We Were Here First

Episode #3
Aired 1947-06-22
Length: 29:08
Size: 6.67 MB
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[title page]


Wyllis Cooper

NO. 3

SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 1947

RECORDING STUDIO #2 1:00 - 5:45 PM JUNE 17

[We Were Here First]

[page 1]

CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


CHAPPELL: Quiet, please.


ANNCR: The Mutual Broadcasting System presents the third of a series of
unusual dramatic programs, written and directed by Wyllis Cooper, and
featuring Ernest Chappell. This story is called "We Were Here First."


CHAPPELL: (FADE IN) Yes, I'll tell you a story.

You keep asking for stories: I'll tell you one that'll really give you
something to think about. You'll keep thinking about this story till you die;
and I have an idea you'll pass it on to the ones who come after you, just as
I'm passing it on to you. So you listen carefully.


CHAPPELL: This one doesn't start with "once upon a time". It's about the world
today, though that "once upon a time" business comes into it. Listen.

Do you know there are giants in this world?

Oh, yes, there are.

Did you think we were the only ones here?

You're wrong.

There are giants. Millions of them: billions.

Giants so big that it's almost impossible for one of us to imagine how big
they are.

Why, a hair from the head of one of them is as big as your leg.

[page 2]

And they're everywhere.

In the cold lands; in the hot lands; everywhere.

And they hate everybody.

They hate each other.

They hate us.

How they hate us!

How they'd like to get rid of us!

But I'll tell you something: they're not going to.

We were here first - and we're going to be here a long, long time after
they're gone.

For they're going to go; don't fool yourself about that.

They can't win.


CHAPPELL: But it isn't going to be easy. Don't fool yourself about that,
either. They've killed an awful lot of us in all the millions of years they've
been on this earth. And, I may say, we have killed quite a few of them. We've
killed more of them than they have any idea.

And, that, my child, is quite a trick, when you consider the difference in our
sizes. How big are they? Well, that's hard to explain. We're all different
sizes, you know. Some of us are small, some of us big. There are fat ones
among us, and thin ones. But on average, I should say, they're about a hundred
and fifty times as tall as we are. Oh, yes. A hundred and fifty times our
size. That amounts up. But there's an old saying, child; this is something you
want to remember: "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."

[page 3]

I don't want to give you the idea, though, that it's going to be easy to win.
I've nearly lived my life out, and there's just as many of them as ever.
You'll live your life out, and your children and your children's children will
live and die, in generations that you can count up in trillions, and they'll
still be here. And we'll - all of us, pay an awful price in that time. But we
breed fast, and our families are larger, and one day.... one day there'll be
no more giants in the earth, and we'll have it all to ourselves. Brethren
dwelling together in unity. That's one of their sayings too, but they
disregard it pretty much. They don't dwell together in unity any more than we

And that's the bad part of it from our standpoint.

If we just had sense enough to get together!

If we'd just stop fighting amongst ourselves!

Of course, it's all right for them to fight amongst themselves. That
simplifies our problem. Some day, if we're lucky, maybe they'll all kill each
other. They try hard enough.

Oh, I tell you, they've got weapons, child. They've got an atomic bomb. It
works, and some of them are scared to death that it may one day wipe them all
out. But.... we'll see. If it does, good riddance, and our day comes a little
sooner. If it doesn't...well, we've got time.

[page 4]

They've got to talking lately about biological warfare. Germs, you know? You
know where they got that. From us. No, they don't realize how far ahead of
them we are in biological warfare. I could tell you some things .... but there
are secrets that even I can't tell. They'll find out, though. Remember - the
bigger they are, the harder they fall. That's a mighty comforting thought.
Something else to think about, too: as I said, they hate us; but most of their
time is taken up in hating each other. So they don't have the time to attend
to us as they should if they want to continue to exist.

They're absolutely ruthless, though, when they do think about exterminating
us. I know. I nearly got it once. Want to hear about it? Can you take it?

this is just one of the concentration camps they run, in between the times
they're planning how to exterminate each other. They call this place New
Jersey, but it's not New Jersey to us. Some of us call it Thanatopolis. That's
Greek; it means "City of Death." Greek? Oh, the Greeks lived on this earth a
long, long time ago.

There's some of them left today - but they're not the same as they were then.
They got careless. All that's left of their glory is words like Thanatopolis.
Words that have the sound of death in them-child.

I was hungry. That's how I got caught.

That's the way a lot of us get caught.

Plenty of food, plenty of good, healthy food; plenty to drink; nothing to do
but get fat.

[page 5]

And get killed.

I didn't know about giants in those days.

I know now.


CHAPPELL: The gate was wide open.

And I tell you it was the pleasantest place I've ever seen. I looked it over.
I smelled the food. I tell you I've been around, and I never smelled anything
so delicious in all my life. I just went crazy, as hungry as I was.


The food was just as good as it smelled, and there was plenty of it.

I lost my way, going in: it's a kind of labyrinth, you see, and I was
interested in the food. I was hungry.

There was a lot of us in there. I recognised hundreds of friends; fat, happy,

I stayed there quite a while. I got fat, too. But there were sounds I didn't


CHAPPELL: Sounds like thunder; rustlings; sounds that came from nowhere at
all. And the feeling of someone watching us. Someone laughing at us (DISTANT
LAUGHTER) And one day, one morning early, I heard a voice

WOMAN: This one's about ready, I think. Just look at 'em. (LAUGHS) Thousands
and thousands of them and not one of them with sense enough to try to get out.

[page 6]

CHAPPELL: I looked up. That sounded like a human voice to me.

WOMAN: Get the gas ready. They've had a good time now long enough. We'll see
how long it takes them to die.

CHAPPELL: It was a human voice: a giant voice. This particular concentration
camp of theirs was run by one of their females. Probably, according to their
standards, a very beautiful one. To me, as I looked up her face far above me,
she looked like all the figures of Death I'd ever dreamed of.

And, child, she was Death.

WOMAN: Where's the stop-watch?

CHAPPELL: Paralysed, I watched her great fingers wind her stop-watch.


CHAPPELL: Stiff with terror, I saw the nozzle of the gas generator slither
into the door far across the floor.

I began to crawl toward the door, toward the gaping mouth of that gas-jet. I
tried hard to warn a few of my friends, but they were heavy with good living,
and it was useless. I found my way through the labyrinth, hoping, hoping there
would be time. I had a goal now - if I could make it.

And then I saw her raise her hand with the watch. I heard her

WOMAN: Turn on the gas!



CHAPPELL: One tiny wiff of the gas: one short, infinitesimal breath of it, and
I thought my heart would leap from my body. My eyes bulged; my legs refused to
hold me up; I fell, and staggered, and fell and staggered again.

[PAGE 7]

And as I stumbled out into the blessed freshness of the air,

I heard the sound of her stop-watch


CHAPPELL: and her laughter.

WOMAN: (LAUGHS) Look at 'em! Look at 'em crawl and wiggle! This is the best
gas we've used! Look at 'em - three seconds, four seconds - and everyone of
'em dead! This is won-der-ful!

CHAPPELL: I was dazed. My mind couldn't contemplate such slaughter. Four
seconds - and countless thousands of us dead!

And then...then, this is the horror. You know what she did? She gathered up
their still-warm bodies and tossed them onto a great scale, and weighed them!


So she could know how many of us she had killed, in four seconds.

Do you wonder we hate them?

Do you wonder we live for nothing but the day when the giants, male and female
and their young, shall all be gone from this earth?


CHAPPELL: So you can see.

It must be us, or them.

And, I swear to you, child, we'll stay.

We were here first.

We're patient.

Most of the time, they forget we're here, and that's good for us, of course.

[page 8]

Because they're intelligent.

They can fly, too.

They have marvellous instruments that help them perform amazing things.
They've got radar, for instance - but fortunately for us, their radar won't
pick us up as ours does them.

They've got methods of communications - but theirs aren't as good as ours.

And the amazing thing is that most of the remarkable inventions they've
thought out and perfected are used for fighting one another.

Let them keep on inventing, I say.

Because, you see, there's one little point they never seem to think about.
They fight amongst themselves - but we fight against both sides. And you know
who wins their wars?

We do, child.

We always have: we always will.

We spy on them day and night. No matter where they go, there's always one of
us near them. There is not one single word spoken in the giant world that we
don't hear. No matter what they plan, we know about it.

They're never free from us.

They plan for their pleasures and we prepare to spoil their pleasures.

They plan wars, and we mobilize our expeditions.

They pray, and we hear them.

[page 9]

And we answer their prayers, sometimes, with death.

What do you mean?


You think it's hard for a being our size to kill a being the size of the

It isn't.

You see, in the first place, we're willing to sacrifice a million of us to
kill one of them.

No, that's true.

Not all of us know about the giants. Not all of us know that we're being
sacrificed in this endless war. Some of us think we're dying a natural death,
I suppose; but we leaders know.

You still don't understand?

Let me give you an example.

I said the giants are on the average perhaps a hundred and fifty times as tall
as we.

That's just height.

If you know anything about mathematics you realize that that means they're
uncounted millions of times bigger than we are. In actual mass, it
would probably take a billion of our bodies to make one the size of theirs.
Take an ant, for instance. How much bigger is a man than an ant? You see?


On a plantation in South America:


MAN: (SCARED) They're coming! The ants!

[page 10]


MAN: A brown river of ants...flowing toward us in a straight line...in a
column fifty feet across...miles long...the beasts are fleeing from

CHAPPELL: Ants. Tiny creatures only half an inch long.

MAN: Soldier ants...hungry...leaving only the stripped skeletons of trees to
mark the path they followed...skeletons, picked clean, of the animals that
fell in their way...stripped clean in a matter of minutes...

CHAPPELL: Ants. Tiny creatures only half an inch long.

MAN: They're coming! We've got to fight them -

CHAPPELL: Fight them with flowing streams of water -

MAN: And they come on!

CHAPPELL: Fight them with jets of oil -

MAN: Open the tanks - drown them -

CHAPPELL: And some die, but they come on.

MAN: Fight them with fire! Ho, fire here - set the oil on fire!

CHAPPELL: And some die, but they come on.

MAN: Run - run - don't let them get you -

CHAPPELL: They've poison in their jaws -

MAN: (PANIC-STRICKEN) Run - run - the ants - the ants -

CHAPPELL: And the brown river flows remorselessly on.


CHAPPELL: Tiny creatures, half an inch long.

And behind them, as the end of the brown river disappears - a clean white
skeleton...and desolation.

[page 11]


CHAPPELL: So you see, it isn't size.

It's hatred, and the will to conquer.

And ... it's numbers.


CHAPPELL: The bigger they are the harder they fall, child.


CHAPPELL: So you haven't seen the giants.

You just think you haven't, child.

You're young yet, and you mistake them.

Sometimes you think it's a cloud that obscures the sun.

Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't.

Don't waste time when a great shadow falls on you, child. It might be one of
the giants. And they strike without warning. It's a horrible death.

You see, one of the things that makes living in the same world with the giants
so terrible is the way they hate us.

They hate us in an impersonal kind of way. They kill us by habit, most of
them. They say, "there's one, kill him!" and that's all there is to it. They
never think about it afterward.

That, I think, is why we hate them most.

We're of no consequence to them. That is, they think we're of no consequence.
If they knew what we've done to them through all the countless aeons they've
been on earth ...

Well, perhaps it's a good thing they don't.

[page 12]

Their scientists know, though. And they've got some pretty good scientists -
when they're not thinking of ways to kill each other.

They know us.

Some of them study us - and, child, they're clever.

They're the ones who thought of setting us against each other. They're
warmakers amongst themselves - why shouldn't they apply their theories to us?

Their theories work.

We fight amongst ourselves. We do too much of it. And most of us don't
know why we do. It costs a lot of lives; and the worst part of it is, it costs
time. I don't say that they put us up to all the fighting; some of us
think of it ourselves. Maybe it's a good thing: maybe there'd be too many of
us for own good if we didn't kill each other.

But if we could only get together!

If we could only, all of us, see that one shining goal before us! Think of a
world that would belong to us all by ourselves - with no giants to think
about! Not that all of us think about the giants - that's just the trouble. We
have to spend so much time convincing others that they really exist; that they
are a menace to us every second we live; that we've got to destroy them.

One day, if we don't learn to get together, they'll destroy us, maybe. They've
destroyed a lot of us so far. And I hate to think of this world belonging to
them exclusively.

[page 13]


Oh, yes, of course, they wouldn't live long without us.

They need us: some of them know that, even if we are, as a race, a constant
nuisance to them.

But what's the good of that?

If they destroy us, they'll die, too. And then there won't be anybody left in
the world.

But believe me, child, we don't need them.

We got along a good long time before they appeared.

And we'll do it again.


CHAPPELL: Nonsense?


You children!

I know, though. I said the same thing when I was your age. But I found out

Yes, there are giants. You'll find out.

Certainly we can kill them. Didn't I tell you about the ants?

That's right; there were millions of them.

But one of us can kill a giant. Just one of us. I'll tell you a story about
that, and then you decide for yourself.

This was in the last war.

Out in China. A long, long way from here. I know it's true: I got it from a
friend of mine who was there. An airplane fell down in a valley between the

[page 14]

The pilot had a broken leg. For a week he lay there in the valley, all alone,
and there was nothing wrong with him except for his broken leg. He had
something to eat, and there was water, and he needn't have died, except that a
bug of some kind bit him, and he got some strange fever. The second week he
began to be delirious; and then one morning he heard someone coming

MAN 1: (WAY OFF) Hellooooo!

MAN 2: I hear someone calling. (HE'S SICK)

MAN 1: (WAY OFF) Hellooooo!

MAN 2: I can't see anybody. Everything looks funny. (HE TRIES TO CALL) Who are

MAN 1: (CLOSER) I'm coming!

MAN 2: Who are you? (HE SPEAKS QUERULOUSLY) Where's my gun? I have to have my
gun. I don't know who's calling me ...

MAN 1: (CLOSER) Where are you?

MAN 2: I'll keep quiet. I don't know who he is. I'll wait.


MAN 2: I see him...no...yes, I do. (CALLS) You're not going to get me!


MAN 1: Where are you?

MAN 2: I see him. He's so big ... it's a giant ... look at him ... he's coming
closer ... a giant! I'll have to kill him or he'll kill me -

MAN 1: (UP) I've been looking for you for a week -

MAN 2: You're not going to get me, giant!

[page 15]

MAN 1: You've got a fever.

MAN 2: Get away from me, giant!

MAN 1: You're delirious!

MAN 2: Don't you touch me - don't you come closer!

MAN 1: Let me help you -

MAN 2: No - no - you're a giant! Think I don't know! You've come to get me -

MAN 1: Take it easy -

MAN 2: No - no - get away from me - I'll kill you -

MAN 1: Easy, fellow. Take it easy now -

MAN 2: No - no get away! Get away, I say, I've got a gun!

MAN 1: Put the gun away.

MAN 2: Don't touch me! Stop! Stop! All right -


MAN 1: I told you! I told you I'd kill you! (HE LAUGHS) I've killed a giant!


CHAPPELL: He killed one of them.

It was very easy.

And it was very curious, a little later when the evening came and his fever
cooled a little, that the dead giant looked so much like his friend that had
jumped out of the airplane a moment before he did.

It was very curious.

Well, all right. It was his friend. He thought his friend was a giant,
and he killed him.

[page 16]

Or did he kill him?

He fired the pistol at his friend. That was the direct cause of his friend's

But who was it that brought him the fever that made him think his friend was a

Remember? I said a little bug bit him.

So the little bug was indirectly the cause of the other man's death; and to
the little bug the man was a giant. They were both giants, and he killed them

Because the man who had killed his friend had a moment of lucid thought, and
his fading strength was enough to bring the pistol up to his head.

I know it's true.

Well, maybe that is rationalising; but you think it over. To my way of
thinking, two giants got killed.

It's getting dark in here. Am I a little slow in my thinking, now that I'm -
look out! Quick - look out!



CHAPPELL: (ON CUE) All right; so you killed him.

He was a child, and he didn't have a chance against a giant he didn't even
believe in.

He's dead, giant.

No, I'm not going to be emotional about him. There are too many others to
worry about the death of one.

You can smash us; you can poison us; you can gas us to death; but we'll always
be with you. Up to the end, and afterward.

[page 17]

You can't win.

Without us, you'll starve.

With us...you'll die.

But listen for a second.

We're everywhere. We're in the earth; we live in your houses; we eat your
food; we watch you day and night.

We've got senses you never dreamed of.

We've got weapons that you have no defense for.

You walk on your two legs.

We've got six.

You fly, in your airplanes.

We've got wings.

You make your weapons.

We are our own weapons.

And if we insects ever get together, giant....

Or maybe we won't have to.

Maybe you'll blast yourselves off the earth and save us the trouble.

Your atomic bombs don't mean anything to us.

The flies lived at Hiroshima, you know.

The beetles are still alive on Bikini.

And far under the surface of this earth you think you own, more and more
millions of us are sleeping, waiting the day.

Giant, we'll always be there.

Wherever you go; while you're awake, while you're asleep.

[page 18]

Hating you, plotting against you, knowing that one day everything you've
built, everything you've accomplished on this earth will be ours.

We were here first; and we'll be here last.

There's a fly in the room isn't there?

And there's a cloud of gnats somewhere outdoors; waiting for you and all the
rest of the giants we hate.

Are you the one that was bragging about - what did you call it? DDT? Fine,
giant. DDT does kill us. It kills the good insects and the bad ones alike.

Better try again, giant.

You can't live without us...and you can't live with us.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

We were here first.


CHAPPELL: Think of that some night when a fat moth blunders in your bedroom

Maybe he won't be blundering, giant. Maybe he'll be... spying.

And remember...we're giant killers.



CHAPPELL: Not so good, giant. (LAUGHS) See you tonight....


ANNCR: You have listened to "Quiet, Please", which is written and directed by
Wyllis Cooper. The one who spoke to you was Ernest Chappell.

[page 19]

CHAPPELL: And the others were Nancy Douglass, Walter Black and Kermit Murdoch.

The music was composed and played by Gene Perrazzo

And now, for a word about next week's "Quiet, Please" story, here is our
writer-director, Wyllis Cooper.

COOPER: Next week's story is called "The Ticket-Taker." I think you'll find it
intriguing and entertaining.

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


ANNCR: This program came to you from New York.


Stay tuned now for a fascinating story of strange events and their commonsense
explanation on the House of Mystery which follows in just a moment.