Friday, November 27, 2020

TALES OF TOMORROW / "Appointment On Mars" - 1952

Here's a wild one from the TOT gang. In this episode, three men man a rocket and go to Mars where they will mine for rare minerals and ore to take back to Earth to cash in. But, things don't go as planned...

It stars Leslie (FORBIDDEN PLANET) Nielsen, William (CONQUEST OF SPACE) Redfield and Brian (METEOR) Keith.

So, three explorers from Earth, Robbie, Bart and Jack, land on Mars in their shiny spaceship. Mars is a very strange place. This is a pretty cool set for such a low budget production.

The boys celebrate by bringing out a cooler with cans of beer inside, and they chug them down. Robbie opens them up with a for real church-key!

But, Bart is having weird. ominous feelings about the place. He wants to know why there's plant life but no animal life, it's not adding up...

But, they have a job to do, so they head out to search for the things they came here for. I showed this still because they are wearing freaking bowling shoes! But, you gotta remember that they are just three regular guys (that built a spaceship?) from Earth.

Oh, I got it, they met at a bowling alley!

Bart strikes gold as they say, he's found a huge uranium deposit, I mean huge! Robbie's already counting his cut of the fortune...

They even stake a claim! Like, in case some other earthlings show up? What?!!

Robbie goes off to check something out but returns when he hears Bart and Jack arguing. Jack has a horrible headache and has to deal with Bart who claims that Jack took his lucky rabbit's foot after he laid it down. Robbie tells them to calm down and he leaves again.

So, Bart and Jack get right back into it. Bart attacks Jack with that rock hammer and they tussle until Robbie comes back to break up the fight. Bart says he's going to shoot Jack!

Robbie's in a real pickle, Bart will not give him his gun because he's paranoid of Martians attacking him!! And Jack won't give him his gun because Bart won't give his up!!

That night, something wakes up Bart. He starts shooting into the dark and wakes the others up. He keeps firing away and Robbie tries to stop him.

But, Bart ends up with a bullet in the gut, he's dead! Bart cannot believe what has just happened and is a little in shock. Then it happens... Jack accuses Robbie of murdering Bart for his share of the money from the uranium. Which of course is not true, it was an accident. 

Jack demands that Robbie show him how to use the controls of the spaceship but Robbie tells him that, oh, I see, you're planning on leaving me on Mars, aren't you?!

Robbie makes a break and at a distance they start firing at each other. Robbie takes a bullet and charges at Jack.

After taking another hit, he gets to Jack and chokes him out before dying himself.

Finally, two Martians appear (in voice only) and say that it was so easy to create paranoia in the earthlings, leading to their demise. And... It would be interesting to check out their spaceship, which I took for, lets go to Earth and mess with the people there!! Join us again tomorrow as we'll try and give you what you want, here at The Dungeon!!..


KD said...

Ohh...I had the incredible opportunity to interview Leslie Nielsen back in May of 1991, on a movie set for THE CREATURE WASN'T NICE aka SPACESHIP aka NAKED SPACE, and among other things (special attention to FORBIDDEN PLANET of course!), I asked him about this early LIVE television sci-fi drama.

What he revealed to me (and has been written about in years since), is that his blanks-firing gun FAILED, but they knew they had to kill each other at the end of the story, so he ran back and started "strangling" Brian Keith, until they were both motionless, in other words, "DEAD!" Then fade out...

So Mr. Nielsen and Mr. Keith got up and ran into the control room to find out if it worked okay on the screen, and was broadcast out to the unknowing television viewers! Well, it looked okay...sort-of! They were both DEAD!

Nielsen did seem very fond of those days of live half-hour television dramas, which is great, as he did MANY of them, for TALES OF TOMORROW, LIGHTS OUT, SUSPENSE, and others. And his memory and recall was "spot-on!"

KD said...

That's May of 1981 (when I met Nielsen). Sorry for the goof!

TABONGA! said...

Thanks for the info about this episode K. I thought there was something a little weird there with that scene with Robbie and Jack, but not enough to really dwell on it.

Brian Schuck said...

This is very reminiscent of the 1st season Twilight Zone episode "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" (1960), in which astronauts turn on each other after crash landing on an unknown planet. I'm sure Tales of Tomorrow had to have had some influence on Rod Serling.

The anecdote about the misfiring prop gun is great! Live TV drama is not for the faint of heart! :)

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