The Little People (The Twilight Zone)
|"The Little People"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||William Claxton|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||March 30, 1962|
|“||The time is the space age, the place is a barren landscape of a rock-walled canyon that lies millions of miles from the planet Earth. The cast of characters? You've met them: William Fletcher, commander of the spaceship; his copilot, Peter Craig. The other characters who inhabit this place you may never see, but they're there, as these two gentlemen will soon find out. Because they're about to partake in a little exploration into that gray, shaded area in space and time that's known as the Twilight Zone.||”|
Astronauts William Fletcher, the can-do captain, and Peter Craig, the malcontent co-pilot, set down in a canyon on an alien planet to repair their ship. While arguing, Fletcher asks Craig what he would want if he had things his way, and Craig responds that he'd like to be the one giving the orders. Shortly after saying that, Craig hears a sound, though Fletcher does not.
Craig goes scouting over a period of days, leaving Fletcher to repair the ship. One day Craig returns, strutting a bit, and Fletcher asks why he does not seem to have drunk any water in the past two days. Fletcher discovers that Craig has found water and calls him a cheat.
Pressed, Craig reveals that he found a city populated by people no bigger than ants, and takes Fletcher to see them, revealing that he used mathematics to teach them how to communicate with him. He says he loves having an entire population terrified of him, and refers to himself as a god, saying that they've "been created in his image". Fletcher says they are people, "no different than we are." Possibly. But in another scene "they are no different than us."
Craig begins terrorizing the population by crushing three of their buildings. Fletcher knocks him out, apologizing to the tiny folk. Later, Fletcher goes looking for Craig to inform him the repairs are done and they can depart, and finds that Craig had forced the tiny people to build a life-size statue of him. Fletcher asks him what he gives in return, and Craig says he will not crush the life out of them. Fletcher tells Craig that they picked a "corker of a deity," and calls him a "sick, scared little man filled with delusions of grandeur." Craig pulls a gun on Fletcher and orders Fletcher to leave the planet without him. Fletcher does his best to talk Craig into coming along, telling him he'll be lonely, but Craig fires at the statue, blowing off the head, and again orders him to leave, saying "this is a monotheistic society; just room for one god."
Fletcher leaves disgustedly, and Craig gloats over the city, throwing the broken-off head of the statue at the city, cackling maniacally and saying they must not anger him as tiny voices cry out in panic and tiny sirens begin to wail.
Shortly after, another ship lands. Two spacemen, taller than the mountains, emerge (they're repairing their ship). One of them picks Craig up and accidentally crushes him. The Little People rejoice at the death of their bullying "god," pulling the statue of Craig down, on top of his lifeless body.
|“||The case of navigator Peter Craig, a victim of a delusion. In this case, the dream dies a little harder than the man. A small exercise in space psychology that you can try on for size in the Twilight Zone.||”|
In popular culture
This episode has been parodied several times in other television series: The Simpsons in the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" the segment 'The Genesis Tub'; South Park in the episode "Simpsons Already Did It"; Futurama in the episode "Godfellas"; and in the "Rick and Morty" episode, "The Ricks Must Be Crazy". The last line in the episode—"I'm the God!"—was used as a recurring joke during the first few years of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- 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