Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Knock
Date: May 22 1955

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
WALTER, the last man on Earth
ZAN, alien invader(s)
GRACE, the last woman on Earth
DONALD, the last duck on Earth
NBC ANNCR (1 line)

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM

ANNOUNCER:

Countdown for blast-off. X minus five, minus four, minus three, minus two. X minus one. Fire.

SOUND:

ROCKET SHIP BLASTS OFF

MUSIC:

IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand would-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X ... Minus ... One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, the science fiction classic, "Knock" by Fredric Brown.

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... FADES OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, we have a strange story to tell, a sweet, bloodcurdling little story that is really only two sentences long -- "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door..."

SOUND:

THREE HEAVY KNOCKS AT THE DOOR

WALTER: Hm? What's that?

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES OPEN AND SHUT ... ZAN'S FOOTSTEPS IN

ZAN:

Good morning, man.

WALTER:

Wha--? Who are you?

ZAN:

You have regained consciousness.

WALTER:

Who are you?

ZAN:

I am Zan.

WALTER:

I'm still asleep; I must be.

ZAN:

You are not asleep.

WALTER:

Maybe if I close my eyes, it'll go away.

ZAN:

I will not go away, man.

WALTER:

No. I guess I'm awake. Who--? What are you?

ZAN:

I am a Zan.

WALTER:

What's that?

ZAN:

A Zan is intelligent life.

WALTER:

Look, I don't-- What happened? Where are you from?

ZAN:

From Planet Seven in the Third Galaxy in the Fourth Quadrant.

WALTER:

Where?!

ZAN:

It is not necessary to repeat information which is correct in the original statement.

WALTER:

Planet Seven? But-- You mean I'm not on Earth?

ZAN:

You are still on your planet.

WALTER:

Then - what are you doing here?

ZAN:

The Zans have annexed your world.

WALTER:

You mean you've conquered Earth?

ZAN:

Yes. That is correct. We will now prepare your planet for habitation by the Zan.

WALTER:

How 'bout the people? What about the - population of the world?

ZAN:

You are the population of the world.

WALTER:

Hmm? Now, wait a minute. I can't-- I don't understand what's happened.

ZAN:

The Zan have landed on your planet. We have removed the lower life forms to prepare for colonization by the Zan.

WALTER:

When did all this happen?

ZAN:

Two days ago. You have been unconscious until now.

WALTER:

You really mean I'm the last man on Earth?

ZAN:

That is correct. Identify yourself now.

WALTER:

What?

ZAN:

Kindly provide data as to your position in the elementary social order of your planet.

WALTER:

Oh, oh. I'm, uh, Walter Phelan, associate professor of anthropology at Nathan University. How do you speak English?

ZAN:

We have deciphered your written and recorded records. It is not difficult to reconstruct your language. It is a primary type of auditory communication.

WALTER:

Oh, oh.

ZAN:

Is there anything you want to complete your natural habitat?

WALTER:

You mean I'm a prisoner?

ZAN:

That is correct. What would you want further in your room?

WALTER:

Do I have to stay here?

ZAN:

Yes.

WALTER:

The rest of my life?

ZAN:

Forever.

WALTER:

Well, you better bring me my books.

ZAN:

That will be done.

WALTER:

That's rather considerate of you. You know, I've got to call you something. Do you mind if I call you George?

ZAN:

It is immaterial. I will be back, Associate Professor of Anthropology.

WALTER:

Oh, that's all right, George. Just call me Walter.

ZAN:

Very well -- Walter.

SOUND:

ZAN'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY

ZAN:

I will be back with your books.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES OPEN

WALTER:

All right, George. I'll be seeing you around.

ZAN:

You will not be around, Walter. You will be here.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

THREE HEAVY KNOCKS AT THE DOOR

WALTER: Come in.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES OPEN ... ZAN FOOTSTEPS IN ... DOOR SLIDES SHUT

WALTER:

Hello, George.

ZAN:

Hello, Walter.

WALTER:

Wait a minute. You're not George; you're different somehow.

ZAN:

It makes no difference. The Zan are many and they are one.

WALTER:

Then I'll call you George, too. I'll call you all George. What can I do for ya?

ZAN:

Point one. You will please henceforth sit with your chair facing the other way.

WALTER:

Uh huh, I thought so, George. That plain wall is different on the other side, isn't it?

ZAN:

That is correct. It is transparent.

WALTER:

Yeah, that's what I thought. I'm in a zoo. Right?

ZAN:

That is correct.

WALTER:

How many other animals do you have in the zoo, George?

ZAN:

Two hundred and sixteen.

WALTER: (LAUGHS) Not complete, George. Even a bush league zoo could beat that. Did you just pick at random?

ZAN:

Yes. All species would have been too many. Male and female, each of one hundred eight kinds.

WALTER:

Male and female, huh? Of, uh, all the animals?

ZAN:

There is a female of your species among the collection.

WALTER:

Mm, anyone I know? Uh, well, never mind; it doesn't matter anyway. Well, uh, what do you feed us all, eh?

ZAN:

For carnivorous species we make synthetics. The flora was not hurt by the vibrations which destroyed animal life.

WALTER:

Oh, nice for the flora. Well, George, you started out with "point one." I deduce there is a "point two" kicking around somewhere. What is it?

ZAN:

Something we do not understand.

WALTER:

Oh?

ZAN:

Two of the other animals sleep and do not wake. They are cold.

WALTER:

Don't worry, George. It happens in the best-regulated zoos.

ZAN:

What is wrong with them, Walter?

WALTER:

Nothing much. They're just dead.

ZAN: Dead?

WALTER:

Mm hm.

ZAN:

That means stopped. But nothing stopped them. Each was alone.

WALTER:

Well, maybe they just died of old age.

ZAN:

Old age? I do not understand.

WALTER:

You don't? Well-- How old are you, George?

ZAN:

Your planet went around the sun about seven thousand times since I was born.

WALTER:

Seven thousand years!

ZAN:

Yes. I am still young.

WALTER:

Yeah, a babe in arms. Look, George, you've got something to learn about this planet you've hijacked. Here on Earth, we've got somebody you don't know where you come from. An old man with a beard and an hour-glass and a scythe. Your vibrations didn't kill him.

ZAN:

What is he?

WALTER:

Oh, Old Man Death. Down here, our people and animals live until somebody -- the Grim Reaper -- stops them.

ZAN:

He will stop more?

WALTER:

He gets us all, George. With your life span, it won't seem like a minute and we'll all be gone. (CHUCKLES) Looks like you made a mistake, George. And I don't think there's much you can do about it.

ZAN:

That is not correct. The Zan is a logical being. We will take action!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

WALTER AND ZAN'S FOOTSTEPS DOWN HALLWAY ... CONTINUES IN BG

WALTER:

Well, George, uh, where're you taking me?

ZAN:

We will be there shortly. We will bring your books and your chair.

WALTER:

You mean my lease is up?

ZAN:

I - I do not understand.

WALTER:

It's moving day?

ZAN:

That is correct.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS OUT

ZAN:

We are here now. You will live here now, Walter. It is a larger room.

WALTER:

Well, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES OPEN

ZAN:

Go inside.

WALTER:

Oh, be careful with those books, George. Don't lose my-- (BEAT) Oh, uh, excuse me.

GRACE:

Who - who are you?

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES SHUT

GRACE:

What are you doing here?

WALTER:

I guess George didn't explain. George tries to be polite, but he hasn't quite caught on yet. I'm Walter Phelan.

GRACE:

My name is Grace Evans, Mr. Phelan. What's all this about? Why did they bring me here?

WALTER:

I think I know why but let's go back a bit. Do you know just what has happened otherwise?

GRACE:

No, not exactly.

WALTER:

Well, I've been talking to George--

GRACE:

George?

WALTER:

Oh, that's what I call them. All of them. There's no way to tell 'em apart anyway. There aren't many of 'em here -- yet. They come from outside the solar system. Sort of an advance scouting party.

GRACE:

I saw their spaceship. It's as big as a mountain.

WALTER:

Yeah, they're moving in on us. They cleaned off the Earth with some kind of vibration. It destroys all sorts of animal life. I don't know whether they did it all at once, or if they had to circle the earth a few times, but they killed everybody.

GRACE:

No! I was afraid that--

WALTER:

The cheerful note is that you and I and two-hundred-odd other animals were picked up beforehand as specimens for the zoo. You do know this is a zoo, don't you?

GRACE:

I suspected it. But I don't remember anything about being captured. I just woke up here.

WALTER:

Well, my hunch is they used the vibrations just low enough to knock us all out, and then they cruised around, picking up samples at random. When they were all set, they turned the juice on full blast.

GRACE:

How terrible.

WALTER:

Yeah, well, they solved a lot of problems for us -- housing shortage, wars, even the atomic bomb. I don't suppose the human race -- you and I -- have to worry about anything now.

GRACE:

It's awful.

WALTER:

Only -- they made a mistake. They underestimated us.

GRACE:

I don't understand.

WALTER:

(CHUCKLES) They thought we were immortal.

GRACE:

That we were what?

WALTER:

Immortal -- like they are. Oh, they can be killed - but the Zans don't know what natural death is. They didn't know, anyway, until they lost two of us yesterday.

GRACE:

You mean there are more than two of us?

WALTER:

Oh, not more of our species, no. These were merely fellow animals -- a rabbit and a canary. And by the Zan's way of figuring time, the rest of us are only good for a few minutes apiece. The joke on them -- they figured they had permanent specimens here in the zoo.

GRACE: Well, didn't they even know we'd all die eventually?

WALTER:

I don't think so. George -- that is, the second Zan I saw -- told me he was seven thousand years old, and he's young by their standards. When they learned how quickly we die, they were practically shocked to the core -- if they have cores.

GRACE:

How can you talk that way about it?

WALTER:

Academic detachment. I learned it at faculty teas. At any rate, they've decided to reorganize their zoo -- two by two.

GRACE:

What, are they going to keep us locked up together in this one little room?

WALTER:

Yeah, I'm afraid so. There's plenty of furniture, though, and George promised to bring me my chair.

GRACE:

We've got to do something!

WALTER:

Why?

GRACE:

Well, I don't know. It just - just seems to me we owe it to the human race to do something!

WALTER:

Oh? Well, uh, perhaps you have a suggestion?

GRACE:

There must be some way. They can be killed, you said.

WALTER:

Oh, yes. I've been studying them. They look horribly different, but I think they have about the same metabolic and digestive system as we. I think that anything that would kill one of us would kill one of them.

GRACE:

But you said seven thousand years--

WALTER:

Yeah, I think I figured it out. Now, George cut his, uh -- why, I suppose you'd call it his hand -- when he brought in my books. Started to bleed. Red blood. But I could see the cut closing as he stood there. By the time he left, it was healed.

GRACE:

I don't understand.

WALTER:

You see, whatever factor there is in man that makes him grow old is missing in the Zan. Their regenerative powers must be unlimited. They just don't wear out. They go on and on until they're stopped.

GRACE:

Suppose we killed one. There must be some way.

WALTER:

Oh. What would be the use? They wouldn't even punish us. They'd just give us our food through a trap door and put up a sign saying, "Beware of the Man -- Dangerous."

GRACE:

(DISGUSTED) I don't think they'll even have to bother in your case.

WALTER:

(CHUCKLES)

GRACE:

I don't see anything funny.

WALTER:

I'm sorry, it just reminds me of Martha.

GRACE:

Martha?

WALTER:

My wife. She died two years ago.

GRACE:

I'm - I'm sorry.

WALTER:

Oh, not at all. It was a pleasure.

SOUND:

HEAVY KNOCKS AT THE DOOR

WALTER: Uh, that'll be George with my books. (CALLS) Come in.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES OPEN

WALTER:

Hello, George.

ZAN:

Hello, Walter.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES SHUT

ZAN:

Point one, I have brought your books.

SOUND:

ZAN FOOTSTEPS IN ... BOOKS DROPPED ON FLOOR

WALTER:

Mm hm. Point one, eh? What else is on your mind?

ZAN:

Another creature sleeps and will not wake.

WALTER:

Oh?

ZAN:

A small feathered one called a duck.

WALTER:

Well, it happens, George. I warned you. Old Man Death. The Grim Reaper. I told you about him.

ZAN:

Walter, the Council of Zan has met. It has been decided logically that -- A. No life form can withstand the full strength vibrations with which we cleared your planet. Therefore, the Grim Reaper you spoke of does not exist.

WALTER:

Mm, pretty neat, George. What's B?

ZAN:

B. The only intelligent life to escape the vibrations is you. Therefore, the logical conclusion is you are stopping these animals by some means unknown to us.

WALTER:

George, you are off your trolley.

ZAN:

You will tell me now how this is done.

WALTER:

You've got me.

ZAN:

Yes. We have. It is necessary to save the remaining specimens as long as possible. If we do not get the information, we may be forced to dispense with your species entirely. This means you, Walter. And the female.

WALTER:

Now, hold on, George. Don't go off half-cocked. Uh, let me take a look at these animals that won't wake up.

ZAN:

I will take you there now. Go first, Walter.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH SLIDES OPEN

WALTER:

After you, my dear George.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

WALTER AND ZAN'S FOOTSTEPS AS THEY PASS CAGES ... IN BG

ZAN:

This is the weasel.

WALTER:

Well, you should have got him in the winter, George. The fur's worth more then. It's ermine.

ZAN:

This is the reptile cage.

WALTER:

Mm hm.

ZAN:

Here are the ducks.

SOUND:

DUCK QUACKS IN BG ... FOOTSTEPS OUT

ZAN:

That is the male. The female has been stopped.

WALTER:

Lucky girl. (TO DUCK, SYMPATHETIC) What's the matter, fella? Lonely? Hm?

ZAN:

Walter? You will tell me how you stopped the female duck.

WALTER:

You've got me, George. I didn't do it. Maybe she died of the Dutch Elm blight.

ZAN:

Walter, you are not being logical. We have concluded you are stopping these animals. Tell us now how it is done.

WALTER:

I've told you, George. I haven't the foggiest notion.

ZAN:

Very well. We will have to take further action.

WALTER:

Oh? What are you going to do, George?

ZAN:

We will go back now to your room.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

GRACE:

(WORRIED) What happened, Mr. Phelan?

WALTER:

Uh, you might call me Walter. After all, George does. And we have more in common.

GRACE:

Please! What happened?

WALTER:

Oh, just a duck. A dead duck. George thinks I killed it by remote control. He wants me to tell him how.

GRACE:

Did you?

WALTER:

Look, I'm just an ordinary anthropologist. There's no telling what those animals died of. Just natural causes. But George can't see it that way. He thinks I'm holding out on him.

GRACE:

Good!

WALTER:

Hm? What?

GRACE:

At least we can get back at them some way. At least we can do something to them.

WALTER:

Well, why? After all, George isn't a bad fellow -- if you like an ant mentality.

GRACE:

How can you say that?! Why, they murdered the whole human race!

WALTER:

I suppose so -- but, uh, we can't change that now. So why think about it?

GRACE:

We just can't sit here and do nothing.

WALTER:

I fail to see how we can do anything else.

GRACE:

Well, at least we could be fighting.

WALTER:

I can't see the virtue in that. I was more or less content with my books and-- We've got George to talk to.

GRACE:

(DISGUSTED) Of all the men in the world they had to pick--! Don't you want to fight back? Don't you want to keep on fighting to the end?

WALTER:

It hadn't occurred to me.

GRACE:

But we've got to, Walter!

WALTER:

Why?

GRACE:

I can't really explain it. But, Walter, if there was any good in man, it was that he kept on struggling against nature and, in the end, even against himself. He kept on fighting for what he thought was right. And we're all that's left. Walter, we - we just can't end by giving up. We've got to keep on fighting.

WALTER:

(CHUCKLES) You know, you do remind me of Martha.

GRACE:

There isn't much left for us. We could beat them in this one small thing. We can pretend there's a secret about death. We could refuse to tell them anything.

WALTER:

Well, there isn't anything to tell.

GRACE:

But they don't know that! Promise me you won't give in.

WALTER:

Well, I suppose the worst they can do is kill us. All right, Miss Evans.

SOUND:

THREE HEAVY KNOCKS AT THE DOOR ... DOOR SLIDES OPEN ... ZAN FOOTSTEPS IN

WALTER:

Hello, George.

ZAN:

Hello, Walter.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES SHUT

ZAN:

Now you will tell us how these animals are stopped.

WALTER:

George, this may come as a shock to you but I've decided not to tell you.

ZAN:

Why?

WALTER:

Oh, a romantic attachment to lost causes. My grandfather was a Confederate officer.

ZAN:

Walter, you are not being logical.

WALTER:

Neither was my grandfather. He charged a Yankee battery with one round of ammunition and a corncob pipe.

ZAN:

You are not logical. But that is expected in lower life forms. You will come with me now, Walter.

GRACE:

Where are you taking him?

ZAN:

To the second level. Go now, Walter.

GRACE:

(TO WALTER) You won't tell them.

WALTER:

I can't guarantee anything but, as of now, I don't intend to.

GRACE:

We've got to fight, Walter. Remember that. We've got to go out fighting.

WALTER:

Yes. Yes, I think you're right.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH SLIDES OPEN

ZAN:

Go now, Walter.

GRACE:

Goodbye.

WALTER:

It's been a pleasure, Miss Evans.

ZAN:

I am waiting. Go now, Walter.

WALTER:

After you, my dear George.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

EAR-SPLITTING DRONE ... FOR TORTURE ... THEN IN BG

ZAN:

You will tell us now, Walter.

WALTER:

(GROANS IN PAIN FOR A FEW MOMENTS)

SOUND:

EAR-SPLITTING DRONE OUT

WALTER:

(GASPS FOR BREATH ... CONTINUES IN BG)

ZAN:

That was the first level of vibrations. There are many more. However, we have calculated that none of them exceed your threshold of unconsciousness.

WALTER:

Very clever, George.

ZAN:

Of course. You will tell us now -- how do you stop these animals? You will tell us now.

WALTER:

As of now, no. However, I'm not very brave, if that encourages you, George.

ZAN:

You are not being logical, Walter.

WALTER:

You're telling me.

ZAN:

We will now use Vibration Level Two.

SOUND:

CLICK! OF SWITCH ... HIGH-PITCHED DRONE ... THEN IN BG

WALTER:

(GROANS IN PAIN FOR A FEW MOMENTS)

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED DRONE OUT

ZAN:

Walter? Walter, you are still conscious?

WALTER:

Let me alone, George.

ZAN:

You will tell us now. You will tell us now how you stop the animals.

WALTER:

Let me alone. Let me alone.

ZAN:

We have had Vibration Levels One and Two. There are still fifteen more before your threshold of unconsciousness.

WALTER:

No, no, no. Let me alone.

ZAN:

Walter, listen to me. Another creature sleeps and will not wake. We must know now!

WALTER:

You better start vibrating again, George.

ZAN:

No.

WALTER:

(BEAT) What?

ZAN:

It would not be logical. We have calculated that no further level of vibration will overcome your irrational psychological block. We conclude you will not tell.

WALTER:

You'll let me go?

ZAN:

That is correct.

WALTER:

(UNCERTAIN) Hmm. That's, uh, real nice of you, George. I appreciate it.

ZAN:

We have calculated that the resistance of the female of your species will be lower. We will now place her under the vibrations.

WALTER:

No, no, George. George, you can't do that. Now, listen, George. George, there is no secret. Can you understand that? There is no secret. Those animals died from natural causes. I'm telling you the truth.

ZAN:

That is not a logical answer. We will get the woman.

WALTER:

I've told you the truth! Can't you understand?

ZAN:

We must know now. The female animal caged next to the duck has been stopped. We must preserve the survivor.

WALTER:

The animal--? The animal next to the duck?

ZAN:

We will bring the woman here. She will tell us after the vibrations.

WALTER:

No, no, no. Listen, George. You want the truth? You want to know how to save the mates of the animals that have been stopped?

ZAN:

You will tell us now?

WALTER:

Yes, yes. I'll tell you now. I give up. But you've got to promise to leave the woman alone. You promise, George?

ZAN:

If we receive the answer from you, Walter, there will be no further need for the vibrations.

WALTER:

Well, I guess that'll have to do. All right.

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN

WALTER:

All right, take me to that stopped animal. I'll tell you how to save the mate.

ZAN:

Very well, Walter. You are being logical now. We will go.

MUSIC:

UP FOR BRIDGE

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES SHUT ... WALTER'S FOOTSTEPS IN, BEHIND--

GRACE:

Walter, are you all right?

WALTER:

Just - let me catch my breath a minute.

GRACE:

What did they do? What happened?

WALTER:

After a while, I told them what they wanted to know.

GRACE:

Oh, no!

WALTER:

As George pointed out, it seemed to be the logical thing at the time.

GRACE:

But you promised!

WALTER:

I know.

GRACE:

(DISAPPOINTED) It was our last chance to beat them on even one little thing.

WALTER:

Perhaps. You mind if I sit down?

GRACE:

(ACCUSING) You gave up.

WALTER:

I suppose you could call it that. I'm very tired.

GRACE:

They've beaten us completely then. There isn't even anything we can do. The last of the human race and we give up! We don't even die fighting.

WALTER:

Oh, it isn't that bad. (YAWNS) Something might turn up, Martha.

GRACE:

What did you call me?

WALTER:

Huh? Oh, I must have said "Martha." Sorry. She was my wife. She died two years ago. What were you saying?

GRACE:

(BITTER) Nothing. Nothing. It doesn't matter. It's too late. It's too late for the whole human race.

SOUND:

THREE HEAVY KNOCKS AT THE DOOR ... DOOR SLIDES OPEN ... ZAN FOOTSTEPS IN

WALTER:

What now, George?

ZAN:

The Council of the Zan has met.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES SHUT

WALTER:

Oh? Something wrong, George?

ZAN:

A Zan has been stopped.

GRACE:

What?

WALTER:

A Zan is dead?

ZAN:

That is correct.

WALTER:

Well, you didn't believe me, George. But you can die. You can really die. You'll have to get used to that, if you're going to stay here.

ZAN:

The council has decided. A. You have in some way stopped this Zan. B. You and the woman must be eliminated.

GRACE:

Walter?!

WALTER:

No, no, you've got it wrong, George.

ZAN:

The council has decided. This time you will have the full vibration.

GRACE:

This time? Walter, what did they do to you?

WALTER:

Oh, they, uh, they have a rather effective third degree.

GRACE:

They tortured you, Walter?

WALTER:

Yes.

GRACE:

And I - I thought-- Oh, Walter, it was all my fault.

WALTER:

I wouldn't have even tried without you. I suppose we have a last chance now to - to end with some dignity.

GRACE:

I think you're a very brave man, Walter.

WALTER:

No, not very. There isn't much else to do. Do we go now, George?

ZAN:

Now, Walter.

SOUND:

VERY HIGH-PITCHED COMMUNICATION SIGNAL

ZAN:

Wait.

WALTER:

Hm? What's that?

ZAN:

I have been told another Zan has died!

WALTER:

Now - now will you believe me?

ZAN:

The Council of the Zan meets now!

WALTER:

Two gone already, and you were with me, George. You know I didn't kill this one.

ZAN:

What stopped him then?

WALTER:

I told you! It's Old Man Death! You came to the wrong planet, George. Your immortality doesn't go down here. He can stop you but you can't stop him. And you'll all die if you stick around.

SOUND:

VERY HIGH-PITCHED COMMUNICATION SIGNAL

WALTER:

What now?

ZAN:

The council has decided. This is a place of death. We will leave your planet.

WALTER:

Leave? You mean you're giving up?

ZAN:

It is not safe for the Zan.

GRACE:

Oh, Walter, they're leaving! They're really going.

WALTER: Go on, then, George. And, uh-- Don't hurry back.

ZAN:

It would not be logical to do so. We are leaving the Earth now. Goodbye, Walter.

SOUND:

ZAN FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH SLIDES OPEN

WALTER:

Goodbye, George.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

WIND HOWLS ... CONTINUES IN BG

WALTER:

Well, they're all aboard now.

GRACE:

So wonderful to feel the sun and the wind again.

WALTER:

Yeah, they've closed the hatches.

GRACE:

Walter, is it safe for us to be out here?

WALTER:

Yes, they're not interested in us any longer. They only want to get away. And I want to see this, Grace -- the Zan leaving Earth, forever.

SOUND:

DISTANT TAKE-OFF OF SPACESHIP BEGINS ... CONTINUES IN BG

WALTER:

They're blasting off.

SOUND:

SPACESHIP FLIES AWAY ... FADES OUT BEHIND--

GRACE:

There they go!

WALTER:

Yes, it's all over now. (BEAT) Well, I suppose we might as well go back in.

SOUND:

GRACE AND WALTER'S FOOTSTEPS .. CONTINUES IN BG

GRACE:

I - I still don't understand. Walter, what made them go?

WALTER:

(CHUCKLES) I just - I just told them the facts of life.

GRACE:

Of death, you mean.

WALTER:

No, no. Of life. After all, I thought George was old enough to know. At seven thousand years, he was getting to be a pretty big boy.

GRACE:

I wish you'd stop joking and tell me what happened.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE INDOORS ... WIND OUT WITH DOOR CLOSING BEHIND--

WALTER:

Look out for the step. Well, you remember when the first animals died?

GRACE:

The rabbit and the duck?

WALTER:

Yeah. And their mates just started to pine and waste away?

GRACE:

Yes?

WALTER:

Well, that worried the Zan. They wanted to keep the last specimens alive if they could, so finally I broke down and told them about -- affection.

GRACE:

Affection?

WALTER:

Yes. And then I introduced Donald.

GRACE:

Donald? Who's that?

SOUND:

DUCK QUACKS

WALTER:

Here we are. Grace, meet Donald.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS OUT BEHIND--

GRACE:

Walter, please! What does affection have to do with it?

WALTER:

That's what the Zan wanted to know. I told them it was love that made the world go round. That, having lost his mate, Donald would die immediately unless he had affection and constant petting.

GRACE:

Petting?

WALTER:

Mm hm.

SOUND:

CAGE DOOR UNLOCKED AND OPENED

WALTER:

(CHUCKLES) I even showed 'em how. (TO DUCK) Here, fella, come on. Come here.

SOUND:

DUCK QUACKS

WALTER:

I held Donald in my arms, and I petted him awhile. And then I let the Zan take over with the animal in the next cage.

GRACE:

What animal?

WALTER:

Take a look.

GRACE:

You mean this cage?

WALTER:

Mm hm.

SOUND:

RATTLE

WALTER:

Watch out. Don't go too close.

GRACE:

Walter! It's a rattlesnake!

WALTER:

Ye-e-es. Their metabolism made it impossible for them to die of old age but I had a hunch that they could be poisoned.

GRACE:

(REALIZES) Then it was the snake that killed the two Zan.

WALTER:

Mm hm. They never even knew what bit 'em.

GRACE:

Then, you outwitted them, Walter!

WALTER:

Well, I - I suppose--

GRACE:

I thought you'd just given up! Oh, Walter, I'm so ashamed.

WALTER:

You don't have to be. I had given up. I probably wouldn't have fought if you hadn't pushed me.

GRACE:

(AWKWARD PAUSE) Well, I--

WALTER:

Well, we've got a world to plan. A new world, Grace.

GRACE:

I know.

WALTER:

We'll have to decide which animals to let out of the zoo, and which ones it'd be safer to keep in. But, first, there's a bigger problem.

GRACE:

What's that?

WALTER:

The human race.

GRACE:

Oh.

WALTER:

We've got to make a decision about that. Pretty important one.

GRACE:

Y-yes, but--

WALTER:

It's been a nice race, even if nobody won it. Of course, it may go backward for a while until it gets its breath, but we can save the books and all the most important things, and get it started ahead once more.

GRACE:

No!

WALTER:

It's the Garden of Eden all over again. Ah, but, Eve -- you'll have to watch out for that snake.

GRACE:

Now, don't! Don't be ridiculous, Walter!

WALTER:

You know-- Funny, you even blush like Martha. Only, uh, you're stronger than she was. Prettier, too.

GRACE:

I - I wish you'd forget about Martha.

WALTER:

I think I will, my dear -- if you'll give me time.

GRACE:

Now, Walter Phelan, you listen to me! If you think for one minute that I-- That we could--

WALTER:

I thought it would never happen to me again. But it is love that makes the world go round. So, Grace, if you could only--

GRACE:

No! I wouldn't marry you if - if you were the last man on Earth!

WALTER:

Well, that's exactly what I am!

GRACE:

I don't care! I don't even want to talk about it!

SOUND:

GRACE'S FOOTSTEPS START AWAY

GRACE:

I'm going out!

WALTER:

(CALLS, FROM OFF) All right, my dear, but think it over. And please come back!

SOUND:

DOOR SLAMS SHUT

MUSIC:

BRIEF WHIMSICAL BRIDGE

SOUND:

GRACE'S FOOTSTEPS HESITATE THEN RETURN TO DOOR, BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

You see? I told you. It wasn't really so horrible, our story. Remember how it goes? "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. And then, there was a knock on the door..."

SOUND: GRACE KNOCKS ON DOOR

WALTER:

(OFF) Come in.

SOUND:

DOOR SLIDES OPEN ... GRACE'S FOOTSTEPS TO WALTER

WALTER:

(GROWING CLOSER, LOVINGLY) Come in, Grace. My dear.

MUSIC:

WHIMSICAL ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

You see? It wasn't horrible at all.

MUSIC:

TO A WHIMSICAL FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

In just a moment, a word about next week's adventure.

MUSIC:

CLOSING THEME ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, by transcription, "X Minus One" has brought you "Knock" by Fredric Brown, adapted for radio by Ernest Kinoy. Featured in the cast were Alex Scourby as Walter, Lori March as Grace, and Luis Van Rooten as the Zan. "X Minus One" was directed by Fred Weihe and is an NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

And now-- Next week.

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

A strange and chilling story from the Bureau of Missing Persons. The story of what occurred when they accidentally intercepted a short wave message, a cry for help, from a missing atomic scientist who told them the fantastic story that he was now -- "The Man in the Moon." How did it happen? You'll hear next week at--

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM OUT

ANNOUNCER:

(HEAVY ECHO) X ... Minus ... One!

NBC ANNCR:

(AFTER A PAUSE) Join "The Abbotts" on another baffling mystery tonight over most NBC Radio stations.

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES ... THEN OUT