Tales of Tomorrow – Time to Go (04/18/52)

tttimetogo03It’s 11:30, do you know where your sofa, chair and bookcase are?  If you are Natalie, they are piled up in front of the door.  She next goes for the phone.  It is connected to the wall by some sort of cord, though, so she instead uses it to make a call looking for her husband Michael.  Even without Caller ID, he is able to avoid her call.  Shortly thereafter, Natalie does get a call from Michael.  He got a room at a hotel after they had a fight.

Natalie seems crazy as she says that someone is coming to get her.  And that he said he was going to “close her account” which seems a little too metaphorical even if she is being threatened by a rogue CPA.

Michael foolishly asks her what happened, when did it start, triggering a flashback. Seems like just 2 weeks ago . . .

Natalie gets a letter from a new bank in the neighborhood seeking “prompt, reliable depositors.”  They have no cash to spare, but apparently in the 1950’s people personally followed up on every piece of junk-mail, so she visits the bank.[1]

tttimetogo05She meets the temporally-named Mr. Tickton, the bank president, who assures her there has been no mistake.  This is a different kind of bank.  Besides actually being solvent, it takes deposits of time rather than money. For example, one customer found a new route to work so was able to bank a few extra minutes every day.  Many other male depositors cut their foreplay time in half.  Kudos to Tickton for being honest with Natalie, telling her that the bank staff is not of this world.

Their world is a million light years away with a civilization much like our own . . . except they are able to travel a million light years.  Their society has begun to crumble and decay; so I am starting to see the resemblance.  Their society needs this extra time to rebuild.  After depositing a minute here and an hour there over the years, Natalie would receive back her saved time plus interest at the end of her life in order to be a more prolonged burden on her children. It could be years!

tttimetogo09Natalie gets fanatic about saving time — doing her housework more quickly, skipping lunch, avoiding friends, getting rid of Michael’s dog. Natalie’s efficiency and dog-napping are too much for Michael — he walks out on Natalie.  After Michael drives off, Mr. Tickton makes a house-call.

He has come with bad news.  The transference of time back to his people is not going fast enough. Cosmic pressure and nebula gasses have made drastic action necessary.  Natalie’s account is being closed, and the fine print of the agreement allows them to “borrow” all the time remaining in her life.  She will die at midnight, but get to keep the toaster for opening her account.

Tickton shows up punctually that night to collect Natalie’s time.  There is some ambiguity in the way she is killed, but it was appropriately set-up . . . just not worth detailing.

tttimetogo18Kind of a goofy premise, but the kind of high-concept nonsense I like in my 1950’s sci-fi.  Tickton was suitably creepy and the bank was pretty surreal. For a change, the lack of budget was perfect for the stark set design.

I rate it 20 out of 24 hour.


  • [1] To be fair, junk mail in the 1950’s would not have required a trip to Nigeria to meet the Prince.
  • Natalie (Sylvia Sidney) played Mama Carlson on WKRP.
  • Mr. Tickton was portrayed by Robert H. Harris, last seen in The Safe Place.
  • IMDb
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