The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 5

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After the visit to the Professors their next stop was one of some reverence. The next stop was Arlington National Cemetery. Mr. Carpenter was astonished to see so many graves, and saddened that there were so many crosses. He asks Bobby “Did all these people die in wars?”. When Bobby answers it’s apparent that most did die in some sort of military conflict. Mr. Carpenter is saddened that Bobby will have to grow up without his father. On to cheerier matters, Mr. Carpenter announces he would like to take Bobby to the movies. “Do you have to have money to go there?”. For a while Bobby wonders if Mr. Carpenter has any money. “My mother gave me two dollars”. Mr. Carpenter pulls what look like diamonds out of his pocket. Bobby gawks at them in disbelief. “Some places that’s what people use for money. They’re easy to carry — and they don’t wear out”. They agree to trade the diamonds for the two dollars.

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Bobby suggests not telling his mother about this little transaction. “She doesn’t like me to steal from people”. When Bobby gets up from the park bench they’d being sitting on he comes to the conclusion that he got the better deal.

Mr. Carpenters prediction came true. The request of Professor Barnhardt to see Mr. Carpenter came in the form of a burly gov’t agent appearing at the front door that very evening to collect Mr. Carpenter, and to take him to the residence of the Professor. Even though the Professors secretary told him that a small boy had been in his study, and Bobby answered the door when the gov’t agent arrived, the “invitation” was for Mr. Carpenter only.

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The actor playing the gov’t agent is given some of the most used, almost stereotypical dialog in the entire film.  “Mr. Carpenter come home yet?”,Tell him I’d like to see him”, “Your name Carpenter?”, and my personal favorite “I been looking for you all afternoon”. How many times have you heard some celluloid detective say these words or variations of them ? Probably too many. Well back to the movie…Mr. Carpenter is handed over to the military police, who in turn deliver him to Professor Barnhardt. An MP deposits Mr. Carpenter in the custody of Professor Barnhardt. The professor points to the blackboard and asks “You wrote this?”. Mr. Carpenter takes a deep breath and says “It was a clumsy way to introduce myself — but I understand you’re a difficult man to see. I thought you’d have the solution by this time. All you have to do now is substitute this expression at this point. The Professor nods his head in agreement, then asks about the other expressions. He also asks if he has tested this theory. Mr. Carpenter takes a gigantic leap of faith by saying what he does next.”I find it works well enough to get me from one planet to another.

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The Professor stares at him with awe. “My name is Klaatu. I spent two days at your Walter Reed Hospital. Room 309. My doctor’s name was Major White. If you are not interested – or if you intend to turn me over to your Army — we needn’t waste any more time”. The Professor, now convinced of Klaatu’s credentials, thanks the MP still in the hall, and tells him that he knows Klaatu. He moves to the comfort of the chair behind his desk. Klaatu thanks the Professor for his faith in him. “It isn’t faith that makes good science, Mr. Klaatu. Its curiosity. Sit down, please. I have several thousand questions to ask you. Klaatu pretends he didn’t hear the offer to sit down. “I would like to explain something of my mission here”. The Professor is thoroughly engrossed in what Klaatu has to say, and simply nods in agreement. The Professor is like a child who has found the door to the candy store unattended. Klaatu continues on. “We know from scientific observation that you have discovered a rudimentary kind of atomic energy. We also know that you are experimenting with rockets”. The Professor agrees thus far. “So long as you were limited to fighting among yourselves – with your primitive tanks and planes — we were unconcerned. But soon you will apply atomic energy to space ships — and then you become a threat to the peace and security of other planets. That, of course, we cannot tolerate”. The Professor thanks Klaatu for the history lesson, and asks  Klaatu for the real purpose for his journey to Earth. “I came here to warn you that, by threatening danger, your planet faces danger — very grave danger. I am prepared, however, to offer a solution. The Professor suggests a meeting encompassing the greatest minds on Earth, “Educators — philosophers — church leaders — men of vision and imagination”. He suggests this particular people because “It is not enough to have men of science. We scientists are too easily ignored — or misunderstood”. He asks what would happen should this group reject the offer. “I’m afraid you have no alternative. In such a case the planet Earth would have to be-–eliminated.

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Professor Barnhardt suggests a small demonstration might be used. Klaatu responds to leave the matter with him. He’ll think of something. The Professor emphasises the demonstration be dramatic, and not destructive. What he doesn’t say is that he’s very uneasy about what Klaatu will plan.

       Stay Tuned for part 6 !

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