The Galaxy Being
|“The Galaxy Being“|
|The Outer Limits episode|
Allan Maxwell makes contact with the galaxy being.
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Leslie Stevens|
|Written by||Leslie Stevens|
|Cinematography by||John M. Nickolaus|
|Original air date||September 16, 1963|
|List of The Outer Limits episodes|
“The Galaxy Being” is the first episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 16 September 1963. In it, Allan Maxwell, an engineer for a small radio station, somehow makes contact with a peaceful alien creature, who gets transported to Earth by accident. The Galaxy Being inadvertently kills several people with its natural radiation, and is met with violence and hysteria from the people of Earth.
 Opening narration
|“||There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… The Outer Limits.||”|
Allan Maxwell (Cliff Robertson) is an engineer who has dedicated himself to researching microwave background noise using a device powered from his radio station. He inadvertently gets an Extraterrestrial from Andromeda on his three-dimensional television screen. Using his computer, Allan is able to translate the Extraterrestrial’s thought patterns into English. Both are conducting illicit experiments; Maxwell should not be using the radio station’s power, and the Extraterrestrial is forbidden to contact “Planets like Earth” because “worlds such as these are a danger to the others.” Allan and the Extraterrestrial have further enlightening, philosophical conversations, in which Maxwell learns that “Infinity is God. God and infinity, the same.”
In the evening, Allan reluctantly leaves the radio station to be feted at a banquet, while leaving the channel to the Extraterrestrial open. DJ Eddie Phillips, who is substituting for Allan’s brother Gene “Buddy” Maxwell (Lee Philips), after being told not to, turns up the power to full, causing the Extraterrestrial to be transmitted to Earth as a three-dimensional electromagnetic being. The ‘Galaxy Being’, as it is dubbed, wreaks inadvertent havoc, killing Eddie and injuring several other people by burning them with natural radiation. The Extraterrestrial encounters Allan in person, who convinces it to turn down the heat, and then guides it back to the transmitter shed. They are soon cornered by local authorities, who accidentally shoot Allan’s wife, Carol (Jacqueline Scott). The Galaxy Being then uses beneficial radiation to heal the wound.
When the Galaxy Being emerges, the authorities attempt to kill it, but it protects itself by destroying the bullets in flight, again with radiation. As a warning demonstration (and perhaps to prevent other aliens from coming), the Galaxy Being destroys the transmitter tower. The mob is told, “There are Powers in this Universe beyond anything you know. … There is much you have to learn. … Go to your homes. Go and give thought to the Mysteries of the Universe. I will leave you now, in peace.” At this, the crowd disperses.
The Galaxy Being is then unable to return home, because it has violated a law forbidding contact with Earth. So, after first reassuring Allan that “there is no death for me,” the Galaxy Being reduces its microwave intensity, which causes it to disintegrate. Its last words as it vanishes into another dimension are, “End of transmission”.
 Closing narration
|“||The planet Earth is a speck of dust, remote and alone in the void. There are powers in the universe inscrutable and profound. Fear cannot save us. Rage cannot help us. We must see the stranger in a new light – the light of understanding. And to achieve this, we must begin to understand ourselves, and each other.||”|
 Sign-off narration
|“||We now return control of your television set to you, until next week, at the same time when the Control Voice will take you to… The Outer Limits.||”|
Booker observes that the engineer and the Galaxy Being are variations of the television and science fiction tropes of the mad scientist and the invading alien, albeit with a reversal typical of The Outer Limits that both the scientist and the alien are benevolent, and it is the ordinary human beings of Earth who are the villains in the story.
The story itself dramatized the coverage in popular media of the time of speculation as to whether other planets could be contacted via radio, most particularly the (at the time recently-initiated) “Project Ozma” search for radio signals from extraterrestrial intelligence (“SETI“). It developing these themes further into a story about electronic existentialism, and tapped into themes prevalent in U.S. culture at the time, including the televisation of the space race and the fascination with television transmission in general. The Galaxy Being itself echoed the contemporary words of NASA with lines such as “You must explore. You must reach out.”.
The story also had elements of horror. As did another Outer Limits story, “The Borderland“, it addressed the idea of an electronic limbo that exists when television signals cease transmission, or are broadcast out into space, raising questions such as where the Galaxy Being goes when he turns off the transmitter. This horror of oblivion was to occur in several other Outer Limits episodes.
The story has several similarities with the original 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still in that the Alien is shown to have healing abilities. Although befriended by some humans, it is met with hostility by the military and ultimately leaves, once again establishing that Earth is a danger to other races in the cosmos. Both stories draw clear Christian parallels.
- Cliff Robertson – as Allan Maxwell
- Jacqueline Scott – as Carol Maxwell
- Lee Phillips – as Gene “Buddy” Maxwell
- William O. Douglas Jr and Charles McQuarry – as The Galaxy Being
- Leslie Stevens – as The Voice of The Galaxy Being
- Burt Metcalfe – as Eddie Phillips
- Allyson Ames – as Loreen
- James Frawley – as State Trooper
- Bill Catching – as National Guard Major
- Allan Pinson – as Policeman
- Roy Sickner – as Collins, the Caretaker
Filming took nine days to complete, at a closed down radio station in Coldwater Canyon, MGM Backlot #4 Andy Hardy Street, and Soundstage #3 at KTTV Channel 11. The Budget for the production was $213,000.
- ^ a b M. Keith Booker (2004). Science Fiction Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 28. ISBN 9780275981648.
- ^ a b c Jeffrey Sconce (2000). Haunted Media. Duke University Press. pp. 139–140. ISBN 9780822325727.
- ^ Aaron Cain (2000-07-24). “Reviews: Classics: The Outer Limits”. Sci Fi Weekly (Sci Fi) 602.
- ^ Billy Ingram. “Fall Previews of the Sixties”. TVparty!. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- ^ “Science: Project Ozma,” Time, Apr. 18, 1960
- ^ a b Lynn Spigel and Michael Curtin (1997). The Revolution Wasn’t Televised. Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 9780415911221.
- ^ Schow, David J.; Frentzen, Jeffrey (November 1986). The Outer Limits: The Official Companion. pp. 39–40. ISBN 9780441370818.