OT: Calculator as a plot device

Last night i rented 2010 a space odyssey. Roy Scheider's character carries a small red calculator that he is using as a control for a self destruct device in case HAL acts up again. It appears to have an lcd display but at the critical point in the movie has a scrolling led also. It got me thinking if there were other movies that prominently featured a handheld calculator ( not a computer ) as a part of the plot.


Oh my friend... you walked right into that one! One of my favourites, 'Mork & Mindy' hold that distinction.

In the first season, the ninth episode, A Mommy For Morky , Mindy's boyfriend starts her wondering what it would be like to have a child. So, it's Mork to the rescue.

With his Orkan Age Machine (a Texas Instruments DataMan educational math calculator DataMan Educational Calculator ), Mork reverts to three years old.

Edited: 5 May 2012, 12:52 a.m.


Maybe not part of the plot, per se, but in Ghostbusters, when they see the first ghost in the library and wonder what they should do about it, Egon pulls out a calculator and stars punching buttons on it, and Peter tells him to stop it and knocks it out of his hand.


The Ghostbusters carried a gizmo on their belts that was made from the insides of a Sanyo ICC 808D calculator.


In 2004 Namir posted:

I remember seeing a French movie (while I lived in France in 1978) starring Jean-Louis Trintignant who was a statistician for an insurance company and used an HP-65 to calculate the probability that people around him would die what "seems" a natural death (I may be off on the plot ... it's been a while since 1978). The movie was certainly a big plug for the HP-65. It even had a nice closeup shot of the calculator. It made you want to go out an buy one. Of course in that year the HP-67 was being sold. I remember staying glued to the TV set.

From a bit of Googling I think the film may be L'Ordinateur des Pompes Funèbres. The synopsis on the Fandango site reads:
"In this black comedy, Fred (Jean-Louis Trintingnant) works for an insurance company as a computer engineer. Fred is bored with enduring the trials of his shrewish wife, so, after using actuarial tables to calculate the most common means of death, he cleverly prepares the family bathroom and brings about her demise. For a while he is content with his new freedom, but then he recognizes that a friend is in a similar situation. However, he is interested in the man's wife, so with her cooperation, it is his friend who dies. After he moves in with the new widow and his other girlfriend, the two women decide that he is much too dangerous to have around, so they calculate a fitting end for him."

Edited to add this link which shows some stills of the 65 from the film.

Edited: 5 May 2012, 4:24 p.m.


About the link : very good job of Noël Jouenne. Thank you Noël!



Try these 'old fella' threads:




Edited: 5 May 2012, 9:12 p.m.


And also this one featuring a TI-59 at it's best :

Incredible Hulk



Was CBS so short on a budget it could not afford an HP calculator? But then again Dr. David Banner would have found the solution to all his problems in the first episode and the series would not have lasted that long :-)



...and this series clearly shows what an otherwise normal human being transmute in after failing to read a magnetic card properly :-)


Edited: 8 May 2012, 4:27 a.m. after one or more responses were posted



...and this series clearly shows in what an otherwise normal human being transmute in after failing to read a magnetic card properly

Nice one!

Thanks! That one was gonna bug me! I knew I saw a TI-58/59 somewhere because I remember the scene focusing on the display (that's how I recognised it) but, for the last 15+ years, I forgot which show I saw that on. Thanks for the refresh.

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