The characters, plotlines, quotes, etc. included here are owned by MCA-Universal, all rights reserved. The following transcript is in no way a substitute for the show "Probe".It is provided as a service for those who have never been able to watch it, and as a source of information for those who have.Transcribed by myself (Regina), contact me at vespertanmer@yahoo.com

This transcript is not authorized or endorsed by MCA-Universal.

Guide to brackets:

{} are cut scenes.

[] are comments by either myself or Suzanne.

 

Probe

Opener: (Theme plays.)

  1. Black and white photo of Austin James, two years old, beside a tower of blocks that reads: Antiferromagnetic.
  2. Black and white photo with him, wearing a prize ribbon, standing beneath a large dinosaur.
  3. Slow pan across a scene from "Metamorphic Anthropoidic Prototype Over You".
  4. Black and white photo, signed "Love, Mom and Dad".Has Austin (twelve years old) between two dummies dressed in fifties clothing, heads made of deep-dish serving platters, and arms made of dryer tubing.
  5. Pan across a panel of fifty year old men playing chess, ending in Austin (about fifteen) making a move.

Starring

Parker Stevenson

  1. Scene from the second part of the pilot.
  2. Scene from "Plan 10 From Outer Space"
  3. Black and white of a group of lab coated Asian men, ending with Austin (again fifteen)
  4. Black and white: an eleven year old girl in a ballerina tutu.
  5. Black and white: Michelle Castle standing in front of a blackboard, wide stunned grin, holding a diploma from Tidewater Secretarial School.The blackboard has a bubble drawn on it, arrow pointing at Mickey's head, which reads "Most likely to get an understanding boss!"

And

Ashley Crow

  1. Scenes from the pilot.

Created By

Isaac Asimov

And

Michael Wagner

  1. Black and white: Mickey juggling balls, with a determined look on her face, Austin, sitting next to her, his right hand on his face.
  2. Two scenes from "Untouched by Human Hands".
  3. Scene from the pilot.
  4. Black and white: Austin, his index finger out, a grain of sand on it, the camera pulls in, then fades into
  5. The galaxy, then pulls way back to fade into another black and white of Mickey and Austin sitting at a table, a glass of water between them, staring at each other.

Guest Stars

Michael Constantine

May Britt

And

Sam Currie

As

Tish

 

Music by

Sylvester Levay

 

Produced by

Stephen Caldwell

And

Michael Piller

 

Written By

Michael Wagner

 

Directed By

Virgil Vogel

 

 

 

Episode 7"Plan 10 From Outer Space"

 

Act One, Scene 1

 

(Lightning flashes across the sky.We see a building built of squares, multileveled on the ground.Cut to: inside and across a room, finally settling on a man, forty, balding, typing, wearing a blindfold.He's the only one in the room.)
MAN: It stinks!I don't like it and I'm not going to type it.And I'm taking the manuscript!(Grabs the paper out of the typewriter and alongside the typewriter.)So what!That's your problem.When you're ready to write something that isn't a lot of dripping nonsense--.(The typewriter is pushed off the table by an unseen force.)You've done that for the last time!I'm standing up (stands) and I'm taking off this damn blindfold so I can see you.What are you doing!?(Lightning strikes a rod on the building, the man turns to the French doors behind him and a bright light with lightning tentacles knocks him to the floor.)

 

Act One, Scene 2

(Outside, storm over.A car is driving up to the house.)

MICKEY: (voiceover, very dramatically)'The smoke cleared slowly. Tindor helped Shondalia through the wreckage to the lower decks of the starcruiser.The battle was over.(The car pulls up to the house and stops.)The beast with radar eyes stood oxidized in the hatchway.(They get out of the car.MICKEY is reading by flashlight.)The six moons of the blue planet could be seen retreating over the scarred and smoking battlefield.It was then Tindor knew his destiny had been fulfilled.'(MICKEY bumps into AUSTIN who has stopped walking.)

AUSTIN: The guy has a dozen lightning rods on the roof.(They walk to the front door and AUSTIN knocks.)

MICKEY: '"My life is here with you," he said to Shondalia."Together we will rule over the mutants of Elbub in the gravity halls of Zahm."And as they fell into each other's arms and kissed, the citizens of a thousand worlds cheered.'(She sighs with pleasure and then taps AUSTIN on the arm.)So!

AUSTIN: Do you have any idea how large a radar eye would have to be?

MICKEY: Austin!It's a story; you're not supposed to believe it.You're supposed to get caught up in the power of the author's imagination.I liked it.(AUSTIN knocks again.)

MAID (HELGA): (Opens the door.)Who's there?

AUSTIN: Austin James.We came as fast as we could.Mr. Smith all right?

HELGA: Come in.This way please.(They walk into a southwestern house, past a large pile of sand, into the living room.)

MICKEY: (whispers) Austin, there's a pile of sand.

AUSTIN: Indoor beach.(To maid)He left a message on my machine last night.Said he had to see me.We've been driving all day long.Where is he?(The maid walks ahead through a door and hallway.She opens French doors to reveal a table set with a white tablecloth, for dinner, a redheaded woman in a green satin dress, seated, drinking a glass of wine.This is TISH.)

TISH: Well, Mr. James, here you are.We'd just about given you up.I'm Tish, Truman's wife.(Rises and pulls AUSTIN by the arm to the table.He looks back at MICKEY, bemused.)You sit over here, next to me.Truman will be in in just a minute.

AUSTIN: You said it was a matter of life or death.

TISH: Oh, he'll explain all that.Would you like something to drink?

AUSTIN: I've been calling this house for twelve hours.As long as we've been on the road.No answer.Now I want somebody to tell me what's going on, now.

TISH: Truman will, darling.He's going to tell you a wonderful story, if he gets the nerve.

TRUMAN: It isn't a story! (They turn to face the man who was typing.He's wearing a bandage on his head, and dark glasses over his eyes.)What are you all standing up for?Sit down!(He sits down, and TISH does too.)Helga, where's my dinner!The phones are fouled up.That damn lightning last night.Sit down!She's right.I have something extraordinary to tell you.I hope you can handle it.

MICKEY: I'm hungry.

AUSTIN: Does it have anything to do with sand and those lightning rods?

MICKEY: (Dips her finger in some food and eats it.) Let's eat.

AUSTIN: All right.

TRUMAN:I told you he'd see them.(Yells at MICKEY who almost sat in a chair.)No, you don't, not there.(She turns sharply away, bumping into Helga.)

TISH: It's an honorary place for a very special friend.We always set it.If we didn't, Truman says we'd have sand in here too.(Chuckles.)

AUSTIN: I'm listening.

TRUMAN: I've written over four hundred books, Mr. James.That makes me the most prolific science fiction novelists in world history.{Iím sure youíre curious about me, about my creative processes.How many of my books have you read?AUSTIN: Personally? None.TRUMAN: (Looking surprised and sad) None? I would have thought my work would be an inspiration to you. Black holes, super strings, the microwave oven. I predicted them, all of them!MICKEY: I just finished reading ďThe Hall of ZahmĒ. Itís the best sci-fi Iíve ever...TRUMAN: (Interrupting MICKEY.)Women are not competent judges of science fiction.Theyíre too emotionally quantized.Who the hell are you anyway?AUSTIN: (Offended) My assistant.And youíre wasting her time too.Tell the story.}

TRUMAN: (Takes sunglasses off.)I've encountered an intelligent being from another world.He lives out in the desert.His spaceship crashed somewhere in Montana.He's dangerous.He's highly charged with electromagnetic energy, he's got quadraphonic hearing, radar eyes, he's probably psychic, too.He comes only at night.He does strange things to the house.The sand piles, the lightning rods, you've seen them.He's done that.(Loses AUSTIN's credibility.)For what purpose, I have no idea.He calls himself Pretzel, Pretzel 14.I think he's four or five hundred years old.(MICKEY looks fascinated.)I need your help, to trap him.The poor devil is a hazard to himself.Only you and I working together can get around his alien cleverness.(AUSTIN rubs his forehead in disbelief, then stands.TRUMAN stands with him.)Wait!Where are you going?

AUSTIN: Pluto.And I'm late.Come on, Mickey.

TRUMAN:You don't believe me?

AUSTIN: Pretzel 14?Why not Pretzel 15, or Pretzel 37.9?

TRUMAN: Where's your scientific curiosity?Where's your open mind?I can prove he exists!

AUSTIN: You have photographs?

TRUMAN: No.

AUSTIN: No.Strands of hair, nail clippings, droppings, footprints?

TRUMAN: No.

AUSTIN: No.Audio recordings, blood samples, secret alloys, magic crystals?

TRUMAN: No.Actually, I've, I've never seen him, no one has.He makes me wear a blindfold.

AUSTIN: Then what makes you adamantly sure that he's an intelligent being from outer space?

TISH: Tru, you made him come all this way, sweetheart.

TRUMAN: He talks to me in Jack Benny's voice.

AUSTIN: Sorry, Mr. Smith, it's not a criterion for launching a scientific investigation.Come on, Mickey.We don't choose to stay here anymore.It's time to go.(Rounds the table to where she is.She stands.)

MICKEY: Are you kidding?This is getting exciting.

AUSTIN: Come on, Mickey.

MICKEY: Aliens, Austin!

AUSTIN: Mick!

MICKEY: How many times have you told me you were dying to meet one?

AUSTIN: Not one with the name of Pretzel!(Grabs her by the hand and drags her to the dining room doors.)

TRUMAN: You can't leave, I won't let you. (They stop.)No one walks out on the greatest science-fiction novelist of all time.

AUSTIN: Oh?

TRUMAN: Please, I need your help.I swear to God Pretzel exists.Damn it, I know he exists because last night he tried to kill me!

AUSTIN: Nice twist. Why?

TRUMAN: I don't know.I think he's gone mad--something in the atmosphere.

TISH: Tru, you promised!

TRUMAN: I said, I don't know.He did try to kill me.He'll try again tonight.He said he wouldn't rest until I was dead.

AUSTIN: Must have sounded pretty ominous coming from Jack Benny.My advice is to call the police, there's nothing I can do to help you.(They head out the door.)

TRUMAN: (Yells after them.)I can't protect myself.He's too powerful.He can control lightning!

TISH: Watch out for the sand!

 

Act One, Scene 2

(The living room.)

MICKEY: Why couldn't there be an alien living out in the desert named Pretzel?
AUSTIN: Pretzel!

MICKEY: Does it violate any of your precious scientific law?

AUSTIN: Yes!(They walk past HELGA watering the plants.)

MICKEY: No.And wouldn't you feel stupid if you missed the guy just because you didn't like his name?

AUSTIN: I'll risk it.(They go out the front door.)

MICKEY: But there's got to be somebody else out there!

AUSTIN: I agree.I just don't think they came all this way to put sand in people's houses.

MICKEY: What about UFOs?Don't you believe that we're being watched by a superior race of spacemen bent on saving us from our own destructive nature?Thousands of people have seen them.

AUSTIN: Twenty million children see Santa Claus every year, but all the hard evidence says the guy's bogus.

MICKEY: Austin.The guy's terrified, can we just stay for the night?

AUSTIN: I don't get it.

MICKEY: Please?

AUSTIN: The guy wasn't exactly Emily Post to you in there.

MICKEY: Anybody could see that was just an act.He's probably terribly insecure at the moment.

AUSTIN: Well, if he needs the name of a good shrink--

MICKEY: At least he's not afraid of showing it!

AUSTIN: I can give him a dozen!

(A scream is heard.The lights go out behind them.AUSTIN turns and sees a blue glowing light moving inside the house.They run back inside.They meet TISH at the front door.)

TISH: Help--in the dining room.

(They run into the dining room where a blue glowing sphere of light bounces around the room, breaking glass, setting the table on fire, where TRUMAN is cowering underneath, and causing sparks to fly from light fixtures.The glass in a window bursts outward and the blue light flies out the window, leaving the group stunned.)

 

Act Two, Scene 1

(The dining room, a few minutes after the ball departed.TRUMAN has his sunglasses on, sitting down, AUSTIN is bending down over him.)

TRUMAN: Help me, you've got to protect me, help me, don't let it get me.

AUSTIN: It's all right, it's all right, there's nobody here, take it easy.(HELGA comes running into the room.)

HELGA: I fix the lights.Circuit box in kitchen.

AUSTIN: Fine.(Waves her away and she goes.)

TRUMAN: I told you, you've got to protect me.

AUSTIN: Whatever it is you're holding back, I want to hear it, now.(TRUMAN moves to get up, and AUSTIN pushes him back into the chair and takes TRUMAN's glasses off.)Why is an alien from outer space trying to kill you?

TISH: Truman, for God's sake, tell him!

TRUMAN: (Mumbles) Book, novels.

AUSTIN: What?

TRUMAN: (Loudly) The books.The novels.I didn't write a word of any of them.They were Pretzel's.He told them to me.I just wore a blindfold and typed what he told me.For twenty-five years.Now he's gone crazy, he thinks I cheated him, he wants to kill me.(AUSTIN looks like he doesn't believe him.TRUMAN grabs AUSTIN by the shoulder and pulls him down.)We were on the last chapter of the greatest science fiction novel that will ever be written.(Releases AUSTIN.)There, damn it, now you know.

MICKEY: (Shocked) Truman J. Smith the Third, literary fraud?

AUSTIN: It was lightning.It struck the apex of the house and came down the hallway into the dining room, hit the table, burst into flames and the fire broke the window.Let's go.(Walks away.)

MICKEY:You're wrong.(AUSTIN pauses.MICKEY moves to stand in front of him.)

AUSTIN: What?

MICKEY: You're wrong.We were outside, there wasn't any lightning.

AUSTIN: But that's what it was.

MICKEY: You mean it's automatically crazy for aliens to exist?But it's okay for lightning to shoot out of a clear sky, miss a dozen lightning rods and hit inside the house?

AUSTIN: There's a plausible explanation.

MICKEY: (To TRUMAN and TISH.) We're staying.

 

Act Two, Scene 2

(Day.MICKEY walks into TRUMAN's study and looks around going past the desk.TRUMAN rushes in through the French doors, carrying the typewriter.)

TRUMAN: How do you spell 'iconoclastic'?

MICKEY: I-c-o-n-o-c-l-a-s-t-i-c.

TRUMAN: I've typed his rubbish for twenty-five years.I can finish the book myself.I don't need him.(Types rapidly for a few seconds, then slacks off, then stops altogether.He picks up the typewriter and tosses it through the doors.)Let's see you finish it, you interplanetary, brain-sucking, mutoid hack!(Goes back inside and bemoans.)The greatest science fiction novel ever written.

MICKEY: (Awed by this display.)He must be like a brother to you.

TRUMAN: (Absent-mindedly.) Hmm.

MICKEY: All those books.You must have gotten to know each other very well.

{ TRUMAN: (Sadly reminiscing.) I was an unemployed sheetmetal worker when he first showed up.He climbed through the bathroom window and grabbed me by the neck with some kind of forcefield.Then, he talked to me in my dead fatherís voice. (On the verge of tears.)What a dirty trick.(He sniffs back tears.)}

TRUMAN:He once told me I was the only friend he ever had.

MICKEY: Poor lost soul.

TRUMAN: We're all lost.He's just more obvious about it.(He goes outside and picks up the typewriter, bringing it back inside.)

MICKEY: Mr. Smith, I got the greatest idea.I could do it.I could put the blindfold on and write the last chapter for Pretzel, if he's willing.I mean, if he hates you.

TRUMAN: And cut me out of the process altogether.

MICKEY: Oh, no, no, no, no.That's not what I meant at all.I just--

TRUMAN: (Pulls the manuscript out of his bathrobe pocket and waves it at MICKEY.) Look, I had to take this away from him.It's a novelization of his life on this planet.And in the last chapter, he kills the me character.I told you he's gone crazy!Doesn't anybody around here want to believe me? (Pushes her out, slamming the doors in her face.)Get out, get out!

 

Act Two, Scene 3

(The kitchen, with another pile of sand.MICKEY comes in.)

MICKEY: Austin?Austin?(Walks around counter island, a hand touches her shoulder and she jumps, letting out a small screech.)Oh, oh.

AUSTIN:What's the matter?(He's dressed in a jumpsuit, with a gas mask and goggles on his face.)

MICKEY: Ah, I thought you were--

AUSTIN: Oh, you mean Pretzel.

MICKEY: Pret--, yeah.

AUSTIN: Well, shows you how little it takes to be a being from another planet.(Slaps his rubber gloves on the table.)

MICKEY: Okay, so who are you supposed to be?

AUSTIN:Somebody who was just under the house checking the grounds of a dozen lightning rods.(Takes his gas mask and goggles off.) They were good, but that place was filthy.

MICKEY: Get any sleep?

AUSTIN: Nah.I was occupied.How about you?

MICKEY: I shared a lovely double bed with a pile of sand.

AUSTIN: Sounds cozy.

MICKEY: (Looks into the closest where the circuit box is.)It was.

AUSTIN: It's almost dark.We've got a lot of work to do.You grab those sensors.(Cut to: close up of a black box, which Austin attaches to the wall.)Thermal sensors, set to go off to anything hotter than body temperature.Display's in the kitchen.(Takes a bite of a carrot.)

MICKEY:Austin, I've been thinking about Pretzel.

AUSTIN:Mmhm.(They walk down a hall.)

MICKEY: Isn't it possible for him to control people's minds so that, so that only certain individuals like Truman are able to communicate with him?

AUSTIN: You mean a kind of electronic jamming mechanism that affects the pattern recognition system of the neo-cortex?

MICKEY: Yeah.

AUSTIN: Augmented by a latent talent for opening garage doors and canceling lost credit cards?(Attaches another box to the wall.)

MICKEY: Good.I was afraid you weren't taking this seriously.What are these things supposed to do?Catch Pretzel or scare him away?

AUSTIN: Prove he doesn't exist.(They head into the living room.)

MICKEY: Speaking of that, I've been meaning to ask you about something you said last night.

AUSTIN: All right.

MICKEY: If you ever had kids would you tell them there was a Santa Claus?

AUSTIN: No.

MICKEY: No?

AUSTIN: No.I wouldn't want to encourage a belief in a mythical being.

MICKEY: But you'd be robbing them of one of the great joys of childhood.

AUSTIN: (Steps up on a stepladder and places a box above the front doorway.)I did fine without him.

MICKEY: Austin, your parents?

AUSTIN: Me.I set a trap, motion sensitive camera.He never showed.Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, boogieman, I disproved them all by the time I was six.(Steps down.)

MICKEY: But kids are supposed to believe in that stuff--you ruined it for yourself.

AUSTIN: (Sighs.)No, I didn't.I just used my imagination in other, more productive ways.

MICKEY: Like what?

AUSTIN: Built a castle.

MICKEY: You built a castle?(Go back to the kitchen.)

AUSTIN: In my head.I dug the moat, cut and mortared every stone, hammered every nail, hung the gates, built the cisterns, laid the cobblestones.Even carved the benches in the chapel.Took five years.I didn't need Santa Claus.

MICKEY: So who brought you your Christmas presents?

AUSTIN: Mailman.I always asked for a gift certificate from IBM.(HELGA is washing dishes.An alarm sounds.AUSTIN goes to the computer screen set up on the counter island.)North wing, farthest room, hot, it's very hot, slight linear movement. (Bangs the top of the computer.)It's gotta be a glitch.You stay here.

(For those who are interested--the computer screen:

MAIN HOUSE:

LIVING ROOM††† 2 SENSORS†††††††††††† HEAT†††††††† 0122.3C††† 0222.40

DINING ROOM†† 1 SENSOR††††††††††††††† HEAT††††††† 0101.8C

KITCHEN†††††††††††† 2 SENSORS†††††††††††† MOTION†† 0109.3†††††† 0211.4

STUDY††††††††††††††††† 2 SENSORS†††††††††††† H/H†††††† †††††0109.36.70202.7

 

NORTH WING:

BEDROOM 01†††† 2 SENSORS††††††††††††† H/H††††††††††† 0153.3C†††† 0205.7

HALLWAY††††††††† 1 SENSOR††††††††††††††† MOTION†† 0100.0

BEDROOM 02†††† 2 SENSORS††††††††††††† H/H††††††††††† 0122.3C†††† 0200.0

 

SOUTH WING:

SITTING ROOM1 SENSOR†††††††††††††† HEAT†††††††† 0121.7C

HALLWAY†††††††††† 2 SENSORS††††††††††† MOTION††† 0100.0†††††† 0200.0

 

NORTH WING*BEDROOM 01 * SENSORS * 1- * 02 034 258 5302 443 30289†††† 5002 172 987 424 5 19 )

 

MICKEY: Why?

AUSTIN: I need someone to reset the monitor.

MICKEY: What if it's Pretzel?

 

Act Two, Scene 4

(AUSTIN walks down a hall and opens a door, sees TISH in a blue two-piece bathing suit, lying face down on her bed, under a heat lamp.)

AUSTIN: Ah, sorry, my mistake.

TISH: Mr. James, don't go.You're just the man I want to see.

AUSTIN: I see the problem.Your lamps are overheating my sensors.

TISH: Sounds dangerous. (AUSTIN turns the lamp off.)Would you put some lotion on my back?I prefer the lamp to natural sunlight; it's not so harsh on my skin.But then, as a scientist, I'm sure you know all about skin.

AUSTIN: (Puts some lotion in his hand.)What'd you want to see me about?

TISH:What else, the reason youíre here.(AUSTIN rubs the lotion on her shoulders.)Lower, please.(He gives a look down 'why me?' and moves his hands to her lower back.)

{(Cut to: MICKEY)M: (To herself.)The farthest room in the North Wing.Hmm.How am I supposed to know how to reset the monitor if I canít hear him?OK, so he built a castle in his head.Big deal, anybody can do that.(Thinks for a few seconds.)That was easy.What next?(Turns to Helga.)}

MICKEY: Helga, what do you think about Pretzel?

HELGA: Pretzel?Who's Pretzel?

MICKEY: What's in that room, the farthest one in the north wing?

HELGA: Mrs. Smith's bedroom.(Leaves with watering can in hand.)

MICKEY: (Light comes on.) Oh.(Disturbed.)Oh.

(Cut to: AUSTIN and TISH.)

TISH: You'll never find him, Mr. James.Pretzel is very adept at staying away from those who aren't comfortable with his existence.

AUSTIN: Is that a way of saying he's a regular in your husband's head?

TISH: Oh no, he's real.But he's magic too.He's everything that Truman pretends to be, everything that every man on this planet pretends to be.

AUSTIN: You talk like you've seen him.

TISH: Who says I haven't?

AUSTIN: Your husband.He said nobody's ever seen him.

TISH: (Laughs.)Truman only knows what Pretzel wants him to know.Besides, there are other ways of experiencing an alien other than just seeing one.

AUSTIN: Why does he want to kill Truman?(Stops rubbing.)

TISH: (Turns to face him.)He's trapped here.He can never go home again.He has nothing but his stories and Truman's taken those from him.Who knows why murder lurks in anyone's heart, especially an extraterrestrial's?

AUSTIN: You don't strike me as the desert type; why do you stay?

TISH: Could be I'm waiting for the right moment to go, or maybe you're wrong, maybe I do like the desert.(Brushes the front of his shirt and then pulls on his collar bringing him to kissing distance.)If you want to learn something about Pretzel, study loneliness, isolation, jealousy, hunger--

MICKEY: Hope I'm not interrupting anything technical.(They turn to look at her.)

AUSTIN: (Unperturbed.)No.

MICKEY: Just came by to see if you found the glitch or did I misunderstand the word you used?(The heat lamp flares briefly, then the lights go out.)

TRUMAN: (Off camera.)Ahh!No!

MICKEY: Mr. Smith.Mr. Smith!

(All rush out of the room, TISH grabbing a robe on the way, and into the study, where the blue ball is hovering around the room.Lightning bolts come out of it.TRUMAN is cowering on the floor.)

TRUMAN: Stop.Stop it!Please.

AUSTIN: Truman!

TRUMAN: Stop it, please, please no. Please don't hurt me.

AUSTIN: (Runs to TRUMAN, ducking.)Come on, Truman, let's go.Come on.

TRUMAN:No, no.

TISH: Truman!

TRUMAN: Please.

(AUSTIN drags TRUMAN behind a couch.He watches the sphere as it strikes a pile of sand, then settles into a chair beside the desk, for a brief second.It leaps out of the chair and splits into three red spheres smaller in size, which revolve four times counter-clockwise above the pile of sand, then clockwise eight times, getting closer to the pile of sand, until they go one by one into the sand.All are stunned by this display, including AUSTIN, who stands up and looks over at the women.)

AUSTIN: Did you see him?That wasn't lightning.It was alive.My God, he really exists.

 

Act Three, Scene 1

(The study.TRUMAN is lying on the couch, hugging the manuscript.MICKEY is kneeling next to him.)

TRUMAN: (To MICKEY.)He's never revealed himself like this before.I told you he's gone mad.

MICKEY: You mean that glowing thing was him?(TRUMAN nods.)

AUSTIN: Who says he has to be flesh and blood?That's a human bias.(Walks over the TRUMAN and MICKEY and bends down.)Truman, I want to know about the manuscript.How many copies exist?

TRUMAN: This is the only one.Pretzel never permits copies.(MICKEY places a towel on TRUMAN's head.)

AUSTIN: Good thing.That's why you're still alive after three murder attempts.(Walks away.)He's afraid of hurting the book.

TISH: (Grabs AUSTIN by the arm and turns him to face her.)You've got to do something. You've gotta help him.

AUSTIN: I'd like to.Tell me how.

TISH: (Panicking.)What I told you in the bedroom--I made it all up.I never believed he existed, not until now.I hate this place.I was bored.I made it all up.

AUSTIN: Mickey, I want you to get in the car.Get out of here.And take them with you.

MICKEY: What about you?

AUSTIN: I can't walk out on the greatest scientific discovery of all time!I'm going to see what I can do to make contact.

MICKEY: Then I'm staying too.

AUSTIN: Mickey.

MICKEY: You're going to need an awful lot of help.

AUSTIN: I'm not going to argue with you.

MICKEY: Okay, don't argue.(He smiles.)

TRUMAN: I'm not leaving either.(Gets up.)I'm staying.And I'm finishing the book and I'm going to do it with Pretzel.

MICKEY: What?

TRUMAN:It's my fault, you see.I took his greatest work away from him and now I've got to give it back, in any way that I can, even if it kills me.

AUSTIN: Truman.(Touches TRUMAN's shoulder briefly.)

TRUMAN: You don't understand, it's love and anger, and sound and fury and everything that moves the spirit, whether you're a human being or some hideous thing from another planet.It's got to be finished.I'm staying.

(Lightning flashes and thunder crashes.)

TISH: (Gasps.)You're all crazy. (Leaves the room.)I'm getting the hell out of here.Helga?

HELGA: Ja, Mrs. Smith, ja.(Follows.)

TRUMAN: He likes the lightning.I think we'll finish it tonight.

(Lightning and thunder.)

 

Act Three, Scene 2

(MICKEY is looking out a window of the study.)

TRUMAN: (Off camera.)He introduced popcorn to the Indians.

MICKEY: Excuse me?(Walks toward TRUMAN.)

TRUMAN: (Has sunglasses on.)He was here when they were here.I once accused him of playing interstellar god.(Takes them off.)He just laughed in that elegant, nonchalant (raises his hand, crooked back, like Benny) way Jack Benny used to laugh.(MICKEY sits on the corner of the desk, bringing her legs up in front of her across the desk.)He was full of stories like that.

MICKEY: Hmm.{(Moves her hand towards the manuscript.)Say, do you mind if I just take a peek at the first...TRU: Donít you dare touch that!(He slams his hand down on the manuscript angrily.MICKEY withdraws her hand, startled.)Iím sorry, itís just, itís not mine, itís his.All these years I practiced playing the, the temperamental genius.I insulted my fans, I insulted the press, I insulted my colleagues.After a while, I actually believed the stories were mine.The greatest lie of all: self-delusion.}

AUSTIN: (Comes in carrying a cord with a clip.)Truman, you've got to get him to sit in this chair.I'm connecting it to one of the grounded lines.(Attaches the clip to the chair.)If he's carrying a charge and he is, it will suck the juice right out of him.

TRUMAN:You leave that chair alone.I don't want him hurt!

AUSTIN: I don't either, but I'd like an even chance of keeping you alive, maybe us.(Looks across to MICKEY.)

TRUMAN: I said leave the chair alone!

AUSTIN: (Unclips the cord.)My advice then is to hide behind the manuscript and if he wants it, let him have it.

TISH: (Comes in, a drink in one hand, and the bottle in the other.HELGA is behind her.)Why, hello there.I thought I'd find you here.I decided I couldn't run out on you after all.

HELGA: There's rain in the mountains.The road has been washed out.Mrs. Smith is drinking.

TISH: Helga, don't be such a wet blanket.God knows I need the relaxation.(Sits down.)

HELGA: I go to bed now.(Leaves.)

TISH: Did I miss anything?

{MICKEY: (to TISH) Why do you drink so much?TISH: Because Truman doesnít drink at all. A writer, excuse me a "man" of his temperament should drink a lot, so I drink for him, right Tru?}

TRUMAN:(Walks over to the French doors.)Sometimes late at night I'd see a blue light out on the desert and I know it was Pretzel.He seemed to be searching for something.

{TISH: An honest wife! He was looking for an honest wife, Tru! (laughs hysterically)}

TRUMAN: (Turns in time to see TISH pass out.)Tish is my fifth wife.I met her at a book signing in Newport, Rhode Island. (AUSTIN walks over to TISH and puts her arm around his neck.)

MICKEY: What are you doing?

AUSTIN: Putting her to bed. (Picks TISH up.)

MICKEY: I'll do it.

AUSTIN:Come on, Mickey, she's passed out.

MICKEY: Yeah, right, show me a blood test.

AUSTIN: Keep an eye on him.(Leaves the room.When he looks back, MICKEY raises TISH's glass at him.)

TRUMAN: We could all die tonight in any one of thousand ways.(MICKEY sits down, putting the glass on a side table.)A meteor could crash into this house, the sun could explode, a mutant virus could float in over the desert.In the end, science fiction always has the last laugh.He'll be here soon.

(Cut to: AUSTIN and TISH.He places her on the bed where she wakes up and gives him a long kiss.)

TISH: Well?

AUSTIN: Nice, but it felt married.

TISH: It shouldn't have bothered an experienced scientist.(She chuckles and drops back onto the bed, and sighs.Lightning and thunder--one bolt strikes a rod and the lights go out.Cut to: TRUMAN.)

TRUMAN: He's coming.

(Cut to: AUSTIN, who runs out of the room.Cut to: MICKEY.)

MICKEY: Oh, my God, Austin, where are you?

(Cut to: AUSTIN, who goes to the circuit box, opens it and trips a breaker, and is electrocuted [thanks for the right word, Suzanne].)

AUSTIN: Ahhh!(He falls to the floor, unconscious.)

(Cut to: MICKEY.)

MICKEY: Mr. Smith, stay there, I'll be right back.(Leaves the room.)

TRUMAN:Pretzel, is that you?

(Cut to: MICKEY, in the kitchen.)

MICKEY: (Trying to avoid tripping over things.)Austin?Oh, God what am I doing?This is too sick for Linda Blair.(Moves a bar stool out of the way and steps on Austin's hand and looks down in horror.)Austin!

(Cut to: TRUMAN in the study.)

TRUMAN:Pretzel!Pretzel, I knew you'd come back.(Opens the French doors and goes outside.)The book, we can finish the book!

(Cut to: MICKEY and AUSTIN.)

MICKEY: (Raises AUSTIN's head and starts patting his face.)Austin, are you okay, Austin, what happened?Wake up, Austin!

(Cut to: TRUMAN.)

TRUMAN:Pretzel, where are you?Come out in the open.No more blindfolds this time.We're going to finish this thing face to face.(The light goes blindingly blue-white and he puts his sunglasses on.)Pretzel, my God, Pretzel, you're absolutely beautiful!

(Cut to: MICKEY and AUSTIN.)

MICKEY: Austin, stay there, I'll get Mr. Smith.

(Cut to: TRUMAN, who is lying spread-eagled on the floor, sunglasses next to his body, broken.The camera focuses on the untaken manuscript.)

 

Act Four, Scene 1

(The kitchen.MICKEY and AUSTIN are walking through it.)

MICKEY: It's wrong to move a dead body.What's the sheriff or whatever they have out here going to say about dumping Truman in the bathtub and covering him with ice?

AUSTIN: We don't have a choice.How long can he last in this climate?Oof.(Grabs rubber gloves off the counter and goes to the circuit box, opens it and pokes at it before tripping the breakers.Meanwhile, MICKEY tries to call someone on the phone.)I've got the crime scene committed to memory.Well, there's nothing wrong with it now.

MICKEY: (Hangs up.)Phone's dead.I guess we're trapped out here, as they say.

AUSTIN: Well, I'd better get busy.

MICKEY: Doing what?

AUSTIN: Catching a murdering alien.

 

Act Four, Scene 2

(The study.AUSTIN taps the manuscript.)

AUSTIN: This is what we use as bait.

MICKEY: Why didn't he take it with him after he killed Mr. Smith?

AUSTIN: Well, maybe he couldn't, maybe anything he touches goes up in smoke.(Kneels next to the metal chair and picks up the clip.)

MICKEY: Which means, with or without Mr. Smith, some human hand has to help finish it.

AUSTIN: Exactly.

{MICKEY: Well, if Pretzel wants to finish his masterpiece so badly, why did he murder the one man who could help him the most? AUSTIN: How should I know?Youíre asking me to decipher the motives of a totally foreign consciousness.MICKEY: Well, you were doing a pretty good job of it this morning.(AUSTIN rises.)AUSTIN: (Offended.)Whatís that supposed to mean?MICKEY: Youíre exhausted.Youíre hurt, you need to get some sleep...†† Maybe youíre beginning to flake out.AUSTIN: Flake out?Mickey, Iíve got to find him, talk to him, learn from him.Then I gotta throw him in jail.}(Goes to the French doors and threads wire through the handles, twisting the ends together.)

MICKEY: What are you doing?

AUSTIN: I'm making it so he has to come through the house to get into the room.Now I'll be at the desk, (sits in the desk chair) blindfolded, ready to type whatever he wants me to type.

MICKEY: Austin, you can't.

AUSTIN: Maybe he'll sit in the chair, maybe he won't.

MICKEY: You just said he tried to murder you, what's to stop him from trying again?

AUSTIN: Nothing.I've got no other choice.

MICKEY: Yes you do.(Hinting.)There are other typists.

AUSTIN: Absolutely not.(She smiles at him.)

(Cut to: a close up of an intercom, the camera pulls out to reveal MICKEY seated in the desk chair.)

AUSTIN: (Through the intercom.)Once he's inside the house the power will go.That's your cue to put on the blindfold.Whatever you do, don't take if off, (cut to: AUSTIN in the kitchen) he could misinterpret it as a hostile act.I'll get there just as fast as I can.(Cut to MICKEY.)Are you sure you want to do this?

MICKEY: {Iíd like dinner and a show instead. (Chuckles) Just kidding. Iíll be fine. I have this feeling that Pretzel knows about me, that he knows I want to see his book finished as much as he does. As much as Truman does... did...}I'll be fine.(Picks up part of the manuscript and looks at it.)Hey, Austin listen.(Cut to AUSTIN.)In his world, Pretzel means 'scientific, knowledgeable'.(Back to MICKEY.)Wouldn't it be funny if Austin James meant 'underarm deodorant'?(Chuckles.Cut to AUSTIN.)

AUSTIN: Funny.Skip to the last page.(Cut to MICKEY.)

MICKEY: That's cheating.(Cut to: AUSTIN.)

AUSTIN: Mickey, read the last page.(Cut to: MICKEY.)

MICKEY: (Looks over the last page.)Mr. Smith was right.Pretzel is crazy.He was going to kill Truman and then blow up the house.

(Cut to: AUSTIN.HELGA come in and starts filling the watering can.)

AUSTIN: (On edge.)Helga, what are you doing?

HELGA: I have to water the plants.

AUSTIN: It's four o'clock in the morning.

HELGA: I must do something; Mr. Smith was so kind to me.(Sniffs back tears and then walks out.)

MICKEY: (Through the intercom.)Austin!

AUSTIN: What?

(Cut to: MICKEY.)

MICKEY: I was just thinking about that castle you built.Did anybody live there? I mean, in those five years, did you ever put in the kings and the queens and all those people and did you make them do things that people in castles do, like fall in love and have feasts?

(Cut to: AUSTIN.)

AUSTIN: No, there was nobody in the castle.No one like that.

(Cut to: MICKEY)

MICKEY: Why not?

(Cut to: AUSTIN.)

AUSTIN: Because after I finished building it, I laid siege to it.(Cut to Mickey, who looks shocked.)Marched in a hundred thousand barbarians.Took three years, but finally I got a tunnel in under the north wall, (cut to: AUSTIN) collapsed, kingdom's end.Benches in the chapel were used as firewood to melt down the palace gold.No, there was nobody in it like that.No one.I didn't want to hurt them.

(Cut to: MICKEY.)

MICKEY: Why do you do stuff like that?

(Cut to: AUSTIN.)

AUSTIN: Preparation, for days like this.(The lights go out.)Mickey!(Quickly rushes to the study.)

(Cut to: MICKEY.)

MICKEY: Austin?(Whispers.)Austin?(Puts the blindfold on.The room is lit by a blue light.Cut to: AUSTIN running to the doors, HELGA right behind him, but they swing shut.He pulls on them, but they won't open.Cut back to: MICKEY.)Is anyone in here?Who's there?

(Cut to: AUSTIN.)

AUSTIN: Get me something I can open this door with.(Helga runs off to look for something.)Mickey, can you hear me?

MICKEY: Austin he's in here, he's in the room.

AUSTIN: The door's been welded shut.I'm breaking in.(Cut to MICKEY.)

MICKEY: No, don't.Let him have a chance to do what he came to do.

AUSTIN: Is he in the chair?

(Cut to: MICKEY.)

MICKEY: No, I think he's standing behind it, looking at me.He knows it's a trap, please, leave us alone, I'm all right.Pretzel, my name's Michelle.I want to help you finish your story.I'm a pretty good typist and I think you're an absolutely wonderful writer.You can talk to me in Jack Benny's voice, or, or anybody.(To herself.)Paper!(Gets some paper from the desk drawer and puts it in the typewriter.)You've gotta finish your story.It's so beautiful, so sad.We can learn so much from you.You're not gonna blow up the house, are ya?Okay, okay, I'm taking off the blindfold.I don't wanna hurt you, so please don't hurt me.(With trembling hands, she pushes off the blindfold and the light fades away and the house lights come back on.Cut to: AUSTIN and HELGA who hands him what she found.)

HELGA: Crowbar.

AUSTIN: Back!(HELGA steps away and AUSTIN crashes through.MICKEY stands up.)Mickey!(The room is full of smoke.)

MICKEY:Austin, he's gone.

AUSTIN: Are you all right?

MICKEY: I'm fine, he was, he was here.

AUSTIN: Did you see him?

MICKEY: No, I didn't see him, but, but he was here!

AUSTIN: (Kneels beside the chair.)Sat in the chair.

MICKEY: What's this?(Pulls the paper from the typewriter and starts reading it.) 'LEM Lightning Rod Company, Bellview, Illinois.In regards to your theory that your house rests on one thousand tons of positive pure iron--'This is nothing.

AUSTIN:Iron? Iron?(Stands up and snatches the paper from her hand and reads.)'We find no geological precedence for such a formation.Our physics advisor, however, warns us that a lightning rod grounded in such a formation could result in a high-density plasma being conducted in the house, resulting in fire, and other personal hazards.LEM Lightning accepts no responsibility.'High-density plasma!Ball lightning!

MICKEY: Ball lightning?

AUSTIN: It's the weirdest stuff in nature.You can't predict what it's gonna do.Pretzel!The iron deposits under the house.It's a big dumb storage battery!It's been shooting ball lightning through the house!

MICKEY: Pretzel!

AUSTIN: He doesn't exist!

MICKEY: Well then, who have I been talking to for five minutes?

AUSTIN: Nobody!Yourself.(Smiles and then both start to laugh.)

MICKEY: (Slaps AUSTIN on the arm.)We thought it was some wacko from outer space.

AUSTIN: (Returns the slap.)Truman suckered me!The sand piles, the lightning rods, Pretzel!They were all just parts of his sick imagination.

MICKEY:(The hilarity ceases.)Oh, Austin, it was Truman who had gone mad, not Pretzel.

AUSTIN: The only thing real about all this is Truman's murder.

MICKEY: You know who did it, don't you?

AUSTIN: With Pretzel eliminated, isn't it obvious?

MICKEY: No.

AUSTIN: Get Helga, wake up Tish, get them in the living room.

MICKEY: Where are you going?

AUSTIN: I've got some looking around to do.Then I'm going to put on a slideshow and Pretzel's going to be the guest of honor.(Strides out of the room.)

 

Act Four, Scene 3

(Living room.HELGA is standing, MICKEY and TISH are sitting on the same couch.)

TISH: (Has a handkerchief out.)Where is he?

MICKEY: Don't worry.

TISH: I'm not waiting another minute!

AUSTIN: (Comes in with a tripod, and rod, which has TRUMAN's sunglasses attached to it, and an electric cord.He has TRUMAN's manuscript under one arm.)Ladies, I'm sorry to keep you waiting.It's going to be worth it.This was the murder weapon.(Holds up the electric cord.)It was hanging in the garage.Ordinary household current killed Truman, (puts the cord down on the coffee table) not lightning and not an alien from outer space.It was one of you.(Puts the manuscript down too.)

TISH: Well, I was asleep, you know that.

AUSTIN: Well, you smelled like you were asleep, Tish, but I don't know if you were asleep or not.Helga, would you please water the plants, they're looking pretty thirsty.Now, please.All of them.(She leaves.AUSTIN positions the tripod, with the rod attached, in front of a standing lamp.)The murderess doesn't know it, but when she killed Truman, she took a photograph of herself.The light source was the electric cord when it touched the side of Truman's head and the film was the polarized sunglasses.The image is pretty dim, it's going to take a sizable light source, (takes the lamp shade off) probably a lightning bolt to project it on the wall so we can see it.[The following line is looped.]That's why I've invited Pretzel.

TISH: This is preposterous!

AUSTIN: Outrageous, unconventional, unethical, maybe.But it's going to nail our murderess and that's you, Tish.

TISH: (Stands up.)I want you out of my house, now!

AUSTIN: Oh, one last adjustment.(Walks past HELGA.)Helga, you can stop watering the plants now.Why don't you go over and take a seat.(Takes the cord and reels it out.)

TISH: What possible reason could I have to murder my husband!

AUSTIN: He wouldn't finish your book.

TISH: My book?

AUSTIN: The phones are working again.I called Truman's publisher.(Attaches the cord to the lamp.)His four ex-wives each got a hundred novels as alimony, that left you with one.This one, his masterpiece.You stayed in the house because you were waiting for Truman to finish it so you could get custody of it in the divorce you were planning.But when you realized Truman was never going to finish it, you decided to get hold of it by killing him.

TISH: But that doesn't make sense.What good is an unfinished book to me?
AUSTIN: Plenty.A ghostwriter can finish it and the fact that its author was murdered while writing it would only increase sales.

TISH: But I tried to leave!

AUSTIN: Nice ruse, but even if the road hadn't been washed out you would have found another excuse to come back.(Lights go out.)Everyone, don't move.He's on his way.Watch the wall.(MICKEY turns toward the wall.A lightning bolt climbs up the lamp stand, coalescing into a small blue sphere that hovers directly behind the sunglasses.In flashes the group sees TISH's face on the wall.)

MICKEY: Look!

AUSTIN: Very photogenic.

(The light ceases.)

TISH: He was crazy!I had to kill him.He was crazy!

 

Act Five

(Daylight.Wide shot of the house, with several sawhorses in front, police tape across them and a large sign that reads, 'Structure Condemned.City Ord. 65-482'.MICKEY comes out of the house carrying an insane amount of electronic equipment--can't even see her face--which she places in the back of the station wagon.)

MICKEY: Austin!

(Cut to: the living room, where AUSTIN has pushed aside a plant to reveal a hole in the floor.Footsteps sound and then MICKEY kneels beside AUSTIN.

MICKEY: Whatcha doing?

AUSTIN: Looking for Pretzel's ignition switch.

MICKEY: Huh?

AUSTIN: (Stands up.MICKEY stands.)Well, I started thinking--why did the lightning come out of the ground and into the house?And then it occurred to me.Every time it made an appearance, Helga had just finished watering the plants.

MICKEY: Right.

(AUSTIN tears a leaf off a plant and eats it.)

AUSTIN: But Truman built the house on the site of an ancient meteorite impact.Shock lines in the rock showed it.There was enough nickel-iron to hold a powerful electric charge.One housekeeper, pouring one cup of water down a hole was enough to set it off.One crazy writer was enough to mistake it for a man from Mars.(Kneels down next to a pile of sand, picks up a handful and lets it run through his fingers.)

MICKEY: Austin, you know Tish's face on the wall?I'll never forget it.

AUSTIN: You want to see it again?(Stands up.)I found a slide of Tish when I was snooping around.(Picks up a flashlight and flashes it a picture of TISH on the wall.)It was me who flashed her face on the wall, not Pretzel.It was all theatrics to get her to confess.

MICKEY: Austin.

AUSTIN: Well, I knew she was guilty from another source.(Turns off the flashlight.)The way she snored and kissed.

MICKEY: Kissed?

AUSTIN: When alcohol puts you to sleep you snore differently.She was 9/10ths sober and faking it.(Turns the flashlight off again [yup, you read right--continuity blooper.])One of my own discoveries.(Tosses MICKEY the flashlight and walks toward the door.)

MICKEY: (Dashes in front of him.) I made a discovery of my own, actually.

AUSTIN: What's that?

MICKEY: Why you never believed in Santa Claus.

AUSTIN: I told you why--(Tries to go past, but she stops him.)

MICKEY: No, you didn't.You told me how you disproved him.Which got me to thinking.Why would a little boy want to do that?And then I figured it out--fear.

AUSTIN: Me?Afraid? (Tries again.)

MICKEY: You must have been two or three years old, your parents took you to see Santa Claus, he lifted you up on his knee, and like a lot of kids, you got scared and cried your eyes out.You must have been out to get him ever since.

AUSTIN: Let's get out of here.(Walks away.MICKEY laughs and goes past him, out the door.He almost shuts it and then opens it again.He looks up.)Come on, Harvey, watch the sand, and your head.You're welcome.(Exits and shuts the door.)

 

Executive Producers

Alan J. Levi

Michael Wagner

 

Executive Story Consultant

William Link

 

Co-Producer

Gary L. Messenger

 

Associate Producer

Martin Goldstein

 

Cast

††††††††††††††††††††† Michael Constantine†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Truman

††††††††††††††††††††† May Britt††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Helga

††††††††††††††††††††† Sam Currie††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Tish

 

Director of Photography

Frank Raymond

 

Visual Consultant

John Leimanis

 

Film Editor

James Coblentz

 

Unit Production Manager

Robert Bennett Steinhauer

 

First Assistant Director

John Slosser

 

Second Assistant Director

Alisa Matlovsky

 

 

††††††††††††††††††† Casting Director†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† Darlene Wyatt

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††††††††††††††††††† Set Decorator†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††† Susan Volk

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Filmed By

Westland Productions, Inc.

Phoenix, Arizona

 

THE CHARACTERS AND EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS PHOTOPLAY ARE FICTITIOUS.ANY SIMILARITY TO ACTUAL PERSONS LIVING OR DEAD IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL

 

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