This episode features no fantastical, science fiction, or supernatural elements. Serling was purportedly dissatisfied with this and when he wrote up the story for one of the Twilight Zone anthologies, he added a bit at the end where Ferris finds a movie ticket in his pocket from his "hallucination."
The original pilot version of this episode ran a total of 35 minutes, sans commercials, and included a "pitch" from Rod Serling aimed at selling the series to potential advertisers.
According to Producer William Self, this episode's budget was "around $75,000...in those days very high for a half-hour pilot."
This episode was rehearsed and shot in 9 days. It was dubbed, scored and edited in 3 days.
This is the only episode to be filmed at Universal Studios. The rest were filmed at MGM studios.
In the original version of the episode, the opening sequence was different and all narration was done by Westbrook Van Voorhis.
James Gregory returns in "The Passersby" but is best known for his role in Barney Miller as Inspector Frank Lugar and the Planet of the Apes movies.
Jay Overholts appears in 8 episodes, "One for the Angels," "A Thing About Machines," "Twenty-Two," "The Odyssey of Flight 33," "Static," "The Jungle" and "Showdown with Rance McGrew."
Paul Langton returns in "On Thursday We Leave For Home."
The set of the town is the same as used in the Back to the Future film.
The original narration was done by Westbrook Van Voorhis, but was replaced by Rod Serling.
Introduction used during the first season:
There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition; and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.
The opening narration in the original pilot version was slightly different than what was used for the series:
There is a sixth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the sunlight of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area that might be called The Twilight Zone.
Narrator: The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we're about to watch could be our journey.
Ferris: (after realizing a woman was just a mannequin) I'm terribly sorry, madam. I can assure you that at no time did I mean to be so upsetting. As a matter of fact, I've always had kind of a secret yearn for the quiet type. Get what I mean, baby?
Ferris: (in police station) Calling all cars! Calling all cars! Unknown man walking around police station. Suspicious looking character. Probably wanted by the F-- (sees lit cigar in ashtray).
Ferris: (sees water running in sink in police station; cell door creaks open) Time to wake up now. Time to wake up now!
Ferris: (runs out into middle of Oakwood) Hey! Hey! Where is everybody?!!
Ferris: (In the drugstore) Anybody want a sundae? I'm sorry, old buddy, I don't recollect the name. The face is vaguely familiar, but the name escapes me. I'll tell you what my problem is. I'm in the middle of a nightmare I can't wake up from. And you're part of it. You and the ice cream and the police station and the phone booth., that little mannequin. This whole bloody town wherever it is - whatever it is. I just remembered something, Scrooge said it, you remember Scrooge, old buddy, Ebeneezer Scrooge? That's what he said to that ghost Jacob Marley. He said, "You may be an undigested bit of beef, a crumb of cheese, a blot of mustard, a fragment of an undone potato, but there's more of gravy than of grave about you." You see, that's what you are. You're what I had for dinner last night. You must be. But now I've had it, I'd like to wake up. I'd like to wake up now. If I can't wake up, at least I'd like to find somebody to talk to. Well, I must be a very imaginative guy. Nobody in the whole bloody world could have a dream as complete as mine. Right down to the last detail.
Reporter #2: What happened to him toward the end, General, before he pushed that button or whatever it was?
Air Force General: What happened to him is that he cracked. Delusions of some kind we assume. But let me tell you all something, gentlemen. If any one of you were confined in a box five feet square for two and a half weeks, all by your lonesome without hearing a human voice other than your own, I'll give you especially good odds that your imagination would run away with you, too, such as his obviously did.
Mike Ferris: Just off my rocker, huh doc?
Doctor: Just a kind of a nightmare that your mind manufactured for you. You see, we can feed the stomach with concentrates, we can supply microfilm for reading, recreation, even movies of a sort. We can pump oxygen in and waste material out, but there's one thing we can't simulate that's a very basic need. Man's hunger for companionship. The barrier of loneliness. That's one thing we haven't licked yet.
Mike Ferris: Next time it won't just be just a box in a hanger, will it?
Air Force General: No, Mike. Next time you'll really be alone.
Mike Ferris: Hey, don't go away up there. Next time, it won’t be a dream or a nightmare. Next time, it'll be for real. So don't go away. We'll be up there in a little while.
Narrator: Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting. Waiting with the patience of eons. Forever waiting...in the Twilight Zone.