The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

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"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 22
Directed byRonald Winston
Written byRod Serling
Featured musicOriginal score by Rene Garriguenc, conducted by Lud Gluskin
Production code173-3620
Original air dateMarch 4, 1960
Guest actors

Claude Akins: Steve Brand
Barry Atwater: Les Goodman
Jack Weston: Charlie
Amzie Strickland: Woman
Burt Metcalfe: Don
Mary Gregory: Sally
Jason Johnson: Old man
Sheldon Allman: First alien
William Walsh: Second alien
Jan Handzlik: Tommy
Anne Barton: Myra Brand
Lea Waggner: Mrs. Goodman
Joan Sudlow: Old Woman
Ben Erway: Pete Van Horn
Lyn Guild: Mrs. Farnsworth
Robert McCord: Ice-Cream Vendor (uncredited)

Episode chronology
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"Mirror Image"
Next →
"A World of Difference"

List of Twilight Zone episodes

 
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"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 22
Directed byRonald Winston
Written byRod Serling
Featured musicOriginal score by Rene Garriguenc, conducted by Lud Gluskin
Production code173-3620
Original air dateMarch 4, 1960
Guest actors

Claude Akins: Steve Brand
Barry Atwater: Les Goodman
Jack Weston: Charlie
Amzie Strickland: Woman
Burt Metcalfe: Don
Mary Gregory: Sally
Jason Johnson: Old man
Sheldon Allman: First alien
William Walsh: Second alien
Jan Handzlik: Tommy
Anne Barton: Myra Brand
Lea Waggner: Mrs. Goodman
Joan Sudlow: Old Woman
Ben Erway: Pete Van Horn
Lyn Guild: Mrs. Farnsworth
Robert McCord: Ice-Cream Vendor (uncredited)

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Mirror Image"
Next →
"A World of Difference"

List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" is an episode from the first season (1959–60) of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, written by its creator-narrator, Rod Serling. In 2009, TIME named it one of the 10 best Twilight Zone episodes.[1]

Contents

Plot summary

Maple Street is full of playing children and adults talking, when a shadow passes overhead and a loud roar is heard, accompanied by a flash of light. The residents soon discover that their electricity has been cut off. They gather together in the street to discuss the matter. Pete Van Horn volunteers to walk out of the neighborhood to discover the extent of the problem and he goes to check the station. His neighbor Steve Brand wants to go into town but Tommy, a boy from the neighborhood, tells him not to leave the street. Tommy has read a story of an alien invasion causing similar phenomena, and he predicts Steve will probably not be allowed to leave. Furthermore, in the story, the aliens are living as a family that appears human. The power outage is meant to isolate and contain the neighborhood. Meanwhile, another resident, Les Goodman, tries unsuccessfully to start his car. He gets out and begins to walk back towards the other residents when the car starts all by itself. The bizarre behavior of his car makes Les the object of immediate suspicion. One woman begins to discuss his late nights spent standing in the garden looking up at the sky. Les claims to be only an insomniac. Later that night, Steve tries to defuse the situation and prevent it from becoming a witch-hunt. Charlie, one of the loudest and most aggressive residents, pressures Steve about his hobby building a radio no one has ever seen. Suspicion falls on Steve as he sarcastically remarks that he talks to monsters from outer space on his radio. Steve and the other neighbors continue to argue.

Panic builds when a shadowy figure is seen walking towards them. Charlie, now hostile, grabs a shotgun and immediately shoots the shadow, thinking it to be the alleged "monster." When the crowd reaches the fallen figure, they realize it is Pete Van Horn, returning from his scouting mission. The shot had hit him in the chest, killing him instantly.

Suddenly the lights in Charlie's house come on and he panics as the crowd begins accusing him of being both a murderer and the monster responsible for the power being out. He makes a run for his house while the other residents chase him, throwing stones. Terrified, Charlie attempts to deflect suspicion onto Tommy, the boy who had originally suggested alien infiltration. Lights begin flashing on and off in houses throughout the neighborhood; lawn mowers and cars start up and go off for no apparent reason. The mob becomes hysterical, with terrified residents smashing windows, and taking up weapons, devolving into an all-out riot. Some of the residents take up fire-arms and shoot anyone they can.

The scene cuts to a nearby hilltop, where it is revealed the mysterious meteor that had flown overhead is indeed an alien spaceship. Its inhabitants, two alien observers, are watching the riot on Maple Street while using a device to manipulate the neighborhood's power. They comment on how easy it was to create paranoia and panic, and conclude that the easiest way to conquer Earth is to let the people of Earth destroy themselves.

Production

The aliens are wearing uniforms left over from the 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet. Also, the mockup set of the retractable stairway, leading into the lower half of the C-57D cruiser from the same film, is reused for this scene. At the end of the episode, a stock footage effects shot of the cruiser in space can be seen. (The same shot was also used in "Third From The Sun".) Note that the cruiser is shown upside down when compared to its orientation in Forbidden Planet.

Cast

Remake

A 2002 remake of the episode was created in the latest re-adaptation of The Twilight Zone, but it was renamed "The Monsters Are On Maple Street." The difference between the two is that the remake is more about the fear of terrorism. When the power surge happens in the remake, it is caused, not by aliens, but instead by the government, specifically the United States Army, experimenting on how small towns react to the fear of terrorism. In the end, the neighborhood takes out its anger and frustration on a family who never left their house after the power surge occurred, thinking that they caused it since they still have power.

Other media

A radio dramatization of this episode was produced in the mid-2000s, featuring Frank John Hughes as Steve Brand. It was included in The Twilight Zone: Radio Dramas - Volume 2 collection.

A graphic novel version was published by the Savannah College of Art and Design partnered with Walker & Co.

This episode served to be a major influence on science fiction in the decades that followed. Among the films that drew their inspiration from this episode include The Trigger Effect, directed by Akins' nephew, David Koepp,[2] and The Mist.[3]

Early Industrial Music band Skinny Puppy made heavy use of samples from this episode in the track Monster Radio Man on their 1984 debut album Back and Forth.

In the supernatural TV series Angel episode, "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been," the main protagonist, Angel, is mobbed, in a similar way to the characters in this episode, while under the influence of a paranoia demon controlling a hotel. Executive producer David Greenwalt admitted he got the idea and way of being mobbed after watching this episode.

References

  1. ^ "Top 10 Twilight Zone episodes". Time. 2009-10-05. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1927690,00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (1996-08-30). "Movie Review - The Trigger Effect (1996) - Urban Jitters Going Critical". New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B05E3D91F39F933A0575BC0A960958260. Retrieved 209-10-09.
  3. ^ Edward Douglas (2007-11-16). "An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Frank Darabont!". ShockTillYouDrop.com.

Further reading

External links