Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 16

The Hitch-Hiker (22 Jan. 1960)
"The Twilight Zone" The Hitch-Hiker (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,146 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 3 critic

A young woman driving cross country becomes frantic when she keeps passing the same man on the side of the road. No matter how fast she drives the man is always up ahead, hitching her for a ride.

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(teleplay), (based on the radio play by), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Hitch-Hiker (22 Jan 1960)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
Nan Adams
...
Sailor
Lew Gallo ...
Mechanic
Leonard Strong ...
The Hitch-Hiker
Russ Bender ...
Counterman
George Mitchell ...
Gas Station Man
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Storyline

A young woman driving cross country becomes frantic when she keeps passing the same man on the side of the road. No matter how fast she drives the man is always up ahead, hitching her for a ride.

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Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

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Release Date:

22 January 1960 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The protagonist's voice-over narration references the radio-play source of the episode. See more »

Goofs

When Nan tries to run over the hitchhiker, she swerves her car, a light-colored 1959 Mercury, at him. But in the insert shot that shows the car swerving, it's a black 1957 Ford. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: [opening narration] 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.
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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Connections

Referenced in RV (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Inger Stevens tries to complete her long, long journey without a hitch.
11 March 2013 | by (Edinburgh.) – See all my reviews

In some ways it may be unfair of me to judge this episode compared to the many similar tales that have come along after it, but I can't help myself. "The Hitch-Hiker" is, for me, a weaker episode of The Twilight Zone for a number of reasons and I'll try to clarify them here.

The story is a simple one. Nan (Inger Stevens) is a young woman driving across America. She has a blow out and gets some help from a mechanic to get back on the road, but then starts to see a hitch-hiker (Leonard Strong) popping up by the roadside as she continues to drive on her long journey. How is he always somehow managing to get ahead of her and why is he seeming to single her out?

Based on a radio play by Lucille Fletcher, this tale was adapted for the show by Rod Serling and directed by Alvin Ganzer. The content may be a bit old hat and clichéd nowadays, but that's not the worst crime on display. The worst aspect of this episode is the execution of the material.

Inger Stevens isn't that bad in the central role, but the scenes that have her contemplating the situation in voice-over just don't work for me because the only voice-over/narration I want to hear in any episode of The Twilight Zone is the information conveyed to viewers by Serling himself. I know it may seem like a little thing to complain about, but it really drew me out of the usual Twilight Zone vibe.

The other big problem I have with the execution of the material is that, unlike many other episodes, it just doesn't all hold up when we get to the end. I love being outwitted or just surprised, but this didn't do that. The whole episode is a bit of a cheat and not a very good one.

Still worth a watch, of course, and there are many other people who like this one a lot more than I did. It just didn't work for me, though I still thought it was just above average, as pretty much every trip into the Zone is.


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