Gather Ye Acorns
(First aired: 1987)
Gather ‘round all ye avid collectors, and enjoy Gather Ye Acorns, a delightful episode of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. If ever you feel the need to justify your crazy desire to save every Kid’s Meal toy, baseball card, comic book, cereal box, action figure (etc. etc. etc.) that you can get your hands on – this is the show for you!! :)
In 1932, Jonathan Quick is a young boy who is constantly harangued by his parents to quit being such a dreamer. He loves to listen to the radio and read the funny papers, but his parents want him to grow up to be a doctor, and to be more hardworking. One day, after Jonathan’s mother forces him to go outdoors and read a medical book, Jonathan is visited by a strange and wild-looking little troll. The troll advises Jonathan to cling to the child in you as long as you possibly can. He also counsels Jonathan to first, get a car, and then hold on to those things nearest and dearest to your heart, and to never throw away anything you love, even if your mother tells you to, because there’s treasures galore in there.As the troll leaves Jonathan, he tells him that the world needs more dreamers, advice which Jonathan takes completely to heart.
When next we see Jonathan, he is fresh out of high school and is working hard at two jobs, which pleases his parents immensely as they believe he is saving up for medical school. Their pleasure turns to anger and disappointment when they discover that Jonathan has worked so hard not to save up for medical school but to buy a fancy car. After buying the car, Jonathan stops working altogether and spends all his time lavishing attention on his car, and collecting junk. His parents become so enraged by their son’s behavior that they finally kick him out of the house. Jonathan drives off with his car loaded down with childhood treasures, vowing to show his parents that he’ll do just fine.
More than twenty years go by before we see Jonathan again. He is a grungy hermit living in a shanty in the desert, surrounded by his collection of junk. After being told that a resort is going to be built on the land that Jonathan lives on, and that he must leave, Jonathan plaintively asks himself, Where am I supposed to go? Before he can figure out an answer to this question he is once again visited by the little troll. Jonathan has a terrible argument with the troll and blames the troll for the fact that Jonathan has no family or friends, and is not rich like the troll had promised he would be. The troll tells Jonathan that rich is a relative term, and reminds him that you still have your treasures. Jonathan finally calms down when he realizes that he truly has lived his life the way he wanted to. He packs all his junk into his car, and leaves the shanty as bulldozers raze it to the ground.
More years pass, and we see an elderly and disheveled (but still spunky) Jonathan in a gas station, down to his last few pennies and intent on filling up the car with one last tank of gas so that he can drive it, with himself and all of his junk, off a cliff. A richly dressed lady, who is sitting in a limousine parked next to Jonathan’s car, excitedly spots the mug of pennies that Jonathan is holding and tells him that she has been collecting mugs like his since she was a little girl. She promptly offers him ten for the mug, an offer which Jonathan accepts, but then reels in disbelief when he realizes she means ten **thousand** dollars, not ten dollars, for the mug. Later, he drives to a comic book store and the owners, after reverently () examining a few of the comic books and toys in his car, immediately offer him a quarter of a million dollars for the items. Jonathan’s collection of junk really IS treasure!
In the end, we see a finely dressed and dapper looking Jonathan attending an auction of the Jonathan Quick Collection, where he sees the troll once again. As Jonathan tries to thank the troll by saying, at the least, I owe you a drink, the little man disappears, which leads the lovely lady sitting near Jonathan to believe that he is talking to her instead. She graciously accepts Jonathan’s offer, and we see them walk off together, arm in arm. It seems that all the troll’s promises have come true, as not only is Jonathan indeed a rich man, he apparently is going to have love enter his life, too.