The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
20 user 5 critic

Third from the Sun 

Two families of Government employees plan to steal a spaceship and travel to another planet just prior to a nuclear war. They must also deal with a stooge who wants to stop them.



(teleplay by), (based on a short story by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Sturka
Joe Maross ...
Jerry Riden
Denise Alexander ...
Jody Sturka
Lori March ...
Eve Sturka
Jeanne Evans ...
Ann Riden


William Sturka works as a hydrogen specialist in a highly secure plant. Conditions are tense and there are constant rumors of war. The latest is that it's going to happen in the next 48 hours. Unbeknownst to his wife Eve and daughter Jody, he and his friend Jerry Riden have been planning an escape of sorts for themselves and their families. Jerry is a test pilot and they plan to steal the government's latest spacecraft heading off to a planet they believe may sustain life. Their biggest challenge is Carling, a security officer who seems to be onto their plan. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

8 January 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The background noises heard aboard the ship in the final scene were later reused in Star Trek (1966). See more »


The spaceship is mentioned as one that "could" go beyond the planet's atmosphere. That doesn't mean it would be capable of interstellar travel. See more »


Rod Serling - Narrator: [opening narration] Quitting time at the plant. Time for supper now. Time for families. Time for a cool drink on a porch. Time for the quiet rustle of leaf-laden trees that screen out the moon, and underneath it all, behind the eyes of the men, hanging invisible over the summer night, is a horror without words. For this is the stillness before storm. This is the eve of the end.
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User Reviews

Thinking the Unthinkable
11 November 2006 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Engaging little episode that subtly suggests the US circa 1959 was capable of starting a nuclear holocaust. Although the script tries to soften the allegory with a twist ending, Fritz Weaver's family remain dead-ringers for wholesome American suburbanites, with Weaver as a self-described "cog" in the bomb-making machine. Though obviously on a tight budget, Director Richard Bare does an excellent job dislocating viewers with odd camera angles and well placed effects. Edward Andrews is great, as usual, as a sinister government official-- too bad he never got the recognition he merited. The episode may have lost some of its bite with the end of the Cold War and the ebbing of the nuclear "threat".. Nonetheless, it took a lot of guts for the writers to even imply that leaders of a look-alike nation might launch a millions-dead first strike against an unnamed enemy. But then, science fiction has long served, not only as a vehicle of exploration, but as an effective cover for commentary of all political stripes. This entry remains a subtly provocative one for the conformist 1950's.

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