Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
|"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Directed by||Montgomery Pittman|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||May 26, 1961|
|“||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.||”|
Two state troopers are investigating a report about a UFO. They find evidence that something crashed in a frozen pond, and footprints in the snow from the pond to a nearby diner. Inside the diner are its chef, and the passengers and driver of a bus, which was forced to stop there due to the snow storm, and they are now stuck there because the bridge ahead is closed.
The officers seek to identify which person in the diner came from the crashed UFO, but no one is certain which of them were on the bus. The driver only knows that there were definitely six passengers; he didn't pay attention to who they were, and neither did they pay attention to each other. But there are seven people presenting themselves as passengers: a younger couple, an older couple, a pretty dancer, a crazy old man, and a stuffy businessman. The couples are cleared on the grounds that their spouses know each of them, but even they view each other with a hint of suspicion. The dancer has no ID, but the driver vouches for her, admitting that he did notice her. The crazy man jokes and cackles about the situation, and the businessman complains about the inconvenience of it all. Meanwhile, the chef expresses bafflement at the situation. The jukebox starts and stops, the lights come and go, and tabletop items explode, raising tensions and confirming suspicions that one of those present must be a Martian.
The pay phone rings, bringing a report that the bridge is now safe. Unable to hold them, the troopers let all seven people plus the driver board the bus and drive on, before they leave too.
The businessman later returns to the diner, orders a coffee, and explains to the chef that the bridge was not in fact safe: it collapsed and everyone drowned except him. The chef asks the businessman why he isn't wet... a word the man doesn't understand. He calmly explains who he really is, reveals a third arm from under his cloak, and uses all three hands to stir his coffee and light a cigarette. Everything that happened earlier were illusions he created, including the call on the pay phone. He is a scout from Mars who has identified this area as a perfect spot for colonization. But the chef then takes off his hat to show a third eye on his forehead; he is from Venus. He explains that the Venusians had the same idea years ago, having set up a colony already, and the Martian fleet... is about to be intercepted.
|“||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.||”|
- John Hoyt as Ross, the businessman
- Jean Willes as Ethel McConnell, the dancer
- Jack Elam as Avery, the crazy man
- Barney Phillips as Haley, the chef
- John Archer as Trooper Bill Padgett
- William Kendis as Olmstead, the bus driver
- Morgan Jones as Trooper Dan Perry
- Gertrude Flynn as Rose Kramer, the older wife
- Bill Erwin as Peter Kramer, the older husband
- Jill Ellis as Connie Prince, the younger wife
- Ron Kipling as George Prince, the younger husband
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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!" was the episode in question; it was later produced again as the standalone made-for-television film The Electric Grandmother.)
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, commenting on how much he enjoys them. 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.
The name on the side of the bus is "Cayuga" which is the name of the production company for the Twilight Zone.
This episode is frequently ranked as one of the greatest episodes in The Original Series.
- 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