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?


This episode makes heavy use of the Dutch Tilt camera technique. 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

Twilight Zone Classic
27 December 2013 | by VeneratedVestigeSee all my reviews

This is Twilight Zone at it's best. Amazing acting both from the protagonists and the villain(s). Incredible twist at the end that puts a bow on it. It even took me by surprise and usually I can see these coming. That is because the episode simply captures you entirely and doesn't let you consider anything outside it's bounds. The tension keeps building and building until the climax. This is an example of what I watch T.Z. for. It screws with your head, but makes sense at the same time. It's out of this world, and yet closer than you think. The suspense of watching as the villain picks up the item and investigates it is exhausting. His is one of the most powerful performances in this episode, conveying a sense of relation to most governmental agendas. Don't take my word for it though, just watch it.

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