★★★★ May 15, 1964 Season 5 Episode 33
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
For years I would skim over this episode until I watched it again and really got the message. It’s a good show and true to life. Rod Serling had his crystal ball at full power with this episode and could see what was happening. The message that Serling gets across is a stronger one today. It has been reported that automation could destroy as many as 73 million jobs by 2030…paving the way for further dehumanization.
Richard Deacon as Wallace V. Whipple, most famous for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” has control of his late father’s company. Despite the fact that his father doubled his production, the son sees him as a failure. His solution is to go to an almost totally computerized and mechanized factory, eliminating nearly all the workers, even the ones who have been there for years. Paul Newlan as Walter Hanley steals the show as a longtime principled employee with common sense and morals who picks Whipple apart.
I also have to mention Ted de Corsia who plays a frustrated worker named Dickerson who has had enough and takes some revenge against the machine taking his job.
The Brain Center At Whipple’s hits a chord with jobs being taken away from us by technology. We have corporations that only care about the bottom line and less about people who have helped make them. Technology is a great resource when used as a tool and should help employees do their jobs but not take them.
The episode is a little over the top but worth the ride.
IMDB Trivia: Richard Deacon and Rod Serling both grew up in Binghamton, New York and were graduates of Binghamton Central High School. There was a very popular lumber yard on Upper Court Street in Binghamton named “Whipple’s Lumber Yard”, thus the name for Deacon’s character in this episode. Rod Serling would often use names of places in and around Binghamton for names of places and characters in the series.
Select scenes and segments of dialogue from this episode were featured within the context of the ‘Information Age: People, Information and Technology’ exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The exhibit ran from May 9, 1990 through September 4, 2006.
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
These are the players — with or without a scorecard. In one corner a machine; in the other, one Wallace V. Whipple, man. And the game? It happens to be the historical battle between flesh and steel, between the brain of man and the product of man’s brain. We don’t make book on this one and predict no winner….but we can tell you for this particular contest, there is standing room only — in the Twilight Zone.
The W.V. Whipple Manufacturing Co. introduces a new automated manufacturing machine that will eliminate 61,000 jobs and the company’s president, Wallace V. Whipple, is quite proud of his achievement. Not everyone agrees with him, especially the loyal and longstanding employees who will be out of work. Foreman Vic Dickerson has plans for the machine – plans that land him in the hospital. When the machine is fully operational, it’s Wallace V. Whipple who learns just what it is he has created.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
There are many bromides applicable here: ‘too much of a good thing’, ‘tiger by the tail’, ‘as you sow so shall you reap’. The point is that, too often, Man becomes clever instead of becoming wise; he becomes inventive and not thoughtful; and sometimes, as in the case of Mr. Whipple, he can create himself right out of existence. As in tonight’s tale of oddness and obsolescence, in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling … Host / Narrator – Himself
Richard Deacon … Wallace V. Whipple
Paul Newlan … Walter Hanley
Ted de Corsia … Dickerson
Thalmus Rasulala (credited … Jack Crowder) … Technician
Shawn Michaels … Bartender
Burt Conroy … Watchman
Robby the Robot … Himself