Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Titles of The Outer Limits

by John Scoleri

As you might imagine, we followed a regular process when creating our daily reviews. One of the many elements being the capturing of OL title cards. You very likely haven't given this much thought, but as it's been part of our routine for the past 49 episodes, I thought I'd share some trivial minutia with you—things you probably wouldn't notice unless you've spent a lot of time dealing with very specific details of each and every episode over a condensed period (which means I don't think anything covered here hasn't already been processed by The Brain of Colonel Schow).

For our "Next Up..." title cards, you might have noticed that I always used an capture with the sine wave present behind the title. For the main review title cards, in all but one case, I grabbed a screencap of the title against the black background. All except for one episode—which became a thorn in my side—as there was no point at which the title card  for "The Borderland" did not include the sine wave behind it. Hence it's appearance on the main review title card. Betcha you were all as unnerved by that as I was.

A few episodes into Season Two, beginning with "The Invisible Enemy," most multi-line title cards were now right or left justified instead of being centered. "Behold, Eck!" was right justified on two lines, however "Wolf 359" was presented on a single line. "Counterweight" used a lighter weight font (presumably to ensure it fit on your 13" B&W TV's safe-area). ""I, Robot"" was officially titled in quotes on the title card, although you'll note that we brazenly referred to it as "I, Robot" throughout our review. I cheated on "The Inheritors" for our main review, digitally adding the Part II below the Part I. Do take note that "The" and "Inheritors" are on separate lines, with "The" indented to be aligned with "Part I/II" below). And then there's "The Probe," which is in a class to itself amongst OL title cards (and episodes, I hear).

So there you have it. Why am I sharing this useless trivia, you ask? Well, it gives the obsessives one more reason to revisit all 48* of our episode reviews on WACT. And I needed to get it out of my system. 

As you might expect, after the last few months we can use a vacation. But first, we've got an appointment with "The Probe"...

*In the unlikely event that you don't know why we only have 48 reviews for the 49 episode series, I'm sure it will come to you after you've re-read all our reviews.


  1. It might also be worth to note that the font used for the title cards is called Franklin Gothic, which is a classic sans-serif typeface still very popular today.

  2. Thanks, JS. If you squint your eyes really tight when looking at "The Probe" title card, it looks like a single digit finger with a latex glove over it.

    Are you ready?

  3. Uh, yeah . . . I, uh, WAS unnerved, yeah, that's the ticket! Actually, thanks for pointing out these odd discrepancies--I'm actually interested in layouts and that sort of stuff, yet am embarrassed to say that I never noticed this. Furthermore, it's somehow reassuring to discover that you were actually paying attention while doing all this work! Thanks!

  4. Did I actually use the word "actually" three times in that previous post? I actually need a nap, I guess. Actually.

    I don't know if this is the best place for it, and sorry to change the subject, but I realized I had a question that's never come up in this blog (that I've seen), and that I better throw it out there before we run out of time. I'm hoping that one of the OL experts (i.e., DJS or Gary G.) can help.

    As a kid, I collected all the Bubbles, Inc. OL cards as they came out, but I lost the set a few years later to painful circumstances that I'd rather not discuss (although you can see the dents on my forehead where I continue to bang it against the wall to this day). A few years ago, in a bout of nostalgia, I bought a reprint set on eBay (the real set now goes for lots of money, usually). It's a perfectly fine reproduction set--the fronts look about the same as the originals, and the stories are the same on the backs, but there is no identification. The script on the backs has a white background, although I think the originals were greenish or yellowish. There is one master card that shows the original "Monsters from the Outer Limit" packaging that cards came in (with Chill Charlie depicted), and on the back it says this is an "Official" reprint set.

    The person selling them claimed they were printed by Topps in the late 1960s, but there is no company name or date on the actual cards, just a line that says it was a limited reprint set of 5,000. I can find nothing on the Internet that identifies these with any reliability. Do you guys have any idea who printed these and when? Thanks in advance.


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