display | more...

"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" is the 28th episode of the second season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in May of 1961. It starred John Hoyt, Barney Phillips and Jack Elam, and featured several other actors. This episode had 11 actors with speaking parts, which is a high number for a Twilight Zone episode, although only a few characters are prominent. This is one of the Twilight Zone whose plot and ending have entered popular culture through osmosis, and I will discuss the episode with full spoilers.

Two state troopers are called to investigate a meteor crash, which they believe to be a UFO. Tracks lead away from the crash to a small diner, where a bus has been trapped because of a blizzard and damaged bridge. The bus had six passengers aboard, and with the driver, there are eight people in the diner. The state troopers try to find out which one of the people is an alien, but the more questions they ask, the more unusual things happen: the jukebox turns off and on and the lights flash. Finally, they get a phone call that the bridge is safe for travel. The troopers and bus leave, only to have one of the "passengers" walk back into the diner shortly later, revealing that he is a Martian and the phone call saying the bridge was safe was an illusion: he then announces he is an advance scout and that the Martian landing fleet will be there soon. And then, in the real twist ending, the friendly short order cook reveals that he is a Venusian, and that they are already planning a colony.

The most interesting thing to me about this episode is how it revisits the material of The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, but as comedy. The Twilight Zone can take the same premise twice, but go in wildly different directions with it. "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" was a political allegory for fearmongering and witch hunts, whereas this episode is more of a detective story with a comedic air. The only problem with the detective story is that given the short length of the program (a little over 20 minutes), there was not really time to develop the possible suspects.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.