The Twilight Zone: Season 5, Episode Thirty “Stopover in a Quiet Town”

Original Air Date: April 24, 1964
Writer: Earl Hamner, Jr.
Director: Ron Winston

“Be careful with your pets, dear.
Daddy brought them all the way from Earth.”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After getting drunk at a party and driving home, Bob Frazier (Barry Nelson) and his wife Millie (Nancy Malone) awaken the next morning to find themselves in a strange bed in an unfamiliar house. Bob drank too much at the party and so Millie had to drive them home. Somehow they wound up here.

“Bob and Millie Frazier, average young New Yorkers who attended a party in the country last night and on the way home took a detour. Most of us on waking in the morning know exactly where we are; the rooster or the alarm clock brings us out of sleep into the familiar sights, sounds, aromas of home and the comfort of a routine day ahead. Not so with our young friends. This will be a day like none they’ve ever spent – and they’ll spend it in the Twilight Zone.”
-Rod Serling

Bob attempts to make a phone call, but when he reaches for the telephone the whole device comes right off the wall. There is also no food in the fridge. Everything seems to be hollow, or perhaps staged for some reason. Bob and Millie decide to walk around town to figure out exactly where they are. Outside they encounter more fake things –a hollow stuffed squirrel, fake trees, fake grass, a human dummy sitting in a car which is mistaken for the real thing. They complain about rows of vacant homes and an eerily empty church.

Suddenly, they hear a train whistle at the edge of town, and when they arrive there is a departing train much to their relief. Bob and Millie happily board the train, though moments later it returns to the station –it has merely gone in a circle! Then a giant hand reaches down and grabs them both. It turns out that Bob and Millie were kidnapped by aliens while drunkenly driving home, and now they have been given as play toys for an alien girl (Denise Lynn).

“The moral of what you’ve just seen is clear. If you drink, don’t drive. And if your wife has had a couple, she shouldn’t drive either. You might both just wake up with a whale of a headache in a deserted village in the Twilight Zone.”
-Rod Serling

While on the surface this episode is a simple allegorical moral fable about the dangers of drunk driving, underneath it all is a new twist on the “total disorientation” narrative recycled from Twilight Zone episodes of like “Where Is Everybody?” or “King Nine Will Not Return.” However, in “Stopover in a Quiet Town,” Bob and Millie are two very unlikable people. They are hungover and constantly bicker with each other.

The Twilight Zone Trivia:

  • The idea for this episode came to Earl Hamner, Jr. while walking around an MGM backlot one evening (much like Rod Serling’s inspiration for “Where is Everybody?”)
  • The town set used for this episode was the same as the one featured in “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.”
  • The bulletin board in front of the church in this episode reads that the sermon will be given by Rev. Kogh Gleason, the name of a set decorator at MGM for many years, and worked on The Twilight Zone.
  • This is the second episode in television history to show two people sharing the same bed together, something unusual at the time. The first was Twilight Zone episode “Person or Persons Unknown.”
  • Apparently this episode also had an alternate title “Strangers In Town.”
  • Barry Nelson (1917-2007) was known for his appearance in the first made-for-television version of 007 when he performed the role of James “Jimmy” Bond in 1954’s Casino Royale. He appeared in shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and movies like The Shining. This episode was his only appearance in The Twilight Zone.
  • Nancy Malone (1935-2014) was a notable television actress who appeared in episodes of The Outer Limits and The Andy Griffith Show among many others. Like Barry Nelson, this was her only appearance in The Twilight Zone. She later became a successful television director and in 1976 she was the first female vice president of television at 20th Century Fox.

Click here to return to my survey of The Twilight Zone series.

One response to “The Twilight Zone: Season 5, Episode Thirty “Stopover in a Quiet Town””

  1. Trying to add a sci-fi ingredient to the dangers of irresponsible driving may sound like something that The Twilight Zone could make possible. Though this was a most profound change from what the show could tell us in You Drive. Thanks for your review.

    Liked by 2 people

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