Home Television Drama People Trap, The

People Trap, The

1 9 6 6 (USA)
1 x 60 minute episode

The year is 2067. The population explosion has smothered America, virtually paralysing it. There are 20 billion human beings in the world, one billion of whom are in the US.

A super-government controls every phase of human activity. Citizens are carried along on moving sidewalks, get their news and entertainment through television receivers on their wrists, take instructions and orders from computers and must have a government license to bear children.

Young New York history teacher Steve Baxter (Stuart Whitman) discovers that his wife Adele, (Vera Miles) is unexpectedly pregnant but a widowed mother (Lee Grant) informs on them (to get hospital care for her own boy).

Now their sole hope for keeping their baby – and avoiding a five-year prison sentence for violating the pregnancy control law – hinges on a desperate and frustrating race to be one of the 20 winners for an acre of unoccupied land in Yosemite National Park – the last unclaimed acreage in the entire country.

The race itself runs from the edge of Eastern City, a megalopolis extending from somewhere around the western edge of Philadelphia, to New York City.

Whitman claws and fights his way to the finish line at Times Square but not before he is sidetracked by Connie Stevens, the madcap daughter of Cesar Romero’s ganglord and delectable femme fatale who has discovered that privacy is only for “the rich and immoral”.

Although set in 2067, the sets and props looked more like 1960 and the clothing worn by the characters looked very similar to the styles of the day (1966).

A number of scenes were filmed in Phoenix, Arizona, because of the futuristic architecture there, and the cast spent several days in the desert metropolis and were almost fried in the 113-degree heat.

Appearing in cameo roles were Lew Ayres (as a 110-year-old man), Estelle Winwood (as a 120-year-old woman), Cesar Romero (as a murderous black marketeer), Mercedes McCambridge (as an old harridan living in an abandoned car junkyard), Pearl Bailey (as a mate on a smuggling “bumboat”, pictured at left), Betty Furness, Phil Harris, Michael Rennie, baseball player Jackie Robinson, Mort Sahl and 11-year-old Morgan Mason, son of James Mason.

This drama – adapted by Earl Hamm Jr from a story by Robert Scheckley – aired on 9 November 1966 as part of ABC’s Stage 67.

Steve Baxter
Stuart Whitman
Adele Baxter
Vera Miles
Connie Stevens
Ruth Stewart
Lee Grant
Lew Ayres
Estelle Winwood
The mate
Pearl Bailey
Billy Stewart
Morgan Mason
Russ McCubbin
Hagen Smith

Phil Harris
Betty Furness
Mercedes McCambridge
Michael Rennie
Jackie Robinson
Cesar Romero
Mort Sahl