Twilight Zone – The Shelter

★★★★★ September 29, 1961 Season 3 Episode 3

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This is human nature driven story with no supernatural things happening. This is a great episode. It is similar to “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” and looks like it could have been on the same street. Unlike that more well known episode though… this one has no alien pulling the strings…man pulls his own strings in this harsh look at human nature.

Larry Gates portrays Dr. Bill Stockton, a man who built a bomb shelter for him and his family. In 1961 a bomb shelter was not an uncommon addition to a house. A manufacturing industry grew up around the fact that the world could be destroyed by a push of a couple of buttons.

The actor that is the most noticeable among all of these great character actors  is Jack Albertson of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Chico and the Man and many other shows. He plays Jerry Harlowe who becomes very interested in the Doctor’s bomb shelter along with the neighborhood.  It is a powerful story.

Rod Serling described the inspiration for the episode as stemming from his own family’s interest in building a fallout shelter. Serling stated that the episode received 1,300 letters and cards over a two day period after the initial broadcast.

Sandy Kenyon’s character mentions going over to Bennett Avenue to get a pipe for a battering ram. Bennett Avenue is where creator Rod Serling grew up as a child in New York.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

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.


Dr. Bill Stockton has prepared well for any eventuality. He’s built a bomb shelter for himself, his wife and his child. His neighbors on the other hand have done nothing to prepare. During a dinner party, there is an emergency announcement on the radio that unidentified objects have been sighted en route to the US and they may be under attack. As the Stockton’s prepare to use their shelter their neighbors panic asking to be let into the shelter with them. Stockton refuses leading to an angry confrontation.

If you have the time this is the FULL episode

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

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.


Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Larry Gates…Dr. Bill Stockton
Jack Albertson…Jerry Harlowe
Sandy Kenyon…Frank Henderson
Peggy Stewart…Grace Stockton
Michael Burns…Paul Stockton
Joseph Bernard…Marty Weiss
Jo Helton…Martha Harlowe
Moria Turner…Mrs. Weiss
Mary Gregory…Mrs. Henderson
John McLiam…Man


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – The Shelter”

    1. That was the hope back then. It’s a good one…I at different times had it a 4, 4.5, and 5…I like it…I miss the supernatural things but this one is such a true story.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think this is a grand slam 5 Max. Again the most terrifying tales don’t have to have monsters or aliens or ghosts – just people and human nature. When in a panic all bets are off. If there had been a bomb and they broke down the door then what – the shelter would have no good for anyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This episode: you know this is *exactly* the way it would play out. I would hope the doctor and his family would have a more sturdy door and locks on it and some firearms to hold off the mob. I don’t think any of them will ever be the same after what happened. I foresee the doctor and his family will sell the house as will the family who was attacked because of their cultural heritage 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea that was the flaw…a bomb shelter door would not be that fragile…on the other reviews that was the big complaint.
      No the neighborhood gatherings are over with….you cannot get past something like that. You are right…that is how it would happen in real life!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. That is what the comments said on the reviews. He only had 24-25 minutes to tell his story and my goodness he was under pressure to get these shows out.

        Liked by 1 person

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