The Andromeda Breakthrough: Cold Front

The Andromeda BreakthroughThe first episode of the British science fiction series The Andromeda Breakthrough, created and written by John Elliot and astronomer Fred Hoyle as a follow-up to 1961’s A For Andromeda, is broadcast on the BBC, starring Peter Halliday, Susan Hampshire, John Hollis (The Empire Strikes Back), and Mary Morris. Unlike A For Andromeda, this series exists in the BBC archives in its entirety.

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Rod Serling, Twilight Zone creator, dies

Rod Serling in Night GalleryCelebrated writer Rod Serling dies at the age of 50 during a coronary bypass operation. An intelligent, rebellious mind from a young age, Serling developed an interest in writing – particularly for radio drama – before he graduated high school. He had also already developed a keen social consciousness at this age, which, combined with his authority-bucking nature, made his enlistment in the Army during World War II (immediately after graduating high school) an uneasy fit. As an Army paratrooper, Serling fought to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation. He was injured in combat and saw many of his comrades wounded or killed along the way, experiences which game him nightmares and informed many of his later works. He began his writing career in earnest after attending college on the G.I. Bill, and as radio gave way to television, he was at the forefront of the new profession of TV writing, with two scripts for anthology series – Patterns for Kraft Television Theatre and Requiem For A Heavyweight for Playhouse 90 – serving as career turning points. With corporate sponsors holding enormous sway over TV content in those days, Serling quickly found himself railing against the interference and outright censorship that resulted. Another anthology script, The Time Element, was intended as a pilot for an anthology Serling pitched to CBS, but was instead produced as an episode of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse; it proved popular enough to get The Twilight Zone greenlit by CBS. Serling often used science fiction and supernatural settings in his new series to address issues such as racism, fascism, racial inequality, and the futility of war. He famously wrote many script drafts for 1968’s Planet Of The Apes, and returned to the anthology format in 1969 with a new series for NBC, Night Gallery, and, following that series, a radio drama suspense series called The Zero Hour for Mutual Radio.

Enterprise takes to the sky again

EnterpriseRiding the back of a modified Boeing 747, Space Shuttle Enterprise ascends to 22,000 feet for her second “active-captive” test flight, with all systems powered up and a crew aboard (astronauts Joe Engle and Richard Truly). The combined vehicle reaches speeds of over 300 miles per hour, and angles for “dropoff” – for upcoming test flights in which the Enterprise will actually separate from the 747 and glide to its landing strip – are studied for future reference.

Robin Of Sherwood: The Time Of The Wolf, Part 2

Robin Of SherwoodThe 26th episode of Richard Carpenter’s fanciful retelling of the Robin Hood legend, Robin Of Sherwood, airs on ITV, starring Jason Connery, Mark Ryan, Judi Trott, and Nickolas Grace. Richard O’Brien (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and James Coombes (Howards’ Way, Dinosapien) guest star in the final episode of the series. A fourth season had been planned and partially written, but Goldcrest Films International, one of the production partners, has experienced a downturn in its financial fortunes, forcing it to withdraw. The cash-strapped HTV (Harlech Television) network producing the show is left with no choice but the cancel the series after losing Goldcrest’s critical financial support.

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