Twilight Zone – The Midnight Sun

★★★★★  November 03, 1961 Season 3 Episode 10

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

This is a great episode with a wonderful twist. The third season was uneven but it did have some remembered episodes. During the first season, Serling had explored the end of the world in Time Enough at Last. In The Midnight Sun he returned to that theme, but with mother nature as the culprit. Lois Nettleton plays Norma who is a painter living in an apartment and looking after her neighbor Mrs. Bronson as the earth is hurdling toward the sun.

The Twilight Zone can make you feel the discomfort of the characters more than most shows. In this one… extreme heat. The episode plays on our fears of the stability of our natural environment. Something we cannot control takes over and we are left for it… to decide our fate.

Tony Leader Director: In those days, they had no air conditioning on the set and we shot in summer, so it was hot enough to give you the initial feeling. I remember that there were a couple of scenes in which I asked the electrical grip to add heat, not so much heat that it would show on the film, but heat that we would feel on the set. It made us distinctly uncomfortable, but I think it helped us develop the feeling that we had of heat. I didn’t do that throughout, because its effect would have been lost eventually. We would have just been plain simply miserable and angry with each other for being involved in this thing.

To create the melting painting effect, the painting was reproduced in wax and mounted to a hotplate.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is ‘doomed,’ because the people you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun. And all of man’s little devices to stir up the air are now no longer luxuries—they happen to be pitiful and panicky keys to survival. The time is five minutes to twelve, midnight. There is no more darkness. The place is New York City and this is the eve of the end, because even at midnight it’s high noon, the hottest day in history, and you’re about to spend it in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

In a world that is getting ever nearer to the sun, people are trying to find ways to deal with the extreme heat. Most people have gone north with Norma and Mrs. Bronson the only two people left in their apartment building. There is little or no infrastructure remaining and water is one commodity that is very much in demand. They panic when an intruder breaks into Norma’s apartment and holds them, at least for a few moments, at gunpoint. All is not as it seems however.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The poles of fear, the extremes of how the Earth might conceivably be doomed. Minor exercise in the care and feeding of a nightmare, respectfully submitted by all the thermometer-watchers in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Lois Nettleton…Norma
Betty Garde…Mrs. Bronson
Tom Reese…Intruder
Jason Wingreen…Mr. Shuster
Juney Ellis…Mrs. Shuster (as June Ellis)
William Keene…Doctor
Ned Glass…Fridge Repairman (uncredited)
John McLiam…Cop (uncredited)
Robert Stevenson…Radio Announcer (uncredited)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

27 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – The Midnight Sun”

  1. They did an excellent job with this one. The black and white starkness removes anything that would take the focus on the heat and the suffering by the women. Nettleton and Garde are both excellent actors and play their roles to perfection. The way they had the sun blazing in through the window and then panning to the painting was such a nice touch. The terror of the guy breaking in and how that scene was played took the viewer’s emotions on a rollercoaster ride. I never expected that ending! I agree with your rating, Max. One of the best episodes so far. (The one with Billy Mumy as the little monster is also up there in my episodes Top 10 so far.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree totally….I could feel the heat with this one. There were three in a row that were excellent…the one with Billy Mumy, the Nazi one, and this one. Superb episodes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeas really enjoyed the acting – you can feel their misery and hopelessness. I liked the effect of the thermometer bursting and the painting running down. And agree – great twist at the end ! Not sure which is better way to go – I think for me it would be cold

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve actually seen ever planet except Pluto. I worked the night shift for a long time, and used to subscribe to this newsletter called Dr. Sky. Everyday he’d tell you what you could see, and where to look that night to see it. All you needed was a pair of binoculars.

        Liked by 1 person

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