Sunday, July 28, 2013

One Step Beyond and the media

I have been reading and waiting to restart this blog’s contribution to the internet for some time.   I just cannot wait any longer to share this find. I recently finished what quickly has become one of my favorite all time books: An Analytical Guide to Television’s One Step Beyond 1959-1961 by John Kenneth Muir. I remember this show adding to the wonder of my teenage years and to the family discussion of psychic experiences. 

This classic TV show just continues to give. Now the episodes are available on /  Most are one episode to a 25 minute file but some are in 2 or 3 parts; still I believe they are all there. With the help of this book I am able to read the full list of episodes; and find them on my IPad each morning. I spend a half hour on my stationary bike watching One Step Beyond on / and getting in shape. I am now up number 35 of 96.

John Kenneth Muir has made a great contribution to the study of psychic phenomena in media by dissecting the first of many significant TV shows from the ABC network on that subject. He starts by pointing out that some earlier studies have mistakenly given credit to Twilight Zone as the “first” in the genera but One Step Beyond was a full season ahead and Twilight Zone and fundamentally different in that it tried to be true to what parapsychologists have found in their studies. Some stories are about real events that happened and others are dramatizations of the type of events found and studied by parapsychologist. Mr. Muir makes an effort find the cases that each One Step Beyond dramatizes or to explain the fundamental truth shown in the story.

He gives credit to John Newland as the show’s host and director; and points out the craftsmanship and storytelling skills in each show. Mr. Muir had the opportunity to interview John Newland before his death in 2000.  These insights help us to see more of the dedication and skill that went into each of these half hour shows.

The shows were filmed in the late 50’s so it could and did cast many younger versions of today’s big stars: William Shatner, Warren Beatty, Leonard Nimoy and on the book’s cover Cloris Lechman. During that time most dramas were half hours long and I personally much prefer that length.  I believe it was the bankers that wanted all these hour long shows and with few exceptions we all suffer as a result. It seems most are just two half hour shows pasted together. And the whole is not bigger than it parts. One Step Beyond comes from a time when TV earned the time we spent watching it. An Analytical Guide ot Television’s One Step Beyond 1959-1961 helps up enjoy and appreciate that legacy.

Muir, John Kenneth   An Analytical Guide to Television’s One Step Beyond 1959-1969, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company,Inc., 2001.

www/ “One Step Beyond”  “(episode title)”