The Passersby

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"The Passersby"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 69
Directed by Elliot Silverstein
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Fred Steiner
Production code 4817
Original air date October 6, 1961
Guest actors

James Gregory (The Sergeant)
Joanne Linville (Lavinia Godwin)
Warren Kemmerling (Jud Godwin)
Austin Green (Abraham Lincoln)

Episode chronology
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"The Shelter"
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List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Passersby" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]

As the episode starts, a group of Civil War soldiers are walking down a road as Rod Serling does his narration:

After some dialogue is exchanged by the Sergeant and Lavinia Godwin, Rod Serling resumes his opening narration:

Plot[edit]

At the end of the Civil War a Confederate Army Sergeant (James Gregory), apparently wounded in battle, walks down a road aided by a wooden crutch. He carries with him a dirty bed roll and an old guitar. As the Sergeant limps along he sees a house. Once beautiful, the house and yard show obvious signs of the war; there is debris in the yard, and a large, dead tree stands in front of the house. It had once provided shade for its owners; now it stands there as evidence of the former beauty of the property. This is the house of Lavinia Godwin (Joanne Linville), whose husband had gone off to fight in the war.

The Sergeant, seeking water and a place to rest, receives permission from Lavinia to refresh himself at the well, and then to sit on a bench under the dead tree. The Sergeant plays his guitar, singing a song that Lavinia identifies as one that her husband used to sing. They talk while he plays the guitar, and watch as the steady stream of soldiers, both Union and Confederate, pass by the house and continue on down the road. The Sergeant learns that Lavinia has been very ill, and that Lavinia's husband has died; he was killed in the war. The Sergeant and Lavinia interact with others who are traveling on the road, soldiers whose conversations and behavior imply that they are more than just wounded men.

The Sergeant begins to realize that this is not a normal road, and these are not just wounded soldiers. He tells Lavinia that there is something down at the end of the road, and that he has to find out what it is. As the Sergeant turns to leave Lavinia moves in front of him, and tries to persuade him to stay. Suddenly they hear a man's voice singing a familiar song. The man is Lavinia's husband, Jud.

Jud tells her that everyone on that road is indeed dead - including her. Lavinia refuses to believe that it is true. Jud tells her that there is nothing left for him in that house. Insisting that she is alive, Lavinia pleads with Jud to stay. Jud refuses, and disregarding her pleas he leaves. As he leaves, Jud tells Lavinia that he will be waiting for her at the end of the road. Lavinia cries out to her husband, imploring him to stay. Dropping to her knees on the now deserted road, she begs Jud to come back.

Then she hears a soft voice speaking to her in greeting. It is a lone passerby who turns out to be Abraham Lincoln. He tells her that he is the last man on that road. Frightened, Lavinia backs away from him. Finally though, she accepts her fate, and runs to join her husband, who can now be seen waiting for her at the end of the road, shrouded in fog. Lavinia joins her husband there, and they walk into the fog. They are followed by Lincoln, who walks slowly toward the end of the road...the last casualty of the Civil War.

Closing narration[edit]

Episode notes[edit]

The traditional folk song "Black Is the Color (Of My True Love's Hair)" is featured prominently throughout this episode.

Elements of the episode are re-made in an episode of the 2002 revival named, "Homecoming". In this episode, a soldier returns from Iran to repair his relationship with his son. We find out that the soldier is dead.

The closing titles image is of the road upon which the eponymous passersby walk.

References[edit]

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0

External links[edit]