The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 24

To Serve Man

Aired Unknown Mar 02, 1962 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • When Chambers asked what time it is on Earth, he is told it is twelve noon--a statement he accepts. Evidently the Kanamits have abolished time zones.

    • Without some kind of comparative work, it is unlikely that anyone could translate an alien language. Even on Earth, ancient languages were impossible to translate without a similar guide (such as the Rosetta Stone). This problem was addressed in the short story upon which this episode was based, but is ignored here, presumably for the sake of brevity.

    • It's not clear why the Kanamit leaves the "cookbook" in the U.N. chamber in the first place, other then to make sure Chambers has it so he can try and translate it.

  • Quotes

    • (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.

    • Penny: Mr. Chambers! Don't get on that ship! The rest of the book, "To Serve Man", it's... it's a cookbook!

    • Michael Chambers: How about you? You still on Earth, or on a ship with me? Well, it doesn't make very much difference because sooner or later, we'll all of us be on the menu. All of us.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: The recollections of one Michael Chambers, with appropriate flashbacks and soliloquy. Or more simply stated, the evolution of man, the cycle of going from dust to dessert, the metamorphosis from being the ruler of a planet to an ingredient in someone's soup. It's tonight's bill of fare on the Twilight Zone.

  • Notes

    • In the 2008 Emmy awards, the discovery of the real nature of the book, was in the list of the Most Memorable Drama TV Moments. However, it didn't make it to the second round.

    • This episode was parodied in the first Treehouse of Horror on the show The Simpsons.

    • This episode is referenced in the movie Madagascar.

    • Joseph Ruskin, who also played the Genie in the episode "The Man In The Bottle," is the uncredited voice of the Kanamit.

    • The spaceship prop was the same one used in the classic 1956 film Forbidden Planet.

    • This episode is based on the short story "To Serve Man" by Damon Knight. The story was first published in Galaxy (November, 1950).

    • In the movie The Naked Gun 2-1/2 Lloyd Bochner has a small role as a villain, and can be seen yelling the punchline of this episode during a panic/crowd scene: an in-joke reference to his appearance here. It should be noted that Bochner himself doesn't utter the famous line in this episode, however.

  • Allusions

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