Tue 19 Mar 2013
“All the Time in the World.” An episode of Tales of Tomorrow (ABC-TV, 1951-1953). Season 1, Episode 37 (37th of 85). First broadcast: 13 June 1952. Cast: Esther Ralston (The Collector), Don Hanmer (Henry Judson), Jack Warden (Steve), Lewis Charles (Tony), Sam Locante (Bartender), Bob Williams (Narrator). Writer: Arthur C. Clarke (story, 1951). Director: Don Medford.
In his stuffy office Henry Judson does no apparent work — which is understandable, since Henry is a mid-level criminal sometimes referred to as a fixer. Like middle management in legitimate business, Henry arranges for things to be done, usually without much personal involvement on his part. Whenever he sees an opportunity for criminal “enterprise,” he fixes things with still lower-level thugs who then do the dirty work.
But on this hot afternoon, he gets very personally involved with a strange but beautiful woman who is willing to give him a hundred thousand dollars to do a job, with another hundred thousand when he completes it.
The job? She gives him a laundry list of things to steal, which includes not only rare books but also some of the most valuable paintings in the world. Just walk in, pick them up, and walk right out. Piece of cake.
Henry’s skepticism is understandable, of course — until the woman, who insists on being called “The Collector,” shows him how it’s done.
When Henry woke up that morning he never remotely suspected that before the day was through he would be using a bracelet to break into a museum and — even more importantly — agonizing over how to spend the last few precious moments of his life.
Along the way, this story quietly raises a question: Can it be regarded as a crime if someone steals something in order to save it?
Retrovision has “All the Time in the World” archived here.
Arthur Clarke’s original story is online here. In his book, The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, he writes: “This was my first story ever to be adapted for TV — ABC, 13 June 1952. Although I worked on the script, I have absolutely no recollection of the programme, and can’t imagine how it was produced in pre-video-tape days!”