Broken out from this related question

enter image description here

Given that human looking intelligent aliens are so common as to be a trope, what is the earliest depiction in Television of an intelligent alien life form as being non humanoid in appearance? (i.e. radically different such as the Horta)

Edit: For non humanoid, I would intend it to be readily distinguishable from the typical two armed/two legged alien depiction. For example, all the members of the Max Rebo band would qualify (two arms, two legs, odd heads but still humanoid). Jabba the Hutt would not qualify as humanoid.

  • 4
    Strictly from television only? Or can movies be referenced as well? Because the 1953 War of the Worlds film would be a contender.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 21:51
  • @Tim - I split the original into three questions, one each for film, television and literature.
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 21:57
  • 1
    I've seen lots of intelligent non-humanoids in animated TV commercials: dancing beer cans, Chiquita Banana, etc. But I don't know of any that were extraterrestrial.
    – user14111
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 22:32
  • Probably far too late to qualify, but would a Centauri males, uh, extra ... "appendages" make him not humanoid? Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


The The Quatermass Experiment was a multi-part live-action broadcast by the BBC in 1953.

By "live-action" I mean it wasn't pre-recorded, but broadcast live.

Its first episode aired on 18 July 1953, and its last on 22 August 1953, which is when the full alien is revealed.

The plot of the show was that a spacecraft returns to earth. Of the three crew, only one returned; what happened to the other two is a mystery.

It turns out that the surviving astronaut was infested by an alien organism. As a result, he absorbed his two colleagues and is slowly turning into an alien plant.

The creature then makes its way to Westminster Abbey, where it intends to release its spores and take over the world.

The plant looks like this: enter image description here


Space Patrol (which began April 7th, 1963) had the Betelgeusians (S1, Ep12 23 Jun. 1963 The Talking Bell) and the Luminars (S1, Ep20 28 Dec. 1963 The Planet of Light).

Look upon the not-face of a Betelgeusian, there is only a 50% chance this is actually a lamp.

enter image description here

The Luminar: This is either an alien life-form, or two curtains which have children hiding in them.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I'd suggest adding that it first aired on 7 April 1963. Will help when comparing to other answers.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 22:15
  • @Tim thanks, the Betelgusian aired on 23 Jun. 1963 Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 22:24
  • The Outer Limits may be a close second, with "Corpus Earthling" (aliens disguised as rocks) November 18, 1963, "The Zanti Misfits" (ant-like) December 30, 1963, and "The Mice" January 5, 1964. Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 18:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.