Monday, February 14, 2011

The Chameleon

Production Order #32
Broadcast Order #31
Original Airdate: 4/27/64
Starring Robert Duvall, Henry Brandon, Howard Caine.
Written by Robert Towne, from a story by Towne, Lou Morheim and Joseph Stefano.
Directed by Gerd Oswald. 

When a pair of aliens crash land in California, the government decides to infiltrate the ship by turning an assassin (Robert Duvall) into one of the aliens. When will we learn...

PE: I like that we're plopped right down in the middle of this story. The aliens have been on Earth long enough to have wiped out some unfortunate soldiers. Having said that... the powers-that-be leave all the observation to one General? Was this U.S. Army on the same budget as Daystar?

JS: Robert Duvall goes through quite a transformation in this episode—and I'm not just talking about when he becomes an alien. Remind me never to sit next to the guy in the bar fondling a fly-swatter. I thought it was very cool to have Mace not only console the guitarist whose instrument was damaged, but the smooth fashion in which he slid the money for that right into the guys pocket (I believe it was his G-String, actually. -PE).  A true patron of the arts.

PE: This has the same general framework as "Architects of Fear" in that a man is transformed into an alien to save the human race. "Chameleon" isn't as strong an entry as "Architects" but, much like that earlier show, it benefits from a powerhouse performance by its lead actor.

JS: I was pleased to see tough guy Henry Brandon as General Crawford. I'm sure he is beloved to many of our readers for his extensive body of work, so forgive me for knowing and appreciating him from his brief appearance in John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13.

PE: While most folks would automatically link Robert Duvall to The Godfather I and II, Apocalypse Now, Lonesome Dove, Tender Mercies (which he won his Oscar for), or any of the other strong performances he's given us in the last forty years or so, I like to think of the actor in his early stages: as Bart Collins, the insane "Bad Actor" on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, his several appearances on the classic cop show, Naked City (in particular, his turn as a slightly high-strung adult orphan in "The One Marked Hot Gives Cold"), and in "Miniature" from The Twilight Zone. It's easy, fifty years and six Oscar nominations later, to say this was a legendary actor in the making, but you really can see the foundation being poured here. Duvall will pop back up in the second season two-parter, "The Inheritors."

JS: I have to admit, the science of using the alien DNA to convert our protagonist to the fold was a bit of a stretch. You think that if science had the ability to update DNA on a whim, they might be more focused on using that to the betterment of the human race. Of course, they have that technology, and yet they somehow think they can fool the aliens by slipping another one into their spaceship.

PE: "Changing the human structure" to resemble aliens is one thing. The real hard to swallow pill is the "cover story." So we're to believe that Moe and Larry (the real aliens) will accept that Curly Joe landed here on Earth decades before. Leon Chambers (Caine, better known to us TV addicts as Major Hochstetter on Hogan's Heroes) owns up that "they may not buy it, but they may be damn stupid enough to think about it long enough for you to accomplish your mission." Hell, the army guys are smart enough to come up with a replica of the aliens' outfits. I know it would make the episode quite a bit shorter (and, ostensibly, less suspenseful) but why not dress Duvall up as a female alien, draw them out of the ship, and blast them both? It's a moot point, of course, when Mace shows up and Moe and Larry take one look and bust out laughing. There goes the espionage.

JS: Interesting thing about these aliens. On the surface, they appear to have several things against them. They're dressed in street clothes. The mask over their eyes is not articulated. They speak in decidedly American accents. So why does it work? As they are clearly a more advanced race, and bipedal humanoid creatures, their uniform dress seems somehow appropriate. And the brilliance of these masks is that they leave the actors mouth free for expression. Somehow, the combination of the two works. And the evocative eyes don't have an artificial rubber mask look (see "Fun and Games"). So even though they don't blink, the fine performance by William O'Connell makes it easy to forget that the actors eyes are actually somewhere behind the mask's forehead.

PE: Yeah, you can tell they're rubber masks (especially around the mouth) but the head gear is classically creepy. I'd have traded up though when Projects Limited brought me the ray gun that shoots smoke. Not very impressive.

JS: Duvall seems less comfortable in the alien make-up, but God bless him for suiting up in the first place. It still brings a smile to my face to think that this is Tom Hagen stuck in an alien force field while sporting the latest Empyrian bling! Let's see the jazz hands, Bobby!

PE: Actually, the future Duvall character I saw glimpses of here was sleazy TV executive Frank Hackett in Network (especially in our first glimpses of cleaned-up Mace). He's got a calm demeanor but we know a sadistic side is right around the corner at any moment. A classic OL scene is where Mace explains to his boss that he's not performing this task out of the good of his heart but because he's a killing tool. Again, there's that cool, reasoned exterior that hides the psycho just below the surface. It's a great speech and Duvall delivers it perfectly.

JS: I love how the three government goons stand there and watch the ship take off. Do you have to go to astronaut school to know that the safe distance starts a couple miles from the launchpad?

PE: Of course, our teleplay is written by Robert Towne, another of the seemingly endless Roger Corman protoges who grew up to make good. In this case, writing such classics as The Last Detail, Shampoo, Chinatown (Oscar winner), and The Yakuza. Of course he was also responsible for the first two Mission Impossible flicks and Days of Thunder (which reunited him with Duvall). A very early credit is the screenplay for the Corman/Poe/Price Tomb of Ligeia.


David J. Schow on "The Chameleon":

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


That's right, it's all-Wah, all the time, and if you'd like to glimpse a couple of fantastic Project Unlimited shots, scoot your eager buns to:

Go wild for Wah!  You'll be glad you did! 


A shot of William O'Connell (alien #1) from the 1964 Academy Players Directory, the standard actor's reference book that casting directors used. Courtesy of Larry Rapchak.

Two aliens crash land in Cali
Causing government agents to rally
A quick DNA update
Got Lou Mace to mutate
Now the aliens have got a new pally!

Be sure to check back later today for Mark Holcomb's Spotlight on "The Chameleon."

Next Up...


  1. For me, there are two really remarkable things about the episode. One is Mace. In a dawning era of glamorous secret agents, his covert op comes as something of a shock, looking forward to the cold and calculating agents of the far more cynical times to come. Duvall is masterful, suggesting all kinds of back story, as well as a quiet and deadly efficient talent. His arc is solid, and he becomes the perfect metaphor for mankind's destructive instinct, eventually giving hope for shucking its violent nature.

    As you guys (and DJS) mention, the other remarkable element are some of the most memorable aliens ever conceived; a brilliant mask concept whose key is the lowered eyes (convincingly moist and shiny) with actors peeking through slits, and using their own mouths (which also look uncomfortably moist). And as DJS also points out, the sight of such quick and nimble aliens is alarming and convincing.

    I think Oswald makes the transformation a show-stopper, and Duvall ups the ante with that high-pitched, disorienting, but subtle, "laugh", while Kenneth Peach trumps it with some terrific lighting and setups (the man just continues to impress).

    It's also refreshing to have less one-sided government reps here. General Crawford is particularly refreshing and, John, props for mentioning Henry Brandon in AOP13. I clearly remember how freakin' cool I thought it was to see him in that. Hard to believe this is the wonderfully evil villain from Laurel and Hardy's 1930s BABES IN TOYLAND!

    And Peter, good call on Duvall in a great NAKED CITY. Also should mention early appearance by Roy WIND AND THE LION Jensen as the enemy agent at the beginning. Star Trek fans know him as the guy who made fellow prisoner Kirk his bitch in that Declaration of Independence episode. Hey--speaking of ST, wasn't O'Connell also an effective alien in that "Babel" episode (thanks to Larry R for the pic).

    So, despite a budget that makes Zanti's similar military operation look like D-Day, a truly fine episode and something of a last hurrah for TOL ("Unknown" having been shot at this point).

  2. Robert Duvall is a big favorite of mine and I enjoyed this episode. Though as a trained killing machine, I really think he would have killed the second alien too and without any hesitation. Hope he's happy living with peaceable aliens.

  3. BTW, congrats to the Boys for the Rondo nomination for the Thriller-A-Day blog, and also the nominated commentators for the THRILLER DVD set!

  4. Don't miss Robert Duvall's amazing performance as a heroin junkie trying to go cold turkey in the "Route 66" second season episode, "Birdcage on My Foot" shot in 1961 in Boston.

    I know John and Peter are more horror/sci-fi reviewers, but if you ever want to do another episode review blog, I highly recommend "Route 66" as a series that easily holds up more than any other series from that era. Just great character dramas ala "Naked City."

  5. A solid show, enhanced by Duvall's dignified and always welcome presence. I found it quite interesting that, back in the '80s, James Cameron was successfully sued for appropriating OUTER LIMITS story concepts for use in THE TERMINATOR. Then he does the same thing all over again with "The Chameleon" and AVATAR (utilizing Towne's premise as a conceptual lead-in to a story that imitates DANCES WITH WOLVES, FERNGULLY, etc.), and no one calls him on it. Fascinating! Guess the lesson to the youth of America is: Rob a certain store, and maybe you'll get caught and have to pay the piper. But then, to show you've "learned your lesson," go back to that same store and rob from it again, and no one will say a peep, the critics will bow, and you'll be the most successful guy on the planet. Welcome to morality in the 21st Century, folks! BTW, it seems Cameron was "inspired" by "Chameleon"'s little moments along with the story's basic premise. Notice how the newly-created Avatar responds to his alien body with weird, freakish laughter that confounds and unnerves his creators. Guess if you're going to "borrow" without fear or guilt, you might as well borrow everything!

  6. Peter and John deserve recogniton for all the hard work and abuse they took during THE THRILLER A DAY BLOG. As the nomination says they reviewed all 67 episodes, with style.

    The "with style" wording is the key. If they had just done a straight review of the series, then I probably would not have been too interested. The same thing applies to the OUTER LIMITS A DAY marathon. They have the sense of humor to survive the daily grind.

  7. In one low-angle whip-pan you can perceive the lack of ceiling inside the saucer, the interiors of which never look like they're made out of anything OTHER than wood.

    In March, 2006, Walter Chaw interviewed Towne for, and the first thing he asked about was "The Chameleon."

    ROBERT TOWNE: "Oh my God. (laughs) It was tough. I remember having to rewrite the script because of censorship at that time. The original story, there was a guy who has to insinuate himself into a strange species by allowing his DNA to be altered — to have the essence of him changed from something very brutal and controlled to something that was just brutal. Alien and brutal but maybe not so alien. But I started the script with these aliens up in the mountains, finding a park ranger and taking him apart, system-by-system and then trying to put him back together again ... when it finally comes down and we learn what these aliens were, we find out that they were just children. But, uh, censorship at that time said that you just absolutely couldn't do anything involving children and so we had to go from there. I don't remember what I changed it to. Duvall is just excellent in it."

  8. DJS--- Interesting highlight on Towne's development of this script that I had never heard before. Didn't notice the missing ceiling whip-pan when I watched again last night, but I'm convinced you can see Duvall's real eyes through the forehead slit at one point when he's being interrogated by the aliens.

    Larry B--- Glad you mentioned BABES IN TOYLAND (aka MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS). Did Henry "Barnaby" Brandon ever age? That was 28 years between them. Always liked him as "Scar" in THE SEARCHERS, about 8 years before this. And yeah, you can ID William O'Connell immediately by his voice, whether he's alienized here or in ST's "Journey to Babel."

    Gary G--- I never made the AVATAR connection---fascinating insight. I'd say you could make that argument at least as easily as the one for TERMINATOR's infringement. The problem I've always had with that lawsuit is that it seems you need to include THREE films in the patchwork plagiarism accusation (how many patches are too many in constituting a viable patchwork suit?): "Soldier," "Demon with a Glass Hand," and Tony Lawrence's "Man Who Was Never Born." And only the LATTER features an instance of someone coming back in time specifically to prevent a birth that will alter the future.

    THAT'S the central concept of sf's "Grandfather Paradox." You ADD that to the twisted-metal hell of a post-apocalypse future and the fact of a "Soldier" coming back to do the deed (or, more properly, prevent it), and then you have what seems to be a case. (I don't see much of "Demon" in THE TERMINATOR---the robot who comes back to DO something? the time mirror? the paranoid pursuit, maybe?) I guess if you splice the three in a "Production and Decay" string---three works from the same anthology---you assemble a case. But I'd wager that if more intellectual property owners were as aggressive, a thousand more such cases might reasonably be heard in sf alone.

    So Gary's "Chameleon"/AVATAR speculation is a fresh slant worth pondering.

    Peter--- Good shout-out to Towne for scripting THE YAKUZA, among his numerous impressive credits. I've always been fond of that one (James Shigeta sighting).

    Who knows the uncredited ID of the agent Duvall kills with the fly-swatter? I've seen him ID'd as Roy Jensen, but he reminds me of THE WILD BUNCH's Rayford Barnes.

    All in all this is a decent second-echelon episode that I've always found enjoyable. It's a tad on the cheesy side---you're constantly waiting for its seams to burst and the sound stage to show through, or too much of the ship prop to leak into the frame. It feels a bit cobbled together---the "Architects" premise and the "Sixth Finger" chamber (now figuratively re-labeled "HUMAN/ALIEN"); Bronson Canyon again and the long-distance surveillance of the ship mock-up; the "steam gun" that might have been Mattel's kiddie-safe version of an alien weapon.

    If AVATAR resembles this one, it might be noted that "The Chameleon" at least prismatically reflects elements of IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE: crash-landed peaceful aliens; altered forms for purposes of infiltration (though alien-to-human there).


  9. Yeah, Ted, I gave Roy Jensen a shout out--definitely him (though Barnes could just about be his brother).

    I agree on the AVATAR call--very good.

  10. PART 2:

    A solid cast sells this implausible tale and (as Larry B. has observed) soberingly low-key military engagement of an E.T. first-strike incident.

    Duvall's sensitive performance is top-notch. The broken-guitar commiseration rings true---a man who would like to reclaim something of beauty and grace and constructive effect but doesn't know how to begin.

    Mace's icy little warbling giggle cements our acceptance of the transformation: Do humans now instinctively look silly? Is he privy to secret knowledge that immediately compromises his agenda? It makes you mindful of Allen Leighton's similar hallucinatory breakdown in "Architects" ("You have FAT faces!"). The whole process is kind of like Architects-lite here, since the transformation isn't the agenda.

    Douglas Henderson seems born to alter DNA. The rest of the cast is convincing enough, and O'Connell persuades us of yet another alien species that puts humanity to shame for sheer compassionate understanding---with the reservation that, given the force-field they were capable of generating around Mace, they might have found a less provocative method of dealing with their military oppressors.

    If there's one thing TOL teaches us about aliens is that they're just too proud to ask first.

    Oswald and Peach manufacture the usual sinister ambience, shadows crowding every frame with implied menace. I liked the layered shadow effect in the transformation chamber. And the eye-framing facial shadows on Duvall as he sits during the briefing---"Masquerade?" someone intones, and indeed it is. Form follows function.

    TOL could ramp up the creepiness like no other show with its imaginative array of sound effects. You never tire of that eerie WARPING sound used during the transformation scene. You're instantly disposed to WANT to believe whatever emerges from a chamber that can issue sounds like that!

    The story itself is all right, nothing terribly innovative. The alien "defection" idea seemed new back then. But perhaps because we've seen it so much in POW tales, it doesn't strike us as so original now. Where was O'Connell's alien character escaping to when he flees the ship at the end? The welcoming arms of more aggressive humans?

    And what was the Control Voice endorsing in the closing commentary---"not always a human one"---species transformation as an alternative when you've run out of methods to re-affirm your humanity?

  11. This episode has fought hard, and has eeked its way into my top 10 far. The Outer Limits does it again with creating one of the coolest characters I've ever seen on television. Luis Mace ranks right up there with Chino Rivera and Mike Benson as one of my favorites. I do agree with Walker Martin that I thought the assassin would have killed both aliens.

    The scene in the cantina, (possibly a whorehouse?) was worth the price of admission alone. It's the little creative touches in scenes such as that that makes TOL stand above all others.

    If I have one major gripe it's that beginning prologue was an unforgivable spoiler. It showed half the action along with making me know that Duvall was going to get into some type of melee with the bears that I wouldn't have seen coming. Still, 4 Zantis.

  12. This one disappointed me orginally. It was one of the few that I saw with others, the show was repeated in 1980 on BBC2 at 1 or 2 in the morning. I still hate cricket because it was shown before TOL and was so dull and dreary. For once, we had guests around and we watched this one. No grand speeches or images or any really decent ideas. It seems so lukewarm, a mishmash of 'Architects of Fear' and the infiltration antics of 'The Invisibles'. A very mild achievement, indeed.

    The interview by Towne really sounds like it would have made an intriguing and vastly superior segment. How that idea could morph into this can only be explained by me re-watching 'The Player' again.

    That interview segment will make a brilliant contribution towards the 3rd edition of David's book. I found the first edition perfect, I can only guess at how much more has been unearthed in the following 25 years. The seam just seems to be getting richer.

    As for James Cameron, interesting debate.

    I've always though that he cobbled 'The Terminator' from 'The Man who Was Never Born', 'Soldier', 'Demon' and 'Westworld'.

    His 'Titanic' was ripped off of 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'A Night to Remember' - the British classic from 1958 that is the best dramatisation of the Titanic story.

    For 'Avatar' - for me, it's 'Dances with Wolves' and Poul Anderson's celebrated 1957 novella 'Call Me Joe' - story that has been adapted into a comic book, countless collections and chosen as one of the 100 greatest SF stories as chosen by the Science Fiction Writers of America in their hall of fame and in the second volume of the anthology that printed the choices. Here is a snippet from another site...

    "Like Avatar, Call Me Joe centers on a paraplegic — Ed Anglesey — who telepathically connects with an artificially created life form in order to explore a harsh planet (in this case, Jupiter). Anglesey, like Avatar's Jake Sully, revels in the freedom and strength of his artificial created body, battles predators on the surface of Jupiter, and gradually goes native as he spends more time connected to his artificial body."

    Here are two site that go into the story more:!5390226/did-james-cameron-rip-off-poul-andersons-novella

    Even the art-work seems uncannily similar:

    Interesting, to say the least. 'Chamelon' may then be an unintentional and a very mild version of the basic theme from Poul Anderson's story. Though that story seems to mimic the bare outlines of 'The Little Mermaid'. But the biggest link is the one between Cameron and Anderson...

  13. Larry B. - Thanks for the education on Henry Brandon. I had no idea that he played Silas Barnaby in (as I'll always think of it) MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS! That's my favorite Laurel and Hardy film, and one of my favorite Christmas movies.

    Where's Pete with the IMDB when I need him! I'm actually surprised he didn't use Brandon's presence as an excuse to give a shout out to THE SEARCHERS. Of course I can't mention that film without bringing up my favorite character actor from it - Hank Worden (as Mose), who David Lynch so brilliantly used in TWIN PEAKS decades later. Thank you. Thank you kindly!

  14. Bobby J: Here's one more Titanic connection for you - Richard Matheson's Somewhere in Time. We actually ran a version of this article in the print version of bare•bones:

  15. So I'm the clean-up hitter, having just arrived home from a day of rehearsing.

    "Architects-Lite", AKA "Chameleon" is a decent show that suffers in comparison with its predecessor AND from its limited budget. I keep trying to imagine that I'm seeing something more substantial than what's actually onscreen during the scenes inside the saucer ("or whatever it is"). But no, it really DOES look like grandpa's old basement workroom, with the ham radio set-up on a wooden work bench and some sort of big funky early 60's "moderne" lamp that had been retired from up in the living room.

    SACRILEGE ALERT---I've never been a fan of Robert Duvall (not that he needs me). I'm thrilled that he soared to the top of the profession and has stayed there for so long; quite an accomplishment. But I find his somewhat listless, distant manner, at least in this early stuff, only mildly interesting. The "Birdcage" Route 66 is a major-ly intense piece of work, and Duvall is fine. But how about when George Maharis decides to come back to help and delivers a raging, ranting monologue that lasts nearly two minutes, some of which sounds distinctly extemporaneous? Now THAT was the highlight of that show for me.

    I've always enjoyed Henry Kleinbach (as he was known in 1933) as Barnaby in the Laurel & Hardy film; I believe he also recreated the role and menaced The Little Rascals around the same time. Total ham, in the grand old melodramtaic style. And (here I go again) that kind of stuff was really his strong suit, I think. Otherwise, just adequate.

    ON THE OTHER HAND---I think Douglas Henderson is one of the truly excellent, unsung actors of the period. The guy has a certain riveting presence...just check out any of his close-ups in this show, even during the briefing scene with the projector, where he's looking off camera. One of the most realistic, unmannered, solid performers of the time; every gesture, every line rings true. Certainly Franken-heimer and Franken-Sinatra thought highly enough of him to cast him in a big role in "Manchurian Candidate", where he delivered a typically fine performance. Too bad he never broke out of the TV character niche.

    LARRY B---do you know of any other standout performances (with signnificant screen-time) of Henderson's? I'd like to see any that may exist.

    And that guitar player in the "Chameleon's" cantina--I liked the way he just stood there for the LONGEST time with the sad face looking at his wrecked instrument, which was obviously equipped with a plywood or even cardboard front panel.

    SO why am I picking at this show? I don't's late, I'm tired..and hell...OL's first season is ending, and I'm bummed.


  16. Oh, yeah--

    We must not fail to recognize William O'Connell's wonderful performance as the lead alien. His gentle, enchanting voice and delivery makes the whole benign alien thing believable. It's perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this episode for me and, like John Hoyt's ethereal Bifrost alien, all the more impressive since the subtleties of the character had to be projected through a rubber mask.


  17. re: AVATAR

    I'm probably seeing a 'borrowed image' from OL that's more coincidence than borrowed, but there is a prominent species of Flora in Pandora's forest that I immediately associated with the plant creature depicted in Counterweight.

    1. Look in the upper-right of this photo:

      from "Avatar", copyright 2009, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners,
      and Lightstorm Entertainment

  18. Thanks John, that was a marvellous and illuminating piece on 'Somewhere in Time' - it sure has strong echoes, with 'Titanic' - which is a piece of crap - and I disengaged from sheer boredom. Cameron should work for the banks, he gets away with it nearly every time.

  19. LR - There's a raging Buz (Silliphant) rant monologue in just about every episode of "Route 66," (which is always one of my favorite moments), but that is a particularly good one. You really believe he stepped over the junkies clawing his way out of Hell's Kitchen in that one. I met Maharis. He didn't (at least not in that ascot, sport coat and toupee). Good actor.

  20. I don't know if it's been mentioned here, but Henry Brandon was also very believable as the character who's "gone native" and deliberately turned himself into a caveman in The Land Unknown.

    I definitely agree about how lucky it was that the mouths were left free with those masks. If only Keeper of the Purple Twilight had done the same with the Ikar mask. That wouldn't have been enough to salvage the episode for some people, but it would have helped.

  21. 3 Zantis, I liked it a bitter better. The idea of an early Robert Duvall-Robert Towne pairing is pretty irrestible, it pretty much delivered for me as a very good parable of coldwar paranoia. The first appearance of Duvall as the alien is startling. For some reason this is the episode I most seeing as a kid. Duvall is great as always. The end is tough to take- o.k. Duvall, you've justed killedmy partner, I just met you, but come along to my planet anyways because its a long journey and "it would be nice to travel with a friend". Apparently aliens make more forgiving friends then we do. This knocked it down a half-Zanti in my grade. Not to mention General Crawford's sudden about-face, aw what the hell, just let them go anyways.

  22. Kenneth Peach does some fine Conrad Hall-esque vaseline smeared lens work here (a la BELLERO SHIELD) during the first encouter of Duvall with the aliens. Funny that Peter should mention Duvall's appearance in the MINIATURE episode of TWILIGHT ZONE since something about that episode has always bugged me (and since it's kind of OL related, I'll ask about it here) : in the opening scene of MINIATURE, we see Duvall working in some kind of accountant office surrounded by several other desk workers. At 5:00, everybody starts leaving except Duvall and one guy gives him hell for making everybody else look bad. In the background, we see a tall blonde looking at the whole commotion and picking up her coat to leave. Now, OL fans, you tell me if I'm wrong but that blonde looks A LOT like Sally Kellerman !! (doing some early work as an extra in a non speaking part). Check it out for yourself, it's uncanny ...

  23. Complete nonsense in the kind of episode that could use some logic and credibility (as opposed to Stefano's festivals of emotional dysfunction, where none is needed), but Duvall and the rest of this earnest cast sell it all nicely.

    And one of my favorites among the closing narrations -- poetic and right to the point.

  24. Another one I remember so clearly seeing when I was 4 years old.

    Strange but true: I saw this on the network, but I never saw "Architects" or "Sixth Finger" until the 70s. And both reminded me of THIS, instead of the other way around. And somehow, THIS episode kept eluding me until I rented the tapes in the 90s!! (Can you imagine how frustrating that was?)

    Apart from "Journey To Babel" (one of the last REALLY DAMNED GOOD Star Treks), the other thing I most remember William O'Connell for is the cowardly barber in "HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER".

  25. Always liked this one, even as a kid back when it first aired. Stayed with me. Good "bears".

  26. Pretty solid episode, due in large part to an excellent performance by Robert Duvall.

    I was rolling my eyes at the basic premise as the story began, but I quickly set aside my reservations and became involved in the plot, wanting to see how it all turned out. Oh sure, there are a few nit-picks. The alien ship (as so often happens on this show) is much too tiny, and the alien masks are a bit clumsy. But rather than dissecting the episode further, I’ll just say I enjoyed the story overall.

    Boy, those aliens certainly were friendly: Mace kills one of them, and the other is willing to instantly forgive him and take him back to his planet.


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