Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond
Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond (also known as One Step Beyond) was an American anthology series created by Merwin Gerard. The original series was broadcast for three seasons by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from January 1959 to July 1961.
Created by Merwin Gerard and produced by Collier Young, One Step Beyond was hosted by John Newland, "your guide to the supernatural" (also credited as "Our guide into the world of the unknown"). Newland, who also directed every episode, presented tales that explored paranormal events and various situations that defied "logical" explanation. Unlike other anthology programs, the ABC network series episodes were presented in the form of straightforward thirty-minute docudramas, all said to be based on true events. Initially, the program included the corporate name of sponsor Alcoa as part of its full title.
Among its varied tales, One Step Beyond dealt with premonition of death ("The Lincoln Assassination") and disaster ("Tidal Wave", "Night of April 14th"); astral projection ("The Long Call"); the existence of ghosts ("The Last Time"); and wildly improbable coincidence ("The Glider", "Death on the Mountain", etc.).
"The Sacred Mushroom"
A January 1961 episode, "The Sacred Mushroom", deals with the discovery of mind-altering drugs. . Although the subject matter (the enhancement of psychic powers) accorded with the rest of the series, this episode was somewhat controversial and was omitted from the syndication; it has been seen only rarely since its original broadcast. However, according to Newland, it was the most popular episode of the series. A complete transcript of this episode is reproduced in chapter seven of The Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico by Brian Akers.
Many famous and some not-yet-famous actors appeared in episodes of the series, including the following:
- Luana Anders ("The Burning Girl"),
- John Beal ("The Lovers"),
- Warren Beatty and Joan Fontaine (together in "The Visitor"),
- Whit Bissell ("Brainwave"),
- Robert Blake ("Gypsy"),
- Charles Bronson ("The Last Round"),
- Walter Burke ("The Front Runner"),
- Veronica Cartwright ("The Haunting"),
- Louise Fletcher ("The Open Window"),
- Arthur Franz ("The Call from Tomorrow"),
- Werner Klemperer ("The Haunted U-Boat"),
- Robert Lansing ("The Voice"),
- Cloris Leachman and Marcel Dalio (together in "The Dark Room"),
- Christopher Lee ("The Sorcerer"),
- Robert Loggia ("The Hand"),
- Jack Lord ("Father Image"),
- Patrick Macnee ("The Night of April 14th"),
- John Marley ("The Night of the Kill"),
- Ross Martin ("Echo"),
- Patty McCormack ("Make Me Not A Witch"),
- Ann McCrea ("Night of the Kill"),
- Yvette Mimieux ("The Clown"),
- Elizabeth Montgomery ("Death Waltz"),
- André Morell ("The Avengers"),
- Maria Palmer ("The Secret"),
- Edward Platt ("The Haunted U-Boat")
- Donald Pleasence ("The Confession"),
- Suzanne Pleshette ("Delusion"),
- Paula Raymond ("Emergency Only"),
- Pernell Roberts ("The Vision"),
- William Schallert ("Tidal Wave" and "Epilogue"),
- William Shatner ("The Promise"),
- Torin Thatcher ("Doomsday"),
- Yvette Vickers and Mike Connors (together in "The Aerialist"),
- Robert Webber ("The Captain and His Guests"),
The last 13 episodes of the third season were filmed at MGM Studios in Borehamwood, England, due to a suggestion by Newland. According to Newland, "I thought it would give a little boost to the show because Great Britain offered good actors, good situations, and good settings. We sought permission from Alcoa, and they okayed it."
Harry Lubin composed the music for the series with a soundtrack album, Music from 'One Step Beyond' released by Decca Records during 1959.
Despite the public domain status for most episodes, the series' remaining copyrights belongs to its distributor CBS Television Distribution. CTD is the successor to the series' previous distributors, which include ABC Films successor Worldvision Enterprises and CTD's predecessor Paramount Domestic Television.
Episodes are currently broadcast by the Retro Television Network available as a digital subchannel in some US markets. Full episodes are also available for digital streaming on several web sites at no cost, and on the Hulu and Hulu Plus applications.
During 2007, Mill Creek Entertainment released a 4-disc Region 1 DVD set entitled The Very Best of One Step Beyond. The set contains 50 episodes. The quality varied drastically from episode to episode (the picture is often jittery), and many of the episodes fail to play properly at all.
On September 15, 2009, CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released One Step Beyond - The Official 1st Season on Region 1 DVD.
The Film Chest Media Group released the series in a six Disc Collector's Box on April 7, 2015. The box features only 70 Episodes of the series however (mostly episodes from the first two seasons). Very few of the third-season episodes are on this set.
A number of bootlegged box sets exist that contain all three seasons complete, but the quality varies from episode to episode (as the episodes all seem to have been copied from varied sources, and don't even have the same initial titles from show to show.)
The Next Step Beyond
During 1978, the series was revived partly by Gerard and Young, with John Newland hosting and directing most of the episodes; the new series was named The Next Step Beyond. The series was broadcast for one year, 25 episodes, 14 of which were remakes of One Step Beyond episodes.