"The Twilight Zone" To Serve Man (TV Episode 1962) Poster

(TV Series)



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In the source story, the aliens are short and look like hairy pigs that walk upright, and go by the name Kanamit (singular: Kanama). In this televised version they're called Kanamits (singular: Kanamit), and they all look like Richard Kiel wearing a prosthetic "big brain".
Damon Knight's short story To Serve Man - which included details on the language-translation cut from the screenplay - was awarded the 1951 "Retro" Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2001.
The newspaper that Patty picks up is the actual June 14, 1961, edition of "The Los Angeles Times." The top-most headline reads "Specialist Checks John F. Kennedy's Back." The main banner headline reads "4-HOUR POWER OUTAGE BRINGS CHAOS TO N.Y.," which refers to the previous evening's power failure in New York City.
The plot also has some similarities to the Arthur C. Clarke novel Childhood's End, first published in 1953.
KROQ radio (Pasadena, Los Angeles) used to use the dialogue when Michael Chambers asks Kanamit the time ("What time is it?") to announce the midday time ("On earth it is 12:00 noon.")


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In 1976, Owlswick Press, Philadelphia, published a book titled "To Serve Man: A Cookbook for People" by "Karl Würf" (ISBN 0 913896 05 5, LCCN 76-004348). It contains 71 recipes, all using people, including Mannerschnitzel, Chile con Hombre, Arabian Tomato & Infidel Soup, Hungarian Ghoulash [sic], and Blood Sausage. It is dedicated to Damon Knight, "for the name, the title and the kind permission to use both". Adding to the joke is the fact that the Library of Congress classifies it, not as a satire, parody or literary work, but as a cookbook (call number TX652.W83), in the company of 5,306 other culinary works. This means that the cataloging librarian either didn't have a clue or else had a sense of humor. ("Karl Würf" is a pseudonym for the late science fiction author and editor George H. Scithers.)
The source story ends with the declaration "It's a cookbook," spoken calmly and sardonically by a male colleague of the narrator. The line is retained, but its delivery and setting are different, in this televised version.

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