"Cold Hands, Warm Heart" is a 1964 second season episode of the anthology series The Outer Limits.
The episode stars Bill Shatner (in his one and only ever appearance in this series) as an astronaut who has returned to Earth following a pioneering trip (ironically entitled "Project Vulcan") to the planet Venus.
Once home, Bill Shatner's character, Brig. Gen. Jefferson Barton, begins to have horrifying nightmares and flashbacks of his visit to Venus...
...as well as undergoing a physical transformation, manifesting itself in webbed hands.
The astronaut also begins to feel permanently cold, inexplicably craving the searing heat of the inhospitable Venusian atmosphere...
All of this represents a serious problem as Barton is soon expected to give crucial Congressional testimony about his trip, which will hopefully help secure government financing for a proposed trip to Mars; but this strange transformation threatens not only Barton, but potentially the future of the entire US space program.
A race against time ensues, with the astronaut's wife, along with top scientists and doctors eagerly trying to cure Barton (whose blood no longer even registers as human) via the application of heat.
What to make of all this? Another classic along the lines of Bill Shatner's two appearances in fellow anthology series The Twilight Zone? Sadly, not quite. We found "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" to be entertaining and engaging but also felt that it fell far short of being a classic.
The episode (running at 51 minutes - longer than The Twilight Zone) lacked a necessary thoughtful punch. The entire story is crafted around a rather predictable hook related to whether the central character will recover from his unusual ailment. The far more compelling implications of what the alien contact and human metamorphosis may mean are overlooked in favor of simpler and baser melodrama and thrills and spills - a shame.
Nonetheless, the transformation of Bill Shatner's character and the psychological horrors associated with it are undeniably compelling to watch, and the actor gives a typically energetic (though not particularly nuanced) performance as those around him try to literally cook the alien infestation out of his body.
Indeed, the actor, portraying a disquieting and unnerving metamorphosis, is challenged in unusual ways in this installment.
And when is it not fun to watch Bill Shatner going insane on-screen?
Now, to the hair...
The episode features a typical-for-the-time "Jim Kirk Lace" and contains plenty of unusual ruffling of the toupee:
As the character craves heat, we have a rare chance to see how Bill Shatner's toup reacts to steam (in actuality stage smoke):
We should note that many of these scenarios are frequently replicated by our toupologists at the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies, albeit with dummies and stand-ins.
Star Trek's Malachi Throne (right) is a guest-star in the episode.
So, in short: plenty of ruffling.
The episode also features an unusual moment that is strikingly similar to the famous (not yet written by this point) opening monologue of Star Trek - in 1964, Bill Shatner was only months away from receiving a phone call that would change his life. Did his very human performance in The Outer Limits as an astronaut seeking out "new worlds, new life..." impress and even subconsciously inspire Gene Roddenberry? Listen below:
"Cold Hands, Warm Heart" is available as part of The Outer Limits season 2 DVD. The episode is also, at present, up on YouTube. Fun, but falls far short of classic.