Tales of Tomorrow – Many Happy Returns (10/24/52)

Andy is on the pipe and his son Jack is building a still.  Wait, upon closer examination, Andy is smoking a smooth black cherry blend of tobacco; and Jack is not building a condenser coil to make hooch, it is an electrical coil for a science project.  So I had this completely wrong.

Jack is hooking one of them electrocution switches up to the coil.  Andy says he is missing the power supply, but Jack disagrees.  He says Mr. White showed him how to build this powerless machine.

As June is preparing dinner, their friend Dr. Barnes stops by.  The two men are quite giddy about doing some moon-gazing that night.  Their interest baffles June, but Dr. Barnes says, “Astronomy is the oldest science known to man.”  Well other than metallurgy to produce the telescopes, optics to produce the lenses, mathematics to guide the planets and love to steer the stars; although I could be confusing it with the Age of Aquarius.  Yeah, people were looking at the stars long before that, but I think it was pronounced astrology then.

Andy wonders if his son’s mentor Mr. White might be Dr. Barnes’ handyman.  He asks Barnes, “Do you know the last name of your handyman?”  Barnes doesn’t, so I’m guessing he’s not paying any FICA or Medicare; and also I’m guessing his handyman’s last name isn’t White.

That night, Andy goes to the basement to get his telescope.  He takes a look at Jack’s project.  At dinner, Jack insisted that it was working despite having no power supply.  Andy throws the switch and places his hand on the coil.  He gets amps in his pants, a 50,000 watt handshake, does the juicy Watusi, i.e. is unable to release the coil.  June hears the screeching score — which, to be fair, is better than anything of the 1980s TZ scores — and runs down the stairs.  She throws the switch, cutting the power.  Andy collapses, but is alive.

Andy grills Jack about the mysterious Mr. White who taught him to make the machine.  Jack says he never met Mr. White; he just hears his voice in his head.  It seems to be coming from the moon.  The machine enables Mr. White to send things to Jack.  In fact he just received a picture from Mr. White.  He sent a picture of himself to the boy and it is surprisingly not a dick pic.  Mr. White turns out to be a hideous alien.  I am, however, pleased that Mr. White is wearing a Speedo . . . and how often do you get to say that?

Jack’s parents are relieved that he has been corresponding with a deadly alien rather than a congressman, but still send him up to his room.  Andy says to his wife, “This isn’t much of an anniversary for you, is it?”  Since the big day he had planned for her seems to consist of her cooking dinner, then him going out to look at the moon with another dude, she might be happy with the disruption.

Andy tries to get more information out of Jack, but Mr. White somehow takes away his voice.  That’s it!  Andy vows to stop Mr. White, or at least have him perform that voice trick on his wife.  When he learns that the device can also be used to send things to Mr. White on the moon, he comes up with an idea.  He sends a bomb.

More of the same, although this episode seemed even more prehistoric than many others.  That was largely due to the score and the performances, both of which could be called overwrought.  Andy was the most natural of the cast.  I guess we can give Jack a pass as he was just a kid.  His mother, however, has clearly been seeking the shelter of her mother’s little helper.  She is wound up like Sandy Koufax’s fastball. [1]  Dr. Barnes is also a wild man.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] Being unable to name a single active pitcher, I opted for someone of that era; although this episode aired 3 years before his pro career.
  • The episode has the alternate title Invaders from Ground Zero.  So the moon is ground zero?  Well, I guess Andy did send a bomb there.  It seems like pointless misdirection, but it still it has more pizzazz than the title used.  Actually, what does Many Happy Returns have to do with anything anyway?
  • It really felt like the father should be named Jack and the kid should be Andy.

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