SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE (1955-57) Photo archive


[Los Angeles]: Ziv Productions, [1955-1957]. Set of nine (9) vintage original 10 x 8″ (25 x 20 cm.) black-and-white print still photos. Most of them have a full page of mimeographed description affixed to the back. A few have smaller paper snipes attached, one is detached but present. One has a chip at bottom left, a few have printers’ notations in blank margins, overall near fine.

Science Fiction Theatre was an American science fiction anthology television series that was produced by Ivan Tors and Maurice Ziv and originally aired in syndication. It premiered on April 9, 1955, and ended on April 6, 1957, with a total of 78 episodes over the course of 2 seasons.

From 1955-57, Science Fiction Theatre, a semi-documentary television series, explored the what-ifs of modern science. Placing an emphasis on science before fiction, television viewers were treated to a variety of complex challenges including mental telepathy, robots, man-eating ants, killer trees, man’s first flight into space and time travel. Hosted by Truman Bradley, a radio/TV announcer and 1940s film actor, each episode featured stories which had an extrapolated scientific or pseudoscientific emphasis based on actual scientific data available at the time. Typically, the stories related to the life or work of scientists, engineers, inventors and explorers; the program concentrated on such concepts as space flight, robots, telepathy, flying saucers, time travel and the intervention of extraterrestrials in human affairs. With but few exceptions, most of the stories were original concepts based on articles from recent issues of Scientific American. Issues of that magazine can also be seen on Truman Bradley’s desk in a number of episodes.

Like the syndicated Out There and Tales of Tomorrow anthology series before it, Science Fiction Theatre was a predecessor to later science fiction anthology shows such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Photos from this groundbreaking show are seldom seen.

The show had no fixed cast other than the host, although a number of actors appeared in multiple episodes in different roles. In the 1985 film Back to the Future, Science Fiction Theatre is mentioned as George McFly’s favorite television program, from which Marty McFly gains the idea to dress up as an alien in order to scare George into asking his mother Lorraine to the school dance.

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