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The Twilight Zone: Five Characters in Search of an Exit

A ballet dancer, a major, a clown, tramp and a bagpipe player find themselves trapped in an enclosed cylinder with no recollection of how they got there or how to escape.


Episode Info


Episode number: 3x14
Production Number: 4805
Airdate: Friday December 22nd, 1961



  • Currently 9.3/10
9.3/10 (4 Votes cast)
Co-Guest Stars
William WindomWilliam Windom
As The Major (as Bill Windom)
Recurring
Susan Harrison (1)Susan Harrison (1)
As The Ballerina
Murray MathesonMurray Matheson
As The Clown
Kelton GarwoodKelton Garwood
As The Tramp
Clark AllenClark Allen
As The Bagpipe Player
Mona HoughtonMona Houghton
As Little Girl
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host

Recap

Inside a featureless metal cylinder with an open ceiling, a Major wakes up and explores his surroundings. There is no doorway but he stumbles across a Clown. The Major knows his rank but has no memory of his name. The Clown doesn't appear to know who he is either, but gestures to three other prisoners: a Ballerina, a Tramp, and a Bagpipe Player. None of them can answer the Major's questions or remember who they are. Each of them woke up and found themselves there, with no memory of what has happened before...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Susan Harrison is the mother of Darva Conger, the bride from Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire.

This episode is based on the short story "The Depository" by Marvin Petal.

Mona Houghton is the daughter of producer Buck Houghton, who worked on this episode.

Murray Matheson played a close friend and bibliophile/bookstore owner Felix Mulholland on Banacek.

William Windom was also in "Miniature."

Each actor had a doll sculptured looking like them for the final scene.



Episode Quotes
The Major: Hey, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Who are you, what are you doing here? Is there a circus around here somewhere?
The Clown: A circus? (laughs) Yeah. Yeah, there must be a circus. A clown, a circus. An officer, a war. That's logic, isn't it? But it doesn't figure at all. Not at all.
The Major: Why not?
The Clown: Because there is no circus. And there is no war.

The Major: Who are we?
The Ballerina: None of us knows, Major. We don't know who we are. We don't know where we are. Each of us woke up one moment. Here we were in the darkness.
The Major: How can that happen?
The Ballerina: That's the question we asked ourselves. A question with no answer, Major. Nameless things with no memory. No knowledge of what went before. No understanding of what is now. No knowledge of what will be.

Opening Narration
Narrator:
Clown, hobo, ballet dancer, bagpiper, and an army major - a collection of question marks. Five improbable entities stuck together into a pit of darkness. No logic, no reason, no explanation; just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows. In a moment we'll start collecting clues as to the whys, the whats and the wheres. We will not end the nightmare, we'll only explain it - because this is the Twilight Zone.

The Clown: Very active chap. For a functionary. Compulsive worker.
The Major: You a big time psychologist, huh?
The Clown: I'm a clown. Which is neither here, there, or anyplace. I could be a certified public accountant, a financier, a left-handed pitcher who throws only curves. What difference does it make?

The Clown: Brave man. Not a very bright one.
The Ballerina: He'll come back for us. I know he will.
The Clown: He may be back, but it won't be to get us. He may be right at that. He may have been very right. This may be Hell.

Closing Narration
Narrator:
Just a barrel, a dark depository where are kept the counterfeit, make-believe pieces of plaster and cloth, wrought in the distorted image of human life. But this added, hopeful note: perhaps they are unloved only for the moment. In the arms of children there can be nothing but love. A clown, a tramp, a bagpipe player, a ballet dancer and a major. Tonight's cast of players on the odd stage known as the Twilight Zone.



Cultural References
Title: The title was inspired by Luigi Pirandello's 1921 play Five Characters in Search of an Author.



Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorBill Mosher
Make-upWilliam Tuttle
Set DecoratorH. Web Arrowsmith
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorGeorge W. Davis  |  Philip Barber
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
SoundWilliam Edmondson
Assistant DirectorE. Darrell Hallenbeck
 
Warning: The Twilight Zone season 3 episode 14 guide may contain spoilers
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