The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 34 – The After Hours

I’ll go through this episode but really one word suffices to explain my review, mannequins.

The lovely Anne Francis plays a young woman named Marsha White.  She is in a large department store looking to purchase a gold thimble for her mother.  An obliging elevator operator brings her express to the ninth floor.  But when she gets off the elevator, the whole floor is deserted, dark and empty of merchandise.  Looking confusedly for an explanation she is startled to see and hear a woman.  A very elegantly dressed woman asks her if she needs service and Marsha tells her what she wants to buy.  The woman produces the gold thimble and Marsha pays her.  Then the woman looks at her strangely and asks her if she’s happy.  They get into a little spat about the inappropriateness of the question and Marsha is headed back downstairs with her purchase.  But studying the thimble she realizes it is damaged and she gets off at the third floor to visit the Complaint Department.

There she is told to return it to the Housewares Department for an exchange or a refund.  However, when she states that she bought it on the ninth floor she is met with the news that the store has no ninth floor.  While arguing with the staff about this, Marsha thinks she sees the impertinent sales lady on the floor and rushes to her but when she gets closer, she realizes that she is looking at a mannequin, one that is dressed exactly like the sales lady and in fact has the same face as her.  Marsha faints and is taken care of by the store staff.  Somehow when the store closes, Marsha finds herself locked in.  She starts hearing the mannequins talking to her and when she retreats into the elevator it brings her to the ninth floor.  There she is greeted by the sales lady and finally by all the mannequins now animated and acting as if they know her well.  Incidentally the elevator operator turns out to be a mannequin too.

Obviously, Marsha is very upset by this turn of events but the sales lady calms her down and convinces her to try to remember the details of her recent past.  Finally, Marsha remembers that she herself is a mannequin and was on the one-month vacation that mannequins get to take and go out into the world and be human.  It seems she is a day late and the sales lady has been delayed a day on her turn because of it.  She apologizes to the sales lady, tells the elevator operator that she had a good time and assumes a mannequin pose and in the next scene she’s just a mannequin on the store display.  One of the sales managers (the very recognizable character actor James Millholin) who had been dealing with Marsha’s complaints is startled when he sees the resemblance to the recent patron who was so upset by the other mannequin but nothing comes of his astonishment.  Finally, Serling makes some final comments about the story.

Mannequins.  I’ll put up with a lot in a sci fi or fantasy story.  And I am second to no man in my admiration of the acting and other attributes possessed by the lovely and charming Miss Anne Francis but I will not submit to mannequin tales.  That is too much.  F.