Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
|"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||May 26, 1961|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
During a snowstorm, two state troopers are investigating a crash after a woman telephoned them and are led to believe that it was a flying saucer. They follow footprints leading from the crash site to a diner, where a group of passengers from a bus to Boston are waiting for word that a bridge up ahead is safe to cross. Though the only patrons of the roadside eatery are bus passengers, there is one more person than there were people on the bus. Mr. Ross, a skeptical businessman (John Hoyt), who says he has a meeting in Boston, says the driver must have been mistaken, but he swears there were six. There is mutual suspicion among the stranded travelers, as the passengers try to guess which among them is the alien. It is suggested that the two married couples are paired off. An old man laughs at this, saying it sounds like science fiction. In the meantime, several odd things are happening. The jukebox plays on its own, the lights flicker on and off, and sugar bowls explode on the tables. When they receive word that the bridge is safe to cross, they all leave the diner.
Shortly, Mr. Ross returns to the diner alone and tells the cook that the bridge wasn't safe at all and that it collapsed, killing all the occupants of both the bus and the police car. The cook asks the businessman how he survived without even getting wet. The businessman asks what the word "wet" means, unveiling a third arm under his overcoat as he stirs his coffee and lights a cigarette. He says the music and telephone ringing were all illusions. He reveals to the cook that he is a Martian, that Mars plans to start a colony on Earth, and that there is little hope for the human race. Laughing, the cook tells him that he's too late, that he himself is from Venus, which has already started a colony, and that the Martian invasion force has been intercepted. The cook takes off his paper hat, revealing a third eye in the middle of his forehead. The shocked Martian stares nervously at the cook, and the episode ends.
The episode is unique, as an actual Twilight Zone contributor is mentioned. As the patrons realize that an alien is amongst the group, Jack Elam's character laughs and says, "She's just like science fiction, that what she is. A regular Ray Bradbury." One of Bradbury's stories became a Twilight Zone episode during the third season ("I Sing the Body Electric").
In one of the few times Serling accommodated his sponsor during an episode, "Ross" takes out a pack of cigarettes and lights and smokes one using three hands. The cigarettes were "Oasis" menthol, the brand that Liggett & Myers was advertising on the program at the time. During the 1950s and 60s, advertisers sometimes subtly "placed" products into the shows they sponsored.
A Simpson's Comics Treehouse of Horror issue features a parody of this episode, which is also based on the classic movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. At the end, one of the characters removes a doctor's head light to reveal a third eye, à la the cook in this episode. Many other invasion plans are revealed in a blend of different fiction. At the end, Sideshow Bob says they are all trapped inside a comic book, and if it is closed they will cease to exist.
The name on the side of the bus is "Cayuga" which is the name of the production company for the Twilight Zone.
On the "2112 / Moving Pictures" episode of the television series Classic Albums, Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart commented on the writing of the song "The Twilight Zone," featured on 2112. The two verses refer to "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" and "Stopover in a Quiet Town."
- 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