Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond

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Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond
John Newland.jpg
Series host John Newland
Also known as One Step Beyond
Genre Anthology
Created by Merwin Gerard
Directed by John Newland (92 episodes)
Axel Gruenberg
Jack Hively
Presented by John Newland
Theme music composer Harry Lubin
Opening theme "Fear"
Composer(s) Harry Lubin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 97
Production
Producer(s) Collier Young
Running time 25 mins.
Production company(s) ABC Films
Joseph L. Schenck Enterprises
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run January 20, 1959 (1959-01-20) – July 4, 1961 (1961-07-04)
Chronology
Followed by The Next Step Beyond

Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond (also known as One Step Beyond) is an American anthology series created by Merwin Gerard. The original series ran for three seasons on ABC from January 1959 to July 1961.

Overview[edit]

Created by Merwin Gerard and produced by Collier Young, One Step Beyond was hosted by John Newland, "your guide to the supernatural" (also credited as "Our guide into the world of the unknown"). Newland presented tales that explored paranormal events and various situations that defied "logical" explanation. Unlike other anthology programmers, the ABC network series episodes were presented in the form of straightforward thirty-minute docudramas, all said to be based on true events. Initially, the program included the corporate name of sponsor Alcoa as part of its full title.

One Step Beyond filled the time slot at 10 p.m. Tuesday vacated by the crime/police reality show Confession.

Among its varied tales, One Step Beyond dealt with premonition of death ("The Lincoln Assassination") and disaster ("Tidal Wave", "Night of April 14th"); astral projection ("The Long Call"); the existence of ghosts ("The Last Time"); and wildly improbable coincidence ("The Glider", "Death on the Mountain", etc.).

"The Sacred Mushroom"[edit]

A January 1961 episode, "The Sacred Mushroom", deals with the discovery of mind-altering drugs. Newland traveled to Mexico where he met with a local shaman who was an initiate in ritual use of magic mushrooms. The then-unknown mushrooms were purportedly able to increase the user's psychic powers. On camera, Newland ingested several mushrooms and allowed his reactions to be filmed for broadcast. This was the only episode of the entire series to have a relatively reality-based "documentary" tone, rather than the scripted docudramas that made up all other episodes. Although the subject matter (the enhancement of psychic powers) was in line with the rest of the series, this episode was somewhat controversial and was omitted from the syndication package; it has been seen only rarely since its original broadcast. However, according to Newland, it was the most popular episode of the series.[1][2] A complete transcript of this episode is reproduced in chapter seven of "The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico" by Brian Akers.

Guest stars[edit]

Many famous and some not-yet famous actors appeared in episodes of the series, including the following:

Production Notes[edit]

Music[edit]

Harry Lubin composed the music for the series with a soundtrack album ("Music from 'One Step Beyond'") released by Decca Records in 1959. The most well-known tracks of the series were Weird (originally composed by Lubin for the score of an April 1955 Loretta Young Show episode, "Feeling No Pain"), usually played when the supernatural aspect of the episode was being discussed and Fear that became the musical theme of the series.

The Ventures included a cover version of the show's main theme "Fear" on their highly acclaimed 1964 Dolton Records release The Ventures in Space. The second season of The Outer Limits used a variation of "Fear" for the end titles.

Episodes[edit]

Season 1: 1959[edit]

Episode # Title Director Writer(s) Original AirDate Production Code
1 "The Bride Possessed" John Newland Merwin Gerard January 20, 1959 (1959-01-20) 2900
A bride begins to predict features of an area she's never seen.
2 "Night of April 14th" John Newland Collier Young / Larry Marcus January 27, 1959 (1959-01-27) 2903
A woman has a nightmare that her fiancé (Patrick Macnee) dies by drowning. The next day he announces that the couple will honeymoon aboard the Titanic.
3 "Emergency Only" John Newland Collier Young February 3, 1959 (1959-02-03) 2901
Coming out of a hypnotic trance, Ellen Larrabee predicts a dangerous train trip for a skeptical witness.
4 "The Dark Room" John Newland Francis Cockrell February 10, 1959 (1959-02-10) 2905
A photographer (Cloris Leachman) on assignment in the south of France is almost strangled by one of her subjects (Marcel Dalio).
5 "Twelve Hours to Live" John Newland Merwin Gerard October 30, 1959 (1959-10-30) 2902
After an argument with his wife, a man drives away in a storm and she suddenly receives signs that he is in danger.
6 "Epilogue" John Newland Don M. Mankiewicz February 24, 1959 (1959-02-24) 2906
Carl Archer, a recovering alcoholic travels to Nevada to try to patch things up with his wife. His wife Helen and son Stevie visit a nearby silver mine when the mine collapses.
7 "The Dream" John Newland John Dunkel March 3, 1959 (1959-03-03) 2907
Herbert Blakely is on night patrol in the coastal town on lookout for Nazis when he dreams about bombs destroying his home where his wife is.
8 "Premonition" John Newland Paul David March 10, 1959 (1959-03-10) 2904
Lisa Garrick has everything including a premonition of her own death. Skip Young of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet guest stars as Martin.
9 "The Dead Part of the House" John Newland Michael Plant March 17, 1959 (1959-03-17) 2909
After the death of her mother, a haunted nursery and three dolls help a young girl reconnect with her dad.
10 "The Vision" John Newland Larry Marcus March 24, 1959 (1959-03-24) 2908
French troops stop fighting and desert their trenches during World War I.
11 "The Devil's Laughter" John Newland Alfred Brenner March 31, 1959 (1959-03-31) 2910
Authorities are having trouble with convicted killer John Marriott: they can't seem to execute him.
12 "The Return of Mitchell Campion" John Newland Merwin Gerard April 7, 1959 (1959-04-07) 2914
A man is known by everyone on a small Mediterranean island he has never visited. Soon, he too remembers being there before, but he was in the hospital at the time of the supposed visit.
13 "The Navigator" John Newland Don M. Mankiewicz April 14, 1959 (1959-04-14) 2913
A stowaway sends a ship off course to the China Seas and refuses to say why.
14 "The Secret" John Newland Michael Plant April 21, 1959 (1959-04-21) 2915
An unhappy woman is befriended by a man who lived and died long before she was born.
15 "The Aerialist" John Newland Jack Mills / Larry Marcus April 28, 1959 (1959-04-28) 2917
A distraught and depressed circus performer is protected from a fall by an unlikely savior.
16 "The Burning Girl" John Newland Catherine Turney May 5, 1959 (1959-05-05) 2921
Wherever teenager Alice Denning (Luana Anders) goes, fires start.
17 "The Haunted U-Boat" John Newland Larry Marcus May 12, 1959 (1959-05-12) 2921
A German U-boat attempts to evade detection from the sonar of the American and British ships. But their location is repeatedly betrayed by the noise of a rhythmic banging sound coming from the submarine.
18 "The Image of Death" John Newland Larry Marcus May 19, 1959 (1959-05-19) 2919
A French nobleman kills his wife but he can't get rid of her ghost, who's haunting his new lover.
19 "The Captain's Guests" John Newland Charles Beaumont May 26, 1959 (1959-05-26) 2920
A married couple from New York rent an old house along the New England coast that the locals consider a very unhappy place.
20 "Echo" John Newland Merwin Gerard June 2, 1959 (1959-06-02) 2918
A man is found innocent of his wife's murder. Her brother arrives from New Zealand and precipitates the real culprit's capture.
21 "Front Runner" John Newland Don M. Mankiewicz June 9, 1959 (1959-06-09) 2924
With the death of his rival during a race, a jockey is stricken with an unknown ailment as revenge reaches out from beyond the grave.
22 "The Riddle" John Newland Larry Marcus June 16, 1959 (1959-06-16) 2923
An irrational hatred in an American tourist on the Bombay-Calcutta Mail Railroad train is considered in terms of metempsychosis -- the transmigration of souls.
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Syndication[edit]

Following its first run cancellation in 1961, the series continued to be shown throughout the United States in off-network syndication until the early 1980s. It was revived by Gerard and Young, this time for first-run syndication in 1978, as The Next Step Beyond, once again hosted by Newland (who also directed most of the episodes). It ran for one season.

For its re-release to television on the Sci-Fi Channel in the 1990s, the opening and end titles were brought up to date with new theme music and graphics designed for the time, as if the show had continued into the 1990s. These episodes were also edited for time from 25 minutes to 22 minutes.

Despite the public domain status on most episodes, the series' copyright belongs to its distributor CBS Television Distribution. CTD is the successor to the series' previous distributors, which include ABC Films successor Worldvision Enterprises and CTD's predecessor Paramount Domestic Television.

Episodes are currently shown on the over-the-air Retro Television Network available as a digital subchannel in some US markets. Full episodes are also available for digital streaming on several web sites at no cost, and on the Hulu and Hulu Plus applications.

DVD Release[edit]

In 2007, Mill Creek Entertainment released a 4-disc Region 1 DVD set entitled The Very Best of One Step Beyond. The set contains 50 episodes.

On September 15, 2009, CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released One Step Beyond - The Official 1st Season on Region 1 DVD.[3]

One Step Beyond is the first pre-1973 in-house production of ABC to get a DVD release from CBS/Paramount. Other shows once distributed by ABC Films (which became Worldvision Enterprises) were either released by CBS/Paramount because the company owns the libraries of the actual producers of the shows (such as The Fugitive or The Mod Squad), or were released by different companies because ancillary rights are owned by other entities (such as George of the Jungle).

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

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