Tales of Tomorrow – Youth on Tap (09/26/52)

Pre-inflation Dollar Store — everything is 15 cents.

In an unusual pre-credit opening, one unidentified man kills another unidentified man.  Yeah, that was important enough to shake up the structure.

After the commercial, we open in a diner where Jeff is slow-dancing with his waitress girlfriend.  She pulls away and says, “All week I’ve been waiting for you to come through the door and say ‘Kitty, I’ve got some money.  We can get married now and buy the gas station’.”  Then she wastes money on a pinball machine . . . while talking to her boyfriend . . . which she TILTs.  He says they just need $1,000 by Thursday to buy the station.

A man in a black suit walks in and sits at the counter — presumably one of the men from the first scene, probably the one who was not killed.  Kitty puts on her apron and goes behind the counter.  Although, after after slow-dancing with boyfriend, and playing that grimy pinball machine, I would not want her handling my food.  She snaps at Jeff that maybe she will get a $1,000 tip tonight.  She realizes what a shrew she is being and runs out.

“Very lovely girl,” the man in black lies.  Jeff tells the man the reason he looks beaten down is because he is trying to raise $1,000 . . .  but he has money for cigarettes.  The man — Dr. Platan — plops $1,000 on the table in front of Jeff.  All he wants is a pint of Jeff’s yummy A-negative blood.  Jeff says he might only be a truck driver, but he knows lots of people have A-negative blood [1] and “you can pick it up at any blood-bank” although I’m not sure blood-banks do a brisk over-the-counter business.

Jeff agrees to the deal, happy that he and Kitty can be married that night.  As they get up to leave, Dr. Platan says he must leave through the rear entrance because he is being followed.  Jeff says, “Back-door, front-door, it’s all the same to me” which might cause Kitty to reconsider.

Jeff goes with Platan back to his lab which looks a lot like my grandmother’s living room.  Platan directs Jeff to a bed and hooks him up to the machine that draws the blood.  He had warned Jeff that there would be a slight tingle, but it turns out to be very painful.  He passes out.  Platan is not as unethical as he might seem as he does not bogart the cash he gave Jeff.  He anxiously takes the bottle of blood and transfers a dose to a big-ass syringe, calling it “a new lease on life.”

After the commercial, Jeff regains consciousness on the bed — oddly, face-down.  He threatens to break Platan’s neck, then notices that the doctor looks much younger.  Platan says, “I’ve taken the essence of your youth for myself.  There is a banging at the front door.

An old man busts in and says he’s been tracking Platan for a long time.  He draws a pistol which might have been more effective if it had actually been visible in the frame.  The old man sees Jeff is undergoing the same process Platan performed on him.  He says even though he looks 60, he is only 29.  In days, the 35 year old Jeff will look like a 60 year old man with a 30 year old wife; which is about right in Hollywood.

The old man wants Platan to perform the same procedure again so he can Rogaine regain his youth and vitality.  Platan says he should grab the waitress from the local diner, she has the right blood type.  After threatening to kill Platan for what he did, the old man is surprisingly cool with this plan.  He ties Platan up and leaves the recuperating Jeff to go get Kitty.

The man brings Kitty back to Platan.  He discovers that Kitty is able to give Jeff a new transfusion without suffering the usual side-effects — she will not rapidly age.  So Jeff and Kitty are back to normal.  Platan admits he can’t help the old man because he is the wrong blood type.  I don’t get this, because, his type was obviously compatible during the first transfusion.  But I’m no doctor.

There is a tussle over the gun.  Jeff gives a pretty good speech asking what is the point of Platan living 160 years — he has done nothing with his life.  He has never known love, he is a leech.  In a radical plot twist, never before seen in Hollywood, Jeff decides to let the police handle it.

This was a pretty good episode, of course, grading on a massive curve — this is the “Don’t Buy” of TV reviews.  The acting was better than usual.  Jeff’s final speech was well-done.  There was even a final scene of the happy couple dancing which was a) sweet, and 2) not pure exposition.  It actually infused a little heart into the episode.

Other Stuff:

  • [1] It is about 6% which would have been about 9,000,000 people then.  Still, the odds that he and Kitty were both A- would have been just .36%.  TILT.
  • Robert Alda (Jeff) was Alan Alda’s father.
  • Mary Alice Moore (Kitty) went on to turn the world on with her smile, to take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.  Wait, that was Mary Tyler Moore.  Mary Alice Moore appeared in the Tales of Tomorrow production of Frankenstein.
  • Looking at the old videos, I see the “Who can turn the world on with her smile” line came in a later season.  Originally, the first line was a very downbeat, “How will you make it on your own?

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