A suburban dinner party is interrupted by a bulletin warning of an impending nuclear attack. As the neighbors scramble to prepare themselves, they turn against the one family that installed a permanent bomb shelter.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Larry Gates ...
Dr. Bill Stockton
Joseph Bernard ...
Marty Weiss
Jerry Harlowe
Grace Stockton
Frank Henderson
Paul Stockton
Jo Helton ...
Martha Harlowe
Moria Turner ...
Mrs. Weiss
Mary Gregory ...
Mrs. Henderson
John McLiam ...


Dr. Bill Stockton has prepared well for any eventuality. He's built a bomb shelter for himself, his wife and his child. His neighbors on the other hand have done nothing to prepare. During a dinner party, there is an emergency announcement on the radio that unidentified objects have been sighted en route to the US and they may be under attack. As the Stockton's prepare to use their shelter their neighbors panic asking to be let into the shelter with them. Stockton refuses leading to an angry confrontation. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

29 September 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Early in the story, Paul tells the adults that their TV set has gone blank and that the viewers have been told to tune into the CONELRAD stations. CONELRAD - which stood for Control of Electromagnetic Radiation - was a Civil Defense radio system that went into effect on December 10, 1951. Under CONELRAD, most AM radio stations and all FM radio and TV stations in the United States would go off the air in the event of a national emergency. Selected AM stations would then air official information and instructions to the public on the 640 and 1240 frequencies on the AM dial. Radios sold in the United States from 1953 to 1963 were required to display the triangular Civil Defense symbol on their dials at those frequencies. Effective August 5, 1963, CONELRAD was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), under which most AM, FM, and TV stations would remain on the air in the event of an emergency, but would switch over to official news and information. On January 1, 1997, EBS was replaced by the current Emergency Alert System (EAS), which is essentially EBS plus cable TV and satellite TV and radio. See more »


The large jug Bill carries is full of water, then empty. See more »


Man: Why don't we get some kind of battering ram?
Frank Henderson: Yeah, we could go over to Bennett Avenue, Phil Cline has some heavy pipe in his basement, I've seen it.
Man: No, no, that would bring him into the act too, and who cares about saving him? No, if we do that, we'll let all those people know we have a shelter on our street. We'll have a whole mob to contend with, with a whole bunch of strangers.
Mrs. Henderson: Sure, and what right have they got to come over here? This isn't their street, this isn't *their* shelter.
Jerry Harlowe: Ohhhh, ...
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Spoofed in Weird Science: Sci-Fi Zoned (1995) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
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User Reviews

The most frightening episode of The Twlight Zone?
10 March 2006 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

This episode of The Twilight Zone is somewhat different to most of the rest; as instead of being a bizarre tale; it's based more on human morals, and is also something that could very easily happen. "The Shelter" follows a street, where only one person has a bomb shelter. After nuclear war is threatened; the street is thrown into disarray, as everyone wants a piece of the shelter. This story might not have as big an impact nowadays as it did when it was first aired in 1961. In the middle of the Cold War, the nuclear threat was very real; and knowing that the events of this show could be just round the corner must have been terrifying. The tale is very well written, and the exercise in morality is very well felt. Unlike the rest of The Twilight Zone, this story takes place in our world, and has a very realistic feel throughout. The final words on morality and civilisation sums it all up perfectly, and while it might not be what you'd expect from The Twilight Zone, this is still an ingenious little tale and it still makes you think. Another episode that comes highly recommended!

41 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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