To Thing or Not to Thing

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To Thing or Not to Thing
Benjy turns orange.png
Benjy's skin turns orange.
Premiere date: October 20, 1979
Run time: 11:36
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"To Thing or Not to Thing" is the seventh episode (part two) of The Thing season one. It aired on October 20, 1979 on NBC.

Professor Harkness creates a device that may transform the Thing/Benjy back into Ben Grimm, but he must wait eight hours for the result. During that time, he constantly shifts back and forth between Benjy and the Thing, which he must hide from Betty and Ronald.

Detailed summary

Memorable quotes


Character debut Speaking debut Ep. debut No lines Mentioned

In order of appearance:

Character Actor
The Thing Joe Baker
Professor Harkness John Stephenson
Kelly Harkness Noelle North
Betty Harkness Marilyn Schreffler
Ronald Radford John Erwin
Benjy Grimm Wayne Morton



  • None


  • Ronald's car





Behind the scenes

  • The episode title is a play on "To be or not to be", a line from William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • This episode sheds more light on the origin of the Thing/Benjy, which was talked about lightly in "Gone Away Gulch". Ben Grimm was a test pilot, who for some reason, transformed and got stuck into the body of the Thing. Presumably Professor Harkness made the rings for him to transform the Thing back into Ben, although due to an unforeseen side effect, it can only transform him into a teenager.
  • This is the first episode to begin with Benjy as the Thing, although the previous episode, "Double Trouble for the Thing", began with a fake Thing.
  • Betty (teasingly) flirts with Benjy, despite the fact that it had been clearly established that being Benjy is really an adult, and his teen form is only a side effect from using the rings, as well as the fact that she's already dating Ronald.
  • Because of the involuntary transformations, Benyj's rings are never needed.
  • This is the last episode that deals with the drama of Benjy being the Thing or the other way around. I guess after fourteen episodes, it just lost its appeal.


  • Kelly asks Benjy if he should go home, although it hasn't been established where he actually lives.
  • Kelly thinks the Thing can hid beside the orange mountain, with his blue underwear somehow not sticking out.

Critical reception

In other languages

Language Name Meaning

Home availability

  • Warner Bros. own the show, while Disney own the characters, making it difficult to release this episode onto DVD.