Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

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"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 28
Directed by Montgomery Pittman
Written by Rod Serling
Production code 173-3660
Original air date May 26, 1961
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Mind and the Matter"
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"The Obsolete Man"
List of season 2 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" is episode 64 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on May 26, 1961 on CBS.

Plot[edit]

One night during a snowstorm, two state troopers are investigating a crash in the woods, described by a woman as the landing of a flying saucer. They follow footprints leading from the crash site to a diner, where a group of passengers from a bus to Boston are waiting for word that a bridge over a river up ahead is safe to cross. The only patrons of the roadside eatery are seven bus passengers: two married couples, a businessman, a professional dancer, and a "crazy" old man. The bus driver insists that there were only six passengers, but the businessman, Mr. Ross (John Hoyt), thinks he must be mistaken.

This creates an instant and mutual suspicion among the stranded travelers, as the passengers try to guess which among them is the alien. It is suggested that since there was only one set of tracks from the lake, that the two married couples be paired off and excluded. The driver then vouches for the dancer. This leaves only Mr. Ross and the old man (Jack Elam) as suspects. The old man laughs at this, saying it sounds like science fiction. The troopers immediately ask him for ID, but he claims to have left it in his flying saucer. Not knowing if he has exposed himself as the extraterrestrial or if he is just being humorous, the troopers ask him to name the winner of the most recent World Series – which he correctly answers, seemingly letting himself off the hook.

Several odd and sinister events immediately occur. The jukebox starts and stops on its own, the lights flicker on and off, and, most alarmingly, sugar bowls begin to explode on the tables. As the troopers draw their weapons, a pay phone rings and the caller informs them that the bridge is safe to cross, although the bus driver has his doubts. The troopers, driver and passengers all depart the diner together.

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Ross returns to the diner alone and tells the cook, Mr. Haley, that the bridge was not safe after all and has collapsed, killing the troopers and all the other occupants of the bus. Mr. Haley asks how Mr. Ross could have made it out of the river without getting wet. Mr. Ross wonders what the word "wet" means, revealing a third arm under his overcoat. He explains that he used illusions to make his clothes appear dry and cause the other strange events - including the phone call with the all-clear on the bridge. Mr. Ross is a Martian scout, sent to Earth as part of an effort to colonize the planet. Instead of being scared, Mr. Haley removes his paper cap to reveal a third eye on his forehead and calmly states that he is a Venusian. His people have already started a colony on Earth and intercepted the arriving Martians. Mr. Haley laughs at the dumbfounded Mr. Ross as the episode ends.

Cast[edit]

Quotations[edit]

Opening narration[edit]

Closing narration[edit]

Episode notes[edit]

The episode is unique, as an actual Twilight Zone contributor is mentioned. As the patrons realize that an alien is among the group, Jack Elam's character laughs and says, "She's just like science fiction, that what she is. A regular Ray Bradbury." One of Bradbury's stories became a Twilight Zone episode during the third season ("I Sing the Body Electric").

In one of the few times Serling accommodated his sponsor during an episode, "Ross" takes out a pack of cigarettes and lights and smokes one using three hands. The cigarettes were "Oasis" menthol, the brand that Liggett & Myers was advertising on the program at the time. During the 1950s and 60s, advertisers sometimes subtly "placed" products into the shows they sponsored.

A Simpsons Comics Treehouse of Horror issue features a parody of this episode, which is also based on the classic movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. At the end, one of the characters removes a doctor's head light to reveal a third eye, à la the cook in this episode. Many other invasion plans are revealed in a blend of different fiction. At the end, Sideshow Bob says they are all trapped inside a comic book, and if it is closed they will cease to exist.

The name on the side of the bus is "Cayuga" which is the name of the production company for the Twilight Zone.

On the "2112 / Moving Pictures" episode of the television series Classic Albums, Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart commented on the writing of the song "The Twilight Zone," featured on 2112. The two verses refer to "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" and "Stopover in a Quiet Town."

See also[edit]

References[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]