The Hundred Days of the Dragon
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|"The Hundred Days of the Dragon"|
|The Outer Limits episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Byron Haskin|
|Written by||Allan Balter
|Cinematography by||Conrad Hall|
|Original air date||September 23, 1963|
"The Hundred Days of the Dragon" is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 23 September 1963, during the first season.
An Asian government develops a reliable means of changing a person's physical appearance, and uses it to replace a U.S. presidential candidate with a spy.
|“||Somewhere south of the Mongolian border and north of the Tropic of Cancer, in that part of the world we call the Orient, a slumbering giant has shaken itself to wakefulness. Passed over in most histories as a nation forgotten by time, its close-packed millions in the short span of twenty years have been stirred to a fury by one man: Lee Ching Sung. A benevolent despot in his homeland, Sung stands as an irresponsible threat to peace in the eyes of the rest of the world. William Lyons Selby, candidate for the presidency of the United States, predicted by every poll, survey, and primary to be a certain winner in the forthcoming election.||”|
An unspecified Asian government, presumably Communist China, plans to take over America by infiltrating and substituting officials at the White House. During the presidential campaign, William Lyons Selby, the candidate predicted to win the next election, is murdered and is then replaced by a lookalike spy, a doppelgänger. Selby is indeed elected, and the impostor assumes the office of the President of the United States.
Though he fools the nation at large during his first few months in office, his daughter, Carol, soon begins to suspect that the man in the White House is not her father. She voices her concerns to the Vice President, Ted Pearson, who disbelieves her, at first, until he is targeted for replacement by an assassin who breaks into his home during their meeting, is discovered lying in wait by Pearson, and is chased off before he can commit the act, already in the guise of Pearson.
Carol's husband, a physician and medical researcher, recalls that a recent peer-reviewed scientific journal disclosed Soviet experiments wherein a hominid animal's soft tissue had been successfully altered, and he speculated that the "serum" which was employed had been advanced significantly beyond that which was previously disclosed, to include human subjects, and he explained this to the Vice President. Now convinced that Carol's story is valid, Pearson informs the head of the Secret Service detail assigned to the President of the plot, and his suspicion that Selby is actually an impostor.
After failed attempts by the Secret Service in identifying Selby through dental records and other means, the leader of the Asian government confers with his spy at the White House prior to a planned summit meeting, wherein the Asian reveals to Selby the second phase of his operation: to replace various cabinet members (State, Labor, etc.) and numerous private industry executives (banks, broadcast media, newsprint media, oil, steel, etc.). When Selby arranges a second attempt at replacing his Vice President, the perpetrators, including the Vice President's doppelgänger, are captured, brought before the President and invited guests during a state reception, and are publicly exposed, along with Selby, himself, with the real Pearson arresting Selby and then charging him with murder and attempting to overthrow the United States government.
|“||To Theodore Pearson not even so monstrous a crime as the assassination of William Lyons Selby justifies an act of war, because there is no war as we know it, only annihilation. A great American has been killed in the service of his country. Now it is the job of those who continue to serve to carry on guarding our freedom with dignity and unrelenting vigilance.||”|
- Sidney Blackmer – as William Lyons Selby and doppelgänger
- Phillip Pine – as Theodore Pearson
- Joan Camden – as Ann Pearson
- Nancy Rennick – as Carol Selby Conner
- Richard Loo – as Li Chin-Sung
- Mark Roberts – as Dr. Bob Conner
- Aki Aleong – as Dr. Su Lin
- Clarence Lung – as Major Ho Chi Wong
- James Hong – as Wen Lee
- James Yagi – as Li Kwan
- Bert Remsen – as Frank Summers (Secret Service officer)
- Dennis McCarthy – as Carter
- Richard Gillings – as Briggs
- Robert Brubaker – as Bryan
- Eugene Chan – as Asian in Hotel
- Henry Scott – as FBI Agent Marshall
- Vic Perrin – as Voice of Mr. Schumacher
- Leslie Stevens – as the Election Returns Commentator (uncredited)
- The plot bears some similarity to that of the novel The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon and the 1962 film adaptation starring Frank Sinatra. There are also similarities to Black Dragons (1942 film) starring Bela Lugosi.
- The episode was featured in the film Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). The kids were watching this episode before Mrs. Doubtfire arrived at the Hillard residence.
- In a possibly intentional "coincidence", Selby is missing half of the third finger of his left hand. Actor Sidney Blackmer starred in the film, Third Finger, Left Hand (1940).