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Children of Disaster: Jill Henderson


With five more crossings before going to the scrapyard, the SS Claridon is headed toward Toyko and among the passengers are Cliff and Laurie Henderson (Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone) and their precocious daughter, Jill (Tammy Marihugh).

As Third Officer Osborne (George Furness) narrates the final moments leading up to Captain Robert Adams (George Sanders) receiving a note about a fire in the engine room, the family finishes their lunch and the next time we see them, they're playing a game of bingo.

Jill eagerly awaits a number and while her parents are allowing the eight-year-old to gamble, she wins the jackpot for the day, a whopping $40.10.

Cliff and Laurie drop her off at a puppet show (where she's plopped down on a rocking horse) and they head off into the lounge for some martinis and dancing in a pre-getting their groove on ritual.

After some time on the deck, they head back to their cabin after Jill suggests going swimming (Cliff and Laurie do need to cool down) and while they're getting ready, Laurie tells Cliff that she forgot her purse in the lounge, so, he leaves.

Jill gets upset when the dime from her winnings ends up under the bed, but that dime saved her life when an explosion from the boiler room rips a hole clear through their cabin. I'm pretty sure that she had scheduled a hair appointment to touch up her poodle perm after going swimming and that dime was the hairdresser's tip.

After Cliff races back to the cabin, Laurie is trapped, and he finds Jill on the other side of the gaping hole being held up on probably six inches of floor. Jill whines and begs Cliff to help her, but he tells her to remain still (she's on her knees in some shots and laying on her side in others) so she's not taking direction well.

Her piercing screams begin when the table side dresser falls nearly taking her with it, but she manages to pull herself up with the help of the telephone cord.

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Back on her perch, Cliff finds a plank long enough to reach her, but as he tries to crawl across, it creaks and cracks under his weight, and backs off. As luck has it, he finds some material and tears strips of cloths, making a rope.

When completed, he tosses an end to her and tells her to put it over her head. She manages to put it around her waist, whines and crawls across the plank, just before it breaks, and she screams louder than a Scream Queen.

Once free from her rope, she goes to Laurie and cries while petting her hair telling her that she doesn't want to leave her.

When Cliff comes back to the cabin with some men, Jill casually tells Laurie that "daddy's here," and stands next to the bureau as though she's a spokesmodel.

After the captain gives the order to head to the assigned boat stations, Jill refuses to leave and Cliff scoops her up to put her on a lifeboat.

Hank (Woody Strode) one of the crewmembers on board, finds Cliff and tells him that Laurie's talking crazy, and he better go to her, but he keeps walking around with Jill clinging to him like a ragdoll. Cliff leaves her with Hank and when another passenger sees Hank with Jill, fists ready to knock out the 6'4 tower of a man, the passenger knocks him upside his head and Jill runs back to the cabin.

Once Hank gets her again, he takes carries her out of the cabin as she struggles, crying and hanging onto the cabin doors moulding.

He gets her to the lifeboat as she "pounds" against his chest, he asks the people in the boat to hang on as he tosses her into the boat.

Now, since she survived, I think that at some point in her life, she met her future husband in Toyko or maybe back in her hometown of Sacramento. The only reason I know she procreated was we were introduced to Conor James (Poseidon) who was just as annoying and whiny.

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