Twilight Zone – Five Characters In Search Of An Exit

★★★★★  December 22, 1961 Season 3 Episode 14

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

A fantastic episode of the Twilight Zone. The twist at the end is one of the best twists the Twilight Zone ever had. For most of the show, the five actors are all that can be seen, with the exception of the blank, curving wall of the cylinder. Rarely can the plot of an episode be summed up so completely in its title.

I feel like a broken record but again the acting is superb. The characters displaying their hopelessness in this episode is comes through well. The Major played by William Windom frequently throws emotional tantrums and is the latest to be added to this crew of a clown, Ballerina, tramp, and bagpiper looking for a way of this cylinder which they are trapped. The Major has a hard time with the defeatist attitude of the others

This show was written by Rod Serling and Marvin Petal

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Clown, hobo, ballet dancer, bagpiper, and an army major—a collection of question marks. Five improbable entities stuck together into a pit of darkness. No logic, no reason, no explanation; just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness, and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows. In a moment, we’ll start collecting clues as to the whys, the whats, and the wheres. We will not end the nightmare, we’ll only explain it—because this is the Twilight Zone.


It all starts when an Army major wakes up in a small cylindrical room with no way out. The walls are too high to climb and they’re too hard to puncture. Trapped inside with him is a clown, a bagpiper, a ballerina, and a hobo. They have all woken up inside there and have no idea where they are, what they’re doing there, how long they’ve been there or even who they are or how long they’ll be there. They apparently are unable to feel anything, and every now and then a loud clanging sound makes them all fall down. All of them have tried various ways of finding an exit, unsuccessfully. The Army major especially is determined to escape. He tries all sorts of ways to find an exit, but he cannot find one. Even when he hits the walls with his sword, it shatters. The major suggests that they are in Hell, so there IS no way out. Eventually the five characters decide that the only way out is to make a human tower.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Just a barrel, a dark depository where are kept the counterfeit, make-believe pieces of plaster and cloth, wrought in a distorted image of human life. But this added hopeful note: perhaps they are unloved only for the moment. In the arms of children, there can be nothing but love. A clown, a tramp, a bagpipe player, a ballet dancer, and a Major. Tonight’s cast of players on the odd stage—known as—The Twilight Zone.


Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Susan Harrison… The Ballerina
William Windom… The Major (as Bill Windom)
Murray Matheson… The Clown
Kelton Garwood Kelton Garwood … The Tramp
Clark Allen… The Bagpiper
Carol Hill… Woman
Mona Houghton… Little Girl