My theme – This month I am blogging about a classic television series, the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling where ordinary people find themselves in extraordinary situations. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense, often concluding with an unexpected twist.
S is for (To) Serve Man
Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 24
To Serve Man (2 Mar. 1962)
Michael Chambers (Lloyd Bochner) recounts recent events on Earth after the arrival of a alien space craft. The aliens, known as Kanamit, a race of 9-foot (2.7 m)-tall aliens, seem friendly and assure everyone they have nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they offer to share wonderful technology that will provide limitless energy, cure all disease and convert deserts into lush gardens. Trust in the Kanamits seems to be justified when Patty, one of a staff of US government cryptographers led by Chambers, cracks the title of a Kanamit book the spokesman left behind at the UN. Its title, she reveals, is To Serve Man. Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits' home planet, which is portrayed as a paradise. With the Cold War ended, the code-breaking staff has no real work to do, but Patty is still trying to decrypt the meaning of the text. The book's title To Serve Man seems benign - but it's not what they think it is. Watch the full episode HERE.
T.Z. Trivia This is the only instance in Twilight Zone (1959) of a character (other than the host Rod Serling) breaking the "fourth wall" - when Mr. Chambers looks directly into the camera at the end and addresses the audience.
Michael Chambers: "You don't think about 12:00 noon on the next day or the day after that. But that's what we should have been thinking about- tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. We were preoccupied with the hands on a clock when we should have been checking off a calendar. It was an April day, and it was noon then, too. And people walked and drove and bought and sold and fretted and laughed. The world went on much as it had been going on with a tentative tiptoeing alongside a precipice of crisis. There was Berlin to worry about and Indochina, and Algeria and all the other myriad problems, major and minor that somehow had lost their incisive edge of horror because we were so familiar with them."
Musings: As I've said numerous times, the Twilight Zone never ceases to amaze me with its timeless uncanny ability to reveal the truths of mankind. As I watched this episode again that line of how horrible things lose their edge of horror because we were so familiar with them, echoed in my ears. Is it our familiarity with horrible things that allow us to ignore our current worldwide atrocities? How else can we explain the world's inaction against ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Qaeda? During WWII we didn't have the internet to show us what was happening, but today, we do. I am not trying to be political or divisive, I'm just trying to understand.
Do you think we've become familiar with horror? Are we tiptoeing alongside a precipice of crisis? Do you think it's going to take the arrival of an alien race to unite the human race?