Elegy (The Twilight Zone)

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"Elegy"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 20
Directed by Douglas Heyes
Written by Charles Beaumont
Featured music Nathan Van Cleave
Production code 173-3625
Original air date February 19, 1960
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Purple Testament"
Next →
"Mirror Image"
List of season 1 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Elegy" is episode 20 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on February 19, 1960 on CBS.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Running out of fuel, astronauts Meyers, Webber, and Kirby land their spaceship on a remote asteroid in 2186. They find the place quite Earth-like although "655 million miles away from Earth". After looking around, they begin to wonder where everyone is. The first place they come to is a farm where they find a farmer gazing off into the distance. They approach him, tap him on the shoulder and try talking to him, but realize he is nothing more than a statue.

The astronauts explore the area for some time, and grow more and more disturbed by their surroundings as they find everything eerily motionless, even the animals. Finally, they are startled to find someone who does move: "Jeremy Wickwire", the caretaker of this place. Wickwire explains to the astronauts that the asteroid they have landed on is an exclusive cemetery called "Happy Glades", founded in 1973, where rich people can live out their life's greatest fantasy after they die. He is told by the men that a nuclear war destroyed much of the Earth in 1985, and that it has taken over two hundred years to recover from it. Wickwire serves the three men wine, toasts their safe arrival, and asks each man what his greatest wish is. All three reply that they wish they were on their ship heading for home. Suddenly, they realize that their drinks have been poisoned with what Wickwire refers to as "eternifying fluid." As the men are dying, Wickwire (who is actually a robot that has been deactivated for "about 200 years" and only turns on for occasional duties such as cleaning, dusting, and maintenance on a few clocks) apologizes to them, and explains that it is his job to ensure peace and tranquility at "Happy Glades". He emphasizes that they "are men, and while there are men there can be no peace."

Later, Wickwire re-installs the embalmed astronauts in their ship, posing them at their posts as if they were on their way home, just as they had wished.

Closing narration[edit]

Cast[edit]

Origin[edit]

This episode is based on the short story "Elegy" by Charles Beaumont. The story was first published in Imagination (February, 1953).

Episode notes[edit]

Inside the spaceship, "equipment" originally constructed for the film Forbidden Planet was reused for this episode, and show up in a number of other Twilight Zone episodes. The sound effects heard inside the spaceship will be used again 6 years later as some of the sounds on the bridge of the starship USS Enterprise, in the original Star Trek television series. The set of the room of the frozen mayor addressing the crowd had been used in the previous episodes "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine" as part of Barbara Trenton's home, as well as in "The Purple Testament" as the lobby of an Army hospital. It would be used again as a hallway of a college campus in "Long Live Walter Jameson".

Further reading[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]