Worlds Beyond Theater

Recently I found out about a site called Singularity & Co. They are working on saving old out print science fiction books and converting them to the Pub format. I think it is a great idea, but it also made think about a program I watched while growing up in the Phoenix area. 

In the Phoenix area during the early 80’s Channel 5 was an independent station, not a CBS affiliate. On Saturday mornings they would air movies during the morning. The movies were aired under the banner of ‘theater’. There was Worlds Beyond Theater for science fiction movies and Action Theater for action movies. I think there was one more for westerns, but my memory is a bit hazy. Out of the two, Worlds Beyond Theater I remember more.

Worlds Beyond Theater would air various science fiction movies. It was through this that I watched the Godzilla movies, other monster movies made by Toho Studios, the Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies, and the Planet of the Apes originals. I recall even seeing a Japanese version of Planet of the Apes through this program.

How often I watched it and for how long is a blur, since I do remember watching Saturday morning cartoons on the networks. Perhaps a sign I watched too much television as kid. This was my first foray into science fiction. My enjoyment of science fiction started with these movies.

When the opening swirling galaxy appeared, probably created by video feedback, and the words World Beyond Theater appeared, I was also curious to see what new movie was going to be shown. What type of place would I be seeing? Sometimes I did not watch the whole movie, but my attention was always grabbed at the beginning.

Looking back they may not have been the best movies, but they captured my attention and took me places I had not seen before. Similar to Singularity & Co, where the old books they rescue show the development of science fiction, Worlds Beyond Theater holds to me the foundation of my interest in Science Fiction.
Posted in
Tagged with ,


Logan - April 23rd, 2013 at 10:51am

Hi, thank you for reminding me of the actual name of the Channel 5 program. My brother found this blog post today, followed by some Youtube link to the Worlds Beyond Theater opening. (Did they in fact open with Pink Floyd%u2019s %u201CTime%u201D?) The Phoenix Public Library carries individual and bound TV Guides back to 1974, for God knows what reason, and so armed with a little OCD, this year I looked up a lot of these issues regarding the old monster movie and cartoon programming of yesteryear. The show was broadcast at 10:30am, by which time the network cartoon programming had just about wound down. They stopped broadcasting the show on June 25, 1988, ending on %u201CDestroy All Monsters.%u201D (June 25th is also when Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died, and when pro wrestler Chris Benoit was found dead with his entire family that he%u2019d murdered. It%u2019s also the diametric opposite of 12/25%u2026it%u2019s practically some Antichrist holiday!) I didn't remember much about the program, besides Godzilla movies, but I came across some interesting movies while looking through the old issues. They even had the show in the 1974 TV Guides, at the same time, so this was a very long-running program for KPHO-TV.

Mike Schwerd - March 10th, 2016 at 11:59am

I remember watching the show when I was a child in the 70's. I would sneak into our family room and watch it until my parents caught me and told me to go outside and play. By the way, it was called "The World Beyond". What a great Phoenix original second only to Wallace and Ladmo. And don't forget Edmus Scary!