Science Fiction Theatre – Y.O.R.D. (04/30/55)

The voice-over tells us we are on “the campus of one of our great universities near Washington, DC.” This is immediately called into question as they have a Department of Parapsychology.

Lt. Col. Van Dyke busts into the office of Dr. Lawton despite a sign that warns, EXPERIMENT IN PROGRESS — DO NOT ENTER.” The dick, Van Dyke, finds Lawton has hooked up brain-scanning equipment to his smoking hot assistant Edna to test for ESP.  She closes her eyes and Lawton says to her, “I’m focusing on something I’m holding in my hand.  I’m sending you a mental picture.”  She bucks the odds by guessing he is holding a yellow pencil, rather than his junk, but she is correct.  He congratulates her on getting 21 out of 30.  But really, since she was guessing from an almost infinite number of possibilities rather than say a deck of playing cards or different shapes, this is miraculous.  Or maybe he’s pulling a Venkman.

sftyord24Van Dyke interrupts to say the government wants Lawton to go the North Pole.  The all-man crew at the weather station are “in a state of mind that is incredible and unreal. They are suddenly psychic.” Eighteen hours later, Lawton, Van Dyke and Edna are on the way to the North Pole.  The pilot radios ahead that he is landing with “one witch doctor, one chicken colonel [1], and one luscious babe.”  One of the men senses their friend Grayson is in trouble, so they rush out to find him before he freezes or has to cut open a tauntaun.

“The Brain, the Brass, and the Babe” land and enter the one-room base.  The men ask Dr. Lawton how they knew where Grayson was when they sensed he needed help. Lawton tests Warrant Officer Milligan by looking at a picture in a book and asking Milligan to guess what it is.  He correctly guesses a tiger, a leopard and a panther.  After a series of questions, Lawton scores Milligan at 66%, or three times normal, demonstrating this show has zero understanding of statistics.  Every man on the base was able to psychically identify cards, shapes and numbers.

“It was far after midnight when Edna was subjected to the same tests, and she was on her way to an unheard of 100%.”  Of course, being the only woman around for a thousand miles, she didn’t need to be psychic to read these guy’s minds.  After a string of perfect responses, she begins getting signals from a different source — the word YORD for example.

Star Trek’s DeForest Kelley was 35 in this episode. By comparison, Karl Urban was 37 as McCoy in the reboot.

In the middle of the night, everyone is awakened as Milligan unconsciously sends a radio signal, “YORD.”  Edna faints and, if I am not mistaken, Dr. Hall [2] takes this opportunity to brush his hand along her prominent breasts. The less Trumpian officers put a gizmo on Edna’s head as she is still comatose and record her brain-waves.  The waves are translated into sounds.  Through a means too ludicrous to describe, the sounds are transcribed into English letters, but still gibberish by the CIA.  The mysterious YORD is used as a key.

In a cryptological feat of Kanamitian proportions, the CIA is able to decipher the four letters as standing for DISASTER CALL ADVISE WHAT TO DO.  Van Dyke, now back in DC, wires the full transcript to Lawton.  It is an SOS from alien Exploration Ship 7 radioing home that they are losing power.  This signal mixed with the magnetism of the North Pole — even though they aren’t at the North Magnetic Pole — caused their psychic abilities.

The gang comes up with a method for the alien ship to descend to earth slowly enough so it doesn’t burn up . . . because there’s nothing aliens like better than a bunch of hairless apes telling them how to park after they’ve crossed the galaxy.  Since Edna had the most psychic ability, they put the gizmo back on sftyord04her head and use her to transmit the instructions . . . because it will be much better coming from a woman. The ship falls to Earth and eventually disappears from the radar.
Another station radios that the alien ship was destroyed in a fireball.  Dr. Lawton is philosophical over their failure to save the alien ship.  At least now we know we are not alone in the universe, and we know that interplanetary travel is possible.

Another overwhelmingly meh episode.


  • [1] A Chicken Colonel is a full Colonel, but it has been established that Van Dyke is a Lt. Colonel.  Witch doctor and luscious babe are pretty on-target, though.
  • [2] DeForest Kelley, 11 years before playing McCoy on Star Trek.
  • Rachel Ames was previously seen in The Hidden Thing.
  • Leon Benson has a ton of directing credits, most involving shows with horses or dolphins.  This is his only writing credit.

Watch that hand, bub!

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