The Lateness of the Hour

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For the Alex Clare album, see The Lateness of the Hour (album).
"The Lateness of the Hour"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 8
Directed by Jack Smight
Written by Rod Serling
Production code 173-3652
Original air date December 2, 1960
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Nick of Time"
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"The Trouble with Templeton"
List of season 2 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Lateness of the Hour" is episode 44 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on December 2, 1960 on CBS.


Jana, the sensitive daughter of a creative genius, Dr. Loren, is distraught over her parents' reliance on her father's five seemingly perfect robot servants, complete with programmed memories and personalities.

She implores her father to dismantle the robots before he and her mother become completely dependent on them. When her request becomes an ultimatum, Dr. Loren complies to save his relationship with his daughter. Once the robots are out of the picture, Jana announces her intention to leave the stifling confines of the house, marry and have children. Seeing the dismayed expressions of her "parents", combined with a series of sudden realizations, including the fact that the family photo album contains no pictures of her as a child, she arrives at the shocking awareness that she, too, is a robot, albeit much more emotionally sophisticated than the ones that were dismantled.

Dr. Loren tries to explain that they were childless and wanted someone to love, but the discovery causes Jana such anguish that her "father" is forced to erase the memory of her former "identity" and ultimately use her as a replacement for Nelda, the maid skilled at giving Mrs. Loren her shoulder massages.


Opening narration[edit]

Closing narration[edit]

Preview for the following episode[edit]

Announcer: "And now, Mr. Sterling"

End credits[edit]

  • Directed by Jack Smight
  • Written by Rod Serling
  • Produced by Buck Houghton
  • Inger Stevens as Jana
  • John Hoyt as Dr. Loren
  • Irene Tedrow as Mrs. Loren
  • Tom Palmer as Robert (the butler)
  • Valley Keene as Suzanne (the maid who tumbles down the stairs and reacts with a smile)
  • Doris Karnes as Gretchen (the maid who says to Jana, "I consider that unforgivable behavior")
  • Jason Johnson as Jensen (the handyman)

Episode notes[edit]

The theme of 'robots imbued with human memories, thus believing that they are human' is similar to the theme of Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which it predated. The novel is the basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner.

"The Lateness of the Hour" was one of six Twilight Zone episodes shot on videotape instead of film in an attempt to cut costs. By November 1960, The Twilight Zone's season-two had already broadcast five episodes and finished filming sixteen. However, at a cost of about $65,000 per episode, the show was exceeding its budget. As a result, six consecutive episodes were videotaped at CBS Television City and eventually transferred to 16-millimeter film ["kinescoped"] for syndicated rebroadcasts. Total savings on editing and cinematography amounted to around $30,000 for all six entries, not enough to justify the loss of depth of visual perspective, which made the shows look like stage-bound live TV dramas (e.g. Playhouse 90, also produced at CBS). The experiment was deemed a failure and never attempted again.[1]

Even though the six shows were taped in a row, through November and into mid-December, their broadcast dates were out of order and varied widely, with this initial one airing on December 2, 1960 as season two, episode eight. The second, "Static", aired on March 10, 1961 as episode 20; the third, "The Whole Truth", appeared on January 20, 1961 as episode 14; the fourth was Twilight Zone's sole Christmas entry, "The Night of the Meek", shown on December 23, 1960; the fifth, "Twenty Two", was aired on February 10, 1961 and the sixth, "Long Distance Call", was transmitted on March 31, 1961.

Personnel and cast with multiple Twilight Zone credits[edit]

  • Jack Smight (1925–2003), a director of numerous TV episodes, made-for-TV movies and theatrical films, helmed four Twilight Zone episodes, including three of the six videotaped ones. His first assignment on the show was "The Lonely" which, shown as the seventh episode of the first season, was the first regularly-filmed installment after the pilot episode.
  • This was the second of two Twilight Zone starring roles for TV's Farmer's Daughter, Inger Stevens (1934–70) who, during her final decade, kept a busy schedule of television guest appearances as well as feature film roles. Her earlier performance was in one of the first season's most unsettling episodes, "The Hitch-Hiker", in which she played another tormented character, a lone driver who meets her inexorable fate in the personification of death.
  • Familiar character actor John Hoyt (1905–91) frequently portrayed intellectuals, including a number of mad scientists (1958's Attack of the Puppet People). His other Twilight Zone appearance, twenty episodes later, was as one of the most memorable personalities in the history of the show—the dismayed Martian who is one-upped by the diner-counterman-turned-Venusian in the rival-Earth-invasions surprise ending of the season's penultimate episode, "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?".
  • At the time of her two Twilight Zone appearances, busy character actress Irene Tedrow (1907–95) was playing a busybody neighbor on CBS' sitcom Dennis the Menace during its entire 1959–63 run. Her earlier role was in another one of the first season's top episodes, "Walking Distance", where she portrayed the young Gig Young's mother. "The Lateness of the Hour", coincidentally, tracks a number of Bernard Herrmann's musical cues from "Walking Distance."
  • Small-part actress Mary Gregory was seen, starting in 1955, in well over a hundred TV episodes, including first season's "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" and third season's "The Shelter".
  • Doris Karnes seems to have had no acting career other than small roles in two Twilight Zone installments and three episodes of other TV series, all between 1959 and 1962. Here, she's the third maid, Gretchen, and in first season's "What You Need", appears in the final minute as a woman who, along with her husband, is awakened by the commotion surrounding the late-evening car accident death of Steve Cochran.
  • Jason Johnson (1907–77), another small-part player (and scriptwriter) seen in at least a hundred TV shows of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, was also, along with Mary Gregory, in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street".

See also[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]