Thursday, October 8, 2015

Memory Bank - Out of The Unknown

This article originally appeared in  Beyond, my free newsletter for lovers of science and science fiction. Sign up here - http://eepurl.com/btvru1

'Get Off My Cloud'
A young boy is terrified to go to sleep because he’s plagued by nightmares. His dad comfort’s him at bedtime and puts a framed photograph of a Smith and Wesson revolver on his bedroom wall, telling him he can use it if the monsters come. Finally lulled to sleep a dalek appears in the boy’s bedroom shrieking for his extermination. The boy leaps up, grabs the ‘photographic gun’ from the frame and shoots the dalek dead. Fast forward a few decades and the boy, now grown up, is preparing to be thrust into the dreamworld of a science fiction author who has lapsed into a coma.

That’s the first few minutes of the Out of the Unknown episode ‘Get Off My Cloud’. You can’t watch it anymore, because some years after the series ended, the BBC wiped quite a few of the tapes and in fact there isn’t even a complete shooting script left for ‘Get Off My Cloud’. I only know how that episode played out because I watched it when it was first broadcast in 1969. I was seven years old and it left a lasting impression.

Out of the Unknown was a gem of a series, adapting stories by well-known authors such as Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham, Frederick Pohl, JG Ballard, Kate Wilhelm and Ray Bradbury as well as generating original scripted adult science fiction, all in the heady ‘experimental’ days of broadcast television. You can get a feel for the show by watching the YouTube trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXMuZ5iGTqk) for the British Film Institute’s DVD compilation of the remaining episodes. And if you really feel tempted, the DVDs are available on Amazon  - http://amzn.to/1ENVFaV.

I’m not sharing mine…
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