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Old Timers Squad

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Old Timers Squad
Season 2, Episode 8b
Old Timers Squad Titlecard
Mission VU582
Historical Figure/Event Samuel Morse
Time 1836
Place Washington, D.C.
Aired March 21, 2003
Directed by Dave Wasson
Written by Dave Wasson, Carlos Ramos, and Michael Karnow
Storyboards by Ed Baker
Episode guide
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Day of the Larrys
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Billy the Baby
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To see the episode's transcript, click here.

Synopsis Edit

The Time Squad gets interrupted from their favorite soap opera to help out Samuel Morse in 1836. When they meet their selves from the future, things go awry.

Plot Edit

In the Time Squad satellite, the Larry 3000 is watching the television. He is emotionally invested and on the edge of his seat. Otto comes in and asks what he's watching, and he explains that it's his favorite 1980s soap opera, The Elegant and the Dangerous. Otto joins him and soon becomes invested himself. Tuddrussel walks in and asks for help on a project, but his team shushes him. At first, Tuddrussel waves off the idea of watching a soap opera, but curiosity gets the better of him and he watches with the others.

A character on the soap opera, Clara St. Clair, is about to reveal her "horrible secret" when the History Instability Alarm goes off. Disappointed, the team goes to the control room to find that their mission is to go to Samuel Morse in 1836 Washington, D.C. Otto explains that he was the creator of the telegraph and Morse code. Tuddrussel rushes the team out quickly so they can finish watching The Elegant and the Dangerous as soon as possible.

In an office in Washington, D.C., a client of Samuel Morse asks to send a message to the President. Morse obliges, but rather than use a telegraph, he shouts the message out the window. The Time Squad zaps in right outside of where Morse is shouting, giving them a scare. Tuddrussel brandishes his phaser, ready to attack Morse, when he's suddenly interrupted by a flash of light next to him. Morse slams the window as we see a much older version of the Time Squad zap in. 

The senior Tuddrussel prevents the younger Tuddrussel from attacking him as both Ottos come eye-to-eye. The younger Larry notes that the team before him looks familiar, and the older Larry tells him that they are them, but from fifty years in the future. The younger Time Squad screams, surprising the older Time Squad and causing them to scream as well. The younger Tuddrussel refuses to believe that his older self is in front of him, saying that they are "too pathetic" to be him from the future. The older Tuddrussel proves him wrong by attempting his catchphrases. The senior Larry proves his identity to the younger by reciting their favorite snippet of binary code, "011010". Otto shows disappointment at never growing any taller.

The older Tuddrussel explains that they came to warn the Time Squad about something important and future-altering, but forgets what he was going to say. The older Otto naps while standing up, but wakes and asks for medication as Samuel Morse emerges from the window to shout once more. The young Tuddrussel grabs him and sets him in front of Otto. Otto tries to tell Morse that his method of communication is wrong, but Morse calls it brilliant and invites the Time Squads to come see how it works.

We see that Morse has created a system of posts across the United States. From these posts, a messenger shouts a message in the direction of another messenger, who then repeats it to the next messenger until the note reaches its location. However, the messages that reach their intended listeners are incorrect, as the messengers hear the notes incorrectly and relay them with mistakes. For example, Morse's message to his mother that he will be slightly late for dinner the next day is accidentally turned into an insult. 

Morse also states that he has revolutionized warfare, and asks a man to shoot a cannon to a certain geographic location. It accidentally lands on top of the group, and Morse admits that there are "still a few bugs to work out". Morse excuses himself, but the older Tuddrussel complains that he is tired and asks if he could come with him. Morse allows both Time Squads to follow him home.

It's nighttime at the Morse house, and the senior Time Squad is in a large bed. The older Tuddrussel complains about the pillows and the older Larry states that he has to go to the bathroom. The senior Otto asks for a glass of water for his dentures, but the younger Tuddrussel shouts at the team to go to sleep and slams the door to their room shut. 

In the hall, a tired Time Squad leans against the wall. They suddenly hear the tune of La Cucaracha coming from a telegraph. Morse is taking turns tapping the song in with the person on the other end of the line. He laughs, and Otto asks him what he's doing. Morse says that he was just "playing with this cool beep-maker" he created with his girlfriend from across town. The Time Squad sighs.

In the morning, we see that Morse is finding success relaying messages for his previous client using the telegraph. He thanks the Time Squad for their help but wistfully states that he misses the screaming. Tuddrussel attempts to hurry out but the older Time Squad finds them. They finally remember what they intended to say earlier-- Tuddrussel had checked out a library book and needed to return it before the overdue fees got too high.

Tuddrussel quickly thanks his older self for the warning and attempts to leave, expressing his excitement to hear Clara St. Clair's secret on The Elegant and the Dangerous. The older Tuddrussel hears this and spoils the ending for the Time Squad, explaining that the big secret was the fact that she was having Bruce Deviro's baby. This frustrates the Time Squad and they scowl as the older team zaps away. Angrily, they leave too.

Trivia Edit

  • The older Otto looks very elderly, but he would really only be 58 years old.
  • Larry's favorite bit of binary code, 011010, stands for "h".
  • Typically, telegraphs don't vary in musical tone, so La Cucaracha could not actually be played on them. However, Elisha Gray (who may be considered the original inventor of the telephone) did invent a musical telegraph in 1874.[1]
  • The correspondence that Morse taps out at the end sounds like  / - - - -.. /, which translates to "TTTD" and doesn't mean anything.

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. https://www.google.com/patents/US166095

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