The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
8.6/10
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21 user 5 critic

Five Characters in Search of an Exit 

An army major awakens in a small room with no idea of who he is or how he got there. He finds four other people in the same room, and they all begin to question how they each arrived there, and more importantly, how to escape.

Director:

Lamont Johnson

Writers:

Rod Serling (teleplay by), Marvin Petal (based on a short story by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Susan Harrison ... The Ballerina
William Windom ... The Major (as Bill Windom)
Murray Matheson ... The Clown
Kelton Garwood Kelton Garwood ... The Tramp
Clark Allen Clark Allen ... The Bagpiper
Carol Hill ... Woman
Mona Houghton Mona Houghton ... Little Girl
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Storyline

It all starts when an army major wakes up in a small cylindrical room with no way out. The walls are too high to climb and they're too hard to puncture. Trapped inside with him is a clown, a bagpiper, a ballerina, and a hobo. They have all woken up inside there and have no idea where they are, what they're doing there, how long they've been there or even who they are or how long they'll be there. They apparently are unable to feel anything, and every now and then a loud clanging sound makes them all fall down. All of them have tried various ways of finding an exit, unsuccessfully. The army major especially is determined to escape. He tries all sorts of ways to find an exit, but he cannot find one. Even when he hits the walls with his sword, it shatters. The major suggests that they are in Hell, so there IS no way out. Eventually the five characters decide that the only way out is to make a human tower. But then when the ballerina nearly reaches the top, the clanging sound goes again ... Written by almightyone

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" combines those of the play by Italian writer Luigi Pirandello: "Six Characters in Search of an Author," and the play by French writer Jean-Paul Sartre: No Exit. See more »

Goofs

After they fall from the attempted escape, the ballerina lies with her leg straightened, but in the following shot, is kneeling and facing another way. See more »

Quotes

[opening narration]
Narrator: Clown, hobo, ballet dancer, bagpiper, and an Army major - a collection of question marks. Five improbable entities stuck together into a pit of darkness. No logic, no reason, no explanation; just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness, and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows. In a moment, we'll start collecting clues as to the whys, the whats, and the wheres. We will not end the nightmare, we'll only explain it - because this is the Twilight Zone.
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Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Best Twilight Zone Episodes (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hard to Forget, But....
25 November 2008 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

I guess by the time I saw this episode, I had seen enough Twilight Zones to have it figured out ahead of time. There is this odd assemblage of characters who find themselves at the bottom of a cylinder. They are fine until an overzealous soldier shows up in their midst. It is his prime directive to escape and so he garners the forces and puts them to work to reach the top of the cylinder. There is much discussion about purpose and reason and speculation on their pasts, but no one can remember anything. They represent different jobs: a piper, a ballerina, a clown, a man in a tattered hat. Why are they there? It leads to an adventure and is resolved at the end, but I guess I had a pretty good idea before it all happened.


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