Streaming television brings unexpected surprises, some even related to optical. The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits were two of my favorite shows growing up. In 
reruns, of course. I’m not that old!

Hulu is full of these and many other classic programs, so I decided to revisit them. Imagine my surprise while watching the very first episode of The Outer Limits (the original version, first aired in 1963), when the climax revealed that (spoiler alert) the alien monster was composed of electromagnetic radiation. “He glowed and flickered like a person made of blue light,” the cop in the show described. Blue light!

Did they even know of the harmful effects of blue light back in 1963 and use the monster as a metaphor? I think not. The impact of ultraviolet light was barely even addressed back then. Strange coincidence that what we recognize as an actual danger from a particular type of electromagnetic radiation today was portrayed as a fictional menace over 50 years ago.

It wasn’t until more recently while re-watching the first episode of The Twilight Zone that I discovered another optically related coincidence in science fiction television from the 1960s.

Did you know that the last thing the actor playing a NASA test pilot sees before awakening from an experiment simulating many days alone in outer space is a storefront shingle that says “Optometrist”? He sees it just before emerging from a hallucination in which he believes he’s in a small town devoid of people.

Was someone trying to tell us something? Were eyecare professionals planting messages in science fiction television 50 years ago? Did yesteryear’s writers have something against optometrists? Unlikely, that would be stretching it, but it’s fun to consider the possibilities, just as these old classic sci fi TVshows stretched our imaginations way back when.

Let’s just chalk these up to coincidences, while I leave you with a quote from the blue light creature from The Outer Limits: “There are powers in the universe beyond anything you know. Go and give thoughts to the mysteries of the universe. I will leave you now in peace.”

email me at JS@VisionCareProducts.com


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