On a pleasant day, the residents of Maple Street feel something akin to a tremor and hear a loud noise. Steve Brand thinks it's a meteorite though they didn't hear a create. When young Tommy tells them the science fiction story he read about an alien invasion where they were first sent among humans to live with them in disguise, paranoia sets in. They first suspect Les Goodman and loudmouth Charlie Farnsworth then points the finger at Steve and then Tommy. Events turn on Charlie as everyone runs amok.Written by
When the neighbors go over to talk to Les Goodman about his car starting, as he walks onto his porch, you can see his address is 321, and there is a porch light. When he starts to explain his insomnia, you can see there are just holes on the front of the house where the address and light were. Then, as night falls and his wife brings his a glass of milk on the porch, the address and light are there again. See more »
[Trying to expain the odd occurences]
Meteors can do crazy things you know. Like sunspots.
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Twilight Zone's first season The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, which concerns the hatred that arises from paranoia and I suppose xenophobia that settles in on a suburban neighborhood when what first appears to be a meteor passes overhead, then lands nearby; and then strange things start happening: the electricity goes out, cars won't start, there appears to be nothing on the radio.
Before long people are gathering on the sidewalk, frightened and suspicious. A child who apparently reads a lot of science fiction seems to know something about the event,--the aliens have landed--and yet he has no facts to back up his statement. Thereafter, what follows is a cruel channeling of Isiah: a little child shall lead them. Within a remarkably short period of time people are pointing fingers left and right accusing each other of either being space aliens or being in league with them.
This is a well made episode, and the acting of its cast is outstanding, and it has a major reputation among fans of The Twilight Zone. I like it, consider it well made and watchable, however I can't buy its premise that this is how people would behave in a suburban American community on the basis of a relatively small number of things going on in the absence of any outside corroborating evidence.
It's a too obviously factitious set-up, and for this viewer not a credible one, as the middle class suburbanites of the story simply don't behave like adults; these are men and women who, in some cases have education, and they ought to possess a measure of knowledge, and with it the authority to back it up and convince their neighbors not to go haywire. There is one voice of reason, if not authority, but his warnings and pleadings are drowned out by the mounting mob mentality of his neighbors.
I can see why this is a popular episode. It could almost be a representative entry of the series; one whose elements sum up much of what made the Zone such an enduring show. Still, it's about grownups, and as a product of the era it depicts, allowing that I was a child at the time, I can say that I'd never seen or heard of people, middle class types of the sort we see in this episode, ever behave so irrationally, so mindlessly. This is an entertaining episode, complete with ironic ending, and yet for me what food for thought it provides is pretty thin gruel.
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