Sam Whipple is reading a newspaper with the headlines KOREAN TRUCE NEGOTIATIONS STALLED and LIVING COSTS ZOOM UP. He comments that things are a mess, then turns to the camera and breaks the 4th cardboard wall.
He tells us he is just a regular Joe, other than inventing a time machine. He starts the story off on June 30, 2052 in the New York office of scientist Dr. Jarvis. Jarvis and his hot daughter are hard at work to find a solution to the rising radioactivity that will destroy the world. And since they are working on Sunday, we can conclude 1) the end of the world is imminent, and 2) this is not a government project.
For some reason, it is Jarvis who has to break this news to the people of earth. He addresses the world, “In a few hours, you and I, all our loved ones, the whole earth will be dead.” He tells them that 100 years ago, a scientist named Thorne placed an element into a cyclotron causing a chain reaction. An error in his calculation caused radiation to increase constantly for a century until it was just now noticed, hours before destroying humanity.
Jarvis and his daughter Mary are able to observe the past on a TV screen. They actually witness the scientist making the faux pas that doomed the earth. Mary suggests time-traveling back to 1952 to stop this catastrophe, but Jarvis says that is impossible. Only someone from that prehistoric era can affect the past.
Jarvis remembers amusing himself by watching Mr. Whipple on the magic TV. They tune in and catch Whipple working on his time machine. Amazingly, at just that second, Whipple perfects his time-travel vest. Even more amazing, it transports him to the very second Jarvis is watching him. Most amazingestly, it brings him into Jarvis’s living room.
Whipple mentions needing money for tuition. Jarvis says, “That is not necessary. The government takes care of everyone’s tuition.” There is no war, and cancer has been cured. He wants to stay in this time, but Jarvis explains the facts of half-life to him.
Whipple agrees to go back to 1952 and stop Dr. Thorne from making his fatal mistake. In the past, Whipple is able to burn Thorne’s notes which apparently contained directions and all known copies of plans for the cyclotron. He goes back home and straps on the time-vest. Unfortunately his sister has smashed the machine so he will stop acting like a kid.
Whipple gives a firehose of exposition as he explains what would have happened if this episode were an hour long. First, I would have jumped off a bridge. Second, he describes how he changed after this adventure. He did not rebuild the time-vest, he became more outgoing, and probably left his sister in a shallow grave.
He even met a girl named Ruth, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Mary Jarvis. I guess it is supposed to be Mary who has come back in time to be with the irresistible Whipple. As they each drink a soda-pop, I think she is trying to give us a wink, but can’t quiet pull it off.
Paul Tripp, who appeared as Whipple also wrote the script. Even aside from the 4th-wall bits, the episode gets a little meta. Mary Jarvis is played by Ruth Enders, who was married to Tripp for 53 years. When he introduces his new girlfriend at the end, he says her name is Ruth.
Objectively, the episode is terrible. Within the context of the era and other episodes of the series, though, it stands out. Whipple certainly is a chirpy fellow but, surprisingly, is not grating. The science and logic is ludicrous, but Tripp is so likable that it doesn’t even matter. It is just a fun little romp.
This is the end of Volume 2. The prices for these DVDs has skyrocketed. The Tale of my Tomorrows does not include a $43.90 Volume 3.
- Unfortunately, most of the time, Whipple’s time-vest looks like he is wearing toilet seat around his neck.
- Available on YouTube.