The Other Side of the Stars

Episode #99
Aired 1949-05-08
Length: 29:22
Size: 6.72 MB
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CHAPPELL: Quiet, please. ... 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 "Other Side of the Stars."


ESAU: I remember Mount Wilson and the hundred-inch telescope.

And I remember the astronomer Van Dyk and the little house of galvanized iron on the very edge of the summit. That was the house that had - nothing inside it.

The absence of everything.

No, I have no explanation of it. I think perhaps Van Dyk knew something about it - up there where you used to be able to look down at night on the lights of six dozen cities and towns.

You could look up, too, at the stars and the planets that seemed so tantalizingly close above you.

If you wondered about them -- well, maybe Van Dyk might tell you about 'em.


Remember that flying saucer craze about a year ago? Mm, Van Dyk could probably tell you something about that, too. If he wanted to. Heh!

Yeah, I don't know why I'm laughing. I've got plenty of reason not to laugh.

No, don't you grin at me. You and I are both in the same boat. You and I and everybody else. Up that old creek without oars, friend.

No, I'm not a refugee from "Stupefying Stories" magazine. My name isn't Glaab Glaj X-B-three-fourteen and Tars Tarkus, Jeddak of the Tharks, is still Edgar Rice Burroughs' personal property as far as I'm concerned.

And I'm not even the evil-eyed, needle-nosed mad scientist with the two heads.

I'll take that back, maybe I have got two heads.

But I know something you don't know -- yet.

I know what's out there on the other side of the stars.


ESAU: Or shall I say I know what WAS out there?



STEVE: (MEEK) Oh, excuse me.

ESAU: What do you want, young man?

STEVE: Excuse me.


ESAU: (UPSET, TO THE CONTROL ROOM) ... come barging in here. Isn't that "On the Air" sign turned on out there? Huh? Well, can't people see we're busy in here? Can't you do something about keepin' 'em out of here? I've only got a-- (SIGHS, CALMS DOWN) All right, all right.

Where was I?

I said I know what WAS on the other side of the stars.


ESAU: And I know where it is now. Or I think I know. That's what I'm here to tell you about...


ESAU: (ANNOYED) ... if people will stop bursting in here while I'm talking! Get out of here, you!


STEVE: I'm sorry.

ESAU: (SIGHS) Well, wait a minute. You might as well come in and hear what I've got to say in here. You keep opening and shutting that door-- Sit down there. No, no, there, there.


ESAU: Sit down and keep quiet.

STEVE: Yes, sir.

ESAU: Who are you, anyway?

STEVE: I'm - I'm Dorothy's brother.

ESAU: What's your name?

STEVE: I'm her brother, Steve.

ESAU: Mm, she DID have a brother named Steve.

STEVE: Steve, that's me.

ESAU: Well, what do you want?

STEVE: I just want to hear this. What, you know, what you're going to say.

ESAU: How did you know I was--?

STEVE: I heard about it.

ESAU: Well, I've known Dorothy for more than twenty years. She--

STEVE: Your name IS Esau, isn't it?

ESAU: Yes. Esau.

STEVE: Excuse me.

ESAU: I met Dorothy more than twenty years ago, I met her when I was at Peach Springs, Arizona, before I started off up in the Yavapai Indian country looking for the Well. Before Steve here was born.

STEVE: Uh huh.

ESAU: Peach Springs, twenty years ago. I don't know what it's like now. I haven't been there since 1928. September. Then, it was a stop-off for the transcontinental buses, such as they were. General store on the edge of the Yavapai reservation. They were so proud of their new Frigidaire.

Then right alongside the general store was a corral where the Indian cowboys seemed always tangling with raw-backed range cattle. Not very far away from the Grand Canyon, remember it well.

STEVE: Dorothy told me about the well.

ESAU: I was looking for the gold, of course. The old map that showed where the well was, the old map with the Spanish words and the mark like the planet Saturn. Complete with rings. Marked "Oso del cielo" -- Well of the Heavens, Well of the Sky. And the other words alongside it in the crabbed soldier's handwriting: "Lleno de oro y plata" -- full of gold and silver.


ESAU: Full of gold and silver. And I was the first man who'd seen that map since-- ah, I think it was 1542, maybe 1543. Wasn't anybody in the world had seen it for nearly four hundred years till I got hold of it. Went looking for it. For the gold and silver.

STEVE: Was that the well where--?

ESAU: Dorothy got off the bus from Los Angeles when I did there at Peach Springs. I wasn't aboard it when it started off again. And neither was she. And she went with me looking for the Well of the Skies. Yeah, it was just that simple.

STEVE: Dorothy was working for some museum--

ESAU: She was investigating prehistoric Indian dwellings.

STEVE: Uh huh.

ESAU: She was going north and so was I. So, it was all right.

We'd been walking about an hour through the mesquite and talking. There was a rattlesnake, big sidewinder. Dorothy produced a gun from somewhere and very casually shot its head off at fifteen feet.

We stopped talking, I remember, and Dorothy put away the gun.

"I know how to use a gun," she said, very coolly. "See what I mean?"


Well, let's get on, the time's a-wastin' here.

There wasn't any gold and there wasn't any silver - in the Well of the Stars.

STEVE: You found that out right away?

ESAU: We found that out right away.

There wasn't anything -- except a skeleton.

And some very well-preserved pieces of sixteenth century armor, beautifully engraved steelcap, Morrian, I - I think they call them.

STEVE: Morrian.

ESAU: And a sword. Rapier sort of, with a basket hilt, you see 'em in the pictures.

STEVE: Why don't you tell it all?

ESAU: I'm going to.

STEVE: I think it would be better, if you don't mind.

ESAU: I'll tell it all. I'll tell it all.

STEVE: About the music.

ESAU: I've GOT to tell about the music. Dorothy said when she came up--

STEVE: There were footholds cut into the sides of the well.

ESAU: She went down first because she said she wasn't as heavy as I and I could hold the rope better in case she fell. She went down as far as the rope would reach, about fifteen feet from the bottom. She stayed down quite a while. Finally, when she came up, she said she heard music down there.


STEVE: Didn't you--?

ESAU: I wish you'd stop prompting me.

STEVE: Excuse me.

ESAU: That was all. Just music. In a hole in the ground that was at least four hundred years old, that nobody had seen since 1542 or 3. Nearly a hundred feet deep. Music.

That's all. Just music.

You know how far away the stars are?

The stars, not the planets. The planets are close - the planets of our sun, I mean.

The stars?

Yeah, don't bother.

They're so far away that astronomers measure the distance to them in what they call "light-years" just to make it simpler.

A light-year?

Well, light travels a hundred and eighty-six thousand miles a second.

A second. A hundred and eighty-six thousand miles.

There isn't any such distance. Not on this Earth anyway. Around twenty-five thousand miles around the Earth at the equator, that's the farthest you can go. If you're a human being.

Anyway, try and think of a hundred and eighty-six thousand miles. Then you multiply that by sixty for the distance light travels in a minute. Then by sixty again and that's how far it travels in an hour. Just light, see?

Then, if you can still figure, multiply that by twenty-four. That's the distance light travels in one day. And three hundred and sixty-five times THAT is how far it travels in a year.

That's a light-year.

In round numbers, five trillion, eight hundred and twenty-nine billion, one hundred and ninety-six million miles.

And the nearest star is more than four times that far away. Alpha Centauri is its name. You can look at it some night maybe.

And the light you see started from there more than four years ago.

Alpha might be bright purple now and you wouldn't know it. Not for four years.

That's what Van Dyk the astronomer told me and Van Dyk the astronomer knows just about everything.


STEVE: The well. You were talking about the well.

ESAU: What?

STEVE: And Dorothy.

ESAU: Yeah, I have to tell the whole story, don't I?

STEVE: Pardon me, I - I didn't mean to--

ESAU: You just shut up, Dorothy's brother. You just keep still and don't say anything. The hand on that clock just keeps going around, the first thing I know--

STEVE: I'm sorry.

ESAU: It was dark night when I finally climbed up out of the well. It was just like Dorothy said it was. The rope was too short to get all the way to the bottom. And when I came up, it was dark. And there wasn't a sound to be heard. Except once in a while, a coyote howling somewhere a way off in the distance.

STEVE: The music. Tell about the music.

ESAU: I heard the music, too -- while I was down in the well. I didn't say anything for a couple of minutes after I climbed out over the rim. Finally, Dorothy said in the dark, "Did you hear it?"

I thought for a minute.

I wondered if I HAD heard it or-- Well, you see, there wasn't a sound up there on the ground, like I said. And I thought for a minute. And finally I said, Yes. Yes, I said, I heard it, too. I don't hear it now though, I said. Listen. Do you?

DOROTHY: (AFTER A PAUSE) No. I don't hear anything.

ESAU: Well, what do you suppose--?

DOROTHY: I don't know. I've never heard anything like it before.

ESAU: Echo maybe?

DOROTHY: No, it wasn't an echo. It came from--

ESAU: Where?

DOROTHY: Up above.

ESAU: Uh huh. Nothing here to make any music, though. Indians?

DOROTHY: Uh uh. Not like that. (BEAT) Esau?

ESAU: What?

DOROTHY: Build a fire.

ESAU: Yeah, I guess I better.

DOROTHY: (BEAT) Go ahead.

ESAU: All right.


ESAU: Listen.


ESAU: Well, listen. I'm-- Honest, I'm scared.


ESAU: What?


ESAU: You - you've got that gun.

DOROTHY: I don't-- I'm not sure that gun would be much use.

ESAU: What? You think there's something down there?

DOROTHY: Do you?

ESAU: I don't know.

DOROTHY: Maybe we ought to go back to Peach Springs.

ESAU: We'd break our necks in the dark. I don't know which way it is, either.

DOROTHY: Go by the stars?



ESAU: Blankets.

DOROTHY: You got blankets, too?

ESAU: Yeah.


ESAU: What?

DOROTHY: What do you think it--? (STARTLED) Oh!

ESAU: Now what?

DOROTHY: Look there. At the mouth of the well.

ESAU: What?

DOROTHY: Do you see a - a - a kind of light?


DOROTHY: Don't look right at it. Look kind of to one side.

ESAU: I don't see anything.

DOROTHY: Do you - hear anything?

ESAU: Do you? - Do you?

DOROTHY: Something's - moving. Listen.

ESAU: I hear something.

DOROTHY: Something - in the well.

ESAU: Nothing down there.

DOROTHY: Nothing but that skeleton. And the armor. (YELLS) Esau!



ESAU: And when the ice had finally melted away from my heart and I could move at last, I aimed my flashlight toward the well's mouth and in the bright beam I saw a poor harmless lizard choking its little life away half a foot from the lip of the well. And Dorothy and I looked at each other in the dark. I guess she laughed first. In a minute, we were both practically in hysterics at the senseless fright that had gripped us a moment before.

Finally, Dorothy said, I'm going to sleep, she pulled her blanket up over her head and leaned back against a rock.

And after a while, I did, too -- still chuckling to myself.

And just before I drifted off to sleep, I looked up at the stars.

And they seemed so horribly close to us.

And then I was asleep and I dreamed of music that came either from them - or from the well that yawned there beside us.


ESAU: And when I woke up -- I was all alone.

There wasn't a sign of anybody as far as I could see.

And I've never seen Dorothy - from that day to this.


STEVE: But you - you talked to her.

ESAU: What? Yes, I've talked to her. Yes, I've talked to her. That's what I wanted to tell about.

Van Dyk, the astronomer, told me a lot of things when I talked to him. Van Dyk knew what that well was. And he knew about the music. He knew where that came from, too.

Music. Yeah, I'd better tell ya about it.

I never heard music quite like it before. I couldn't place it. Sounded somethin' like - well, like somebody talking, only whoever it was used music instead of words. You could almost understand it.

After a while, I DID understand it.

STEVE: Tell about trying to find Dorothy.

ESAU: The first thing I thought about, of course, was she'd fallen. I wasn't very enthusiastic about climbing down in that well, naturally. But there wasn't anything else to do.

She wasn't down there.

The skeleton was still there on the bottom of the well. When I got to the end of the rope, I jumped on down. Wasn't anything at all except those old bones and the pieces of armor he'd worn when he was alive.

And, at last, in the light of my flashlight way down there, a hammered silver bracelet. A hammered silver bracelet I'd seen the day before -- on Dorothy's left wrist.

STEVE: But there WAS something else down there.

ESAU: What? What did you say?

STEVE: Something else.

ESAU: How did you know?


STEVE: I know.

ESAU: Yes. There was something else. I didn't know it at the time. If I'd known it was there-- But I didn't. I didn't know about it till after I'd talked to Van Dyk and then it was too late.

I should have known. It all falls into place -- now. The name of the place -- Oso del cielo -- Well of the Skies. The music that came from nowhere.

STEVE: I know what you mean but ...


STEVE: ... but I don't think they do. Excuse me.

ESAU: We think about this Earth, we think it's the most important place in the solar system. It isn't.

STEVE: The solar system's not very important, either.

ESAU: Will you keep quiet?

STEVE: I'm sorry.

ESAU: (SIGHS) No, the solar system isn't very important, either. It's only a tiny little bit of the--

STEVE: Universe?

ESAU: (SIGHS) Not universe. It's plural. We're all part of what we call the Milky Way, billions and billions of universes -- as far as anybody could see with the biggest telescope ever invented. And the people in the other universes are just as ignorant of us as we are of them, just as uninterested.

STEVE: Except a few of the scientists.

ESAU: Now, let's not talk like one of those magazines, young man. Er, Steve. The chances of an intelligent being from another universe even seeing this one of ours is pretty remote.

(ANSWERING UNHEARD QUERIES) What? Certainly there ARE intelligent beings in the other universes. Don't be so - self-important.

No, they're not necessarily like us. They AREN'T like us, as a matter of fact. Why should they be? Who are we? Just leave it like that.

There ARE intelligences other than the so-called human race.

Hate us? Don't be silly. Most of 'em don't know we exist.

Afraid of us? (SCOFFS) That's sillier yet.

STEVE: The well ... ?

ESAU: Oh, that's right. The well.

You don't think the so-called human race dug that well, do ya? You don't flatter yourself that that music was produced by human beings, do ya? You don't think Dorothy disappeared through any human means, do ya?

Well, the answer in each case is: No, the human race didn't have anything to do with it.

(ANSWERS A QUERY) Why, the thing told me.


ESAU: The thing - at the bottom of the well.

The intelligence from the other side of the stars, friend.


ESAU: Van Dyk told me all about it. Van Dyk knows an awful lot. (SIGHS) Sometimes I think Van Dyk is--

STEVE: Not human?

ESAU: How would any human being figure it all out and be so right? Because he's right, all right.

STEVE: Tell it.

ESAU: The well, Van Dyk said, was a kind of telescope. Yeah, telescope isn't the right word but it was the - the same thing as a telescope, only--

You know astronomers just LOOK at the stars? The silent stars, the stars that never make any sound. You just see them. You don't hear them.

What if you had a telescope -- for sound?


ESAU: I said the stars were silent. I'll tell you something. They're not. They're just so far away, we can't hear 'em. And you can talk all you want to about having to have atmosphere and stuff to be able to hear sound -- that's human [noises?]. And these people, the stars, they know one or two things we don't know.

STEVE: Stars? People?


ESAU: Certainly, the stars are alive. Certainly, what's on the other side of 'em is alive.

Sure, go right ahead and laugh. I don't care what you think, you'll find out different. Only it'll be too late, see?

STEVE: You--? About Dorothy--

ESAU: I have a couple of other things to say first, Steve. Then, Dorothy.

It was twenty years ago that I first saw the Well of the Skies and heard the music. It took me sixteen years, nearly, to get the story all wrapped up -- from Van Dyk and from my own researches. I even took Van Dyk to see the well. He listened to the music. And he laughed. You don't know Van Dyk. You never heard him laugh. (SIGHS) Gives me the creeps.

Little more than six years ago, he gave me the machine.

You've heard of the electrocelagraph? Machine that does something about recording thought waves? Brain waves? Works. Purely scientific. Hard facts, all that.

This thing is something like an electrocelagraph, Van Dyk said. Put on these earphones, turn it on, watch the dials. That's all.

STEVE: Understand the music?

ESAU: That's right. Understand the music.

Translates it into thoughts. Translates it so you can understand it. The music, the conversation, that comes from the stars and the other side of the stars.

And from the - thing in the well.


ESAU: The thing in the well.

Van Dyk told me what to look for.

Too bad this isn't television, you could see it.

Goes with me everywhere I go.

Well, you can hear it anyway.



ESAU: That's it. That's the first intelligent thing from the stars, the other side of the stars, that anybody on this earth has ever encountered.

Just a little sphere, just like a ball. Feels like an egg kind of, except it's not hard and brittle like an egg. Warm to the touch. Moves, thinks. Does whatever it wants to. Talks, by music.

No, I don't know much more about it except it's alive -- very highly alive.

Tells me it's closer to plant life than to our kind of life.

Color? Mm, kind of grayish-green and very undistinguished to look at.


Well, it came from the star Alpha Centauri. I told you Alpha Centauri is four light-years away. Took four years for this - thing to get here at the speed of light, a hundred and eighty-six thousand miles a second.


STEVE: Here to stay.

ESAU: That's right. Here to stay. Found this Earth by sheer accident. Curious about us.

STEVE: Do anything it wants to?

ESAU: It can do anything it wants to.


ESAU: Yes. Would you like to hear it? Hold the microphone over here close, Steve. Here, closer.


ESAU: Yeah, that's it. Wait.


ESAU: The microphone is only [?]

I'll let you hear it through the machine now so you can hear - and you can understand what it's saying.

Just a second, I'll turn on the machine.

Steve, move the microphone over here closer to the earphones. [Like so.]

Now ...


ESAU: Just a second for the tubes to warm up.

Now, we adjust this dial. This one.



DOROTHY'S VOICE: (HUSHED AND CADENCED) Esau has told you almost enough but there is still more to be told...

STEVE: (OVER) Dorothy?

ESAU: (OVER) Dorothy's voice.

DOROTHY'S VOICE: ... I found it very useful to absorb Dorothy. It is very difficult for me to form impressions of you human beings without much closer contact -- without making your physical being a part of my own. There was only one other in all the time since I came to this universe, a Spanish soldier ...

ESAU: (EXPLAINS, OVER) The skeleton in the armor.

DOROTHY'S VOICE: ... and then when you and Dorothy came, it was necessary to know more about current conditions. All I knew about human beings was what I found in the mind of the Spanish soldier. You have made a few steps forward since his time. The rest of us will be interested--


ESAU: Move the microphone, Steve.


ESAU: You see? That's what became of Dorothy, Steve.

STEVE: Dead.

ESAU: No. No, Steve, Dorothy isn't dead. Dorothy's a part of that. Just like we're all going to be a part of the others.

STEVE: Excuse me. I mean--

ESAU: I was out in California two weeks ago. Van Dyk -- he's still at Mount Wilson, he wouldn't go to Palamar, there's something about Mount Wilson and the hundred-inch telescope and the little house on the mountaintop that's got - nothing in it, I told you about that. Well, Van Dyk doesn't want to leave.

Van Dyk showed me a photograph made through a hundred-inch on the third of March. Here, let me show it to you, Steve.


STEVE: Stars?

ESAU: You describe it, Steve. This picture was made toward Alpha Centauri. Yeah, that's, uh - that's Alpha Centauri there. No, there. You describe what you see, Steve.

STEVE: I-- Oh, no.

ESAU: Go on.

STEVE: Stars. Millions of stars.

ESAU: Mmm. And this?

STEVE: Cloud?

ESAU: A cloud. Blotting out the stars - from a sixth of a light-year away. Two months ago. Sixth of a light-year. Now, this photograph. Made April 7th, Steve. (BEAT) Steve?

STEVE: The cloud -- it's bigger.

ESAU: A twelfth of a light-year closer to the Earth, Steve. They're coming.

STEVE: I don't--

ESAU: Put the microphone over here closer. Here, by the machine.


ESAU: Here, listen now. Here is the word from the other side of the stars. Here is the word from the beings, the intelligences, the things from Alpha Centauri. Listen.


DOROTHY'S VOICE: Welcome. Welcome to this place, welcome to all of you. This place they call the Earth, it is not bad. It is an interesting place. I am glad you have come after all this time. The inhabitants will give us no trouble whatever. They are very inferior grade of intelligence--


STEVE: Isn't it--? What can we do? I mean--

ESAU: It's too late now, Steve. Much too late. At the speed of light, they're less than a day away.

STEVE: But they--? From the other side of the stars?

ESAU: That's right, Steve. (FLATLY) They've come to take over the Earth.



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

CHAPPELL: And Jane White played Dorothy. The young man was Mark Forbes. As usual, music for "Quiet, Please!" is by Albert Buhrman. Now, for a word about next week, our writer-director, Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: Thank you for listening to "Quiet, Please!" Next week, I have a
love story for you, for a change. It's called "The Little Mornings."

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


ANNOUNCER: Don't take any chances with your family's health. Each year, be certain that you and the others in your family have a chest X-ray to determine whether or not you have T.B. Chest X-rays are available at your local tuberculosis clinic. Please, take no chances. Have a chest X-ray, help wipe out tuberculosis.

This is ABC, the American Broadcasting Company.

LOCAL ANNOUNCER: This is WJZ, New York's first station, and WJZ-FM -- For the inside version of the news, the factual highlights that lie behind the headlines, listen for Drew Pearson, coming up next.