The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
29 user 3 critic

The Shelter 

A suburban dinner party is interrupted by a bulletin warning of an impending nuclear attack. As the neighbors scramble to prepare themselves, they turn against the one family that installed a permanent bomb shelter.


Lamont Johnson


Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Larry Gates ... Dr. Bill Stockton
Joseph Bernard Joseph Bernard ... Marty Weiss
Jack Albertson ... Jerry Harlowe
Peggy Stewart ... Grace Stockton
Sandy Kenyon ... Frank Henderson
Michael Burns ... Paul Stockton
Jo Helton ... Martha Harlowe
Moria Turner Moria Turner ... Mrs. Weiss
Mary Gregory Mary Gregory ... Mrs. Henderson
John McLiam ... Man


Dr. Bill Stockton has prepared well for any eventuality. He's built a bomb shelter for himself, his wife and his child. His neighbors on the other hand have done nothing to prepare. During a dinner party, there is an emergency announcement on the radio that unidentified objects have been sighted en route to the US and they may be under attack. As the Stockton's prepare to use their shelter their neighbors panic asking to be let into the shelter with them. Stockton refuses leading to an angry confrontation. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Did You Know?


This episode was parodied in the sixth-season episode of The Simpsons, "Bart's Comet." See more »


The large jug Bill carries is full of water, then empty. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: What you are about to watch is a nightmare. It is not meant to be prophetic, it need not happen, it's the fervent and urgent prayer of all men of good will that it never shall happen. But in this place, in this moment, it does happen. This is the Twilight Zone.
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Crazy Credits

The sets in the opening scene and the scene showing the neighbors running down the street with the "battering ram" are the same sets used in the "The Monsters are due on Maple Street" & " Black Leather Jackets" episodes. See more »


Twilight Zone Theme
(theme song)
Composed by Marius Constant
(seasons 2-5)
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User Reviews

The most intense episode in my opinion
3 January 2021 | by mghee-61577See all my reviews

After watching several episodes for the billionth time over a 4 day span as part of the New Year's Twilight Zone marathon, I've finally come to the conclusion that this one is the most intense episode of the series. The premise is pretty simple. Beloved neighborhood doc has the only bomb shelter on the block. The neighbors are all enjoying themselves at the doc's house as part of his birthday celebration and then an emergency broadcast comes on warning the country that unidentified objects are flying toward the U.S. and citizens should immediately take cover. However, the doc faces an additional dilemma. He only has room for his family to survive in his bomb shelter and the neighbors are pleading for him to share it (since they do not have one) given the zero hour that has been thrust upon them. This episode displays a lot of human drama in 30 minutes. There is fear obviously and the urge for survival gets ugly and very primitive amongst the neighbors vying for the attention of the doc to let them into his shelter. As a result, there are a couple of striking scenes of prejudice that rise to the surface as well as violence in the midst of it all. I'm not a cinematographer but there is a shadowy camera shot from behind of a woman neighbor on the stairs holding her baby that is crying, while her husband is pleading for the doc to let him , his wife and the baby in the shelter. This scene reeks of the desperation the neighbors are experiencing. Gets me everytime. I will not give away the ending but it is an unforgettable episode.

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Release Date:

29 September 1961 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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