There is nothing wrong with your [WiFi]. Do not attempt to adjust the [image]. We are controlling transmission … You are about to experience the awe and mystery … of the 50th anniversary of ‘The Outer Limits.’
Marilyn Stefano, an Agoura Hills resident, remembers that ominous narrative quite well. It was her husband, Joseph Stefano, who produced the first season of the famed sci-fi series with creator Leslie Stevens in the early ’60’s. Joseph, the screenwriter of Alfred Hitchcock’s renowned Psycho, was considered a creative guiding force behind the show, having written more episodes than any other writer for the show. “Joe’s love of gothic horror combined with Leslie’s interest in sci-fi to create a unique blend of story-telling caught the imagination of people both very young and more mature … [they] could identify with monsters, who were sometimes scary, sometimes good, like most of us,” said Marilyn
Joseph passed away shortly after moving to the Conejo Valley in 2006.
To commemorate the auspicious anniversary of the classic TV anthology, Creature Features (a Burbank-based horror memorabilia shop) is hosting an art tribute featuring newly commissioned paintings, illustrations and sculptures alongside original props and vintage memorabilia from the show. The highlight of the opening night reception will be the world premier of author David J. Schow’s The Outer Limits at 50, showcasing over 160 new pages of rare photographs and collectibles, many in full-color and unearthed for the first time ever.
Schow said he became enamored with the show while his “kid window for new stimulus was wide open.” He wrote the first edition of Outer Limits Companion in 1986 and has continued to revise and update ever since.
“In the pre-video era it was difficult to see, so there came a treasure-hunt aspect to finding it again, and once I found it, I saw it with new eyes — there were more sophisticated stylistic and thematic values to hold the attention of an adult,” he wrote in an email to CV Happening. “Then I began meeting the actual people who had done the show—Joe Stefano was one of the first and foremost—and from then on I was pretty much hooked. The result was The Outer Limits Companion, two editions over the years.”
Schow says his latest tome is more of a celebration than a documentary or chronicle.
Taylor White of Creature Features first suggested an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the show’s debut on network television, which was September, 1963, according to Schow. “We couldn’t hit day-and-date because of schedules, wrangling artists, and booking lag; plus in the meantime Taylor had decided to reopen his brick and mortar store, which includes gallery space,” he wrote.
Initially Schow had written some copy intended for a pamphlet or souvenir catalogue to accompany the art show; however, he and White stumbled upon a” huge treasure trove of publicity photos, none of which I had possessed for the original Companion,” he said.
The completed book became the reason for the event.
“It’s hard to believe that this ground-breaking program started in 1963 and is still being shown and seen somewhere around the world today,” said Marilyn. “I’m thrilled to be able to attend the celebration … and to celebrate the loyalty of so many of its fans who have kept it alive all this time.”
According to Schow, The Outer Limits inspired multiple generations of creators who are making the entertainment we see today, many of whom feel the need to “give back.” “It’s humbling to be able to compliment something with such staying power—I mean, we all aspire to create art that’s lasting,” he wrote. “As I said in the new book, The Outer Limits was one of things that compelled me to become a writer in the first place. It’s more than a nod to one’s roots; it’s like a birthday party for a cherished colleague, to honor the show and the people who created it. It’s my responsibility to pop the cork.”