"The Whispers" a new ABC scifi is using a storyline from an old Bradbury/Asimov short story about children and an "imaginary" friend called Dril. Can you tell me the name of the short story and who wrote it. I have gone through all of my OTR scifi programs and cant find it. It bothers me that they didn't give credit to the original author.

1 Answer 1


"Zero Hour" by Ray Bradbury. The Wikipedia Page for The Whispers says, not quite accurately:

It is based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury short story "Zero Hour" from The Illustrated Man.

Actually, "Zero Hour" was first published in the Fall 1947 Planet Stories (available at the Internet Archive); reprinted in a 1948 issue of Avon Fantasy Reader (also available at the Internet Archive), in the 1949 anthologies Invasion from Mars: Interplanetary Stories and My Best Science Fiction Story, and in Bradbury's 1951 collection The Illustrated Man; and dramatized as episode 26 (November 23, 1955) of the radio program X Minus one. A TV adaptation was aired on January 10, 1992, as episode 5.2 of The Ray Bradbury Theater.

The name is spelled "Drill" with two l's:

Mink banged away at the soup.

"Slow down," said Mom.

"Can't," said Mink. "Drill's waiting for me."

"Who's Drill? What a peculiar name," said Mom.

"You don't know him," said Mink.

"A new boy in the neighborhood?" asked Mom.

"He's new all right," said Mink. She started on her second bowl.

"Which one is Drill?" asked Mom.

"He's around," said Mink evasively. "You'll make fun. Everybody pokes fun. Gee, Darn."

"Is Drill shy?"

"Yes. No. In a way. Gosh, Mom, I got to run if we want to have the Invasion!"

"Who's invading what?"

"Martians invading Earth—well, not exactly Martians. They're—I don't know. From up. She pointed with her spoon.

"And inside," said Mom, touching Mink's feverish brow.

"You're laughing! You'll kill Drill and everybody."

"I didn't mean to," said Mom. "Drill's a Martian?"

"No. He's—well—maybe from Jupiter or Saturn or Venus. Anyway, he's had a hard time."

"I imagine." Mrs. Morris hid her mouth behind her hand.

"They couldn't figure a way to attack Earth."

"We're impregnable," said Mom in mock-seriousness.

"That's the word Drill used! Impreg— That was the word, Mom."

"My, my. Drill's a brilliant little boy. Two-bit words."

"They couldn't figure a way to attack, Mom. Drill says—he says in order to make a good fight you got to have a new way of surprising people. That way you win. And he says also you got to have help from your enemy."

"A fifth column," said Mom.

"Yeah. That's what Drill said. And they couldn't figure a way to surprise Earth or get help."

"No wonder. We're pretty darn strong," laughed Mom, cleaning up. Mink sat there, staring at the table, seeing what she was talking about.

"Until one day," whispered Mink melodramatically, "they thought of children!"

  • Thank you so much. I passed right over it as I was upset that the network had not given an author his due. One of his more enjoyable and one that I have taught to classes in years past but had a brain fart. Thanks, again!
    – Bob A
    Jun 4, 2015 at 0:23
  • You're welcome. If you wish to do so, you can "accept" the answer by clicking on the check mark.
    – user14111
    Jun 4, 2015 at 3:12

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