's brother! The things we learn here!

    As a young girl, I know that I was impressed by the frequent presence of interesting female characters in OL, like Nina Foch's scientist here. They were often right there in the thick of things. Had I been a math-y science kid I would probably have gravitated to those fields thanks somewhat to the influence of these characters, but instead I mostly just loved to watch them on TV so I became a television programmer! But it was certainly OL that is one of the great shows that propelled me into THAT field.

    So I don't hate "The Borderland" at all -- lots of yelling, confusing names, but a strange and mesmerizing strident energy that makes this one stick in the mind. I'll never forget Foch's desperate "Can you hear me? Can you hear me?!" to her nearly lost husband on the other side.

    This one's also kind of like the weird Robert Lansing movie "4-D Man" from 1959 -- anybody mention that here yet? It used to play a lot in L.A. when I was a kid, on the Million Dollar Movie, but I can't imagine how long it's been since I've seen it.

    Awesome blog!

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  22. Lisa-

    Re: The 4D Man-- you're right on the money. Funny thing is, I mentioned to John and had in my notes that Lansing must have been on vacation when casting was throwing out their line.

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  23. Speaking of "Stevens' penchant for hard science," one of my few problems with this one is how it's slanted against mediums, and not just devious ones like Mrs. Palmer. You really get the feeling that it would have STILL been slanted like that even if she HADN'T been exposed as a fraud. In and out of fiction, people like Ian and people like actual mediums have enough trouble being given a fair hearing without taking shots at EACH OTHER.
    One of the best moments is that scene where Mrs. Palmer (WITHOUT using any psychic powers) starts to analyze the Sawyer character so accurately, and that smile disappears from his face.

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  24. 1/2 Zanti at best. Bo-ring. Just because they've discovered another dimension, why does the old man think that means they'll find his son there? Thats a stretch. There's just way too much science babble talk, and enough already with the 'Power of Love' message, this is a too obvious parable about greed. . Hall didn't photagraph this, so it doesn't have the dynamic cinematography of his eps. I was hoping for something along the lines of TZ's 'Littel Girl Lost' with a neat other dimension set, but no such luck.

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  25. Lisa's comment about the sabotage make a lot of sense. There's something I've always wondered about that scene - did Alfred Ryder have a stammer than he usually kept under control? Because his stammer in that scene sounds believable.

    Also P.E.'s comment about Ian "cracking the whip" when it comes to Eva. Outer Limits was so full of "empowered" female characters (or whatever you want to call them) - Ethel Meredith, Judith Bellero, Kassia Payne. So no offense to Nina Foch, but Borderland isn't exactly a good introduction to its FEMALE characters.

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  26. I just saw the underrated genre film THE LEGEND OF HILLBILLY JOHN again, Alfred Ryder has a single scene in it, and he "hams it up" incredibly, in a GOOD way, of course.

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  27. My earliest memory of THE OUTER LIMITS was this episode. Specifically, the climax, with the dimensional doorway, and the man who stepped into it, and was disintegrated. Scared the LIVING HELL out of me. I was 4!! Do you know how crazy it must have seemed to people decades later that a show THIS scary was airing Monday nights at 7:30 PM??? No wonder I was able to see it (occasionally). I hadn't even started Kindergarden yet!!

    About 10 blocks from my house, en route to the local post office, was a power station. As a kid, EVERY time we'd drive by that place, I'd be reminded of this story. This went on for years.

    I never watched OL regularly... but I did catch a number of them on the network. The only thing I can't be sure about, regarding the 1st season, was whether I actually saw them FIRST-RUN, or during the summer reruns.

    I finally got hooked on syndicated reruns in the 70s. Somehow, I never saw this one. When STARLOG did their episode guide, carefully, reading the sypnopses, I couldn't tell which one this was. It was baffling.

    Finally, in the mid-90s, I wound up renting the entire 1st season on videotape-- in broadcast order. What a SHOCK when I saw the teaser for this one. I literally screamed at the TV-- "THIS IS THE ONE!!!!" Then I sat back and watched-- rapt, mezmerized-- baffled. Good God. Leslie Stevens really loved "HARD SCIENCE", didn't he? What a contrast with Joe Stefano's "haunted house" form of sci-fi. It's a TOUGH watch. It continues to be. But I've played my tapes back several times since the 90s, and never skip this one. (Or any of the others, come to think of it.)

    I mainly know Mark Richman from McCLOUD. He played "Chief Clifford" in the AWFUL pilot (the only truly terrible episode in the entire run-- how did it ever sell as a series?). A few years later, he came back as another Police Captain, in "The 42nd Street Cavalry", about NYC's mounted patrol. The "joke" was the message from Clifford telling him, "I've had him long enough, now he's YOUR problem."

    Philip Abbott I used to watch on THE F.B.I. (though so long ago I really can't remember any of it). I've mostly seen him in one 2nd-season NIGHT COURT episode where he plays an Air Force officer who crosses paths with Ellen Foley & Stella Stevens.

    Barry Jones played "Claudius" in "DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS" opposite Victor Mature, Susan Hayward, Michael Rennie & the utterly insane Jay Robinson (as "Caligula"). He comes across as the smartest (and nicest) character in the picture.

    Alfred Ryder, of course, was in "The Man Trap" on STAR TREK. Does he just "do" sleazebags really well or something?

    It is sad to hear some "character" was cut from the script before filming. Reminds me of long stretches of John Nathan Turner's run as Producer on DOCTOR WHO, when any hint of humor would be cut, even from scripts specifically written as COMEDIES.

    Finally... "The Borderland" is one of 2 OL episodes (so far) that I've paid tribute to in my own stories. NO S***. The other one was "Second Chance" (my FAVORITE of the entire series).

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  28. "... there IS a monster - Benson Sawyer, the corporate dick."

    I hate to say it, but Mr. Hartley has what could be considered his own "dick" side, even if you see it only once. It's when he's arranging that blackout, and he mentions that the hospitals can get by on their generators for an hour. Maybe they can, but either way (even if he's pictured as single-minded when it comes to his son), that seems awfully "cavalier."
    But since this episode is known for being partly about financial power, maybe that scene is meant to show that even likeable Hartley isn't completely above that kind of attitude.

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