OL Episode #4 – The Man With the Power

Episode Discussions

Moderator: Xenorama

OL Episode #4 – The Man With the Power

Postby Lunkenstein on January 17th, 2006, 11:25 pm

Original Airdate: October 7, 1963

Another great episode and a creepy piece of sci-fi. In my youth, it was the first time I’d ever seen a story where someone could kill with their mind (hadn’t seen “Forbidden Planet” yet). And it really scared me. Something about that dark cloud coming out of the sky, spitting electricity and mercilessly zapping people into oblivion was nightmarish. In fact, one of my friends had such a bad nightmare after viewing it, that his mother refused to let him watch OL anymore. He had to wait until he was 16 to see them in reruns! For myself, I vividly recall a recurring childhood nightmare. And I believe that cloud was what gave it birth. The dream was always the same. I was to be operated on by a bunch of doctors/scientists. They were going to attempt to put a large machine inside of me. It was a terrible feeling, laying on my back and looking up at the sky. Then, a cloud similar to the one in this ep would emerge, followed by a machine so huge it filled the sky. I would always think, there’s no way that will fit in me!!! It would start to lower and I’d wake up in a cold sweat. Whew! I still feel exasperated thinking about that. Thanks for the inspiration(?) OL!!

And now back to the ep...

This one features a killer (literally) performance by Donald Pleasence. Familiar to many from films such as “Fantastic Voyage” and the “Halloween” series [loved the first one], Donald was a true professional and I feel under-rated actor. Here he stars as Harold J. Finley, a meek but brilliant college professor, who offers his mind expanding invention and himself to the space department. I always feel bad for him. Trying to be of service to mankind, he becomes trapped by the dark, vengeful area of his subconscious, which now has the power to lash out and kill without his knowing it. And his character has plenty of pent-up resentments to feed it. Donald was perfect in this role. Watching him slowly put the pieces together is intense. His performance raises the level of this ep even higher, and shows just how good OL was at casting. Actually, this entire ep was exceptionally well cast. “Get Smart” fans will enjoy seeing Edward C. Platt (The Chief) as Dean Radcliffe and Pricilla Morrill is very good as Finley’s badgering wife. John Marley and Frank Maxwell also lend solid support. And a sidenote: Frank Beir (astronaut Steve Crandon) co-starred in my favorite Twilight Zone episode, “Death Ship” with Jack Klugman and Ross Martin.

The effects hold up quite well after all these years. That nasty cloud still looks as evil and threatening as when I first saw it. The show is well written and paced. A particularly outstanding scene is when Harold tries bringing his new friend Steve home for dinner. Of course his wife is rude and tells them more or less to buzz off. Harold tries to explain to Steve as he’s leaving, that his wife is actually nice. You can hear his voice slowly fade out, and the storm cloud noise take its place. His mouth is still moving, but the angry cloud has already been summoned. Very creepy moment and a great piece of editing.

The music, as always, is excellent. It helps build tension at just the right moments, such as when Vera gnaws at her husband, “Harold, you’re a little man. A nobody. You don’t have any power.” Uh, excuse me. Take a look at your ceiling Vera!! Great, great ep and one I enjoy watching over and over.
“Heaven help me...” ~ Professor Harold J. Finley
User avatar
Fiend Behind the Face
Posts: 244
Joined: June 4th, 2005, 6:18 pm
Location: Villages of Frankenstein and Vasaria

Return to The Outer Limits

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest