Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (February 2014)|
|"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||May 26, 1961|
One night during a snowstorm, two state troopers are investigating a crash in the woods – just where some woman has reported 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 up ahead is safe to cross. The only patrons of the roadside eatery are seven bus passengers: two sets of married couples, plus a businessman, a professional dancer, and a "crazy" old man. But according to the bus driver, there were six people on the bus. Mr. Ross, a skeptical businessman (John Hoyt), thinks the driver must have been mistaken on his count, but the driver swears there were only six.
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 "I left it in my saucer". Not knowing if he has exposed himself as the extraterrestrial or if he is just being humorous, the police 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. The troopers both draw their guns. But the payphone rings and the troopers receive word that the bridge is safe to cross, although the bus driver expresses doubt about that. The policemen, bus driver and passengers all depart the diner together.
Shortly afterwards, Mr. Ross returns to the diner alone and tells the cook that the bridge was not safe after all and collapsed, killing all the occupants of both the bus and the police car. The cook asks the businessman how he survived without even getting wet. The businessman asks what the word "wet" means, revealing a third arm from under his overcoat, as he stirs his coffee and lights a cigarette, expressing great appreciation for both coffee and cigarettes. He reveals that the music and telephone ringing were illusory and tells the cook that he is a Martian scout and that Mars plans to start a colony on Earth. The cook, far from being scared, replies, mockingly, that he himself is a Venusian, who have been at war with the Martians. His people have already started a colony and intercepted the Martian invasion force. He takes off his cap revealing a third eye in the middle of his forehead. The shocked Martian stares nervously at the laughing cook as the episode ends.
- John Hoyt as Ross
- Jean Willes as Ethel McConnell
- Jack Elam as Avery
- Barney Phillips as Haley
- John Archer as Trooper Bill Padgett
- William Kendis as Olmstead (the bus driver)
- Morgan Jones as Trooper Dan Perry
- Gertrude Flynn as Rose Kramer
- Bill Erwin as Peter Kramer
- Jill Ellis as Connie Prince
- Ron Kipling as George Prince
|“||Wintry February night, the present. Order of events: a phone call from a frightened woman notating the arrival of an unidentified flying object, then the checkout you've just witnessed, with two state troopers verifying the event – but with nothing more enlightening to add beyond evidence of some tracks leading across the highway to a diner. You've heard of trying to find a needle in a haystack? Well, stay with us now, and you'll be part of an investigating team whose mission is not to find that proverbial needle, no, their task is even harder. They've got to find a Martian in a diner, and in just a moment you'll search with them, because you've just landed – in The Twilight Zone.||”|
|“||Incident on a small island, to be believed or disbelieved. However, if a sour-faced dandy named Ross or a big, good-natured counterman who handles a spatula as if he'd been born with one in his mouth, – if either of these two entities walk onto your premises, you'd better hold their hands – all three of them – or check the color of their eyes – all three of them. The gentlemen in question might try to pull you in – to The Twilight Zone.||”|
|This section does not cite any sources. (September 2015)|
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."
- 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