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Route 66

Season 1 Episode 11

A Fury Slinging Flame

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Dec 30, 1960 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The boys meet scientist Mark Christopher and his friends who intend to remain in Carlsbad Caverns until a predicted nuclear war is over.

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  • Cold War paranoia in the Carlsbad Caverns.

    Interesting, if far-fetched. Leslie Nielsen is Dr. Mark Christopher a "brilliant physicist" ( He has "more degrees than a thermometer".) who is convinced that a Russian colleague has sent him covert messages concerning an imminent thermonuclear strike on the US. It appears the resorceful Russian has been using a "discovered attack" while playing correspondence chess with him, and he has been using his KNIGHT. ( Those of you who actually play chess will be convulsed with laughter at this point.) "Kt" is short for Knight, and it also stands for KILOTONS. In addition, the cunning commie has sent Nielsen a pair of CHINESE boots, and he has referred to them in a letter as "Bootes". This is OBVIOUSLY a reference to the constellation Bootes, which aligns with earth every January ist. Hence, clever Christopher is convinced the rascally Russkies will unleash a nuclear holocaust on us at precisely 600 PM on January Ist, 1961. Fear not! Dr. Christopher has somehow convinced a group of "hand-picked individuals", including a Protestant nminister, that they will be safe if they hide in Carlsbad Caverns National Park for two weeks, until " The firestorms cease and the radioactive clouds dissipate." ( One tries to imagine Dr. Christopher actually convincing " hand-picked individulas" to buy all this.) So, down into the caverns they go, accompanied by several farm animals. ( After all, as Dr. Strangelove later pointed out in not unrelated circumstances, " Animals can be breeded and slaughtered!") For SOME reason, this provokes a nild protest from the park rangers. The goverment sends down an elderly MIT scientist ( One -time silent screen heart-throb Conrad Nagel) to try to reason with Christopher, but the brilliant scientist isn't buying. After all, how can you argue with facts? Of course, Todd and Buzz get involved in all this, thanks to a scheme by a scoop hungry female "Defense columnist" ( Blonde bombshell Fay Spain.)for a paper called the Examiner. ( Here I was hoping she was working for a Kane paper.) Todd gets to show off his knowledge of Latin and Buzz gets involved with a another pretty blonde, ( I suppose they had to dispell all those rumors.) It all ends happily. (As some of you may have a heard , a thermonuclear war did not take palce in 1961.)moreless

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