One Step Beyond Theatre

One Step Beyond aired its premiere episode on January 20, 1959 on the American Broadcasting Network. The suspenseful and mysterious storylines, their tone and tenor, an authoritative, well-spoken host that introduces the episode and amplifies the suspense were the foundation of this show hosted by John Newland. What makes this remarkable, is that One Step Beyond premiered 9 months ahead of the a very similar show that has endured as a brand for over 60 years, The Twilight Zone. That classic television icon would not appear on CBS until October 2, 1959.

The cast of premiere episode of One Step Beyond demonstrates that ABC was serious about the suspense drama. While no household-name stars headlined the show, the main cast had impressive television drama experience and would go on to appear as TV regulars for decades.

Harry Townes, Virginia Leith and Skip Hormiere in the One Step Beyond premiere episode.Harry Townes was well known in early television anthology dramas. He had just finished a seven-year run of 12 appearances in Studio One Hollywood. He had appeared in 15 dramas on Kraft Theatre from 1949-58. His TV career lasted until 1988, when he appeared on the sitcom, Valerie, with Jason Bateman and Sandy Duncan.

Virginia Leith was also a gifted actress whose Hollywood career began 6 years earlier with a walk-on role in Stanley Kubrick’s, Fear and Desire. Probably her best-known role was as Ellen Kinship in the movie, A Kiss Before Dying where she starred with Robert Wagner, Jeffery Hunter, Mary Astor and Joanne Woodword. Virginia Leith became a classic TV regular with appearances in The Millionaire, Baretta, Starsky and Hutch, and Barnaby Jones.

Skip Hormiere’s chiseled face would also be familiar to many classic TV lovers. He began acting as a child in the early 1940’s and by 1959 he had appeared in such anthology shows as General Electric Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents and Science Fiction Theatre. He’d go on to make appearances in Perry Mason, Death Valley Days and Rawhide.

With a solid script, fine acting and good production values, this premiere episode of One Step Beyond provide solid suspense and entertainment.

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The Bride Possessed

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