Alcoa Theatre (1957) s02e01 Episode Script

Strange occurrence at Rokesay

"Eight souls, dingy.
" What sort of nonsense is this? Couldn't it have been dropped from that aircraft sir? A message dropped from an aircraft in these days? And an aircraft that you imagined? - Did I imagine it sir? - Yes Upton, I suggest you did.
As certain as I stand here I know that someone or something out there in the fog is trying to warn us.
Why can't I make the captain understand? The golden age of television presents John Kerr starring in "Strange occurrence at Rokesay" with Tom Helmore and Patrick Macnee, after these messages.
Area control please.
Rokesay base here sir.
Our controller wants to know if there's something doing tonight.
Yes, we know sir.
It's bad here too.
I don't suppose he'll bother us, sir.
Thank you sir, good night.
- All quiet? - Nothing moving in the area at all.
They were expecting a Bristol Transport, some kind of special flight from Canada.
But it's being diverted to Northern Ireland because of the fog.
Shall I get our suppers sir? Looks like being a quiet night.
We'll do it according to the book, sergeant.
Just make your rounds first.
Very good, sir.
Tell fire tenders and ambulance to stand by the tower and check in on radio.
Tower one from crash one.
- Crash one, loud and clear.
- What happened to them? - Who? - That aircraft.
- Tower from crash three, over.
- What aircraft? Where have you been for the last five minutes? - Tower from crash three, do you read me? - Answer.
Crash three, loud and clear.
Have they had any instructions? Of course, to stand by the tower.
Well what's all the excitement? - Didn't you hear that aircraft? - I haven't heard anything sir.
I was only down below taking the operations berth.
But you must have heard it.
It couldn't have been higher than fifty feet.
Crash two to tower.
Crash two to tower.
Crash two - stand by tower as instructed.
Well, none of us heard it, sir.
And I was with the operators berth.
Hello tower? Yes, radar? what's going on up there George? Having a practice in the fog? This is no practice, Tiny.
Was that aircraft too low to show up on your screen? What aircraft? Do you mean to tell me that you didn't hear an aircraft either? It was only a few moments ago and flying very low.
Oh come off it George! There's nothing flying within a hundred miles of here tonight.
You've been hearing things old boy.
Have I your permission to dismiss the crash vehicle sir? I don't understand this.
You really didn't hear anything, sergeant? - Nobody did sir.
- Crash two to tower.
Crash two, go ahead.
We found a curious object on the runway.
Might be part of a signal flare.
Shall we bring it up? - Roger.
Get me the area controller please.
Rokesay base here.
Is the area still quiet? You're certain? There's nothing moving with the Bristol then? No, it's alright, I just thought I heard an aircraft over here a few minutes ago.
Yes it probably was a car engine Okay, thank you.
Good night.
What do you make of this, sir? I've never seen anything like it before, have you? Well, it's certainly not a signal flare.
I'll try and open it up.
I don't think it will go off bang.
What's this? Look: "Two two one five.
Eight souls.
Position 55.
10 North 10.
32 West.
Send help.
" It's private officer Wilson sir, it's another of his little jokes.
Do you think so? It's an official form anyway, here's the number in the corner.
Evening Hobson, evening sergeant.
At ease.
Why was the flare part on? Surely nothing can be flying.
I thought I heard an aircraft overhead a few minutes ago sir.
So I lit up in case he was in trouble.
An aircraft, in this? Funny, I heard nothing.
Have you checked with center? Yes sir, they say there's nothing in the area.
Did you hear it too, sergeant? Well sir, I, uhm No.
No, I didn't hear it, sir.
- Oh, you didn't.
No-one seems to have heard it but me sir.
And what exactly did you think you heard? A light aircraft, sir.
Overhead and very low.
His engine revved and then cut out.
I expected to hear a crash but nothing happened.
You heard no crash and yet you didn't hear the aircraft fly away? - No sir.
- And where were you? I was downstairs sir, with the operations berth.
- Did any of them hear it? - No sir.
Alright sergeant, will you leave us for a few minutes? I take it you checked with radar? - Yes sir.
- Nothing on the screen? - No sir.
How many night watches have you've been doing lately? No more than usual, sir.
Well, if you're feeling a bit seedy, I can arrange for you to be relieved.
We can't have you imagining things on a job like this.
I'm perfectly fit, sir, and I certainly didn't imagine this.
- What the devil's this? - It came in this container, sir.
What do you mean, "it came"? The crash crew found it outside the tower.
"Eight souls.
" What sort of nonsense is this? Couldn't it have been dropped from that aircraft sir? A message dropped from an aircraft in these days? And an aircraft that you imagined? - Did I imagine it, sir? - Yes Upton, I suggest you did.
Just as I suggest this message is someone idea of a joke.
"Two two one five".
Couldn't that be the time the message was originated? 22 15 hours? Look at your clock Upton.
Time is now exactly 22 10.
Your message isn't due to be sent for another five minutes.
Give me that form, yes and the container.
I'll find the fool who thought this one up.
Meanwhile I suggest you forget this nonsense.
But sir, I heard that aircraft, can't I get rescue center to check on it? You'll do absolutely nothing, you understand? Control, Rokesay Base.
Yes, sir Very good sir, will do.
Center has lost radio contact with that Bristol, they want us to call him on all frequencies.
His code: Big step three two.
- Is he overdue? - No, they're not worried.
They think he may have had radio failure.
It's just a routine check.
Very well, start calling him then, I'll take the frequencies on the side.
Right, sir.
- Big step three two, this is Rokesay - This is Rokesay, calling Big step - come in if you read me.
- three two, come in please.
- Big step three two, this is Rokesay - Big step three two - come in if you read me.
- this is Rokesay, come in please.
No contact.
Call the area controller please, and tell him.
- Yes, sir.
- I'll enter it in the log.
Area controller please.
Rokesay base here, sir.
We've called Big step three two on all our frequencies but we can't raise her.
Very good, sir, we'll do.
- What time is it on your watch? - 22 20, sir.
What's the matter? - It's stopped.
The clock's stopped.
So it has.
It's plugged in alright.
There's no power failure here.
- You remember that message, don't you? - Yes, sir, I remember it well.
It was prefixed by a figure, wasn't it? Yes, time of origin, 22 fi You're not still going on about that, sir! - I want to get a search started.
- But just ecause a clock stopped? No, not just because a clock stopped, but because it stopped on the time given on that message.
But for all the other reasons.
Shaw, as certain as I sit here I know that I'm being impelled by something or someone to get a search going.
If you don't want to be involved, you can leave the tower.
- Don't do it, sir! - Shaw, that was a genuine call for help.
Now give me the latitude and longitude and then get out.
I can't remember it, sir.
A moment ago you said you remembered it well.
I don't recall it, sir.
Then I shall just have to contact the CO and get it from him no matter what he thinks.
Oh please don't do that, sir.
I can guess what happened when he was here just now.
Shaw, give me that position, then get out.
Control Rokesay.
No, nothing.
It's center control about the Bristol.
Yes, roger.
They haven't heard from the Bristol and there's been a mix-up about its estimated time of arrival.
It's overdue, and must now be in a state of emergency.
Perhaps you're right Maybe there is a connection a meaning.
Oh, I don't know, it it's awfully hard to swallow.
- Is it? Well I mean, why you sir, why were you the only one to hear the plane? I don't know why, Shaw.
I don't understand it and I can't explain it.
Perhaps it's simply because I am in charge here tonight or possibly I am willing to believe certain things more readily than other people, I don't know why.
Well anyway I think I can remember that message sir, do you want to write it down? Yes, let's not waste any more time.
Eight souls.
Position 55.
10 North 10.
32 West.
Send help.
" Right, now the first thing to do is to plot his position.
Five point ten North, ten point thirty two, west.
Where was his diversion to? Garway, in Northern Ireland, sir.
It checks! Bang on the course of the missing Bristol.
Dead right, sir.
Couldn't be more on the track if it was a position report from the plane itself.
Now the problem is to convince center to start a search! Couldn't very well refer them to a message form three zero five dash R.
dash one nine one seven.
- What? - 305-RFC-1917 It's a little form number printed in the corner.
I've never seen such a form in the RAF.
Of course not! It isn't one nine one seven, it's the year 1917.
And there wasn't any RAF then, it was the R.
, the Royal Flying Corps.
You don't suppose that one of those chaps who served in the RFC would I'm afraid I can't answer that, Shaw.
Right now I've got to go about convincing centre to get a search started.
We haven't heard a thing on the emergency frequency all night sir.
But we might have.
You mean, tell them that we've received an SOS? We could do that, sir.
Oh, all the other stations would have heard it.
But not if it was a very weak signal that only we'd heard.
It was a very weak signal, wasn't it, sir? Flash call, get me rescue center.
Well Upton, how are you feeling? Better? I'm feeling fine, thank you, sir.
Kilkenny Tower from Shackleton Rescue two six.
What's all that about? Is there a rescue operation going on? Yes, sir.
Do you know anything about it? Yes sir I called them up.
You did? Has an emergency call come through? No sir.
You mean you acted on that ridiculous message? Yes, sir, I did it because I thought I gave you direct orders not to take any action, you do remember that, don't you? Sir, I acted in the conviction that You acted like a fool.
I'm relieving you of your duties as of now.
At least let me explain my reasons, sir.
Well, what are they? First, the clock, sir.
Look at the clock.
All right, it stopped.
So? There's been no power failure here, yet it stopped at the exact time given on the message.
Yes, so it has.
Surely you weren't prepared to gamble your whole career on a coincidence like that? Look at the form numbers in the corner, sir.
one nine one seven.
" Royal Flying Corps, 1917.
There can't be any argument that it's an authentic form.
What are you saying? And the 305, it could be a form number, or a code number, or a It might be the 305th pursuit squad, and there was such a squadron in the R.
, I know.
The whole thing is preposterous! There was nothing flying, you checked that yourself.
Nothing locally.
But Center told me there was a Bristol inbound from Canada and just after you left the tower it was reported overdue.
Is that so? I've checked the position given in that message, sir.
It's dead on the track of the missing aircraft.
The Bristol could have ditched here.
- Go on.
I rang centre and told them I'd received a call on the emergency frequency.
Are you telling me you deliberately faked an SOS? It was the only way I could convince them, sir.
I'm gonna call off the search and tell center that radio message was faked.
The ditching position wasn't faked, sir.
Can't we just wait a little while, sir, until the rescue planes have searched the area? Are you asking me to be a party to this thing? Only for a few hours, sir.
While you try to pull off a fantastic mission that might cost us men and aircraft? Or that may save the lives of those men in the Bristol.
We know it's overdue, it must be down in the sea.
Believe me, sir, I didn't cause these strange happenings tonight, but a chain of them has occurred, even you must admit that.
And I beg you to have enough faith in me or with me until the search is finished.
- You're asking me to have faith? - Yes, sir.
Oh, I know what you must be thinking.
But here's no law that says everything must be cut and dried.
Things happen every day that defy understanding.
I'm sorry Upton.
I can't go along with it.
You'll have to consider yourself under arrest.
There is one fact we can check, sir.
Oh, what's that? Through center we can get the number of people on board that Bristol, and it'll only take a minute.
- I see, you expect they'll be eight.
- Yes sir, I do.
- All right Upton, ring.
- Thank you, sir.
Get me center, please.
Can I have traffic? Hello, control Rokesay here.
Have you a crew list for that missing Bristol, Big step three two? Good.
No, I don't want the names, just the number of people aboard.
Are you quite certain? I see.
There are only seven aboard, sir.
Well, that's that.
I don't understand it.
There must be some mistake about the passenger list.
Let's not discuss it anymore.
I'm gonna call off the search.
You call radar and tell them to come up here and take over.
That door was tightly closed.
It's as calm as ever now.
Not a breath of wind.
Yes, whoever heard of a gust of wind in a fog like this Come here Upton.
Is this wind speed indicator serviceable? Yes, sir.
I was standing right over it.
The needle never moved.
And I know that door was closed.
It's fantastic.
You know if it weren't for those seven men on the plane instead of eight, I I wonder if we read that message correctly.
Where is it? Couldn't there have been an eighth man on that Bristol, sir? One who wasn't on the passenger list? - Where did this newspaper come from? - Sergeant Shaw, sir.
I've found your eighth soul, Upton.
Listen to this: "Famous airman comes home.
" Bristol aircraft of transport command is today bringing back the body of Air Marshal Lord Hurst, whose death occurred last Wednesday during a liaison visit to the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Lord Hurst, who won the Victoria Cross in 1917, while serving with the famed Eagle Pursuit Squadron, was the only surviving ace of the First World War still serving in the RAF.
He's to be buried with full military Honors in the cemetery of the Royal Air Force College.
So it's going to be alright sir? Yes, Upton, it's going to be alright.
By the way what made you so certain of all this? It was the squadron number printed in the form sir.
305th, the Eagle squad.
My father was a flyer in that squad.
Do you hear that sir? - Hear what? It's alright sir.
It's just that I know they'll find those men from the Bristol.
Join us at the same time next week when the golden age of television presents face to face.