The Sixth Finger

The Outer Limits (1963)

The Sixth Finger, directed by James Goldstone.

Experiments in accelerated evolution transform a test subject into a man of first 20,000 years in the future, then a million years. He displays powers of mind and mind over mater, becomes arrogant and aggressive, but finally moves past that, wanting to leave the body behind and become pure mind, like an angel.

In this scenario evolution means increased intelligence, prefigured by clear class distinctions: the Londoner lording over the Welsh, the clean over the dirty, intellectuals over laborers and servants.

This is early in David McCallum's US career, and he brings great sensitivity to a role that might have been ridiculous if played differently. He and the makeup artist conspired to retain the character's expressiveness of eyes and mouth:


The commentary track is another encyclopedic effort by David J Schow, series expert. He had a couple of Outer Limits books, now out of print and fabulously expensive on the used market.

In this track he reveals something I had not realized: the show was very much an ensemble effort. Director Byron ("Bunny") Haskins and cinematographer Conrad Hall are not credited for this episode, but they were there and contributing.

He also points out that McCallum grows taller during his transformations, and that this happens on camera. Everyone on set was scrambling around with planks and orange crates just out of frame.