Adam and the Darkest Day

Episode #73
Aired 1948-11-07
Length: 28:52
Size: 6.61 MB
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CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


ANNOUNCER: The American Broadcasting Company presents "Quiet, Please!" which is written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and which features Ernest Chappell. "Quiet, Please!" for today is called "Adam and the Darkest Day."



ADAM: I don't know whether you ever heard of a place called Chicago or not but I knew it very well in my youth.

I've forgotten how long ago that was even.

There was a lake -- beautiful, big, wide lake that could be bluer than the sky of a summer morning or gray as-- Well, that's odd. I can't think of anything that's gray the way the lake was on a stormy day.

Gray like the trees used to be?

No, more alive, like the gray of steel.

Steel? Oh, that's a metal we used to have. Forget about it.

I used to go down and walk along the lakefront years and years ago before the Dark Days. Just walk along the shore and smile at the lake and it would smile back at me. And it didn't smell salty and fishy the way the ocean does.

Oh, yes, I've seen the ocean, too. Both oceans, there are two of 'em. I forget their names.

And even during the Dark Days when Doc said it was safe to go out, I'd go out of a morning and walk along where the lake shore used to be.

It's all swamp now and there's some pretty weird things in it. Things that used to be fish -- once. Only they've gone through a lot of changes and they're-- Well, they're not fish any more.

Mutants, Doc said they were. Things that have gone though mutations, changes.

Yeah, I don't understand it but it's interesting. Doc - Doc said they might even get to be human beings in another fifteen or twenty million years -- if they're left alone. Doc said that's the way human beings started originally. The only difference, Doc said, is that it took a couple o' million years for the first changes to take place. And, with these fish-things, it took place practically overnight.

Of course, it was a pretty long night.


ADAM: I guess I was about twenty - when the war started.

I - I say I guess because I don't really know when it DID start.

I guess nobody knows. One minute, people were buying and selling things to each other -- and talking and laughing and looking at the lake in the sunshine and stuff and just - just being people. And, the next minute, they were fighting and yelling and killing each other and -- well, I guess just being people in another way. Yeah, it was pretty rough.

My uncle Brice was in the last war, the one before this one. He had some pretty terrible things to tell us about it. He always said, "Well, Adam, if another war comes, that's all. Because this one'll start without any notice and there won't be any such thing as battlefields and soldiers and all that. Everybody'll be in it no matter where they are, at home or wherever. And everybody'll fight with each other till there isn't anybody left. It'll be just like [???], Uncle Brice said.

And that's pretty nearly the way it was.

Wasn't it?


ADAM: Well, you know, there was an awful lot of people lived in this - Chicago.

I guess there was about four million. The houses and buildings they lived in were right up against each other.

Oh, about four million.

Well... Do you know the stars?

You look up at 'em some night and you see what an awful lot of them there are. And you figure there was about as many people living in Chicago as there are stars.

No, no. There's lots more stars but you can't see 'em without a telescope.

Uh, telescope, uh, a thing - I got one somewhere. I'll show it to ya.

Yeah, that's right. There were four million people in this - Chicago. And, what's more, there was a lot more places around the country just as big, some of 'em bigger.

No, I'm not makin' it up. I remember there was a place called - "New York" -- place called - "Minneapolis" - and a place called, uh, ah, "Los Angeles."

Sure, they named all the places where people lived.

Yeah, it seems a long time ago.

Well, it is. I've kind of lost track of time but it must be, well, thirty years ago, at least.

And we've come a long way in thirty years.

And the next ten, fifteen million years ... who knows what'll happen?


ADAM: Well, after the war started, this place, this Chicago, was pretty well destroyed. The buildings got smashed, the people got killed. Everything was just terrible.

There was a lot of soldiers there.

Uh, people that were paid to fight.

But the soldiers couldn't get away. There wasn't anybody to fight with because you couldn't see them. You'd be standing there, and there'd be a noise, and fire and smoke, and a whole big building'd fall down right in front of ya. People'd scream and yell and run around and cry.

I got mad at the soldiers, I remember. Pretty soon, it wasn't safe for a soldier to be seen in the streets. And, for that matter, it wasn't safe for anybody -- but a soldier especially.

Well, because people'd do terrible things to 'em.

Well, as I said, the buildings were all being knocked down. It was - was getting along toward winter. It was cold. People were having an awful time.

So, I looked around.

There wasn't anything else to do.

And I found me a place.

There was a big warehouse.

Uh, a place where people stored things. They'd buy furniture and stuff for their homes and then they'd lock all the stuff up in the warehouse.

No, I - I don't know why. It isn't important.

Well, this warehouse was a great, big, strong, heavy building. Was on the corner of a street that had a number and another big, wide street with a park way down the middle, all - all green grass, flowers and trees.

You know, it was awfully pretty there, where the warehouse was.

It'd got knocked around a little but it was still a fine, big, safe place. The people that owned it'd got killed. Or went away or something. So I - just moved in.

Well, it was a mighty good thing for me that I did.

Because the second night I was there behind those nice, thick walls and those big doors...


ADAM: ... somebody did something that ...


ADAM: ... blew Chicago off the map.


ADAM: "Off the map"? Yeah, that's an old saying. It - it means that a place just - disappears.

And that's what happened to Chicago. All except a little bit of this warehouse I'm tellin' ya about -- a little part way down deep underground where I was asleep.

And where I found Doc.

And I found Emily.


ADAM: I didn't know anybody else was there.

My head hurt. And it just seems as if I couldn't hear anything or see anything, even feel anything -- except my head hurting -- for the longest time.

And, finally, I was able to get up. It was black dark. I moved around a little. I got up. I found I could walk, there in the darkness.

And then somebody took hold of my arm.


DOC: (avuncular, with a laconic, Midwestern drawl) Who are you?

ADAM: I - I'm Adam.

DOC: (amused) Heh. You're what?!

ADAM: Adam.

DOC: (laughs heartily)

ADAM: What are you laughing at?

DOC: Boy, if I'm not badly mistaken, they gave you the right name.

ADAM: Huh?

DOC: Well, that's just a little gag, son. Y'all right?

ADAM: Um, my head hurts. Who are you?

DOC: Well, my name's Frez Frehley.

ADAM: Well, uh--

DOC: Everybody calls me "Doc." That is, when there WAS everybody. Uh, how do we get out o' here?

ADAM: (moving off) Well... There was a door - someplace.

DOC: I expected there would be.

ADAM: (off) What happened?

DOC: Well, that I don't know, son, but whatever it was-- Uh, hey, wait a minute. Where are ya?

ADAM: (off) Here.

DOC: Don't go opening any doors yet.

ADAM: (off) Why? I - I wanna get out o' here.

DOC: Well... You got anything to eat?

ADAM: (off) Well, there was some stuff in here someplace. (closer) Some - some cans and stuff.

DOC: Good!

ADAM: How'd you get in here? I - I thought that--

DOC: I got lost.

ADAM: (nervous) You're not a soldier, are you?

DOC: Me? No, no, son, I'm not. I'm a scientist.


DOC: That's a very vague term though, isn't it? I'm a geneticist.

ADAM: What's that?

DOC: Ah-- Well, uh... Let's say that I kinda study-- Well, uh-- Uh, you know what biology is?


DOC: Well, it's the science of life, see? My racket's a special part of biology.

ADAM: (relieved) Oh.

DOC: What's the matter?

ADAM: I - I thought maybe you were one of these fellas that makes bombs out of atoms or whatever it is.

DOC: No, no, I don't do that. I study the effect of nuclear fission and all that on human beings and whatnot.

ADAM: Oh. Uh, well, uh, let's get out o' here.

DOC: No, I don't think we will, uh, Adam.

ADAM: Why not? My - my goodness--

DOC: Well, in the first place, Adam, I don't think it's very healthy outside.

ADAM: Wha-? Uh--

DOC: And, in the second place, I seriously doubt we CAN get out of here.

ADAM: Well, if we can't, we can make a noise. Hammering or something. Somebody'll come and dig us out.

DOC: Well, yes. Except for one thing, Adam.

ADAM: What?

DOC: I don't think there's anybody out there.

ADAM: Huh, well, maybe not right now, but somebody'll come.

DOC: I doubt it.

ADAM: Why?

DOC: Because I am pretty fairly sure there's nobody left in Chicago, Adam. Except you and me. See what I mean?

EMILY: (squeals loudly in fright)


ADAM: And so there was somebody else.


We stumbled around in the dark for quite a while before we found her. When we did find her, she was so scared, she couldn't talk.

She had a flashlight when she came in the place but she dropped it, couldn't find it again.

Er, flashlight -- it was a kind of a thing like a stick, only it was metal. Ya pressed a button and a light came on. Finally wore out.

Well, finally, Emily found her voice again. Once she got started, we couldn't stop her for the longest time.

EMILY: (tearfully) I've been walking, walking, and walking for days and days, weeks. Lived out in Lake Forest and - we had a bad time out there. Then people started dying from some disease nobody ever heard of. And I decided to run away. I took some money. I was afraid to take any food because maybe it was the food that was giving people the horrible diseases and making them die and - all I wanted to do was get as far away from Lake Forest as I could and I - I walked and walked and walked. And then a soldier chased me and - a man hit him and knocked him down and - and the man started after me and I ran and - the door was open and I ran in here - and something happened. (sobs) What DID happen?

DOC: (dryly) Could you stop crying now, for sure?

EMILY: I'll try.

DOC: Because, believe me, it won't do a particle of good, young lady from Lake Forest.

EMILY: My name's Emily.

DOC: It won't do a particle of good, Emily.

EMILY: Are we - going to die?

DOC: Not at just this moment, Emily, but, uh, I have an idea we may not be very interested in living - after we know a little more about what DID happen.

ADAM: (solicitous) Are you - hungry, Emily?

EMILY: I - haven't had anything to eat for - I - I don't know how long.

ADAM: Well, there's some cans of stuff.

DOC: Yes, I think they'll be safe to eat, Adam.

ADAM: Safe?

DOC: If anything's safe. Uh, can you find them all right?

ADAM: Uh, I - I think so. I - I think - I think they're over here or maybe--

DOC: Light a match.

ADAM: A match?


ADAM: (narrates) A little stick with something on the end of it and you rubbed it on a wall or something and there was a fire. We found it very useful.

Well ... I don't want to talk to you about that awful place. The awful, black, stuffy little place that saved our lives.

Because we were down there for-- Well, I don't how long it was. It must have been two months, three months. I don't know how long. There was water. There was more of the canned stuff than I thought. The part of the warehouse cellar we were in had been used for storing different kinds of food so we didn't starve. But it was awful.

Oh, it was awful.

Finally, I said to Doc, one day -- I didn't know day from night, of course -- I said to Doc:

(upset) Doc, I'm going to get out o' here! We're all gonna go crazy if we don't get out o' here!

DOC: (calm as ever) I know that, son. It's been bothering me a little, too. Not that it makes any difference if we all three went crazy, of course.

ADAM: I wanna get out o' here!

EMILY: Why can't we get out of here?!

DOC: (reasonable) Look, I told you, I had a pretty good idea what happened and I also have a pretty good idea that it wouldn't be very healthy outside for a long time. So that's why--

ADAM: I know, I know, you told us that. But aren't we ever gonna get out? Have we gotta stay down here forever?

DOC: No.

EMILY: Wha-?

ADAM: What?

EMILY: What do you mean, Doc?

DOC: I've been out.

ADAM: You have?

DOC: Yup.

EMILY: Can we go?

DOC: I've been keeping it to myself.

ADAM: Why?

DOC: Well, I - I - I didn't like it outside.

ADAM: But you're all right, Doc.

DOC: Yes, yes. I'm all right. I'm alive. If you wanna call that "all right."

EMILY: Is - is there anything out there to hurt us, Doc?

DOC: Anything to hurt you? No, no, there isn't anything out there to hurt you. In fact, there isn't anything at all.


ADAM: (narrates) And when Emily and I followed Doc out through the tunnel he'd found and through the dark cave the tunnel led to, with water dripping and little things scrambling out from under our feet in the dark -- when we crawled out into the daylight, we found out Doc was right.

There wasn't anything.

Yes, just like it is now. Just - nothing.

Only then, the - the nothingness was so new.

There wasn't any Chicago at all. Just a big, flat prairie, everything all gray. A gray sky. I looked around to see if the lake was reflecting the gray sky.

There wasn't any lake either.


ADAM: (narrates) But, a long way off, I could see the edges of the marsh and the swamp it had turned into. And I could smell the dead fishes. That was all there was to smell. They were the only dead things left.

And we three - were the only live ones.

EMILY: So dark.

ADAM: Is it--? I - I mean, what time of day is it?

DOC: The lake was on the east, wasn't it?

ADAM: That's right.

DOC: Drexel Boulevard ran along this way. And - and - and this was Forty-Third Street, east and west.

ADAM: And there isn't a sign of--

DOC: So the sun's a little south of east. It's morning.

EMILY: Huh! Morning ...

DOC: About the time of day people'd going to work.

ADAM: Morning ...

EMILY: The sun seems - so far away.

ADAM: Doc? Is it - like this - every place?

DOC: Well, that I don't know, Adam.

EMILY: But it can't be!

DOC: It very well can be, Emily.

EMILY: (shudders)

ADAM: Are - are we the only ones left?

DOC: I don't know. And I don't think we'll ever find out.

EMILY: I don't understand.

DOC: We might go away from here and maybe find somebody but - we don't know which way to go and - and there's only one way TO go: walk.

ADAM: But somebody'll come and find us.

DOC: If there IS anybody.

EMILY: But there MUST be somebody.

DOC: If there is, child, they'll be just as dead as we'll be before very long.

ADAM: Why?

DOC: Did you say something about the sun a little while ago?

ADAM: Why, yes--

EMILY: I said it. I said the sun seems so far away, didn't I?

ADAM: That's what you said.

DOC: Well, it is.

ADAM: Is what?

DOC: Far away. And we're getting farther away from it every second.

ADAM: I - don't get that.

DOC: Let's go back, shall we? Cold out here.


ADAM: This is what Doc told us, down there in the cave where we'd found each other. This is what we listened to, sitting there in the half-dark, the feeble daylight filtering in through a hole we'd made in our roof. Think of us sitting there: Emily's hand in mine, Doc not looking at us as he talked.

This is what Doc said.



DOC: We had this figured out quite a while ago, Ross Wilson and I. We were pretty sure what'd happen one day when the right kind of bomb went off. We knew what the physical effects would be on cities, on the surface of the Earth, on people. And we guessed what might happen if a giant bomb were set off, a bomb big enough to do what - what this one did. We worked on it for years. Why, we have whole-- We HAD whole books of mathematical calculations.

ADAM: Tell us, Doc.

DOC: Well, the Earth used to revolve around the sun. The sun was ninety-three million miles from the Earth.

EMILY: Doc, why do you say "used to"? Why do you say "was"?

DOC: Well, because we suspected that a heavy enough blast of nuclear fission would throw the Earth out of its orbit.

ADAM: What's that, Doc?

DOC: Well, uh... You take a rubber ball on a string, ya swing it around in a circle. Now, that circle's its orbit. The string is the sun's attraction that keeps it moving evenly.

EMILY: Mm hmm.

ADAM: Yes, I - I get it.

DOC: And then somebody comes up and hits the ball with a stick while it's going 'round and 'round.

ADAM: Yes?

DOC: And what happens?

ADAM: The ball flies off at, uh, a tangent.

DOC: That's right. Well, that's what's happened to the Earth.

ADAM AND EMILY: (gasp and exclaim in surprise)

DOC: The Earth has left its orbit, children. And this explosion did it. Set it off like a rocket, er, in a way. And so we're -- all of us, we three and whoever's left -- we're off on the biggest joyride that ever happened.

ADAM: What's gonna happen, Doc?

DOC: Well, the sun'll look smaller and smaller to us. And the days'll get progressively darker. And colder.

EMILY: Won't the Earth - ever come back, Doc?

DOC: Yes. It may. It may. Prob'ly will. (beat) Won't be much use.

ADAM: Why?

DOC: Because all the people, if any, will be frozen to death. And that, my dear children, is the reward of science. That's the big payoff. That's what happens as the end result of some caveman, a couple o' hundred million years ago, discovering that two and two make four.

ADAM: What can we do?

DOC: Nothing.

EMILY: But, Doc, can't you--? I - I mean, you're a scientist.

DOC: A scientist, my dear, without his tools, is just another man. A highly useless man.

ADAM: Yeah.

EMILY: But, Doc--!

DOC: What, dear?

EMILY: Do we HAVE to die?

DOC: I wouldn't be surprised.


DOC: I just told you.

EMILY: I know but you could help.

DOC: Without my tools? Without my papers and my books and my laboratory? Without--? Why, I haven't even got a pencil.

EMILY: But you KNOW so many things, Doc.

DOC: What?


DOC: Wha--? (suddenly gets her drift) Why, by golly, that's right. I do.

EMILY: Why, of course.

DOC: I know-- Say, I know how to keep us warm.

EMILY: Why, you know lots of things, Doc.

ADAM: Sure, Doc.

DOC: I - I know how we can survive for a while. We've got food.

ADAM: Why, yes, sure.

DOC: And we could-- Why, we can make tools.

EMILY: Well, you just tell us how. If the real old cavemen had to start from scratch and they had to learn everything -- even two and two are four -- why, we cave people have a real live professor with us to show us all the shortcuts, Doc.

DOC: (delighted) Why, Emily, you're wonderful.

EMILY: And besides, Doc, if Adam and I are-- Well, gee, Adam and Eve had children.


ADAM: (narrates) And the Dark Days thus began.

Daily, the sun grew smaller and, daily, the cold grew more and more bitter.

In a month, there was no daylight. Only a kind of heavy twilight over all the gray prairie.

The little sun was red and tired-looking in the sky where the stars never stopped shining.

Doc showed us how to make our cavern-- not comfortable but livable. The cold grew more awful. We huddled together over our little fire, existing rather than living.

We'd insulated the place following Doc's directions. Once in a while, we went out into the dead world to face the frightful cold for a minute or two, to look at the dwindling sun, to see if we still fled from it.

We talked very, very little - for our very breath froze at our lips.


EMILY: Doc, will we ever go back?

DOC: We've got to go back. All the laws of nature--

ADAM: (narrates) And time went on and on and on.

And we knew that we three were all that the world held of living people.

We were very close to death. And Doc still encouraged us.

DOC: No, a day'll come. A day'll come, Adam.

EMILY: Ooh, I'm so cold. Hold me, Adam.

DOC: That day'll come. A day'll come that'll be the darkest day of them all. And that'll be the best day, Emily.

EMILY: Why, Doc?

DOC: Why, that'll be the day when the Earth reaches the end of this wild, runaway ride. That'll be the day when we stop. And start back.

ADAM: But maybe we'll not be here to see it.

DOC: Oh, we will, Adam, we will. And, Adam, listen.

ADAM: What? (to Emily) Are you comfortable, Emily?

EMILY: (to Adam) Better. (to Doc) What, Doc?

DOC: The day -- the Darkest Day -- that's the day I'm really going to start teaching you the things you'll need to know to survive. Because I'm older than you kids. I don't know how much longer I'll last. And I want to teach you. And your children.

EMILY: Ah, that's pretty frightening, Doc.

DOC: Is anything frightening now, Emmy?

ADAM: (chuckles) Nothing any more, Doc.

DOC: A brand new world.

ADAM: (narrates) And Doc told us the secrets of the nine planets.

Sometimes we dared that frigid outside air to look up into the strange sky.

It was always dark now -- nothing but the stars and the tiny, withered sun were above us. We saw Saturn's rings and the strange markings on Mars. We saw the Milky Way grow brighter and greater. The nebulas that Doc told us about, these we saw as no man has ever seen them.

We suffered much.

And we lived.

We lived until that day when we could no longer find a sun in the sky -- for all the sky was filled with stars, universes undreamed of.

And our little sun was far away. Only another star among the billions.

That day came. The Darkest Day that Doc had told us of.

That was the day that Doc and I stood outside.

And saw our sun was lost.

The Darkest Day.

And we went back inside to Emily.

While Emily slept, we talked.

DOC: No. No, no, Adam. We won't see any change by one day. In another week, we should be able to see the sun again, to recognize it. And, by another month, it'll be warmer. The sun will begin to get bigger. And in a few months--

ADAM: It'll be longer than that, Doc. It took us a long time to get way out here.

DOC: But now we'll return faster, Adam. The sun's attraction, you see.

ADAM: And then what becomes of us?

DOC: Well, there's so much to teach ya.

ADAM: What?

DOC: Oh, so many, so many things.

ADAM: Yeah, I suppose so.

DOC: Yeah, I'm almost afraid.

ADAM: Afraid? Why?

DOC: Well... Science did this - to the Earth. (beat, abruptly) Good night. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

ADAM: Oh, no, Doc, let - let's talk some more.

DOC: I've got a lot of thinking to do, Adam. I - I promise you, I - I won't teach you anything that'll hurt you. Good night.


ADAM: (narrates) When I awoke, and Emily awoke, Doc was gone.

I called his name. There wasn't any answer.

Emily woke up and smiled at me. I got up. Went to the door of the cave.

I went on outside.

I found Doc.

Doc was lying there in the snow outside the door. And he'd opened up his coat and - well, just lay there. There was a smile on his face -- that quizzical, crooked smile I'd got to love so well. And there was a frozen sheet of paper in his hand. Doc had found a pencil somewhere. He'd written across the top of the sheet: "To Adam, for the Darkest Day."

And as I picked it up, I discovered something.

Across the snow bank where Doc lay, fell my shadow.

I looked up. And there was the sun, a third as big as it used to be, but blinking cheerfully at me and the dead man in the snow.

And, as I stared, it seemed to grow bigger.

I turned and went back into the cave with the paper Doc had left me.

"Emily ... Emily ..." I said.

"Emily, Doc's dead. Doc left a note for me. I'm going to read it to you.

"Listen, Emily," I said, "while I read it."


ADAM: (reads) Dear Adam and Emily: You make your own world -- without benefit of what I can teach you and your children. Because I'm a scientist, children, and I know too much. And I know I can't keep from teaching what I know. And the old world had all it needs of the things that come from knowing two and two make four. So, good luck to you both. And to your children.

(narrates) That's all there was.

But, Doc, we didn't have any children.

No, Doc, not after the Earth got back where it belonged and - we had a good look at those things that used to be fish. Those mutants, those changes you called them, remember?

No, we were afraid to.

The Darkest Day, you said, Doc?

They're all dark now.


ANNOUNCER: The title of today's "Quiet, Please!" story is "Adam and the Darkest Day." It was written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and the man who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.

CHAPPELL: And William Adams played Doc. Emily was Kathleen Cordell. As usual, music for "Quiet, Please!" is by Albert Buhrmann. Now for a word about next week, here is our writer-director Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: Thank you for listening to "Quiet, Please!" Next week, I have a story for you called "The Evening and the Morning."

CHAPPELL: And so, until next week at this same time, I am quietly yours, Ernest Chappell.


ANNOUNCER: And now, a listening reminder. There's another dramatic adventure waiting for you on "David Harding, Counterspy" this afternoon when this efficient law enforcement group becomes involved in "The Case of the Senseless Slayers." That's "David Harding, Counterspy." This is ABC, the American Broadcasting Company.