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"The Man Who Was Never Born" is the sixth episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It aired on October 28, 1963, during the first season.

Opening narration

“Here, in the bright, clustered loneliness of the billion, billion stars, loneliness can be an exciting, voluntary thing, unlike the loneliness Man suffers on Earth. Here, deep in the starry nowhere, a man can be as one with space and time; preoccupied, yet not indifferent; anxious and yet at peace. His name is Joseph Reardon. He is, in this present year, thirty years old. This is the first time he has made this journey alone…”

Plot

Astronaut Joseph Reardon lands on Earth, only to find it a barren wasteland. He meets Andro (Martin Landau), a grotesque creature who reveals that it is the year 2148, almost 200 years in the future of Reardon's time. Andro explains he is one of the few survivors of a biological disaster created by a scientist named Bertram Cabot, Jr. Reardon realizes that he needs to see if he can return to his own time, taking Andro along. While traveling through the time rift, Reardon mysteriously vanishes, leaving Andro alone in trying to prevent his disastrous future from occurring. Andro is able to hypnotize anyone into seeing him as a normal human, and he begins searching for a way to stop Cabot's work, even if this means killing him. It becomes clear that he has gone too far back in time; Bertram Cabot, Jr., hasn't been born yet, and his future parents Noelle (Shirley Knight) and Bertram, Sr., are engaged. Andro unsuccessfully tries to convince Cabot that he should not marry Noelle, but begins to fall in love with Noelle himself. When Andro tries to shoot Cabot, he hesitates and is captured. His true appearance is discovered, and he flees the scene. Noelle follows him and he explains his desperate mission. Noelle confesses that she has fallen in love with Andro, too. She convinces him to take her back to the future, avoiding any possibility that she and Cabot will have a child. Unfortunately, Andro disappears just as the ship arrives in "his" time.

Closing narration

“It is said that if you move a single pebble on the beach, you set up a different pattern, and everything in the world is changed. It can also be said that love can change the future, if it is deep enough, true enough, and selfless enough. It can prevent a war, prohibit a plague, keep the whole world… whole.”

Notes

The original title proposed for this episode was "Cry of the Unborn".

Quotes

We have memorized every detail of his life – his various addresses, his cares, his joys, his friends, his family. Noelle, they called his mother...Noelle. A woman who issued destruction for all future Christmases.
Come...I will show you all that is left of moments, men and places.
It's good to cherish old things...beauty is always on the edge of being lost.
He's all the things I ever dreamed of in a man. He doesn't play at life, or dream it...he lives it, in all its seriousness and pleasure.
I've often wondered what that quality of mind is that enables a soldier to encounter death with firmness, valor and boldness.
To save your own child from destruction, would you press a button destroying all the children of another land?

“Look at me. There are travelers in time, Noelle. There are people in tomorrow's cities; living, breathing strangers whom you never see, but who are there, just the same. And, instead of the glorious future all men envisioned, there is only a dark and empty road, leading to misery and mourning. This is the world from which I came, Noelle...a world of tomorrow...a world you will help make.”

Cast

Crew

Cinematographer - Conrad Hall

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