The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981): Season 1, Episode 2 - Episode #1.2 - full transcript

Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect find themselves thrown off the Vogon spaceship into the vacuum of space. Improbably, they are rescued 29 seconds later by the Starship Heart of Gold. This brand new model has just been high-jacked by the President of the Universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox and his girlfriend Trillian. Even more unlikely, it turns out both the hitch hikers and their rescuers have met before.

'Far out, in the uncharted backwaters
at the unfashionable end

'of the Western Spiral arm
of the Galaxy,

'lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

'Orbiting this at a distance
of roughly 92 million miles

'is an utterly insignificant
little blue-green planet

'whose ape-descended lifeforms
are so amazingly primitive

'that they still think
digital watches are neat.

'This planet has-or had -
a problem, which was this -

'most of the people living on it were
unhappy for pretty much of the time.

'Many solutions were suggested
for this problem,

'mostly concerned with the movements
of small green pieces of paper,

'which is odd, because, on the whole,

'it wasn't the small green pieces
of paper that were unhappy.

'And so the problem remained
and lots of the people were mean,

'and most of them were miserable,
even the ones with digital watches. '

'Many increasingly felt
that they'd all made a big mistake

'in coming down from the trees
in the first place.

'And some said that
even the trees had been a bad move

'and that no one
should ever have left the oceans.

'And then, one day,

'nearly 2,000 years after one man
had been nailed to a tree

'for saying how great it would be
to be nice to people for a change,

'a girl sitting on her own
in a small caf? in Rickmansworth

'suddenly realised what it was
had been going wrong all this time,

'and she finally knew how the world
could be made a good and happy place.

'This time it was right,
it would work,

'and no one would have
to get nailed to anything.

'Sadly, however, before she could get
to a phone to tell anyone,

'the Earth was demolished to
make way for a hyperspace by-pass

'and so the idea was lost forever.

'Meanwhile, Arthur Dent
has escaped from the Earth

'in the company of a friend of his,

'who has unexpectedly turned out
to be from a small planet

'in the vicinity of Betelgeuse,
and not from Guildford after all.

'His name is Ford Prefect,

'for reasons which are unlikely
to become clear again at the moment,

'and they're hiding
in a Vogon spaceship. '

What's that?

If we're lucky, it's a Vogon
come to throw us out into space.

And if we're unlucky?

The captain might want to read us
some of his poetry first.

Oh, freddled gruntbuggly!

Thy micturitions are to me

As plurdled gabbleblotchits
on a lurgid bee

That mordiously hath bitled out
its earted jurtles...

Now the jurpling slayjd agrocrustles

Are slurping hagrilly up
the axlegrurts...

'Vogon poetry is, of course,
the third worst in the Universe.

'The second worst is
that of the Azgoths of Kria.

'During a recitation by their poetmaster
Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem:

'... four of his audience died
of internal haemorrhaging

'and the president of the
Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council

'only survived
by gnawing one of his own legs off.

'Grunthos is reported to have been
disappointed by the poem's reception,

'and was about to embark on a reading
of his 12-book epic:

'when his own major intestine,

'in a desperate attempt
to save lifekind,

'leapt straight up through his neck
and throttled his brain.

'The very worst poetry of all
and its creator:

'perished in the destruction
of the planet Earth.

'Vogon poetry is mild by comparison. '

Now the jurpling slayid agrocrustles

Are slurping hagrilly up
the axlegrurts...

And living glupules frart
and slipulate

Like jowling meated liverslime.

Groop I implore thee

My foonting turling dromes

And hooptiously drangle me
with crinkly bindlewurdles

Or else I shall rend thee in the
gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon

See if I don't!

- So, Earthlings...
- I'm not an Earthling.

I present you with a simple choice.

Think very carefully,
for your very lives lie in your hands.

Now choose!
Either die in the vacuum of space

or... tell me how good
you thought my poem was.

I liked it.


Oh, yes. I thought some
of the metaphysical imagery

- Was particularly effective.
- Yes?

Oh, and interesting...
rhythmic devices...

which seemed to counterpoint
the, er...

Counterpoint the surrealism of
the underlying metaphor of the, er...


- Vogonity.
- Vogonity, sorry!

Of the poet's compassionate soul,
which strives

through the verse structure
to sublimate this, transcend that,

and one is left with a profound
and vivid insight into... into...

Into whatever the poem was about.
That was very good.

So, what you are saying
is that I just write poetry

because underneath
my mean, callous, heartless exterior,

I just want to be loved, is that it?

Well, I mean, yes, don't we all,
deep down, underneath...?

No! You're completely wrong.

I write poetry just to throw
my mean, callous, heartless exterior

into sharp relief. I'm going
to throw you off the ship anyway.

Guard! Take the prisoners to
number 3 airlock and throw them out.

This is great!
This is really terrific!

Ow! Let go of me, you brute!

Don't worry -
I'll think of something.

Resistance is useless!

What is all this, Ford?

I woke up this morning,
thought I'd have a nice, relaxed day,

do a bit of reading, brush the dog...

It's 4.00 p. m. and I'm being
thrown out of an alien spaceship

five light years from
the smoking remains of the Earth.

Just stop panicking!
Who mentioned panicking?

This is just culture shock.

Wait till I settle! Then I'll panic!

- Arthur, you're hysterical! Shut up!
- Resistance is useless!

- And you!
- Resistance is useless!

Give it a rest!
Do you enjoy this sort of thing?

What do you mean?

What I mean is-does it give you
a full, satisfying life?

Full, satisfying life?

Yeah, stomping around, shouting,
pushing people off spaceships.

- Well, the hours are good.
- They'd have to be (!)

- Ford, what are you doing?
- Shh!

- So, the hours are good?
- Yeah. But now you mention it,

most of the actual minutes
are pretty lousy.

Except some of the shouting
I quite like.

Resistance is...

Sure, yes, you're good at that,
I can tell.

But if the rest of it is so lousy,
why do you do it?

The girls?

The rubber? The machismo?

I don't know, really.
I think I just sort of... do it.

My aunt said that spaceship guard
was a good career for a young Vogon -

you know, the uniform, the low-slung
stun-ray holster, mindless tedium...

Ford, this guy's half-throttling me!

but try and understand his problem.

Here he is, poor guy,

his entire life is stamping around,
pushing people off spaceships...

- And shouting...
- Yeah, and shouting!

And he doesn't even know
why he's doing it.

Poignant, very poignant (!)

- Now you've put it like that...
- Good lad.

All right, but what's the alternative?

Stop doing it! Tell them
you're not going to do it any more.

Doesn't sound that great to me!

That's just the start.
There's more than that...

No, if it's all the same to you,

I'll just get you two shoved out,

and then get on with some other bits
of shouting. Resistance is useless!

But come on... Now, look...

Ow! Stop that!

Hang on! There's music and art
and things to tell you about yet!

I think I better stick
to what I know, thanks,

but thanks for taking an interest.

I've got a headache! I don't want
to go to heaven with a headache!

I'll be all cross and won't enjoy it.

There's a whole world you know
nothing about. How about this...?

- Doesn't that stir anything in you?
... No.

Bye. I'll tell my aunt what you said.

Potentially bright lad, I thought.


- We're trapped now, aren't we?
- Yeah, we're trapped.

Well, didn't you think of anything?

- Yeah.
- What?

Unfortunately, it involved being
on the other side of this hatchway.

So that's it? We're going to die?


Except... no!

Wait a minute! What's this switch?

What? Where?

No, I was only fooling.
We're going to die after all.

You know, it's at times like this,

when I'm stuck in a Vogon airlock
with a man from Betelgeuse

and about to die of asphyxiation
in deep space,

that I wish I'd listened
to what my mother told me.

- Why? What did she tell you?
- I don't know... I didn't listen.

Oh, terrific.

"Counterpoint the surrealism
of the underlying metaphor"!

Huh! Death's too good for them!

'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
is a wholly remarkable book.

'The introduction starts like this:

'And so on...

'After a while,
the style settles down a bit,

'and it starts telling you things
you actually need to know,

'like the fact that the fabulously
beautiful planet of Bethselamin...

'is now so worried
about the cumulative erosion

'caused by 10 billion tourists a year

'that any net imbalance
between the amount you eat

'and the amount you excrete
whilst on the planet

'is surgically removed from
your body weight when you leave. '

'So every time
you go to the lavatory there,

'it's vitally important
to get a receipt.

'In the entry in which it talks
about dying of asphyxiation

'30 seconds after
being thrown out of a spaceship...

'... which, amazingly, was also
the phone number of an Islington flat

'where Arthur
once went to a very good party,

'where he ate some very good food,

'had some very good drinks
with some very good friends

'and met a very nice girl whom
he totally failed to get off with. '

Is this guy bothering you?

'Though the planet Earth,
the Islington flat,

'and the telephone
have all now been demolished...

'it's comforting to reflect

'that they are all in some small way
commemorated by the fact

'that some 29 seconds later Arthur
and Ford were, in fact, rescued. '

- Told you I'd think of something...
- Oh, sure (!)

Bright idea of mine to find a passing
spaceship and get rescued by it.

Come on! The chances against it
were astronomical.

Don't knock it! It worked!

Where the hell are we?

Well, it looks like
the seafront at Southend.

God, I'm relieved
to hear you say that!

- I thought I must be going mad!
- Perhaps you only thought I said it.

- Well, did you or didn't you?
- I think so.

Perhaps we're both going mad.

Nice day for it-sun...


You know, if this is Southend,
there's something very odd about it.

You mean the way
the sea stays steady as a rock...

and the buildings
keep washing up and down?

I thought that was odd.

2 to the power of 100,000 to 1
against and falling.

What's that?

It sounded like
a measurement of probability.

What does it mean?

I don't know. But I definitely think
we're on some kind of spaceship.

Then, I can only assume we're not
in the first-class compartment (!)

Southend seems to be melting away...

The stars are swirling...
a dustbowl...


My leg's drifting off
into the sunset...

My left arm's disappeared!

How am I going to operate
my digital watch now?

Ford, you're turning into a penguin!
Stop it!


2 to the power of 75,000 to 1 against
and falling...

Hey! Who are you? Where are you?

What's going on?
And is there any way of stopping it?

Relax. You are perfectly safe.

That's not the point!

The point is that
I am now a perfectly safe penguin

and my colleague
is rapidly running out of limbs.

Isn't there anything
you feel you ought to be telling us?

Welcome to the starship
Heart of Gold.

Please do not be alarmed by anything
you see or hear around you.

You are bound to feel
some initial ill effects

as you have been rescued from certain
death at an improbability level

of 2 to the power of 260,199 to 1
against, possibly much higher.

We are now cruising at a level of 2
to the power of 25,000 to 1 against

and falling,
and we will be restoring normality

as soon as we are sure what normal is.
Thank you. 2 to the power...

Arthur, this is fantastic!

We've been picked up by a ship with
the new Infinite Improbability Drive!

This is incredible, Arthur...

Arthur? What's happening?

Ford, there's an infinite number
of monkeys out here

who want to talk to us about this
script for Hamlet they've worked out.

'The Infinite Improbability Drive

'is a wonderful new method
of crossing interstellar distances

'in a few seconds, without all that
tedious mucking about in hyperspace.

'The principle of generating small
amounts of finite improbability,

'by simply hooking the logic circuits
of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain

'to an atomic vector plotter,

'suspended in a Brownian Motion
producer-say, a nice cup of tea -

'had long been understood,

'and such generators were often used
to break the ice at parties

'by making all the molecules
in the hostess's undergarments

'simultaneously leap
one foot to the left,

'in accordance
with the theory of indeterminacy.

'Many respectable physicists said
they wouldn't stand for such a thing,

'partly because
it was a debasement of science,

'but mostly because they didn't get
invited to those sort of parties.

'Another thing they couldn't stand

'was their perpetual failure
in trying to construct a machine

'which could generate
the Infinite Improbability field

'needed to flip a spaceship
between the furthest stars...

'and, in the end,

'they grumpily announced that such
a machine was virtually impossible.

'Then, one evening, a student,
who had been left to sweep up the lab

'after a particularly
unsuccessful party,

'found himself reasoning this way...

"'If such a machine
is a virtual impossibility,

"'then it must, logically,
be a finite improbability.

"'So all I have to do to make one

"'is work out
exactly how improbable it is...

"'feed that figure into
the finite improbability generator...

"'give it a fresh cup
of really hot tea and turn it on. "

'The moment he did this,
he was rather startled to discover

'that he had managed
to create the long sought-after

'Infinite Improbability Generator
out of thin air.

'It startled him even more

'when, just after he was awarded
the Galactic Institute's prize

'for extreme cleverness,

'he got lynched by a rampaging mob
of respectable physicists

'who had finally realised

'the one thing they really
couldn't stand was a smartass!'

5 to 1 against and falling.

4 to 1 against and falling.

3 to 1...

2... 1...

Probability factor of 1 to 1.

We have normality.
I repeat-we have normality.

Anything you still can't cope with is,
therefore, your own problem.

- Who are they, Trillian?
- A couple of guys we picked up.

Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.

That's very sweet, Trillian,

but do you really think it's wise?

We're on the run and everything,

we've got the police
of half the Galaxy after us,

and we pick up hitchhikers.

10 out of 10 for style, but minus
several million for thinking.

They were floating in open space.
You didn't want them to die, did you?

Not as such...

A second later, they'd have died.

So if you'd thought about it a moment
longer, it would've gone away, right?

Anyway, I didn't pick them up.
The ship did-all by itself.

- Hey, what?
- Hey, what?

- The ship picked them up by itself.
- So what?

The ship...
Oh, forget it and go back to sleep!

We picked them up while we were
in Infinite Improbability Drive.

- But that's incredible!
- No, just very, very improbable.

Don't worry about the aliens.
Just a couple of guys, I expect.

I'll send the robot down
to check them out. Marvin?

I think you ought to know
I'm feeling very depressed.

Oh, God!

Here's something
to take your mind off things.

It won't work.
I have an exceptionally large mind.


All right. What do you want me to do?

Go down to number 3 entry bay
and bring the two aliens up here.

Just that?

- Yes.
- I won't enjoy it.

Just do it!

All right! I'll do it.

Good. Great. Thank you.

I'm not getting you down at all,
am I?

No, no, Marvin,
that's just fine, really.

I wouldn't like to think
I was getting you down.

No, don't worry about that.

You just act naturally
and everything will be fine.

- You're sure you don't mind?
- No, no. It's just part of life.

Life! Don't talk to me about life!

I don't think I can stand that robot
much longer, Zaphod.

'The Encyclopaedia Galactica
defines a robot

'as a mechanical apparatus
designed to do the work of a man.

'The Marketing Division of
the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation

'defines a robot as:

'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

'defines the Marketing Division of
the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation:

'Curiously enough, an edition
of the Encyclopaedia Galactica

'that fell through a time warp
from 1,000 years in the future

'defines the Marketing Division
of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation

'as "A bunch of mindless jerks

"'who were the first against the wall
when the revolution came. "'

I think
this ship is brand-new, Arthur.

Have you got some exotic device
for measuring the age of metal?

No. I just found this sales brochure.

"The Universe can be yours for a mere
five quilliard Altairian dollars. "


A quilliard is a whole page of
noughts with a one at the beginning.

Ah, this is what I was after!

"Sensational new breakthrough
in improbability physics.

"As the ship's drive
reaches Infinite Improbability,

"it passes through every point
in the Universe.

"Be the envy
of other major governments. " Wow!

It's a whole lot better
than that dingy Vogon crate!

This is my idea of a spaceship,

all gleaming metal,
flashing lights, everything...

- What happens if I press this?
- Don't!


What happened?

A sign lit up saying, "Please
do not press this button again. "

They make a big thing
of the ship's cybernetics.

"A new generation of Sirius
Cybernetics Corporation computers

"and robots
with the new GPP feature. "

GPP? What's that?

- Genuine People Personalities.
- Sounds ghastly.

It is.


It all is. Absolutely ghastly.

Just don't even talk about it.

Look at this door.

"All the doors in this spacecraft
have a cheerful, sunny disposition.

"It is their pleasure to open for you

"and their satisfaction
to close again

"with the knowledge
of a job well done. "

Glad to be of service.

Hateful, isn't it?

Come on. I've been ordered
to take you up to the bridge.

Here I am,
brain the size of a planet,

and they tell me
to take you up to the bridge.

Call that job satisfaction?
'Cause I don't!

- Which government owns this ship?
- Watch this door.

It's about to open again.

I can tell by the intolerable air
of smugness it suddenly generates.

Enjoy your trip through this door!

Come on.

Thank you!

Thank you very much,

the Marketing Division of the
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation (!)

Excuse me... Which government...?

"Let's build robots with Genuine
People Personalities," they said,

so they tried it out with me.

I'm a personality prototype...
You can tell, can't you?

- Which govern...?
- I hate that door.

I'm not getting you down, am I?

Which government owns this...?

No government owns it.
It's been stolen.

- Stolen?
- Stolen?

- Who by?
- Zaphod Beeblebrox.

- Zaphod Beeblebrox?!
- Sorry, did I say something wrong?

Pardon me for breathing,

which I never do anyway, so I don't
know why I bother to say it.

Oh, God, I'm so depressed!

Here's another
of those self-satisfied doors!

Life! Don't talk to me about life!

No one even mentioned it!

Glad to be of service.

Really, Zaphod Beeblebrox...!

...Reports brought to you
here on the sub-etha waveband,

broadcasting around the Galaxy,
around the clock.

We'll be saying a big hello to all
intelligent lifeforms everywhere.

And to everyone else, the secret
is bang the rocks together, guys.

The big story tonight
is the sensational theft

of the Improbability prototype ship,
by none other than Zaphod Beeblebrox.

And the question everyone's asking -

has the big Zee finally flipped?

Beeblebrox, inventor of
the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster,

ex-confidence trickster,
part-time Galactic President,

described by Eccentrica Gallumbits
as "The best bang since the big one",

and recently voted the worst-dressed
sentient being in the Universe

for the seventh time running...

Has he got an answer? We asked his
brain care specialist Gag Halfrunt.

Well, Zaphod's just zis guy,
you know...

Beeblebrox stole
the Improbability Drive Ship

when he was meant
to be launching it...

- Hey, kid, what'd you do that for?
- I just thought of something.

Worth interrupting
a bulletin about me for?

Can we leave your ego out of this?
This is important.

If there's anything more important
than my ego around, I want it shot!

- We picked up the couple of guys...
- What couple of guys?

- The couple of guys we picked up!
- Oh, yeah. Those couple of guys.

We picked them up
in Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.

- Yeah!
- Does that mean anything to you?

- Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha!
- Well?

What does the Z mean?

- Which one?
- Any one.

Would you mind
looking at the Galactic charts?

Hey, that's wild!

We should have zapped right into the
Horsehead Nebula. That is nowhere!

Improbability Drive.

We pass through every point
in the Universe!

Yeah, but actually
picking those dudes up there

is just too wild a coincidence.
I want to work this out. Computer!

Hi, there. Whatever your problem,
I am here to help you solve it.

- Shut up and work something out.
- A probability forecast based on...

Improbability data!

OK. Did you know most people's lives
are governed by telephone numbers?

Telephone numbers?

I've got this terrible pain
in all the diodes down my left side.


Oh, yes. I mean,
I've asked for them to be replaced,

but no one ever listens.

I can imagine.

Well, well, well, Zaphod Beeblebrox!

I don't believe it!
This is just too amazing!

Trillian! Trillian?

Oh, this is going to be great!

I'm going to be so amazingly cool
it would fluster a Vegan snow lizard!

What real cool! Several million
points out of ten for style!

Right, which is the most
nonchalant chair to be discovered in?

Glad to be of service.

I suppose
you'll want to see the aliens now.

Do you want me to rust in a corner
or fall apart where I'm standing?

Show them in.

Thank you.

Ford, hi. How are you?
Glad you could drop in.

Oh, hi, Zaphod, great to see you.
You're looking well.

The extra arm suits you. Hey, this is
a great ship you've stolen!

Ford, you mean
you know this person... s?

Know him? He's my...
Oh, hey, Zaphod...

This is my friend - Arthur Dent.
I saved him when his planet blew up.

Hi, Arthur. Glad you could make it.

- This is...
- We've met!


Oh, er, have we?


What do you mean-met?

This is Zaphod Beeblebrox
from Betelgeuse 5, you know,

not bloody Martin Smith from Croydon.

I don't care.
We've met, haven't we, Zaphod?

- Or should I say... Phil?
- What?

- At a party six months ago.
- Hey, I really doubt that...

On Earth, England,

London, Islington.

- Oh, hey, yeah! That party?
- What?

You mean you've been to that
miserable little planet as well?

I may have dropped in
on my way somewhere.

At this party was a girl I was after.

Beautiful, charming,
devastatingly intelligent...

I'd been saving myself up for.

Along comes your friend and says,
"Hey, doll! Is this guy boring you?"

"Why don't you talk to me?
I'm from a different planet. "

- Zaphod?
- He only had two arms and one head,

and called himself Phil, but...

But you must admit,
he was from another planet!

Good heavens! Tricia McMillan!

- Trillian to you.
- Infinity minus 1.

- For my next trick...
- Shut up!

What are you doing here?

Same as you. I hitched a lift.

With a degree in maths
and another in astrophysics,

it was either that
or back to the dole on Monday.

Oh, God! Ford, this is Trillian.

Hi! Trillian, my semi-cousin, Ford,

who shares three
of the same mothers as me.

Is this sort of thing going to
happen every time we use the Drive?

Very probably, I'm afraid.

Zaphod Beeblebrox,
this is a very large drink. Hi.