Corpus Earthling is the 9th episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It aired on November 18, 1963, during the first season.
Rocks: silent, inanimate objects torn from the Earth's ancient crust. Yielding up to man over the long centuries all that is known of the planet on which we live withholding from man forever their veiled secrets of the nature of matter and cosmic catastrophe, the secrets of other worlds in the vastness of the universe, of other forms of life, of strange organisms beyond the imagination of man.
Parasitic aliens, with a plan to take over the human race, take refuge in a geologist's laboratory disguised as rocks. Although undetected by ordinary humans, one doctor (with an implanted metal plate in his skull, from an old injury) is able to "hear" the aliens communicate with each other while they discuss their plot. Although the doctor is unsure if what he hears is a delusion or not, the aliens see him as a threat and set out to kill him.
Two black crystalline rocks: unclassifiable. Objects on the border between the living and the nonliving. A reminder of the thin line that separates the animate from the inanimate. Something to ponder on. Something to stay the hand when it reaches out innocently for the whitened pebble, the veined stone, the dead unmoving rocks of our planet.
Adapted from Louis Charbonneau's novel Corpus Earthling, first published by Zenith Books in 1960. In the novel, Paul is an unmarried university instructor with amorous desires for Laurie, one of his students. He is a latent telepath who has been compelled, on at least three occasions, toward suicide by an alien force that calls him "the listener". The invaders were brought to Earth with the first geological samples from Mars (the story is set post 1990). Dr Temple, who diagnoses Paul as schizophrenic after he reveals he hears voices, is the first to be possessed when he touches the alien rocks with his tongue. At the end, after killing the aliens, he finds a telepathic girlfriend.
This was the second of three episodes to star Robert Culp (the other two were "The Architects of Fear" written by Meyer Dolinski and "Demon with a Glass Hand" by Harlan Ellison). Culp indicated that. of the three episodes, he felt the "talking rocks" episode was the one he liked least of "The Outer Limits" episodes he shot.
Original air date
The original air date for the episode was four days prior to the assassination of President John Kennedy. The following episode, "Nightmare", would be delayed an extra week and would air on December 2, 1963.
- Robert Culp - Dr. Paul Cameron
- Salome Jens - Laurie Cameron
- Barry Atwater - Dr. Jonas Temple
- David Garner - Ralph
- Ken Renard - Caretaker
- Robert Johnson - voice of Alien Rocks (uncredited)
Cinematographer - Conrad Hall