Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Project Mastodon
Date: Jun 05 1956

CAST:
NBC ANNCR (2 lines)
ANNOUNCER
CHIEF OF PROTOCOL
HUDSON, the hustler
SECRETARY OF STATE
FBI AGENT
CITIZEN
COOPER
WES ADAMS, the brains
HERB, of the government
LES, of the military
EDITOR, of the press

NBC ANNCR:

Now stay tuned for "X Minus One" on NBC.

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... JOINED BY ELECTRONIC BEEPING IN AGREEMENT WITH COUNTDOWN

ANNOUNCER:

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

SOUND:

A MOMENT'S SILENCE ... THEN ROCKET SHIP BLASTS OFF

MUSIC:

BUILDS VERTIGINOUSLY TO A CLIMAX ... THEN 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 maybe worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, "Project Mastodon" by Clifford D. Simak.

MUSIC:

FOR A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

PROTOCOL: Mr. Secretary, may I present Mr. Hudson of-- uh--?

HUDSON:

Mastodonia.

PROTOCOL:

Mastodonia. Mr. Hudson, this is the Secretary of State.

HUDSON:

Honored, sir.

PROTOCOL:

Now, as Chief of Protocol for the department, I have informed him--

STATE:

All right, Mr. Kingston, I haven't much time. I'm due at a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at two. If you passed Mr. Hudson in, I'll assume everything is quite proper. Now then, Mr. Hudson. I understand you've been here several times seeking recognition for your, uh, country.

HUDSON:

Well, that's right. I had a hard time making your staff believe I was in earnest.

STATE:

And are you, Mr. Hudson?

HUDSON:

Oh, very much so.

STATE:

You are an American, Mr. Hudson. I assume you are acting as a representative for Mastodonia rather than as a principal in the matter.

HUDSON:

No, no, no. I claim dual citizenship, sir. I am a Mastodonian.

STATE:

Well, you - you'll pardon me, but I've never heard of your country.

HUDSON:

Well, it's a new nation, but quite legitimate. We have a constitution, a democratic form of government, duly elected officials, and a code of laws. We are a free, peace-loving people and we are possessed of a vast amount of natural resources and--

STATE:

Please tell me, Mr. Hudson, just where are you located? I gathered it was somewhere in, uh, Asia?

HUDSON:

Oh, no, no. Technically, you are our nearest neighbors.

PROTOCOL:

That's ridiculous. Now, look here, Hudson, you can't--

HUDSON:

If you'll give me a moment, Mr. Secretary, I have considerable evidence here.

PROTOCOL:

I'll have to ask you to leave. I'm sorry, sir, I--

STATE:

Go ahead, Mr. Hudson. You submitted a document signed by a certain Wesley Adams.

HUDSON:

Well, he's our first president. You see, we'd like to establish diplomatic relations. After all, we are a sister republic. We'd like to a negotiate trade agreement and, of course, we'd be grateful for assistance under the foreign aid program.

STATE:

Naturally. Who wouldn't?

PROTOCOL:

Mr. Secretary--

STATE:

All right, Kingston.

HUDSON:

We're prepared to offer something in return. For one thing -- sanctuary.

STATE:

Sanctuary?

HUDSON:

I understand that in the present state of international tensions, a foolproof sanctuary is not something to be sneezed at.

STATE:

(BEAT) Hmm. All right, Kingston, I think we've had enough. Show Mr. Hudson out.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

FBI:

All right, let's have the story again.

CITIZEN:

Look, mister, I don't want any trouble.

FBI:

Just tell the story again. You want to cooperate with the FBI, don't you?

CITIZEN:

Oh, sure, sure, I do. Sure. But I just don't want any trouble.

FBI:

All right, start over. You found the briefcase in the booth?

CITIZEN:

Yeah, yeah, that's right. I brought my beer over from the bar, you know? And this fella just went out a minute before, so I figured he must've left it. I run after him.

FBI:

You didn't see him, though?

CITIZEN:

No. So I-- Well, I just kinda looked in the briefcase. You know, I mean, to identify it, that's all. I don't steal.

FBI:

And then you came to us?

CITIZEN:

Yeah, yeah, that's right. I mean, after all, when I saw that stuff, well-- I just figured I was way over my head, you know?

FBI:

All right, don't say anything about this, do you understand? We'd rather you just forgot the whole thing.

CITIZEN:

Oh, sure, sure. Listen, some things I don't want to remember. Ya know?

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

FBI:

(INTO PHONE) Hello? Is this Dr. Harrison of the paleontology department? This is Mr. Jenkins at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We have some movie film we'd like you to look over. ... Huh? Oh, uh, we acquired it. ... Big, shaggy elephants and tigers with teeth down to their neck. ... No. No, it's not fakes. Our labs are sure of that. Whatever is on those films is real. ... Hm? No, we don't know. That's why we called you. ... We haven't the slightest idea where those pictures were shot. We can't even guess.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... TO PREHISTORIC TIMES

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND ... MOSQUITO BUZZES .. THEN SWAT!

COOPER:

Ow!

WES ADAMS:

What's the matter, Coop?

COOPER:

One of those flying hypodermics. This is a fine healthy spot. Mosquitos as big as hummingbirds.

WES ADAMS:

Oh, careful, son, you're knocking the climate of the capital city of Mastodonia.

COOPER:

Yeah, some capital city. One palm tree and a Boy Scout pup tent. Wes, this is the wildest thing we ever did. What if Chuck can't get back?

WES ADAMS:

Chuck Hudson is a man of many parts. Have faith.

COOPER:

Supposin' they're puttin' him in jail or something might happen to the time unit or the helicopter. We shoulda gone along.

WES ADAMS:

Do you think they'll do it, Coop?

COOPER:

Who? What?

WES ADAMS:

The United States. Do you think they'll recognize us?

COOPER:

Not if they know that Mastodonia is the United States, fifty thousand years ago.

SOUND:

TRUMPET OF MASTODON, OFF

WES ADAMS:

Yeah, that's why we have to get legal recognition first, otherwise it wouldn't be safe. (PAUSE) There goes that mastodon again. Good old Buster.

COOPER:

Where is he?

SOUND:

TRUMPET OF MASTODON, CLOSER ... CONTINUES IN BG

WES ADAMS:

Right there. Over by the grove, see? Aw, he's lonely.

COOPER:

(DISBELIEF) What?

WES ADAMS:

He probably is. He musta been run out of the herd by some younger bull. That's why he hangs around like some homeless dog.

COOPER:

One thing worries me, Wes. I know you dreamed up the time unit and we all chipped in for the helicopter but-- Can you just claim territory on your own like we did?

WES ADAMS:

Why not? We found it, it's ours.

SOUND:

TRUMPET OF MASTODON, STILL CLOSER

COOPER:

Hey, Buster's comin' this way. Gimme the rifle!

SOUND:

RIFLE READIED

WES ADAMS:

No, no, wait, wait, wait. Maybe he's only bluffing.

COOPER:

That mastodon comes through here, he'll stomp everything flat. I'll give him three steps more.

WES ADAMS:

Aww, be such a shame to plaster him. He's such a nice, old monster.

COOPER:

One more step and he gets it.

SOUND:

HELICOPTER APPROACHES

WES ADAMS:

Hey! That's Chuck. He's back.

COOPER:

I wish he could fly that helicopter better. Might wreck it.

WES ADAMS:

Well, anyway, he scared Buster off.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CRACKLING CAMPFIRE BACKGROUND

COOPER:

Poke those fires up, Wes.

WES ADAMS:

Oh, they're high enough, Coop.

COOPER:

You don't want a saber-tooth waltzin' through here, do ya?

HUDSON:

Well, we'd better get a stockade up. Some night, a herd of mastodon'll come bustin' in here and if they ever hit the helicopter, we'd be dead ducks. We'd never get back. We'd be stuck back here in the Pleistocene Age. I won't feel safe till we get another helicopter.

COOPER:

Those mastodons carry a lot of ivory. And the mammoths up north.

HUDSON:

Oh, sure, sure. And get socked in the jug for smugglin' ivory? Only way to cash in on the time unit is to get diplomatic recognition for Mastodonia.

COOPER:

We've got a good case. You said so yourself.

SOUND:

ROAR! OF SABER-TOOTH TIGER, OFF

HUDSON:

Oh, a saber-tooth?

COOPER:

Down by the grove.

SOUND:

RIFLE READIED ... ANOTHER ROAR, CLOSER

HUDSON:

Hmm, I don't like that. Sounds closer. Hey, poke up that fire, will ya, Coop?

SOUND:

TRUMPET OF MASTODON

WES ADAMS:

Oh, well, that's Buster.

COOPER:

There he is.

SOUND:

TRUMPET! ROAR! MASTODON VERSUS TIGER!

COOPER:

He's tangling with the saber-tooth.

WES ADAMS:

I'll lay three-to-five on Buster.

COOPER:

Cat's drawn blood. I'll take five dollars of it.

WES ADAMS:

Come on, Buster, roll on 'em, will ya?

SOUND:

TRUMPET! ROAR!

COOPER:

Cat's on his head now! Hey!

WES ADAMS:

Hey, he's comin' this way.

COOPER:

Look out!

HUDSON:

Wes, turn him! Shoot!

SOUND:

CHARGING, TRUMPETING MASTODON! RIFLE SHOTS! ... THE MEN HOLLER AS THE WOUNDED MASTODON COLLAPSES ON TOP OF THE HELICOPTER, CRUSHING IT ... THEN SILENCE

COOPER:

(AFTER A PAUSE) Is he dead?

WES ADAMS:

Yup.

HUDSON:

(APPROACHES) The tiger's gone. He won't get far.

COOPER:

Neither will we.

HUDSON:

(STUNNED) Oh, no. No.

WES ADAMS:

(IRONIC) Yeah, good old Buster. Trust him to drop dead right across the helicopter.

COOPER:

Well, we can fix it, can't we?

WES ADAMS:

We probably won't even be able to roll Buster off of it. The rotor blades are twisted and the frame is a mess. (WRY, ARCH) A total mess, gentlemen. We are in trouble. Hm! Mastodonia faces a crisis.

MUSIC:

UNHAPPY BRIDGE

LES:

Herb! Herb, you're the key man in the administration. You swing a big stick on the Hill. You can't give up on Project Mastodon now.

HERB:

Les, it's been ten years. If they were coming back, they'd be here by now.

LES:

Look, I've been working on this ever since we got those films. I've traced their lives from the time they were born till the time they disappeared. Adams was the brains. The other two were quite capable of helping him carry it out. Hudson knew all the angles--

HERB:

Les, I've sneaked your appropriation through four times. Now, there's a limit.

LES:

But I've got the proof! We've had every paleontologist in the country go over those films. They couldn't be faked. Who would know to - to put lynx tassels on the ears of saber-tooth tigers? Who would know that young mastodons were black? And the location. We tracked down Adams' farm just from landmarks in the prehistoric landscape in those films. We've got to contact them.

HERB:

Look, Les, even assuming it's all true, a planet has only a grand total of resources. If we get Adams' device--

LES:

Time machine.

HERB:

If we exploit resources of prehistoric America, won't we be robbing ourselves of our own heritage?

LES:

Look, Herb, I've been over all that with the AEC. There's a lot of lead in southwestern Wisconsin. If we go back far enough, we can catch it when it's uranium.

HERB:

The whole research project hasn't turned up a lead on Adams' machine -- if it exists.

LES:

We've got to keep watching that farm. They might return. We've got to keep looking for them -- no matter how long it takes.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... TO PREHISTORIC TIMES

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND ... TAPPING! OF HAMMER, THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

HUDSON:

Eegh! Listen, Wes, we can't stay around here much longer. Old Buster's gettin' a little too strong.

WES ADAMS:

Yeah, well, I'll have the time unit clear of the helicopter in a few minutes. Then we'll just have to move camp upwind, hm?

COOPER:

Look at him. It's only two days since he dropped dead, bless his heart. Already those vultures are half into him. [X]

HUDSON:

They'll have him picked clean inside of a week.

WES ADAMS:

Uh, give me the hex wrench, will ya?

SOUND:

USE OF WRENCH, THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

COOPER:

Wes, is it all right -- the time unit?

WES ADAMS:

Well, we won't know until we try it, Coop. And, then, of course, it's too late.

COOPER:

Well, either it does or it doesn't.

HUDSON:

Problem is, how're we gonna use it without the copter? [X]

COOPER:

Couldn't we take a chance on using it on the ground?

WES ADAMS:

No, we have to get up in the air. You don't want to take a chance of arriving in the twentieth century about six feet underground.

HUDSON:

Wait a minute, Wes. It's gotta be higher here than in the twentieth century. Look, these hills have stood here since the Jurassic era. They gotta be weathered down.

WES ADAMS:

Yeah, I know. But the only safe way is to build a platform about, er, twelve feet high. That should be enough to clear us.

HUDSON:

But suppose we come out on the other end two feet higher?

WES ADAMS:

So we fall. Which would you rather do -- take a chance on a broken leg or stay here?

COOPER:

Okay, okay. Now, what do we build the platform out of?

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND ... HEAVY STONES MANHANDLED, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--

HUDSON:

(WITH EFFORT) Here ya are, Wes.

WES ADAMS:

(WITH EFFORT) All right. I got it. Chuck? Here comes the next stone.

HUDSON:

Now, wait a minute, wait a minute--

COOPER:

Hey, look out! You want the whole pile to come down?

HUDSON:

Oh, I'm sorry. Okay, Wes, hand it up.

SOUND:

MEN GRUNT AS STONE SLIDES INTO PLACE

COOPER:

That's about twelve feet, isn't it?

HUDSON:

Well, it ought to be. It took us ten days to pile it up. Look out, I'm comin' down.

WES ADAMS:

All right, don't start an avalanche.

SOUND:

HUDSON SLIDES DOWN PILE OF STONES

HUDSON:

Well, pretty soon we'll be able to start all over again.

WES ADAMS:

Mm hm. If the unit works.

COOPER:

That isn't all. We don't have any proof we've been back here. We'll be stone broke. Another helicopter'd cost thirty thousand dollars. Can't walk into a bank and borrow thirty grand to take a short trip to the Stone Age.

HUDSON:

Wes, where you figure we are? I mean, on the farm.

WES ADAMS:

Well, I think we're clear of the barn and the silo.

COOPER:

I hope so.

WES ADAMS:

The way I figure it, we're astraddle that barbed wire fence at the south end of the orchard.

HUDSON:

Well -- we might as well give it a try.

WES ADAMS:

All right. I'll get the unit. You two climb up on top of the pyramid.

MUSIC:

BRIEF BRIDGE

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND

HUDSON:

You ready?

COOPER:

Think it'll work, Wes?

WES ADAMS:

I don't know, Coop. Got pretty well banged-up when Buster hit the copter. I haven't got the equipment to check the wave forms. All right, stand around close. Bend your knees a little. Might be quite a drop.

COOPER:

(BEAT) Go ahead. Push the button.

WES ADAMS:

Okay. One. Two. Three.

SOUND:

BRIEF RATTLE! OF BUTTON PUSHED

COOPER:

(PAUSE) Nothin'.

WES ADAMS:

(PHILOSOPHICAL) Doesn't work. Well -- that's that. We're stuck.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

HERB:

I'm sorry, Les.

LES:

There's nothing you can do, Herb. You've been out of government for five years.

HERB:

If there's anything I can do-- The board of directors instructed me to offer you--

LES:

No, thank you.

HERB:

Well, what are you going to do? I mean, now that you're retired.

LES:

I bought a farm.

HERB:

Oh?

LES:

In Wisconsin.

HERB:

You haven't given up, have you?

LES:

I'm the only one. They closed Project Mastodon down three years ago and they've been hinting ever since that I'd be happier retired. "Old Bowers -- he's the crackpot from Project Mastodon."

HERB:

I'm sorry, Les, but it has been twenty years.

LES:

Yes, yes, it has. But think of it -- from a military point-of-view. Hidden bases in enemy territory itself, centuries removed in time yet only seconds away. If we had bases like that and shelters--!

HERB:

Relax, Les, it's all over.

LES:

Sure, sure, it's all over.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND ... ESTABLISHED, THEN PUNCTUATED BY RIFLE SHOT

COOPER:

(DISGUSTED) Ahhhhhh, missed.

HUDSON:

Ah, you should be more careful. We've only been stuck a month now. Some day we'll run out of ammo, and then it's bows and arrows.

COOPER:

It's cold. There'll be snow soon.

HUDSON:

Coop, I'm worried about Wes. He takes it pretty hard.

COOPER:

As long as he's tinkerin' on that time unit, he's happy.

HUDSON:

Oh, he isn't going to repair the unit. He hasn't got a chance. Back in the workshop with the tools, maybe.

COOPER:

Well, anyway, the hunting's great.

HUDSON:

Maybe we better start savin' bullets for big game. We won't be Lords of Creation around here long without our guns.

COOPER:

Yeah. And if one of us gets sick or breaks a leg--? (SHRUGS) Well, nobody lives forever.

HUDSON:

Wes is the lucky one. He's got that time unit to tinker with. Come on, we'd better get back to camp.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND ... COOPER AND HUDSON'S FOOTSTEPS TRUDGE THROUGH BRUSH, THEN OUT BEHIND--

COOPER:

(SENSES SOMETHING WRONG) Hey. (CALLS) Hey, Wes! (NO RESPONSE, TO HUDSON) Come on.

SOUND:

JUNGLE BACKGROUND ... COOPER AND HUDSON'S HURRIED FOOTSTEPS

COOPER:

(CALLS) Wes?! Wes?!

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS OUT

COOPER:

There's no sign of him. (BEAT) Wait, there's a note on the door.

HUDSON:

(CALLS) Wes!

COOPER:

Never mind. Listen. (READS) "Dear guys -- I don't want to get your hopes up again and have you disappointed, but I think I may have found the trouble. I'm going to try it out. If it works, I'll be back to get you. Wes."

HUDSON:

Why, the fool!

COOPER:

That unit can't work. He must be off his rocker.

HUDSON:

Wait a minute. Coop? Look, that pyramid. It took us ten days to pile those stones up.

COOPER:

It's gone. The pyramid of rocks. It's gone!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CRASH! OF A TIME-TRAVELING PYRAMID OF ROCKS ONTO AN AUTOMOBILE

LES:

(WAKES) Well, what the--?! Of all the confounded--!

SOUND:

LES' HURRIED FOOTSTEPS TO BEDROOM WINDOW WHICH SLIDES OPEN

LES:

Now, what's - what's going on out there?! (STARTLED) Rocks?! Who dumped those rocks--? My car! Who's out there?!

WES ADAMS:

(OFF) It's all right.

LES:

Don't you move, mister! I got a forty-five pointed at you!

WES ADAMS:

(OFF) Well, I can explain.

LES:

Well, you better! There was a brand-new car where you dumped that load of rocks! Who the devil are you?!

WES ADAMS:

(OFF) My name is Wesley Adams.

LES:

Adams? Adams--? Man, where've you been all these years?

WES ADAMS:

(OFF) Well, I don't suppose you'll believe me, but the fact is--

LES:

I've been waiting for you for twenty-five years! The others all gave up.

WES ADAMS:

(OFF) I'm sorry about your car.

LES:

Never mind. I'll be right down. Now, don't touch a thing. Don't go anywhere!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

WES ADAMS:

(PUZZLED) But it can't be twenty-five years. It's only been a few months -- in Mastodonian time.

LES:

(RELIEVED) Twenty-five years! Man, it's been a long wait.

WES ADAMS:

(REALIZES) The unit. It must have been badly calibrated. You see, it isn't accurate for more than fifty thousand years at a jump if the setting is moved.

LES:

Well, we better call Washington. I imagine you'll want the same terms as before.

WES ADAMS:

Hm? Terms?

LES:

Recognition. Economic aid for Mastodonia. Defense pact. Listen, Adams, you've got those saps over a barrel. You can get anything you want now.

WES ADAMS:

The unit. I'll have to calibrate to the day to go back for them.

LES:

Oh, don't worry about it. You can have every scientist in the country working on it now.

SOUND:

PHONE RECEIVER UP ... DIALS BEHIND--

LES:

Oh, you've got them right where you want them! (INTO PHONE) Hello? Long distance. This is Major General Leslie Bowers, retired. I want to put a call to the President of the United States, White House, Washington. You can tell them I'm placing the call for the President of the Republic of Mastodonia!

MUSIC:

TRIUMPHANT BRIDGE

SOUND:

BLOWING WIND BACKGROUND

HUDSON:

Come on, "Og, Son of Fire" -- put another log on. It's cold.

COOPER:

It's good cold storage for the furs. Boy, when Wes gets back, we'll be millionaires -- furs, ginseng root, ivory!

HUDSON:

If he gets back. It's been five years.

COOPER:

He'll come back. I feel it in my bones.

HUDSON:

Well, he'd better find it before we get too old to enjoy anything. Unfortunately, there's no Social Security in Mastodonia.

COOPER:

Don't you worry. Wes is workin' on it right now. I can feel it.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CLATTER! OF TELETYPE MACHINES ... THEN IN BG

EDITOR:

(INTO PHONE) Hello, Charlie? ... Somethin' just came through on the ticker. I want you to get a background story on it. ... Yeah, we just recognized Mastodonia. ... What? How should I know where it is? Look it up in the encyclopedia. ... Huh? No, the item says "formal recognition was delayed five years until communication could be established." "Certain technical difficulties." ... What? I don't know. Wherever it is, I don't see what difficulties could hold up five years. It stands to reason wherever the place is, you could walk there in five years. ... Nah. No, it's not important. You know these postage stamp countries -- Monaco, Luxembourg -- they're all alike. What's so different about Mastodonia?

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard "X Minus One," presented by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine which this month features the Theodore Sturgeon novelette "The Skills of Xanadu." When a malignant world endangers another, surgery is the usual answer. But perhaps there's another solution -- to kill it with kindness. Galaxy Magazine, on your newsstand today.

MUSIC:

CLOSING THEME SNEAKS IN BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight by transcription, "X Minus One" has brought you "Project Mastodon," a story from the pages of Galaxy written by Clifford D. Simak and adapted for radio by Ernest Kinoy. Featured in the cast were Floyd Mack, Dick Hamilton, Charles Penman, Raymond Edward Johnson, Frank Maxwell, Robert Hastings, John Larkin and Joseph Julian. Your announcer is Jerry Damon. "X Minus One" was directed by Daniel Sutter and is an NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

NBC ANNCR:

Listen next week for the Murray Leinster story "If You Was a Moklin," a tale in which the childlike natives of a strange planet pull a real switch on a redheaded female witch and everyone doubles in brass. That's next week on "X Minus One."

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES