Them! (1954) Script

(Suspenseful instrumental music)


(Dramatic instrumental music)

(Dramatic instrumental music)


301A to car 5W, code one.

5W to 301A, go ahead, Johnny.

JOHNNY: We're chasing wind, Ben.

Maybe the guy who sent in that report drank his breakfast. Let's call it.

Wait a minute.


JOHNNY: It's a kid, all right. Maybe 50 yards off the road.

I'll keep circling her until you pick her up.

10-10. 10-10.

(Dramatic instrumental music)

BEN: Hey!

Hey, honey!

BEN: Hey, little girl. Little girl!

Wait a minute. What are you doing out here?

Honey...

...what's your name?

Who do you belong to?

JOHNNY: Car 5W, code one.

Car 5W to 301A, go ahead.

(Radio crackle and interference)

10-9, Johnny.

JOHNNY: There's a trailer three miles from you, off the road.

I didn't see anybody around it, you better check it out. 10-10.

Okay, Johnny. 10-10.

What's the matter with her? I don't know.

ED: Sunstroke?

BEN: She's not sunburned. Couldn't have been in the sun long.

Looks like she's in shock.

Johnny spotted a car and trailer up ahead. Maybe she's from there.

BEN: Maybe so.

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

ED: No use waking her up unless somebody can identify her. I'll check it.


BEN: What is it? ED: Have a look.


This blood must be 10 or 12 hours old.

Whatever happened here was either last night or early this morning.

Check outside.

(Dramatic instrumental music)


ED: It was sure no traffic accident, was it?

This wasn't caved in. It was caved out.

Did you find anything?

No footprints or tire marks.

Found this.

I picked up just one. Six or seven more are scattered over there.

Sugar. Yeah.

There's something over here you should look at.

I don't know if it's important, but see what you think.

Mountain lions never come down to the desert.

BEN: No cat ever lived would leave a print like that.

ED: Maybe something was set down there.

A bag, or a can, something like that.

It could be almost anything.

I found these inside.

Put in a call for fingerprint and moulage equipment, right away.

ED: Right.

BEN: Have the medics pick up the kid. ED: Right.

Car 5W to KMA-628. Come in, please.

RADIO OPERATOR: KMA-628 to car 5W, go ahead.

We're 12 miles north of the crossroads.

Halfway up the secondary road to White Butte.

Station wagon and house trailer with Illinois license plates.

They look pretty well beat up. Looks like a 9-14.

Picked up a little girl who seems to be in shock.

Send ambulance and medics. We'll stay here till you arrive.

Anything else?

ED: Ben?

10-10.

RADIO OPERATOR: KMA-628 to 5W, location previously reported by 301-A...

RADIO OPERATOR: KMA-628 to 5W, location previously reported by 301-A...

...will dispatch ambulance.

BEN: Hi, Reggie, how are the kids?

REGGIE: Fine. Another one on the way. BEN: Good for you.

MEDIC: Know what happened to her? BEN: No.

MEDIC: Don't know her name? BEN: No.

BEN: Take good care of her.

Give her a nice, easy ride. I'll be with her all the way to the hospital.

(High-pitched stridulation)


(Stridulation fades)

MEDIC: What was that?

I don't know.

It must be the wind. It gets pretty freakish in these parts.

Yeah.

BEN: I'll come soon. I want to be there when she starts talking.

(Wind whistles)

BEN: You know what that is, Cliff?

I haven't the faintest idea.

BEN: Hurry before the wind fills it in. Looks like a sandstorm is kicking up.

You got any idea what happened? No.

Nothing that adds up.

How old you figure that kid is?

Five or six.

Tough break for her.

They don't need us right now.

Let's go down to Gramps Johnson's store and see what he knows.

(Wind howls)


BEN: Gramps?

Gramps!

(Faint radio broadcast)

(Radio becomes louder)


Beats me.

Look, Ed, put in a call....

Wait a minute.


BEN: Gramps.

Looks like he was dragged and thrown down there.

(Tense instrumental music)

BEN: What do you make of it? ED: What did you make of the trailer?

This wasn't pushed in, it was pulled out. Just like at the trailer.

ED: Ben, have a look at this.

Sugar.


Money wasn't taken here either.

This is another 9-14. I'll call for the guys at the trailer to come.

This is another 9-14. I'll call for the guys at the trailer to come.

I want to be at headquarters when the girl talks.

ED: I'll stick around and ride with them.

Okay. Stay loose. Sure.

(Switches off radio)

(High-pitched stridulation)

(High-pitched stridulation)


(High-pitched stridulation becomes louder)

(High-pitched stridulation becomes louder)

(Gunshots)

(Ed screaming)

(High-pitched stridulation continues)

CAPTAIN: With all this, we only know the car and trailer was owned by...

...a man named Alan Elinson from Chicago.

Yeah, that's all.

Stop blaming yourself for what happened to Ed Blackburn. It wasn't your fault.

Somebody had to stay at Johnson's place, so it happened to be Ed.

Yeah, I know.

We'll find out who killed him, if he's dead, along with Gramps and the Elinson family.

We'll find out who killed him, if he's dead, along with Gramps and the Elinson family.

So come off it.

We'll get a report on the fingerprints some time this morning. It'll tell us more.

Have you figured out what this print is? No.

Great.

CAPTAIN: Kit, run down all Gramps' personal stuff and records.

I don't think he had an enemy in the world, but somebody might have....

No, wait, that doesn't make sense.

If somebody wanted to knock off Gramps why tear down half the building to do it?

I put in a call to check out all the mental institutions.

Everything seems to indicate a homicidal maniac.

There's no money stolen, violent wreckage. Just sugar taken.

There's no money stolen, violent wreckage. Just sugar taken.

That's being checked, but it's a waste of time, too.

We'd have been notified if there was a loony killer on the loose.

Gramps got off four shots from his 30-30 before the killer did this to the gun.

Gramps got off four shots from his 30-30 before the killer did this to the gun.

And Blackburn was a crack shot. He could hit anything he could see.

Unless your maniac was armored like a battleship...

...there's no maniac in this case.

Yeah, you're right.

I want every available man scouting the desert.

If our two planes aren't enough to cover areas the cars can't reach...

...I'll ask permission from the chief to hire a couple more.

Ben, get yourself something to eat and grab some sleep.

I don't want you wearing yourself out so you'll fold up on us.

BEN: I've a little score to settle. CAPTAIN: We all have.

Report from Washington, Captain. All right, thanks.

Fingerprints on the trailer check out real good.

Mr. Elinson was an FBI agent on vacation with his wife and two children.

Mr. Elinson was an FBI agent on vacation with his wife and two children.

Call the local FBI office. They've got a stake in this case, now.

Tell them Mr. Elinson's vacation has been extended indefinitely.

GRAHAM: It's nice to get off that desert.

It must have been 110 out there today. At least.

Captain Edwards...

...this is Robert Graham from the FBI office in Alamogordo.

GRAHAM: How do you do? CAPTAIN: Sit down.

Ben here bring you up to date on this business?

Yes, sir, we went over these exhibits before we left for the desert.

I took him to where we found the trailer and to Johnson's store.

We've been there all day. Nothing.

CAPTAIN: Any ideas, Mr. Graham?

None that make any sense.

I thought you FBI guys were all Quiz Kids, solved everything right away.

I did, too, when I applied for the job.

The planes and cars haven't found anything.

Give them time. People don't just drop off the face of the Earth without a trace.

We'll find them.

You know what that is?

It beats me. Has it been identified yet?

No, an officer took it to a friend who teaches zoology at the college.

No, an officer took it to a friend who teaches zoology at the college.

He said he'd never seen anything like it.

Lots of evidence, loaded with clues, but nothing adds up.

The Elinson girl is our only real bet. Any news on her?

No change. I checked with the hospital a half-hour ago.

I'd like to send this to our Washington bureau.

They might be able to identify it.

Or prove that it's nothing.

All right with me.

(Knocking)

CAPTAIN: Come in.

Hello, Fred. Glad to see you, Ben. Hi, Doc, how are you?

You two know each other?

I don't believe so.

Dr. Putnam, County Medical Officer. Robert Graham.

He's with the FBI. Watch your language. I will.

DOC: I finished the autopsy on Gramps. You want it technical or plain?

Just plain, Doc. Get to the verb.

Old man Johnson could have died in any one of five ways:

His neck and back were broken, his chest crushed, his skull fractured...

His neck and back were broken, his chest crushed, his skull fractured...

...and here's one for Sherlock Holmes:

There was enough formic acid in him to kill 20 men.

(Dramatic instrumental climax)

I still don't get this.

Doctors Medford, two of them. Department of Agriculture.

You sent that cast to your outfit in Washington, didn't you?

Yeah.

Does this mean that somebody has identified it?

I don't know.

BEN: Great. AIRMAN: Pardon me, sir.

The plane has landed. It'll load over there.

Thanks.

GRAHAM: Got a match? BEN: Yeah.

(Roaring of plane engine)


Okay, thank you.

GRAHAM: Dr. Medford?

Are you Dr. Medford?

Yes, yes. No need to shout.

You're the people. They said you'd meet us.

BEN: That's right.

I'm Bob Graham.

How do you do? This is Sgt. Ben Peterson.

You're the one who found the print? Yeah, that's right.

Pat, hurry up.

PAT: I'm caught.

OFFICER: Can I help? PAT: No, I can manage it.

This is the other Dr. Medford, my daughter, Patricia.

This is the man who found the print. Sergeant....

Ben Peterson. How do you do?

Then you must be Mr. Robert Graham.

Yes, how do you do? Hello.

We've got a car to take you to the hotel.

That can wait. We have work to do.

I want to read all your reports right away. Come on, Pat.

PAT: Excuse me, sir.

I should have had this suit pressed.

She's quite a doctor.

If she takes care of sick people, I think I'll get a fever real quick.

GRAHAM: This is where the car and trailer were found.

Twelve miles down this road is the Johnson store.

Thank you.

Why did the FBI send that print to the Department of Agriculture?

They weren't able to identify it.

PAT: You only found one print? BEN: That's right, miss.

Have you identified it?

The Medical Officer's report on Johnson suggests we were certainly wrong...

...to even consider this might be a hoax. Read that, Doctor.

Tell me...

...in what area was the atomic bomb exploded, the first one, back in 1945?

...in what area was the atomic bomb exploded, the first one, back in 1945?

Right here in this same general area. White Sands.

1945. That's nine years ago.

Genetically, it's certainly possible.

We're grown up. There's no need to play footsie with us. We resent it.

We're grown up. There's no need to play footsie with us. We resent it.

If you know what this thing is, Doctor, I suggest you tell us.

We're assigned to this case, too.

Mr. Graham, we cannot tell you until we're certain of our theory.

I'd like to first stop off at the drug store and then see the Elinson girl.

She's still in shock, Doctor. She hasn't talked yet.

After the girl, I want to examine the territory where you found the print.

You were saying?

As I explained to Mrs. Johnson, the little girl's aunt...

...we hesitate in using a curare to diminish the spasms. She's too young.

...we hesitate in using a curare to diminish the spasms. She's too young.

Narcosynthesis would be useless until we overcome the aphonia.

Narcosynthesis would be useless until we overcome the aphonia.

What's aphonia? Loss of voice.

PSYCHIATRIST: She's a classic case of hysteria conversion.

Only a severe catharsis could jolt her at all.

DR. MEDFORD: May I have a small glass?

PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, certainly. DR. MEDFORD: Pat, that acid we got....

Acid?

DR. MEDFORD: Formic, Doctor. Thank you.

It may provide the jolt you need.


Them!

Them!

Them!

(Dramatic instrumental music)

May we visit the desert now?

It's getting late.

It's later than you think.

(Dramatic instrumental music)

Thank you.

Quite a breeze.

The goggles, Doctor. What about them?

You're supposed to wear them over your eyes.

Oh, thank you.

Yes, that is better.

So this is where the car and trailer were? Yes, sir. Excuse me.

Yes, thank you. The print was found right over there.

BEN: We found it here, by the fire.

You see, there's nothing there now.

Has there been any report of a strange mound?

A cone-shaped structure? Something recently formed?

No, sir.

Sergeant, would you mind if we looked around a little more?

Anything you say, Doctor.

Rather slim pickings for food, Dad.

They'd turn carnivorous for lack of a habitual diet.

I believe you're right.

What would turn carnivorous?

PAT: My father will tell you. GRAHAM: When?

When he's positive. Now, look, miss....

Doctor....

If the "Doctor" bothers you, why don't you call me "Pat."

I'd like to.

I've got a job to do, and enough mystery on my hands...

...without that old....

I mean, your father complicating things.

He is one of the world's greatest myrmecologists.

Myrmecologists! You see, that's what I mean!

Why don't we all talk English? Then we'd have some understanding.

DR. MEDFORD: Pat!

Come here.

It's the same kind of print. Look at it, Doctor.

It's gigantic.

Over 12 centimeters.

That would make the entire--

About two and a half meters in length. Over 8 feet.

See if there are more.

This is monstrous. So is the murder of five people, Doctor.

This is monstrous. So is the murder of five people, Doctor.

The direction of that print would indicate it came from that way.

Perhaps we should visit the store. There may be more there now.

Look here, before we do any more visiting, I want to know exactly what this "it" is.

Look here, before we do any more visiting, I want to know exactly what this "it" is.

Gentlemen, I understand your impatience.

I know you are concerned with solving what is essentially a local crime...

...but please believe me, I am not being coy with you.

If I'm wrong, no harm has been done. But if I'm correct...

...and the mounting evidence only fortifies my theory...

...then something incredible has happened in this desert.

In which case, none of us will dare risk revealing it, because...

...none of us can risk a nationwide panic.

A panic?

(High-pitched stridulation)


(Gunshots)

Get the antennae! Get the antennae!

Get the other antenna!

Get the other antenna! He's helpless without them!

(High-pitched stridulation stops)


BEN: What is it?

Species appears to be Camponotus vicinus.

Of the family of Formicidae. An ant.

An ant? I don't believe it. It's not possible!

Then this is what got Ed Blackburn, Gramps Johnson, and the rest?

Yes. A fantastic mutation.

Probably caused by lingering radiation from the first atomic bomb.

Notice its odor?

Formic acid? That's why the girl reacted so violently.

The Coroner said that Gramps was filled with it.

DR. MEDFORD: See that? It's the stinger.

Ants use their mandibles to rend, tear and hold their victims...

...but they kill with that, by injecting formic acid.

Mr. Johnson was stung to death.

There's no time to lose. We must find the colony, the nest.

There's more of them?

This was probably just a scout, foraging for food.

You heard the sound. The stridulation.

It communicated with others in the colony.

You mean these things send messages?

Of course. All insects have means of communication with their own kind!

(High-pitched stridulation recommences)

We may be witnesses to a Biblical prophesy come true.

"And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation.

"And the Beasts shall reign over the earth."

(High-pitched stridulation continues)

Doctor, this nest we're looking for. How many giant ants will be in it?

General, I really don't know.

If they follow the usual pattern of their species, the nest...

...depending upon its age, may contain hundreds or thousands.

...depending upon its age, may contain hundreds or thousands.

Thousands, Doctor? It's possible.

Look, if we run into thousands of the thing you killed yesterday...

...it'll take a bomber squadron plus an infantry regiment to mop up.

How could we keep that a secret?

You're jumping to conclusions, General.

There may not be nearly so many of these creatures as you suppose.

I'm not supposing anything after looking at that carcass.

What I can't understand is why no one has seen them until now.

For one reason, I don't believe these creatures developed until recently.

For another, their being here...

...in these hundreds of thousands of square miles of desert is....

No, that isn't it.

Could I speak to my daughter, please? Of course.

Thank you.

Hello, Pat?

DR. MEDFORD: Pat? You there? BEN: That's not the way to call.

BEN: We're Search Able, call Search Baker.

Right, General? Right.

Search Able to Search Baker.

Say, "Over."

Then say, "Over."

Over!

Medford and Baker to Medford and Able. Go ahead, Dad. Over.

Have you found anything yet?

Say, "Over."

I just said it. I know. Say it again.

Over!

Baker to Able: Not yet.

We're about three quarters of the way across our sector.

We're now at coordinates: Charlie-6. Over.

DR. MEDFORD: Don't pass up a thing.

Let me know when you find anything.

If you're finished say, "Over and out."

She knows I'm through talking. I know she does.

It's a rule. You've got to say it. Right, General?

GENERAL: Right. DR. MEDFORD: Ridiculous.

Lot of good your rules will do-- Over and out.

Now you're happy.

(Exasperated sigh)

Real calm fellow, isn't he?

Worried about him?

A little. He's not a young man. He shouldn't have made this trip, but...

A little. He's not a young man. He shouldn't have made this trip, but...

...he's a scientist and this is a scientist's dream come true.

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

PAT: Hold it!


PAT: Fly back over it and get as close as you can.

(High-pitched stridulation)

You've just found your missing persons.

Look, Dr. Medford...

...you're being inconsistent. First, you insist it's top secret.

Nobody else must know or do anything about getting rid of these big ants.

DR. MEDFORD: Correct. Absolute secrecy is imperative.

But then you turn around and say that time is the most important thing.

I've been told to take orders from you and give you what you ask for.

But if time is that important, why not let me go in tonight with some bombers...

...and wipe out that nest?

If you'll just calm down, General, I'll explain.

DR. MEDFORD: Doctor, please put up that chart.

Time is important, more so than you realize.

But bombing that nest tonight would only aggravate our problem.

The reason none of them have been seen during the day...

...even by the police spotting planes...

...is because they hate the heat of the desert.

They forage between sunset and dawn, when it's cool.

So half the colony wouldn't even be inside the nest tonight.

Our best chance will be during the hottest part of the day tomorrow.

Our best chance will be during the hottest part of the day tomorrow.

DR. MEDFORD: This illustrates a typical ant nest.

Observe the details.

Here is the entrance.

These are tunnels, corridors, and food chambers.

Note the wonderful and intricate engineering.

Water traps, so that none will drown during rains.

This is somewhat oversimplified, I admit...

...but it will give you an idea of what we are up against.

Do you know that some species of desert ants dig down...

...as deep as 30 feet or more?

That nest we found today might go down hundreds of feet.

We can pinpoint that opening. Seal it up for good.

The creatures would only tunnel out somewhere else.

We don't want that nest damaged. Not yet.

GRAHAM: What do we do?

First, we wait until noon tomorrow.

By that time, all of them should be within the nest.

To keep them confined in there is our next problem.

We have two possibilities:

First would be to flood the nest.

Ants will not come through deep water. They breathe through their sides.

Excuse me, Doctor, there's no water line within 20 miles of that place.

GENERAL: That's why you asked about our meteorological station.

Any chance of getting cloud formations?

Nothing that would make cloud seeding pay off.

Nobody's had any luck in making rain in this part of the desert.

The second possibility?

Enough heat to drive the ants deeper down into the nest, and hold them down.

But no bombing?

What about phosphorus? We can lay it over that mound with bazookas.

That would keep the surface area hot.

What happens after that?

We then drop cyanide gas into the opening and kill them.

How can you be sure you'll get all of them?

We go down into the nest and find out.

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

(Dramatic instrumental music)

Don't forget to tap me when you get that wired, General.

Don't rush me. I'm doing this by the book.

It's the first time I ever loaded one of these babies.

That makes us even. This is the first time I've ever given orders to a general.


(Suspenseful instrumental music)

We should've waited for it to cool more.

We don't dare lose time getting cyanide into that nest.


(High-pitched stridulation)

(Explosions)

DR. MEDFORD: Marvelously made.

Marvelous. Tell me, you only saw the one live ant?

He seemed to be trying to get out, rather than get us.

He stopped moving when the gas hit him. Then he dropped out of sight.

Didn't see or hear a thing from then on.

BEN: You think they're all dead?

I think so. You used enough gas.

All parts of the nest should have been thoroughly saturated by now.

If I can still raise an arm when we get out of here...

...I'll show you how well saturated I can get.

BEN: I'm with you.

DR. MEDFORD: If I were younger, I....

GRAHAM: What are you made up for?

I'm going with you and Ben.

No, you're not.

PAT: Someone with scientific knowledge has to go.

My father is physically unable to do it. That leaves me.

That leaves you here. We don't know what we'll find down there.

One thing for sure, it's no place for you or any other woman.

DR. MEDFORD: She wanted to go, Robert. As a scientist, I couldn't forbid her.

PAT: A trained observer has to go. GRAHAM: What for?

There are more important things than finding dead ants.

You wouldn't know what to look for! You tell us what.

There's no time to give you a course in insect pathology!

So let's stop talking and get on with it.

Okay.

PAT: Don't worry, Dad.

GRAHAM: Good luck, Sergeant.

GRAHAM: You come last, Pat.

Throw us the rest of the stuff down when I signal.

(Suspenseful instrumental music)


PAT: Hold it.

PAT: They're dead or they would have attacked us right away.

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

PAT: Look. Held together with saliva.

BEN: Spit is all that's holding me together right now, too.


(Scraping)

(High-pitched stridulation)

(High-pitched stridulation)

(Stridulation stops)

GRAHAM: How come the gas didn't kill them?

PAT: The chamber looked caved in from the bombing.

PAT: Sealed up that way, the gas couldn't reach them.

GRAHAM: If we run into any more live ones, we're getting out of here.

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

(Suspenseful instrumental music)


PAT: This is it!

The queen's chamber, and the eggs.


PAT: This is what I was afraid of. GRAHAM: What's wrong?

PAT: They're empty.

GRAHAM: What came out is dead, right? PAT: Not the ones hatched from these!

GRAHAM: What came out is dead, right? PAT: Not the ones hatched from these!

PAT: Now destroy everything in here. Burn it!

GRAHAM: What? PAT: I said burn it. Burn everything!

(Dramatic instrumental music)

(Dramatic instrumental music)


Very strange.

DR. MEDFORD: Most unusual.

PAT: No larvae or pupae in the egg chamber.

PAT: They seemed to hatch directly from the eggs.

PAT: I attribute it to the mutation process.

That's the logical conclusion.

You feel sure those two have gone? You found no winged ants?

PAT: We saw only worker ants.

I don't get it. You act like it was the end of the world.

It could be.

These two empty egg cases contained queen ants.

Newborn queen ants have wings, so have their consorts, male ants.

You found no ants with wings? Not a one.

The fact is we didn't destroy this first nest soon enough!

Two young queen ants hatched out, dried their wings and flew away...

Two young queen ants hatched out, dried their wings and flew away...

...each with one or more winged males. They've gone on their wedding flight.

We needn't worry about the males. They'll die very quickly, but the queens--

Doctor, are you telling us there'll be other nests?

A single queen can lay thousands of eggs.

From these will hatch dozens of other queens, who may in turn....

GENERAL: How far can they fly?

These giants? I don't know.

Ordinary queens of the smaller species have very limited flying powers.

They're dependent mostly on winds and thermal currents to carry them along.

They have been found in the stratosphere. But these giants....

I don't know, you guess.

I thought today was the end of them.

No.

We haven't seen the end of them.

We've only had a view of the beginning of what may be the end of us.

We'd better inform Washington, General.

(Dramatic instrumental music)

(lndistinct chatter)

OFFICIAL: Sergeant Peterson.

Sir? What about your superiors?

Do they know these creatures are causing the crimes in your desert?

No, sir, they don't.

Gen. O'Brien and Dr. Medford felt that absolute secrecy...

...about the existence of the big ants was essential.

Do you also think this extraordinary hush-hush is necessary?

Yes. I don't think there's a police force anywhere that could handle the panic...

...if people found out these babies were loose.

Gentlemen, I believe we are ready.

Some of you have displayed incredulous attitudes towards our reports and photos.

Some of you have displayed incredulous attitudes towards our reports and photos.

The rest of you are trying to understand the gravity of our situation...

...but repeatedly ask how really serious it is.

For your edification, I have prepared a short film...

...which I hope will give you some idea of the nature of the creatures we face.

In a small way, of course.

Robert, please turn out the lights.

DR. MEDFORD: These ants and related species are common to most of America.

In fact, you can find them in backyards, empty lots, and fields...

In fact, you can find them in backyards, empty lots, and fields...

...throughout the temperate zones of the world.

They haven't changed in form or habits...

...for more than 50 million years.

Here, for instance, is one such specimen...

...that got himself trapped in amber, which we know is at least that old.

Now we come to some different kind of ants.

The big fellow there, feeding on the smaller, red grease-eaters...

...is of a savage species called Camponotus vicinus Mayr.

He's of a desert variety.

Very similar to the giant mutations we found in New Mexico.

There is a side view of a small nest.

Those white objects are ant eggs.

Ants don't see well at all.

They hear, smell and locate objects with their radar-like antennae.

They hear, smell and locate objects with their radar-like antennae.

Only after food or an enemy is located with the antennae...

...are the savage mandibles put to work.

Now, gentlemen, watch this demonstration of power.

A pebble has blocked the entrance to the nest.

That creature is determined to remove the obstacle.

Note how the mandibles are used to grasp the pebble and pull it aside...

Note how the mandibles are used to grasp the pebble and pull it aside...

...with only a slight assist from another ant.

There's the same pebble on a laboratory scale.

Balancing it, is a dish containing 20 ants.

We've learned that one of these quarter-inch long insects can lift...

...20 times its own weight.

That's equal to one of you lifting a ton and a half or more!

Here are rare shots of a newborn queen and her consorts.

Technically, she should be referred to as a princess, until after the mating flight.

Technically, she should be referred to as a princess, until after the mating flight.

Now there is a close shot of a winged male.

Males are unequipped for survival beyond the mating and die soon after.

The queen flies on, or more precisely, is borne by the winds...

The queen flies on, or more precisely, is borne by the winds...

...until her need prompts her to seek a place to lay eggs.

Does a queen ever fly away from her nest once she's established it?

No, never. She loses her wings after the wedding flight.

DR. MEDFORD: See? One has dropped off.

Now she starts her function of establishing a place...

...in which to lay her eggs and begin the nest.

Queens live quite a long time. They continue to lay eggs...

...from the one mating...

...for from 15 to 17 years.

Here are ants at war.

As you can see, ants are savage, ruthless and courageous fighters.

As you can see, ants are savage, ruthless and courageous fighters.

This fight lasted 72 hours between those two alone.

This fight lasted 72 hours between those two alone.

Ants are the only creatures on Earth other than man...

...who make war.

They campaign. They are chronic aggressors.

They make slave laborers of the captives they don't kill.

None of the ants previously seen by man were more than an inch in length.

None of the ants previously seen by man were more than an inch in length.

Most were considerably under that size.

But even the most minute of them have an instinct and talent for industry...

But even the most minute of them have an instinct and talent for industry...

...social organization and savagery...

...that makes man look feeble by comparison.

How large were the ants you found?

DR. MEDFORD: The smallest measured nine feet in body length.

That, gentlemen, is why you are here.

To consider this problem.

And I hope, solve it. Because unless you solve it...

...unless these queens are located and destroyed...

...before they've established thriving colonies and can produce...

...heaven alone knows how many more queen ants...

...man, as the dominant species of life on Earth...

...will probably be extinct...

...within a year, Doc?

(Sighs)

(Ominous instrumental music)

NEWSMAN: How about some information, Senator?

SENATOR: Sorry, no comment.

There must be something you can tell us.

All the newswire services, AP, UP, INS, are in there, but nothing's coming out.

All the newswire services, AP, UP, INS, are in there, but nothing's coming out.

No newsmen are being allowed in there.

What was that mysterious 3:00 a.m. meeting about?

Can't tell you a thing, boys, sorry.

There are about a million radio receivers installed in there, too.

NEWSMAN 2: Why? NEWSMAN: I don't know.


Texans. When bigger stories are told, Texans will tell them.

Should fit in with the kind of stuff they're looking for upstairs.

Know what's going on in this building? No.

Real "T.S." stuff. Top Secret.

Okay, we'll meet you at the airport in 20 minutes.

Says he can have us in Brownsville in less than three hours.

DR. MEDFORD: Good luck, Bob.

They ain't kidding me. Nobody is. Not you, not anybody.

This isn't a hospital. This is a loony bin. A nuthouse.

Do you think I'm crazy? I don't care what you think. I'm not!

I saw those things with my own two eyes!

Do you think anybody could make it up? A guy would have to be nuts....

You're a flyer. You didn't get that yard sitting on the ground.

You've seen guys blow their stacks.

Do you think I act and talk like a guy who has lost his marbles?

Tell us what you saw, Mr. Crotty.

I've told those head-shrinking doctors four dozen times! I'm sick of it.

I tell them and I get laughed at and clucked over.

You promise not to laugh at me?

Promise.

Okay.

I was flying south from Corpus Christi, heading here, Brownsville.

I turned in from the Gulf, heading for the airport about 20 miles out...

...all of a sudden I see these flying saucers.

Three of them. One big and two little ones.

I had to do some fancy flying or they'd have run right into me.

I dived down and landed in the first place I saw, a street.

I've never been so rattled in my life.

I cracked up a little, sure.

I plowed into an old Ford and ended up on someone's porch.

Who wouldn't lose their head after seeing something like that?

They were flying saucers? I don't know what else to call them.

CROTTY: They were shaped...

...like ants.

It sounds crazy but that's what they were shaped like.

The big one was about 15 feet long and had wings like a fly.

The other two seemed to be chasing the big one. One here. Two here.

They zoomed around me like kamikazes. Scared me out of my pants!

Excuse me, ma'am.

They said that Ford wasn't a new one. It was all beat up to begin with.

So what's all the beef?

You don't believe me either. Do you?

On the contrary, we do.

You do?

Good.

What direction were these flying saucers going the last time you saw them?

What direction were these flying saucers going the last time you saw them?

West, I'd say. Yes, due west.

Will you get me out of here?

We'll speak to the doctor about it. I'd appreciate it.

Try and get my clothes, too. They only gave me these slippers...

...but not even a rope to hold up my pants.

We'll be seeing you. Be right neighborly if you could help.

I'll sure be hoping.

DOCTOR: Mr. Graham? GRAHAM: Yes?

How was your talk with Mr. Crotty?

You're wise to keep him locked up, Doctor.

I've recommended his release. He's not demented.

I'm convinced he's trying to pull a publicity stunt with this weird story.

The government wants him to be kept here...

...so he doesn't get any publicity.

The government?

He's to have no visitors.

If any information is given out about him, you'll be held responsible.

GRAHAM: I can't tell you why this is essential.

We'll let you know as soon as possible. We'll tell you when he's well.

A bit more than 700 air miles from White Sands to Brownsville.

Southeast.

This Crotty said they were heading west when he saw them.

I believe him.

There were strong easterly winds the day Crotty saw the ants.

There were strong easterly winds the day Crotty saw the ants.

They'd follow the line of least resistance.

We can surmise that one of the queens, possibly both of them...

...can create nests in this general area.

We'd better inform the Mexican authorities...

...and concentrate our search efforts here.

As far south as Panama. As far north as...

...Santa Barbara, on the California coast.

That's an awful lot of area.

(Telephone rings)

I'll get it.

Hello?

Dr. Medford speaking.

What?

I'll be right there.

(Dramatic instrumental music)

"A nest hatched aboard a ship at sea."

(Dramatic instrumental music swells)

(Beeping in Morse code)

(Gunshots)

(Screaming)

(High-pitched stridulation)

ADMIRAL: I'm sure you'll be interested in this report I just received:

" U.S.S. Milwaukee got radio bearing on S.S. Viking before signal stopped.

"Milwaukee proceeded at once to location.

"Two seamen from Viking rescued from sea by Milwaukee.

"Seamen said no survivors remained aboard Viking.

"Not possible to put aboard search and rescue party...

"...as Viking was infested with the giant ants."

Upon my orders, the S.S. Viking has been sunk with naval gunfire.

Upon my orders, the S.S. Viking has been sunk with naval gunfire.

This was accomplished at 0700 this morning.

I don't see how a ship at sea could....

1st OFFICIAL: Dr. Medford...

...how could these giant creatures get aboard that vessel unseen?

The S.S. Viking anchored in Acapulco, Mexico, for three days and four nights.

It's then and there we believe one of these missing queen ants flew aboard.

Please give them your information.

"Owners of the S.S. Viking reported that on hold number one...

"...the hatch cover was off during the entire time of loading. Even at night.

"The crew had shore leave every night so only a skeleton crew remained on watch."

It was quite possible for a queen ant to have flown onto that ship unseen.

An open hold would be inviting as a place to lay her eggs and hatch out a nest.

I think it's time to inform the public. It can't be kept a secret indefinitely.

I think it's time to inform the public. It can't be kept a secret indefinitely.

We can't risk it, sir.

But you already have.

The entire crew of the cruiser Milwaukee knows about these things now.

They know, but the Milwaukee will be kept at sea until this is resolved.

What do those flags on the map indicate?

These four indicate where we found dead male ants.

The most recent finding was about four days ago near Mt. Wilson in California.

It was decomposed and must have been there for a month to five weeks.

This flag, at Los Angeles, indicates a lead.

Mr. Graham and Sgt. Ben Peterson are there now.

They were flown there by Maj. Kibbee to check on a large sugar theft.

Forty tons, to be exact.

(Train whistle blows)

GRAHAM: When was this car broken into?

I told you, Friday night.

Yard watchman claims he didn't see or hear a thing.

What's so important you got to work on Sunday?

Where's the watchman?

City jail. Any boob knows you need trucks to carry away 40 tons of stuff.

Said he didn't hear them. He's either lying or he's deaf.

And he ain't deaf.

GRAHAM: Let's go see him. BEN: Yeah.

Thanks, buddy.

After spoiling my day off you could at least tell me...

...how come a government cop is so interested in this deal.

He's got a sweet tooth.

GRAHAM: It's the only job you've ever had?

I've had a clean record for 30 years at the railroad.

Yard cop thinks you made a deal not to see that car broken into.

What sense does that make?

Is sugar rare cargo? Is there a black market for it?

Did you ever hear of a fence for hot sugar?

If I made a deal with crooks, it wouldn't be for 40 tons of sugar!

I swear I didn't hear a thing Friday night.

BEN: I'll be right back.

(Woman crying)

That woman just identified the body of her husband. See him right away.

WATCHMAN: I've never had anything to do with crooks. I'm an honest man.

Sure, you can go home now. Take care of him, will you?

Thank you.

I don't think this happened in a machine.

Any machine that pulled hard enough to tear his arm off at the shoulder...

...would also have chopped up his face.

Look at the laceration across his chest.

Can't figure it, except he died from shock and loss of blood.

Thanks very much.

His name's Thomas Lodge.

Police found him, 6:30 a.m. His car jumped a curb, went into a sign...

...but not hard enough to do that. They couldn't find the other arm.

His wife said that he left the house at 5:45.

He had his two kids with him. No sign of the kids yet.

(Melancholic instrumental music)

GRAHAM: Mrs. Lodge...

...was your husband accustomed to taking his boys out so early?

Tom works on Sunday from 9:00 to 7:00. It's an extra job he had.

Tom works on Sunday from 9:00 to 7:00. It's an extra job he had.

He works so hard, he doesn't have much time to spend with Jerry and Mike.

Sundays they get up early and go somewhere together to play.

Do you know where they might have gone this morning?

Where?

They go different places.

Last Sunday, Tom took the boys to the zoo.

They had such a good time.

Tom fixed it with a keeper so they could get in early...

...and watch the feeding of the animals.

Jerry talked about it all week.

Where else did they go?

Sometimes Tom took them boat riding at MacArthur Park.

For pony rides and miniature golf.

They always come home so happy. And so dirty!

I kept asking Tom to do things where they won't get so dirty.

I spent the rest of the day cleaning them.

Can I see you a moment?

BEN: Rough? GRAHAM: Yeah.

BEN: Bob, these are the two officers who found Lodge.

This is Ryan. Sutton.

Patrolmen Sutton and Ryan. This is Bob Graham.

Dr. Medford and Pat are flying here with Gen. O'Brien tonight.

Kibbee called. He'll be over after he's had a little breakfast.

Show me on the map just exactly where you found Lodge.

Right there. And he was dead when you found him?

Where's MacArthur Park?

That's a long ways.

GRAHAM: We've got to find out where he took the kids.

He couldn't have driven far. He was too cut up.

Is there any area where you found him where he might've taken the kids...

...for a boat ride or miniature golf? Pony rides, stuff like that.

RYAN: I don't know any miniature golf courses.

Griffith Park is the closest where they rent horses.

That's a long way, too. Doesn't his wife know where they went?

No.

Did you make any arrests this morning, say between 4:00 a.m. and noon?

RYAN: Yes, sir.

Four. Three drunks and a traffic citation.

GRAHAM: I'd like to talk to them.

They might have seen something that'll help us.

Where were you going when you were arrested?

I don't know.

I don't even know where I was coming from.

How about you? I don't know either.

As I said before, I prefer the informal type of social life.

I disagree with you. Really?

I'm at my best in my white tie and tails.

All right, Beau Brummell, knock it off.

Look, miss....

All I did was go through a red light. At 60 mph?

Was something chasing you? No, I was in a hurry to get home.

Where from?

I spent the night with a sick friend.

I'd rather not mention any names, he's married.

Okay, you can go. Thank you.

I'm through with them. Let them go back to the tank and sleep it off.

All right, let's go. With pleasure, sir.

GRAHAM: You said there were three?

The other one's in the alcoholic ward at the hospital.

Practically a permanent resident there.

GRAHAM: Let's go talk to him, too.

Sneaked out of here Saturday afternoon. Back at 5:00 this morning.

You can talk to him, but I don't think he'll cooperate.

Hey, Admiral, are we gonna be drafted?

No, sir.

DOCTOR: Behave yourself, Harry. This is the man. Mind your manners.

If he gives you trouble, I'm outside. He won't.

BEN: Hello, Jensen. How are you?

How do, gentlemen? Looking for recruits?

KIBBEE: Not today.

Jensen, you come here often, don't you? I like it here.

What have you been doing lately? Same as always, nothing.

But I got some deals on.

GRAHAM: Sure.

You didn't see anything unusual yesterday or this morning, did you?

No, nothing unusual. Same as always.

They're gone now.

I saw some little airplanes this morning.

Didn't seem big enough for them to get into.

Big enough for who?

The ants.

I'd like to get out of here, but I ain't joining the Army to do it!

You can't make me, there's laws! We know.

Jensen, what kind of ants did you see?

Big ones.

Ain't there now.

Mostly at night I see them. Where?

General, I'll make a deal with you:

If you make me a sergeant in charge of the booze, and I'll enlist.

Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze!

Make me a sergeant in charge of the booze!

Exactly where do these ants show up? In the river.

In the river.

I saw it once when it had water in it.

Now, when was that?

JENSEN: Let me see.

GRAHAM: In the river bed.

Those big openings in the sides are like sewer outlets.

Jensen, how long have you been seeing these things?

A long time. How long have I been here?

The doctor says he was first admitted five months ago.

Thanks, Mac.

Take me with you and I'll enlist, I promise.

Make me a sergeant!

JENSEN: Give me the booze! Make me a sergeant. Give me the booze!

Please, my nerves!

(Dramatic instrumental music)


Which way is the hospital, Ryan?

RYAN: Right over there.

Ben, come here.

Pretty good model of a kid's idea of an L-1.

Get on the radio and contact Mrs. Lodge.

Find out if the kids ever owned a plane like that. Wait for a report.

RYAN: Right.


Here's tire marks.

New tires. Lodge had new tires on his car, didn't he?

Yeah.

KIBBEE: Hey, Bob! Ben!

(Dramatic instrumental surge)

BEN: It's them all right.

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

I don't smell formic acid, do you?

No, but it could all fall right into place.

Lodge and his kids down here flying their model plane.

Suddenly, the ants attack.

Lodge fights to protect his kids.

Somehow, he breaks away, gets into his car, and drives off.

But what about the kids?

Maybe they ran away.

No, we'd have picked them up by now.

Unless they ran in here.

RYAN: Mr. Graham!

That model plane belonged to the Lodge kids.

The husband used to bring the boys down here to fly it.

Got to be the same plane, same color. And there's no model plane at home.

Where do these things go? I mean, how far do they go?

Don't know for sure, but there's more than 700 miles of them under the city.

(Dramatic instrumental music)

(Excited chatter)

NEWSMAN: Why is the Army sending troops into L.A.?

NEWSMAN 2: And a Marine regiment?

NEWSMAN 3: Why a special press conference at 5:00 on a Sunday?

You'll just have to wait. Why all the VIPs from Washington?

Has the cold war gotten hot?

Gentlemen, come in now.

This is the most serious crisis this city has ever faced.

There's no time for questions. Listen carefully...

...so you can report the facts to your newspapers.

This is Dr. Harold Medford of the Department of Agriculture.

Gen. O'Brien, Air Force Intelligence.

Gen. James, Army Intelligence. The others you know.

Ready, sir? One moment.

ANNOUNCER: Set, Charlie? CHARLIE: You're on.

We interrupt all radio and television programs indefinitely.

Keep your radio and television sets turned on. This is an emergency.

Keep your radio and television sets turned on. This is an emergency.

I repeat, this is an emergency!

"By direction of the President of the United States...

"...and the Governor of the State of California, and the Mayor...

"...the city of Los Angeles is...

"...in the interests of public safety, hereby under martial law.

(Exclamations of surprise)

"Curfew is at 1800 hours.

"Any persons on the street or outside their quarters after 6:00 p.m...

"Any persons on the street or outside their quarters after 6:00 p.m...

"...will be subject to arrest by military police."

Now as for the reasons for this most drastic decision:

A couple of months ago in the New Mexico desert, giant ants were discovered.

They're similar in appearance to the ones you're familiar with.

They're similar in appearance to the ones you're familiar with.

Except they are mutations, ranging in size from 9 to 12 feet in length.

Except they are mutations, ranging in size from 9 to 12 feet in length.

The New Mexico colony was destroyed, but two queen ants escaped.

One has been found and destroyed. The other has not yet been found.

It has established a nest in the storm drains beneath the streets of Los Angeles.

It has established a nest in the storm drains beneath the streets of Los Angeles.

It's not known how long this nest has been established...

...or how many of these lethal monsters have hatched.

Maybe a few, maybe thousands.

If new queen ants have hatched and escaped this nest...

...other American cities may be in danger.

These creatures are extremely dangerous.

They've already killed a number of persons.

Stay in your homes. I repeat, stay in your homes!

Your personal safety, the safety of the entire city...

...depends upon your full cooperation with the military authorities.

(Dramatic instrumental music)

You got a pass to be down here, lady?

No, but I'm with Mrs. Lodge. This is a restricted area. Let's go.

Hold it, Sergeant!

This is the mother-- They have no pass--

Go talk to the general.

BEN: Good evening, Mrs. Lodge.

Is there any word yet? No, not yet.

We've got an awful lot of people to help find them.

This may take awhile. Why not go home? Oh, no.

I want to be here when-- Sure. Take it easy and try not to worry.

ENGINEER: Since time is of the essence...

...I recommend we pour gasoline into those drains and light it.

It'll burn out anything in there and we can still control the fire...

...so there'll be no property damage on the street.

Any ants that get through, the troops can take care of.

We can't do that until we know whether those two kids are in there.

Think there's a chance they're still alive?

Are we supposed to jeopardize the lives of everyone for children...

...who in all probability are already dead?

Ask their mother that question. She's right over there.

I see what you mean.

We not only have her to think of, but as I told you before...

...we can't risk fire until we know if any new queens have hatched...

...and flown out of this nest. Where's Gen. O'Brien?

He's over there by the command car. Thank you.

Can we start now, General? I think so.

How about it, Major? Waiting for more coverage to the north.

Contact the northern units, soldier.

Northern units come in. How about the south?

All drains as far as Long Beach...

...are covered by bazookas or flamethrowers.

Openings of these drains? Police and Marines are covering.

How about it, soldier?

SOLDIER: Can't contact northern units, sir.

GENERAL: Let's go ahead anyway.

Gen. O'Brien to all search units: Proceed into storm drains!

O'CONNELL: Yes, sir? GENERAL: Get moving.

O'CONNELL: Come on, boys, let's get rolling!

Roll them out of here!

(Dramatic instrumental music)

(Dramatic instrumental music)

Watch yourself, Bob.


Graham in drain 203.

Graham in drain 203. In six-tenths of a mile, nothing to report. Over.

Medford in drain 207.

Medford in drain 207. In half of a mile. Nothing to report, over.

Peterson in drain 223.

Peterson in 223, we're in six-tenths of a mile. Nothing to report, over.

KIBBEE: This is Kibbee in drain 192.

Repeat, Kibbee in 192, in eight-tenths. Nothing to report, over.

Repeat, Kibbee in 192, in eight-tenths. Nothing to report, over.

(Rumbling)

Wait a minute, hold it.

Kill the motor.

(Creaking)

Did you hear that? Yeah.

This is Peterson! Stop all motors!

This is Peterson! Stop all motors!

(Strange tapping in pipes)

This is Peterson in drain 223.

Peterson in drain 223. We're in just over a mile. I hear something.

(Tapping in pipes)

There it is again. Stand by.

Where does this thing go?

DRIVER: That pipe runs into a main line drain that isn't finished yet.

Still in the construction stage.

BEN: Give me a hand.

Tell them where I'm going.

Peterson is going through the connecting feeder to drain 267.

We've heard what may be the kids. Repeat, we've heard what may be the kids.

Stand by.

BEN: There's construction down there? DRIVER: Yeah.

Tell O'Brien to turn the work lights on. Right.

My map shows a portion of drain 267 is unfinished...

...with construction postponed for the last 60 days.

If they've left work lights installed, turn them on. Stand by.

If they've left work lights installed, turn them on. Stand by.

(Banging)

(Banging)

Mike? Jerry? Are you there?

MIKE: Yes, we're here! BEN: Schmitty, they're alive!

They're alive.

Tell Mrs. Lodge her boys are alive.

(High-pitched stridulation)

BEN: Mike, Jerry, stay where you are! We'll get you out, but don't move!

BEN: Mike, Jerry, stay where you are! We'll get you out, but don't move!

BEN: There's two ants in here.

I got a strong brood odor, like in the New Mexico nest!

Report that to O'Brien. Tell him I must be near the nest.

I can't use the flamethrower. The kids are right in the line of fire.

BEN: Tell O'Brien to send in troops.

DRIVER: Peterson says it has the same smell as the nest in New Mexico.

"Brood odor," he calls it. He asks for troops to be sent in.

He's found the nest!

To all units, condition red. Drain 267 is the target area!

Repeat, condition red. Drain 267 is the target area!

(Message repeating on radios)

(Message repeating on radios)

(Dramatic instrumental music)

(Dramatic instrumental music)

Repeat, condition red. Drain 267 is the target area.

O'Connors, bring up my jeep. I hope we've found this nest in time.

(High-pitched stridulation)


BEN: Mike, Jerry, get in the corner!

BEN: Come on Jerry, Mike, let's get out of here!

Come on, Mike.

We're going through this pipe. There's a man at the other end.

Keep crawling until you get down there. Understand?

BEN: Grab hold. Go on.

BEN: Keep crawling, to the other end.


(High-pitched stridulation continues)

GRAHAM: Put your light over there!

Keep at them!

GRAHAM: Ben.

How about the kids, Ben? They're okay.

The pipe....

Medics!


Stop the firing! Cease fire!

No more explosives, we can't risk closing off the nest.

Is there any type of gas we can use?

We can't take a chance, might poison the whole city.

We must locate the egg chamber, find out if any new queens have hatched.

(High-pitched stridulation stops)

Medics!

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

(Suspenseful instrumental music)

GENERAL: Start digging, you guys.

GENERAL: Hurry up, dig.

(High-pitched stridulation)

(High-pitched stridulation)


(High-pitched stridulation stops)

(High-pitched stridulation)

Hold it. Don't burn anything until we get the okay.

General, where's Dr. Medford? He's coming.

Is this it, Doctor?

DR. MEDFORD: New princess ants. New queens.

This is the egg chamber. The same as we found in New Mexico.

GRAHAM: Are we too late?

Fortunately, we're in time.

I'm certain no new queens have escaped from this nest.

The job will be done when these are destroyed.

Okay, burn them out.

Pat, if these monsters are a result of the first atomic bomb in 1945...

...what about all the others that have been exploded since then?

I don't know.

Nobody knows, Robert.

When man entered the atomic age, he opened a door into a new world.

What we'll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict.

(Dramatic instrumental climax)

(English SDH)