Classic stars on the small screen: One Step Beyond (Episode 1)

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“One Step Beyond” was a short-lived TV show that is described by Netflix as a somewhat darker version of “The Twilight Zone.” Like it’s more famous counterpart, “One Step Beyond” is an anthology series dealing with supernatural phenomena. The twist? This series is based on “true” stories, reports from real people just like you and I! And on top of that, every mystery recreated in the series remained unsolved at the time of production.

The first episode of the series is titled “The Bride Possessed” and aired on January 20, 1959. The show ran for three seasons after this grand premiere.

The episode follows Sally and Matt Conroy, who are on their honeymoon. Sally is a simple-minded woman with a Southern drawl and a good heart who immediately captures the attention of everyone she meets. Matt is infatuated with her.

But while they’re driving on the way to their honeymoon spot, Sally soon begins acting strangely and is able to predict certain features of the landscape surrounding them. Then, much to Matt’s surprise, Sally loses that Southern drawl and takes on a completely different personality. She no longer knows who he is, either.

Virginia Leith and Skip Homeier star as Sally and Matt.

Leith and Homeier in "The Bride Possessed" (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Leith and Homeier in “The Bride Possessed” (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

You may remember these names from previous reviews on TMP:

Virginia Leith is the brilliant woman who brought “Jan in the Pan” to life in one of my favorite corny horrors, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Leith starred in her fair share of B-movies, but she also starred in more well-known pictures, including Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire and Nunnally Johnson’s Black Widow.

Skip Homeier, on the other hand, is an actor I’ve only seen in one film prior to this – a film in which he was a young man with a much less kind disposition than that of Matt Conroy. That film was 1944’s Tomorrow, the World!, his big screen debut. Homeier gives a striking performance in that film as Emil, a young German boy who has come to America to live with an associate of his father and assimilate into American society. That plan goes awry due to Emil’s hatred and the indoctrination he experienced as a member of the Hitler Youth.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and Tomorrow, the World! have been two of my favorite discoveries since starting this blog, so when I realized who these actors were they had some high expectations to live up to.

Their performances in “One Step Beyond” may not be quite as striking as those in the aforementioned films, but this episode is a really great start to the television series. Homeier’s understated performance is a far cry from his exaggerated, hateful character in his 1944 debut and he proves himself as more than able to move beyond the “child actor” realm of talent.

The episode as a whole is engrossing, quite high on mystery and drama, and the entire cast offers up solid, realistic portrayals.

Want to watch “One Step Beyond” for yourself? Select episodes are available to watch instantly on Netflix, and the first season DVD is available on Amazon!

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