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

To Serve Man 

An alien race comes to Earth, promising peace and sharing technology. A linguist and his team set out to translate the aliens' language, using a book whose title they deduce is "To Serve Man".


Richard L. Bare


Rod Serling (teleplay by), Damon Knight (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Lloyd Bochner ... Michael Chambers
Susan Cummings ... Patty
Richard Kiel ... Kanamit
Hardie Albright ... Secretary General
Theodore Marcuse ... Citizen Gregori
Bartlett Robinson ... Colonel #1
Carleton Young ... Colonel #2 (as Carlton Young)
Nelson Olmsted ... Scientist
Robert Tafur Robert Tafur ... Señor Valdes
Lomax Study Lomax Study ... Leveque
Jerry Fujikawa ... Japanese Delegate (as J.H. Fujikawa)


Michael Chambers recounts recent events on Earth after the arrival of a alien space craft. The aliens, known as Kanamit, seem friendly and assure everyone they have nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they offer to share wonderful technology that will provide limitless energy, cure all disease and convert deserts into lush gardens. For the people of Earth, paradise has arrived. Chambers is an encryption specialist and they try their best to decrypt a book the Kanamit left behind. The book's title seems benign - but it's not what they think it is. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







English | French | Japanese | Spanish

Release Date:

2 March 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Serve Man 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?


Appears in three astronomy documentaries by Space Viz: Contact: The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (1995), Odyssey of Survival (1999) and Planetary Defense (2007). The latter work was nominated for a 2008 Arthur Clarke Award in the UK. The "Arthur's", as they are known, are recognized as the "Oscars" in British Space Achievements. Fellow nominees in 2008 included In the Shadow of the Moon (2007), Sir Richard Branson and Prof. Stephen Hawking. See more »


When Chambers is talking about the Kanamit's fertilizing process he says the soil had more vitamins than a drug store chain. While adding certain nutrients like minerals to soil would make it more fertile, vitamins would have absolutely no effect. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: Respectfully submitted for your perusal - a Kanamit. Height: a little over nine feet. Weight: in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty pounds. Origin: unknown. Motives? Therein hangs the tale, for in just a moment, we're going to ask you to shake hands, figuratively, with a Christopher Columbus from another galaxy and another time. This is the Twilight Zone.
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Referenced in Free Enterprise (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Here come the Kanamits
24 January 2019 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The world in 1962 was a fearful place as I remember. In real life we had the Cuban Missile crisis after the Twilight Zone story was broadcast. In the Twilight Zone world visitors from outer space called the Kanamits arrive and they communicate by telepathy and they're big dudes. The casting of Richard "Jaws" Kiel should give you and idea.

It's too good to be true. A peaceful planet and the work of untold generations of peacemakers is sped him by scores of years. This advanced civilization from across the galaxy turns earth into a paradise.

The story is narrated in flashback by Lloyd Bochner who possibly got a career role from this story. Bochner who usually played villains plays a code specialist who tries with Susan Cummings to translate a Kenamit book. They do only too late to learn why the altruistic Kenamits have come to earth.

One of the classic Twilight Zone stories.

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