Do Me A Favor, Don’t Do Me Any Favors
(A summary of the unfilmed My Favorite Martian script)
written by Ed James and Seaman Jacobs (May 9, 1963)
A few weeks have gone by since the Martian has come to live with Tim, who is still getting used to the alien’s ability to read minds and type via telekinesis. Mrs. Brown brings Tim his mail each morning with a cheery "Mail call-!" Today she wonders why his "uncle", Mr. O’Hara, never receives any mail. Martin assures her that he gets to read everything addressed to "Occupant". After she leaves, Martin and Tim joke about mail from Mars—if it ever does happen, Tim wants the stamp.
As the next scene opens, Tim, alone in his office at the LA Sun, is curiously trying to see if he can make the typewriter work by intensely concentrating as he points at the keys. He jumps when he’s interrupted by his boss, Mr. Burns, who is not happy with Tim’s work. It seems that nothing newsworthy has been happening lately so the reporter’s latest story was a filler piece about a woman getting her toe stuck in a refrigerator door. Mr. Burns is fed up with reading such fluff, and warns Tim he’d better report on a decent news story even if he has to create it himself.
The following day, Tim complains about this situation to Martin, noting that he has the greatest story of all time sitting right across from him at his breakfast table, but the Martian won’t let him write the scoop. While he cannot let Tim reveal his presence on Earth, Martin is sympathetic to Tim’s situation, putting an arm around Tim’s shoulders and noting with heartfelt gratitude at how Tim took care of his "old Uncle Martin". Even though Tim assures him that he knows that the Martian would do the same for him, it seems only right to Martin that he find a way to reciprocate. Tim is a little uneasy at the prospect of Martin using any "tricks" but the Martian, who playfully levitates Tim off the floor for a moment before he leaves, is not concerned.
Later that day, while Tim is being chewed out again by Mr. Burns for his follow-up story about a woman getting her nose stuck in a telephone dial, the reporter gets a phone call tip telling him to go down to a museum. When Tim gets there, the only thing of interest is an exhibition of a famous all-white modern art painting. While Tim chats with the guard about the painting, Uncle Martin watches them. When no one is looking, he disappears and removes the painting from its frame, rolls it up and carries it away. A middle-aged couple who wander over now, remark that the painting looks like an empty wall beneath a frame. This catches Tim’s attention. Seeing that they are right, he alerts the guard, and the museum alarms are sounded.
The next morning, the robbery is front page news for the LA Sun and Martin proudly reads the headline to Tim as they have breakfast. "…Painting Stolen Behind Guard’s Back, by Tim O’Hara." recites the Martian. Tim says that the way he read it, he makes it sound like Tim stole it. ("Put a comma in there somewhere!") Martin merely tells Tim to answer the doorbell—Unsettled, Tim tells him to cut that out because (as Martin recites Tim’s thoughts in unison with him), "It makes me nervous!" ("-And cut that out, too!" ) complains the young reporter as he goes to answer the door.
Mrs. Brown is there with the mail and she has a package for Tim—a long cylinder with no return address. Inside is the missing painting, all rolled up, with a letter purportedly from the thief, who writes that his fence chickened out and he had no choice but to return the painting. He decided to use Tim as an intermediary since he liked Tim’s story about the robbery. Tim writes a follow-up article about the return of the painting, which puts him on the front page again and everyone is happy.
That night, we see another odd theft occurring. A large diamond floats out of its exhibit case.
The following morning, in his living room, Tim is on the phone with Mr. Burns who is angry because his paper missed the diamond robbery while Tim was busy with another story about a kid’s tongue getting stuck in a cake mixer. After Tim hangs up in discouragement, Martin mentally detects the approach of Mrs. Brown with the mail and he tells Tim that she has another big story for him. Before opening the door for her, Tim mischievously yells out "Mail call!" just before Mrs. Brown enters with the same greeting. ("See? I’m learning," Tim says to Martin, implying that two can play the game of mind reading.)
Mrs. Brown now hands Tim a package and inside is the missing diamond along with another letter from the thief. The note explains that this time the thief himself chickened out and he wants to return the diamond to Tim, because he was pleased that Tim referred to him as an "audacious crook". As she admires the diamond on her finger, Mrs. Brown remarks that this is an example of what she tells Annabelle: Be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you. As she starts to leave, Martin playfully calls out to her—"Mrs. Brown…" It seems she almost took the diamond with her.
Once Mrs. Brown leaves, Tim happily calls his boss about receiving the stolen diamond. ("I’ve got it right here!! See??" he says, showing it to the phone.) Tim’s editor decides to send the police to Tim’s house to assume custody of the gem. In the meantime, Martin suggests that Tim take some photos and the reporter agrees, wanting to include Mrs. Brown in the story.
That’s when something registers with Tim. Suddenly suspicious, he questions the Martian—how did he know Mrs. Brown had a story for him? Shrugging, Martin says he read her mind. But, Tim points out, Mrs. Brown didn’t know what was in the package! ("What’d you do? Read between the lines?") Evasive now, Martin acts dismissively, saying Tim’s little Earth mind wouldn’t understand.
Declaring that his little Earth mind understands more than the Martian thinks, Tim confronts Martin by telling him, "…If you’re so good at reading minds—" Tim leans his forehead towards Martin’s face, "-Browse through this for a while!"
The Martian bristles as he perceives what he calls "..a nasty accusation!" but Tim tells him to "Keep going—it gets worse!" Martin begins to deny Tim’s suspicions when suddenly he gives up the attempt and confesses. It’s true, he took the diamond and the painting—but he merely borrowed them to create news stories for Tim.
While appreciative of the gesture, Tim nervously starts to pace. "Martin, you’re a sweet guy—but you can’t take chances like that!! What if you get caught?" But the Martian is totally unworried about Tim’s concerns, and, disappearing, he happily goes to relax in the rocking chair, a type of furniture not found on Mars.
A few hours later, two police officials arrive to collect the diamond. The Lieutenant is suspicious as to why the thief chose Tim as the one to receive the missing items. Martin speaks up and says it was because of Tim’s news stories, but the Lieutenant is not quite convinced. Still, since no harm was done, the officers leave, even though Tim has a sinking feeling he’ll be reporting from the inside of San Quenton. Martin assures Tim that he can’t be connected to the robberies and, that he can bring him more stories like this all the time.
But Tim tells him no. He understands that the Martian means well, but, "Do me a favor—don’t do me any more favors!" he implores.
One morning, a few days later, the police Lieutenant barges in on Tim and demands to know where the Eye of Ceylon ruby is. Apparently it’s been stolen and according to the Lieutenant, Tim is a prime suspect who must have some knowledge of the theft.
At this point, Martin comes into to the apartment with some groceries. On seeing the police officers, he wonders what was stolen now and then continues into the kitchen. Tim immediately follows him, and, out of earshot of the police, he accusingly confronts the Martian. ("Why’d you take it?") Martin says that he did nothing of the sort and that he doesn’t know anything about the ruby. ("Oh, Martin-!") Reacting to this answer, Tim goes back into the living room to promise the Lieutenant that he himself will return the ruby within 24 hours. Tim points out that since the pattern is the same as the other thefts, he bets that he will be the one to get the ruby in the mail. The Lieutenant intends to hold Tim to this promise, explaining that the DA has some suspicions about Tim, since the reporter had been at the scene of the first crime. "You have 24 hours, O’Hara!" says the Lieutenant before he leaves.
Now that they are alone, Martin wants to know why Tim would make such a promise. Tim counters that he wouldn’t have had to, if Martin had not taken the ruby just to get him another news story. Martin again denies doing any such thing, but Tim reminds him that since no one said anything about a stolen ruby when Martin walked in, how else could the Martian have known about it? "A little bird-brain told me," Martin retorts, pointing at Tim’s forehead.
Aghast, Tim realizes that he had forgotten about the Martian’s ability to read his mind. Convinced now that Martin was telling the truth. Tim miserably knows that the police are expecting him to recover the ruby in 24 hours and he has no idea where to begin. Martin suggests that they start with the place where the theft occurred.
He and Tim go to a press conference in the hotel suite of the Emir of Balapur, who makes a statement expressing confidence in the police to get his ruby back. Martin reads the mind of the Emir’s secretary, Kashi, and discovers that this trusted official is the thief! ("I haven’t read a guiltier mind since Benedict Arnold’s.") Martin then tells Tim that Kashi is going to take the ruby to an accomplice in a warehouse that night and Tim knows that means he and Martin will be there, too, to catch the culprits. Throwing an arm around him, the Martian declares, "Tim, m’boy, now you’re reading my mind!"
Late that night, inside the waterfront warehouse, Tim and Martin get set to catch the thief, who has brought the ruby with him. But the warehouse happens to be stocked with bags of fresh coffee beans and their aroma creates a weakening, dizzying effect on the Martian who can barely stay focused. As Kashi meets his accomplice named Peters and hands him the ruby, Martin shakily attempts to levitate it. The ruby lifts but then falls. Still, it’s enough to scare the crooks, who grab the ruby and run.
Tim leaps on them and a fight ensues, but Martin is no help, finally collapsing against Peters. Peters then charges Tim, who shoves Kahsi in his way before running to check on the unconscious Martin. Both thieves lunge at Tim who then trips over Martin, slamming into a post, and knocking himself out.
Kashi recognizes the unconscious pair from the press conference and Peters decides that means they’d better dump Martin and Tim in the bay. The crooks place the two on a cart and are rolling it down the alley to the water when police cars arrive, lights flashing. Kashi and Peters abandon the cart in the dark alley and run.
Luckily, the fresh air has revived Martin enough for him to point at the fleeing crooks, locking their feet to the ground so that they are captured by the police lieutenant, who tells the crooks they were smart to stop, because he would have fired his gun if they hadn’t. It seems that the officers had a hunch that Kashi was involved in the theft and they trailed him to the warehouse. In the meantime, the effort of using his powers drained the weakened Martian and he collapses again. The police recover the ruby and are convinced that Tim O’Hara had nothing to do with the robbery.
They leave, never noticing that Tim and Martin are still unconscious on the cart.
The last scene takes place back in Tim’s apartment where the reporter is on the phone to Mr. Burns. It turns out that the LA Sun was the only newspaper that did not have a story about the recovery of the ruby, and try as he might on the phone, Tim can’t get his boss to believe he was at the warehouse, too
Mrs. Brown again shows up with Tim’s mail. Once more, she has a package and inside are some gold coins--a gift from the Emir to Tim for having a role in the recovery of the ruby. It seems that Tim’s favorite Martian put in a good word with the Emir about what really happened in the warehouse.
This script might be an example of the concern that stories were focusing on Tim’s problems rather than on Martin’s attempts to get back to Mars. It is interesting to note that in this script, Tim is portrayed as a reporter who keeps defending the lame stories he is submitting, a trait not evident in the filmed episodes. In the series, Tim does get bad breaks as a newsman and he complains about his soft assignments, but his character is intelligent and competent. Another interesting point about this script is that Tim usually calls the Martian, "Martin", not "Uncle Martin."
With regard to the Martian’s character, this script has him being a bit more mischievous and demonstrative than the way Ray Walston portrayed him. In fact, his personality as written in "Do Me A Favor…" leans more toward him displaying human traits, rather than that of an alien with superior intelligence and controlled emotions. There might also have been an issue with the script having the Martian steal things, as this would not be a good example to set for child viewers, even though Martin does makes a distinction that he is merely "borrowing" the items.
In her dialogue in this script, Mrs. Brown twice refers to her daughter Annabelle. Apparently in early May 1963, the network had not yet insisted on changing the character of her daughter from a 24 year old to that of a teenager.
The idea that some innocent Earthly aroma or food could wreck havoc with the Martian’s powers would be used in several filmed episodes throughout the run of the show, such as "My Nephew, the Artist", "Dreaming Can Make It So", "My Uncle, The Folksinger", and "Martin the Mannequin".
Text © 2007 JH Harison
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