Tales of Tomorrow – The Children’s Room (02/29/52)

ttchildroom02Bill suggests to his young son Walt that it is time to go to bed, and that it might be better to go now rather than wait for his “old lady” to say so.  Walt is engrossed in his studies but takes the time to help his old man [1] with a physics problem.

Walt points out that Bill has made a simple mistake in converting, from Fahrenheit to Centigrade [2].  To be honest, this hits close to home — I screwed up that 9/5 vs 5/9 thing on a test in high school and am still bitter about it.

Walt’s old lady Rose enters and indeed orders him off to bed.  Bill smacks him on the butt and tells him to head upstairs.  Walt seems to need no sleep, but his mother insists that he go to bed and not play pup-tent with his textbook; or copy of Spicy Adventure.

Rose is appalled at Walt’s behavior, but Bill defends him as just being a normal boy with an IQ of 240!  Just like me, except for the IQ part.  Rose insists there is something wrong with him.  “Half the time he speaks a language that makes no sense.  He uses words an ordinary person can’t even comprehend.  And those horrible books with the strange markings.”  When Rose asks him what they mean, Walt says she is stupid.

After Rose goes to visit her mother, Bill goes up to Walt’s room.  He is reading one of those books with the strange markings.  Walt shows his father the book and he too can read the odd language.  I don’t know what the text’s symbols are, but I’d hate to try to board an airplane with it [3]. Walt says he got the book from the titular Children’s Room at the library. Bill remembers seeing no such room.

Bill takes the book to the library and is ridiculed for suggesting that it came from there. The librarian says, “Are you trying to tell me that these foolish hieroglyphics are readable!”  He asks for the Children’s Room and is told that there is no such place, but on the bright side, she doesn’t call the police.

There is a neat (for 1952) lighting effect where a wall of the library transforms into an entrance to the Children’s Room.  The librarian instructs Bill to read the book, as he is one of the few adults who can understand it.  The book tells him that he is a “mutation, a superior human being, a deviation from the normal.”  It informs him that such mutants must unite, because aliens are on the way to enslave us.  She says she needs to take Walt and that he can come with them.  Rose isn’t smart enough to join them, though.

ttchildroom13The next week, Rose chews Bill out for going out the last five nights. Last night, she followed him to the library. Maybe he is into the librarian type — like, you know, a librarian.  Bill implores her to understand for just a while longer.  She snaps at Walt for reading books she can’t understand. He replies, “Poor mother, you’re not one of us.  You’re just plain, poor mother.”  Walt tells her he is a superior human being.  Maybe Bill is right — this is a typical teenager.

Bill returns home to find Rose in tears.  When Rose tried to take the book away from Walt, he slapped her.  They go to Walt’s room where Bill tears up the book — i.e., renders it unreadable by tearing out a couple of pages.  Bill says they will go fishing the next day and everything will be A-OK.  Walt seems to agree, but after his parents leave, he gets another volume of the book from the secret place where he hides the swimsuit pages torn from the Sears catalog [4].  Hearing the call of the librarian, he leaves a note and climbs out the window.

This is more ambitious than most of the episodes.  Tales of Tomorrow had already used the concept of evolving humans in The Dark Angel and The Miraculous Serum, but this one was more intense.  It was primarily children involved, they are turned against their parents, there is a clandestine cabal running things, and an alien invasion seems imminent.

Frankly, this last point was ill-conceived as it lends some positive purpose to the events.


  • [1] Strange how “old lady” is offensive and disrespectful, but “old man” sounds warm and chummy.
  • [2] Actually the name was officially changed to Celsius in 1948.  Like the Metric system, it just can’t seem to catch-on.
  • [3] I mean like El-Al — there would be no problem in this country.
  • [4] See, this was pre-Playboy.  And Sears was a huge chain of department stores “where America shopped”.  And a catalog was this 3-inch thick paper magazine they would send out with pictures of their products.  And teenage boys . . . yada yada.

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