Thursday, June 9, 2011
There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture...
What were you doing on the evening of September 16, 1963? My siblings and I were sitting on the sofa in the family room. We were watching the premier episode of a new science fiction television show. The picture on our 1950 black and white set had lost horizontal and vertical hold, so as usual it needed to be very carefully adjusted back to normal. My younger brother Tom got up and began walking over to the TV. He froze when he heard an eerie, echoing, Control Voice solemnly intone:
“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity.
For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits.”
You can watch a YouTube video of that opening here.
I wonder how many other people whose TV sets really needed adjustment were petrified the first time they heard that eerie voice at the opening for The Outer Limits.
What have you tried as a compelling opening for your speech?