Two To Get Ready

By Elroy Schwartz and Austin Kalish (1/7/64)

(A summary of the unfilmed My Favorite Martian script)

ÖÖÖ..

Down in the garage, Uncle Martin is confidently applying some finishing touches to buffing the outside of the spaceship. He happily calls to Tim who comes into the garage and asks, "Ready to take off into the wild blue yonder?" The Martian notes that the only things wild in Earthís yonder are the astronauts in shallow orbits, as he compares their spacecrafts to Roman chariots. In any case, Uncle Martin now announces that once the material on the surface of the ship hardens, heíll be leaving for Mars in 10 days.

Timís face brightens with glee. "Ten days? Thatís great!!"

Martin is somewhat taken aback by Timís reaction to news of his planned departure for Mars. "I didnít expect you to shed any tears but I didnít expect you to be so elated, either."

Tim now realizes heíll have to explain something that heíd been thinking about for some time. "Uncle Martin, thereís something Iíve been wanted to talk to you aboutÖ"

Martin holds up his hand to stop Tim as he reads Timís mind, and then he speaks at the same time Tim does."-You want to return to Mars with me."

"-I want to return to Mars with youó" Tim is saying, then stops. "Hey-you read my mind!"

"And if you could read mine, you wouldnít ask, because the answer is no."

Timís mood quickly deflates.

**

The next scene up in the apartment finds Tim pacing in frustration, wanting to discuss the possibility of tagging along to Mars. Martin steadfastly reads a newspaper, ignoring the pleading reporter and periodically saying no, each time Tim starts to say something to him. "At least argue with me?" Tim implores. But Martin wonít.

Finally Tim resorts to cutting a hole in the newspaper to get the Martianís attention and then wants one good reason why he canít go. Martin tells Tim that the spaceship canít handle the extra weight of another passenger. And besides, despite Timís suggestion that it would be a boon to learn about each otherís culture, Martin says Earth isnít ready for that. But Tim refuses to give up being the "first interplanetary exchange student," and points out to Martin, that as a professor of anthropology, wouldnít it make sense to bring back a "living, breathing, walking, talking, intelligent human" to meet his students?

Martin has to agree it would be nice to bring back a living, breathing, walking, talking, human. ("You left out intelligent." Tim says. "I know", teases the Martian.)

But now Tim is excited. "Then youíll consider it?" he eagerly asks.

Martin reminds him that there is still the problem with Timís added weight in the spaceship, but the Martian agrees to try to figure a way around that factor.

After two days of intensive calculation, Martin finds that if he leaves behind two extra parts from the spaceship. Tim can go. Happy and excited, Tim doesnít know what to start packing first.

But ever practical, Martin tells him what he really needs to do is to learn the Martian language, an odd sounding speech that avoids "excessive verbiage". To demonstrate, Martin recites a 3 second Martian translation of the Gettysburg Address. Tim remarks that using Martian, it could have been written on the back of a postage stamp.

Martin decides to teach Tim conversational Martian, and does so by pointing to things in the room and translating English to the Martian language such as: door, chair, wall, man. In each case, Tim skillfully repeats the sound. Martin is impressed. Tim seems to have a natural aptitude for languages. 

In the following days, we see Tim practicing everyday Martian phrases. Viewers get the translation of Timís speech by the use of English sub-titles posted at the bottom of the screen: "How much do you tip the waiter?" "Do you give trading stamps?" Eventually Tim is able to hold a Martian conversation with Martin. It takes place at the breakfast table as English sub-titles appear for the viewer.

After Tim thanks Uncle Martin in Martian for passing the butter, Martin uses his native language to ask Tim what the weather will be. Tim picks up the newspaper and offers a reply in Martian. The sub-title reads: "Clear and sexy". Martin laughs and tells Tim what he actually said. Tim smiles and says he meant to say "colder". "It loses something in the translation" remarks Martin who then asks in Martian for Tim to tell him the headlines in the paper. Tim again responds in Martian and the subtitle reads "Budget Proposal %@#*%$". Uncle Martin breaks out laughing again, warning Tim to watch what he says in mixed company. He remarks that his students are going to love meeting Tim.

That night, Martin shows Tim an anti-gravitational energizer and explains that since Mars has less gravity than Earth, he wants Tim to get used to the difference. The device will alter Timís center of gravity, enabling him to move as though in the gravity of Mars. The gadget works, and much to Timís delight, he can soar and glide over furniture. Martin turns off the energizer and Tim goes back to studying.

But the next night, Tim decides to take a break from studying the Martian language to have some fun with the anti-gravitator. Carelessly setting the dial to Maximum Power, Tim uses the energizer on himselfóand he shoots straight up to the ceiling, his head resting against the beams as he drops the energizer to the floor in the process. Tim yells for Uncle Martin, who comes running upstairs and attempts to restore Timís normal center of gravity, but he finds that the anti-gravitator device broke when it fell. Tim is now stuck in a weightless condition.

Just then Mrs. Brown comes to the door. Martin pulls Tim down to make it look like heís standing on the Martianís shoulders. When the landlady enters, holding the small neighborhood dog named Boo-Boo, Martin tells her they are measuring how tall the room is. As Boo-Boo barks at the strange sight, Mrs. Brown notices the anti-gravitator on a desk and while she looks at it, Martin pulls Tim to the floor and leans his arm on Timís shoulder to keep him on the floor.

Mrs. Brown has come up to borrow some eggs and so Tim and Martin must both go the kitchen to get them. Martin holds Tim down and the landlady leaves with Boo-Boo and the eggs. Pleased that their teamwork proved successful, Tim attempts to shake Martinís hand, only to float up to the ceiling again. Martin discovers that his levitation power wonít work on a person who is weightless. And if he canít fix the machine, Tim will remain weightless forever.

**

Tim does manage to get a nightís sleep, thanks to Martin tying him down to his bed. But Tim obviously canít go to work and earn a salary in his condition and he complains about this. Reminding him that the situation was his own fault, Martin now has another ideaóhe has Tim wear an Army cartridge belt filled with lead fishing sinkers. The heavy contraption works. At least Tim can stay grounded while Martin attempts to fix the anti-gravitator.

That night in the garage, using circuit testers, Uncle Martin finally locates the problemóa cracked circuit that needs welding. But the Martian metal wonít melt at less than 38,500 degrees. Martin needs a laser ray for the welding job.

So, that later that night, after the invisible Martian distracts two armed guards by unraveling a chain that locked a gate, Martin and Tim sneak into a testing laboratory to use a large laser ray which is capable of barbecuing Los Angeles. The first test blasts a big hole though a metal canister but after Martin adjusts the ray, he is able to drill a tiny hole through a half-dollar. Now that it is properly focused, Martin sets the small damaged part from the energizer in place and he fires the laser. On the second try it succeeds in welding the Martian metal. In his happy excitement, Tim knocks over the canister, and the noise alerts the two guards who run to see what is wrong. Hearing them approach Tim frantically says it was a mistake to break into the lab since now "-weíll be caught!" "Youíll be caught," Martin corrects him, disappearing, despite Timís complaint, ("I never thought Iíd live to see a chicken Martian."). But Uncle Martin points out that Tim knows better than thatóitís just that he has to put the part back and fix the energizer and he canít do that if heís captured.

A moment later the guards burst in, take Tim into custody, and escort him out of the building. Wanting to make sure he hasnít stolen anything, they make Tim put his hands against a wall while they frisk him. They find the Army cartridge belt and start to remove it as an alarmed Tim tries to stop them.("You canít have it! Itís mine!") but his warnings about not to take the belt fail. A brief struggle ensues and one of the guards clobbers Tim, knocking him unconscious so that he falls face down on the pavement. The guards are now able to take the belt off Tim and inspect it. Turning away as they puzzledly remove the lead fishing sinkers, they do not see Tim float straight up off the ground and into the sky. But as they turn back, they discover that Tim is missing. Looking around, they catch a glimpse of him drifting off into the sky. Paling, the guards decide itíd be best for their jobs if they donít report what happened and they leave, shaken up to the core.

Martin now has repaired the anti-gravitator device and he goes outside to find out what happened to Tim. He sees the lead fishing sinkers lying on the ground and instantly figures out what must have happened. Looking up in alarm, ("Jumping Jupiter!!") he sees what has happened to Tim and tries focusing the device at the sky, but his friend is now too far up for the energizer rays to have any effect. Martin hops in their convertible car and drives off, worriedly following Tim as the human drifts higher across the night sky.

By now, Tim is just starting to stir back to consciousness. As he awakens and realizes his plight, panic sets in and he helplessly waves his arms as he floats 500 feet up across downtown Los Angeles.

Martin, following him in the car, again tries to use the energizer to bring him down, but Tim is still too far away.

In a distant radar station, a solider now sees a blip on his radar scope, and reports to his base that a UFO is over the city. Fighter planes are launched in an interception course. Tim, having just sailed over a night game in the Dodger ballpark, now hears the sound of airplanes. He looks up and sees the fighter planes approaching. One of them dives downward.

Martin has meanwhile driven to high ground. He parks the car and hurries up a hill, pointing the energizer at the sky. This time it worksóa panicked Tim starts to descend, and Martin guides him down and right into the front seat of their convertible. Much relieved, Tim thanks him for putting him in the driverís seat.

**

The next scene has the pair inside the garage and wearing spacesuits. Standing next to the spaceship, Tim is glad and grateful that his center of gravity is restored, and Martin agrees, considering the fighter planes were closing in. Tim happily canít wait to go to Mars. The plan is to take off from a remote location, so Uncle Martin goes outside to the car to back up the trailer in order for them to load the ship onto it. As Martin backs up the car and trailer, Tim guides him with hand signals telling him to steer a bit more to the left.

At this point, Boo-Boo trots into the garage and barks with interest at the activity. Tim tells the dog to leave and waves his arm to shoo the animal away. But Boo-Boo refuses to exit and a distracted Tim continues to wave at him.

Suddenly we hear a crunching sound as Martin, thinking Timís arm waving was a signal for him to keep backing in, has crashed the trailer into the spaceship. Badly damaged now by the pressure of the trailer, the spaceship is in no condition to go anywhere. Boo-Boo tilts his head at the sight as Martin and Tim miserably realize that their trip to Mars has been canceled.

COMMENTARY

The first time that Uncle Martin actually attempts a flight home takes place in the Jan 19, 1964 episode, "Rx for a Martian." The script of "Two to Get Ready" was submitted Jan 7, 1964, which would have been after the Rx for a Martian episode had been filmed.

The time and cost of doing the special effects required in "Two to Get Ready" might have been a factor in preventing the script from being filmed. To create the action sequences of Tim leaping over furniture in the apartment and then flying high up in the night sky, inter-cut with stock footage of fighter planes at night, may have presented too much of a financial and logistical challenge for the special effects department, given the tight production schedule for each episode. Also, using subtitles would have required extra time and added more production cost to the show.

The sight of Tim finally being safely lowered into the driverís seat was a spoof of the famous Hertz Rent-A-Car TV commercial of the early 60s. In this classic ad, the song, "Let Hertz put you in the driverís seatÖ" plays as a man is magically deposited down from the sky to take over the steering of in a traveling convertible. When Tim thanks Martin for putting him in the driverís seat there was probably an intent to pay homage to that advertisement.

It was never established in the show whether Mrs. Brown actually owned the little dog Boo-Boo, who appeared in the pilot episode and "Rocket to Mars", the 8th episode where the junkman hauls away Martinís spaceship.

It might be argued that "Two to Get Ready" ignored the fact that the spaceship seemed designed to only carry one passenger, but in the MFM comic book #8 it is used to carry both Tim and Martin on a test flight. On the TV show, the front section of the ship could conceivably have room for a passenger so that might justify the concept of letting Tim travel to Mars.

Another problem with the premise of "Two to Get Ready" is its implication of how easy it would be for Tim to visit Mars. The script ignores the common knowledge that the thin atmosphere on Mars not only does not have enough oxygen for humans but the reduced air pressure and extreme cold temperatures would make it impossible for Tim to visit the Red Planet without a helmeted pressurized spacesuit. Still, the series never specified much about the civilization on Mars and if the Martians lived in underground cities with a controlled environment, then, as the script suggests, enabling the spaceship to carry the weight of an extra passenger would seem to be the main problem.

During the run of the TV show, the idea of Tim visiting Mars was brought up several times in conversation, but usually in the context of "someday", when Earth transportation would be making the trip and Martin always seemed pleased with the idea that his friend would visit his home world. ("Youíll love our canals.") (Tim: "How about the girls?!")

If "Two to Get Ready" had been filmed, wouldnít that have set a precedent of Tim wanting to return to Mars with Uncle Martin in each episode that the Martian did repair the ship? Not necessarily, if, due to the damage, Martin had to install those two large spare parts he had planned to leave behind to make room for Tim. By using those parts there would be no way to reduce the weight in the spaceship, so Tim would now accept the fact that it would be impossible for him to visit Mars when Uncle Martin returns home.

 

Text © 2007-2011 JH Harison

Photos © Jack Chertok Productions, Inc. 

Email: jhharison@hotmail.com

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