Classification: Terrestrial (American) television production (see comments) (1950s era)

Creators: Unrevealed (see comments)

Cast of Characters: Mr. Bartell (first name unrevealed), Frank Dale, Jon Dryden, Munson (first name unrevealed), Victor Sharkey, unidentified pickpocket, several other unidentified extras (see comments)

Viewers: Paul and Molly Brown

First Appearance: Uncanny Tales I#50/3 (December,1956)

Purpose: A science-fiction play set one-hundred years in the future, it was broadcast in 1956 to entertain television-viewers.

(Uncanny Tales I#50/3 (fb) - BTS) - On a night in 1956, A Man Destroyed! was broadcast to a television-viewing audience that included Paul and Molly Brown (see comments).

(Uncanny Tales I#50/3) - (Plot of A Man Destroyed!): In October of 2056, inventor Jon Dryden presented his Perpetual Motion Adapter to government officials. Dryden explained how his invention would remotely control all machines in the nation and bring about "The Era of Total Mechanization," thus allowing mankind more leisure-time.

   To handle the job of law-enforcement, Dryden later built the Criminal Selector, a device which beamed radio waves into the nerve centers of criminals and forced them to turn themselves in.

   For a while it was a happy time, for no man had to work. But trouble began when criminal mastermind Victor Sharkey formulated a scheme--using the Criminal Selector, Sharkey began to kidnap the nation's top leaders in his attempt to take over the government.

   When news reports of the missing leaders began to circulate, Dryden sensed that something was wrong, so he enlisted the aid of police detective Frank Dale to investigate. Suspecting Sharkey was involved, Dale confronted the criminal mastermind in his headquarters. Sharkey threatened to use the Criminal Selector on Dale, so Dale reported his findings to Dryden.

   Dryden later learned that Sharkey was commanding a group of young men to train for battle; fearing that Sharkey was power-mad enough to take on the whole world, Dryden grabbed a chair and smashed the Perpetual Motion Adapter, destroying his dream of a perfect world. Victor Sharkey was apprehended for his crimes.

(Uncanny Tales I#50/3) - Following the broadcast of A Man Destroyed!, Molly Brown was left with unsettled feelings about the events she'd seen depicted on the program, but her husband Paul assured her that such things could never really happen.

Comments: Created by Carl Wessler (writer) and Angelo Torres (artist).

This 4-page story was done with a surprise-ending, and the reader didn't learn that A Man Destroyed! was actually just a meta-fictional television program being viewed by Paul and Molly Brown until the final three panels.

No credits were available as to who the actors, writers, or producers of the program were, but maybe the screenplay for A Man Destroyed! was done by Norman Crane (a 29th Century time-traveler turned Hollywood screenwriter)--maybe Crane based it on a historical event from his own world's past.

In the early days of television in the 1950s, most science-fiction was relegated to kids' shows (e.g. Captain Video, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet); but shortly thereafter, anthology programs such as Science Fiction Theatre (which aired around the time this story was published) would treat the genre more seriously--maybe A Man Destroyed! appeared as an episode of a Marvel-equivalent of this TV program.

I got the impression that back in 1956, the writer of this story thought mankind was growing too dependent upon technology--I wonder what he'd think about today's world.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

A Man Destroyed! has no known connections to:

The fictional character "Frank Dale" has no known connections to:

The fictional character "Jon Dryden" has no known connections to:

The fictional character "Victor Sharkey" has no known connections to:

Paul and Molly Brown have no known connections to:

Frank Dale

(Portrayed by an unidentified actor, Frank Dale was a fictional character in A Man Destroyed!, a 1956 science-fiction television production.)

In 2056, Dale was a police detective whose skills were no longer needed following the implementation of the Criminal Selector.

When the nation's top leaders began to disappear, Jon Dryden asked Dale to investigate. Dale suspected that Victor Sharkey was somehow involved, so he went to confront the criminal mastermind; Sharkey threatened to use the Criminal Selector on Dale.

Dale managed to report back to Dryden that Sharkey was a danger to the whole world, even as he could feel the force of the Criminal Selector drawing him back to Sharkey.

--Uncanny Tales I#50/3

Jon Dryden

(Portrayed by an unidentified actor, Jon Dryden was a fictional character in A Man Destroyed!, a 1956 science-fiction television production.)

In 2056, Dryden was an ingenious inventor who built the Perpetual Motion Adapter; his invention could remotely control all machines in the world, and thus free mankind from working.

To do the job of law-enforcement, Dryden later built the Criminal Selector, which was powered by the Perpetual Motion Adapter.

After learning that criminal mastermind Victor Sharkey was using the Criminal Selector to take over the government, Dryden destroyed the Perpetual Motion Adapter.

--Uncanny Tales I#50/3

Victor Sharkey

(Portrayed by an unidentified actor, Victor Sharkey was a fictional character in A Man Destroyed!, a 1956 science-fiction television production.)

In 2056, Sharkey was a criminal mastermind who employed a gang of henchmen (including Munson). He formulated a plot to use the Criminal Selector to kidnap the nation's top leaders, and thus take control of the government.

Sharkey's scheme was foiled when Jon Dryden destroyed his Perpetual Motion Adapter, which rendered the Criminal Selector inoperative.

--Uncanny Tales I#50/3

Criminal Selector

(A prop used in A Man Destroyed!, a 1956 science-fiction television production.)

In 2056, the Criminal Selector was built by Jon Dryden to do the job of law-enforcement. Powered by Dryden's Perpetual Motion Adapter, the Criminal Selector sent radio beams into the nerve centers of any lawbreakers that were programmed into it by means of a "complaint card," and the culprits found themselves physically drawn to the prison courtyard.

Dryden first demonstrated the device when Mr. Bartell's wallet was stolen; Dryden programmed the Criminal Selector to force the pickpocket to turn himself in. The device would lead to the elimination of crime, for no criminal would dare operate when apprehension was a certainty.

The Criminal Selector was later used by criminal mastermind Victor Sharkey in his attempt to take control of the government by kidnapping the nation's top leaders.

Learning of Sharkey's plot, Dryden destroyed his Perpetual Motion Adapter, which rendered the Criminal Selector inoperative.

--Uncanny Tales I#50/3

Paul and Molly Brown

A married couple living in America in 1956, their home was equipped with the latest technological conveniences.

One evening, they were in their darkened living room and watching the science-fiction television program A Man Destroyed!.

When the program ended, Molly had unsettled feelings about the future that was depicted; in reference to the plot of the television program, she asked her husband if one man could ever take total power in a world where mankind was dependent upon machines.

After he used a remote-control panel to switch off the television and turn on the living room lights, Paul hugged Molly and assuredly told her not to worry, because it was just a television play, and things like that could never really happen (...And as they stood in their gadget-filled home, neither seemed to experience a sense of foreboding irony).

--Uncanny Tales I#50/3

images: (without ads)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p1, pan2 (actor portraying Jon Dryden explaining what his Perpetual Motion Adapter will accomplish)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p3, pan2 (future world depicted in A Man Destroyed!)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p3, pan1 (unidentified extras in A Man Destroyed! portray a futuristic family enjoying benefits of Dryden's machine)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p3, pan5 (following abductions of nation's top leaders, Frank Dale (right) meets with Jon Dryden (left))
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p3, pan6 (Victor Sharkey (left) threatens Frank Dale (right), (Munson in background))
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p1, pan1 (Jon Dryden (right) presents his Perpetual Motion Adapter to government officials)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p4, pan3 (Jon Dryden (left) about to smash Perpetual Motion Adapter with chair)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p2, pan7 (Victor Sharkey explaining his plan to his men)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p3, pan3 (Victor Sharkey (left) using Criminal Selector)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p2, pan1 (Jon Dryden (left) about to put Criminal Selector into operation)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p2, pan2 (radio beams from Criminal Selector begin to affect unidentified pickpocket)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p2, pan3 (Jon Dryden and others watch as unidentified pickpocket is forced to turn himself in)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p4, pan4 (Paul and Molly Brown watching conclusion of A Man Destroyed!, as Victor Sharkey is arrested on television screen)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p4, pan5 (Molly Brown expresses her concerns about future, as Paul Brown uses remote-control switches)
Uncanny Tales I#50/3, p4, pan6 (as they stand in their gadget-filled home, Paul assures Molly not to fear the future)

Uncanny TalesI#50/3 (December, 1956) - Carl Wessler (writer), Angelo Torres (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)

First Posted: 04/11/2018
Last Updated: 04/11/2018

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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