The Lonely (The Twilight Zone)
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|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Directed by||Jack Smight|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Featured music||Bernard Herrmann|
|Original air date||November 13, 1959|
|“||Witness if you will, a dungeon, made out of mountains, salt flats, and sand that stretch to infinity. The dungeon has an inmate: James A. Corry. And this is his residence: a metal shack. An old touring car that squats in the sun and goes nowhere—for there is nowhere to go. For the record, let it be known that James A. Corry is a convicted criminal placed in solitary confinement. Confinement in this case stretches as far as the eye can see, because this particular dungeon is on an asteroid nine million miles from the Earth. Now witness, if you will, a man's mind and body shriveling in the sun, a man dying of loneliness.||”|
In 2046, an inmate named Corry is sentenced to solitary confinement on a distant asteroid for 50 years for murder. In his fourth year of confinement, he is visited by a spacecraft (flown by a Captain Allenby) that regularly brings him supplies and news from the Earth four times a year. The ship and crew can stay for only 15 minutes each visit, as the asteroid's orbit and the ship's fuel consumption rate make longer visits impossible, lest the space-traveling delivery crew would be stuck for 2 weeks or more, awaiting favorable orbit conditions to depart. Captain Allenby's crew loathe being away from Earth and taunt Corry.
Captain Allenby has been trying to make Corry's stay humanely tolerable by bringing him things to take his mind off the loneliness, like the components to build an old car. Captain Allenby believes Corry that the killing was in self defense and sympathizes with him. Corry's pardon was rejected and murder cases have a review backlog of 50 years or more. On this trip on the fifteenth day of the sixth month of the fourth year, however, Allenby tells Corry not to open a certain crate that has just been delivered until after the transport crew leaves. Upon opening the special container, Corry discovers that Allenby has left him with a feminine robot named Alicia to keep him company. Alicia is capable of emotions, memory and has a lifespan comparable to a human. At first, Corry detests it, rejecting Alicia as a mere machine, synthetic skin and wires inside only capable of mocking him. However, when Corry hurts Alicia and sees that she is in fact capable of crying, he immediately realizes that she has feelings. Over the next 11 months, Corry begins to fall in love with her. Alicia develops a personality that mirrors Corry's, and the days become bearable.
When the ship returns, Captain Allenby brings news that Corry has been pardoned after a review of past murder cases, but they only have 20 minutes to leave. The crew has been dodging meteors and are nearly out of fuel. Corry, it seems, can return home to Earth immediately. Corry learns that there is only room for fifteen pounds of luggage. Corry seems unconcerned as he doesn't have 15 pounds' worth of possessions that he cares about, until he realizes that the crew does not consider Alicia human. The 15-pound limit is far too little for his robot companion, as there are seven other passengers on the ship from other asteroids. He frantically tries to find some way to take Alicia with him, arguing that it is not a robot, but a woman, and insisting that Allenby simply does not know it as he does. At that point, just as the rest of the transport crew is surprised at the sight of Alicia, Allenby suddenly draws his gun and shoots the robot in the face. The robot breaks down, malfunctioning, its face a mass of wire and broken circuitry which repeats the word "Corry". He then takes Corry back to the ship, assuring him he will only be leaving behind loneliness. "I must remember that", Corry says tonelessly. "I must remember to keep that in mind".
|“||On a microscopic piece of sand that floats through space is a fragment of a man's life. Left to rust is the place he lived in and the machines he used. Without use, they will disintegrate from the wind and the sand and the years that act upon them. All of Mr. Corry's machines, including the one made in his image, kept alive by love, but now obsolete—in The Twilight Zone.||”|
- Jack Warden as James A. Corry
- Jean Marsh as Alicia
- John Dehner as Allenby
- Ted Knight as Adams
- James Turley as Carstairs
An audio adaptation of "The Lonely", featuring Mike Starr as Corry, was produced for radio in the mid-2000s; it was released on CD by CBS Consumer Products in 2007 as part of The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas Vol. 4.
In 2007, "The Lonely" was produced for the stage by 4 Letter Entertainment.
This was the first regular episode to enter production following the success of the pilot episode, "Where Is Everybody?" in selling the series.
This was the first of several episodes (including "I Shot an Arrow Into the Air", "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" and "The Rip Van Winkle Caper") to be filmed on location in Death Valley. Unprepared for the terrible conditions they would face, the crew suffered extreme dehydration and heat exhaustion and director of photography George T. Clemens even collapsed, falling from a camera crane while filming continued.
In 2016 H.E., asteroid (469219) 2016 HO3 was discovered, whose closest approach is nine million miles from Earth. However, its estimated size of 130–330 feet would not produce the gravity or atmosphere shown in the episode.
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
- 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