Monday, March 26, 2012



Zenna Henderson

Dan O'Herlihy (Sol Diemus)
Diane Varsi (Valancy Carmody)
Laurie Walters (Karen Diemus)
Chris Valentine (Clement Francher)
Anne Walters (Obla)
Among many others......

Earth Prime-Time

Based in Bendo, Arizona

From Wikipedia:
"The People" is a 1972 television film, broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week on January 22, 1972. It is mostly based on a novella by Zenna Henderson, "Pottage", but also contains elements from her stories "Ararat", "Gilead", and "Captivity".

This science fiction film tells the story of Melodye Amerson (Kim Darby), a young teacher who goes to a remote area to work with a group of individuals who have isolated themselves from civilization and maintained an independent community, vaguely similar to the Amish or a religious commune. Melodye is unnerved by the secretive behavior of her students, and the fact that all fun, games and activities she proposes are forbidden to them. Valancy (Diane Varsi), an elder in the community, advises Melodye to stay, because she senses that things are about to change in the valley, and Melodye herself is a part of that change.

Melodye soon discovers that the secluded and "backwards" residents are actually aliens with mild paranormal powers. A natural disaster destroyed their planet, and they are hoping to establish a life on Earth. Landing in the late 1800s, initially they shared their secret with local residents, but found themselves condemned as witches. Many were killed, and the survivors forbade their children ever to use their abilities, even with extreme discretion. Young adults like Valancy (and even some of the older people) have been pushing for an end to these restrictions.

"The People", a fictional creation of science-fiction writer Zenna Henderson, are a group of humanoid extraterrestrials who fled their planet's destruction, with many of them marooned on Earth in the American southwest since the late 19th century. They differ from humans mostly in their pacifism and paranormal abilities. They appear in a number of stories which are usually referred to as "the People stories of Zenna Henderson".

The People, as portrayed by author Zenna Henderson, lived a happy pastoral life on their homeworld, Home, in harmony with the seasons. They have little apparent technology, and do not much need it. Their history includes an unpleasant period called the 'Days of Difference", presumably including nuclear war, ending with "The Peace." Their faith is their reality; all are telepathic and telekinetic, within limits, and can generate a personal shield which can defend them from the elements even as they fly. Yet they live much as did the people of Earth, residing in houses, sleeping in beds. In essence, they are human beings. They make and use tools, but have no machines, having renounced those following the Peace. In several stories, Henderson makes clear that the People do not know how to accomplish even the simplest household or farming tasks by hand, without telekinesis.

Their planet, the Home, shows evidence of being on a clear path to destruction. The elders delve deep into their collective and ancestral memories and regain the skills of their ancestors, who had been extremely advanced in technology before the spiritual awakening which is associated with their paranormal abilities. The People race to build starships and to select destinations which they recall from ancestral memory as being sufficiently Homelike.

As the planet convulses in its final spasms, the ships depart, but not all to the same destinations. One boy, gifted as a prophet, resets the guidance system of one of the ships even as it leaves the Home. He has sent this ship of the People to our homeworld, Earth.

The guidance is not perfect. The ships burn up on re-entry, but a large number of the People bail out and reach the surface in small personal craft or "life slips", scattered mostly across the American southwest. Some survive unscathed and others survive with terrible wounds. Some are able to find others of their kind, while others go to their graves alone among humans, or even intermarried with them.

A fairly large community forms somewhere in a remote canyonlands region, apparently in Arizona. (This would be the village of Bendo.)


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