Science Fiction Theatre – Time is Just a Place (04/16/55)

sfttimeisjust12After getting on my good side by starting off with old Air Force footage last week, SFT is going back to the well with more footage.  It is just a brief shot, though, and followed up by a picture of a busy highway and a modern home.  The theme is speed, uninterrupted journeys and the convenience of modern gadgets.

Al Brown gets a call telling him his test flight will not be ready until Monday.  I guess one of those modern conveniences is not a dishwasher as his wife Nell is up to her elbows. She gives him a honey-do list of chores and maintenance to do around the house before risking his life for his country.

They see their new neighbor pull into his driveway and look around suspiciously before darting into the house.  Nell had tried ringing their bell a few days early, but got no response other than some noises inside.  Nell suggests they might be criminals, but Al suggests maybe they are newlyweds and the wife was getting her bell rung.

sfttimeisjust03Things get serious when electrical interference from the neighbor’s house disrupts Al’s TV picture.  Al walks next door and he also gets no response from ringing the bell.  Unlike almost every show I’ve watched for this blog, he does not open the door and waltz in uninvited.  This was the 50’s when people had manners and a sense of neighborliness and propriety.  So he peeks in the window.  To his surprise — and mine! — he sees a Roomba scooting around the floor.

The neighbor comes out and busts Al.  He tells him that the device is a “sonic broom” — so it really is a Roomba!  Holy crap, and it has a remote control!  His neighbor Ted tells him, “The pressure of the noise under the hemisphere disintegrates the refuse.”  A feature I will expect to be in the next model.  What a forward-looking series.

The next day, Al is fooling around in his garage and hears Ted trying to start his car.  He offers to help and has Ted pop the hood.  Al asks for a flashlight and Ted’s wife Ann appears with one 2 seconds later.  Before Al can meet her, she rushes back inside.  Al does whatever it is that guys do and the car starts.  Al can’t wait to tell Nell about the inventor who can’t fix a car, and his mind-reading wife.

sfttimeisjust16Going downstairs to change a fuse, Al realizes he has hung on to Ted’s flashlight.  He figures this out when it projects a light that gives him x-ray vision.  He is able to see through the wall, and then his wife’s hand.  Al tries to take the flashlight apart, but it is sealed up tighter than an iPad.  He is again busted by Ted who demands his flashlight back.  Ted has a lot of suspicious questions about the local power grid where Al’s airplane manufacturing plant draws its power, how there radar is powered, and what they do in case of power failure.

Al shows him the wind tunnel in his garage.  Wait, what?  He cranks it up and demon-strates to Ted his problem that aircraft melt when they go faster than sound.  This is a little confusing as the sound barrier was broken 8 years earlier.  Al is searching for an alloy that, under pressure, becomes cold instead of hot.  Ted blurts out “corbolite” and bolts out.

That night, the two couples have dinner.  Ted is concerned the world is getting over-mechanized, too reliant on gadgets.  Al fears an anti-science backlash.  Ted tells him about a sci-fi story he is thinking of writing.  As he just gets the part about a time machine, a storm blows up and the lights flicker, which seems very troubling to Ted.

sfttimeisjust24He continues his story about people using the machines to go back to simpler times.  As people fled the oppressive future, the government outlawed time travel.  They even sent out Timecops to hunt down the fugitives.  Large power grids and radar are able to hide the refugees.  Say, you don’t think . . .

That night, Al is spending a typical 1950s night in bed with his wife — they are in more clothes than I wear to work, in separate beds, and Al is smoking.  They hear a loud noise and go to Ted & Ann’s house.  They are gone and their future toys have been smashed.

A vast improvement over last week.


  • Meh.

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