The original title for this series was "Please Stand By". However, the Cuban Missile Crisis had happened less than a year earlier and the executives thought it might make people fearful of an air raid. As a reference to this, when The Outer Limits (1995). would cut to a commercial, the Control Voice said, "Please stand by."
This series provides an example of a television network deliberately killing a popular series by moving it to an inappropriate slot on their schedule. This series was a big hit, especially among younger viewers. For the second season, ABC moved it from Monday nights to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. It was not only an inappropriate timeslot for younger viewers but served as the lead-in for The Lawrence Welk Show (1955), and was scheduled opposite the highly popular Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine (1962) on CBS. The series was pulled halfway into the second season due to the resulting low ratings.
Many scenes and some entire episodes of the series were filmed on-location at Series Creator Joseph Stefano's house, called "Villa Di Stefano", from which the production company took its name.
The first season finale, The Outer Limits: The Forms of Things Unknown (1964) (starring David McCallum, Vera Miles, Cedric Hardwicke, and Barbara Rush), was supposed to be a pilot that series creator Joseph Stefano presented to network executives. When it was rejected, he used it as an episode of this series.
Numerous guest stars on the show had been victims of the blacklist a decade earlier. For many of them, this was their first work before a camera in years. Among them were Jeff Corey, Marsha Hunt, Curt Conway, Lloyd Gough, Howard Da Silva, and Sam Wanamaker.
Dominic Frontiere and Robert Van Eps scored the first season of this series. Frontiere composed new music, as well as re-used his music from previous television shows, such as Stoney Burke (1962). The second season was scored by Harry Lubin, who also composed new music, and re-used his music from previous television shows, such as One Step Beyond (1959).
When the series finale, "The Probe", was originally aired on January 16, 1965, a live announcer spoke over the Control Voice's closing statement about returning "next week at this same time". The live announcer stated that The King Family Show (1965) would be seen "next week in this time period". The regular Control Voice closing for "The Probe" was heard only in re-runs.
The opening Control Voice came first during first three episodes ("The Galaxy Being", "The Hundred Days of the Dragon", and "The Architects of Fear"). Then, the executives wanted to see the "Bear" (their name for the monster in the story) first, so, beginning with the fourth episode ("The Man With The Power") it would begin with a scene from the show where the Bear made an appearance. Then, the opening Control Voice would start the show, a commercial, then the Control Voice prelude as the show began. That continued throughout the entire first season to the thirty-second episode ("The Forms of Things Unknown"). With the beginning of the second season, the thirty-third episode ("Soldier") began with not only the Bear, but also the Control Voice prelude, which continued to the final episode ("The Probe").
The Outer Limits: The Duplicate Man (1964) features the famous Chemosphere House. Designed by architect John Lautner, the house is seen in a few exterior shots, but the inside shots were on a set designed to resemble the house's interior.
Leonard Nimoy, David McCallum, Cliff Robertson, Barbara Rush and Peter Breck are the only actors to appear in both this series and The Outer Limits (1995).
Director of Photography Conrad L. Hall, who shot many of the first season's episodes, went on to receive ten Academy Award nominations, and won three Oscars for Best Cinematography.
Gene Roddenberry was a big fan of the series, being a regular visitor to the set. He would use many of the crew, cast, costumes, and props on Star Trek (1966).
Five episodes (including a two-part story) were remade as episodes of The Outer Limits (1995): The Outer Limits: I, Robot (1964) was remade as The Outer Limits: I, Robot (1995), The Outer Limits: A Feasibility Study (1964) was remade as The Outer Limits: Feasibility Study (1997), The Outer Limits: Nightmare (1963) was remade as The Outer Limits: Nightmare (1998) and The Outer Limits: The Inheritors: Part I (1964) and The Outer Limits: The Inheritors: Part II (1964) were remade as The Outer Limits: The Inheritors (1999). The Outer Limits: The Human Factor (1963) and The Outer Limits: The Human Factor (2002) have no connection beyond the title.
The Outer Limits: Nightmare (1963) was originally scheduled to be shown on November 25, 1963. However, it was delayed for one week due to the coverage of the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy.
Vic Perrin (The Control Voice) once stated that almost all of his opening and closing narrations were recorded in one or at most two studio sessions. He had no idea what the episodes were about but often joked that he had the "God-given" ability to sound authoritative on things that he knew nothing about.