Peter Breck, Jeff Corey, Joanne Gilbert, Alan Baxter, Sam Reese, Harry Townes, Robert Beneveds, Jason Wingreen.
The government uses a top secret device to spy on scientists and civilians, with bizarre repercussions.
If you want to get into an entertainingly paranoid mood, this is the episode for you. The episode’s premise is that you’re being spied on, and you don’t know about it. AND, the folks doing the watching are aliens. Boy, It’s enough to get anybody twitchy!
An ambitious senator conducts an investigation into the murder of a technician at a top security military research lab.
It turns out that the military has a device, called O.B.I.T., which allows it to secretly spy on and videotape people. The senator visits a top lab official, who has been confined to a mental institution for seeing “monsters” on the O.B.I.T. screen. He agrees to appear at the senator’s investigatory hearing.
It turns out that O.B.I.T. was developed by, and is being operated by, aliens. The research facility’s head is revealed to be an alien. The alien beams out, disappearing.
Director Gerd Oswald’s ,”O.B.I.T.”, is a gripping, paranoid tale of secret snooping and subversive alien plots.
Peter Breck is dynamic as a senator, conducting an investigation into a death at a top security military installation. A few year later he scored big, on “The Big Valley,” and his confidence and command of the screen are apparent here.
Actor and acting teacher, Jeff Corey, (“Star Trek”), owlish behind black horn rimmed glasses, is quirky as the head of the military/scientific research center which operates a secret device, called O.B.I.T. As he explains it, “…every living organism is a transmitter operating twenty four hours a day. That, of course, is true of human beings too.” The O.B.I.T., (Outer Band Individuated Teletracer), picks up these frequencies and turns them into images on a video monitor.
The weakest aspect of this episode are the images we see on the O.B.I.T. video monitor. They are wobbly, staticy images, like bad TV reception. I guess these hi-tech types could have used a pair of “rabbit ears”. Project Unlimited, Inc., and M.B. Paul of the Optical Effects Unit, are apparently the guilty parties responsible for the unimpressive imagery/FX.
Towards the end of the episode, a military guy talks about getting hung up peering into other people’s lives, via the O.B.I.T. He excitedly states, “It’s like a drug, a horrible drug. You can’t resist it. It’s an addiction.” Could Director Oswald, and screenwriter Meyer Dolinsky, have been commenting about television, in an allegorical way? Food for thought. This is my favorite scene.
Director of Photography, Conrad Hall , does very clever work here. Particularly effective is an extreme close up of Corey, from his eyebrows to the tip of his nose.
The music, by Dominic Frontiere, is mysterious and moody. It accents the tone and mood of the episode, without overwhelming it.
O.B.I.T. should be rather watchable for most Sci-Fi viewers. “1984” fans and TV addicts should particularly enjoy this episode. By the way, when you watch TV, does it watch you as well? Here’s looking at you!
should enjoy:The Invisibles & Corpus Earthling.