Wow...thanks to all who posted re: "Dial Double Zero" and related topics. I was especially heartened by the information provided by dandelion re: how and when it aired. I'll pass this information along to a woman -- now in Australia -- who saw Dial Double Zero some 20+ years ago when she was in school in the U.S. (there is a small community of people still haunted from seeing this chilling episode decades ago!). I know she has tried to contact the library at the old school to no avail, but the specifics you have provided can only help the search. Thanks a bunch!
"The premise of the story was that a phone switchboard was gaining intelligence over time... "
I'm late getting in on this one, I know, but your original plot description about the switchboard "waking up" reminds me of a classic S.F. story called "Dial 'F' for Frankenstein", I think by Arthur C. Clarke.
Since "Dial Double Zero" was inquired about again, I'm bumping this one up. Wouldn't it be nice if "The Story of a Writer" was released on video...so we could ALL see it?
I would love to have my own copy of this. Make it so, Dandelion!
You have a lot of faith in my abilities, don't you?
Please don't shatter my world view and tell me this faith is misplaced!
Hello to all.
I'm new to this board. I landed here after a google search for "Dial Double Zero" turned up this page. I believe I belong to that small community of people still haunted by it.
I also saw it in school in the early 80's, in White Oaks Elementary School, Fairfax County, Virginia. It was during a semester (in 82) where we also heard Welles' "War of the Worlds" original broadcast.
In fact, I remember this was one of my earliest contacts with Bradbury, if not the first.
I vaguely remember the plot line of DIal Double Zero, but the title and the chilling feeling have remained with me for over twenty years.
Before adding to my statement concerning "The Twilight Zone" pilot, I'd like to go on record as considering myself a Christian. Otherwise it won't have much significance.
If Jesus Christ Himself descended right through the ceiling, pointed an admonishing finger at me, told me in a stern tone in no uncertain terms that "Where is Everybody?" is word-for-word the same story as "Here There Be Tygers" and if I don't swear to it I will not go to Heaven...well, to tell the truth, I'd probably be terrified and agree on the spot...
BUT I STILL WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT!
By the way, you'll never convince Ray on any subject once it becomes "set" to him. Sometime around 1948, if not earlier, he got the idea that "a writer shouldn't go to college." If I had listened to him, (instead of my dad) I would have missed out on one of the most valuable experiences of my entire life! You could tell Ray this (and other things about his "set" subjects) till you morph into a small blue pyramid. He doesn't argue, just basically acknowledges the existence of your statement and repeats his own original one.
I may have posted elsewhere regarding the Robert Redford "Twilight Zone" episode, "Nothing in the Dark." It DOES bear strong resemblances to both "There Was an Old Woman" and "Death and the Maiden." (Even if Satan, or Michael Moore, or one of their friends, pointed this out...I would STILL have to agree...that's how much resemblance there is--in fact, the phrase "there was an old woman" appears in the closing narration.) Even more incriminatingly, the episode appeared about two years after the magazine version of "Death and the Maiden" and about two years before the book appearance--in other words, PERFECT timing for anyone to have read the magazine version, partly forgotten it, and not have a book in which to check it!
Okay, here comes the interesting part. (Drumroll please.) "Nothing in the Dark" was written NOT by Serling, but by George Clayton Johnson! Johnson freely admits the Bradbury resemblance/connections, and has never been ANYTHING but the very best of friends with Bradbury--who, had Serling written this story (or even one a heck of a lot less like Bradbury's work--see above and elsewhere for my take on THAT--) would have been crying for blood!
This goes to illustrate that Ray's problem with Rod was almost entirely personal, NOT artistic or professional. Not saying Rod never ripped ANYONE off. A man named Gomberg had a very good case that Rod may have stolen from him the idea for the award-winning "A Storm in Summer," filmed twice and also staged as a play. There was also a "Night Gallery" episode with some resemblances, but I haven't seen it or compared it to Gomberg's story. Again, not saying no one has any case against Serling, just that I don't think Bradbury has much of one.
Details on this animosity in all works I've seen on Serling are sketchy at best. Maybe when Sam Weller's Bradbury biography comes out more light will be shed on the whole subject.
[This message has been edited by dandelion (edited 10-15-2004).]
Seems to me there is some confusion. According to Ray, as well as the book, A Critical History of Television�s The Twilight Zone, 1959-1964, "Where is Everybody?" bore an uncanny resemblance to Ray's story "the Silent Towns" from THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. "Here There Be Tygers" was a completely different story that Ray submitted as an adapted teleplay that Serling's Production Compnay passed on persumably because of the production expenses necessary with all the special effects required by the story.
"The Silent Towns," was that the one with Genevieve and Walter Gripp? Okay, I see a little more resemblance to that than to "Here There Be Tygers"--especially the bit with the telephone--but there are still as many differences as similarities. So I am in no danger of eternal damnation if I see virtually NO resemblance between "Where is Everybody?" and "Here There Be Tygers"?
As I understand the events, Serling worried that he "may have been influenced" by Bradbury, so made or at least offered him a payment for rights to the story he felt influenced him in this one particular case. Bradbury then interpreted this as an admission of guilt and repeated the opinion to anyone with whom the subject arose, including Gomberg, who had a much stronger case. Serling never admitted to plagiarizing ANYBODY--in fact, he STRONGLY DENIED it to Gomberg, who eventually forgave him.
Correspondence between Bradbury and Serling on this subject exists in Rod Serling's files, which I am so sorry were not checked, and relevant quotes included, either in the Serling or Bradbury biographies. It would be priceless to know what they actually thought and exchanged at the time!
As I've said about Ray before, he gets an idea in his head and can't be swayed by someone else's interpretation of the same subject. Knowing he was acquainted with Groucho Marx, I asked him if he knew Groucho's family. He said, "He didn't have a family." Yet Groucho racked up a total of five wives and three children. This goes to show not everything Ray says about everyone is correct just because he happens to be acquainted with them. His memory is, indeed, spectacular, and commendable, but not flawless.
Previously I've remarked on the many similarities and parallels in the lives of Bradbury and Serling, which can be found here: http://raybradburyboard.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/379108390...531009901#8531009901
Now that I have biographies of both, when I read them I'll probably find more!
A source which wishes to remain anonymous (but claims to be human) has offered the following summary based on its own 16 mm copy of "Dial Double Zero."
(Don't say you weren't warned.)
Tom receives disturbing calls on his telephone (apparently a nice beige 500 series desk set with a real bell for a ringer) from a flat, mechanical-sounding voice. The voice speaks without inflection and repeats nearly everything Tom says back to him. Tom makes repeated requests of the voice to try to find out who it might be and the purpose of the call, all to no avail.
A field trip is made to the telephone company central office. Tom talks to a supervisor and conveys his concerns about the disturbing telephone calls he is receiving. Prints and maps are consulted and it is somehow determined that the calls do not originate from the central office but, impossibly, from a pole a few blocks away from his home. Pole number 74826, in fact (which is later stated as pole number 74862.) There is a gray steel junction box on that pole at the telephone level with low voltage telephone wires entering it.
Tom is sitting around reading the book Thinking Machines by Irving Adler, an introductory book about logic, Boolean algebra, and computers, perhaps in an attempt to understand what is happening to him, when his telephone rings. He is apprehensive about answering it but picks it up and finds that it is his friend Ralph.
Tom, in a somewhat agitated state, talks to his friend Ralph on the telephone about his concerns. He is convinced that there is an intelligence of some type residing within the telephone junction box near his home but realizes, perhaps too late, that an intelligence which can originate calls would surely be capable of listening in on all his calls, including this one. Tom terminates the call almost mid-thought when he realizes his potential error.
Tom decides that he must take action against whatever entity inhabits the box up on pole 74862/74826. It is late evening and the streetlights are on. There is a lighted pay phone booth next to the pole in question, which carries a nice round old style Bell System logo lamp near the top. Tom begins to climb the pole using the driven-in steps. He has no safety belt so it is hard to imagine how he will have his hands free to work once he is at the telephone equipment level. Telephones, including the pay phone, begin to ring below. The pay phone is ringing stridently but you can hear others nearby. The gray steel box is calling for help. The intelligence within is afraid. Off in the distance a siren is heard. One of the calls made from within the box must have been to the local police agency.
Tom reaches the gray steel box. He looks at the wires that go into the box and, holding on with one hand, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pair of pliers. He has obviously hatched a plan to cut all the wiring to the box. Whether Tom wants to merely isolate the intelligence that resides within or deprive it of its power supply is unknown. Tom begins to cut wires. The police arrive and two officers get out of the black and white police car with flashlights. One officer, flashlight and pistol in hand, begins to shout at Tom to get off the pole. Tom looks somewhat torn between complying with the authorities and finishing the task he knows must be done. Only a few of the wires are cut, and many more remain intact. Knowing that his time up the pole is now limited and there are far too many wires left to sever, he decides that he must see what the box contains. Tom opens the lid on the face of the box, which is hinged at the top, exposing a blinding white pinpoint light in the upper corner of the box. At this point, the movie cuts to a series of three quick stills showing various horizontal angles of Tom, his hand on the box cover, and the glowing white light within which can only be his worst fear, now realized. The entity, the intelligence which sprang unbidden at the confluence of lines and circuits on the distribution network of the telephone system, is blindingly alive and well. And Tom falls from the pole to the sidewalk below. He is unconscious, face down, still gripping the pliers he brought to wage his attack. The scene is a typically bloodless one, common for the day when enough imagination was assumed on the part of the audience to fill in the gaps, but very effective. Is Tom merely unconscious, or did he perish from the fall? Or was he a victim of the blinding white light in some way and never felt the crushing blow of the sidewalk? We may never know.
The balance of the story continues in narrative. The next day, the wiring was repaired and the box closed on pole 74826. (Not 74862 this time.) The repairs were done with no notice taken of the entity within. Perhaps it could not be as readily seen in the daylight, or maybe its intelligence had increased as a result of the chance encounter with Tom, face to face as it were, and it toned down its signature white light to a lower level temporarily. Or, chalk it up to worker indifference. In any case, it went undetected.
Then, another telephone call emanates from the gray steel box. Click, click click, click, dit dit dit....
A voice at the far end of the connection says, "The White House. Good evening."
The FULL version of "The Story of a Writer," INCLUDING the dramatisation of "Dial Double Zero", is now available on DVD from this website: http://www.americanfilmfoundation.com/order/ray_bradbury.shtml
The movie is also available online at Archive.org: http://www.archive.org/details...riterByDavidL.Wolper
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