Tales of Tomorrow – The Miraculous Serum (06/20/52)

ttmiraculousserum05Dr. Scott barges in on Dr. Bache proclaiming that he has “a whole new approach — the thing all medicine has been waiting on.”  He just needs a warm body to experiment on.  Scott (I didn’t go to college for 7 years to type “Dr”) illustrates his theory by saying that if you cut a worm in two, the worm grows a new front end.

I was prepared to call bullshit on this, but actually learned something.  While it is true that an earthworm can’t grow a new front end, some flatworms do have this ability.  In fact, they can be disgustingly cut into 20 pieces and regenerate into 20 disgusting new flatworms.  Scott calls this adaptation whereas I might just call it regeneration (but then, I can’t even type doctor).  In any case, modern medicine is studying this just as Scott is doing here.

The serum Scott has synthesized was used on tubercular guinea pigs who overcame  their tubercular bacillus to the point where they could live in an ass for days.  Rabid dogs were also cured, as was a cat with a fractured spine.  He further claims it will work on “arthritis, pneumonia, spinal meningitis and toothaches.”  Bache agrees that if he gets a desperate enough patient, they will give it a try.

ttmiraculousserum07He soon finds such a patient.  Because she is fully insured, he must find a way to prolong her life.  He calls for Scott and his serum. Carol Williams has only minutes to live, so agrees to test the serum.

Some time later, back at casa de Bache, he and Scott are waiting on Carol to arrive.  Bache asks Scott if he might have paid more attention to Carol if she had been beautiful. Scott says he isn’t really interested in things like that, which is possibly what prompted his guinea pig research.

Hours later, Carol finally shows up.  She is now a fabulous babe, although she wasn’t exactly hideous when she was in the hospital.  She is so thankful for Scott “giving her the world” that she lays a kiss on him.  She burns her hand lighting Bache’s pipe, but is not harmed.  Bache ignores this super-human feat as he is more interested how Carol afforded her new dress.

She is quite proud of how she lifted a man’s wallet and got away with it.  Bache considers this part of the adaption that cured her.  She needed the money, so she just instinctively took it with no regard to ethics or morality.  She claims it was $5,000 so this must have been a pretty big wallet.  Bache suggests that she go to bed, as I do to all women with no ethics or morality.

ttmiraculousserum10Scott is protective of Carol, but Bache says she has to be “taken care of” like an outbreak of the Black Plague. Scott claims that her adaptability has made her safer than any human being in history.  Bache points out that the rest of the world might not be so safe from her.  They discover that she has fled the house.

The two men are tracking Carol. They discover newspaper reports from Washington of “a 10th cabinet member” [1] further illustrating her descent in lawlessness. She seems to crave power.  Carol unexpectedly shows up in their office.  She is back because now she knows “who I am and what I want.”  She wants Scott to join her in conquering the world.

Bache suggests that they will have to kill her.  He believes her fancy adaptability would not protect her against the laws of physics, “like being run over by a steam-roller”.  Sadly, they forego this option in favor of suffocating her with CO2.  They are only going to knock her out, though, and get her to a hospital to be cured.  Scott lights a candle in her room, and watches from outside to see when it goes out, indicating the room is full of CO2; also to see if she is naked.

ttmiraculousserum14Carol wakes up in the hospital.  She claims to have had a change of heart and realizes that stealing was wrong. We cut to a newspaper headline: Brain Operation Fails to Cure Thief. Just a completed botch, but maybe partially due to the time it was filmed.

First, the headline is very confusing because it is not referring to the operation on Carol. It is referring to a lobotomy which she does not seem to have gotten.  And it refers to an unsuccessful attempt to “fix” a criminal, whereas her operation seems to have been a success.  So, the headline and voice-over are offering a general commentary on scientists “working toward the day when crime will end.”  Maybe another cabinet position will help.

Second, a more modern telling would have not had such a happy resolution.  She would have taken over the world.  Or the doctors would have sacrificed her life to protect humanity.  Or maybe they would have used the steam-roller.

I like the potential of the concept, it just wasn’t well executed.

Post-Post:

  • [1] There were indeed 9 cabinet positions in 1953, after Health and Human Services was added that year.  Now there are 15, thus explaining why things are so much better now.
  • Written by Theodore Sturgeon famous for novels, Star Trek and Tales of Tomorrow.  But mostly novels and Star Trek.

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