Stopover in a Quiet Town
|"Stopover in a Quiet Town"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Ron Winston|
|Written by||Earl Hamner, Jr.|
|Original air date||April 24, 1964|
|Barry Nelson: Bob Frazier |
Nancy Malone: Millie Frazier
Denise Lynn: Little Alien Girl
Karen Norris: Alien Mother
Bob and Millie Frazier, average young New Yorkers who attended a party in the country last night and on the way home took a detour. Most of us on waking in the morning know exactly where we are; the rooster or the alarm clock brings us out of sleep into the familiar sights, sounds, aromas of home and the comfort of a routine day ahead. Not so with our young friends. This will be a day like none they've ever spent – and they'll spend it in the Twilight Zone.
A married couple, Bob and Millie Frazier, wake up in an unfamiliar house. Millie remembers only that Bob drank too much at a party the night before, and that while driving him home, a large shadow appeared over their car.
They discover that the house is mostly props. The telephone has no connection, the cabinetry is merely glued-on facing, and the refrigerator is filled with plastic food. They hear a girl's laughter and go outside to find the child. However, once outside, they discover that the town is deserted. They find a stuffed squirrel, search for help in a vacant church, and ring the bell in the church's bell tower to attract attention. When no one comes, the increasingly desperate couple discovers even the trees are fake and the grass is papier-mâché. They hear a train whistle and, eager to leave the town, rush to the train station and board the empty train. As the train leaves the station (revealed to be in "Centerville"), they begin a lighthearted conversation, vastly relieved. However, when the train soon comes to a stop again in Centerville, they realize it has only gone in a circle, and they are back where they started.
They leave the train and begin walking out of town, once again hearing a little girl's laughter. A shadow falls over them, and they flee, only to be scooped up by the hand of a gigantic child. The little girl's mother says, "Be careful with your pets, dear--daddy brought them all the way from Earth." At her mother's bidding, the little girl drops the couple back into the town, which is now revealed to be a model village with a miniature railway running around it.
The moral of what you've just seen is clear. If you drink, don't drive. And if your wife has had a couple, she shouldn't drive either. You might both just wake up with a whale of a headache in a deserted village in the Twilight Zone.
Uses in other media
The episode is referenced in the second verse of the Rush song "The Twilight Zone", recorded in 1976: "You wake up lost in an empty town/Wondering why no one else is around/Look up to see a giant boy/You've just become his brand new toy."
This Twilight Zone episode is referenced in the sixth episode of the fourth season of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Inmate counselor Healy mentions the episode to the paranoid prisoner Lolly to convey that he understands that she confuses fantasy with reality in much the same way as Healy's mother did.
An October, 8th, 1984 episode of the anthology Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, 'Child's Play' that was inspired by the episode is about a couple (Mary Crosby, Nicholas Clay), who wake up to be trapped in a house that is suffocating them and their children in extreme heat. When they finally find a way out, it turns out that they are lifelike android dolls inside an advanced house, who happened to have malfunctioned when the house was put into the oven by the brother of a young girl, both of whom are living in the distant future.
The episode plot is also loosely seen in season one, episode 22 of Pokémon. In the episode titled "Abra and the Psychic Showdown!", Ash loses to a mysterious and dangerous psychic gym leader named Sabrina. Upon his loss, Ash, Misty, and Brock are shrunken to doll size and find themselves in Sabrina's toy model home, where Sabrina proceeds to antagonize them. Ash and his friends are only saved when Sabrina's disguised father uses his psychic abilities to teleport them back to the real world.
Lorcan Finnegan and Garret Shanley's Vivarium (2019), in which a couple played by Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg becomes trapped in a deserted housing development, contains multiple references to this episode; in both, a couple is trapped in an artificial environment, ending up right back where they started when they try to get out.
- Dawn Keetley, "Vivarium Rewrites The Twilight Zone, Horror Homeroom, April 5, 2020, http://www.horrorhomeroom.com/vivarium-rewrites-the-twilight-zone/
- 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