Ray Bradbury Theater – Colonel Stonesteel and the Desperate Empties (S5E4)

bradbury02Young Charlie is bored.  Soon, he will not be the only one.

For reasons unknown, he runs to Colonel Stonesteel’s house.  Charlie complains that nothing ever happens in their town. Stonesteel reminds him that Labor Day is coming up — four cars, floats, fireworks, the mayor.  Charlie is right, this is a dull town. At least in the short story there were seven cars.

Stonesteel takes Charlie into his house in search of excitement, and asks him if he is interested in the Graveyard (the basement) or the junkyard (the attic).  Charlie opts for the attic.  The old man constructs a mummy out of wire and old newspapers.  They then hide it in a farmer’s field.

The farmer finds it and brings it into town, interrupting the Labor Day parade with some real excitement.

And it goes on and on.  Harold Gould can pull off Bradbury’s words like few others, but the boy is a boring as the Labor Day parade; even the one with four cars.

The episode wraps up like the end of Stand By Me.  Charlie has become a famous author, and we see him finishing off a book about his childhood.  Now an adult, he sees one of the neighborhood boys out the window and invites him in.

I can’t even work up the enthusiasm to point out how strange it is that these men like to hang out with 13 year old boys.

Kind of a snoozer, unworthy of the polysyllabic title.


  • Original short story title: Colonel Stonesteel’s Genuine Home-Made Truly Egyptian Mummy.
  • Just a whole lotta nothing.  I thought maybe there was an historical figure named Stonesteel, but I found nothing.  Thought maybe “desperate empties” was a pre-existing phrase, but found nothing again.

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