Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for...


I'm participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge where for the month of April I will blog the letters of the alphabet in order every day except Sundays. The participation list is HERE -- if you want to join in.

Image result for twilight zone quotesMy 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 textThe 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?


13 comments:

Delores said...

I remember this episode clearly....chilling.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was a really good episode.
Sometimes I think we've been so saturated with the horrors of the world that we don't see them anymore.

Majanka Verstraete said...

I should really watch this series. I've never seen it before, yet I'm a huge horror buff. I should give it a shot.

My latest A to Z Challenge post.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm with Majanka in thinking I need to watch this series. I feel like I'm missing out on some fun, interesting, and creepy stuff.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You asked the exact questions I ask. How can the world sit by and watch what is happening? I don't think Earth could unit against a common enemy.

Jeffrey Scott said...

I've started rewatching this series again, loving it.
Hmmmm, this plot sounds very familiar. Remember V from the 80's? The TV series was also revived a few years back. Sounds like it is pretty much the same thing. V was one of my favourite mini-series of all time.

Mich said...

I remember this one!! My memories of that show are old and fuzzy, but I was excited I finally remembered one. Your posts have been making me want to have a Twilight Zone marathon.

The only one I really remember clearly was the episode with the weird fortune teller machine in the diner, and it wouldn't let the couple at the table leave. I remember thinking that episode was hilarious, which was probably not an appropriate reaction from a nine-year-old....

LD Masterson said...

As soon as I saw the title I remembered this episode. It stayed with me more than any other. You followed it up with some excellent questions.

Claire Noland said...

I still have this episode in my brain from long ago.
Yes, with the 24 hour news cycle we are exposed to horror constantly. I think what is frustrating is knowing about all the awful things going on but not knowing what we can do about it.

Liesel K. Hill said...

TTZ was before my time, but the bits and pieces and clips of them I have seen always amaze me as well. I do think familiarity makes a think less horrific. As writers, that's why it's harder and harder to scare people. That's also why the content of our horror gets increasingly more graphic: there's really nowhere else to go. Great post!

Patricia said...

I remember watching this when it first aired. The end was such a surprise. I don't know if an alien race would unite us...we can be pretty alien as humans. Interesting questions...kinda sad they need to be asked.

Liz A. said...

That episode was awful. It came on some holiday at my mother's, and I had to leave because I couldn't sit through it again.

Horrors... Maybe we just think we can't do anything about them, so we push them aside and hope that others take care of them.

Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Frankly I've thought for a long time it would take the arrival of a common enemy to unite the human race. We claim to be so civilised and yet we're not when you peel back the surface.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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