The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981): Season 1, Episode 4 - Episode #1.4 - full transcript

Deep down inside the planet Magrathea, coastline designer Slartibartfast is working on Earth, mark II. It seems the previous version was destroyed just before it managed to complete it's purpose. Arthur Dent, being the last human survivor to leave Earth (Trillian doesn't count), may hold the answer to Live, the Universe and Everything.

'Arthur Dent,
a perfectly ordinary Earthman,

'was rather surprised
when his friend Ford Prefect

'suddenly revealed himself
to be from a small planet

'in the vicinity of Betelgeuse

'and not from Guildford after all.

'He was even more surprised
when, minutes later,

'Earth was unexpectedly demolished

'to make way
for a new hyperspace by-pass.

'But this was as nothing
to their joint surprise

'when they were rescued from certain
death by a stolen spaceship

'manned by Ford's semi-cousin,
the infamous Zaphod Beeblebrox,

'and by Trillian, a rather nice
young astrophysicist

'Arthur once met at a party
in Islington.

'However, all four of them are soon
totally overwhelmed by surprise

'when they discover that
the ancient world of Magrathea,

'a planet legendary for its trade
in manufacturing other planets,

'is not as dead
as it was supposed to be.

'For Zaphod, Ford and Trillian,

'surprise is pushed to its
very limits when THIS happened...'

'And when Arthur encounters

'the Magrathean coastline designer

'who won an award for his work
on Norway

'and learns that the history
of mankind

'was only being run for the benefit
of a few white mice,

'surprise is no longer adequate

'and he is forced to resort
to astonishment.'


Mind your head.

E-Excuse the mess.

Most unfortunate-a diode blew in
one of the life support computers.

When we came to revive
our cleaning staff,

we discovered they'd been dead
for 30,000 years.

Who's going to clear away the bodies?
That's what no one has an answer for.

Mice? Look, are we talking
about the same things?

Mice are white furry creatures
with a cheese fixation,

women standing screaming on tables
in early '60s sitcoms.

Earthman, it is sometimes hard
to follow your mode of speech.

I have been asleep
inside this planet of Magrathea

for... um... five million years

and know little of these early '60s
sitcoms of which you speak.

These creatures you call mice
are not quite as they appear.

They are merely the protrusion
into our dimension

of vast hyper-intelligent,
pan-dimensional beings.

This business with the cheese
and the squeaking is just a front.

They have been experimenting on you.

Ahh! No, look, you've got it wrong!
It was us! We experimented on THEM!

Making them run down mazes,
ring bells, eat bits of cheese!

And, by analysing their behaviour,

were learned all sorts of things
about ourselves!

- Such subtlety!
- Well...

Well, how better to disguise
their true natures,

how better to guide your way
of thinking,

than to be right down there
amongst you?

Suddenly running down the maze
the wrong way,

eating the wrong bit of cheese,

unexpectedly dropping dead
of myxomatosis.

Finely calculated,
the cumulative effect is enormous.

Just sit... back... back.

I must tell you
that your planet and people

have formed the matrix
of an organic computer

running a 10-million-year
research programme

into the ultimate question of Life,
the Universe... and Everything.

They are particularly clever,
hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional beings.

Attention! Slartibartfast
and the visiting Earth creature

report to the work's reception area
immediately... Repeat, immediately!

However, in the field of management
relations, they're shocking.

- Really?
- Every time they give me an order,

I want to jump on a table and scream.

Yes, I can see
that would be a problem.

'There are many problems
connected with life,

'of which some of
the most pressing are...

'Why are people born?

'Why do they die?

'And why do they spend
so much of the intervening time

'wearing digital watches?

'Many millions of years ago,
a race of hyper-intelligent beings

'became so fed-up with the bickering
about the meaning of life

'that they decided to sit down
and solve it once and for all.

'To this end, they built themselves

'a stupendous super-computer
called Deep Thought

'that was so amazingly intelligent

'that even before its data banks
had been connected up,

'it started
from first principles with:

'And deduced the existence
of rice pudding and income tax

'before anyone managed
to turn it off.'

Do not be alarmed.

'Only after Deep Thought
has been programmed

'with all the knowledge
in the Universe, do two men,

'selected of all their race,
approach it.'

What is this great task
for which l, Deep Thought,

the second greatest computer
in the Universe

of Time and Space,
have been called into existence?

- Your task, O computer...
- No, wait a minute!

Did he say "second greatest"?

O Deep Thought, are you not,
as we designed you to be,

the greatest, the most powerful
computer of all time?

I described myself as
the second greatest and such I am!

Can we just clear this up?

O Deep Thought,
are you not a greater computer

than the Milliard Gargantubrain which
can count all the atoms in a star?

A Milliard Gargantubrain?
A mere abacus! Mention it not!

Are you not a greater analyst
than the Googleplex Star Thinker

in the 7th Galaxy
of Light and Ingenuity?

The Googleplex Star Thinker?

Molest me not
with this pocket calculator stuff!

But are you not
a more fiendish disputant

than the Great Hyperlobic Omnicognate
Neutron Wrangler on Ciceronicus 12?!

The Great 0mnicognate
Neutron Wrangler

could talk all four legs
off an Arcturan megadonkey,

but only I could persuade it
to go for a walk afterwards!

Then... what is the problem?

There is no problem!

I speak of none but the computer
that is to come after me!

I think this is getting
needlessly messianic.

A computer whose merest
operational parameters

I am not worthy to calculate,

but which it will be my destiny
eventually to design!

Can we get on and ask the question?

Oh, all right.

O Great Computer, the task we have
designed you to perform is this.

We want you to tell us the answer.

The answer?

- The answer to what?
- Life!

- The Universe!
- Everything!


But... can you do it?

Yes, I can do it.

You mean... there IS an answer?

- A simple answer?
- Yes.

Life, the Universe and Everything.

There is an answer.

- There is an answer! At last!
- But I'll have to think about it.

- We demand admission!
- Now what?

- You can't keep us out!
- We demand you cannot keep us out!

- Who are you? Get out of here!
- I am Majkthise!

And I demand that I am Vroomfondel!

It's all right,
you don't need to demand that!

All right, I am Vroomfondel...

...and that is not a demand,
that is a solid fact!

What we demand is solid facts!

No, we don't! That is precisely
what we DON'T demand!

We don't demand solid facts!

What we demand is a total absence
of solid facts!

I demand that I may, or may not,
be Vroomfondel!

- Who are you?
- We are philosophers.

- Though we may not be!
- Yes, we are!

We are definitely here
as representatives

of the Amalgamated Union
of Philosophers, Sages, and Luminaries,

and we want the machine off now!

We demand that you get rid of it!

- What's the problem?
- The problem is demarcation, mate!

We demand that demarcation
may or may not be the problem!

Let the machines
get on with the adding up

and WE'LL take care
of the eternal verities!

By law, the quest for ultimate truth

is the inalienable prerogative
of your working thinkers!

Any machine goes and finds 'em,
we're out of a job!

What's the use of our arguing
half the night whether there may...

- Or may not! a god...

...if this machine gives you
his phone number in the morning!

That's right!

We demand rigidly defined areas
of doubt and uncertainty!

Might I make an observation
at this point?

Keep out of this!

We demand that that machine not be
allowed to think about this problem!

If I might make an observation!

All I wanted to say was this.

My circuits
are now irrevocably committed

to calculating the answer

to the ultimate question
of Life, the Universe and Everything,

but the program will take me
a little while to run.

- How long?
- Seven and a half...

- What, not till next week?!
- ... million... years!

- How long?!
- I said I'd have to think about it.

And it occurs to me that running
a program like this

is bound to create
considerable interest

in the whole area
of popular philosophy.

- Yes?
- Keep talking.

Everyone's going to have
his own theory

about what answer I'm eventually
going to come up with

and who better to capitalise
on that media market

than you yourselves?

So long as you can keep violently
disagreeing with each other

and slagging each other off
in the popular press,

and so long as
you have clever agents,

you can keep yourselves
on the gravy train for life!

Bloody hell!
Now, that's what I call thinking!

'Ere, Vroomfondel, how come
we never think of things like that?


I think our minds must be
too highly trained, Majkthise.

Very salutary, but what about
the Earth and mice?

All will become clear to you.

Are you not anxious to hear what the
computer said 7.5 million years later?

Erm... yes... quite.

The time is nearly upon us!

7.5 million years we've waited.

75,000 generations

since our ancestors set this program
in motion and, in all that time,

we shall be the first to hear
the computer speak.

It's an awesome prospect.

Deep Thought is about to speak!

Good evening.

G-Good evening.

O... Deep Thought... you have... Have you...?

An answer for you?

Yes, I have.

- There really is one?
- There really is one.

To everything?
The secret of the Universe?

The great questions of Life
and Everything?

- Yes.
- Are you ready to give it to us?

- I am.
- Now?!



Though I don't think
you're going to like it.

Doesn't matter! We must know it!

- Now?
- Yes... now.

All right.

- Well?
- You're really not going to like it.

Tell us!

- The answer to the great question...
- Yes?

... of Life, the Universe
and Everything...

- Yes?
- ... is...

- Yes?
- ... is...

- Yes?!
- ... 42!

It was a tough assignment.


Is that all you've got to show
for 7.5 million years' work?!

I think the problem

is that you've never known
what the question is.

But it was the GREAT question,

the ultimate question of Life,
the Universe and Everything!

Yes, but what actually is it?


...just everything!

You know... everything!


You have to know
what the question actually is

in order to know
what the answer means.

Well, can you please tell us
the question?

- The Ultimate Question?
- Yes!

Of Life, the Universe
and Everything?

- Yes!
- Tricky.

But can you do it?


But I'll tell you who can.

Tell us!

I speak of none but the computer
that is to come after me.

A computer whose merest
operational parameters

I am not worthy to calculate!

Yet I will design it for you!

A computer which can calculate
the Answer to the Ultimate Question,

a computer of such infinite
and subtle complexity

that organic life itself

shall form part
of its operational matrix.

You yourselves shall take on new
forms and go down into the computer

to navigate
its 10-million-year program!

Yes, I shall design
this computer for you

and I shall name it also unto you

and it shall be called the Earth!

Oh, what a dull name.

So there you have it.

Deep Thought designed the Earth,
we built it and you lived on it.

The Vogons destroyed it 5 minutes
before the program was completed.

10 million years of planning
and work gone.

Well, that's bureaucracy for you.

Do you know, this explains a lot,

because all my life
I've had this feeling in my bones

something sinister was happening
in the Universe.

No one would tell me what it was.

That's just perfectly normal

- Everyone in the Universe has that.
- Everyone?


Maybe that means something!

That outside the Universe we know,
some alien intelligence is...

Maybe. Who cares?

Perhaps I'm old,
but the chances of finding out

what really is going on
are so absurdly remote

the only thing to do is to say, "Hang
the sense of it" and keep occupied.

Look at me. I design coastlines.
I got an award for Norway.

Where's the sense in that?
None that I can make out.

I've been doing fjords all my life.

For a fleeting moment, they become
fashionable. I get a major award.

In this replacement Earth,
I've been given Africa to do.

I'm doing it with with fjords
because I happen to like them.

I'm old-fashioned enough to think
they give a lovely baroque feel

to a continent.

They tell me it's not equatorial
enough. What does it matter?

Science has achieved
wonderful things,

but I'd far rather be happy
than right any day.

- And are you?
- No. That's where it all falls down.

Pity. Sounded like
rather a good lifestyle otherwise.

Slartibartfast and the Earth
creature report to the reception area.

Now? To meet mice?
You want me to meet mice now?

It won't be a great social occasion.

At once!

I seem to be having difficulty
with MY lifestyle.

- I beg your pardon?
- What? Sorry.

- Fatuous thing to say, really.
- I thought so.

'It is, of course, well known
that careless talk costs lives,

'but the full scale of the problem
is not always appreciated.

'At the very moment Arthur said:

I seem to be having difficulty
with MY lifestyle.

'a freak wormhole opened up in the
fabric of the space-time continuum

'and carried his words
far back in time

'across almost infinite reaches
of space to a distant galaxy

'where strange and warlike beings

'were poised on the brink
of frightful interstellar battle.

'The two leaders
were meeting for the last time.

'A silence fell across
the conference table

'as the commander of the VI'hurgs,
in his red jewelled battle shorts,

'gazed levelly at the G'Gugvunt
leader squatting opposite him

'in a cloud of green,
sweet-smelling steam

'and, with a million
be-weaponed star cruisers

'poised to unleash electric death
at his single word of command,

'challenged the vile creature
to take back what it said

'about his mother.

'The creature stirred
in its sickly broiling vapour

'and at that moment the words...

I seem to be having difficulty
with MY lifestyle.

'... drifted across the table.

in the VI'hurg tongue,

'this was the most dreadful insult

'and there was nothing for it
but to fight terrible war!'

'Eventually, after their galaxy
had been decimated

'over a few thousand years,
it was realised

'the whole thing
had been a ghastly mistake.

'So the two opposing battle fleets
settled their differences

'in order to launch
a joint attack on our galaxy,

'now positively identified as
the source of the offending remark.

'For thousands more years,
the mighty ships

'tore across the empty wastes
of space

'and finally dived,
streaming onto the planet Earth

'where, due to a terrible
miscalculation of scale,

'the entire battle fleet was
accidently swallowed by a small dog.

'Those who study the interplay
of cause and effect

'in the history of the Universe
say this goes on all the time,

'but that they are powerless
to prevent it.

Arthur is about to be confronted

'with the terrible reality
of all he has learnt.'

Arthur, you're safe!

Am I? Oh, good.

- Hi. Come in. Food.
- What happened to you?

Well, our hosts here
have been gassing us

and zapping our minds
and being weird,

and are now giving us this amazingly
keen meal to make it up to us.

Have some Vegan rhino cutlet!
It's exit!

Hosts? I don't see any hosts!

Ugh! There are mice on the table!

Yes... sorry.
I... wasn't quite prepared for...

Let me introduce you.

- This is Benjy mouse.
- Hi, there!

- And this is... Frankie mouse.
- Pleased to meet you!

- Aren't they...
- The mice I brought from Earth.


Try some grated Arcturan megadonkey.

Ahem! Excuse me!

Yes, Slartibartfast, you may go!


Oh, very well, I'll go and get on
with some of my fjords, then.

They won't be necessary.

I don't think we'll be needing
the new Earth.


I've got a thousand glaciers poised
and ready to roll over Africa!

Thank you, Slartibartfast,
that will be all!

Yes, sir. Thank you very much.


...goodbye, Earthman.

Sorry about your planet.
Hope the lifestyle comes together!

- Now to business!
- Oh, yeah. To business!

- To business!
- I beg your pardon?!

I'm sorry, I thought
you were proposing a toast!

Earth creature, we've been running
your planet for 10 million years

in order to find
the Ultimate Question.

As we were about to see the fruit
of millions of years of work,

you let your planet get blown up!

- The best-laid plans of mice.
- And men.

- What?
- Best-laid plans of mice and men.

What have men got to do with it?

We've got to have that Question!

I'm sorry I can't help you.
Shall we be off?

Get this, you are a last generation
product of that computer matrix.

You were there
before your planet got the finger.

Your brain was a part
of the configuration of the program.

Of the whatty?

- Drink?
- I will.

The mice seem to think the Question
might be buried in your brain.

- Is that what they think?
- Yes. They wanna buy it.

- What, the Question?
- No, no, your brain!

- What?
- What?


- That's all right. Who'd miss it?
- Thank you!

I thought you said you could read
his brain electronically.

Yes, but we'd have
to get it out first.

- It's got to be prepared, diced.
- Thank you!

It could be replaced
if it's important.

Yes, an electronic brain.

- A simple one should suffice.
- Simple?

Program it to say "What?" and "Where's
the tea?" Who'd know the difference?

- What?
- See?

- I'd notice!
- You'd be programmed not to!

Let's get out!

- Sorry, mice, old mates, no deal.
- Let's not be hasty...!

Emergency! Hostile
alien police in Section 8A!

- Defence stations...!
- Galactic police!

Hell and bats' dos,
we gotta go whoosh!

- Creatures, where are you going?
- Out, out, out!

But the Question!
Think of the issues at stake!

- Which way?
- Any way!

- This way!
- Don't you understand?

Don't you understand how much money
we can make appearing on chat shows?

All this fuss
about an Earthling brain!

- Let's go, let's go!
- Where are we gonna go?!

Over there!

Which way?

- At a wild guess, I'd say...
- This way.


OK, Beeblebrox, hold it right there,
we got you covered!

- Cops!
- Anyone else want a guess?

Yeah... this way!

We don't wanna shoot you, Beeblebrox.

Suits me fine!

- Back to the lift?
- Back to the lift!

Hey, I thought they said
they didn't want to shoot at us!

- I thought so!
- You said you didn't wanna shoot us!

It isn't easy being a cop!

- What did he say?
- It isn't easy being a cop.

- That's his problem!
- I think so!

Listen, we've enough problems of our
own having you there shooting at us!

If you'd like to avoid laying
your personal problems on us,

I think we'd all find it
easier to cope!

Now, look, buddy,

you're not dealing with any dumb,
two-bit, trigger-pumping morons

with low hairlines, little
piggy eyes and no conversation!

We're a couple of caring,
intelligent guys

you'd probably really like
if you met us socially.

I don't go around gratuitously
shooting people

and then brag about it
in seedy space rangers bars.

I go around
gratuitously shooting people,

then I agonise about it afterwards
to my girlfriend!

- And I write novels!
- Yeah, he writes them in crayon.

Though I haven't had
any published yet

so I'd better warn ya,
I'm in a mean mood!

- Who are these guys?
- I preferred them shooting.

So are you gonna come quietly
or you gonna let us blast ya out?

Which would you prefer?

You still there?


We didn't enjoy that at all.

- We could tell!
- Now, listen to this, Beeblebrox.

- And you'd better listen good!
- Why?

Er... because it's gonna be
very intelligent

and quite interesting... and humane.

OK, shoot. I mean, fire away!

No, no, I mean...!

Sorry, misunderstanding there.

Beeblebrox, either you all
give yourselves up

and let us beat you up a little,

though not too much because we are
firmly opposed to needless violence,

or... er... or we blow up
this entire planet!

And one or two others
we noticed on the way over!

That's crazy! You wouldn't do that!

Yes, we would!

- I think we would, wouldn't we?
- Yes, we'd have to. No question.

- But why?
- Tell her.

- You tell her!
- You tell her!

- You tell her!
- You tell her!

Will one of you tell her!

It isn't easy being a cop!

(Listen... if we keep them talking,
maybe their brains will seize up.)

Shall we... shoot them up again
for a while?

- Why not?
- Yeah.


Well, that just about wraps it up
for this lifetime, I guess.

Well... it's really been nice
running into you again, Zaphod.

# Zaglabor astragard

# Hootrimansion Bambriar... #

- What the hell are you doing?!
- A Betelgeuse death anthem.

It means, "After this,
things can only get better."

# Zaglabor astragard!

# Hootrimansion Bambriar... #