An amnesiac in an air force jumpsuit finds himself in a town completely devoid of people. But he soon begins to feel like he is just missing them, or worse, he is being watched.
But when he doesn’t wake up, he decides to press on. As he leaves the cafe he flips their “Open” sign to “Closed”, making sure other travelers like him could avoid this odd experience. After traveling down the road a ways, he’s excited to come across a small town. And even more excited when he hears the bells ringing in a near-by church which has its doors open, a sure sign of people. But when he gazes down what appears to be the town’s main street, again, no one in sight. Meandering down the road, he stops to peek in the shops; hardware store, book store, bakery, but still, nobody. The town isn’t in any state of disrepair, quite the opposite, it seems perfectly set for a busy Sunday morning. But his further cries out still go unanswered.
Finally though, he’s relieved to see a woman sitting in a car parked across the street. He calls out, and walks over to her, explaining how he has literally not seen a soul, postulating that maybe everyone aside from them is still asleep. He further explains his amnesia, “It’s a real oddball thing but when I woke up this morning I… well, I didn’t exactly wake up, I just… I just found myself out on that road, walking.” Despite his explanations, as he approaches the car, the woman doesn’t move an inch. It’s only when he leans on the door to look her in the face, that he realizes there’s no true face to look into. Falling out of the passenger seat, it’s clear that she’s only a mannequin.
He leans down next to “her”, and quells his confusion with a joke, “As a matter of fact, I’ve always had kind of a secret yen for the quiet type. Get what I mean, babe?” When the mannequin, of course, doesn’t respond, he picks it up, placing it in the passenger seat where it fell from. In what is revealed as a “Resnick’s Store Mannequins” van. Looking around the loading dock, he still sees no actual people, and it’s clear that this “near-miss” has finally shaken him up past the point of cracking jokes. As he slowly looks around the town square, still not a soul in sight, the queerness of the situation starts to overcome him.
In an attempt to at least get out of this strange little town and back on the road, he reaches into the van to start the engine, only to find no key. But before he
can look for it, he’s startled by a nearby payphone ringing! He races as fast as he can towards it, but somehow he isn’t even surprised to find that there is no one on the other end. Even the operator won’t answer him, despite repeatedly calling out for them. Struck with a thought, he quickly puts a coin in the phone and dials zero. And to his great relief, the operator actually answers! Although when he replies to her, she keeps on talking. He realizes once again that he’s only made contact with something resembling a person as she says, “The number you have reached is not a working number.” She’s only a recording.
Slamming down the phone in frustration, he sees the “Oakwood Alphabetical Telephone Directory”. He picks it up and frantically starts flipping through the pages, in hopes that one of the names might jog his memory. That one of the names might be his. But quickly scanning the A’s, B’s, and so on, he misses the revelation that he knew wouldn’t come. And in seeing all of the names listed, it only pushes his frustration further. If all of these people are in the phone book, why aren’t they here!
He again gazes over the town square, only to find the same, eerie absence mixed with the deafening silence of a completely abandoned town. He decides to leave the phone booth, but somehow the door is locked! Conceiving of some possible elaborate prank on him, he pleads with the absent jokester to show them self, or to at least let him out. When he of course hears no reply, panic sets in, and he bangs harder and harder to try and bust the phone booth door open, but to no avail. He’s trapped. But instantly, in a chance moment of calm, he stops pushing. And realizes that the joke is only on him, and that the door
was never locked, it just opens inward. With one final angry shove he leaves the phone booth and stumbles out into the empty town square.
Wandering across the street into the Oakwood Police Dept., his anxiety grows from frustration to a calm fear. Maybe there are still people here, and he’s being watched and listened to! But he shakes off this feeling of unease as he sees the dispatcher’s microphone, and jokes into it, “Calling all cars, calling all cars. Unknown man walking around police station…” But his grin disappears as he sees smoke rising from a nearby
desk. Walking over to it, he sees that the source is a cigar. A newly lit cigar! Possibly sensing a presence, he quickly glances over his shoulder, but again, no one there. He cautiously wanders through a door into the Police Stations jail cells. Again, he sees no people, but even more strangely, again, he sees signs of life. All of the cell doors are unlocked, but in one, on the sink, is assorted shaving paraphernalia, and the water is still running in the sudsy sink!
Resolving himself to his prior thought that he’s in a dream, he calmly tries to wake himself up, but he’s quickly startled by an ominous shadow on the wall.
It’s the cell’s door, closing on him! But as there is of course no person there closing it, he throws it back open and runs all the way back out to the street. Sprinting to the center of the town square, he screams out to anyone there, but also begging the question to himself, “Where is everybody?!”
Regaining his composure, he walks further down one of the sidewalks. But he’s again startled to hear a loud bell, the same church bell that he first heard entering the town. He partially tries to hide behind a sign, as if afraid to discover anyone and therefore the answer to this growing mystery. But no solution is provided, as the bell rings four times, and dies silent. With no trace of the bell ringer to be found. He notices that the sign he was hiding behind reads, “Park Drugs”, and he enters the drugstore.
Upon entering, he sees that this place is just like the others; apparently open for business, but with no workers or customers to be found. And upon seeing the large ice cream bar, he decides that he may as well treat himself, and make an ice cream sundae. While doing so, he catches his reflection in the mirror behind the counter. He looks slightly bewildered for a moment before remarking, “…the face is vaguely familiar, but the name escapes me.” He continues his one-sided conversation with his mirror-self, going over what he’s recently seen and been through. He again proposes that he and everything else are a part of a dream. He goes on remembering part of Scrooge’s monologue from A Christmas Carol, where he is discounting Jacob Marley’s
presence as a bad dream brought on by food. He accuses his reflection, “You see, that’s what you are. You’re what I had for dinner last night.” His casual self conversation comes to a serious end, when he again gets frustrated, wishing he could wake up.
Putting down the ice cream, he sees a local sports poster, “Oakwood High School Basketball: 1958-59 Schedule”. He remarks that he must be a pretty imaginative guy to have a dream of such detail. Walking around the drug store, he meanders through some cylindrical paperback book racks, spinning them as he goes. He stops next to the last rack, where he sees some copies of “The Last Man on Earth”. Spinning that rack, he’s shocked to find that the rack has nothing but more copies of that book, and feeling uneasy again, he quickly backs out of the store.
We cut to nightfall, and even though it’s dark, the man sits, still alone, playing tic-tac-toe with himself in the dirt to pass the time. Out of nowhere, a street lamp turns on! Then another, and another, until the entire town is it up! His attention is caught By the flashing marquee of the “Savoy” Movie Theater, which is advertising “ Battle Hymn”. Cautious, but still curious, he walks toward the cinema. Passing the movie poster, “BATTLE HYMN Rock Hudson Martha Hyer Now Playing”, something catches his eye. As he walks nearer to it, he sees the main image, a stylized man in a jumpsuit waving in a plane. Clutching the collar of his own similar jumpsuit, he comes to another revelation, “Air Force… I’m Air Force!”.
He bursts into the cinema lobby shouting this newfound shred of his identity. He yells up the balcony stairs, behind the concessions stand, and into the theater itself, all of which are still devoid of any people. Thinking that his being in the Air Force may have something to do with this odd situation, he postulates that perhaps there was a bomb. But he immediately discounts that theory because there is no sign of damage anywhere in the town. Suddenly, the movie begins, and he sees an image of a huge bomber flying. Knowing that the film couldn’t have started on its own, he yells up to the projection room, “Hey! Who’s up there?!”, but he again gets no response. He frantically runs up to the booth to try and find the projectionist, but even with the bright light in his face, he sees nothing. Filled with a sense of unease, he backs away, and sprints away down the theater stairs and through the lobby until… CRASH! He runs into a giant mirror which shatters as he falls to the floor.
Running back out of the cinema, he again trips, still disoriented from the mirror. Getting up again, he frantically runs down the street, the lights on in all of the empty houses and shops mocking him. Stumbling aimlessly out of fear, he trips over a parked bicycle. Opening his eyes while on the ground, he’s terrified to see a giant eye staring at him, but despite his realization that it’s just a window ad for an optometrist, he runs away. Stopping at a street lamp, he embraces it as if he has no more will to stand. He begins to ceaselessly press the cross walk button on the lamp post as he pleads, “Help me, help me, please…somebody help me!”. And suddenly, we see the true reality of his situation.
We hear the man scream, “Somebody’s looking at me, somebody’s watching me!”, and he’s all too right, as we see a small group of slightly shocked official looking Air Force men watching the panicking man on a TV screen. He’s not in an uninhabited town at all, but rather, in a small box with electrodes pasted all over him. Standing up, one of the Air Force men says, “Clock him. Get him outta there!”, as other people run over to the box to let him out. We see the man inside, repeatedly pushing a similar looking button to the one he “saw” on the street lamp. He’s also knocking a small clock with the knuckles of his other hand. So much so, that the glass has shattered, but he doesn’t even notice. The Colonel looks into the box, as a Sergeant warns him to mind that broken glass. Then the Colonel leaves, being replaced by another man who helps the Sergeant remove the electrodes. Answering questions from the General, the Colonel explains that he thinks the man was having delusions, and he’ll be alright. Also that all of the data was recorded. The General asks for a timing, and he’s told, “484 hours, 36 minutes.” He asks to see all of the data compiled as the press run into the room.
He asks the journalists to be patient, as he wants to talk to the man in the box before he addresses them. Not being able to wait, the press man asks if he considers the experiment to be a success. He responds, “Very much so”, explaining that the amount of time that man was in the box to be about the same amount of time it would take to travel to the Moon, make several orbits, and return. He answers further questions from the press, including a question about what happened to the man in the box toward the end. The General says simply, “What happened to him is that he cracked.” But he goes on, challenging the men that if they had gone through a similarly solitary ordeal as the subject just has, that their imaginations would get the best of them too.
Seeing the men carrying the subject away on a stretcher, the General tells them to wait, and walks over to him, with the crowd of Air Force and press surrounding him. The man on the stretcher apologizes for losing it. They console him, and ask him specifically what he saw. He explains about the town, and how he thought he was in a real place, but no place he wants to go back to. An Air Force doctor further consoles him, and explains that his problem was normal, because even with all of the ways they can stimulate a person, they still cannot simulate companionship.
The man looks over at the box he was pulled from, and questioningly remarks to the General that next time, it won’t just be a box in a hangar. The General agrees, “No Mike, next time you’ll really be alone.” The press and Air Force men watch as Mike is carried out of the hangar on the stretcher. Now outside at night, Mike looks up to the Moon, and says, half jokingly and half regretfully, “…don’t go away. We’ll be up there in a little while.”
" The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we're about to watch could be our journey. "
" Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting... in the Twilight Zone. "
" Next week, I'll have a reunion with a unique talent and a valued friend. Our first since Requiem for a Heavyweight. Next week on The Twilight Zone, Mr. Ed Wynn stars in One for the Angels. Playing an old pitchman who sells mechanical toys like this. But whos' competition is Mr. Death. We hope you'll join us then. Thank you, and goodnight. "
|Name||Where Is Everybody?|
|Air Date||Oct. 2, 1959|