The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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The Old Man in the Cave 

In a post-apocalyptic settlement in 1974, the inhabitants' survival is dependent on the advice of an unseen man living in a nearby cave. This dependence is tested when a band of soldiers descends on their town.

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(teleplay by), (based on a short story "The Old Man" by) | 1 more credit »
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Josie Lloyd ...
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Storyline

Ten years after an atomic apocalypse, a small group of survivors manage to eke out a very difficult existence. They've managed to survive in large part due to the advice they receive from an old man who lives in a cave outside of the town. Goldsmith acts as the intermediary and the old man's advice on things like crops or the safety of a batch of old canned goods are usually correct. When four soldiers led by Major French arrive in the town, the social order is upended with the townsfolk attacking the old man's cave but not really prepared for what they find inside. Written by garykmcd

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TV-PG
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Release Date:

8 November 1963 (USA)  »

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(Westrex Recording System)

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode takes place in 1974. See more »

Goofs

Goldsmith says, "The rest of the world have all died of radioactivity, strontium 90, plague." Strontium 90 is a radioactive isotope of strontium, making it redundant in this case. Strontium 90 is dangerous to humans because the human body treats it like calcium, and it's taken directly into bones. See more »

Quotes

Major French: Mr. Goldsmith. The following is unofficial. Now, we'd like you to make your transition here as easy as possible. Now, under certain circumstances we might even allow you to remain in nominal control. Assuming that you don't give us any trouble. Now, that's unofficial. The following is official.
[slaps him to the ground]
Major French: Now let me fill you in on the situation here, Mr. Goldsmith. Between Buffalo, New York and Atlanta, Georgia, there are probably around five hundred people alive. You know why. ...
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Connections

Featured in Limitless: Fundamentals of Naked Portraiture (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Better without Serling's closing words
7 December 2013 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Thought provoking, yes, but Serling's closing statement tends to annoyingly simplify the meaning in a way that I just cant accept. The people who have survived a nuclear war are so wretchedly hungry and miserable it is hard to judge them whoever they follow. Other TZ's depict some sort of survival after a nuclear war but this one shows a pointless encore for the human race. There just isn't a palpable human spirit among the survivors. Is faith more useful than knowledge?- not for me! An 'old man' in a cave who never comes out is an absurd rationale for detecting which food sources are contaminated by radiation. This story shows me that a lack of knowledge is dangerous - not lack of faith.

You can easily find real world counterparts to Major French and Mr Goldsmith but I grew a little tired of this post-apocalypse preachy stuff.


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