|"The After Hours"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Publicity photo of Anne Francis in The After Hours
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Directed by||Douglas Heyes|
|Featured music||Bernard Herrmann (from Where Is Everybody?)|
|Original airdate||June 10, 1960|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
|“||Express elevator to the ninth floor of a department store, carrying Miss Marsha White on a most prosaic, ordinary, run-of-the-mill errand.||”|
|“||Miss Marsha White on the ninth floor, specialties department, looking for a gold thimble. The odds are she'll find it, but there are even better odds that she'll find something else, because this isn't just a department store. This happens to be the Twilight Zone.||”|
Marsha White, a woman browsing for a gift for her mother in a department store, decides on a gold thimble. She is taken by the elevator man to the 9th floor, a floor beyond that shown by the elevator gauge. She enters the 9th floor, and turns to complain to the elevator operator that there is nothing there, but the door closes abruptly leaving her to pursue her reality. She is approached by a saleslady who guides her to the only item on the floor—the gold thimble Marsha is longing to possess. During the sales transaction, she grows increasingly puzzled by the comments and actions of both the male elevator operator who transported her to the barren, seemingly deserted floor, and the aloof and clairvoyant female salesclerk behind the counter who sells her the thimble. As Marsha rides the elevator back down from the 9th floor, she notices that the thimble is scratched and dented; she is directed by the elevator operator to the Complaints Department on the 3rd floor.
When she tries to convince Mr. Armbruster, the sales supervisor with enough energy to activate the inanimate, and Mr. Sloan, the store manager, that she bought the item on the 9th floor, she is told that the 9th floor doesn't exist. Marsha then becomes distraught after she spots the back of the salesclerk who sold her the thimble, and is shocked to discover that the woman isn't really a salesclerk at all; she's one of the department store's display mannequins. While resting in an office following her frightening discovery, Marsha finds herself accidentally locked inside in the now-closed store. She attempts to find a way out, and becomes alarmed by mysterious voices calling to her and by some subtle movements made by the supposedly lifeless mannequins around her. Moving about aimlessly, she topples the sailor mannequin, who was the somewhat frustrated elevator operator in earlier scenes.
Becoming hysterical, she flees backward to the elevator, which once again transports her up to the unoccupied 9th floor. There, she gradually realizes the mannequins have come to life, one-by-one, and that she too, is a mannequin. Each one in turn has the opportunity to go out into the world to live among the humans for one month, but Marsha enjoyed her stay among "the others" so much that before the day of her return, when she was supposed to revert, she lost her identity; she had forgotten her true nature. Being with the other mannequins, she realizes that she is back in her natural place, which allows the next mannequin in line–the female salesclerk who sold her the thimble–to go out and live among the humans for thirty days. As the other mannequins see off the salesclerk, the sailor, alone with Marsha, asks her if she enjoyed her time among the humans. She says she had "ever so much fun, ever so much fun." As Marsha fondly recalls her brief sojourn out among the humans, and with a passing expression of regret, confusion, and a small sigh, she and the sailor assume their natural mannequin postures, grow rigid, and become statues.
The next day the hyperactive store supervisor, Mr. Armbruster, is making his energetic morning rounds on the sales floor and does a sudden double-take upon passing a faintly familiar-looking mannequin on display. The final shot moves in on this mannequin, Marsha White, and then her face that fades into the stars with the closing narration.
|“||Marsha White in her normal and natural state. A wooden lady with a painted face who, one month out of the year, takes on the characteristics of someone as normal and as flesh and blood as you and I. But it makes you wonder, doesn't it? Just how normal are we? Just who are the people we nod our hellos to as we pass on the street? A rather good question to ask, particularly in the Twilight Zone.||”|
Announcer; "And now, Mr. Serling."
|“||This locker and liniment emporium houses a major league baseball team known as the Hoboken Zephyrs, all of which by way of introduction in next week's show, a wild and woolly yarn about the great American pastime. It's called "The Mighty Casey," and it's all about a left-hander who pitches like nothing human, simply because he isn't. Mr. Jack Warden takes us into the stadium next week for nine fast innings on The Twilight Zone.'||”|
The episode was remade in 1986 for The New Twilight Zone. It starred Terry Farrell as Marsha. The plot is similar but the emphasis is more on suspense. In addition, the Marsha in the remake is in denial of her identity and doesn't want to be a mannequin - she wants to be truly human, unlike the Marsha in the original, who simply just forgot who she was and actually felt human for that one month of the whole year, when she lived amongst the outsiders.