Science Fiction Theatre – Dead Storage (10/08/55)

Army engineers are using a chainsaw to cut something from the ice in the Arctic, and that always turns out well.  They teletype their findings to the Institute of Scientific Research in DC, apparently a competitor to the United States Scientific Research Commission in DC mentioned in an earlier episode.  The narrator tells us they found something frozen the ice, “a weird, frightening relic belonging to the very dawn of time.”

Dr. Robinson tears the report from the teletype.  He is adamant that the object be preserved.  Dr. Avery says, “All those specimens found in Siberia were completely ruined in the excavating.”  This is as close as they get to divulging that a mammoth has been found.  Whether this is a flaw in the script or an effort to build suspense, I do not know; but I have a hunch.  Because the object has been exposed to the sun, Robinson wires them back to pack it in ice and fly it back to DC in a refrigerated plane.

“Hour 3: Still melting.”

Zoologist Dr. Myrna Griffen joins the team when the mammoth lands in DC.  Over her objections, reporter Warren Keath also joins the group.  They observe the block of ice through a window.  Steam is piped in to melt the ice, and it is about as exciting as watching ice melt.  Keath asks what Robinson expects to find.  He says, “even though he has been dead for half a million years, his organs might still contain living material such as bacteria.”  Dr. Griffen suggests that if the specimen was flash-frozen, they might even be able to briefly revive it.

Finally, by 5 am, all the ice has melted.  The group goes to see the specimen which is a mammoth.  We are 10 minutes into the episode, and just learning this.  There is no big reveal — and God knows SFT loves them some crazy orchestral stingers — so, I think they really did just forget to script that fact earlier.

Despite the all-doctor cast (even the reporter has a PhD), this is not a bright bunch.  It is described as “larger than any animal we know now” totally dissing the blue whale.  The mammoth, maybe 5 feet tall, is described as being just a year old.  OK, but one of the doctors says it will grow to 10 times its current size.  Really, like the size of the Cloverfield monster?  They actually seemed to top out around 12 feet.

And I assume this brain-trust designed the equipment.  While I appreciate that it is not just a bank of blinking lights, why would the gauges be 7 feet off the ground so you needed a step-ladder or, fortuitously, a mammoth to read them?

They apply a “galvanic shock” to revive the beast.  Dr. Griffen has said it could only revive it for a few heartbeats so I don’t know what the point is.  After the shock, Dr. Robinson says, “Apply the oxygen”.  This is to be done with a standard human-sized face-mask.  Which 10% of the beast’s mouth will it cover?  Or was it used on the end of its trunk?  Sadly, the picture is too dark to tell, because that would have been a hoot.  It’s all good, though, as the mammoth leaps to its feet.

30 minutes later, the group is observing the mammoth through a window.  Keath and Griffen want to go into the steam-room to take pictures and maybe have a schvitz.  Robinson reluctantly agrees.  They find the mammoth to be agitated.  Aside from being revived from the dead, being yanked from Mammoth-heaven, awakening 400,000 years later to the crushing loneliness of being the only mammoth on earth, and being enclosed in a strange wood-paneled room under florescent lights rarely, if ever, found in nature during the Pliocene epoch, they can find no reason.

Dr. Griffen suggests maybe it misses its mammy.  It could be Griffen’s own maternal instinct kicking in.  She reveals to Keath that her husband and son were killed in an accident five years earlier, although that might just have been her way of saying she is available.  Just to make the beast’s misery complete, they name him Toby.

Toby begins to eat and grow, however.  This, despite that fact that the doctors calling him a mammoth is really just fat-shaming.  The doctors agree Toby can be released to an open area to live in open air.  They hire a driver to take him to a compound where he can live to a ripe old age as long as it is not the Kennedy compound.  Dr. Griffen is quite the good sport.  Seeing Toby is scared of the trailer he is being hauled in, she rides with him in the tiny trailer.  Unfortunately, the truck jack-knifes on the way.  Dr. Griffen is found unconscious, but Toby has honorably stayed by her side, not galumphing his fat ass off to lawyer-up and fabricate a laughably transparent lie about the accident. [1]

The accident puts Myrna in the hospital, and Tobey is moping around too. Keath visits her in the hospital and sees a newspaper headline TOBY NEAR DEATH.  Against doctor’s orders, Myrna leaves the hospital with Keath to see if Tobey is OK.  Sadly, Tobey dies seconds after they arrive.  Keath suggests Tobey died because he was unloved by another mammoth and uses the opportunity to ask Myrna to dinner.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] When is that freakin’ Chappaquiddick movie coming out?  I’ve been hearing about it for months.  IMDb says it is a 2017 movie, but it now has a 2018 release date.  I smell a conspiracy.  Roswell!  Roswell!  If this is my last post . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.