Toomorrow (1970) (part 2 of 10)
The title comes up, and it looks just like the Moonlighting logo. Please don’t tell me that Glenn Gordon Caron stole from Toomorrow, because that would be too much to take. Then the movie opens and we’re out in space, as a really lame cartoon space-ship that looks like it was made with a Spirograph glides past the Moon toward Earth.
As we pass over the surface of the moon from the ship’s point of view, the movie makes a point of slowing down to show us one of the Apollo landers, which were then brand new. Seriously, you can still see the tags.
Under this we get our first Barkan-Adams offering, “Toomorrow”, which sounds unnervingly like the theme from The Hogan Family.
We haven’t regaled you with an entire song in a recap recently, so, for your enjoyment, here are the lyrics to “Toomorrow,” by Toomorrow, from the movie… Toomorrow. And you can bet your bottom dollar that this song is even lamer than you’re imagining it just from reading the lyrics.
Written by: Mark Barkan & Ritchie Adams
Performed by: Toomorrow
Tomorrow is the answer that I will give
If you ask me where do I live
And where do I stay
There is love all around
Way up high where I’m flying
Playing tag in the sky ever-flying
Tomorrow, take my hand and I’ll lead the way
You’ll forget about yesterday
Right here in my arms
And forever there’d be a new world
Where all our dreams come true
So, prefab British pop band, what you’re saying is, you live in tomorrow? Where you fly? And play tag? Uh huh. And if you take me there, I’ll forget about everything, and everything will always be new because we’re stuck flying around in the freaking future, so there’s never a “today” that takes hold and causes anything to mean anything. But you’ll be holding me in your arms and making my dreams come true, so it’s all okay. Wait, how can we play tag if you’re holding onto me? That’s cheating!
Suddenly I don’t trust these people. I mean, if you have to cheat at playing tag, what kind of scruples can you possibly have?
Like all alien spaceships, the S.S. Spirograph heads straight for London, where it sends a big thick twinkly beam of light down toward the surface. We then cut to random shots of the London cityscape with the superimposed cartoon beam moving rigidly across it like the consumption beam of the Crystalline Entity. The beam is traversing London, but it’s not totally obvious because some of the shots are so brightly sunlit that the beam is almost invisible. Most of the time it just looks like the color printer is low on toner.
Finally, the beam moves into the backyard of some largish house somewhere and, with a big splort sound, suddenly intensifies.
Before we can see what’s beaming down, though, we cut inside to some guy in eye-searingly bright yellow pajamas just waking up and getting out of bed. He checks his watch and goes to the window, where there’s a puny telescope. I don’t know if you know this, Yellow Pajamas, but telescopes are always a sign you’re an alien.
Yellow Pajamas, by the way, is played by Roy Dotrice, a prolific British actor who’s been in all kinds of things and pops up in unexpected places, like being Leopold Mozart in Amadeus and Father Wells in Beauty and the Beast.
He checks his watch again and holds it up to his ear, instantly dating the movie to a time when watches wound up. (Because that’s surely going to be the last thing in this movie that screams 1970.) He goes downstairs and wanders out onto the lawn, where the beam of light is still hanging out. We’re waiting for the moment where he suddenly registers that Holy fuck, the Crystalline Entity has finally come to get me! But he just shrugs up at the sky, exhibiting the dead watch as an excuse for his tardiness, and steps into the beam, which zhlorps him up into space. So the splort we heard before wasn’t something beaming down—it was actually the transporter beam honking its horn and telling Yellow Pajamas he’s late for the carpool! Man, that commute to Ganymede must be a bitch.
So explain to me why the transporter beam had to wander all over London looking for Yellow Pajamas. Don’t they know where he lives? Does he move every so often, just to throw them off and add some mischief to his life?
We spend the next few seconds watching Yellow Pajamas slowly moving up the light shaft, his arms folded like he’s patiently riding a very slow elevator. He winds his watch and puts it on, though how he’ll get the correct time to reset it I don’t know. Maybe once he’s on board he can call the London Speaking Clock.
He arrives in the middle of this really trippy room full of all kinds of blue crystal designs and angles. He’s in a narrow rectangular Plexiglas display case for some reason, which I guess is some kind of capsule used by the transport system. For reasons known only to filmmakers in the 1970s, he takes off his shirt, exposing a physique that would have passed for sexy at the time this film was made, and starts running his hands through his hair. Huh? No wait, he’s removing his face. Man, I wish I was right the first time.
He removes the rest of his human skin as well (cheesily accomplished by a blast of light that briefly obscures the cut between “before” and “after”) and hangs it up on the wall of the display case [!]. So, why did he put his watch on, if he was just going to remove his skin a minute later?
His reception committee—another, equally hideous alien who turns out to be his uptight superior—greets him, identifying Yellow Pajamas for us as the “observer from the planet Earth.” He in return says hiya to “Intergalactic Observation Control” and moves through the Plexiglas toward Uptight Superior, leaving a trail of red ghosting behind him for some reason. Well, you know what I’m wondering. If he’s an Observer, where’s his brain?
Uptight Superior makes a trippy computer console appear, which says it’s ready for Observer’s report. Observer, sounding a little put out, says he’s given them the same report for the last 3,000 years, and he’ll repeat it again. Boy, if he says “mostly harmless” I am going to die laughing.
Observer says there’s nothing to report from Earth—nothing original, nothing interesting, not even any good deviants. “Merely an abortive attempt at evolution,” he says. “Venus all over again.” I guess even for aliens, the life of a career diplomat can take you to some real shitholes if you’re not well-connected. Then Observer conjures up one of the sit-while-you-stand reclining chair-things from This Island Earth and relaxes into it like there’s nothing more to say. This is one chilled alien dude. I’m surprised he doesn’t pull out a joint and light up.
Now it’s Uptight Superior’s turn to be put out. Evidently the home office has monitored a “new and remarkable pattern of vibrations” from this area and had been hoping Observer could shed some light on it. Observer gets out of his chair and starts ranting about humanity’s destructiveness, like you do when you’re an alien observer, and says that since these “vibrations” are “curative, not destructive,” humanity can’t be producing them knowingly. I think somebody’s a little grumpy about being stuck on Earth for three millennia. Maybe he hasn’t been to McDonald’s.
Uptight Superior, however, says that the home office has figured out that these “vibrations” are an “antidote to the growing threat to our survival”—which turns out to be “a sterility of sound” [!]. Evidently, the aliens’ “electronic vibrations no longer stimulate,” and only these waves from Earth can provide the cure. Okay, so let me get this straight: the Observer’s race is experiencing E.D. of the ears, and Earth is the only planet with any Ear Viagra? Because the problem is that they can’t experience aural stimulation anymore, which—oh dear. I mean, when they try to prick up their ears, they—
Observer bridles at the thought that this “backward ball of green mud” could be producing a new form of “curative harmony.” But wait, it gets better: Uptight Superior says the wave’s curative properties are “activated by two long-discarded intangibles—emotion and heart.” Thunk. Yaaaa—! Shit, watch it with those anvils, movie!