Twilight Zone – The Lateness of the Hour

★★★★  December 2, 1960 Season 2 Episode 8

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

Inger Stevens plays Jana…the same actress who starred in the Hitchhiker. This Twilight Zone has a different look than the previous ones…soon we will find out why. This episode is about comfort and the length man will go to get it. This plot would be later visited in the Stepford wives.

John Hoyt plays Dr. Loren who is a brilliant inventor and has perfected a robot house staff. Every need of his wife and daughter Jana is taken care of every day. His daughter Jana wants a normal life and not have everything so predictable and perfect. You can see the ending coming in this one quite easy but you do have sympathy for Jana.

The first of six The Twilight Zone episodes to be shot on video tape. The network pushed it on Serling because of the cost. This method had its limitations, though. At the time, tape was still at an extremely early stage of its development. Except for the integration of stock footage, none of the taped shows could have any exterior locations; everything had to be shot on a soundstage. Also, since tape couldn’t be edited as cleanly as film, there could be fewer different camera setups and fewer complex camera movements. Obviously, this limited the range of story possibilities. Serling wasn’t happy about this but, the network being the network, he agreed to give it a try.

The six shows were taped at CBS Television City in Los Angeles. They had no director of photography as such. Instead, a technical director sat up in a booth with the director. On the set were the actors, a lighting man, sound men, and four cameramen. The four cameras were hooked up to monitors in the booth. As taping progressed, the technical director, at the command of the director, would switch from one camera to another. Today this is standard procedure for nearly all sitcoms, but in 1960 tape was something quite innovative.

The short-lived experiment resulted in editing and quality issues, and it was ultimately scrapped. Serling did pick the episodes well that he videotaped. Some with special effects would not have worked.

The video taped shows were:

Twenty-Two
Static
The Whole Truth
The Night Of The Meek
The Lateness of the Hour
The Long Distance Call

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

The residence of Dr. William Loren, which is in reality a menagerie for machines. We’re about to discover that sometimes the product of man’s talent and genius can walk amongst us untouched by the normal ravages of time. These are Dr. Loren’s robots, built to functional as well as artistic perfection. But in a moment Dr. William Loren, wife and daughter will discover that perfection is relative, that even robots have to be paid for, and very shortly will be shown exactly what is the bill.

Summary

Jana Loren is an attractive young woman who lives at home with her parents. She feels suffocated living there however, surrounded by their many servants – that are in fact human-looking robots created by her inventor father. Her parents are quite happy with the life they lead but realize that they’re going to have to do something about the rebellious Jana.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Let this be the postscript — Should you be worn out by the rigors of competing in a very competitive world, if you’re distraught from having to share your existence with the noises and neuroses of the twentieth century, if you crave serenity but want it full time and with no strings attached, get yourself a workroom in the basement, and then drop a note to Dr. and Mrs. William Loren. They’re a childless couple who made comfort a life’s work, and maybe there are a few do-it-yourself pamphlets still available… in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Inger Stevens … Jana
John Hoyt … Dr. Loren
Irene Tedrow … Mrs. Loren
Tom Palmer … Robert
Mary Gregory … Nelda
Valley Keene … Suzanne
Doris Karnes … Gretchen
Jason Johnson … Jensen