Science Fiction Theatre – Conversation with an Ape (06/11/55)

Dr. Guy Stanton (Beaver’s dad, Hugh Beaumont) brings his new wife back to his home in the Florida Everglades.  He apologizes for it being a dump, saying he is just now seeing it with her eyes.  Did he get her out of a catalog?  How could she never have seen it?  Oh, she mentions she met him at a convention a week ago.

Nancy assures Guy that she is on Cloud 7. [1]   SFT actually comes so close to making a pretty good joke that I’m envious.  Nancy smacks a pillow and an absurd amount of dust flies from it.  She smirks at Guy, “Cloud # 1.”

Still, she is prepared to be the dutiful 1950’s wife and vows to turn the shack into a castle — at least until they hear a truck go by.  Guy sheepishly informs his new wife that it was a prison truck, “There is a penitentiary about 10 miles down the road, just beyond the swamp.  We’re sort of located here in the heart of a swamp.”  This seems to come as a surprise to Nancy.  Was she blind-folded on the trip there?  Alligator Alley is a miraculous achievement, but you only end up in the middle of the Everglades after going through miles of nothing (hence, the ever part).

This is not the titular ape

They go for a kiss, but are interrupted by a screeching noise. Guy leaves the room and returns with his ape Terry.  Then there is another screeching noise — Nancy is horrified! Guy assures her Terry is harmless and is his star pupil.  He tells Terry, “Go on out to the kitchen and have a banana.”  He reminds Nancy he is an Animal Psychologist.  He keeps hundreds of animals.  She becomes hysterical and runs right up to the bedroom in tears even though she has never been in the house before.

Foreshadowing what will happen later that night, Guy pleads with her in the bedroom.  He convinces Nancy to meet the gang.  He has actually been teaching Terry to recognize certain words and he even read a few.  Guy even claims to communicate telepathically — the X-Factor, he calls it.  Nancy is not impressed.  She says this marriage is not going to work.  Guy asks her for just one week to finish up his experiments.  Even though Guy makes a breakthrough with Terry, Nancy packs her bags.  As Guy prepares to drive Nancy back to normal civilization (i.e out of The Everglades Florida), an escaped prisoner barges in with a gun.

This is not the titular ape

He is filthy after crawling through the swamp for 18 hours, and demands food and keys to the car.  He hears a noise and Guy tells him there is a chimpanzee in the kitchen.  The prisoner’s reaction is more like Guy said there was a refrigerator in the kitchen.  They bring Terry out to the living room.  As they are held at gun-point, Guy sends telepathic signals to Terry.

When the humans go into the kitchen, Terry goes upstairs and fetches a pistol as Guy wordlessly commanded.  He gives Guy the pistol and Guy disarms the prisoner.  Now that Terry has saved their lives, Guy asks Nancy if she is still going to leave.  She looks at the chimp and simply says, “Terry?”  Terry puts on her hat, picks up her suitcase and takes it upstairs.  “The X-Factor!” they say in unison, chuckling, until Terry shits in her hat.

This episode got a bit of a boost from the cast.  It was fun seeing Ward Cleaver in a different role.  Barbara Hale was pretty snappy as Nancy, just 2 years before she became Della Street on Perry Mason.[2]  And, of course, apez is funny.  Aside from that, it was the usual tripe.

Terry the ape


  • [1] This is the second time that phrase has been used in this series.  What happened to Cloud 9?
  • [2] The Perry Mason books have the most misleading covers in publishing.  I got suckered in by The Case of the Long-Legged Models (1958) and The Case of the Foot Loose Doll (1958) before wising up.  I doubt the stories inside were titillating even 60 years ago.  However, I did not take a chance with The Case of the One-Eyed Witness (1950).  
  • For man, woman or ape there just aren’t many more blah names than Terry.  Although, there is the occasional Teri exception.
  • Whether for the censors or the carpet, Terry is wearing a diaper, although it seems to be taped to his butt rather than wrapping around.


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