The Brain of Colonel Barham

The Outer Limits (1963)

The Brain of Colonel Barham, directed by Charles Haas.

The first mission to Mars depends on the senior astronaut who has trained for it. When he has only a short time to live, the solution is to put his brain in a jar and send that.

What are the consequences of being disembodied? Nothing good, we suspect, something like the later Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) where the scientists cannot put down what they have raised up.

This is another of the low-budget SF thriller episodes that dominate the second season. It does have hints of the old Outer Limits: a tale of human transformation and lurking evil. The insight that the whole person requires both mind and body.

Wasn't there a living severed head in That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis? It was both a triumph of science and expression of ultimate evil.

We never get a good look at the brain. That would have been in bad taste in TV of the time.

Grant Williams is the skeptical Army psychiatrist, last seen in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) and The Monolith Monsters (1957).

Wesley Addy is the arrogant surgeon. He often played aristocratically cool characters, usually guilty of something. Last seen in Seconds (1966) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).

No commentary track on the Blu-ray for this episode.