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The Twilight Zone: The Lateness of the Hour

A young woman, tired of the routine of her family's life, asks her father to dismantle their robot servants.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 2x8
Production Number: 173-3652
Airdate: Friday December 02nd, 1960

Director: Jack Smight
Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars
Inger StevensInger Stevens
As Jana

Co-Guest Stars
John HoytJohn Hoyt
As Dr. Loren
Irene TedrowIrene Tedrow
As Mrs. Loren
Mary GregoryMary Gregory
As Nelda
Jason JohnsonJason Johnson
As Jensen
Valley KeeneValley Keene
As Suzanne
Doris KarnesDoris Karnes
As Gretchen
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


Jana lives in an expensive manor with her mother and father, the Lorens. Mrs. Loren receives a neck message from the maid, Nelda, while Jana is going over the family photo and wonders when the pictures were taken. Jana notes that Nelda doesn't look any different then she did years ago. Jana's father, Dr. Loren, suggests that the maid can put away the photo album but Jana insists on doing it herself. Her parents insist that everything is perfect and object when Jana suggests they eat at a different time rather than at the proscribed time. When Mrs. Loren asks Nelda to continue, Jana snaps at her and tries to provoke her father into snapping at her. She insists that they're atrophying in the house but her father refuses to hear of it. Nelda leaves and Jana confronts her and asks her if she agrees. The other staff come out as does her father, and she accuses them of mindlessly serving them. When the maid confronts her, Jana shoves her down the stairs but she's unharmed. Dr. Loren says that he built the staff to be indestructible...

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Episode Notes
This is one of six episodes originally shot on videotape, then transferred to sixteen-millimeter film for broadcast. This was done as a cost-cutting measure.

Inger Stevens was previously in "The Hitch-Hiker."

Irene Tedrow was also in "Walking Distance."

Jason Johnson appeared earlier in "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street."

John Hoyt also appears in "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up" but is best known for her role in Gimme a Break! as Grandpa Stanley Kanisky.

Mary Gregory is also in "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street" and "The Shelter."

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
The residence of Dr. William Loren, which is in reality a menagerie for machines. We're about to discover that sometimes the product of man's talent and genius can walk amongst us untouched by the normal ravages of time. These are Dr. Loren's robots, built to functional as well as artistic perfection. But in a moment Dr. William Loren, wife and daughter will discover that perfection is relative, that even robots have to be paid for, and very shortly will be shown exactly what is the bill.

Robert: Miss Jana, you'll forgive me but that was most intemperate of you.
Gretchen: I consider that unforgivable behavior.
Nelda: Miss Jana, you must have respect for your parents.
Jensen: I agree. You must show respect. (All the servants start to speak at once)
Jana Loren: Stop it! You're jokes! That's what you are. Hysterical jokes. With your sad little homilies and your mouthed cliches, you're nothing but walking record players. That's all any of you are. Walking record players!
William Loren: Jana, you're making it difficult for me to be patient. Very difficult indeed.
Jana Loren: I do apologize, father. I know how accustomed to perfection you are and I hate to throw a stone in that serene pool of yours but you forgot something. Do you know that? You forgot something. They may be indestructible, father, but you're not!

Jana Loren: Oh, mother! We're going to live like normal people. Do you understand? Normal people. We're gonna give parties and we'll take trips and we'll make friends. And I'll find a young man. I'll find a young man and, before you know it, we're going to have grandchildren. Oh, father, grandchildren! What's the matter? What is it?
Mrs. Loren: It's what you said about grandchildren.
William Loren: You see, what your mother means, Jana, what she means is it's perfectly normal and natural for parents to think of their children as children and then, when suddenly they grow up and talk of having children of their own, it's a little difficult for parents to absorb quite so quickly.

Jana Loren: Something's not right. Something's not right. Something's not right. What is it? What is it? (Grabs the photo album) Why aren't any of my pictures in the photo albums? There are no pictures of me here at all.
Mrs. Loren: Jana, dear, there are many pictures of you. Why, see, here's a picture of you at Easter. And, why, there are pictures of you decorating the Christmas tree last year...
Jana Loren: Not as a little girl, mother. There are no pictures of me as a little girl. Pictures of you and father and robots. Always pictures of the robots, ten years ago, twenty years ago, but no pictures of me. Why? I want you to tell me why. Why? It's not true. Oh, it couldn't be true. Please tell me it's not true.
William Loren: Jana, you are our daughter. You know you're our daughter and you remember everything from your childhood. You remember the schools you went to, the children you played with, and you remember all the places you went to. You do remember them, Jana. You've got to.
Jana Loren: Why have I got to remember them? Because you fed them to me? A memory track. A memory track. What am I? Oh, please tell me what I am.

William Loren: It doesn't make any difference. It doesn't make any difference at all, Jana. We were childless. We had nothing of our flesh to leave behind. No, nothing of our hearts, nothing of our love. So, you see, we got you.
Jana Loren: You made me. You built me. You manufactured me. Of course. The maid was built as a maid. The butler manufactured as a butler. And the cook and the handyman, all for a particular purpose. And a daughter. You built a daughter!
William Loren: Jana! I created you as a thing of love. It doesn't matter what you are or how you got here. You're our daughter. Jana, you've got to understand that. You're our daughter.
Jana Loren: I can't be your daughter. I'm a thing! I'm a machine! A machine! Mrs. Loren: Jana! Jana!
Jana Loren: (Bangs her arm against the stairwell) No pain! No pain at all! No pain!
William Loren: Jana, stop it!
Jana Loren: No pain! No love. I can't even feel love. Oh!

Closing Narration
Let this be the postscript: should you be worn out by the rigors of competing in a very competitive world, if you're distraught from having to share your existence with the noises and neuroses of the twentieth century, if you crave serenity but want it full time and with no strings attached, get yourself a workroom in a basement and then drop a note to Dr. and Mrs. William Loren. They're a childless couple who made comfort a life's work, and maybe there are a few do-it-yourself pamphlets still available in the Twilight Zone.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
Associate ProducerDel Reisman
CastingEthel Winant
Art DirectorWilliam Craig Smith
Associate DirectorJames B. Clark
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Technical DirectorJim Brady
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