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Nothing Behind the Door

Episode #1
Aired 1947-06-08
Length: 29:23
Size: 6.72 MB
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"QUIET, PLEASE"

Wyllis Cooper

June 8, 1947

Recording June 3, 1947

Studio 6 - 100 - 530

["Nothing Behind the Door"]

[page 1]

(MUSIC ... THEME)

ANNCR: Quiet, please.

SOUND: (A QUIET CLOCK TICKING)

ANNCR: (ON CUE) Quiet, please.

SOUND: (FADE THE CLOCK-TICKING OUT SLOWLY FOR)

ROSS: (CHAPPELL FADING IN) It's something like sixty-eight hundred feet above
sea-level; a little house maybe twenty feet long and fifteen wide. It's made
of corrugated iron sheets, with a high peaked roof, and it sort of hangs over
the edge of the mountain - top, with nothing but the spikes of pine-trees
stretching all the way down to Pasadena, better than a mile below you.

There's a sort of trestle that extends out to the little house from the
mountain-top itself; the house is built on steel girders set into the solid
rock. There's one door in the house: a door at the end of the trestle.

Just one door.

And there's a big high wire fence all around the place: at least there used to
be, and I hope it's still there. There's no gate in that wire fence, if it's
still there. There's no way to get into that enclosure around the little iron
house. There was a way, but it's closed off now. Do you ever get out to
California? If you do, go up there sometime and take a look at the little
house. But look at it through the fence. That's far enough. You go out
Foothill Boulevard toward Pasadena, but you turn off on Angeles Crest Highway
at La Canada, and you just keep on driving uphill.

[2]

You'll get there. Just keep right on going: the top of Mount Wilson is the end
of the highway. That's where the big telescope is: the biggest in the world
till they got the Big Eye operating, down on Mount Palomar, near San Diego.
There's a lot of people waiting to have a look through that big new one, but
I'm not one of them. I looked through a telescope once at the sky.

You ever look through a big telescope? At the sky, at night? At the things up
there? Things so far away you sprain your brain just trying to imagine how far
away they are? With nothing between you and them? Billions and billions of
miles of nothing? I don't know what it does to you but, brother, I
freeze.

Listen, do you know there are holes in the sky? I mean it. I've seen them.
There's a thing in the constellation Andromeda - no, I'm not going to get
technical with you; just listen. There's this thing - astronomers call it the
Horse Head Nebula. You know what it is? It's a hole. It's a great big patch of
nothing. Just nothing! There aren't any stars there; there's just a hole. No,
nobody knows anything about it. Astronomers look at it, they take pictures of
it, and there it stays. There it is now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and a
million years from now, and it's been there always.

[3]

Yes, it has; it's so far away that what you see now is the way it looked a
billion years ago. Before there was anybody to see it, friend. And there's
lots more of those places.

[4]

So what's all this got to do with the little house up on top of Mount Wilson?

I'll tell you.

This was quite some time ago. I'd been living in California, see, for several
years. I had a couple of bucks; had a nice little place near Van Nuys - that
was before the Valley got to be so popular with movie people and radio comics
and people like that, and it wasn't bad, living alone; waking up in the middle
of the night hearing the Southern Pacific Lark whistle for a crossing out
around Chatsworth, listening to a dog howling 'way out across the valley. And
going back to sleep.

I don't get back to sleep so easy these days.

Well, these people from Cleveland were out there. Aldo Manucci and Hugh Grant.
We used to be great friends, Aldo and Hugh and I; so nothing would do but
they'd come to stay with me. It was all right. I had a Dodge convertible and
the boys got quite a kick out of California. It isn't like Cleveland. So we
did a lot of driving around - and we got a lot of kicks. You know, up to the
desert to see the Joshua-trees; down to Laguna to go swimming; Arrowhead; out
to the Lion Farm on Ventura Boulevard. We even went to the Bowl and listened
to the Symphonies under the Stars. Stars.... I never want to see the stars any
more. I saw 'em once too often.

[5]

We were just like any appleknockers that come out from the East; we went
everywhere and looked at everything, and got a bang out of it.

That's how we came to go up to Mount Wilson that day. Aldo and Hugh had been -
you know - looking around for odd places; they had some ideas; and so one day
we were having breakfast and they were looking at an Automobile Club bulletin,
and Aldo said let's go to Mount Wilson. So we did.

So we did. I'd been up there once before, and you know how it is in
California: I knew everything.

I thought I knew everything.

I found out different.

We were inside the big dome where the Hundred-Inch telescope is. It's like
being inside a giant's watch. The telescope is in the middle, a big
spidery framework with ladders climbing all over it up under this dome.
The tourists stand on a kind of a catwalk around the edge while the
astronomer explains as much as thinks the appleknockers'll understand. There
was just a few of us that day, standing close to the little kind of pulpit
listening with our mouths open. It is like a pulpit. I got to thinking
that day how the astronomer looked like a priest up there; a nice old white-
haired fellow like a priest ... and I was thinking he was talking about
the heavens, too. I'd seen it all before, but my mouth was as wide open as
Hugh's and Aldo's.

[6]

ASTRONOMER: (RESONANCE) ... ... the earth rotates, you know; all twenty-four
thousand miles of its equator, once in twenty-four hours. A given spot on the
earth's surface is moving at the rate of a thousand miles an hour at the
equator. And the earth is moving through space, too: it moves around the sun
at the rate of about eighteen and a half miles per second. (THERE IS A
SMALL MURMUR FROM THE AUDIENCE AT THIS) So therefore we must, in order to keep
this telescope focussed accurately on the celestial objects we are observing,
neutralise those motions mechanically. The telescope itself, as you will
observe, is controllable in any direction by this motor. Watch it, if you
please.

SOUND: (A VERY SMALL AC MOTOR HUM, FAIRLY HIGH-PITCHED, BEGINS)

ASTRONOMER: Notice the motion of the telescope.

SOUND: (THE MOTOR CONTINUES UNTIL CUED OUT)

ASTRONOMER: Now I shall open the shutters of the dome, through which the
telescope points.

SOUND: (ANOTHER, HEAVIER MOTOR STARTS AND STOPS ON CUE)

ASTRONOMER: And the final movement: the rotation of the entire dome, exactly
synchronised with the speed of the earth through space. Watch through the
shutters above you, please.

SOUND: (ANOTHER MOTOR STARTS; A DEEPER-TONED ONE NOW. IT CONTINUES)

MANUCCI: (OVER THE MOTOR, ON CUE) Lookit. Lookit, Ross.

ROSS: I see.

[7]

MANUCCI: Look outside. We -- we ain't movin'. The sky's going by! Lookit,
Hugh!

GRANT: I see it.

ROSS: It's an optical illusion, Aldo.

ASTRONOMER: No, it's not an optical illusion. In relation to space this spot
we are on is standing still. Through these motions here in the dome, the
mirror of the telescope is kept aimed exactly at one spot far out in space.

ALDO: What's space, mister?

ASTRONOMER: It's......nothing.

GRANT: What about the air?

ASTRONOMER: There are a few miles of air, my friend...and then...nothing.

MANUCCI: Huh.

ROSS: The stars.

ASTRONOMER: Yes; the stars.

ROSS: Sure.

ASTRONOMER: And the places where there are no stars.

(MUSIC ... CUTS IN AND HOLDS FOR A MOMENT, THEN FADES)

ROSS: My skin twitched a little when he said that; did yours? Well; the show
was over, and we went outside into the sunlight. We walked across the long
wooden bridge -- there's a deep gully in front of the dome -- and down a
little path past a thing they call a coelostat: a small dome on legs about a
hundred feet high, all painted with aluminum paint (everything's painted with
aluminum paint up there) -- a thing they study the sun and sunspots and things
like that with.

[8]

It was quiet up there, along toward the middle of the afternoon, and there was
a chill in the air, although it was hot down below. And the squirrels frisked
around underfoot, and I pointed out a deer -- it's wild up there, you know.
And we were just talking -- it's an odd place, and you get kind of impressed.
Not only with the things they have up there, the telescopes and the odd
buildings, and the view you get through the trees -- on a good clear day you
can see all the way out to Santa Monica.... but the people impress you. The
astronomers. They live up there, all by themselves, and they look at the sky,
and they see things. You always get the feeling they know a lot more than
they're telling. Like doctors....or like priests, I guess. I said that, didn't
I? Well, that's what they're like.

The path leads through the woods -- the biggest live oaks you ever saw -- over
to the old hotel. So I said

Say what about a beer before we start down, huh?

MANUCCI: A beer, that's for me.

GRANT: Can you get any hard liquor up here, Ross?

ROSS: No, I don't think so. Anyway, I wouldn't want a drink; not with all
that mountain road ahead of me.

MANUCCI: No, sir; don't you take no drink, Ross. I don't want to ride that
road with nobody's had a drink a liquor. Maybe you shouldn't have a beer
even.

ROSS: Beer won't hurt me.

GRANT: What's this fence for?

ROSS: Huh. I never noticed that before.

[9]

GRANT: That's quite a fence. Have a hard time getting over that.

MANUCCI: What would you want to get over it for, Hugh?

GRANT: I don't know. What you suppose is on the other side, they got this
heavy fence?

ROSS: I don't see anything. Except that little house out there, on stilts.

MANUCCI: Funny looking place.

GRANT: Fence goes right around it.

MANUCCI: Ain't there a gate?

ROSS: Oh, come on, let's get a beer.

GRANT: No, I want to look at this, Ross.

MANUCCI: Prob'ly they got something valuable in there.

ROSS: Sure; scientific instruments or something. This place is all full of
that stuff.

MANUCCI: Hey, look. A sign.

GRANT: Where?

MANUCCI: (GOING AWAY) Here.

ROSS: Come on.

GRANT: Wait. What's it say?

MANUCCI: (OFF) The public is forbidden to pass beyond this fence under severe
penalty. The Carnegie Foundation.

GRANT: That all?

MANUCCI: Yeh.

GRANT: What you suppose they got in that place?

ROSS: I don't know; I don't care.

[10]

GRANT: There's a door up there at the end of that trestle. Maybe we could go
back and get in through that other shed where the trestle starts, huh?

ROSS: What you want to go in there for? We got to get going.

GRANT: I'm just curious. You know what I mean? That place might come in handy.

MANUCCI: Oh. Yeah.

GRANT: See? 'Specially if they keep everybody out like this.

MANUCCI: But the thing might be all full of stuff, Hugh. Like Ross said:
scientific stuff.

GRANT: Might be, and might not be. Hey, here comes that fellow that made the
spiel up there.

MANUCCI: Well, ask him. He'd know.

ROSS: He won't tell you.

GRANT: Well, we'll find out. Hey, fella.

ASTRONOMER: (COMING UP) How are you?

GRANT: Hey.

ASTRONOMER: (UP; STOPS) Were you talking to me?

GRANT: Yeah. What's in that funny-looking building?

ASTRONOMER: Over there? Nothing.

GRANT: Yeah?

MANUCCI: What's the idea of the fence then?

ASTRONOMER: We don't want people to go in there.

GRANT: I'd sure like to see what's in it.

ASTRONOMER: I said there's nothing in there.

GRANT: You sure, mister?

ASTRONOMER: Yes; I'm absolutely sure.

ROSS: Could we get a pass to go in there?

[11]

ASTRONOMER: No. You saw the sign, didn't you?

GRANT: Said something about penalty of the law.

ASTRONOMER: You didn't read it very carefully.

MANUCCI: He didn't read it. I did.

ASTRONOMER: Read it again.

MANUCCI: Wait. (HE MOVES OFF AND READS) The public is forbidden to pass beyond
this fence under severe penalty. (HE MOVES BACK) See?

ROSS: I see what he means. It didn't say anything about the law.

GRANT: Oh.

ASTRONOMER: That's right.

GRANT: Well, then?

ASTRONOMER: There are other penalties.

GRANT: Oh. (A LONG PAUSE) Tough guy, huh?

ASTRONOMER: No. (PAUSE) Not at all.

MANUCCI: Well, what does it mean, then?

ASTRONOMER: I'll give you a little friendly advice. I wouldn't try to find
out if I were you.

GRANT: Oh, is that so?

ASTRONOMER: Yes.

ROSS: Do you really know what's in there, mister?

ASTRONOMER: Yes.

ROSS & GRANT: What?

ASTRONOMER: Nothing.

THERE IS A LONG PAUSE.

GRANT: Okay, lads, let's go get that beer.

(MUSIC ... TAKES THEM AWAY AND FADES)

[12]

ROSS: Well, of course, you know what was up. You're 'way ahead of
me. My Cleveland pals weren't in California just for a vacation. There was a
bank I'd had my eye on for a while, out in Pacific Palisades, and it wasn't
the first bank that Manucci and Hugh Grant and I had worked a deal on. I
didn't go much for this place up on Mount Wilson with nothing in it and a
fence around it, but Aldo and Hugh -- well, after all, could you find a better
place to stash away some dough? Nobody could get in, they said -- and if we
could, well -- so I bought it finally. Well, to make a long story short, we
took, I think it was fifty-three thousand dollars out of the bank. Fifty-
three, fifty-four, what's the difference? It's all gone now.

It's a long drive from Pacific Palisades over Sunset Boulevard, then up
Beverly Glen to the Valley, through Van Nuys to Sunland, and down past the
Sanitarium on Foothill Boulevard to where you turn off on the Angeles Highway.
'Specially at one o'clock in the morning; that was when we pulled out of
Pacific Palisades. It was summer, and after you turn on to the mountain road
you're not allowed to smoke. See, a fire warden might come along, and those
guys can tell somebody smoking in a car a half mile off. They throw you in the
can for it. Forest fires. So we didn't want anybody stopping us -- it was
risky enough anyway, because practically nobody ever drives up there late at
night -- or early in the morning, I mean.

[13]

Well, we didn't meet anybody, and all three of us were jittery with no
cigarettes, and that road -- it's tough enough in the daytime, but in the
dark!

It was half past four when we got to the top. The hotel was dark; the cabins
were dark, but the sky! It was just like solid with stars. And you could
pretty near reach up and touch 'em. I remembered the old guy in the hundred-
inch dome: nothing between us and the stars. And down below -- well, if you've
ever been up there at night you know what I mean. Just like looking down on
stars. The lights of seventeen, eighteen towns -- Pasadena, Los Angeles,
Hollywood, Van Nuys, San Fernando, Culver City, Santa Monica. Well, it makes
my hair stand on end when I think of it -- and I haven't seen it for -- well,
never mind how many years.

Well.

We stumbled through the pitch dark.

We got off the path three times and nearly fell down hill. And brother, that'd
be a fall.

We still couldn't risk a cigarette.

It was dark.

Hugh Grant was in front, then me, then Aldo. We each had brief-cases. Hugh had
a pair of those big spring wire-cutters that'll go through a steel cable.

And all of a sudden we bumped into the fence.

GRANT: Ouch.

ROSS: Matter?

GRANT: The fence.

[14]

MANUCCI: Where are you? (HE BUMPS INTO ROSS)

ROSS: Stand still, will you?

MANUCCI: It's dark.

GRANT: Shut up. Listen for a minute.

THERE IS SILENCE FOR A LITTLE.

GRANT: Hear anything?

MANUCCI: No.

ROSS: No.

GRANT: See anything?

ROSS: (LOOKS AROUND) No.

MANUCCI: Look.

ROSS: What?

MANUCCI: The dome over there.

GRANT: See somebody?

MANUCCI: No. (HE TRIES TO CHUCKLE) Them two big windows up there. With that
big round dome looks like somebody watchin' us.

ROSS: It s-sure does.

GRANT: Ah, cut it out. I'm going to try the fence with the cutters.

MANUCCI: Want the flashlight?

GRANT: You chump! No!

ROSS: I wish we....(HE STOPS)

GRANT: What?

ROSS: Forget it. I just don't like that place, though.

GRANT: Get out of the way.

MANUCCI: Want some help, Hugh?

[15]

GRANT: Just keep out the the way. (HE STRAINS WITH THE CUTTERS.)

SOUND: (THE WIRE GOES "TWANG!")

GRANT: Wait. (A PAUSE) Hear anything?

ROSS: That wire made enough noise to -- (HE STOPS)

GRANT: All right, all right. (PAUSE) I'll try another strand.

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN. NOT SO LOUD THIS TIME)

GRANT: That's better. (PAUSE)

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN)

GRANT: See if you can slide under there, one of you.

MANUCCI: Me. (HE STRUGGLES) Nope, can't make it yet.

GRANT: I'll try another. Look out for your arm there.

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN)

GRANT: Now try.

MANUCCI: Wait'll I take off my coat. (A PAUSE) Now, let's see. (HE STRUGGLES)

GRANT: How about it?

ROSS: He's through.

GRANT: All right, go ahead.

ROSS: Me?

GRANT: You.

ROSS: Well, I -- cut another strand, Hugh.

SOUND: (THE CUTTERS AGAIN)

GRANT: Make it now?

ROSS: I guess so. (HE STRUGGLES) Yeh. (OFF A LITTLE) Where are you, Aldo?

MANUCCI: (OFF A LITTLE) Right here. Come on, Hugh. Hey, slide the brief-cases
through first.

GRANT: Coming up. (PAUSE) Got 'em?

[16]

MANUCCI: Got 'em.

GRANT: Here I come. All set?

MANUCCI: All set.

[17]

ROSS: I'm all set. I'm as all set as I ever will be, I figure. I don't like
any part of this place. I don't like the dark. I don't like the stars up above
us. I don't like the lights down below. I don't like the silence. I don't like
climbing around the top of a mountain with nothing under me but thin air for a
mile or more. All I can hear is Hugh and Aldo in front of me, crackling
through the weeds, cursing when one of them whacks a shin against a sharp
rock. All I can see is two black shapes in front of me, and a blacker shape
that's the building, the little house with nothing in it. Aldo and Hugh are
panting; it's sixty-eight hundred feet up, you know, and your breath is pretty
short. It's tough going, especially when you're dragging a brief case full of
money, too, and you're scared and sweating and tired. And then, all of a
sudden, we're under the building, alongside one of the struts that hold up the
little trestle.

GRANT: Boost me up, Aldo.

ROSS: And Aldo boosts him up. Hugh's a little guy, and he's spry. He's spryer
than I am, up there a mile in the air; and I guess he's not as scared as I am.
So I look up and he's sprawling on the trestle with nine million stars behind
him, and he's reaching down to me.

GRANT: Grab my hand, Ross.

ROSS: So I scramble up, and I'll never know how I made it, either. But there
we are, and in a second, Aldo is up there with us.

GRANT: Now keep quiet a minute and rest. I'm knocked out.

[18]

MANUCCI: Yeah. (PANTING)

(THERE IS A PAUSE)

MANUCCI: You hear anything, Hugh?

GRANT: Just the wind, Ross?

ROSS: I...no, I thought I heard something, but I guess it's the wind.

GRANT: Listen.

(A PAUSE)

GRANT: It's the wind. (A SHORT PAUSE) Well?

ROSS: So we stood up.

So Hugh walked the rest of the way down the little trestle. We followed him,
stumbling over the planks, and

there was the door.

So we rattled the bar on it, and it was padlocked.

So Hugh took the big cutters, and he wrenched away at the bar.

SOUND: (SOUND OF WRENCHING WITH CUTTERS)

[ROSS:] And we shivered there in the cold, waiting to see if anybody heard us.

There wasn't a sound, so

Hugh tried again

SOUND: (SOUND OF WRENCHING WITH CUTTERS)

[ROSS:] and the bar fell off

SOUND: (BAR FALLS OFF)

[ROSS:] and we kept still for a minute. (PAUSE) And then

GRANT: Open the door.

SOUND: (THE DOOR RASPS OPEN AND CLANGS BACK AGAINST THE WALL)

[19]

GRANT: Where's the flashlight?

MANUCCI: Wait.

GRANT: Nobody can see us. Put your fingers over it and turn it in there.

MANUCCI: Okay. (A PAUSE) I don't see anything.

ROSS: The guy said there was nothing in there.

GRANT: I can't see a thing. Open up the light a little more.

MANUCCI: I got it open. It's all black in there.

GRANT: There's something the matter with the light.

MANUCCI: No, there ain't. Look.

GRANT: Turn that light off me!

MANUCCI: Well, look, now when I shine it inside.

ROSS: Nothing.

GRANT: Well, there's got to be something in there.

ROSS: Nothing, the man said.

MANUCCI: Can't even see the floor.

GRANT: Well, I'll find out if there's anything in there.

MANUCCI: (HASTILY) No! Don't go in! You can't tell what's liable to be...

GRANT: Well, look out. I'll toss the brief-case in.

ROSS: No!..throw the wire-cutters in.

GRANT: Where are they?

MANUCCI: Here. (HE DROPS THEM WITH A CLANG)

GRANT: For the love o' - look out, will you? Keep still! You'd wake up the
dead -

(THEY KEEP SILENT A MOMENT)

GRANT: (RELUCTANTLY) Well, I guess nobody heard us. We're shot with luck
tonight, no kidding. Gimme them cutters.

[20]

MANUCCI: Here.

GRANT: Shine the light in there. (HE LOOKS) Sure can't see any thing, can ya?

MANUCCI: Throw 'em in.

GRANT: Get out of the doorway. Keep the light in there.

MANUCCI: Go ahead. Throw 'em against the far wall.

GRANT: All right. Look out. (HE TOSSES THE HEAVY CUTTERS INSIDE. THERE IS NO
SOUND AT ALL)

MANUCCI: (AFTER A PAUSE) Where'd they go?

GRANT: I tossed 'em hard enough to - move the light around. I can't see a
thing.

MANUCCI: I can't either. They ought to be - (HE LOOKS HARD) the light just
kind of seems to stop -

GRANT: Oh, cut it out. There's prob'ly some kind of stuff on the floor -
powdered, maybe, and they fell into it - here, stand to one side, Ross.

ROSS: What are you going to do?

GRANT: Why, I'm going in and look around. Have you got a gun, Aldo?

MANUCCI: Just this little thirty-two.

GRANT: All right, come on. Ross, you stay here and watch. And listen.

ROSS: I wouldn't go in there, Hugh -

GRANT: Nobody asked you to. I'm going. Come on, Aldo.

MANUCCI: Listen, Hugh.

GRANT: Have you got the screamin' meemies, too? Come on, with that gun.
There's nothing in there.

ROSS: Look, Hugh, let's get out of here.

[21]

GRANT: Ah, shut up. Here, might as well take the dough, too. We can stick it
in there - go ahead, Aldo, with the light.

MANUCCI: You go first.

GRANT: Ah! All right! Now stand there and keep your ears (HE IS CUT OFF
SHARPLY)

MANUCCI: Hey, Hugh, where are you? I can't see him.

ROSS: Listen, Aldo, don't go in there ---

MANUCCI: I got to - hey, Hugh! (NO ANSWER) Hugh! Where are you?

ROSS: Listen, Aldo -

MANUCCI: Keep your eyes and ears open, now. We'll be right back. Hey, Hugh,
are you all right? I'm comin' in, Hugh! Hugh!

ROSS: Aldo --

MANUCCI: What's in there? Hey, Hugh! Okay, Ross, something's the matter with
him. Here I come. Hugh! I'm gonna - (HE IS CUT OFF SHARPLY. THERE IS A LONG
SILENCE)

ROSS: Hugh! Hey, Hugh! (NO ANSWER) Aldo! Hey, what's in there, you two? Hugh--
(HE HEARS FOOTSTEPS SLOWLY APPROACHING, AND HE FALLS SILENT.)

(THE FOOTSTEPS COME UP CLOSE AND STOP)

ASTRONOMER: I can see you. (THERE IS A LITTLE MOVEMENT FROM ROSS) You can
stand up now. (NO ANSWER) They won't come out, I assure you.

SOUND: (HE WALKS A FEW STEPS & CLANGS THE DOOR SHUT)

[ASTRONOMER:] Come on, son. Stand up.

ROSS: I've got a gun.

[22]

ASTRONOMER: No, you haven't. Stand up.

ROSS: When my friends come out -

ASTRONOMER: They're not coming out, my friend. Stand up.

(ROSS LABORIOUSLY GETS TO HIS FEET.)

ASTRONOMER: You wouldn't believe me when I told you.

ROSS: What's in there? (NO ANSWER) What's in there, I said?

ASTRONOMER: I told you there's....nothing behind that door.

ROSS: My friends went in there --

ASTRONOMER: They're not there now. (PAUSE) There's nothing in there. Do you
understand me? There's nothing in there.

ROSS: Listen.

ASTRONOMER: No. You listen. I - No, I suppose, it will do no good to tell
you.

ROSS: Tell me what?

ASTRONOMER: I'd better show you.

ROSS: Show me what?

ASTRONOMER: Come with me.

ROSS: No.

ASTRONOMER: Come with me.

ROSS: I won't! You've got to - (HE STOPS)

SOUND: (WE HEAR THE ASTRONOMER WALKING SLOWLY AWAY)

ROSS: Wait!

SOUND: (THE FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE)

ROSS: Wait for me!

SOUND: (THE FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE, AND THE MUSIC PICKS THEM UP...HOLDS...AND
FADES BEHIND)

(MUSIC: ... HOLDS... FADES BEHIND)

ROSS: Across the little trestle away from the door he closed on my friends.

[23]

ROSS: Through another door....

SOUND: (CLANG)

ROSS: into a long shed in the dark.

And I was glad I couldn't see the stars.

Out another door at the end of the shed.

SOUND: (CLANG)

ROSS: ..down the path past the coelostat reaching up into the sky, shining in
the starlight, looking like one of those visitors from Mars you heard about on
the radio. Across the little wooden bridge...

SOUND: (HOLLOW FOOTSTEPS)

ROSS: ....with the two eyes of the hundred-inch dome staring down at me, and a
cold wind coming up from the other side of the mountain.

Up the ramp and into the dome itself.

Up the iron stairs.

SOUND: (UP THE IRON STAIRS)

ASTRONOMER: (OFF) Follow me.

ROSS: A little yellow light at the head of the stairs, and then out on the
catwalk in the dark, with the floor forty feet below us.

Up another ladder, and my legs are getting tired.

Up.

ASTRONOMER: Follow me.

ROSS: Up another dizzy ladder.

Another.

Across another spidery walk.

ASTRONOMER: Here. Sit in this seat.

[24]

ROSS: I couldn't speak. My throat is dry. My legs are trembling. I'm icy cold
in that great dome, how far above the floor I can't tell.

ASTRONOMER: Sit still, you won't fall.

ROSS: Why did you...

ASTRONOMER: Sit still, I said. You'll have to be shown. Wait.

SOUND: (THE FIRST MOTOR STARTS)

[ASTRONOMER:] Magnetic declination.

SOUND: (THE SECOND MOTOR STARTS)

[ASTRONOMER:] You can look now.

ROSS: Look! At what?

ASTRONOMER: Look through the telescope.

ROSS: No!

ASTRONOMER: Look, son. (ROSS INHALES SHARPLY) What do you see?

ROSS: Stars. Millions of stars.

ASTRONOMER: Wait.

SOUND: (THE MOTOR CHANGES PITCH)

[ASTRONOMER:] Look again. (PAUSE) What do you see?

ROSS: (AFTER A PAUSE) Nothing. (PAUSE) Nothing!

ASTRONOMER: Watch.

SOUND: (MOTOR LOUDER)

[ASTRONOMER:] Now?

ROSS: Stars again. Millions - no - a black cloud.

ASTRONOMER: Now?

ROSS: Nothing.

ASTRONOMER: That nothing you see is a million light-years away.

ROSS: What is it?

ASTRONOMER: There's nothing there to see. My friend, there are scores of
places in this universe where there is nothing. Far places, near places...do
you understand what I mean?

[25]

ROSS: (AFTER A PAUSE) Is...is that what you meant when you said -

ASTRONOMER: When I said there is nothing behind that door? (PAUSE) Yes.

ROSS: Where - where -

ASTRONOMER: Your friends? Your misguided friends? I don't know. Perhaps. Take
your eye from the telescope. Wait.

SOUND: (THE MOTORS WHINE LOUDLY)

ASTRONOMER: Look now. If you dare.

ROSS: What -

ASTRONOMER: Look.

(MUSIC ... COMES UP WITH A SCREAM AND HOLDS ...CUT OFF SHARPLY)

ROSS: Yes.

You guess what I saw.

You guess what I saw, clawing through black clouds of nothing.

You guess what eyes I saw.

I saw nothing.

Yes, the little house is still there, on Mount Wilson.

You can go look at it if you want to.

But don't go too close.

Maybe somebody'll tell you it's just a place where they store equipment.

Maybe.

Why do they keep the door locked, then?

Well.

Just one other thing.

Don't you go around opening doors you don't know anything about.

[25]

There might be nothing behind one of them.

(MUSIC ... UP TO FINISH)

ANNCR: The man who talked to you was Ernest Chappell.

The others were: Aldo Manucci, Morton Thompson.

Hugh Grant, Pat O'Malley. The Astronomer, James Van Dyk.

The music was composed and played by Eugene Perrazzo.

"Quiet, Please" is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper.

And it will be back on the air next week at the same time.

(MUSIC ... THEME)

ANNCR: THIS IS THE MUTUAL BROADCASTING SYSTEM.

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