The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 3

The Shelter

Aired Unknown Sep 29, 1961 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
126 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a nuclear attack appears imminent, several suburban friends and neighbors fight over control of a single bomb shelter.

Watch Full Episode

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • What would you do to save yourself?

    Basically it shows how one family spent their money for the worst case scenario in building this shelter, their friends spent their money throwing lavish parties. They of course didn't even think of building shelters of their own. Only once when there was a threat the other families paniced and tried to get into the shelter. Once desperation sets in they tried to break into the doctor's shelter. They didn't even give a thought about how the doctor was trying to save his own family by paying for his own shelter while everyone else wasted their own money and now needed a safe haven of their own.

    In the end with the disaster averted, the friends just tried to brush the incident off as if it were one big 'misunderstanding' even stating they would have yet another party to celebrate their survival. However, the doctor summed it nicely on how it showed people can be savages in order to get what they want and how their 'friendship' will never be the same again.

    IMO rather than just picking new friends, I see it more as how selfishness is the downfall of people as if they don't plan for the future as then the figurative bottom will give out below them.moreless
Larry Gates

Larry Gates

Dr. William Stockton

Guest Star

Joseph Bernard

Joseph Bernard

Marty Weiss

Guest Star

Jack Albertson

Jack Albertson

Jerry Harlowe

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: What you are about to watch is a nightmare. It is not meant to be prophetic, it need not happen, it's the fervent and urgent prayer of all men of good will that it never shall happen. But in this place, in this moment, it does happen. This is the Twilight Zone.

    • Jerry Harlowe: As a little personal aside, I'd like to conclude this way.
      Bill: It'll probably be the best part of the speech.

    • Bill: You better get on home and get into your shelter... eh, your basement, and I'd board up the windows if I were you.
      Jerry: Bill, we don't have a cellar, remember? The advantages of modern architecture, we have the only modern house on the block. We get everything at your back and call, everything at your fingertips, even got an electric launderer right off the back room. All the wonders of modern science taken into account except that thing that's heading here right now.

    • Frank: We'd have all those people on that block knowing there's a shelter over here.
      Frank's wife: That's right, and what right have they to it? This isn't their street, this isn't their shelter.
      Harry: Oh! This is our shelter, eh? And on the block that's another country altogether?

    • (as Grace is filling up jugs of water, she knocks one over and it breaks)
      Bill: Take it easy... now just make believe it's perfume and it costs $100 an ounce, and in an hour it may be worth even more than that.

    • (the Stocktons have closed and locked themselves in their bomb shelter; they won't let anybody else in, because there's air and provisions for only the three of them. Their neighbors are all gathered in the basement, just outside the shelter.)
      Marty Weiss: ...Jerry, you know Bill better than anybody. Go down and tell him to pick out one family.
      Frank Henderson: One family... meaning yours, Marty. Right?
      Marty Weiss: Well, why not? I've got a 3-month-old baby!
      Mrs. Harlowe: What's that got to do with anything? Is your baby any more precious than one of my kids?
      Marty Weiss: I never said that! Listen, if you're going to argue over who deserves to live more than the next person...!
      Frank Henderson: You shut your mouth, Weiss! That's the way it is when the foreigners come over here. Pushy, grabby semi-Americans! Crowding us out of our own country! Tainting our bloodlines!
      Marty Weiss: Why, you garbage-mouthed beast, I'll...! (he attacks Frank and they grapple murderously until Jerry pulls them apart)
      Jerry Harlowe: ...Keep that up, and we won't even need a bomb to slaughter us!

    • Marty: I feel sorry for you, Bill, I really do. You probably will survive, but you'll have blood on your hands. (pounds on the shelter door) You're a doctor! You're suppose to help people! Help! Help! Help!
      Bill: That was a million years ago.

    • Marty: (the "enemy missiles" have been positively identified as harmless satellites, after the Stocktons' neighbors have already broken down their shelter door) ...We could throw a block party tomorrow, a big celebration! Anything to get back to normal, right, Bill?
      Bill: (dazed) ...Normal? ...I don't know what normal is. I thought I did once; I don't anymore.
      Jerry: I...I told you we'll pay for all the damages, Bill.
      Bill: ...Damages? I wonder...if any of us has any idea what those "damages" really are. Maybe one of them was finding out what we're really like when we're "normal." The kind of people we are, just underneath the skin--and I mean all of us--a lot of naked, wild animals who put such a price on staying alive that they'll claw their own neighbors to death just for the privilege! We were spared a bomb tonight, but I wonder... if we weren't destroyed even without it.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: No moral, no message, no prophetic tract. Just a simple statement of fact. For civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. Tonight's very small exercise in logic from the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (0)