Nan Adams is driving across country from Manhattan to Los Angeles. Apart from a blown tire, the trip has been more or less uneventful. That is until she begins to see the same man, over and over again, hitchhiking along the highway. No matter how far she goes or how far she drives, the hitchhiker always seems to be ahead of her. She also seems to be the only person who can see him. When Nan decides to call home, all is revealed.
In the original story, the character of Nan was a male, Ronald. Rod Serling believed that a female in the situation would be reacted to with more feeling by audiences. She was named after one of his daughters. See more »
The woman mentions that she's taking "Route 80" multiple times. She also mentions that she's driving through Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and New Mexico, neither I-80 nor U.S. Route 80 run through any of these states. See more »
Rod Serling - Narrator:
Her name is Nan Adams. She's twenty-seven years old. Her occupation: buyer at a New York department store. At present on vacation, driving cross-country to Los Angeles, California from Manhattan.
Rod Serling - Narrator:
[continued narration, subsequent to character dialogue]
Minor incident on Highway 11 in Pennsylvania. Perhaps, to be filed away under "accidents you walk away from." But from this moment on, Nan Adams' companion on a trip to California will be terror. Her route: fear. Her destination:...
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Shabby hitch-hiker keeps reappearing as young woman drives cross-country.
Great episode. Perhaps the most haunting of all the entries. Serling's adaptation of the Louise Fletcher radio play is first rate, one of the best of the series. Everything entertaining and artistic comes together as Inger Stevens' cross-country trip descends from bright sunlight into the depths of midnight. There's suspense (the railroad crossing), humor (the sailor thinking it's his lucky day), mystery (what is this with the hitch-hiker), and finally pathos ( in a rear-view mirror). I particularly like the subtle way the final scene is handled with the superb camera work and expert use of half light and shadow. Notice how the camera shots become progressively tighter as the tension inside the car mounts. Also, there's the well-timed blinking neon in the final scene to convey a subtle transition. And for those who care-- there's a taste of radio drama in the voice-over sequences where Stevens is riding alone. Radio drama, of course, could not allow dead air time, so script writers such as Fletcher had to become skilled at verbalizing what the character is thinking. It still shows in these traveling sequences. (A half-facetious observation-- strange how so much of cross-country America looks like the scrub lands of southern Cal. But then, as good as the best shows are, TZ was never a big-budget series.) Anyhow, this is one of those haunting episodes that stays with you. So don't miss it.
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