The Man Who Was Never Born

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"The Man Who Was Never Born"
The Outer Limits episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 6
Directed by Leonard Horn
Written by Anthony Lawrence
Cinematography by Conrad Hall
Production code 12
Original air date October 28, 1963
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of The Outer Limits episodes

"The Man Who Was Never Born" (original title: "Cry of the Unborn") is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It was first broadcast on 28 October 1963, during the first season.


An astronaut returning to Earth is flung into the distant future, where he finds the mutated remnants of humanity living on a ruined Earth.

Opening narration[edit]


Having accidentally travelled through time, astronaut Joseph Reardon lands on Earth in the year 2148 A.D. to find it a desolate realm. He meets Andro, a mutated human stricken with a disfiguring disease for which there is no cure. Andro is one of the few survivors of a biological disaster brought on by an ambitious scientist named Bertram Cabot Jr., who isolated and developed a viral symbiont from an interstellar microbe. Cabot's symbiont physically altered the human race, precluding the ability to reproduce, and turned much of Earth's landscape into a barren wasteland.

Andro laments that there is no hope for mankind to survive after the last of his generation die off. But Reardon claims there is hope, and decides to see if he can return to his own time, taking Andro with him to show others what the future will be and to prevent the disastrous outcome. However, while making the return journey through the time rift, Reardon suddenly feels himself slowly dying and mysteriously vanishes, possibly from the stress brought about by making the journey twice in one day. He manages to tell Andro to kill Cabot if he has no other way to stop him, to save billions of lives at the cost of one.

The deformed Andro can project himself as a normal human using hypnotic suggestion, and uses this ability to begin searching for some way to stop Cabot's work, even if it means his assassination. It soon becomes clear that Andro has arrived on Earth prematurely: Bertram Cabot Jr. has not been born yet, and his parents, Noelle Anderson and Bertram Cabot Sr., are only about to be married. Andro, in the guise of a normal human of the time, attempts without success to convince Cabot that he should not marry Noelle.

Andro himself begins to fall in love with Noelle. While planning to shoot Cabot during the couple's wedding ceremony with a revolver obtained from Reardon, Andro hesitates and is in turn assaulted by Cabot and his wedding party, revealing his true appearance in the process. Andro flees, but Noelle follows him. He explains his mission, and Noelle confesses that she has fallen in love with Andro. She convinces him to take her with him to the future, thereby avoiding any possibility that she and Cabot will have a child.

But unfortunately, the flow of time has been altered through Andro and Noelle's actions: because Bertram Cabot Jr. was never born, the symbiont that made Andro's mutated existence possible never existed, meaning that Andro was also never born. Andro disappears just as the ship arrives in 2148 A.D., leaving Noelle, weeping, to face the future alone.

Closing narration[edit]




The story's origin is revealed in an interview with the its writer, Anthony Lawrence:[1]

Q: How did “The Man Who Was Never Born” come about?

A: I had this idea in my mind, a kind of a beauty and the beast idea, and so it kind of developed from that, because that was one of my old favorites, Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, the French version, which was a beautiful film. I was thinking of that film, and also just the idea that had always kind of fascinated me. Joseph Stefano loved the idea, and it had [in it], as I remember, a lot of what I was feeling at the time. I always liked romantic stories, and this was a chance to do something that you really don’t get to do very often in television. I gravitated toward that.

Q: Did Stefano, the show’s producer, contribute to the script of “The Man Who Was Never Born”?

A: Not much to that. [...]

The plot for this episode is markedly similar to the movie Twelve Monkeys, that was based on the 1962 French short film La jetée by Chris Marker. The protagonist of both stories travels back in time in an attempt to prevent a biological holocaust that has destroyed mankind in his time. See also, the 1990s Outer Limits episode, "Patient Zero".


  1. ^ [1] Original TOLAIR interview available on Peter Enfantino and John Scoleri blog.