“What you are about to see is a matter of human record. Explain it: we cannot. Disprove it: we cannot. We simply invite you to explore with us the amazing world of the Unknown … to take that One Step … Beyond.” -Opening Tagline by John Newland
In the mid to late 1950’s, Science fiction short stories were popular among young boys and young men. With space exploration taking off, the genre of Sci-fi were taking over comic books and landing in the laps of everyone in television form. With the theme of science fiction mixed with subtle shock, men like Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling, and John Newland had taken the night time spots on the tube. What? You’ve never heard of John Newland?
With Alfred Hitchcock’s “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone”running neck and neck for popularity, a genius little show called “One Step Beyond” was showing twenty two minutes of perfection with host and directed by John Newland.
John Newland was “Your guide to the supernatural” with stories based on “true events”. “One Step Beyond” ran for three seasons from January 1959 until July 1961 with a total of 96 episodes. The show dealt with death, disaster, premonition, ghosts, and coincidence. The show was the “Third Wheel” in the eyes of fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling, John Newland still had his hardcore supporters and helped establish yet-to-be stars such as Robert Blake, Charles Bronson, Elizabeth Montgomery, and William Shatner.
There are many memorable shows in the anthology and here are some of the ones that stood out in the series.
“The Bride Possessed”
January 20, 1959
Newlyweds Matt And Sally Conroy begin to have problems soo after they are married, when Sally starts forgetting who Matt is and denies ever knowing him. During the car scene, it looks like they are obviously sitting still in a car while the road behind them scrolls. This episode deals with the loss of memory and the isolation that is felt who no one understands.
“Night of April 14th”
January 27, 1959
This is a great episode that predates the movie “Titanic”. A couple (see a theme here) are preparing their honeymoon. While doing so, the woman has horrible dreams of drowning in the ocean. At the same time her Fiancee’ is booking a cruise on the “Unsinkable” Titanic! This episode was the first one of the series that I saw completely through. It is what made me a fan of John Newland and the show. The suspense with the woman and how she probably was crazy and nothing was going to happen played on my mind.
“The Devil’s Laughter”
March 31, 1959
This episode is almost the “Bad guy gets the last laugh”, but it all works out at the end. John Marriott is a criminal who is to be hung on the gallows pole for his deeds. HE is given his last meal and refuses to eat it as he is frightened. He raves like a mad man that he doesn’t want to die. The next day he is placed in the hood and is executed…or so you think. I remember reading rumors that if an inmate is unsuccessfully executed they are released. Nope. Try and try again. Death escapes no one, especially killers.
December 1, 1959
Having a twin must be difficult. The “good” twin sister claims that her “evil” twin sister has set fires in a nearby orphanage. The “good” sister is to be believed, until a discovery ruins her story. IS it a fact that one twin is good and one twin is bad? Who knows, but one thing is certain, no twin gets away with murder!
“Anniversary of a Murder”
Season 3, Episode 2
September 27, 1960
Like the “Twilight Zone” episode “You Drive”, “Anniversary of a Murder” is similar. One night after a rendezvous with his mistress, a businessman runs over a young boy, killing him. After a short time, he thinks he got away with it until he hears the voice on the dictaphone. When you hear voices don’t let your dictaphone influence you.