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Science-Fiction on PBS.


"The Lathe of Heaven"

The Lathe of Heaven

"The Lathe of Heaven" was another Science-Fiction production by WNET. Produced in 1979 and aired in 1980, it was based on a book by Ursula Le Guin.

The movie follows George Orr, played by Bruce Davison (the guy from the "Willard" movie with the rat), who discovers that what he dreams becomes a reality. He sees a professional psychiatric, Dr. Haber, who realizes what Orr can do. But after Orr learns that Dr. Haber wants to use his power for himself, he still decides to stay because Haber is the only person who can help. Haber helps Orr control and manipulate his dreams so he can control what is changed in the world, and then convinces Orr to make global changes in the world through his dreams, including population control and disarmament. And of course a bigger office. When Haber has Orr dream of no more racism, everyone in the world all turns blue. When Haber has Orr dream of world peace, a side effect of this is aliens appear on the moon and threaten to destroy the world unless we have peace. When Orr dreams that the aliens are no longer on the moon, he awakes to learn that the aliens are now on Earth. The aliens are eventually revealed to be peaceful and become merchants in the state of Oregon. When Orr meets one of these aliens, they explain they too know about Orr's abilities. Meanwhile, Dr. Haber has created a brain wave generator called an "Augmentor", and he now has the same abilities to change the world through his dreams as George Orr. Got that one figured yet?

The Lathe of Heaven

"Entertainment Weekly" declared "Lathe of Heaven" among the top 100 greatest works of science-fiction ever. The original novel by Ursula Le Guin was a bestseller in 1971.

Even though "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" appears to have aired both on and off PBS after its initial PBS broadcast, "Lathe" disappeared as WNET threw it in the closet and chose to forget about it, even though the quality seemed to be much greater than their other productions. After an "extensive Internet community" kept bugging WNET to bring it back, they finally did, re-releasing it in the year 2000, making it available again on PBS. But because they had let it rot for two decades, they had to spend two years just clearing rights for it so it could air again (an expensive process). It is also now available on Video.

Knowing that Science-Fiction sells better in Syndication than other programs, why a Public Television Station let a quality piece of Science-Fiction rot in the closet instead of Syndicating it after its PBS broadcasts is beyond me. Instead of complaining about the money it took to re-secure rights just to air it again, they could have had a profit a long time ago.


SCIENCE-FICTION ON PBS:
Doctor Who
Blake's 7
Red Dwarf
Starcops
The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Man from UNCLE
Star Trek
Japanese Animation
The Invisible Man
2001: A Space Odyssey
Space Island One
Godzilla
Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, The Time Tunnel
The Tripods
Neverwhere
The Prisoner
Overdrawn at the Memory Bank
Slaughterhouse Five
The Lathe of Heaven

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