The Brain Center at Whipple's
|"The Brain Center at Whipple's"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Produced by||William Froug|
|Featured music||uncredited (stock cues by Marius Constant)|
|Original air date||May 15, 1964|
|“||These are the players — with or without a scorecard. In one corner a machine; in the other, one Wallace V. Whipple, man. And the game? It happens to be the historical battle between flesh and steel, between the brain of man and the product of man's brain. We don't make book on this one and predict no winner....but we can tell you for this particular contest, there is standing room only — in the Twilight Zone.||”|
In 1967, Wallace V. Whipple, owner of a vast Midwestern manufacturing corporation, decides to upgrade his plant to increase output by installing a machine named the "X109B14 modified transistorized totally automatic assembly machine," which leads to tens of thousands of layoffs. Some former employees try to convince him that the value of a man outweighs the value of a machine, but their protests fall on deaf ears. His plant manager, Mr. Hanley, reminds him that Whipple's father, who ran the factory for 40 years, while profit-driven, had a sense of responsibility to his factory workers, and their pride in their work. Whipple only coldly responds that while his father only "doubled" his factory production, his competitors quadrupled theirs. An angry veteran foreman tries to smash a machine but is shot and injured by Whipple, but while the plant manager visits the worker in the hospital, Whipple is only concerned about his equipment. The plant manager confronts Whipple about this, and is summarily fired after being shown the machine replacing him. Whipple proceeds to replace secretaries with automated dictation machines, thinking that powder room breaks and maternity leave are inconveniences.
Whipple eventually fires all his human employees after replacing them with machines, but is then tortured by his machines that malfunction. The machines spit out the harsh demeaning recorded parting words of his former employees back at him over and over which drives Whipple to insanity. Eventually, the board of directors find him neurotically obsessed with machines and retire him. Whipple joins his former plant manager (whom Whipple had replaced with a machine) at the bar opposite his factory and expresses deep sorrow at his misfortune as he rambles about how it isn't fair that machines are replacing men. He goes on to admit that he's lonely because he's not married and has no family and that he was cast aside like a used part. The last scene switches to his former office where a robot is shown to have taken his place, even to the extent of wearing Whipple's Phi Delta Kappa pin.
|“||There are many bromides applicable here: 'too much of a good thing', 'tiger by the tail', 'as you sow so shall you reap'. The point is that, too often, Man becomes clever instead of becoming wise; he becomes inventive and not thoughtful; and sometimes, as in the case of Mr. Whipple, he can create himself right out of existence. As in tonight's tale of oddness and obsolescence, in the Twilight Zone.||”|
- Richard Deacon as Wallace V. Whipple
- Paul Newlan as Walter Hanley
- Ted de Corsia as Dickerson
- Thalmus Rasulala (credited as Jack Crowder) as Technician
- Shawn Michaels as Bartender
- Burt Conroy as Watchman
- Robby the Robot as Himself
The robot that ultimately replaces Mr. Whipple is "Robby the Robot" from the 1956 Sci-Fi film Forbidden Planet. "Robby" appeared in two other episodes of The Twilight Zone; Episode #2 "One for the Angels" (as a miniature toy) and episode #128 "Uncle Simon."
In popular culture
- Sludge metal band Melvins named a song on their album Hostile Ambient Takeover after the episode
- The episode was parodied in the Futurama episode "Benderama".
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)