The Name of the Game

Season 3 Episode 16

L. A. 2017

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Jan 15, 1971 on NBC
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Episode Summary

L. A. 2017

Whilst driving along a California road, Glenn Howard suddenly loses consciousness and awakes to find himself whisked away from the world he knows in 1971 and inexplicably in an alarming futuristic society beneath the Earth's surface. The year is 2017...

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  • The end for Planet Earth, as we know it only too well.

    This famous segment of "The Name Of The Game" is highly derivative, with bits and pieces of "Brave New World", "1984", "The Machine Stops" and other dystopian stories being woven into Philip Wylie's script; there are also visual hints which suggest that director Steven Spielberg may have taken an early peek at his friend George Lucas's first feature film, "THX 1138", which got its US cinema release later in 1971 (through Universal, the makers of this series). It's a cautionary tale about the ruinous effects of ecological devastation, ostensibly, but quite why Glenn Howard should have such a detailed hallucination of a nightmare future involving people who don't exist in his actual life is a mystery. There are nice details - the sinisterly benign patriarch who advises his grown-up children that, yes, they can watch television tonight, but not too much - and Edmond O'Brien makes a strong impression in his one scene as a scientist of the 1970s who has lived long enough to see his apocalyptic warnings come to pass (and spends his entire life in a straitjacket as a result). But its moralising is all a little hazy and conventional, and we have to get back to 1971 for the strongest moment in the show - the very last shot, the most vivid and shocking of the several startling images Spielberg conjures throughout the proceedings.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The opening episode credits, which occur after a prologue in which Glenn collapses at the wheel of his car, are written in a different type-face than is usual in the series - the new type-face suggests a futuristic computer print-out. The credits at the end of the episode are as normal, however.

    • The script for this episode was written by Philip Wylie, a well-known science-fiction writer of the 1930s and 40s. It was his only script contribution to the series, and was his first writing for television in fifteen years. It also marked his farewell to the medium; he died of a heart attack some nine months after this famous episode was first aired.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Glenn Howard: Priorities must be established, or this may be the beginning of the end for Earth as we know it.

    • Dr. Cameron: [displaying his "side-arm"]: With this, I can give an injection at up to 25 feet.
      Glenn Howard: Injection of what?
      Dr. Cameron: A variety of counter-productive drugs.
      Glenn Howard: You mean it kills!
      Dr. Cameron : There's a high probability of that, yes.

    • Glenn Howard: I don't imagine you would exactly tolerate a free press.

    • Chairman: The war with England has not been going well this month.

    • Helen: If you'll pour me another glass, I'll go to my room.

    • Dr Cameron: We've been underground since 1989.

      Glenn Howard: 1989?

      Dr. Cameron: What year do you have?

      Glenn Howard: What do you mean what year? '71. 1971.

      Dr. Cameron: Well, I have 2017. But then perhaps your watch is just a bit slow.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Location work for this episode was shot outside Calabasas, California, in an area which had recently been devastated by fire, and at the Hyperion sewage treatment plant at El Segundo (for the underground scenes). The episode, which attracted a great deal of critical attention, took a total of twelve days to film; Steven Spielberg later claimed it had "opened a lot of doors for me." Philip Wylie published a novelization of his script under the title "Los Angeles, A.D. 2017".

    • The script of this episode was published in Literary Cavalcade 24:5 (February 1972).

    • This is the only sci-fi episode of The Name of the Game.


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