Revisiting 'Fail-Safe'

16 min

Coming to you live from CBS,

your host, Mr. Walter Cronkite.

Ladies and gentlemen,

you're at an opening night.

Tonight, television takes a giant step.

For the next two hours...

...this network will be presenting

the first feature-length story... be broadcast live on CBS in 39 years.

Tonight's show, Fail Safe... based on the best-selling novel

by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler...

...and written for the screen

by Walter Bernstein.

You're tuned to CBS.

The clocks are turned back,

and our story begins in just one minute.

What time is it?

Too early.

The Secretary's bringing some...

...muckamuck to lecture to all of us brass.

Taking the train?

No, I'll fly down.

Be back in time for dinner.

That would be fine.

I'll take the children to Manhattan.

We're going to see My Fair Lady.

She's in New York?

The movie.

You had that dream again, didn't you?


Maybe I should quit my job.

The dream's related, I know.

Why don't you come with us to see

My Fair Lady? Audrey Hepburn.

And leave Swenson and General Stark

in a room alone?



Let's take that vacation, Blackie.

-And get you away from all of this.


How did I get so lucky

to stumble onto you?

Come home early.

How long have you been stationed

in Omaha, Colonel Cascio?

Three years, Congressman.

This is the control center to the War Room.

How far down are we?

Six stories.

That seems a little extreme

even for the War Department.

Yes, sir. I'm sure it does.

What we are seeing here

is the naval situation in the Pacific.

Those white ones are our surface vessels

and our submarines.

And those are Russian submarines.

So close to our shoreline?

International waters.

Anyone's got a right to be there.

The Russians aren't just anyone.

What are they doing there,

or is that a foolish question?

Same thing we're doing to them

over there.


Surveillance. Don't worry, Mr. Knapp.

We keep a very close eye on them.

-Thanks to you and your company.

-We just make the computers.

You people do the important work.

Congressman. Follow me, gentlemen.

-Your computers are the best in the world.

-Thank you.

They ought to be. They cost enough.

This is about more than just money.

I got elected to watch

the dollars, Mr. Knapp.

Like Mr. Jefferson said:

''Patriotism is the last refuge

of the profligate.''

Or was it Will Rogers?

-Where you from, Colonel?

-New York City, sir.

New York City.

Your Congressman's Sam Noonan, right?

I wouldn't know. I'm in the Air Force.


Give me the polar projection, please.

Yes, sir.

What we're seeing now is a projection

of the Northern Hemisphere.

It's like looking down at the Earth

from the North Pole... an altitude of about 100 miles.

Those are our bombers

patrolling the Russian perimeter.

Shortly they'll be returning

to their base in Alaska.

They'll be replaced by other bombers

with fresh crews.

Men chosen very carefully, sir.

The cream of the cream.

He's got a good arm.

His fielding skills are a little suspect, but....

-He's 10, Jack.

-No, I know.

We'll see. Next spring.

He can hit. I could never hit.

Stands in there,

puts the bat on his shoulder...

...looks the pitcher right in the eye,

takes his cuts.

Five minutes to ready planes.

The other kids duck when the pitch

comes in. He doesn't flinch.

-Brave little--

-Got that from his mom.

Yeah. She was something.

How's he doing?



-Dad! How long will this one be?

-Shouldn't be too late.

-You sure?


Only fools are positive.

-Are you sure?



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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Revisiting 'Fail-Safe'" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 20 Sep. 2021. <'fail-safe'_7938>.

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