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Friday, June 24, 2011

TGIF: Out Of This World

Imagination and Fantasy week comes to its conclusion with a show that really was out of this world, but first, I should tell you a little story.

Approximately ten years ago, I happened to be surfing web communities online, and one site that I happened to find was a small retro community called...

It was the summer of 2001 at the time, and I was killing time in between school years when I stumbled across this place.  I had been members of other online communities before, but this one was different.  I guess in many ways, it kind of inspired me to kick off this blog ten years later because the site was similar.  It took a look back at some of our favourite toys, television shows, movies, and fashion trends, and had dozens of articles and interactive features in regards to all things retro.

So being the retrophile that I was at the time, I signed up with a screenname that I borrowed from my favourite comic book character (one that I happened to feature on the Sunday, May 29 entry, matter of fact).

It was amazing how many people remembered the same things that I remembered.  Although we were all scattered all over the world, it was like we all came together remembering the days of our childhoods.  Future events happened to strengthen us further, such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the uncertainty of events shortly after.  Certainly the site wasn't absolute utopia, and quite often than not, some of us found ourselves at odds with others over the years, but it seemed like things never got too overly personal, and we were all friends again in a week or two.

Unfortunately, the site was pulled in 2003, and with the site's closing came some lost friendships and irreparable damage done to some relationships within the fold.  It was a sad moment to say goodbye to Yesterdayland, but through it all, I ended up with some amazing friends all over the world.  We send each other Christmas cards, and they were really great with me when I was recovering from surgery a few months ago.  Maybe someday I'll finally be able to meet some of them face to face.  I mean, let's face it.  I would feel more comfortable meeting a former member from Yesterdayland than I would on  That's a fact.

So now that you know all about what Yesterdayland was, I can tie it to today's blog entry.

On Yesterdayland, there was a sub-board called "Lost And Found".  This was a place where you could have some memory of some toy you played with or some retro snack food you remember eating in 1972, but couldn't quite remember what they were.  You would ask a question, posting every detail you could remember about the subject in question, and if you were lucky, someone else would remember it.

Sometimes, you'd have two different people remembering bits and pieces of the same topic, and not realize it.  That was fine.  It happens.  And sometimes you may have someone remembering some obscure record they heard during the summer they lived in Brazil, and nobody would have any idea what the person was talking about.  That also happened.

Then, there was a whole bunch of people who kept asking about the same show.  Mostly newbies who were brand new to the site.  It almost became a recurring joke to us because we had answered the same questions for months on end.  Questions like...

What was the show where they sang about swinging on a star?
I remember a show where a girl could freeze time by linking her fingers together, what was it?
Does anyone know a show where the girl had an alien dad who talked to her through a box?

Like clockwork, we'd have at least one of these questions asked every week or so.  Back in 2001, we didn't have such sites as YouTube, and the only way one could get video clips was to download them onto our computers.  All we could do was explain it as best we could in hopes that they would get it.

Now that it's 2011, I can proudly show you the answer. 

The show, of course, was called Out of this World, and this is where it ties into the Imagination and Fantasy theme for this week.  The show deals with a teenaged girl named Evie who finds out on her thirteenth birthday that she happens to be half-human, half-alien.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

The show debuted in syndication on September 17, 1987, and ran for four seasons (which for a show that didn't air on network television was pretty good).

As I said, the main character of the show was Evie Ethel Garland.  When she turned thirteen, her mother told her the truth about her parentage.  Evie had believed that her absentee father, Troy,  was a secret agent for the government, which explained why he was absent.  But when Evie started to develop skills that a normal human couldn't do, her mother had to tell her the truth.  Troy was an alien from the planet Antareus who ended up crashing his spaceship onto Earth in the 1960's.  His human appearance allowed him to mingle with the Earthlings, and he happened to fall in love with Donna (Evie's mother).  They married each other, and Donna gave birth to their child Evie in 1973.  The following year, war had broken out on Antareus, and Troy was forced to go back in order to protect the planet.

(Now you know why the show didn't last too long...)

At any rate, Evie discovered the truth and she was able to communicate with Troy through a crystal jewelry box in her bedroom.  The lid would open up and a bright pink light would shine, indicating that Troy was there.

TRIVIA:  Troy was never seen on camera, but his speaking voice was done by an uncredited Burt Reynolds.  He agreed to voice Troy as a favour to the producers provided that he wasn't identified in any way.

It took Evie some time to accept the fact that she was half-Earthling and half-Antarian, but once she fully understood, she was accepting of it, and was happy that she had both parents in her life again (even though one was on another planet, and the other one was a wee bit overprotective).

Very few people knew of Evie's secret though.  Certainly her mother Donna knew, and so did her two uncles, Mick and Beano.  She did have to keep it a secret from everyone else.  She didn't tell her two friends, Lindsay and Chris, and she couldn't tell Kyle Applegate, who happened to be the mayor of Marlowe, California (where the show took place).  This lead to some rather comical moments in the serial, where Evie tried to balance her human side with her alien side.

For the most part, she managed to do a great job of hiding it, but there were some instances in which it made it difficult.  Much like a classic mood ring from the 1970s, Evie's face tended to change colour depending on the mood she was feeling, which lead to some confused looks by those who weren't aware of Evie's secret.

And long before Zack Morris came along with his classic 'Time Out' move, Evie Garland could freeze time with the joining of her fingers.  She and Troy were immune to the effects of the time freeze, but everyone else were forced to stand in place until Evie clapped her hands to unfreeze everyone.

Sometimes it worked well for her.  Sometimes, not so much.

One bonus that Evie soon discovered about her alien DNA was that every year on her birthday, she was granted additional powers, and Troy was always on hand to help her understand what these powers were.

One episode of Out of this World that showcases this in action is the episode titled Julie's Sixteenth Birthday.

Oh...sorry...never mind, I meant EVIE'S sixteenth birthday.  (Evie's Sweet Sixteen to be technical)

In that episode, Evie turns sixteen, and Troy offers her a chance to choose one out of ten possible powers for her to have.  Evie is tempted by all of the powers that she has a difficult time choosing.

You know what?  Why don't I just find the episode, and post it here so you can see it for yourself.  It's a great introductory episode that introduces the characters as well. 

Quite the episode, huh?  I had kind of forgotten how bad the production value was on this show before I posted the episode from YouTube.

At any rate, Evie tried all the powers out, and decided to hold off of choosing one, because she didn't think she was ready to handle any of them, and that was a decision that she could live with.

I guess the lesson that Evie learned is that when one has too much power at their disposal, it can get pretty dicey.  And really, that's a lesson that all of us could learn.

I am curious though as to what you would do if you were Evie.

Seriously.  Imagine you're half-human and half-alien, and you were turning sixteen, and you could choose one of the ten powers.  Which one would you choose?  Here's the list again.

01.  Read people's minds
02.  Make others obey your every command
03.  Reverse time
04.  A free face lift
05.  Levitation
06.  Ability to change shoes quickly
07.  Make someone else invisible
08.  Make yourself invisible
09.  A money tree
10.  See through walls

(My personal choice would be #9...although #5 has possibilities)

So, that's the end of another TGIF entry, and as you can see, I've made it interactive.  Hope you take part!

And, with that, the Imagination and Fantasy week comes to its conclusion.  I hope you enjoyed the ride, and I hope to have more of these featured weeks very soon.  Remember, they'll always run from Monday to Friday.

We go back to normal tomorrow, but if you have any ideas for theme weeks, let me know!  You can reach me through the comments page, or contact me through this blog's e-mail address which is

This blog turns one month old today, and I want to keep this baby running for many months and years on end...and I really want to make this blog more accessible to everybody. 

Thanks for supporting me in this venture, and I hope to hear from you all soon.  :)

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