185-“Hobson’s Choice”

Original Airdate:  (April 7, 1962)

Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor, is staying at the Carlton Hotel, preparing for a series of demonstrations of his new nitroclycerin compound. Unfortunately, his boxes of the compound are delivered to the wrong address. Paladin is called in to prevent an explosive situation.

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, Written by Robert E. Thompson.

Parley Baer as Sam Thurber
Frenchia Guizon as Man
Harrison Lewis as Barber
Shawn Michaels as Husband
Titus Moede as Hartman – Thurber’s helper
Ollie O’Toole as Drunk
Jan Peters as Carriage Maker
Milton Selzer as Dr. Alfred NobelDR. ALFRED NOBEL
Olan Soule as Hotel Carlton Assistant Mgr. Cartwright
Duke Fishman as Passerby (uncredited)

 Thurber, there’s enough nitroglycerin here to blow this wagon
and all us with it to dust. Now if you still want to steal it, go ahead.

HEYBOY
Mr. Paladin.

PALADIN
Hey Boy! Hey Boy, do you do these things on purpose?

HEYBOY
Oh, I didn’t realize you know that lady.

PALADIN
Well, I didn’t know her, and thanks to you, I probably never will. What do you want?

HEYBOY
Mr. Cartwright asks if he can see you.

PALADIN
The assistant manager?
Well…
I had thought my bill was all paid up to date.

13
00:01:54,628 –> 00:01:57,756
No, no, no, nothing of that nature at all. Your account with the hotel has never been in question. Actually, it’s in the nature of a favor. Though, of course, the hotel would expect to arrange for some proper remuneration.

PALADIN
What sort of a favor, Mr. Cartwright?

19
00:02:10,410 –> 00:02:14,506
It’s that European person. Uh, Swedish I think he said. And when I saw his letter of credit from the Bank of England, I gave him the Presidential Suite without a moment’s hesitation. At that time, the name meant nothing to me. It might just has easily have been Smith or Jones as Nobel.

PALADIN
Alfred Nobel?

25
00:02:29,029 –> 00:02:31,190
Yes. Yes, that’s who he is. Here. The story’s right here in the paper.

PALADIN
“Swedish inventor of blasting gelatin in San Francisco. Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor, is at residence in the Hotel Carlton of this city. He plans a series of demonstrations of his blasting gelatin, which he calls a nitroglycerin compound.”
Well, you see?

PALADIN
No, I’m afraid I don’t.
Here. Five room cancellations just since that story came out in the paper this morning.
Mr. Nobel sent word to the desk that he specifically wanted to see you. And I just thought that since you’d be talking to him anyway, uh, perhaps you could suggest to him that he might find, uh, more suitable quarters.

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
Yes? Come in!
I will be with you directly.

41
00:03:36,830 –> 00:03:39,162
Thank you.
Mr. Nobel?

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
Forgive me, but I’ve been forced to prepare some new supplies of my nitroglycerin
compound. There has been a very regrettable, uh…what would you say in the American phrase…a mix-up, very regrettable. Completely wrong shipment. Mineral oil. Pure, simple mineral oil.

PALADIN
You mean that somebody has your nitroglycerin by mistake?

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
Yes, I’m afraid that may be the case. But I’ve been put on to a gentlemen who may be able to trace it down for me. A Mister…A gentlemen named Paladin.

PALADIN
I’m Paladin.

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
Oh, I see. Forgive me. Would you be so kind as to hold this a moment?

PALADIN
This, I take it, is some of your nitroglycerin?

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
Yes, but it is quite safe, as long as the chemical balances are not unduly altered.
I will show you.

PALADIN
Mr. Nobel, I would be very happy to take your word for that.

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
Of course. But contamination is a distinct problem. Here. It should decompose and explode in a matter of 30 seconds. 25. 20. Oh, there is no danger at all, you understand. The container is two-inch thick lead, insulated by cotton batting. Eight seconds. Five. Do you realize, sir, the implications this substance of mine holds for all mankind?

p
I’m afraid I do.

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
I have calculated that effectively placed, fewer than 500 containers of nitroglycerine
could essentially destroy the entire city of London. Think of that!

PALADIN
I would prefer not to.

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
But I can imagine what war will be like now. But there will be no more war. My invention will insure peace, I am certain of it. Each nation will now have the means to
destroy the other. No army would dare to march. When each government has supplies of nitroglycerin at its command, a balance of terror will exist. Then, finally, there will be peace in the world because no one would dare to begin such carnage.
No one but a madman with power. In the course of human history, hasn’t there always been a ready supply of men like that? Hannibal ravaged Rome with swords, spears. Rome destroyed Carthage with the same weapons. Genghis Khan found bows and arrows adequate to his purposes, and Napoleon managed to slaughter half the population of Europe with flintlocks.

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
But nitroglycerin is not like bows and arrows or spears. It is entirely different. It is the ultimate weapon.

98
00:07:44,511 –> 00:07:47,207
And human nature remains the same.

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
No. No. When men truly understand my invention, when they realize that its power can be used for good, to move mountains, build dams, change the course of rivers and turn deserts into farmland, then, surely, they will choose that rather than their own destruction. Why, those ten missing containers alone are enough…

106
00:08:15,642 –> 00:08:18,338
Enough to destroy half this city. Have the authorities been notified?

108
00:08:22,415 –> 00:08:27,614
No, it might cause a panic. Well, it should be easy enough to trace, providing it hasn’t fallen into the wrong hands.

111
00:09:19,672 –> 00:09:21,401
Well…

112
00:09:21,541 –> 00:09:25,443
According to the shipping company records, this should be it.

113
00:09:43,129 –> 00:09:46,963
Dr. Mono? You got customers.

114
00:09:48,701 –> 00:09:51,602
Ah! Gentlemen!

115
00:09:52,906 –> 00:09:55,966
No need to tell why you’ve sought me out.

116
00:09:56,109 –> 00:09:57,736
Nervous palpitations brought on by a disbalance of fluids throughout the system.

118
00:10:00,380 –> 00:10:04,282
You came to the right place, sir, and may I say barely in time.

119
00:10:04,417 –> 00:10:06,647
Dr. Mono’s Wonder Nerve Elixir.

120
00:10:06,786 –> 00:10:09,516
I am not suffering from nervous palpitations.

121
00:10:09,656 –> 00:10:11,920
I am looking for a Sam Thurber.

122
00:10:15,495 –> 00:10:18,589
Are you, uh…Are you bill collectors?

123
00:10:18,731 –> 00:10:20,722
No, it’s about to a misrouted shipment.

124
00:10:20,867 –> 00:10:23,597
Oh, you mean about this stuff here?

125
00:10:23,736 –> 00:10:26,534
Well, let me tell you something, I ain’t about to pay for that stuff.

126
00:10:26,673 –> 00:10:29,972
I ordered mineral oil, and they sent me me some kind of glycerin.

127
00:10:30,109 –> 00:10:32,907
One thing Sam Thurber ain’t is a chump.

128
00:10:33,046 –> 00:10:34,604
Yes, this is it.

129
00:10:34,747 –> 00:10:37,215
There are only nine boxes of it. Where is the other box?

130
00:10:37,350 –> 00:10:40,251
I mixed up a batch of goods with it, but it tasted pretty awful.

131
00:10:40,386 –> 00:10:43,651
I had to get rid of it by hawking it off at half-price south of Mission.

132
00:10:43,790 –> 00:10:45,815
I got a couple of bottles of it around here someplace.

133
00:10:45,959 –> 00:10:49,258
Get me a bottle of that bile mix.

134
00:10:55,201 –> 00:10:57,066
Ahh!

135
00:10:57,203 –> 00:10:58,727
There you are.

136
00:11:00,239 –> 00:11:02,173
Alcohol.

137
00:11:02,308 –> 00:11:04,299
And vanilla.

138
00:11:09,515 –> 00:11:11,176
This is very dangerous.

139
00:11:11,317 –> 00:11:16,186
The chemical decomposition has probably set
in already.

140
00:11:16,322 –> 00:11:18,153
Well, then that stuff could
go off any minute.

141
00:11:18,291 –> 00:11:19,815
Not necessarily. It depends upon the rate of decomposition, which in turn depends on the interaction of the ingredients.

144
00:11:25,264 –> 00:11:28,290
I must have all of this mixture back.

145
00:11:28,434 –> 00:11:30,698
I don’t know.

146
00:11:30,837 –> 00:11:33,032
That other stuff I put in there is pretty costly.

147
00:11:33,172 –> 00:11:35,163
I wouldn’t want to…

148
00:11:36,843 –> 00:11:39,937
$100?

149
00:11:40,079 –> 00:11:43,173
Uh, drag out the other bottle of that bad bile mix.

150
00:11:43,316 –> 00:11:46,581
Now just a minute. Whoa! Whoa! Aah!

151
00:11:46,719 –> 00:11:48,778
I’ll get it.

152
00:11:54,861 –> 00:11:56,419
How many bottles of this did you sell?

153
00:11:56,562 –> 00:12:00,089
17 of them.
Thank you.

154
00:12:00,233 –> 00:12:03,327
We must find those 17 bottles.

155
00:12:03,403 –> 00:12:05,268
Wait a minute. What about this stuff?

156
00:12:05,405 –> 00:12:07,896
It is stable. This is our main concern.

157
00:12:08,041 –> 00:12:11,772
Nobel, I can’t leave this here with him.

158
00:12:11,911 –> 00:12:13,378
You are right.

159
00:12:13,513 –> 00:12:16,209
What a minute! What about my mineral oil?

160
00:12:16,349 –> 00:12:20,285
We’ll send you the mineral oil from the hotel.

161
00:12:32,298 –> 00:12:34,630
Look! I found another one.

162
00:12:34,767 –> 00:12:36,701
Except it’s almost empty.

163
00:12:36,836 –> 00:12:39,202
Well, throw it out.

164
00:13:05,531 –> 00:13:07,624
Yeah.

165
00:13:07,767 –> 00:13:11,225
No wonder they paid so much to get that stuff back.

166
00:13:13,639 –> 00:13:17,973
But I think I know somebody who will pay even better.

167
00:13:23,349 –> 00:13:25,146
Liver tonic?

168
00:13:25,284 –> 00:13:27,616
Nope, don’t think so.

169
00:13:27,753 –> 00:13:29,687
Well, It was sold around the neighborhood.

170
00:13:29,822 –> 00:13:31,722
Perhaps you’ve seen somebody else with a bottle like this.
Oh, that stuff. My old woman bought some of it. Couldn’t gall it down, though. I’ve been using it to grease axles.

173
00:13:43,503 –> 00:13:44,993
Aah!

174
00:13:48,574 –> 00:13:50,201
Here it is. Stuff ain’t no good for man, beast, or wagon, though. All it done was smoke up and fizzle when I put it on the axle.

177
00:13:56,782 –> 00:13:58,079
Here, let me show you.

178
00:13:58,217 –> 00:14:02,551
Sir, I’d be very happy to take your word for that.

179
00:14:02,622 –> 00:14:04,112
$10?

180
00:14:04,257 –> 00:14:06,953
And I will pay the same to anyone else who has a bottle of this.

181
00:14:07,093 –> 00:14:11,086
Oh. I’ll sure enough tell anybody I see.

182
00:14:19,739 –> 00:14:22,731
Just a moment. May it see it for just a moment, please?

183
00:14:24,844 –> 00:14:28,712
Dr. Mono apparently has a label for every ailment.

184
00:14:28,848 –> 00:14:32,079
The other three bottles, please.

185
00:14:33,319 –> 00:14:35,446
Sure!

186
00:14:45,932 –> 00:14:47,331
Hey, you! You!

187
00:14:47,466 –> 00:14:50,697
You wanna a drink?
No, but I want that bottle.

188
00:14:50,836 –> 00:14:52,565
Oh, no you don’t!

189
00:14:52,705 –> 00:14:57,540
Ha ha! No! The best stuff I ever had! It’s got a real kick to it!

190
00:14:57,677 –> 00:15:00,737
I know! I’ll pay you for it.

191
00:15:00,880 –> 00:15:03,474
Oh, no, you don’t!

192
00:15:06,886 –> 00:15:09,047
We must get this man quick to a doctor.

193
00:15:09,188 –> 00:15:11,383
In large doses, it is poisonous.

194
00:15:11,524 –> 00:15:14,254
And you were going to create a balance of terror?

195
00:15:14,393 –> 00:15:16,953
Give everybody in the world nitroglycerin?

196
00:15:17,096 –> 00:15:19,826
What about this, the innocent misuse, the regrettable mistake?

197
00:15:19,966 –> 00:15:22,230
Death by miscalculation.

198
00:15:22,368 –> 00:15:23,460
But I will tell them.

199
00:15:23,603 –> 00:15:25,161
And they will listen?

200
00:15:43,623 –> 00:15:49,584
Yes, yes. The decomposition is following an exact molecular ratio.

201
00:15:49,729 –> 00:15:52,493
Can you tell now how long the compound will remain stable?

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
Yes, within approximate limits. By 11:00 tomorrow morning, the mixture will have reached a point of spontaneous explosion. After that, any slightest jar, hardly more than a pin drop, will be enough to…

206
00:16:09,849 –> 00:16:14,343
Mr. Nobel, how large an area would one of the bottles effect?

DR. ALFRED NOBEL
It would depend on several factors, the degree of compression, the vector of impact forces. At the very least, it would be extensive…too extensive.

211
00:16:24,930 –> 00:16:29,833
Nine bottles of Dr. Mono’s cure-all still loose in this city.
We dump these into the bay.
No, no!

213
00:16:32,271 –> 00:16:35,172
The shock waves would open the seams of the stoutest ships.

214
00:16:35,308 –> 00:16:40,211
Don’t you see? That is why ships of war are through, finished.

215
00:16:40,346 –> 00:16:42,871
Then the only thing we can do is find those other bottles and get them out of the city.

217
00:16:44,784 –> 00:16:47,685
But how do we find them?

218
00:16:47,820 –> 00:16:49,754
Yeah.

219
00:16:51,090 –> 00:16:52,887
Well, it’s too late to trace them.

220
00:16:53,025 –> 00:16:55,960
I think the only thing we can do is circulate warnings through the city,

221
00:16:56,095 –> 00:17:00,725
have the bottles hopefully brought to one specific point for collection.

222
00:17:00,866 –> 00:17:03,460
Yes, but we would still need someone willing to take the bottles out of the city for disposal.

224
00:17:06,872 –> 00:17:10,069
And with the risk involved, I do not know where I would hire such a man.

225
00:17:10,209 –> 00:17:14,077
Mr. Nobel…

226
00:17:14,213 –> 00:17:16,477
You already have hired him.

227
00:17:17,917 –> 00:17:23,480
I meant, of course, where I would find such a man to accompany me.

228
00:17:26,592 –> 00:17:30,653
“Any person or persons possessing bottles of Dr. Mono’s Liver and Bile Tonic…”

230
00:17:33,699 –> 00:17:38,966
“Dr. Mono’s Skin Salve, Dr. Mono’s Kidney Tonic, Dr. Mono’s Catar Solvent, and/or any other preparations of a similar…nature, will place the said bottle on that section of Terman Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues no later than 7 A. M. Thursday morning.”

235
00:17:56,055 –> 00:17:59,752
They’re offering $50 gold for every bottle.

236
00:17:59,892 –> 00:18:01,883
$50!

237
00:18:02,027 –> 00:18:05,258
Half a bottle of that stuff will blow in the whole side of a bank.

238
00:18:05,331 –> 00:18:08,266
$50. Ha!

239
00:18:08,401 –> 00:18:10,926
Well, they ain’t cheating Sam Thurber that easy.

240
00:18:11,070 –> 00:18:12,697
Come on!

241
00:19:42,695 –> 00:19:45,858
That is all of them, all 17 bottles.

242
00:19:45,998 –> 00:19:47,465
Time?

243
00:19:49,168 –> 00:19:54,003
26 minutes past the hour of 8.

244
00:19:54,139 –> 00:19:58,803
We can’t make any time on this route they’ve got roped off.

245
00:19:58,944 –> 00:20:01,174
We may make it, and then again we may not.

246
00:20:01,313 –> 00:20:03,975
But the mixture might remain stable past 11.

247
00:20:04,116 –> 00:20:07,085
Then again it might break down in the next five minutes. Isn’t that possible?

248
00:20:07,219 –> 00:20:09,153
Yes.

249
00:20:58,003 –> 00:21:00,267
Time?

250
00:21:00,406 –> 00:21:03,773
17 minutes before 11.

251
00:21:05,544 –> 00:21:07,478
How far now, Mr. Paladin?

252
00:21:07,613 –> 00:21:09,774
Just over a mile.

253
00:21:20,759 –> 00:21:24,456
Whoa. Whoa.

254
00:21:29,902 –> 00:21:31,767
Is it possible to repair it?

255
00:21:31,904 –> 00:21:35,965
We just don’t have the equipment or the time to fool with it.

256
00:21:50,089 –> 00:21:52,216
Whoa!

257
00:22:04,603 –> 00:22:06,833
How much time?

258
00:22:06,972 –> 00:22:08,735
Nine moments.

259
00:22:08,874 –> 00:22:11,172
You’d better pray your calculations were wrong.

260
00:22:11,310 –> 00:22:12,777
Now when I lift up on this wagon, push that wheel on the axle the best you can.

262
00:22:21,954 –> 00:22:23,615
Hold it!

263
00:22:33,065 –> 00:22:36,091
All right, I’m taking over this buckboard.

264
00:22:36,235 –> 00:22:39,796
Thurber, there’s enough nitroglycerin in this buckboard to blow you and us, the buckboard and that hill to dust!

266
00:22:43,375 –> 00:22:47,402
I know it, and I’m selling the whole batch for a big fat price.

267
00:22:47,546 –> 00:22:50,538
But you do not understand! The compound is no longer pure!

268
00:22:50,683 –> 00:22:53,880
The people I’m selling it to won’t know the difference.

269
00:22:54,019 –> 00:22:56,146
And don’t go for that gun.

270
00:22:57,356 –> 00:22:58,948
All right. Come on, come on.

271
00:22:59,091 –> 00:23:02,288
Thurber, you wanna steal this wagon, huh?

272
00:23:03,962 –> 00:23:08,399
All right, you go ahead. You steal it.

273
00:23:42,201 –> 00:23:44,431
But I do not understand.

274
00:23:44,570 –> 00:23:47,038
There will always be men who do not understand.

275
00:23:47,172 –> 00:23:49,902
But they do not see what it means to have that amount of nitroglycerin.

276
00:23:50,042 –> 00:23:52,067
They see, but their vision is too narrow.

277
00:23:56,081 –> 00:23:59,573
Exactly one moment before.

278
00:24:15,667 –> 00:24:19,797
Montaigne observed that men did not invent devils, they merely looked within themselves.
Yes, but they also found the stuff of angels there, too.

281
00:24:26,912 –> 00:24:28,777
One will triumph.
Which one?

 

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