The Official Bob Burns Web Site
The Official Bob Burns Web Site

My Terrifying Encounter with
The Thing in Burbank

(as told by Craig Endler)


*(Based on the script for "The Thing" for Bob Burns Halloween show, by D. C. Fontana. Adapted from the script for the movie, "The Thing from Another World," by Charles Lederner.)

Craig at THE THING
I had heard some rumors of extraordinary occurrences happening in the vicinity of Burbank, California, but then again, I live in Los Angeles, so I didn’t pay too much attention until heard that these strange events were taking place close to where Bob Burns lives.

Since I live about forty-five minutes from there, I decided to satisfy my natural curiosity and do some investigating on my own.  I brought along my friend Mike, just in case there was any truth behind these bizarre stories.  You just never know when you might need someone to back you up if things start to get out of hand. I figured that if the situation became dangerous, I could leave Mike behind as a decoy, while I ran for help. I’ve never been much of a risk taker, especially when it comes to putting my own life in jeopardy.

I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going, since all I had was a street name.  I brought my Thomas Brothers Map© along to use as a guide.  I figured that if there really were something weird going on, I would find it soon enough. Peculiar things always seem to have a bad habit of happening to me.

As we were searching the neighborhoods, Mike spotted the street where this unexplained phenomenon was “allegedly” taking place.

We approached what appeared to be a sleepy older neighborhood; the street was a very dark, older, tree lined street.  There was nothing odd or unusual about this area, it seemed rather normal to us.

We were just about ready to give up our search, turn around and head back home, when Mike spotted some odd lights appearing in the distance. We drove slowly in the direction of the glare. As we approached, we saw what looked like a long line of people waiting…waiting for what?

Unable to find a nearby place to park, we drove past them to the next block, and parked.  Hurriedly, we walked back towards the crowd to find out what in the in the world was going on.  As we questioned the people in the line, we found that none of them could explain exactly what was going on; they just knew that if they waited in this line long enough something definitely was going to take place.  This seemed like an odd way of thinking to me, but this is Los Angeles, and you get used to strange things pretty fast around here.  We got in line behind everyone else.

The night air seemed cool, but not cold, and as we inched forward into the unknown, I could see what looked to be a rather large, lighted building taking shape.  I found it curious that the closer we got to the building, the colder it became outside.   “Why didn’t I bring a jacket?” I thought to myself.

Snow seemed to be covering the top of the roof of the building; icicles had formed under the eves. A white frost covered the windows; it left its chalky calling card in every indentation of the wooden structure.   “This is impossible,” I thought, “it never gets this cold, or snows for that matter, in Southern California.”  The building looked like some sort of a military installation.

I had a very uneasy feeling about this, every fiber in my body told me to get away from here as fast as possible.  I did not want to look like a sissy in front of Mike, so I kept these thoughts to myself.

Fifteen of us were culled from the line, and led up some steps to a front porch. We were told to wait a moment, by a man who looked like he was an officer in the military. He was wearing a heavy brown leather bomber jacket, and dressed for sub zero weather.  It seemed as though the temperature had dropped down another six degrees, my only thoughts of the moment, were of my warm jacket hanging in the closet at home. Right now, I wanted to be there with it.

I don’t know if anyone else was aware of it, but I could see an underlying look of anxiety on the officers’ face.  A momentary assessment flashed through my mind. “Why is this man nervous?”

The military man introduced himself as Captain Hendry, and in an anxious voice, he instructed us to watch an old black and white television monitor, that was barely working.  I thought he mumbled something like “Pay close attention, watching this could save your lives.” I probably had not heard him clearly.  We observed the monitor, but the signal was bad, all we could see was a static infused picture with the sound intermittently cutting in and out.

The man on the screen was dressed in a parka; he had a wild-eyed look on his face, in a panicked voice he said:
“This is an urgent SOS! We need a rescue team here to take out the survivors, and my crew, from Polar Expedition 6. Special monitoring cameras were activated, and took these images that I am now transmitting to you on this screen.”

Through the unstable picture, we saw what looked like an immensely huge object plummeting from the sky, and crashing onto the ice exploding into a massive ball of fire.

I noticed that the others were becoming uneasy; I started feeling uncomfortable.   Even my friend Mike looked anxious.

The worried person on the monitor continued his concerned dialog, “Instruments had indicated that this huge object was not a meteorite, and not any type of space debris. We quickly flew out to this remote location to investigate. What we found was beyond comprehension; in fact, I still scarcely believe it myself. It was…an alien spacecraft!”  The monitor picture went dead.

Captain Hendry rapidly moved to the television, we heard a loud “wham,” as he slammed his clenched fist on top of the set.   The picture returned instantly.

I probably would have done really well in the military service, since that is how I fix just about everything around my house, only I use a sledgehammer, not my fist.

The broadcast continued,

“We tried to remove the ship out of the ice with Thermite®, but an explosion occurred, blowing everything to smithereens. Two hundred feet away, we discovered what appeared to be one of the spaceships deceased occupants frozen in the ice. It must have been blasted away from the explosion. We managed to cut it out and bring it back to Anchorage Base Station for our scientists to study. And that’s when…  …SOS! This is an urgent SOS to anyone who is able to lock on to this signal…”

The monitor went dead again.

Not even Captain Hendry’s fist banging was able bring back the picture this time.

“This is getting crazy,” I said to Mike, “we need to get away from here. Now!”

Before we had a chance to move, the door to the Research Station quickly swung open, the crowd engulfed Mike and I, we were unwillingly forced inside by the human tide.  We found ourselves inside a long dimly lit hallway.

Captain Hendry addressed us in an urgent voice.

“Everything that any of you see or hear from this point on is Top Secret, do you hear me? If we get out of this situation alive, you must never share a word of this to anyone. We are now in a situation where we are forced to reveal classified information…our survival will depend on it!”

As we went down the corridor of the research station Captain Hendry paused in front of someone’s sleeping quarters. On the bed, we could see the distinct impression where somebody, or something had been previously lying.   There was an eerie phosphorescent greenish color in the indentured shape, and the odor was worse than the smell of death.  I felt a gag reflex working its way up from the pit of my stomach.

Captain Hendry explained how after laying the ice encased alien thing on the cot; some fool had covered it with an electric blanket, and turned it on. The alien encased ice block had thawed rather quickly, and defying all natural laws, the frozen dead thing inside the ice, had now come back to life, escaped, and was loose inside this research facility.  “It was spotted going down this corridor.” Said Captain Hendry.

As we inched our way down the corridor past the room, the Captain continued giving information: “We heard the sled dogs attacking it in a violent frenzy. In a few minutes their barks and growls were silenced…this thing had killed them all.”

We followed Captain Hendry as he moved forward cautiously to a storage bin. He noticed that the latch was covered with a greenish looking slim. “All right everybody…stand back!” Captain Hendry warned us.

He slowly reached forward to check the latch, the door suddenly flew open and from inside a horribly shriveled mutilated dog falls out.   It was “Fluffy” the lead dog, and research station mascot. The Captain knelt down to examine the remains.

“This dog has been completely drained of all its blood.” As he gets back up he says, “Whatever that thing is, it appears to feed on blood. Come on people, let’s rapidly move ahead to the lab, I need to see what Dr. Carrington knows about any of this so far.”   The Captain was visibly shaken; he looked like he was going to vomit.

We followed the Captain until we reached the laboratory, which looked more like a plant nursery to me. We listened in hushed silence as Dr. Carrington dictated, to his assistant who was taking notes.  They were discussing what they know so far about the alien creature.  They seemed to be completely oblivious to our presence.

Dr. Carrington: “…at approximately 9:00 PM I placed the seeds that I had found inside the severed hand, into the soil. Out of scientific curiosity, I fed these alien seeds two units of plasma from our blood bank.”

His assistant stopped her note taking and looked at the bed of rapidly growing, grotesque looking alien plants. “Dr. Carrington?” She inquired.

“Miss Nicholson, please!” Said Dr. Carrington visibly agitated.

His assistant replied, “Yes Sir.” and continued taking down the essential information.

“This thing, along with these plants gives off measurable radiation; they also have been growing, and reproducing at an alarming rate of speed…”

Suddenly Dr. Carrington’s speech was cut off by a loud voice on the P.A. system.  The voice blared:

“Attention, attention to anyone able to hear this announcement. The alien thing that was captured earlier, and escaped, is loose inside our research facility. Do not, I repeat, do not go anywhere near it, or try to capture it, it is deadly! Nothing we have tried so far has been able to kill it. We need all personnel to move quickly to the generator room at the north end of the building. Go there now! We will give you more information upon your arrival.”

Without hesitation, we all headed towards the generator room, including Dr. Carrington, and his assistant.
Upon arrival we saw that two other military men, one of them a sergeant, were already preparing to give our alien visitor a “special welcome” should it approach.   They were armed with axes, and one of them held what appeared to be Geiger counter. The generator room was midway down a long narrow T-shaped corridor, on the floor in front of us; I noticed a black box with plunger handle protruding from it, with wires form it disappearing down the dark passageway.

Captain Hendry broke the muted silence. “If this alien thing is genetically more like a vegetable than an animal, then I say that as our last resort we try to cook it with fifty-thousand volts of electricity from the generator. Nothing we have tried so far to kill it has worked. Lets pray that this does.”

Captain Hendry used his flashlight to illuminate the corridor. “We have laid a metal grid on the floor of the rear of this passageway. This plunger is wired between the grid and the generator, and will act as a switch. Let’s just hope we can send this creature back to creation with our plan.”

The sergeant ran up to Captain Hendry, and notified him that everything is wired up, and ready to go.

Suddenly Dr. Carrington, followed by his assistant, emerged from the generator room.  

“Captain, I implore you; it is vital that we capture this creature and study it. You’re not a scientist, we need to study it, learn more about it, find out where it came…”

Captain Hendry cut Dr. Carrington’s speech short. “Sorry Doctor this isn’t open for discussion. This thing has taken too many lives already. We need to kill it, before it kills us. Right now, we need you to run that generator.” Captain Hendry motioned to Dr. Carrington’s assistant, “…now get him the hell back to the generator!”

The sergeant held up his Geiger counter, it began to start ticking, indicating that the alien creature was somewhere nearby.   The Geiger counters needle suddenly moved forward on the indicator, as the clicking rose to a loud crescendo.  I could barely hear the sergeant’s hushed voice as he said. “Sir it’s very close now.”

All we could hear was clicking, which now had elevated to a steady drone.

Just as the sergeant uttered, “The needle has peaked, Sir.” Suddenly we heard a cry, like nothing every heard on this planet. We all froze in fear. Waiting, and watching the end of the darkened corridor for…it… to make an appearance.

We heard loud crashing, and banging, as if the thing was tearing the entire research center apart. A very loud explosive boom could be heard as the door at the end of the corridor was knocked off of its hinges; we saw a vague outline of an unbelievably huge humanoid looking shape.   The figure grew larger and more menacing as it approached us, in deliberate powerful movements.  The smell that emanated from it was beyond description.  I noticed Captain Hendry already had his hand on the plunger handle, just waiting for the right moment to come.

Suddenly, all the lights went out.

We heard Dr. Carrington’s assistant yell at us in the darkness. “Captain Hendry, Dr. Carrington’s cut the power from the generator!”

“Get To The Generator! Get That Power Back On! NOW!" Captain Hendry screamed.

The sergeant rushes into the room to help her, we heard a struggle, and then a loud thud, and suddenly the lights came back on. We see that the thing is just about upon us. In a split second Captain Hendry pushes down the plunger sending every ounce of electricity the generator has to give, pulsing into the thing. We see the alien creature lit up in a blaze of fire and smoke, the lights flicker on and off, as every ounce of electricity that the generator has to give is diverted to kill the creature.

We heard the generator’s loud whine, as it is pushed beyond it’s limits. We watched the alien thing die in what looked like slow motion, created by the flickering lights strobe effect.  As the life was burned from it, the things horrible death wail faded also.

I will never forget that sound as long as I live; I know that it is a cry will inhabit my nightmares forever as well.
The flickering lights slowly begin to burn steady again, as generator slows back down to it’s normal speed.

The corridor is engulfed in smoke; each one of us is too terrified to move. We watch, we wait…for any sign to tell us that the creature has been fully destroyed.  The thick fog like smoke started to clear, but much too slow to suit me. The waiting seemed unbearable.

Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, the haze had cleared away enough for us to see that there was nothing left in the corridor.   Captain Hendry cautioned us to stay back, as he proceeded down the corridor to make sure the danger has passed. He stopped at the end of the corridor and carefully examined what appeared to be the charred remains of the alien creature.

Ten minutes go by before Captain Hendry says, “Looks like we got it! Everyone turn around and face door at the rear section of this corridor. We will have a plane readied to take us all back to town in Anchorage.”

Captain Hendry goes ahead of us to lead the way, as he reaches for the door we hear a familiar sound that sends shivers of horror down our spines. Captain Hendry opens the door, and there is…the thing standing there half-burned, full of feral rage.

Captain Hendry tries valiantly to shove the thing back out, and lock the door, but the thing moving with lighting speed grabs Captain Hendry by the arm and pulls him outside.  The door slams shut, we hear the agonized screams of Captain Hendry, mixed with the murderous sounds of the thing as it tears Captain Hendry limb from limb.

...suddenly the lights go out!

After a long pause, the lights come back on, the exit door opens, and there to greet us at the bottom of the stairs is Bob Burns with a look that tells us that we have just been terrified at Bob Burn’s Halloween Extravaganza 2002 production of The Thing.

As I slowly recover from my uncontrollable tremors, I take Bob’s hand and shake it. “Thanks so much for scaring the living hell out of us Bob; I can’t wait until next Halloween.” I hear myself mumble.  I knew that after my encounter with The Thing at Bob Burns’s house, my life would never again be the same.

I looked over at Mike who was mindlessly staring at the door we had just exited from. He was clicking his heels rhythmically together, and muttering repeatedly to himself. “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

It would be a very long time before either Mike, or I would be “normal” again.

Kathy, Bob, Craig and Mike
Kathy and Bob Burns, Dr. Strange, Mike Dubose.

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Original site created on September 29, 1997 and updated 01/02/15.