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Published on October 30th, 2010 | by Yellow Magpie

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1950’s TV Sci Fi: The Start Of Fantasy

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The 1950’s saw the birth of true Sci-Fi on our television screens. The 50’s marked the exploratory benefits of the ideological conflict between Communism and Capitalism in the race to Space. Consequently, science fiction began to reflect this brave new world in innovative ways.

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)

A hugely long running series that had many revivals, The Twilight Zone was a marvellous blend of Sci-Fi and suspense.

Generally two elements are needed to make a good series, quality actors and good writers. The Twilight Zone had this winning combination in abundance. It’s innovative plots and suspense managed to also immerse the viewer in its world.

Adventures Of Superman (1953-57)

This was the first outing The Man Of Steel on television. The programme hinged upon the exploits of a superhuman alien who opposed evil and helped humanity.

Although by modern standards the special effects were paltry, in the 50’s they were cutting edge. The test of The Adventures Of Superman is ultimately both its popularity when it was aired and the fondness many people still have for it.

Science Fiction Theatre (1955-57)

Science Fiction Theatre was an episodic series that differed from virtually every other programme in that each part was based upon a scientific principle which was demonstrated by the host to the viewer. These principles formed part of the plot and were then fictionalised as extraordinary events occurred.

With good acting and solid writing Science Fiction was a worthy addition to the science fiction genre

Tales Of Tomorrow (1951-53)

Tales Of Tomorrow was a key marker in the transition from radio to television. Some episodes showed live performances of noted works of fiction such as Frankenstein and Wilde’s Dorian Gray.

Despite the odd mishap, its live performances went out without hitches. The series is also noted for the calibre of actors it cast such Robert Duvall and Leslie Nielson.

Flash Gordon (1954)

Flash Gorden featured an ultra fast-thinking action star who battles alien villains in the year 3203. The series was full of special effects and had a plot that was easy for the viewers to grasp.

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You can obtain The Twilight Zone, Adventures Of Superman, Tales of Tomorrow and Flash Gordon here from Amazon.

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3 Responses to 1950’s TV Sci Fi: The Start Of Fantasy

  1. john schwartzkopf says:

    looking for info on a late 50’s poss. very early 60’s show with astronauts landing on an asteroid(planet) finding that it is a diamond. They find a cross, and after one of them dies in a fall (damaged suit) they notice a niche at the base that his body fits in. They leave him there. The rhyme ‘like a diamond in the sky” is mentioned, and may be the name of the episode. It may have been a regular show, or a dramatic playhouse single production. I know one other person who saw this and neither of us can place it. Not that great, but memorable.

  2. Yellow Magpie says:

    Hi John,

    We’re not really too sure which series you are referring to. One possibility, apart from The Twilight Zone, is the 60’s series Lost In Space. We tried searching for the episode with the pieces of information you provided but unfortunately we didn’t have any luck!

  3. Mike P says:

    John — I definitely remember the same SciFi TV show you’re asking about. I thought it was a Twilight Zone episode, but haven’t been able to locate it. As you mentioned, it ran sometime in the late 50s or early 60s in B&W. It was a haunting theme (especially the “twinkle, twinkle” reference) … one I have thought about often of the years. I would love to discover it’s true name. Perhaps it was a Playhouse 90 episode? If you figure it out, please let me know, and I’ll do the same.

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