Science Fiction Theater (1955 series)

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Truman Bradley introduces Science Fiction Theater (1955 series)...


"Let me show you something interesting! Every story is based on scientific facts dramatically demonstrated by your host...Truman Bradley. Amazing because it's science! Compelling because it's fiction!" One of the first television science-fiction anthology series, in which host Truman Bradley introduces the show with "something interesting" in the form of an experiment or demonstration relating to a (then) cutting-edge scientific discovery or line of research related to the night's story, which would generally tackle such topics as supersonic flight, space exploration, miracle foods, suspended animation, robotics or computers, UFOs, and ESP. The show was very popular and famous in its time, and this show, along with the (then) wildly popular weird fiction of Richard Sharpe Shaver, may have contributed to the UFO flap of the 1950s and helped to shape the modern mythology of UFOs by helping to introduce or popularize the concepts of alien abduction, UFO crashes and conspiracies, Men in Black, and ancient astronauts.


  • Release Date: 1955-1957
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Setting: The "near future" and 1950s USA and elsewhere
  • Genres/Technical: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Thriller, Anthology, black-and-white
  • Runtime: (generally formatted for a 30-minute commercial television slot)
  • Starring: (various), hosted by Truman Bradley
  • Director: (various)
  • Writer: (various)
  • Producer/Production Co: ZIV Television Production, Ivan Tors Productions
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • IMDb Page: (link)
  • Wikipedia Page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (not rated) (equivalent of a TV-G)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • s____ (One Half Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian, at best)

Including this series in the Wiki just for the sake of completism, as it looks like it follows a more conventional science fiction tradition than that suggested by the Weird Tales authors, with stories mainly aiming at a current topic in then cutting-edge science extended into Cold War-flavored tales of discoveries or adventures relating to the topic, as a sort of somewhat less "Weird" predecessor of Outer Limits (1963 series). The synopses below give some of the least non-Lovecraftian examples....

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Series Description in Mark Philips & Frank Garcia in the book "Science Fiction Television Series Volume 1." (link) - "Science Fiction Theater represented genuine science fiction. Its stories dealt with advancements in science that could affect society."

Synopses of Suggested Episodes

  • "Y.O.R.D." (Ep. 1x04) - An expert on telepathy is rushed to a polar base where the staff have been receiving a psychic message from an alien source. Episode has been compared to The Thing from Another World (1951 film)....
  • "Hour of Nightmare" (Ep. 1x12) - A husband and wife freelance photography team travels to Mexico to photograph mysterious flying objects in the night sky and stumble upon a dead alien.
  • "The Stones Began to Move" (Ep. 1x16) - A murder and the secrets of the Pyramids combine when a research scientist working on a top secret government project disappears, then mysteriously returns, acting as if he has been brainwashed.
  • "The Hastings Secret" (Ep. 1x29) - A team of investigators go to Peru after incomplete notes are sent from Dr Hastings. They know he was working on new insecticides to use against termites, but when they arrive at the seemingly deserted research station they discover that the staff have met a frightening and revolutionary fate beneath the facility....
  • "The Other Side of the Moon" (Ep. 1x39) - A picture of the far side of the moon finds creatures from other worlds at work on its surface....
  • "The Human Experiment" (2x11) - A scientist experimenting with the use of insect derived enzymes to treat the mentally ill invites a colleague to visit. When he arrives the people there tell him that she is too busy to see anyone...
  • "The Legend of Crater Mountain" (2x16) - A teacher at a one room schoolhouse is being tormented by three siblings. The kids possess psychic powers that they use to frighten her. When a researcher arrives to investigate Mrs. Brown's claims, the students ramp up the attacks. (Compare to The People (1972 film)....)
  • "Living Lights" (Ep. 2x17) - A scientist manages to trigger organic growth by replicating the atmosphere of Venus in a small laboratory. As the experiment progresses the results far exceed anyone's expectations.
  • "Jupitron" (Ep. 2x18) - Dr. Barlow relates the strange tale of how he and his wife were transported from a foggy beach onto one of the moons of Jupiter. They encountered a long-missing scientist who shared with them the secret of Jupitron: a substance that will solve the Earth's hunger problem....
  • "Sun Gold" (Ep. 2x32) - Radioactive "green glass" (Trinitite), formed by the heat of an atomic blast, is said to have been found in the Andes of Peru. A pair of scientists search for the source of the 2000-year-old sample and discover evidence of an Incan civilization with scientific knowledge provided by a "visitor in the sky."


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • The first season was in colour, but the technology hadn't really caught on enough for more than a handful of households to enjoy the show in colour so subsequent seasons were filmed in black-and-white to cut costs.
  • This show was almost certainly a direct ancestor of better-known series like The Outer Limits (which seemed to be an update of the same basic formula for the 1960s New Wave Science Fiction generation), and The X-files (which would combine many of the same sorts of paranoid Cold War-inspired stories about popular scientific topics with the paranormal detective framing device of The Night Stalker).

Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO

Keeper Notes