"Nostalgia" [Treatment]
by G.E. Nordell

A science fantasy feature film

"Nostalgia" Synopsis

        Around the campus of Cal Tech [California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California], 'Crazy Ezra' Mandelbaum is known for his wild notions. But a chance encounter with Steve leads to a discussion of Ezra's 'Third Theory of Relativity'. They sneak into a deserted classroom and Ezra expounds in detail, filling a chalkboard with mysterious symbols. Math whiz Steve corrects the scribbled formulae in three places and tells Ezra that his idea just might work.
        They enlist chemistry major Walter in their efforts, and the three work together to design a 'Time Box' device. They test it in secret, hardly able to contain their elation when the durn thing works! They expand the testing, first with mice and then using Ezra, and then follow with several missions to 'borrow' the costly isotopes needed for fuel: but they wait to see themselves replace the fuel from the future, so they know that they have committed no crime. They plan their individual 'time jumps', being careful to avoid 'messing with the Universe' – they must be careful to respect the Paradoxes involved. They 'borrow' (and replace) diamonds, as a means to take money with them. They even build a second, spare device to take along during each jump, as prevention against possible disaster.
        Ezra wants to go back in time to the Fifties, to surf Malibu before it was ruined by dredging and by the enormous crowds of today. Steve wants to go back to 1937, to hear Gershwin perform live at the L.A. Philharmonic Auditorium. Walter chooses to visit the future, to find out how things turn out.

        Ezra's visit to the past becomes more complicated than he envisioned: He is hospitalized from a car accident and falls in love with the nurse; knowing that he does not belong, he marries her anyway and they have a child; but one rainy night, a car slams broadside into Ezra's '57 Chevy – and his wife is killed. Broken-hearted and unable to deal with a baby by himself, Ezra drops the child off at an orphanage and uses the Time Box to return to the present. He tells Steve and Walter only part of the story.
        Steve at first has a much better time: He has studied the historic horse-racing results at Santa Anita Racetrack and makes a ton of money in the past and becomes a popular man-about-town. He hooks up with George Raft {via 'Zelig'-like special effects} and becomes entangled with Raft's actress girlfriend, Honey {a modern actress, sort of a 'reverse Zelig' effect}. He takes Honey to the Gershwin concert. But later Honey and Steve have a spat and she finds the Time Box and, refusing to believe Steve's explanation, pushes the button and disappears into the future. Steve grabs the spare device and follows her.
        Steve locates Honey in the present, but the Paradox pertains: Honey does not want to return to the past, but if she does, she will know too much about present time: knowing about television is one thing, but she immediately soaks up hours of the History Channel.
        Walter insists, however, that he is entitled to visit the future himself, regardless of the Paradox. He returns from his time-jump a much older-looking man, burned by the sun and angry at Mankind: He went too far into the future, past his own death and to a time when all legal transactions occur by thumb-print, so he became one of the 'Nameless'. He was able to survive by working in the 'trash mines': Mankind has run out of everything, and Nameless workers are paid a pittance to perform the dangerous work of retrieving resources from often-toxic old landfills. Eventually Walter finds a way to obtain the isotopes needed for a return to the present, but he is a radically changed man.
        Walter's return stimulates a series of crises: They discover what became of Ezra's orphaned child, and Honey decides that she is tired of watching tv and wants to return to her Hollywood acting career, despite Steve's pleadings to remain. And then they are arrested by the Time Police, for The Future is very careful to track down renegade users of homemade Time Box devices.
        The four time travelers' only punishment is to have all memory of their adventures erased, and Honey must remain in the present. But Walter has a few tricks up his sleeve, and Ezra's mind is still brilliant, so the surprise ending might even lead to a sequel.

Copyright 2006 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved

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