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The Ray Bradbury Theater: The Toynbee Convector

A man travels into the future to see what lies ahead for humanity, then brings the knowledge back so that the people of the world can rise to the occasion.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 5x8
Airdate: Friday October 26th, 1990

Director: John Laing (1)
Story: Ray Bradbury
Teleplay: Ray Bradbury

Guest Stars
Michael HurstMichael Hurst
As Roger Shumway
James WhitmoreJames Whitmore
As Craig Bennett Stiles

Co-Guest Stars
Michael Galvin (1)Michael Galvin (1)
As Assistant
Main Cast


In the year 2100, Craig Bennett Stiles looks out across the world from the terrace of his spacious manor as reporter Roger Shumway arrives by helicopter. Roger checks with the camera crew that has already gathered outside Stiles' home and then calls his network station. They are running footage of Roger's documentary talking of how 100 years ago, the world was overrun with war and overpopulation and doomed to extinction. Stiles used a time machine to travel 100 years into the future and then returned with information that saved the world...

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Episode Notes
Based on the short story "The Toynbee Convector" by Ray Bradbury. The story was first published in Playboy (January 1984)

Episode Quotes
Roger Shumway: Mr. Stiles, how do you think you will react when just moments from now, you watch yourself, in effect, flash across the sky in your trip through time.
Craig Bennett Stiles: Gratitude. And love. It is me, isn't it?

Craig Bennett Stiles: It was Toynbee who said, if a people, a civilization, does not rush to meet the future, the future will plow them under. Kill and bury them. Well, I saw the future rushing at me. And it entered my heart and seized my soul. It didn't frighten me, it obsessed me. I had to conquer time, save Mankind.

Roger Shumway: A Golden Age... built on a lie.
Craig Bennett Stiles: You don't understand, do you, son? Every one of us lives our life lying to ourselves. We weave dreams, and then put brains and ideas and flesh and reality beneath the dreams. And what seemed at first to be a lie, it's just a need wishing to be born.

Changes from the short story:

* In the episode, Stiles explains that he made the Convector (somehow) disappear through a stage illusion to convince the gathered reporters and scientists.
* The story notes that the Convector has been sealed away under government guard for the last 100 years, to prevent errant time traveling. No such mention is made of security in the episode, and Stiles appears to simply be keeping it in his warehouse.
* In the episode, Roger goes further to maintain Stiles' deceit, using a projection device that Stiles had created to show an image of the Convector passing overhead as the world looks on.
* In the story, Roger burns Stiles' evidence. In the episode, he throws it into the ocean, paralleling the destruction of Dudley Stone's works in "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone".

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRay Bradbury
Executive ProducerRay Bradbury  |  Larry Wilcox  |  Peter Sussman
Supervising ProducerSeaton McLean  |  Tom Cotter (1)
ProducerJonathan Goodwill  |  Pamela Meekings-Stewart
Production DesignerRick Kofoed
CastingFrances Walsh  |  Susan Forrest  |  Mary Ann Barton
First Assistant DirectorBrian Wickstead
Second Assistant DirectorWi Rakete
Make-upDebra East
Key GripDennis Thompson
Camera OperatorRichard Bluck
Location ManagerMartin Walsh (3)
Production CoordinatorSteve D'Onofrio  |  Karen Gleave
Assistant EditorKirsten Muxlow
Post Production SupervisorJohn Harcourt  |  Ross Chambers
GafferSteve Latty
Director of PhotographyWarrick Attewell
Production SecretarySarah Bailey
Art DirectorMark Robins
Production ManagementMaria Saunders
Sound EditorGrant Lawrey
Dubbing MixerMike Hedges  |  John Neill
Sound RecordistDon Paulin
Boom OperatorGrant Lawson
Production AccountantAnne Marie Cormier  |  Maureen Zust
Extras CastingLorae Parry
Film EditorOwen Ferrier-Kerr
Wardrobe AssistantHilary Niederer
Executive In Charge Of ProductionFern Field
Production ExecutiveMarie Watson
Unit ManagerAlex Collins (2)
Music DirectorLouis Natale
ContinuityBarbara Morris (2)
Focus PullerJames Cowley
ComposerLouis Natale
Wardrobe SupervisorGlenis Foster
Still PhotographerMartin Stewart
Assistant GripRoger Feenstra
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