Friday, March 25, 2011


The Outer Limits = Star Trek

Stories get recycled in showbiz, which is a nice way of saying they get bought, borrowed or stolen. At any rate, they emerge many times. I just watched an old episode from The Outer Limits TV series from 1964 called “Keeper of the Purple Twilight,” which serves as an example.

The story is about a brilliant scientist, Eric Plummer, who is visited by an alien named Ikar. Ikar comes from a society dedicated to efficient production through logic, without any emotional influence. Sound familiar, Star Trek fans? Early Vulcan, perhaps?

Ikar stays on Earth to manipulate humans, particularly Dr. Plummer and his girl friend. It seems his planet suffers from over population and they need to take over another sphere, so Earth looks good to him. He wants to experience human emotion and that, of course, becomes a problem, especially where a woman is involved. He just can’t get this “love” thing.

There’s more to the Star Trek connection. Dr. Plummer is played by Warren Stevens, who a few years later appeared on Star Trek as the Kelvan named Rojan in the episode “By Any Other Name.” The Kelvans, it seems, are from a doomed planet and are looking for another home. Earth will do just fine, thank you. Oh, Kelvans have no emotions. Hmmmm. Well, because they have to hang around with Earthlings for awhile, that emotion stuff starts to rub off on them and they are just as doomed as an Enterprise security officer (they always get zapped).

Here’s another connection. In the credits for “Keeper of the Purple Twilight,” I spotted the name Robert H. Justman, Assistant Director. I recognized the name. He was an Associate Producer for several Star Trek episodes. 

Television eats up material, so it’s no wonder that ideas get regenerated over and over. In this case, Robert Justman and Warren Stevens boldly went from The Outer Limits to Star Trek and took some of their luggage with them. It’s a big universe, but a small world.

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