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JOSEPH STEFANO (FIRST SEASON 'OUTER LIMITS' PRODUCER) PASSES AWAY!!!!! (1 Viewer)

JeffT.

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I became aware of this sad news yesterday evening through the online grapevine but now it has been officically confirmed that Joseph Stefano (born on May 05th, 1922) who was the main guiding force behind the stellar first season (1963-64) of THE OUTER LIMITS (ABC 1963-65) tv series passed away last Friday, August 25th, 2006 of what is being reported as an apparent heart attack at 84 years of age.

I've always considered THE OUTER LIMITS to be one of the truly predominant achievements in the SF tv series genre and together with THE TWILIGHT ZONE (CBS 1959-64) both these landmark, brilliantly innovative dramatic-speculative fiction anthology shows really launched the SF boom of the 1960s on television.

The SF tv genre has consistently (surpassingly) distinguished itself from the more conventionally founded dramas on television in that its (infinitely) far reaching social concerns are on a more Universal level of awareness addressing issues that mankind has yet to be confronted with thereby offering an enlightened vision for the future.

Someone here once made reference to the top 3 dramatic tv series of the 1960s. In my own estimation that distinction (rightly) belongs to THE TWILIGHT ZONE which won two Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series, THE INVADERS (ABC 1967-68) which significantly marked the late Quinn Martin's sole effort in the field still enduring as a profound influence and source of inspiration for many latter day efforts on television and of course THE OUTER LIMITS which was acknowledged with two (prestigious) Hugo Awards in the Category of Outstanding Script.



Rest in Peace Joseph Stefano you will be sorely missed!

Jeff T.
 

Carlos Garcia

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Mr. Stefano also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's "PSYCHO", adapting the Robert Bloch novel for the big screen.
 

phil*

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"Rest in Peace Joseph Stefano you will be sorely missed!"

Amen to that!
 

Jeff#

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Joseph Stefano and Leslie Stevens were both Executive Consultants on the 1990s Outer Limits series, which started filming in late 1994. Stefano remained in that position until production ended in 2001. (Stevens died in 1998).

It should also be noted that the first time he worked for Showtime was in 1990, when he wrote the screenplay to "Psycho IV: the Beginning" which nicely ended the Norman Bates saga with Anthony Perkins playing his most famous role for the last time.
 

Michael Alden

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The extremely poor quality of the scripts and stories of that show leads me to believe that those titles were honorary and in name only. The new show's only relation to the original classic was in using the title as the producers had never even seen the show nor had the slightest concept as to what it was supposed to be like.
 

Jeff#

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Don't be too sure of that...While it may be the case with Stevens (who was always quiet behind the scenes), Stefano had a much more active role. He wrote a few scripts for the new series, including a remake of his "A Feasibility Study" with David McCallum in 1997. He was also interviewed extensively for the home video releases of The Outer Limits.
 

michael_ks

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I'm also saddened by the passing of Joseph Stefano. With Stefano writing, Conrad Hall in charge of cinematography and Gerd Oswald directing you had a synergistic tryptich that helped to unify the OL-63 anthology format and gave the series it's special "feel".

Sadly, the new series has nothing that significantly distinguishes it from its other modern brethren and I too am of the mind that Mr. Stefano had little to do with the show outside of writing exactly one episode.
 

Shaw

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The passing of Stefano is truly a sad day. I have only known about Stefano since last year when I purchased the Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection. It was only recently that I saw the first season of The Outer Limits. Stefano's hand can be seen in the truly brilliant scripts in that season, in particular the episode "Don't Open Till Doomsday" stand out.

Truly a genius and someone I think I would like to have known.

threerandot
 

Jeff#

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One of my favorites from the old Outer Limits series, and the only one I purchased twice (on VHS and DVD) was "The Man Who was Never Born", with great performances by Martin Landau and Shirley Knight. You look at that today and think "Wow! Not only is it a great time-travel story, but Shirley Knight was so slender and hot back in the 1960s...and now she's a bloated and vastly overweight character actress in her old age." Well, she's still acting and that's a lot more than can be said for a lot of other former leading ladies from Ms. Knight's era. :)
 

phil*

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"The Man Who Was Never Born" was one of my favorite episodes of the original series along with "The Sixth Finger" which starred David Macallum of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."

One of the oddities from "The Man Who Was Never Born" was that Martin Landau's character "Andro", who while was terribly disfigured by the disease that had ravaged the Earth,still had a perfect set of pearly white straight shiny teeth...I guess the disease had no effect on people's mouths...or dentists were able to correct any disfigurements...
 

michael_ks

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Although one of my favorites, "The Man Who Was Never Born" does have a lot of plot holes: an astronaut packing a revolver, Andro's ability to fly/land the spacecraft, paradox caused by Andro not having been on Earth in 2148 after he de-materializes when crossing the barrier...
 

Jeff#

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True, but that didn't spoil it for most people. This is science fiction, and not science fact. The story is intended to entertain and not necessarily educate.
 

phil*

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I think I can explain some of the paradoxes: Astronaut Reardon carried a revolver because he left Earth in 1963,during the height of the Cold War,shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis,when paranoia ran rampant;Andro was able to fly/land the spacecraft because he was from the year 2148 so flying/landing a 1960's era spacecraft would probably be like riding a tricycle for you and me.While I understand why Andro dematerialized when he returned to 2148 (he had changed the future by preventing Bertram Cabot Jr. from ever being born,thus preventing himself from ever being born which,of course doesn't explain the paradox of:if he was never born, how could he have gone back in time to get Cabot's mother to be,Noel?)

What I really don't understand is why did astronaut Reardon dematerialize upon his return to the past? Was it because the spacecraft went back in time too far before the birth of either Reardon or Bertram Cabot Jr.?
 

Nelson Au

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The thread on the new Star Trek Enhanced CGI effects sort of took a lot of attention away from this one.

I totally agree, The Man Who Was Never Born is one of my favorites, many of those early episodes are classics. I'm glad we have a chance now to revisit them and Stefano's work on DVD.
 

JeffT.

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"It's good to cherish old things. Beauty is always on the edge of being lost."--Andro (Martin Landau) from THE OUTER LIMITS (ABC 1963-65) episode entitled "The Man Who Was Never Born" (28/10/1963) written by Anthony Lawrence and directed by Leonard Horn.

In response to Phil's inquiry Joseph Reardon (Karl Held) was born in a world where Bertram Cabot, Jr. previously existed but when he initiated the whole chain of events by removing Andro from his own particular time frame and who ultimately would dramatically alter the entire scheme of (earlier) occurrences by preventing Cabot, Jr.'s birth then Reardon himself ceased to exist.

Pretty (abstractly) heady story material particular for a relatively unsophisticated, apathetic television viewing audience (including myself as a boy) back in 1963.

And to think that primetime network television just a couple of years later graduated to producing shows like BATMAN (ABC 1966-67) which became a national craze!

That is precisely why THE OUTER LIMITS should be remembered and respected.

Jeff T.
 

michael_ks

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Good try, Phil, but I'm not buying it. Astronaut Gordon Cooper didn't pack a pistol on Liberty Bell 7 and I for one would look like a bumbling fool trying to negotiate a stagecoach circa 1868.
 

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