Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 14

Five Characters in Search of an Exit (22 Dec. 1961)
"The Twilight Zone" Five Characters in Search of an Exit (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 927 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 1 critic

An army major awakens in a small room with no idea of who he is or how he got there. He finds four other people in the same room, and they all begin to question how they each arrived there, and more importantly, how to escape.

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(teleplay), (based on a short story by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Five Characters in Search of an Exit (22 Dec 1961)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Susan Harrison ...
The Ballerina
...
The Major (as Bill Windom)
Murray Matheson ...
The Clown
Kelton Garwood ...
The Tramp
Clark Allen ...
The Bagpiper
Carol Hill ...
Mona Houghton ...
Little Girl
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Storyline

It all starts when an army major wakes up in a small cylindrical room with no way out. The walls are too high to climb and they're too hard to puncture. Trapped inside with him is a clown, a bagpiper, a ballerina, and a hobo. They have all woken up inside there and have no idea where they are, what they're doing there, how long they've been there or even who they are or how long they'll be there. They apparently are unable to feel anything, and every now and then a loud clanging sound makes them all fall down. All of them have tried various ways of finding an exit, unsuccessfully. The army major especially is determined to escape. He tries all sorts of ways to find an exit, but he cannot find one. Even when he hits the walls with his sword, it shatters. The major suggests that they are in Hell, so there IS no way out. Eventually the five characters decide that the only way out is to make a human tower. But then when the ballerina nearly reaches the top, the clanging sound goes again ... Written by almightyone

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

major | doll | ballerina | soldier | clown | See All (36) »


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Release Date:

22 December 1961 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Buck Houghton's daughter Mona appears here as the little girl. See more »

Goofs

After they fall from the attempted escape, the ballerina lies with her leg straightened, but in the following shot, is kneeling and facing another way. See more »

Quotes

[closing narration]
Narrator: Just a barrel, a dark depository where are kept the counterfeit, make-believe pieces of plaster and cloth, wrought in a distorted image of human life. But this added, hopeful note: perhaps they are unloved only for the moment. In the arms of children, there can be nothing but love. A clown, a tramp, a bagpipe player, a ballet dancer, and a major. Tonight's cast of players on the odd stage - known as - The Twilight Zone.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Weird Science: Sci-Fi Zoned (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dull and not particularly entertaining
9 September 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The Twilight Zone has achieved a certain mythology about it--much like Star Trek. That's because there are many devoted lovers of the show that no matter what think every episode was a winner. They are the ones who score each individual show a 10 and cannot objectively evaluate the show. Because of this, a while back I reviewed all the original Star Trek episodes (the good and the bad) because the overall ratings and reviews were just too positive. Now, it's time to do the same for The Twilight Zone.

Now I was very surprised when I saw reviews for this bland episode that described it as being "among the best" and gave it scores of 10. If this is the case, then why is it that everyone I know who has seen this episode hates it as much as I do? It's possible that me and my family and friends are all cranks but it's also possible this is yet another case of rabid fans rabidly inflating the rating on an average or below average episode.

The episode itself stars William Windom and others as various archetypes--a soldier, a dancer, etc. They are all stuck in a cylindrical room with no escape and only at the end do you realize the "shocking truth"--which isn't at all shocking and is in fact majorly lame. No, this is a badly written and unengaging episode. Yes, there were plenty of episodes of the series that deserved a 10, but few as undeserving as this one due to a shallow script and an unappealing resolution.


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