The author and animator Alex Hirsch on Thursday flagged a circle of television history with a strange connection with today's politics: In 1958, CBS sent an episode of the series "Trackdown" called "End of the World", where a self-confidence man named Trump is trying to selling a western city a "wall" – in the form of presumably mysterious parasols – to protect them from the false threat of meteor shower.
What the hell. This is real. Filmed in 1958 – about a conman who runs a small town with suckers to build a wall. The story is not subtle enough for you? GISS THE COURSE'S NAME
(And look to the end) pic.twitter.com/6FA3p6KC00
– Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) January 9, 2019
Snopes did the fact-checking legwork: In the episode, "Dr. Walter Trump, DU MC SSR" – or "Doctor of the Universe, Master of Cometry, Student of Stellar Reactions" – whips a western city into a madness by tricking residents believe they are being wiped out by meteor showers before the day is over.
As a protection, he sells umbrellas with drawn mysterious symbols, calling them a "wall" that magically encounters danger.
Gradually – despite Trump's threat of a lawsuit – the show's protagonist, Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman reveals that Trump is a scam in cahoots with the city's sheriff, and midnight goes without meteor-related deaths. Trump ends up dead, shot by the sheriff in an attempt to cover up the scheme.
The episode is full of relevant dialogue: "I bet it fits," Gilman says at a point of the name "Trump." Other places warn a judge ranger: "I live here, I know these people pretty well, and right now there is nothing in the world that can change [about Trump] – and anyone trying to end up being injured. They will not hear. "
"Well, what if he starts panicking?" Gilman answers. "It can happen."
"Well sure, but you can also try to spit out a forest fire," the judge said, adding: "It's fun how a big lie can make us all children again."
Later, after the narrator refers to Trump as "the high priest of fraud," the conman delivers some hauntingly prescient dialogue in a speech to the city.
"I'm the only one! Just me! I can build a wall around your homes that nothing will penetrate," says Trump.
"What are we doing?" Ask someone. "How do we save ourselves?"
"You ask: How do you build that wall?" Trump responds. "You ask, and I'm here to tell you."
Gilman finally disturbs: "You're a liar, Trump!" Finally, as the scheme unfolds, fateful words from the ranger: "You're arrested, Trump."
Snopes dug up a full version of the episode on YouTube. See it below: