The Lost Episode of My Favorite Martian
During the second week of September 1963, production had started on the ninth episode of My Favorite Martian, but the filming of this show was never completed and the episode was abandoned.
The script for this episode has recently surfaced.
Its title is "Sir Charles" and actor Jack Albertson had been cast as the guest star in the role of "Mr. Wiley".
Here is an adaptation of that teleplay:
Written by John L. Greene & Paul Davis
Directed by Sidney Miller
The story opens in the office of the Los Angeles Sun. Mr. Burns, the editor, is gazing at a photograph and chuckling to himself as he sends for Tim O’Hara. When Tim arrives, Mr. Burns tells the reporter that he has an important assignment for him. "How’d you like to find a runaway movie star?"
Tim is pleased. "Well! How long has she been missing?"
"Interesting the way your mind works, O’Hara. This happens to be an internationally famous male star." And Mr. Burns goes on to say, "I picked you for this assignment because the two of you have so much in common…" He hands Tim the photo.
Tim reacts at seeing that he has been given a photo of a chimpanzee by the name of Sir Charles, who is dressed in a top hat and monocle.
Mr. Burns howls with laughter.
Later that day, back in his garage, Tim is justifiably indignant at this treatment by his boss, but Uncle Martin, involved with fixing his spaceship, kiddingly goes along with the editor’s humor. Nevertheless, Tim asks Martin to help him find the chimpanzee who has escaped from the Oakhurst Zoo. He adds that there is a hundred dollar reward offered by the owner. But wanting to work on his spaceship, the Martian is not interested.
"All right," Tim says, "if I can’t corrupt you with money, how about the undying gratitude of your temporary nephew?" Tim goes on to point out that if the Martian doesn’t use his telepathic abilities to find the chimp fast, "someone’s likely to get nervous and shoot him."
This convinces Martin to agree to help.
"For the monkey, not for me." Tim realizes, a bit miffed.
"For a fellow victim of human stupidity," Martin clarifies, apparently recognizing that the animal, like himself, needs help on a planet whose inhabitants react all too often with violence.
Not long afterwards, in a suburban alley, thanks to the Martian’s telepathic powers, he and Tim soon come upon the fugitive chimp, attired in a luau shirt and gaudy pants. At first, Sir Charles reacts to being discovered by throwing oranges at them, but fortunately Martin pulls Tim down and out of the way just in time. The Martian then easily establishes telepathic communication with the chimp, who now peacefully comes over to them. Tim wants to return Sir Charles and collect the reward, but Martin reveals that the animal doesn’t want to go back to the zoo. He suggests that they bring the chimp to the apartment so that he can rest and eat ("-before you collect your twenty pieces of silver," he tells Tim.) "Aw, come on!" Tim protests the remark as he agrees to take the chimp home, seeing a way to turn the situation into a humorous news article. Sir Charles then hops into Tim’s open convertible, followed almost similarly by Tim, who then remembers to use the car door.
Back at Tim’s apartment, Uncle Martin is reading the chimp’s thoughts and translating the ideas to Tim. "You really ought to learn a few more languages," he remarks to the reporter. "You’re missing so much."
"I’ll rush right out and get a language record in Elementary Baboon!" Tim sarcastically retorts.
Through the Martian’s ability to translate, he reveals that the chimp had come to Hollywood from England to make a movie and that he has been at this zoo for four years. It soon becomes clear that Sir Charles dislikes the zoo because he is being locked out of his sleeping quarters on weekends and holidays in order to force him to entertain the crowds of people, who then tease him and throw peanuts and apple cores at him. .
Tim jots down all these notes until it gets late. Martin flips a coin to see which bed Sir Charles will get. Tim calls ‘tails’, and the coin hits the floor face down, apparently making him the winner, until in the next instant it flips over to show ‘heads’. "-Oh come on, Uncle Martin!" Tim complains, " No tricks!"
But the chimp seems to prefer the couch and he removes his shirt to get ready to sleep.
The next day, Tim’s article is a big hit with Mr. Burns, who believes it to be a cleverly fabricated piece of fiction in the form of a supposed interview with the missing chimp. " ‘…A banana break’… ‘I’m tired of all this monkey business’! This is great stuff, O’Hara," says the editor and he wants Tim to write another follow-up piece, which the reporter is glad to do. Tim goes home and finds that Sir Charles likes seeing his own picture in the paper, and again, Martin translates another interview with the simian.
But after this second interview is published, Mr. Wiley, owner of both the Oakhurst Zoo and Sir Charles, shows up in Mr. Burns’ office, angrily believing that Tim has his missing chimpanzee. He has a contract for the chimp to do another movie and he wants him back. Mr. Burns defends the right of the newspaper to print articles of public interest, pointing out to Wiley that people have been writing to the Sun, and that they are all sympathetic to Sir Charles’ situation at the zoo. All except for two letters, which, according to Burns, include one from a crank and one sounding like it was written by Wiley’s mother. Still, Wiley feels justified in using the animals. "I work harder than all of them. So what if I ask them to put on a show for the customers? They’ve got to do something for their keep!"
Wiley claims that Tim has to know where Sir Charles is, because in the second interview Tim writes about a scar on the chimp’s head. Wiley said no one could know that unless they actually saw the animal. ("He got that scar because he was too stupid to get away from a camera boom.") At this point, Mr. Burns tries to get Wiley to leave, then offers him space in the newspaper to deny the statements in Tim’s article, but finally he tells Wiley to go speak to Tim.
That night, at the apartment, Tim is still enthused about the success of his humorous "interviews" with Sir Charles and he even sees developing them into a book or a movie, ("The Chimpion of the World!" he says,) when suddenly Martin detects a police car pulling up downstairs. Sir Charles starts loudly chattering as three men start to climb the stairs.
"Sir Charles says, it’s Wiley, the owner of the zoo," relates Martin. "And he thinks we’ve betrayed him for the reward."
"You have got to be joking!" Tim protests to Sir Charles, but the chimp throws some fruit, utters a rude razzing shriek, and runs out of the room.
By this time the police are at the door, along with Wiley, who barges in, demanding to know where his chimp is. Martin and Tim try to play innocent, even when Wiley sees three plates at the table, one filled with bananas. "It’s an old O’Hara custom," Martin attempts. "We always set an extra place for the family leprechaun."
Meanwhile, downstairs, Sir Charles puts a garden hose inside the police car and turns on the water. Then the chimp starts playing in the front seat of the car and he activates the siren. The sound makes everyone hurry downstairs, but Sir Charles jumps out of the auto and runs away, leaving water pouring out the back of the police car.
Knowing that the "family leprechaun" was not responsible, one of the police officers tells Martin and Tim that they have 24 hours to hand over the chimpanzee or they’ll be put in a cage, even if he has make up a law to do it.
After the police and Wiley leave, Martin calls Sir Charles, who contritely comes out of hiding. He and Tim chastise the chimp for his bad behavior. "A fine representative of genus Anthropithecus you are!" the Martian tells Sir Charles, who chatters in defense, but Martin tells him that is no excuse.
"What’d he say?" asks Tim.
"That the sight of a uniform brings out the jungle in him."
"Well right now, the sight of his hide brings out the taxidermist in me!" Tim retorts, causing Sir Charles to jump up into Martin’s arms for safety.
But the Martian puts him down. "Don’t come to me for sympathy, you juvenile delinquent!"
They all go upstairs to Tim’s apartment.
The next day, in the newspaper office, after complementing Tim on the article ("I’d swear that monkey was whispering right in your ear when you wrote it,") Mr. Burns informs Tim that Wiley is planning to sue the paper—and Tim—for one million dollars. Mr. Burns ominously wants to know, "Do you now, or have you ever, had that chimpanzee in your possession?"
Tim thinks on this, but only says, "May I read a prepared statement?"
Mr. Burns is not amused. "Get that chimp back to Wiley! You know what’ll happen if this gets to court?"
Tim knows. "You’ll leave me like I was a sinking ship."
Later at Tim’s apartment, Sir Charles is unmoved by Martin’s attempts to convince him to willingly go back to the zoo. Tim is thinking of spanking some sense into him, but Sir Charles snarls at the idea of being forced to go back, causing the Martian to comment that, "Everybody on this planet tries to establish peace with his muscles."
Instead, Martin decides to view the whole matter as a labor/management dispute, with Sir Charles bringing grievances against Mr.Wiley. The Martian is prepared to arbitrate these labor negotiations.
Wanting to get his chimp back, Mr. Wiley apparently decides to comply with the request and the next scene opens in the apartment where all parties involved are seated at a large table as they run through a scene typical of what is played out in a real labor/management negotiation. Tim assumes the role of representing Sir Charles, referring to him as "my client", while Uncle Martin is the "non-partisan" referee, explaining that his interest is strictly scientific. Mr. Wiley scoffs at all this but decides that if he can get the chimp back by humoring the situation, he will give it a try.
Proceedings begin with Tim telling Mr. Wiley that he expects him to negotiate in good faith, but when Sir Charles chatters and waves his hand, Tim advises him, "Let me do the talking." Wiley quickly loses patience at this, and he wants them to hand over the chimp right then and there, but Tim persists in his role as a counsel for "labor". He tells Wiley that Sir Charles dislikes the style of the luau shirt, but he will wear it, if it is laundered without starch, plus, (reviewing his notes with the chimp), Tim states that his client wants green bananas that are not too ripe. Wiley sarcastically wonders if the chimp wants color TV, too. Without missing a beat, Tim "checks" with Sir Charles and says no, that won’t be necessary.
Uncle Martin now brings up the real problem of making Sir Charles do so many shows at the zoo on Sunday. Wiley reacts strongly, insisting that he won’t change his mind on that point. On hearing this, Sir Charles walks away from the bargaining table, but Uncle Martin goes over to him in an attempt to arbitrate the dispute. They whisper to each other.
At this point, Wiley looks at Tim. "…I can understand all this from you—you’re a newspaper man—but-" He indicates Martin. "-he’s nuts for free!"
Tim takes this opportunity to present a solution to Wiley. Tim points out that with all the great publicity and a good story he plans to write, "…you won’t be able to keep the crowds away from your zoo." Realizing this is true and that his business will increase, Wiley decides to be "Mr. Reasonable" about going through with these strange proceedings.
Martin now returns and tells them that if Sir Charles’ living quarters are left open, he will voluntarily put on four great shows on Sunday, with all new material each week. But Wiley refuses this offer, shouting at the chimp. "Four shows a day are nothing! What are you trying to do, ruin me-??" He stops himself, realizing that he is talking to a chimpanzee.
Sir Charles pounds the table, but Tim counsels him that this problem can be negotiated. Uncle Martin promptly agrees, suggesting a compromise: Perform in six shows, not eight. "Is that acceptable to you, Mr.Wiley?" he checks.
"Anything to get out of here!" says Wiley. "I’ll even give him equal billing with the elephant!"
Martin advises Sir Charles to accept the offer. "He’s meeting you more than half-way," he assures the chimpanzee, who chatters an answer.
The Martian announces that Sir Charles promises to stop throwing food back at the customers and that he’ll devote his entire attention to learning his part in the new motion picture.
Wiley is actually pleased by all this and holds out his arms to Sir Charles who happily jumps up to hug him. Wiley says he missed him and he remarks to Tim and Martin, "You guys may have been kidding around but you’d be surprised how much these little fellas really understand."
They leave. Tim asks Martin to see a pad with Sir Charles’ notes and they laugh at the chimp’s scribbled lines.
A week later, Mr. Wiley is back in Tim’s apartment, explaining that all of a sudden, after a week, Sir Charles stopped cooperating on the movie set when he saw his costume. Wiley tells Tim he thought that, "your nutty uncle—no offense—could calm him down." Martin does so, coming out with Sir Charles who willingly wears a toga, after being assured by the Martian that he looks impressive in it.
The production of this episode was never completed due to an accident on the set.
In many subsequent interviews over the years, Ray Walston would often mention the incident and explain its circumstances.
According to Mr. Walston, he and Bill Bixby were in the front seat of a car and the chimpanzee was in the back seat. It was an extremely hot day and the chimp had been troubled by the heat during production. Apparently, at the touch of the hot upholstery of the car, the chimpanzee reacted aggressively, injuring Mr. Walston’s face and neck. Plastic surgery was needed to correct the damage from the traumatic incident and production on the series was shut down for eight weeks until Mr. Walston recovered.
Text © 2004-2011 JH Harison
The Chicago TribuneSept. 22, 1963
STARLOG Magazine #50, Sept. 1981 and #157 August, 1990
Television Series Regulars of the 50s & 60s, by D. Kulzer, North Carolina McFarland & Company 1992
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