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The Twilight Zone: The Old Man in the Cave

Survivors of a nuclear holocaust live day by day on the advice from someone they have never seen.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 5x7
Production Number: 2603
Airdate: Friday November 08th, 1963

Guest Stars
John AndersonJohn Anderson
As Mr. Goldsmith
John MarleyJohn Marley
As Jason
James CoburnJames Coburn
As Major French
Frank WatkinsFrank Watkins
As Harber
Leonard P. GeerLeonard P. Geer
As Douglas
Don WilbanksDon Wilbanks
As Furman


A group of survivors from a nuclear bomb have been getting advice on their everyday actions from an unseen "Old Man" in a cave. Only Mr. Goldsmith has had any contact with him. He goes to him everyday and brings back advice to the masses. A group of soldiers drive in one day and take over. Major French asks why they are not eating from this pile of canned foods. Mr. Goldsmith tells them that the old man says they are contaminated by radiation. Major French thinks the people are fools listening to a man that no one has ever seen, meanwhile starving to death while a pile of food awaits. The townspeople agree with the soldier and storm the cave to see this old man themselves. They are shocked to find out he is just a computer, and not a man at all. Enraged, the people destroy the computer. They return to town and feast upon the food. They soon regret this cause the food was indeed contaminated and they all die, except Mr. Goldsmith...

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Episode Notes
Based on the short story ''The Old Man'' by Henry Slesar.

John Anderson was also in ''A Passage for Trumpet,'' ''The Odyssey of Flight 33'' and ''Of Late I Think of Cliffordville.''

James Coburn was an Academy Award winning actor.

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Narrator: What you're looking at is a legacy that man left to himself. A decade previous he pushed his buttons and, a nightmarish moment later, woke up to find that he had set the clock back a thousand years. His engines, his medicines, his science were buried in a mass tomb, covered over by the biggest gravedigger of them all: a Bomb. And this is the Earth ten years later, a fragment of what was once a whole, a remnant of what was once a race. The year is 1974, and this is the Twilight Zone.

Closing Narration
Narrator: Mr. Goldsmith, survivor, an eye witness to man's imperfection, an observer of the very human trait of greed and a chronicler of the last chapter--the one reading 'suicide.' Not a prediction of what is to be, just a projection of what could be. This has been the Twilight Zone.

Other Episode Crew

Executive ProducerRod Serling
EditorRichard V. Heermance
CastingPatricia Rose
Set DecoratorHenry Grace  |  Robert R. Benton
Director of PhotographyRobert Pittack
Art DirectorWalter Holscher
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
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