Greetings, and welcome to CLASSICS ON THE TUBE. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage TV series episodes from the early days of television through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery series. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find an index of episodes reviewed for each television series.

I also cover vintage movies at my sister site, VIEWING THE CLASSICS, so please feel free to check that out as well.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

THE OUTER LIMITS: Don't Open Till Doomsday

Guest Stars:  Miriam Hopkins, John Hoyt, Russell Collins, Buck Taylor, Nellie Burt
Directed by Gerd Oswald
(actor & director credits courtesy

A strange box with an alien creature inside brings tragedy to two pairs of newlyweds decades apart.

A very creepy episode, contrasting the joy of the beginning of a marriage to the tragic loss of a partner, is well scripted by Joseph Stefano, though I must confess I didn't put together all the pieces of the backstory in his teleplay until well after the episode ended.  Miriam Hopkins, whose career dated back into the 1930s, is an interesting casting choice as the denied bride who has aged while her young groom-to-be has not, held captive by the alien creature.  Although we can't see any hope of a happy reunion between the two because of the age difference, Hopkins convincingly brings across a still vivacious character who has no doubt that she will be able to pick up where she left off more than 30 years prior.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Starring George Reeves, Jack Larson
Guest Stars:  Jimmy Ogg, Allene Roberts, Sarah Padden, Maudie Prickett
Directed by Tommy Carr
(actor & director credits courtesy

While staying with his Aunt Louisa on an island off the coast of Maine, Jimmy soon discovers mysterious goings on, including a lighthouse that may be haunted and a strange cry for help.  

The first season of Superman's adventures on television begins with a dark atmospheric mystery, something we wouldn't see too much of in later seasons, but I certainly welcomed it.  Surprisingly most of the cast is absent this time around except for Clark/Superman and Jimmy, and the rapport between Reeves and Larson seems genuine right off the bat, a rare achievement in such an early episode.  Although things are kept straightforward enough for the young audience to follow, down to Reeves narrating most of the story in the style of one of the Man of Steel's radio adventures, there's still creepy chills to be experienced, which should keep adults interested as well.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

STAR TREK: Balance Of Terror

Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy
Guest Stars:  Mark Lenard, Paul Comi, Lawrence Montaigne, DeForest Kelley, Grace Lee Whitney
Directed by Vincent McEveety
(actor & director credits courtesy

The Enterprise is called in to investigate attacks on outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone, and soon engages in combat with a Romulan ship that has the ability to turn invisible.

One of the best early episodes of the series, this installment not only introduced the Romulans and showed us their resemblance to the Vulcans, it established concepts that have been embraced in Star Trek canon for many years to come.  I've heard others draw parallels between the strategic combat here and that in classic submarine films, and there's enough taut suspense for the episode to be complimented in that comparison.  There's also a lot happening behind the scenes on both ships which enriches the viewing experience, and Lenard is simply wonderful as the Romulan commander, who would return to Star Trek again with pointed ears as Spock's father Sarek.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Guest Stars:  Duke Moore, Dudley Manlove, Jeannie Stevens
Directed by Edward D. Wood, Jr.
(actor & director credits courtesy

An actor finds himself alone at night in an empty theater and as he roams the building, he tries to fight the feelings of fear and dread in his mind.

Notorious filmmaker Ed Wood apparently made a foray into television in this unsold 1957 pilot for a supernatural anthology series.  Those who poke fun at Wood's work will find much to belittle here, but his fans should enjoy this for similar reasons.  Wood, who also scripted and produced this entry, tries to tap into an Edgar Allan Poe-like psychosis for his character, played by Duke Moore, who also portrayed gruff police lieutenants in Wood's movies.  But Moore never speaks and the narrator representing his thoughts is voiced by Dudley Manlove, who had some dialogue that brought unintended laughs in Wood's magnum opus, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and is a hoot here.  Wood's attempts to convey the creepiness of the empty theater involves much intercutting between Moore and empty rooms in the theater that aren't all that creepy, including multiple shots of a water cooler.  The series obviously didn't sell for a reason, but this pilot is quintessential Ed Wood through and through, and a gift to fans looking for more of his work.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

THE OUTER LIMITS: Controlled Experiment

Guest Stars:  Barry Morse, Carroll O'Connor, Grace Lee Whitney, Robert Fortier, Bob Kelljan
Directed by Leslie Stevens
(actor & director credits courtesy

A Martian inspector is sent to Earth to study why humans murder each other, and with the help of a colleague, uses a time displacement machine to observe a murder again and again.

Definitely the most light-hearted episode of the series yet, despite the grim subject matter, this was fun to watch with Morse's character making many amusing observations about human behavior.  Both he and O'Connor are perfect in their portrayals, and audiences familiar with them as The Fugitive's Lt. Gerard and All In The Family's Archie Bunker, should enjoy seeing them play very different but charming roles.  Star Trek's Grace Lee Whitney also has a pivotal part, minus her familiar hairstyle from that series.  Although the special effects are largely confined to speeding up the film and playing it in reverse, and the episode is missing the creature makeup ubiquitous in other installments, I didn't mind and found this an enjoyable outing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Guest Stars:  Henry Silva, Diana Sands, Michael Higgins, Ronald Foster, Dabney Coleman
Directed by Alan Crosland Jr.
(actor & director credits courtesy

A prison convict is recruited for a scientific experiment that would transport him to an alien planet, but he tries to escape when he sees the grotesque alien that is brought to Earth first.

I enjoyed this episode, with Silva making his second and last appearance on the series, this time as the loquacious prisoner in a well-written role that shows him to be a noble man despite his crimes.  The plant-like alien "Chromomite" is another unique creature among the series' monsters with an amorphous face and snapping claws, and it's frightening when chasing Sands in a suspenseful sequence.  The weakest part of the episode however is the hasty explanation for the motivations of the creature at episode's end, which left me scratching my head somewhat.  I also had to chuckle a little bit when I recognized the outdoor background as being the same memorable locale later used in Star Trek's classic "Shore Leave" episode.

Monday, October 16, 2017

STAR TREK: Charlie X

Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy
Guest Stars:  Robert Walker Jr., DeForest Kelley, Grace Lee Whitney, Nichelle Nichols, Charles Stewart
Directed by Lawrence Dobkin
(actor & director credits courtesy

A 17 year old human boy who grew up alone on an alien world is taken aboard the Enterprise to transport to an Earth colony, but Captain Kirk discovers he has dangerous powers.

Although probably not one of the more popular episodes of the series, the story by Gene Roddenberry is really a rather clever way of illustrating contemporary teenage desires and confusion in a sci-fi setting, and D.C. Fontana's teleplay is excellent.  Walker, the son of Hollywood stars Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones, gives a very good performance as the boy who uses his abilities to take what he wants and destroy what he can't have.  This episode also offers one of Nichelle Nichols' rare opportunities to sing on the series, and features some atypical smiling from Leonard Nimoy, perhaps due to refinements to the Spock character that hadn't been made yet.  I wouldn't call it a favorite episode, but it's certainly a quality one.