Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|One Step Beyond Vol 4|
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Before The Twilight Zone there was? One Step Beyond Hosted by John Newland Have you ever sensed that you?ve been some place before, or witnessed a bewildering situation involving the unexplainable or the paranormal? Ha... more »
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Two memorable episodes plus two somewhat disappointing ones
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 08/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The One Step Beyond Volume 4 DVD takes us from the first season of the show into the second of its three-season run on ABC, with each of the four included episodes dating back to 1959. John Newland was your guide into the unknown on this pre-Twilight Zone series that dramatized inexplicable events that, we are told, actually happened. You won't find anything fancy here; this show didn't need a big budget to make it effective. Newland set each story up perfectly, and there was no trick or last-minute solution offered to explain things that cannot be explained.
There is a lot of confusion about the episodes actually included on many of these One Step Beyond DVDs - always depend on the box cover. The four episodes on Volume 4 (The Riddle, Delusion, Ordeal on Locust Street, and The Open Window) aren't among the creepiest of the show's 96 episodes. If you're like me, you want to see all the episodes; if you are just after the best that One Step Beyond has to offer, however, Volume 4 should not be among your top priorities. The first episode, The Riddle, is actually my least favorite among the two dozen or so episodes I have seen so far. Originally airing on June 16, 1959, this was the final episode of the show's first season. The story takes place in India, where a seemingly average guy and his wife are starting their journey home by train. An old man wanders into their compartment, and the husband goes into a rage. When the train stops, he disembarks and goes chasing after the man. Afterward, even he has no idea why he did it. Of course, the story doesn't end there, as the two men are destined to meet - tragically - one final time (or is it really the final time?).
Delusion is the most interesting of the four episodes in Volume 4. This was the first episode of the show's second season, originally airing on September 15, 1959 (you'll notice there wasn't a lot of time in between the first and second seasons). Our introduction to Mr. Howard Stern (not that Howard Stern, of course) comes in the form of a radio bulletin asking for help in locating him, then a cop (played by none other than David White, better known as Larry Tate from Bewitched) shows up at the door. The man must be a criminal on the run, you think. He's on the run, but he's no criminal. Stern happens to have a very rare blood type, and a young lady is in desperate need of a transfusion. Stern used to give his blood freely, but then he stopped, moved, and changed his name. What possible reason could he have for refusing to give blood? Well, he claims he began having premonitions, both good and bad, of the last five recipients of his blood; he just can't handle the pain of foreseeing another tragedy and being helpless to stop it. Well, he does eventually give in, but he feels a deep commitment to look out for the girl whose life he saved. The ending comes as something of a surprise, and a most effective one at that.
Next up is Ordeal on Locust Street (original air date: September 22, 1959). This story, while effective, doesn't have the air of reality that most of the episodes of the show possessed. The acting is superb, as we meet a family emotionally torn over the rare medical condition of the son - born with ichthyic characteristics (big-time), poor Jason could be a refugee from Lovecraft's famous port of Innsmouth. The family keeps him hidden away, but he still manages to scare off his sister's boyfriend and run the father out of the house. His faithful mother seeks the help of a disgraced doctor, placing all of her hopes in his controversial "mind force" powers. The ending, unfortunately, is a far from convincing one.
Finally there is The Open Window, which originally aired on November 3, 1959. This episode isn't scary, but it fits perfectly in the show's milieu. A struggling artist stressing out over the lack of life in his paintings witnesses a distraught woman try to kill herself in the apartment across the street from his. Scurrying across the road to try and save her life, he finds an empty room and a landlord who thinks he's drunk. The story gets stranger, as he again witnesses the exact same events through his open window on two more occasions. This one has a perfect ending, and in many ways it typifies the type of believably unbelievable events the show set out to recreate for the enjoyment of viewers."