Thursday, April 10, 2008


On his "News From ME" blog (link to the left), Mark Evanier posted a link to a 1964 Ford Econoline van commercial which starred Buster Keaton.


It could be that we're seeing his character of Woodrow Mulligan from 'The Twilight Zone', in a sequel to the episode "Once Upon A Time".

Woodrow Mulligan was a janitor from Harmony, New York, in 1890. He borrowed the Time Helmet from the scientist he worked for, and sent himself into the future - 1961. After a series of wild misadventures, he made it back home with a fellow named Rollo in tow. Rollo yearned for the simpler pleasures in the life of 1890; but once he got there couldn't do anything but complain about the lack of amenities. So Mulligan sent him packing back to the future with the Time Helmet, leaving the janitor at peace in 1890. And that's where the story ended.

But there was a caveat within the episode - the Time Helmet would only send the wearer into a different time for one half hour before it returned to its point of origin. That meant that eventually the Time Helmet would return to 1890 Harmony, with or without somebody wearing it. Rollo wasn't a completely foolish man - I think he would have made certain that he wasn't wearing that helmet when the half hour concluded. And so it would have wound up back on the scientist's workbench soon enough.

What if Woodrow Mulligan - content as he was to be back in his own time period - used the helmet one more time and ended up back in the 1960s?

There could be any number of reasons why this would have happened - several times in the episode, even back in his own time, we saw how easy it was for Mulligan to run afoul of the Law. Maybe he had no choice but to escape into the future again and this time stay there for good.

Once there, Woodrow Mulligan had to adjust to his new life. Eventually he would have to find employment and to learn how to do things like the others who lived in the 1960s - which would include learning how to drive. And that's where the Ford Econoline "supervan" blipvert picks up the story - Woodrow Mulligan was now working as a mover for Mothers' Brothers Moving. And once again he found himself in trouble with the Law.....
Toby OB

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