The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 8

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Back in the stalled elevator Helen and Klaatu are finishing their little chat. Helen now knows there never really was a “Mr. Carpenter” in the rooming house, and that everything Bobby told her was true. All of a sudden the elevator comes back to life, and the lights come back on. Klaatu isn’t exactly sure what will happen at the meeting tonight so he finishes his little speech to Helen this way. “I’ve already told you more than I told Professor Barnhardt, because my life, in a sense, is in your hands. I thought if you knew the facts you’d appreciate the importance of my not being — apprehended, — before the meeting tonight. After the elevator reaches the ground floor Klaatu decides that the best place for him to hide is boarding house. Klaatu thinks the only other person who knows anything about him is there. Helen discloses that Tom Stephens was there in the living room when Bobby told her what he saw and heard. She walks towards a phone booth and calls his office. He’s not there, but the secretary is a bundle of raw fear. “He left before noon — before that awful electric business. I’m scared to death, Mrs. Benson. I — No, he wouldn’t tell me where he was gong. Said it was something personal”.

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Newspaper headlines now scream “WORLD-WIDE POWER JAMMED”, “PRESIDENT DECLARES EMERGENCY”, and “STEP UP HUNT FOR SPACE MAN”. It’s now early evening. People have finished working and are trying to go home. But they can’t. The military have stopped all train and air traffic from leaving the city. And road blocks and checkpoints are popping up all over Washington.  Back at Tom’s office his secretary is talking to a friend when Tom charges in. “Call the Pentagon and find out whose in charge of this space man business. Whoever it is I want to talk to him”. As the secretary dials the Pentagon Helen enters quickly. The secretary announces her, and buzzes her in. While Tom’s waiting for the call to go through he announces to Helen “Helen, he’s the man from the space ship! I had that diamond checked at three different places. Nobody on earth’s ever seen a stone like that! After what Bobby told us, that’s enough for me. Why is it nobody knows anything about him? Why hasn’t he got any money?”.

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Tom and Helen talk excitedly about the space man. And Tom is determined that he is the only person in the world capable of ridding the world of “this menace”. Helen is trying franticly to stop Tom from talking to anyone about Klaatu, the diamonds, Gort, or the spaceship. “I’d be the biggest man in the country. I could write my own ticket. Helen pleads with Tom. “The rest of the world, is involved!”. To which he replies “I don’t care about the rest of the world! You’ll feel different when you see my picture in the papers. Helen discovers that the man she thought she loved is only concerned about himself. Helen is disgusted. Tom utters his parting shot “You wait and see. You’re going to marry a big hero!”. Hearing this Helen says “I’m not going to marry anybody”. This catches Tom off guard, but it doesn’t stop him from telling all he knows to the military. As Helen takes a cab home she sees a massive build up of military might near the rooming house. When it arrives she grabs Klaatu by the hand and leads him into the cab. Jeeps with machines guns and officers wearing side arms are everywhere, at every intersection. Klaatu gets an expression of concern on his face. “I’m sure Professor Barnhardt can arrange to hide me until the meeting. Seeing more soldiers Klaatu gets more worried. “I’m worried about Gort. I’m afraid of what he might do — if anything should happen to me”. Puzzled Helen says that Gort is only a robot. Klaatu elaborates. “There’s no limit to what he could do. He could destroy the Earth. If anything should happen to me, you must go to Gort. You must give him this message: “Klaatu barada nikto.” Klaatu asks Helen to repeat the phrase. Jeeps suddenly descend on the area. Even the cab driver is getting concerned. “Hey, what’s this all about?”. With no warning the jeeps speed up, overtake them, and two proceed to cut the cab off, and bring it to a halt. Klaatu jumps out and makes a dash for the pedestrian underpass. But a burst from a machine gun cuts him down.

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Klaatu lies dying in the middle of the road. A sea of soldiers soon surrounds Klaatu. No medical aid of any kind is offered this time. Helen somehow makes her way to Klaatu’s side. He looks up with smile of a dying man. His eyes focus, and he sees Helen. “Get that message to Gort. Right away”. Klaatu dies there, his last words are concern for another people, of another planet. As more and more soldiers arrive Helen is able to slip away, and make her way to the pedestrian underpass.

At the spaceship things are far from normal. A glow surrounds Gort and his plastic prison. A slight hum is heard as the plastic falls away. Two soldiers turn and face Gort. His visor rises and a laser beam strikes the soldiers weapons causing them, and the soldiers to simply vanish. It’s now Helen arrives at the spaceship.

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But as she nears she sees the two soldiers enveloped in light and vanish. Terrified beyond description she somehow manages to keep walking forward, but as she does she becomes more and more afraid.

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Gort sees Helen as another intruder to be dealt with. The glow that is destroying the plastic is almost at his feet. Suddenly the glow is gone, as is the hum. His roving eye bores into her. She’s is fighting the urge to flee but Gort is not making the task Klaatu has given her any easier. Suddenly Gort’s roving eye zeros in on Helen, as the robot begins to move towards her.

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They are both within the enclosure. Folding chairs for Professors Barnhardt’s meeting cover the area. Helen starts to run to the rear of the enclosure. She stumbles, screams, and looks right at Gort and says “Gort–! Klaatu — barada – nikto”.

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She says the phrase again making sure to enunciate each word as well as she can. Gort pauses, then continues to plow through the chairs. He bends down and picks up Helen. If you look at the edge of the wall you’ll notice the camera shifts ever so slightly. Lock Martin had to put on another Gort costume and is seen coming out from behind a wall. It looks as if Gort is carrying Helen towards the spaceship,but if you look at her feet you’ll notice they aren’t moving. Lock was too weak to carry Patricia Neal (Helen) so a dummy held up by wires was substituted. This photo from the film shows the wires that supported the dummy.

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She’s taken side to a small room. She tries to get out, but can’t get the door to operate. Gort makes contact with someone somehow, then goes to a local police station to collect the corpse of Klaatu.

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At the police station he destroys the wall to the body of Klaatu and brings it back to the spaceship.

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Every time I watch this film I am amazed that not that not one person saw or heard anything. Gort rumbles about making enough noise to wake the dead. And his laser eye is far from silent. Yet nobody sees or hears Gort. Gort bends down and gently lifts the body of Klaatu (and in this case it’s another dummy). He brings the body of Klaatu back to the spaceship where he is revived. When Helen sees this procedure she can barely stand the sound.

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When Gort is finished reviving Klaatu we see him start to breathe. Then his eyelids flutter. Then his eyes open and he looks around. Helen isn’t sure what just happened. So she simply stammers out some words hoping they’ll make sense.”I — I thought you were” she says looking at Klaatu and then his blood stained jacket. “I was” says Klaatu. Helen points at Gort “You mean he has the power of life and death?” she asks. Klaatu is mildly amused at her bewilderment. “No — that is a power reserved to the Almighty Spirit. This technique, in certain cases, can re-stimulate life for a limited period. It’s a refinement of scientific principles known to your own people”. Helen asks him just how long he’ll live. Klaatu simply says “How long will I live?” He walks a bit to stretch his legs. “That no one can say”. He moves towards a doorway, waves his hands over some lights, and leaves to change.

Outside Professor Barnhardt and friends are gathering for the meeting. All of a sudden a jeep roars up. A soldier, a high ranking one, tells the Professor to cancel the meeting. The Professor protests saying he had permission from the Army. “I know you did. But the robots on the loose now and it isn’t safe around here. You’ll have to get your friends out of that building”.  The Professor is about to address his friends when all of a sudden a small ramp appears coming out of the side of the spaceship. Klaatu, Gort, and a woman come out the ship. The woman seats herself in an empty chair. The robot is nearest the opening, when Klaatu begins to speak. “I am leaving soon and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly. The Universe grows smaller every day — and the threat of aggression by any group — anywhere — can no longer be tolerated. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves — and hired policemen to enforce them.  We of the other planets have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets — and for the complete elimination of aggression. A sort of United Nations on the Planetary level… The test of any such higher authority, of course, is the police force that supports it. For our policemen, we created a race of robots”, Klaatu points to Gort, while Helen looks on with hope.

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Klaatu continues. “Their function is to patrol the planets — in space ships like this one — and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression we have given them absolute power over us. At the first sign of violence they act automatically against the aggressor. And the penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is that we live in peace, without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war — free to pursue more profitable enterprises. We do not pretend to have achieved perfection — but we do have a system — and it works. I came here to give you the facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet — but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple. Join us and live in peace. Or pursue your present course — and face obliteration. We will be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you”.

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Klaatu and Gort disappear inside the spaceship. The engines come on, and the ship quickly ascends. The message has been delivered. Will listen to it ?. I think the jury’s still out on that one.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 7

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It’s a office, with a great many desks. Its also lunch time, and Helen is preparing to go to lunch. Suddenly Mr. Carpenter appears. Her telephone rings. Helen tries her best to terminate the phone call without offending the person at the other end of the call, or making Mr. Carpenter suspicious.

Tom, who is calling her from a high end jewelry store, wants to have lunch. Helen says she’ll call him back. Mr. Carpenter accompanies Helen to the elevators. Waiting for the elevators is a large number of people. Helen says she knows of another elevator, and leads Mr. Carpenter to it. It’s the freight elevator, and nobody is waiting for it. Mr. Carpenter asks Helen to tell him what Bobby told her. He also asks if she believed him. She balks at the question. “I — I didn’t really pay much attention–Bobby has such an active imagination”. She’s is scared. but not of Mr. Carpenter. The freight elevator arrives, and they enter.

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As the doors close close Helen asks “What is it you want ?”. Before answering her question Mr. Carpenter decides to take a chance, and be totally honest. “Before I ask you to be honest with me, perhaps I should be completely honest with you—”. Just then the elevator stops moving and gives out a groan. Then the lights fail. Mr. Carpenter asks for the correct time. Helen moves about in the elevator trying to get a tiny beam of sunlight on her watch. “Just turned twelve” . Mr. Carpenter announces with matter-of-fact tone that they’ll stuck there for “thirty of your minutes”. She suggests they try pressing the other buttons. She is told it won’t work. “You see — the electricity’s been neutralized — all over the world. It’s then she realizes something. “Bobby was telling the truth — wasn’t he ?”.

Outside almost all traffic has come to a halt, and horns replace the sound of engines. Hospitals and airplanes are unaffected, but almost every mode of transport that uses electricity has been stopped in its tracks. Police on motorcycles furiously try to start their bikes. Trucks, which were running one second ago, are dead the next. People are milling about wondering what has happened, while theories fly through the air.

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A cabbie in Manhattan is seen saying “My ol’ lady was right. We shoulda got a place in the country. A posh London business man wearing a bowler and carrying an umbrella can seen looking at his pocket watch and heard muttering. While in another part of London two cockney men with their hands in their pockets stare at the static traffic. One summons up the courage to declare “It’s that space man — that’s wot it is. Back in Washington at Professor Barnhart’s residence his secretary is far from pleased. “You should see it, Professor Barnhardt! You should go out and see it for yourself!”. The Professor is enjoying the view quite nicely from his study. “What a brilliant idea. I never would have thought of it” he mutters quietly to himself.  Then he asks her “Tell me, does all this frighten you — does it make you feel insecure?”. “Yes, sir — it certainly does!” she replies. The Professor continues to look outside when he says “That’s good, I’m glad. She shoots her boss a dirty look. On a completely different note he asks about who will be attending. What about the people who are coming to the meeting tonight? Have they all arrived?”. She checks her notes and says she’s talked to most of the guests, and that Mr. Klaatu will arrive at 8:30 P.M.

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Just because I haven’t mentioned anything of the Army doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean they’ve been sitting on their hands. At an undisclosed meeting Gen. Cutler (the chap in the photo above) and fiends are discussing what to do. “As far as we can tell, all power’s been cut off everywhere — with a few exceptions: hospitals, planes in flight — that sort of thing. I wish I could be more specific but, as you now, all communications are out telephone, radio, cable – everything. I can tell you that the President is prepared to declare a state of national emergency. Before we start discussing plans, I want a report from Colonel Ryder. What about the robot, Colonel?”. The colonel is a rather ordinary looking fellow. His primary purpose is to contain something so the military can proceed to create mayhem. Col. Ryder rises and grabs a small block of ordinary looking plastic.”When it was discovered last night that the robot had moved, I was directed by the Joint Chiefs to find a means of immobilizing him. We accomplished that this morning by encasing him in a block of KL 93. It’s a new plastic material — stronger than steel”. Gort is seemingly frozen inside this substance. General Cutler then makes a chilling decision. “Up till now we’ve agreed on the desirability of capturing this man alive. We can no longer afford to be so particular. We’ll get him alive, if possible — but we must get him!”. Across town the blackout continues. Tom and a jeweler talk about the diamond. Naturally Tom asks about it’s monetary value. “Is it worth anything?”. The jeweler gets the diamond in the sunlight, and examines it. After uttering hmmm and ahhhhh he comes to the conclusion “I have never seen such a stone. There are no diamonds like this — any place in the world”. The jeweler tries to get Tom to sell the diamond with no success.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still–part 6

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Klaatu and Professor Barnhardt agree the “demonstration” should take place at noon the following day. As Klaatu departs the Professor is uneasy, and almost wishes the “demonstration” would not take place.

When Klaatu gets back to the boarding house he finds resumes the character of Mr. Carpenter. Once inside he finds everybody ill at ease. Some people are trying to play cards, Helen Benson, mother of Bobby, is leafing through a magazine. Tom Stephens has asked to marry her so she already has a lot on her mind. Mrs. Crockett almost collides with Mr. Carpenter while passing through the dining room.  He sits beside Helen and tries to ask a question. When words fail him he shakes his hand nervously. Helen supplies the word he’s searching for. “Jittery is the word. She adds “Bobby’s the only person I know who isn’t – Jittery”.

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The space man still has not been caught, Gort is still standing by the space ship, and the space ship alone is a rather uncomfortable reminder that all is far from normal in Washington D.C. Helen asks about the gov’t agent, and Mr. Carpenter barely launches into his answer only to have the doorbell ring. Tom Stephens has come to collect Helen. They’re going on another date. Tonight Tom’s in a bad mood, He’s annoyed that Helen isn’t ready and waiting for him, plus he admits to being tired of hearing about “Mr. Carpenter”.

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Helen quietly files that little piece of information in her head for future reference. Mr. Carpenter hears Toms complaints, says good evening to Tom, and slips upstairs. Helen quietly admonishes Tom for acidic behavior. Before leaving she goes upstairs to check on Bobby. Mr. Carpenter is helping him with his math homework. When Helen appears she goes into his room and asks that Bobby stop doing his homework and get ready for bed. Bobby sits on the bed, undoes one shoe, and lets it fall to the floor before there’s a knock at the door. It’s Mr. Carpenter with a question. “Bobby — have you a flashlight?”. Bobby goes to get his, and informs Mr. Carpenter “It’s a real Boy Scout flashlight. Not quite sure why anyone would need a flashlight inside a house he asks Mr. Carpenter why he needs it. “Why — the light in my room went out. Thank you, Bobby. Goodnight.”. To Bobby that seemed like a good answer – until he noticed the light in Mr. Carpenter’s room still worked.

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Then Mr. Carpenter appeared, and Bobby ducked inside his own room. His mind was on fire with thoughts. Why did Mr. Carpenter lie to me, why is the light is his room still working, and what does he need my real Boy Scout flashlight for ? Before Mr. Carpenter moved he checked that nobody was watching him. Satisfied that nobody was he turned off lights in his room, closed the door, and went downstairs. Quietly Bobby watched as Mr. Carpenter went through the front door. As Mr. Carpenter reached for the door Bobby darted into his room, put the shoe he had taken off back on, and put on his jacket.  Mr. Carpenter was like a man on a mission. looking this way and that, going up and down side streets.  Bobby wanted to know where he was going, but more than anything he wanted his real Boy Scout flashlight back ! Before he knew it he was back at the same park that housed the spaceship and Gort.

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Bobby remembered the Army had built some sort of temporary structure for the space ship and Gort. Mr. Carpenter moved quietly towards the wall that had a small window in it. He moved quietly like a cat. When he was in position he used the flashlight to shine light in front of Gort. Using a code Gort knew, was instructed to dispose of the guards. Slowly Gort walked towards the soldiers who watched in bewilderment.

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Gort reaches out, grabs them, and violently pushes them together. They aren’t killed, but just knocked out. Seeing this Bobby is terrified, but screws up the courage to follow along the wall to the tiny window.

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Not quite believing his own eyes, he watches as Mr. Carpenter speaks to Gort, then enters the space ship. Not quite sure what to do next he runs as fast as his legs will go back to the boarding house in sheer terror and fright.

Mr. Carpenter walks through the ship, eventually arriving at an area covered

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with dials, and seemingly ordinary lights. He contacts someone and outlines his plan, yet he does this in language we cannot understand.

Bobby is back at the boarding house. He’s confused, terrified, and angry. A person he thought was his friend has disappointed him in the worst way imaginable. His mother Helen, and Tom return from their date. Helen is more than surprised to discover her son still up, sitting in a chair, with a foul look on his face.

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Bobby–! What are you doing up at this hour?”. Bobby proceeds to tell his mother just what has transpired. Helen thinks her son has been dreaming of the space man, the space ship, and Gort. “I like Mr. Carpenter — but I’m scared, Mom”.

Mustn’t be frightened, darling — It was just a bad dream. Here – we’ll prove it to you”. Surprised at his degree of insistence she asks Tom Stephens to go upstairs to fetch Mr. Carpenter. She tries her best to convince her son it was all a bad dream. Bobby is very disappointed with Mr. Carpenter, and now his mother is making a truly horrifying night a great deal worse. He gives her a really dirty look than says “I’d never call you a liar. While Helen tries to push the “bad dream” theory Tom does some unauthorized snooping. He knocks softly at Mr. Carpenter’s door. Getting no answer, he tries the door, pushes it open and peers in. Then he steps into the darkened room. Tom snaps on the light and looks around the empty room. Glancing around, Tom’s eye is caught by a flash of something bright on the floor below the dresser. He stoops down and picks up a fair-sized diamond. He studies the stone curiously from various angles, and holds it up to the light. Thoroughly puzzled, he keeps the stone in his hand, switches off the light and goes out. Like any good Retriever he goes back down stairs to show off his discovery. “He’s not there. But look what I found in his room”. Helen asks if it’s real. Tom’s expression says he doesn’t have a clue. Then Bobby pipes up that Mr. Carpenter has a lot of diamonds, then digs into his pocket to show them two more. Tom offers up the simplest theory available. “I think he’s a crook”. Not knowing what to believe Helen has Bobby sleep in her room. As Bobby starts up the stairs she notices his shoes are soaked. Bobby has the last laugh. “Yeah — the grass was kind of wet.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still–Part 3

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The Plot (Continued)

A couple of days pass, and Mr. Harley (with his ever present briefcase) return. And the news is not good. Country A will attend but only if the meeting is held in country B. Country B will not attend unless the meeting is held in country C. And country D will not attend unless the meeting is held in country A. Klaatu is annoyed and angered at the child like behavior being displayed, and astounded their very existence would take a back seat to their petty bickering. Mr. Harley make one more pitch for his president. “Now that you understand the situation more clearly, perhaps you’d like to discuss the matter with the President”. Klaatu still refuses to speak with the leader of any one nation. And to a certain degree he loses his temper. “I am impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it”. Mr. Harley verbally wishes his people could do the same.

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Klaatu moves to the window, looks the people below, and begins to really wonder if all the people on Earth are really so narrow minded. In a last ditch attempt to get his message across Klaatu makes a request of Mr. Harley. “Before making any decisions, I think I should get out among your people — become familiar with the basis for these strange, unreasoning attitudes”. Mr. Harley balks at that idea. “Under the circumstances I’m afraid that will be impossible. I must ask that you don’t attempt to leave the hospital. Our military people have insisted on this. I’m sure you’ll understand”. After Mr. Harley departs Klaatu shakes his head in wonder at the level of stupidity of this planet. He chuckles as he hears his door being locked.

A few hours later a  nurse delivering medication and a military policeman stand outside the room where Klaatu is. The MP tries to unlock the door, but finds it already unlocked.  He the and the nurse rush in. The bed is unmade and the room is empty. Klaatu has vanished. It isn’t long before word leaks to the press. Banner headlines about his “escape” are on newspapers all over Washington.

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Radio announcers chatter wildly warning people of the escape. Mothers corral their kids, and usher them off the street. Commuter trains are stopped and searched.

At night we see a very ordinary looking man carrying a suitcase walking on the sidewalk. It isn’t long before before we see it’s Klaatu. As he passes the houses we hear radio and television reports about the escape, and about the alien. One report has him at eight feet tall. Another is a report of sightings in Chicago, Florida, and Des Moines. Another is drowned out by the sound of very nervous people chattering. He stops to observe sometime, and notices his coat has a tag on it that identifies its true owner. He tears the tag from the jacket and disposes of it

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He notices one of the houses has a small sign in the window that says “room for rent”. He approaches the house now using the name “Mr. Carpenter”. A number of people are huddled around a television set. They are too engrossed in TV reports to notice him. He stands in the hallway waiting to see the owner of the house.

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All of a sudden one the people who has been watching the TV report turns it off.  A woman, a Mrs. Crockett, and owner of the boarding house, complains that all the reports and tension are driving her crazy. Another person – a young boy, notices a stranger standing in the hallway. Klaatu, now going by the name of Mr. Carpenter, says he’s looking for a room to rent. Mrs. Crockett finds everything in order, and introduces Mr. Carpenter to the rest of the house guests. Mr.Carpenter is introduced to to everybody, and after the appropriate hellos and shaking of hands Mrs. Crockett is satisfied Mr. Carpenter will make a fine addition to the house. Of the people Mr. Carpenter meets that evening he will have the most interaction with Helen Benson (played by Patricia Neal) and her son Bobby (played by Billy Gray). Bobby starts peppering Mr. Carpenter with questions. He’s a bit excited by al the “space man” news and his mother sends him to bed.

The next morning everyone in the boarding house communes around the breakfast table. Mrs. Barley, a heavy set no nonsense woman, is plowing through the paper when she happens upon a cartoon in the paper.

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She is far from amused. The radio is reporting, but does not report fact. It’s reporting pure conjecture. Where is the space man, why is he here. One theory is that he’s hiding out in the sewers which displeases and annoys Mr. Carpenter. Only Helen Benson offers any opinion of any importance. “This space man — or whatever he is. We automatically assume he’s a menace… Maybe he isn’t at all. After all, he was shot the moment he landed here. I was just wondering what I would do”. Mr. Carpenter makes a comment of his own which leads to some hilarity. “Perhaps before deciding on a course of action, you’d want to know more about the people here — to orient yourself in a strange environment”. Mrs. Barley crows sharply “There’s nothing strange about Washington, Mr. Carpenter”. Mr. Carpenter counters with “A person from another planet might disagree with you”. A small degree of tension is relieved, and for just a small moment thought are not on the space man.

Mrs. Crockett, who left the kitchen a few minutes earlier returns, and tells Helen Benson, that Tom Stephens is waiting for her in the hall. Tom Stephens sells insurance, and is fond of Helen and Bobby. Helen and Tom had planned to picnic together but admits to Tom he hasn’t got a sitter for him. Tom’s smile all but disappears. Then Mr. Carpenter volunteers to look after Bobby. Tom is all smiles again. Mr. Carpenter adds “Bobby and I had a fine time yesterday afternoon. We talked — and listened to the radio. I thought today he might show me around the city”. Helen is surprised, but given his optimistic attitude at breakfast, gives her consent. Mr. Carpenter suggests they ask Bobby what he thinks.  Helens likes Mr. Carpenter a bit more because he wanted to include Bobby in the conversation.

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