Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Outer Limits

The avian alien of "Second Chance"

Greg Manchess

The original, fabulous old TV show, The Outer Limits is 50 years old. My favorite of all those productions, it was shot in black and white, and didn’t affect any of my fascination with a show that was primarily science fiction stories every week.

Lately, Creature Features in Los Angeles celebrated those years with an exhibition and invited artists to participate. I caught word at the last minute, and had to paint something. The attraction was too strong.

The only difficult decision was deciding whether to paint in black and white or color. Since I had no idea what the color of some of the characters were in the show, I just made it up, thinking of these as a series of 12"x12" paintings.

The man of super intelligence from"The Sixth Finger"

One of my favorite episodes was “The Sixth Finger,” starring David McCallum of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. fame. A man of average intelligence is advanced into the future, his brain developing at an alarming rate, and uses the power of his superior mind to manipulate the now primitive world he sees around him.

“Second Chance,” starring Simon Oakland, is about an amusement park ride pretending a trip into outer space. Oakland plays an avian-like alien that has turned the ride into a real one. First time I realized the vacuum of space will kill you instantly.

“The Bellero Shield” starring Martin Landau, featured the most gentle, and wise, alien. I was affected by the creature’s benevolence in a violent situation. And everyone could use a Bellero Shield.

The alien of "The Bellero Shield"

These were so much fun to re-watch and then paint. If you’ve never seen the show, forgive it for it’s limited budget FX, but praise it for the stories and serious make-believe.

Other favorite shows include: two Martians that come to Earth to study a murder by slowing it down with a time-dilator; a down-and-out human is changed into an alien to spy on crash landed aliens; a pilot is thrown forward into time by only a couple minutes and must get back; two soldiers of the future cross time to fight it out in our present time (the story was the basis for Terminator, and written by Harlan Ellison).

The Outer Limits exhibit has just closed. But check out the other shows that Creature Features has coming up this year. Contact them and see if you can submit. This year they’ll celebrate with shows on Godzilla, and the Planet of the Apes series, from books to movies. Can’t wait!


  1. My childhood trifecta: Outer Limits, Night Gallery, Twilight Zone. You done the Limits proud Greg. Looking forward to seeing you in May.

  2. Oh, brother, I just luve the ye old science fiction shows -back when the fear of nuclear holocaust was new and fearful. For a whole year n college, read a tomb full of Ray Bradbury's short stories. Such good stuff! And I also love your 'messier' paintings, too.

  3. Beautiful and spooky. I would love to see your take on Godzilla Greg...hint...hint. ;)

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