Science-Fiction Theatre – The Brain of John Emerson (05/21/55)

sftbrainof02Six months ago, Police Sargent John Emerson was brought in to the Bannister Hospital with “multiple head gunshot wounds” even though he only has one head.  “A bullet was lodged in the brain.  His skull was fractured”.  He hovered near death for three months.  Finally, he moved a finger, then his legs.  A week later he could see.  Soon he could speak and walk.  Then his insurance ran out so they released him.

When he comes home from the hospital, his hot gal is there.  His sense of smell must be lagging because he doesn’t smell her cooking him dinner when he enters his apartment, and she surprises him. He tells her he is fine, but ironically Dr. Turner who saved his has died of  heart attack.

After lying around for three months, he has to take the lieutenant’s exam the next day.  But he hasn’t studied!  He doesn’t even know where the class is! [1]  He takes the test anyway.  His captain is stunned when the test results come back.  Emerson was scored as having a cute little 119 IQ when he joined the force; now he has scored 173 [2].  The captain knows Emerson to be too honest to cheat, so he hands him his new lieutenant badge.

The next day Mr. Fancypants goes to see a psychologist, “Dr. Franklin, I’m Police Lieutenant John Emerson.”  He asks the doctor if brain surgery can induce physical changes in a person.  Franklin says, “There are certain types of surgery that produce smart personality changes.”  He cites a lobotomy as an example.  What?  I guess Joe Kennedy was a great guy after all, maybe just prepping Rosemary for Jeopardy.  Ironically, the same procedure likely would have raised Ted’s IQ.

sftbrainof14They decide to go to Dr. Turner’s lab to see if they can account for this change in IQ.  Luckily, the heart doctor seems to have shared an office with the psychologist.  The door to Turner’s lab is in Franklin’s office.  Strangely, like deja vu, Emerson seems to know the names of the lab animals and know all about the medical equipment.  Franklin suggests Turner imparted this newfound wisdom to Emerson by playing recordings to him while he was in a coma; in much the same way I watch this show.

That night, Emerson goes to Turner’s house.  Mrs. Turner confronts him with a gun.  He says he didn’t break in, he just knew where Dr. Turner had kept the spare key.  He wants to see Turner’s workshop.  “It’s in the basement,” she says.  “I know,” he replies.  He further stuns her by knowing that the workshop key was hidden in the clock.  However, he stops short of telling her he knows what she looks like naked.

sftbrainof09In the workshop, they find a lot of animals.  Turner had changed their brains so enemy species get along. Literally, dogs and cats living together.  Also hawks and guinea pigs in the same rectum cage [3]. Franklin gives Emerson sodium pentothal and he recalls a tape that Turner made.  Turner, on the tape, says that if Emerson discovered this tape on his own, then his theories have been proven correct.  Emerson vows to continue the doctor’s research.  Mrs. Turner gives him the lab.  Great, he got shot in the head, and all he got was this lousy homework.

There are 39 episodes in this first season of Science Fiction Theatre.  Oh the humanity.

I rate it 50 IQ points.


  • [1] Or is it just me that has that nightmare?
  • [2] Hmmm . . . they only clocked Stephen Hawking at 160.
  • [3] I will be the first to agree that the strikeout is the lowest form of comedy. However, I find it elevating when I do it.
  • Reading Star Trek: The 50 Year Mission, I was happy to see a shout-out to Science Fiction Theatre.  One of the interviewees was afraid Star Trek would turn out this corny.
  • Come on, John Howard (Emerson) was just in last week’s episode!  Give someone else a chance!  He still strikes me as an above-average actor, even if it is in that affected 1950s style.

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