The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
27 user 7 critic

Third from the Sun 

Two families of Government employees plan to steal a spaceship and travel to another planet just prior to a nuclear war. They must also deal with a stooge who wants to stop them.


Richard L. Bare


Rod Serling (teleplay by), Richard Matheson (based on a short story by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Fritz Weaver ... William Sturka
Edward Andrews ... Carling
Joe Maross Joe Maross ... Jerry Riden
Denise Alexander Denise Alexander ... Jody Sturka
Lori March ... Eve Sturka
Jeanne Evans Jeanne Evans ... Ann Riden


William Sturka works as a hydrogen specialist in a highly secure plant. Conditions are tense and there are constant rumors of war. The latest is that it's going to happen in the next 48 hours. Unbeknownst to his wife Eve and daughter Jody, he and his friend Jerry Riden have been planning an escape of sorts for themselves and their families. Jerry is a test pilot and they plan to steal the government's latest spacecraft heading off to a planet they believe may sustain life. Their biggest challenge is Carling, a security officer who seems to be onto their plan. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

8 January 1960 (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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Did You Know?


The painting from The Twilight Zone: The Midnight Sun (1961) can be seen hanging on the wall behind the table during the card game. See more »


We're told that the spaceship "could" go beyond the planet's atmosphere. That's not the same as being capable of interstellar travel. See more »


Rod Serling - Narrator: [Closing Narration] Behind a tiny ship heading into space is a doomed planet on the verge of suicide. Ahead lies a place called Earth, the third planet from the sun. And for William Sturka and the men and women with him, it's the eve of the beginning - in the Twilight Zone.
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User Reviews

Are We Heading into Another Nuclear Age?
30 September 2008 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

I agree with the other reviewers. There is so much threat in this. We watch Fritz Weaver, agonizing over what he must do. He has been a part of what has led to the situation, and now he wants out. Is he a hero? I just don't know. When all is said and done, he puts his family first. The society is dying. There is going to be a holocaust and there is talk of thirty million casualties. They also seem to know when this is going to take place. The cinematography is really interesting. We are invited to look at middle class America (though I guess it isn't). Pretty streets and trees and the sun shining. We get those expressionistic tilts when people talk. I suppose to say that things are awry. There is a threat to the plot being completed. Edward Andrews knows what they are up to and either wants in or wants to stop it. He is a threatening visage, with those glasses and his sly smile. The conclusion is a lesson for us all. Cold war fear mongering perhaps, but it is the classic Twilight Zone ending that really punched us in the gut when we saw it for the first time.

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