- "Sam, there's an awful light out on the water! It's coming in towards the shack!"
- ―Jean Burgess
|"The Dune Roller"|
| Series Tales of Tomorrow|
Season 1, Episode 15
|Air date||January 4th, 1952|
|Writers||Julian C. May; Charles O'Neil|
|Starring||Bruce Cabot; Nancy Coleman; Lee Graham|
"The Dune Roller" is the fifteenth episode of season one of Tales of Tomorrow and was directed by Don Medford. It first aired on January 4th, 1952 on ABC. The episode adapts the short story The Dune Rollers by Julian C. May. It was later adapted into the 1972 film The Cremators. In this episode, scientists discover an ancient meteor that once landed on an island and begins to grow, slowly reassmbling itself over time.
Inside a small house on an island, an old man named Cap Zanser entertains a young girl, Sally Burgess, with tales of the "dune rollers", mysterious elements that has since become part of the island's local lore. Doctor Sam Thorne, a biologist, enters the room and jokingly discourages the older man from filling Sally's head with such crazy ideas. Sally gives Sam some rocks she collected on the beach and tells him that she is going back down there to gather some more. Sam inspects her findings and notices a strangeness about the rocks.
Sally returns to the house with her parents, Jean and Carl Burgess. Carl is a scientist as well and he goes into the adjoining laboratory with Sam to go over their latest samples. Sam is shocked to discover that two of his rock samples have seemingly fused together and have redoubled in size. Carl takes note of the fact that some rock samples begin to give off intense heat under certain conditions. They then deduce that the fragments are part of a meteor that appears to be growing and re-assembling itself.
The two men go into the room to have dinner, but when they return, they discover that two more pieces have grown together and rolled off the table. They find a coconut-sized hole burned in the door and there is no existing evidence of the rocks' presence. Sally comes in and wonders if it might be one of the "dune rollers" that Cap spoke off. Sam asks Cap if he still has some quartz samples back at his shack. He tells him yes and says that he will bring them by in the morning.
Cap walks through a torrential rainstorm to get back to his shack. When he arrives, he notices a strange light coming off over the lake. He telephones Sam and tells him about it and indicates that something about the light is making him nervous. He adds that he is returning to the cottage right away. As he rushes back through the rain, the strange lights grow closer. Cap stares into them and a look of terror grows across his face. The light becomes blinding and he screams in pain. Minutes later, Sam and Carl go down to the beach and find Cap dead on the ground. They theorize that he had been struck by lightning. They take his body down the boat house and return to the cottage.
Sam and Carl tell Jeannie about Cap and they all agree to wait until morning to tell Sally. Jeannie recounts how Sally had been telling her about Cap's tall tales of dune rollers. While Carl and Sam go back into the lab to piece together the mystery surrounding the older man's death, Jeannie takes it upon herself to go to Cap's shack. She telephones Sam in a panic, claiming to see the same eerie light on the lake that scared Cap. Sam now realizes that the rocks that Cap was carrying was what first drew the light towards him. He instructs Jeannie to get rid of any rock samples she might have on her person and return to the cottage.
Sam and Carl decide that the lightning flare is being generated by a meteorite that is drawing its scattered fragments back to itself. Unless they destroy it, it will continue to produce intense heat and lightning, threatening to consume everything and everyone on the island. Against Jean's better judgment, Sam takes a supply of dynamite down to the beach and detonates the meteor. Content that the thing is destroyed and that they are now safe, they return to the cottage. Immediately however, the "dune roller" begins to reconstitute itself.
|Bruce Cabot||Sam Thorne|
|Nancy Coleman||Jeannie Burgess|
|Lee Graham||Sally Burgess|
|Nelson Olmstead||Carl Burgess|
|Truman Smith||Cap Zanser|
Notes & Trivia Edit
- First professional genre work for actress Nancy Coleman.