The Lateness of the Hour

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"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"
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) (season 2)
List of The 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.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

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" decides to erase the memory of her former "identity" and use her as a replacement for Nelda, the maid skilled at giving Mrs. Loren her shoulder massages.

Closing narration[edit]

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)
  • Mary Gregory as Nelda
  • 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 the eighth episode of season 2. The second, "Static", aired on March 10, 1961 as the 20th episode; the third, "The Whole Truth", appeared on January 20, 1961 as the 14th episode; 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.

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[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]