Tales of Tomorrow (1951 series)

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Title card for Tales of Tomorrow (1951 series)...

Summary

Live television anthology series featuring classic, pulp, and 1950s era sci-fi themes.

Details

  • Release Date: 1951
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Science Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Drama, Anthology, black-and-white, live
  • Runtime: (generally formatted for a 30-minute commercial television slot)
  • Starring: (various)
  • Director: (various)
  • Writer: (various)
  • Producer/Production Co: ABC, George F. Foley
  • View Public Domain episodes: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (not rated) (perhaps equivalent to a TV-PG for 1950s TV-friendly mild off-screen Violence)

Tentacle Ratings

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

  • Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian)

I've only seen one episode of this, but based on the synopses I've read, the anthology series as a whole isn't very "Lovecraftian", but, in addition to presenting some classic science fiction (from the likes of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley, who all had at least minor influence on Lovecraft's work), the series includes a handful of episodes written by Lovecraft's correspondents and other writers directly influenced by him, such as Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, John W. Campbell jr., Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Theodore Sturgeon. See the suggested episodes list and Keepers Notes below for some stories from this series whose synopses at least suggest some ideas that could be useful for adaptation to a "Lovecraftian" tale.

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

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (review needed)


Synopses of Suggested Episodes

  • "Verdict from Space" (Ep. 1x01) - A man on trial for allegedly killing a scientist in an underground cavern desperately tries to explain what they found inside the cavern, and its implications for the future of mankind. By Theodore Sturgeon.
  • "The Dark Angel" (Ep. 1x08) - A man searches for the cause of his wife's unprecedented physical and mental transformation. By Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (as Lewis Padgett)
  • "The Crystal Egg" (Ep. 1x09) - The owner of a London curiosity shop delivers a mysterious crystal egg to a university professor for the scientist's opinion on its worth and its properties. The 'egg' proves to be a window to Mars. When the professor loses the egg, he tries to convince people that he is not crazy. By H.G. Wells.
  • "The Children's Room" (Ep. 1x22) - A couple are having increasing difficulties with their son: he talks down to his parents like they are stupid and reads books written in a language that no one understands. The books come from a "children's room" that supposedly does not exist. Once the room is discovered its true meaning is revealed.
  • "Red Dust" (Ep. 1x31) - A human mission to another solar system's red dust-covered planet is returning to Earth when the crew discovers the strange red dust everywhere on the space ship.
  • "The Cocoon" (Ep. 2x02) - Scientists exploring a crater in a remote jungle discover a perfectly-preserved cocoon, which releases an invisible and very dangerous creature. By Frank De Felitta.
  • "The Fury of the Cocoon" (Ep. 2x34) - After a scientific expedition to a meteorite impact site in the jungle disappears, a three-man relief team sets off for the expedition's camp. The lone survivor tells them that the expedition was attacked by invisible insect-like creatures that came out of the meteorite. The scientists must find a way to defeat the insects before they are overwhelmed. By Frank De Felitta.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

  • TO DO


Keeper Notes

  • "Verdict from Space" - The investigators are called in to find out what happened after the sole survivor of a team of scientists is accused of their murder and claims his innocence with a bizarre story about the dangerous contents of the subterranean vault the scientists have drilled their way into, a vault that contains alien technology millions of years old....
    • The reviews I've seen for this episode suggest that it's actually an "alien warning about dangers of nuclear war" tale: the vault contains a sensor that detects when nuclear weapons are detonated, and alerts aliens that Earth life has evolved into something dangerous. I think I'd rather put something more horrible and indifferent to humanity in that vault, though....
  • "The Dark Angel" - the original story seems to be basically a variation on the abnormal-ancestry theme; the investigators are called in to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a woman who has miraculously recovered from a terminal disease, but exhibited some peculiar physical and mental changes; her distraught husband claims she "evolved" into something so inhuman that in time it began to regard him as a "pet"; the evidence suggests he may have murdered her....
    • A Deep One is an obvious choice, but need not be the only option....
    • I think I should like to force the investigators to choose whether to convict the husband for murder, or cover the murder up, and leave open the question of whether killing the evolved wife was the right or necessary thing to do....
  • "The Crystal Egg" - the investigators must pick up the pieces of a curiosity shop owner's shattered sanity after he seemingly suffers a breakdown, claiming he had obtained and then lost a "crystal egg" which proved to be a window to "Mars"....
    • Of course, in Lovecraft's world of unreliable narrators, it need not actually be "Mars", that might just be someone's best guess, with the actual world being Leng or Yuggoth or the Other Side or the Dreamlands or something....
    • In H.G. Wells' original story, it's implied that the "egg" is a lens that the Martians use to spy on humans, perhaps in the days leading up to The War of the Worlds?
    • In the original story, the "egg" is lost when its owner dies from ill health apparently gained from obsessively gazing into the object, and the owner's belongings are sold off to someone who probably (but not necessarily) has no idea what the "egg" actually is. Perhaps the campaign involves tracking down the current owner of the artefact through a network of back-stabbing cultists and alien monsters who have been taking it from each other, leading the investigators from one adventure involving someone who might have the "egg" after another until it is recovered?
  • "The Children's Room" - the investigators look into the remains of a family which has self-destructed; it seems that the family's son has been talking down to his parents and reads books written in languages nobody else understands, books obtained from a library in a mysterious "children's room" in another dimension....
    • The actual episode, the only one I've seen, actually devolves from that premise into a rather non-Lovecraftian political indoctrination fable; your mileage may vary on how useful the political aspect is to include in your adaptation into a scenario... perhaps substitute communists for cultists?
    • Based on the synopsis alone, I would probably rather use some sort of Case of Charles Dexter Ward (fiction) type plot about a reincarnated wizard accessing his hidden library through the body of the child he has possessed, or have the child accidentally stumble through some hidden door into an unearthly alien dimension and then "come back wrong", thanks to some mysterious changes inflicted on him by creatures in that other world....
  • "Red Dust" - Professor Quatermass' British Experimental Rocket Group assigns a team of trusted experts to intervene when a rocket expedition to another planet loses two crew members on the alien planet, and a mysterious red dust similar to that found on the planet's surface begins to appear on the rocket during its return journey.
  • "The Cocoon" and "Fury of the Cocoon" - a relief team searches for a lost scientific expedition exploring a crater in a remote jungle; the sole survivor is found raving about a nightmarish attack by alien insects that are emerging from cocoons found inside the meteorite....