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

To Serve Man 

An alien race comes to Earth, promising peace and sharing technology. A linguist and his team set out to translate the aliens' language, using a book whose title they deduce is "To Serve Man".



(teleplay by), (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Secretary General
Citizen Gregori
Colonel #1
Colonel #2 (as Carlton Young)
Robert Tafur ...
Señor Valdes
Lomax Study ...
Japanese Delegate (as J.H. Fujikawa)


Michael Chambers recounts recent events on Earth after the arrival of a alien space craft. The aliens, known as Kanamit, seem friendly and assure everyone they have nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they offer to share wonderful technology that will provide limitless energy, cure all disease and convert deserts into lush gardens. For the people of Earth, paradise has arrived. Chambers is an encryption specialist and they try their best to decrypt a book the Kanamit left behind. The book's title seems benign - but it's not what they think it is. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






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Release Date:

2 March 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Appears in three astronomy documentaries by Space Viz: Contact: The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (1995), Odyssey of Survival (1999) and Planetary Defense (2007). The latter work was nominated for a 2008 Arthur Clarke Award in the UK. The "Arthur's", as they are known, are recognized as the "Oscars" in British Space Achievements. Fellow nominees in 2008 included In the Shadow of the Moon (2007), Sir Richard Branson and Prof. Stephen Hawking. See more »


The Kanamit homeworld is described as "billions of miles" away. Michael Chambers notes that it's "100 billion miles off into space." But the Kanamits are from another galaxy. Traveling a hundred billion miles wouldn't even get you to the nearest star (Proxima Centauri), let alone another galaxy. See more »


Narrator: [closing narration] The recollections of one Michael Chambers with appropriate flashbacks and soliloquy. Or more simply stated, the evolution of man. The cycle of going from dust to dessert. The metamorphosis from being the ruler of a planet to an ingredient in someone's soup. It's tonight's bill of fare from The Twilight Zone.
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Referenced in Futurama: Mother's Day (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Irony . . .
8 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

I like this ep for so many reasons. Funny, for one, b/c they were lead to believe the surface book title was harmless. But the other reason is how all of the nations gathered together in the UN building to accept the terms of those other worldly beings without thinking twice. Yet, for decades maybe more, they war and kill each other without a shred of trust at all. How backwards a society they'd shown themselves to be, negotiating with total strangers from another world but shunning even nations who are double digit miles from us. And the ironic part of all the entire ep was the Russian delegate questioning the motives of the the Kannimits.

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