Nan Adams is driving across country from Manhattan to Los Angeles. Apart from a blown tire, the trip has been more or less uneventful. That is until she begins to see the same man, over and over again, hitchhiking along the highway. No matter how far she goes or how far she drives, the hitchhiker always seems to be ahead of her. She also seems to be the only person who can see him. When Nan decides to call home, all is revealed.
The voice-over narration references the radio-play source of the episode. The original radio play was originally produced for a summer replacement series called "Suspense" on September 2, 1942 and starred Orson Welles. The program was so popular that Welles restaged the same script for "Philip Morris Playhouse" on October 15, 1942 and "Mercury Summer Theater on the Air" on June 21, 1946. Musical cues Bernard Herrmann composed for the 1946 radio production were re-scored for this episode. See more »
The woman mentions that she's taking "Route 80" multiple times. She also mentions that she's driving through Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and New Mexico, neither I-80 nor U.S. Route 80 run through any of these states. See more »
Rod Serling - Narrator:
Nan Adams, age twenty-seven. She was driving to California; to Los Angeles. She didn't make it. There was a detour... through the Twilight Zone.
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Hop in for the ride. The Hitch-Hiker is very well made and among the most scary Zones. Nan (Inger Stevens) is making a long road journey alone and sees an unimposing looking hobo thumbing for a ride - only she sees him again, and again...and...oh dear...again! The scenes where Inger Stevens interacts with other actors work better than the ones she plays alone (or with only guess who appearing). A story all too often imitated now but in parts quite effective, even for those who know what's going to happen ( there's a nice jumpy moment about thirteen minutes in).
Take this shortly before bedtime, but for those of you of a nervous disposition I suggest take one of the comedy TZ's to follow for pleasanter dreams.
TZ trivia - the original radio play was written by Lucille Fletcher who was earlier married to TZ composer, the great Bernard Herrmann.
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