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The Twilight Zone 1959 / Tropes A to H

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This page covers tropes found in The Twilight Zone (1959). Tropes beginning with letters I-P can be found at Tropes I to P and tropes beginning with letters Q-Z can be found at Tropes Q to Z.


The Twilight Zone (1959) provides examples of:

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     A 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • In "He's Alive", Peter Vollmer's alcoholic father frequently slammed against the wall when he was a child while his mother suffered from some sort of mental disease that left her emotionally absent to him.
    • In "Living Doll", Eric Streator is cold, distant and verbally abusive towards his stepdaughter Christie, reducing her to tears on several occasions. The Freudian Excuse for his behavior is that he is infertile. Erich later snatches Talky Tina, who repeatedly threatens to kill him, from Christie. When she calls him "Daddy" and pleads with him to return the doll, he angrily tells her that he isn't her daddy. His wife Annabelle comes to believe that Erich hates both her and Christie but he genuinely wants to do right by them.
    • In "Queen of the Nile", Pamela Morris not only refuses to share the gift of eternal life with her elderly daughter Viola Draper but threatens to kill her at one point.
    • In "The Bewitchin' Pool", Gil and Gloria Sharewood are emotionally abusive towards their children Jeb and Sport. They continually chide them for making noise with Gloria complaining that she finds it difficult to put up their whining 24 hours a day. When Gil and Gloria tell Jeb and Sport that they are going to get a divorce, they demand to know which of them the children want to live with. They don't give their children any time to process this unpleasant news, which shows how self-obsessed they are.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: In "The Jeopardy Room", the Soviet commissar Vassiloff tricks the defector Major Ivan Kuchenko into drinking wine mixed with a sleep drug by drinking first. He built up an immunity to the drug by repeatedly taking increasing doses over time.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Half of "Once Upon a Time" is shot in the style of a Silent Movie as a tribute to Buster Keaton, who plays the protagonist Woodrow Mulligan. More specifically, the chase sequence after Mulligan arrives in 1962 recreates a scene from Keaton's 1920 short film The Garage co-starring Fatty Arbuckle. In both, Keaton's character's loses his trousers and is about to be arrested for public indecency. However, his heavyset partner prevents this when he walks behind him to hide him from a policeman. He then helps him to get a new pair, which Keaton puts on after being lifted up while they are walking.
    • In "Cavender is Coming", one of Agnes Grep's fellow usherettes is named Burnett. Agnes is played by Carol Burnett.
  • Adam and Eve Plot:
    • In "Two", the man realizes that he and the woman, formerly a soldier in the opposing army, may be the only people left alive in the country, possibly the world.
    • In "Probe 7, Over and Out", Colonel Cook and Norda decide to settle in a fertile area shortly after their arrival on the new planet. As their names are Adam and Eve and they name the planet "Earth," this episode is a very literal application of the trope.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending:
    • "Still Valley" ends with Rod Serling noting that Sgt. Joseph Paradine and the other members of his troop were moved to Gettysburg with the implication being that they will be killed in the battle. In the short story "The Valley Was Still" by Manly Wade Wellman, Paradine survives the war and repeatedly claims in his old age that the cause of the Confederacy was lost not at Antietam or Gettysburg but at the titular valley hamlet of Channow.
    • In "The Incredible World of Horace Ford", Laura Ford finds the beaten 10-year-old version of her husband Horace when she goes to look for him on Randolph Street and he turns back into an adult. Horace then comes to accept that his childhood was not as idyllic as he had always made it out to be. The original Studio One version ends with Horace still a child and seemingly trapped in his miserable childhood forever.
    • In "Night Call", the caller, whom Miss Elva Keene has realized is her late fiancé Brian Douglas, says her that he will leave her alone and never call her again. She had previously told him to do just that. When Brian was alive, Elva, by her own admission, had been quite dominating and he had always done what she had said. This remains the case even in death. The short story "Long Distance Call" by Richard Matheson ends with the unidentified caller saying "Hello, Miss Elva. I'll be right over."
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits are much less ugly than in the short story by Damon Knight. The story describes them as looking "something like pigs and something like people." They are short with snoutlike noses, small eyes and thick, bristly brown-grey hair all over their bodies and have three fingers on each hand. In the television adaptation, they are nine feet tall and have bulbous foreheads but resemble humans facially.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change:
    • In "Passage on the Lady Anne", the Ransomes' six year marriage is falling apart due to Alan being concerned with his job than with Eileen. In the short story "Song for a Lady" by Charles Beaumont, they are a newly married and very much in love couple on their honeymoon.
    • In "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", Bob Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown on a plane six months earlier. In the short story by Richard Matheson, the equivalent character Arthur Jeffrey Wilson is extremely apprehensive about flying but no specific reason is given as to why.
    • In "Night Call", the caller is Miss Elva Keene's fiancé Brian Douglas who was killed in a car accident a week before they were to be married in 1932. At her insistence, Elva had been driving. She lost control of the car and crashed it into a tree. Brian was thrown out through the windshield and Elva was paralyzed. In the short story "Long Distance Call" by Richard Matheson, the caller is never identified and what caused Elva's paralysis is not revealed.
  • Adaptational Job Change:
    • A slight variation in "Shadow Play", in which Henry Ritchie was the district attorney who prosecuted Adam Grant for murder. In the short story "Traumerei" by Charles Beaumont, he was the unnamed dreamer's defense attorney.
    • In "The Jungle", Alan Richards is a corporate executive who oversaw the building of a hydroelectric dam in an unnamed African country. In the short story by Charles Beaumont, the equivalent character Richard Austin is an architect who designed a new city called Mbarara.
    • In "Little Girl Lost", Bill is a physicist. In the short story by Richard Matheson, he is a CalTech engineer.
    • In "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross", the title character initially does odd jobs for the multi-millionaire Mr. Halpert while Leah Maitland is a social worker. In the short story by Henry Slesar, Ross initially works at a bottling plant while Leah is doing a teacher training course.
  • Adaptation Deviation:
    • "And When the Sky Was Opened" is only loosely based on the short story "Disappearing Act" by Richard Matheson. The episode concerns three astronauts, Colonels Ed Harrington and Clegg Forbes and Major William Gart, who are erased from existence after making the first manned flight into space. In the short story, the protagonist Bob is a largely unsuccessful writer in a tempestuous marriage to a woman named Mary. When he tries to call his mistress Jean Lane, he can find no proof of her existence. Over the course of the next week, everyone in his life ceases to exist until he eventually suffers the same fate.
    • In "What You Need", Pedott is a street peddler whose unexplained ability to determine what people will need is seemingly natural. In the short story by Lewis Padgett (the pseudonym of the writing team C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner), the equivalent character Peter Talley owns a curio shop on Park Avenue which typically caters to extremely wealthy customers. He is able to determine what people will need in the future by virtue of a machine that he invented. This machine allows him to examine different lines of probability by turning a calibrated dial.
    • In "People Are Alike All Over", Sam Conrad is the protagonist and Marcusson is his fellow astronaut who accompanies him to Mars but dies shortly after their arrival. In the short story "Brothers Beyond the Void" by Paul W. Fairman on which the episode is based, Charles Marcusson is the protagonist and the only astronaut to travel to Mars. Sam Conrad is an older friend of his who remains on Earth.
    • In "The Howling Man", David Ellington immediately realizes both the truth and his mistake when the prisoner transforms himself into a traditional depiction of Satan and vanishes in front of his eyes. Many years later, Ellington captures the Devil but his housekeeper releases him. In the short story by Charles Beamount, Ellington was uncertain for years whether he had truly released the Devil as the brothers claimed. All doubt is eliminated when he sees photographs of "the carpenter from Braunau am Inn" in the newspapers and his invasion of Poland plunges the world into war. Although it is not specifically stated, the implication is that the Devil assumed the identity of Adolf Hitler, who was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria. The brothers eventually recapture the Devil and imprison him in the monastery once again. Furthermore, the television adaptation gives the monastery's location as simply Central Europe whereas the short story specifically states that it is in Germany. The short story also does not include the Staff of Truth.
    • In "Mute", Professor Werner does not tell the Wheelers about the telepathic experiment to which Ilse Nielsen and other children were subjected by their parents. In the short story by Richard Matheson, he tells them everything.
    • In "The Old Man in the Cave", the war that destroyed civilization took place only ten years earlier and there are numerous isolated pockets of humanity left in the United States. In the short story "The Old Man" by Henry Slesar, the war occurred several generations earlier and scouting missions have determined that the residents of the Village are the last surviving humans on Earth. As such, humanity is rendered extinct very soon after the computer is destroyed.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", Marilyn Cuberle's mother Lana, her friend Val, her psychiatrist Dr. Rex and the state believe that they are helping Marilyn in forcing her to undergo the Transformation. In the short story "The Beautiful People" by Charles Beaumont, the society in which the equivalent character Mary Cuberle lives is far more openly oppressive than the Crapsaccharine World of the television adaptation. As such, it is far less concerned with helping her. Mary's mother Zena is disgusted by Mary's decision as she does not want to be thought of as the mother of a mutant. Mary soon faces discrimination and ostracization when news of her decision spreads. She is eventually put on a trial. The court decides that she will be forced to undergo the Transformation and the law will be changed so that the Transformation is mandatory from now on.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In "The Jungle", Charles Beaumont greatly distilled his own short story by turning the lengthy sections in which Richard Austin is cursed into the equivalent character Alan Richards' Backstory in the television adaptation. This comes as a result of the relocation of the action from Africa to New York City.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Due to being anywhere from 5-10 minutes longer than the episodes they're based on, the radio adaptations of the episodes tended to add in additional material to make up for the length ("Time Enough at Last", for example, added in a character who's pretty much the only person actually nice to the protagonist of the story). It also constantly adds material or dialogue that was cut from the original TV script for being pointless or which there was not enough time for.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamit ambassador simply leaves the book To Serve Man behind in the United Nations chamber which allows the translator Patty to determine that it's a cookbook. In the short story by Damon Knight, the equivalent character Gregori stole the book from the Kanamits and translated its first paragraph using a limited English-Kanamit dictionary.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In "Time Enough at Last", Henry Bemis' wife is named Helen. In the short story by Lynn Venable, her name is Agnes.
    • In "Perchance to Dream", the protagonist is named Edward Hall. In the short story by Charles Beaumont, his name is Philip Hall.
    • In "What You Need", Pedott's ability to see the future is taken advantage of by Fred Renard. In the short story by Lewis Padgett (the pseudonym of the writing team C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner), their names are Peter Talley and Tim Carmichael.
    • In "Elegy", the caretaker of the cemetery asteroid Happy Glades and the most rational crewman are named Jeremy Wickwire and Professor Kurt Meyers respectively. In the short story by Charles Beaumont, their names are Mr. Greypoole and Mr. Friden.
    • In "The Chaser", Roger Shackleforth is madly in love with Leila. In the short story by John Collier, their names are Alan Austen and Diana.
    • In "Shadow Play", the newspaper editor and Henry Ritchie's wife are named Paul Carson and Carol respectively. In the short story "Traumerei" by Charles Beaumont, their names are Max Caplan and Ruth.
    • In "The Jungle", Alan Richards, whose wife's name is Doris, is cursed by an African tribe called the Kekouyu. In the short story by Charles Beaumont, Richard Austin, whose wife's name is Mag, is cursed by the Bantu, a real life collection of ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa.
    • In "To Serve Man", the protagonist is named Michael Chambers. In the short story by Damon Knight, his name is Peter.
    • In "In His Image", the respective names of the protagonist, his creator, his fiancée and his supposed neighbor are Alan Talbot, Walter B. Cummings, Jr., Jessica Connelly and Agatha Cook. In the short story "The Man Who Made Himself" by Charles Beaumont, their names are Peter Nolan (a tribute to Beaumont's friend and fellow writer William F. Nolan), Walter B. Ryder, Jr., Jessica Lang and Jenny Cook.
    • In "Printer's Devil", Douglas Winter, the editor of The Dansburg Courier, is visited by the Devil under the name Mr. Smith. In the short story "The Devil, You Say?" by Charles Beaumont, Richard Lewis, the editor of The Danville Daily Courier, is visited by the Devil under the name Mr. Jones.
    • In "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", the protagonist is named William J. Feathersmith. In the short story "Blind Alley" by Malcolm Jameson, his name is Jack Feathersmith.
    • In "Passage on the Lady Anne", the McKenzies' names are Toby and Millie. In the short story "Song for a Lady" by Charles Beaumont, their names are Jack and Sally.
    • In "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", the protagonist's name is Robert Wilson. In the short story by Richard Matheson, his name is Arthur Jeffrey Wilson.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", the names of the protagonist, her mother and her psychiatrist are Marilyn Cuberle, Lana Cuberle and Dr. Rex respectively. In the short story by Charles Beaumont, their names are Mary Cuberle, Zena Cuberle and Dr. Hortel.
  • Adaptation Species Change: In "Elegy", the caretaker of the cemetery asteroid Happy Glades Jeremy Wickwire is a robot. In the short story by Charles Beaumont, his counterpart Mr. Greypoole is a human who became a cyborg after being augmented with artificial parts to restore his health and keep him alive for centuries.
  • Adapted Out:
    • In "Third from the Sun", Jerry and Ann Riden don't have any children. In the short story by Richard Matheson, the unnamed equivalent characters have two.
    • In "The Old Man in the Cave", Mr. Goldsmith is the leader of the Village. In the short story "The Old Man" by Henry Slesar, it is run by the Governors.
    • "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross" does not include three minor characters from the short story by Henry Slesar: the bald bartender Phil who trades $112 for the title character's full head of hair, the homeless man who trades his hair to Ross for a place to sleep or Mr. Halpert's chauffeur Jan who trades access to Halpert for Ross' skills at pool.
    • "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" omits Mr. Willmes, Mary Cuberle's supervisor at Interplan who fires her when he learns that she does not intend to undergo the Transformation.
    • As "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" excises Chapter II of the short story by Ambrose Bierce, the supposed Confederate soldier who turns out to be a Union scout and lures Peyton Farquhar to the bridge is omitted.
  • Adult Fear: The show was full of this in addition to more supernatural threats. The episode "In Praise of Pip" shows a bookie receiving news that his son Pip, who has gone to Indochina in the opening months of what is about to become The Vietnam War, has been seriously wounded in combat and is possibly dying. The rest of the episode revolves around the man possibly hallucinating that Pip is a ten year old boy again while he is dying of a gunshot wound. In what is a massively sad scene, he begs his son not to die and apologizes for not being a better father and role model to him while promising to do better, even though he realizes it may be too late for both of them. In the end, the father trades his own life for Pip's.
  • An Aesop: Once per Episode, with some exceptions.
  • Affectionate Nickname: In "The Odyssey of Flight 33", Captain Farver repeatedly refers to his navigator Hatch as "Magellan."
  • After the End: The episodes "Time Enough At Last", "The Old Man in the Cave" and "Two" all take place after a civilization-ending war. In the first two episodes it's specifically a nuclear war on Earth.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: In "The Changing of the Guard", Professor Ellis Fowler, who is in his seventies, fears that he has no legacy to leave behind and has done nothing with his life.
  • The Ageless: The titular character from "Long Live Walter Jameson" was granted this form of immortality by an alchemist. He says that he came close to death many times over the centuries due to injuries and disease, "but never close enough". At the end of the episode when he is shot, he begins to age rapidly as he dies until he is nothing but a pile of dust.
  • Age Lift:
  • Alchemy Is Magic: In "Long Live Walter Jameson", the title character became immortal after submitting to the experiments of an alchemist 2,000 years earlier.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • In "A World of Difference", Gerald Raigan is a severe alcoholic whose drinking has cost him numerous acting jobs in the past.
    • In "A Passage for Trumpet", Joey Crown's alcoholism has ruined his once promising career as a jazz trumpeter.
    • In "The Night of the Meek", the department store Santa Henry Corwin is a chronic alcoholic. After the store manager Mr. Dundee fires him for showing up late and falling over drunk in front of the customers, Henry angrily tells him that he drinks because he wants to forget about all of the misery and poverty that he sees on a daily basis and so that he can believe that he is the real Santa Claus.
    • In "The Dummy", Jerry Etherson began drinking heavily after he became convinced that his ventriloquist's dummy Willie was alive. As a result of his drinking, he missed 110 performances and his agent Frank had to cover for him. Jerry tells Frank that he drinks in order to cope with his nightmares about Willie.
    • In "In Praise of Pip", Max Phillips is an alcoholic and bitterly regrets that his drinking caused him to miss so much of his beloved son Pip's childhood.
    • In "Spur of the Moment", Anne and David Mitchell are both alcoholics in 1964. Anne's mother Mrs. Henderson scolds her for drinking and ignoring the fact that their house is going to be repossessed but Anne retorts that it helps her. She clearly drinks as an attempt to escape her miserable life with David.
    • In "The Encounter", Fenton is an alcoholic whose drinking has recently cost him his job and seemingly his marriage. It is implied that he drinks due to the PTSD that he suffers from fighting in World War II.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In "From Agnes - With Love", the Master Computer Agnes begins falling in love with whatever computer programmer is assigned to her.
  • Alien Invasion: In "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", the Martian Ross tells Haley that he was sent to Earth as an advance scout to determine whether the area was suitable for colonization. Haley then reveals that he is a Venusian and they have already colonized the area. He adds that his people have intercepted the Martian fleet.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: In "The Gift", Williams' ship crash-landed in the vicinity of the mountain village of Madeiro, Mexico, just over the border with Texas.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Pretty consistently played straight. Averted in "The Invaders".
  • All for Nothing: In "The Changing of the Guard", Professor Ellis Fowler feels his entire life has been this. However, after learning about the many of students he inspired in life, he learns it has been quite the opposite.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • In "The Bard", the star of The Tragic Cycle is the acclaimed young actor Rocky Rhodes.
    • In "Ring-A-Ding Girl", the protagonist's name is Barbara "Bunny" Blake while the manager of the Howardsville television station is named Ben Braden.
    • In "The Brain Center at Whipple's", the protagonist's name is Wallace V. Whipple.
  • All Just a Dream: "Where Is Everybody?", "Perchance to Dream", "The Arrival", "The Midnight Sun", "Person or Persons Unknown" (with an added twist), "The Time Element" (also with an added twist), "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge".
  • The Aloner: "Where Is Everybody?", "King Nine Will Not Return", "Time Enough at Last", and "Nervous Man in a Four-Dollar Room."
  • Alternate Universe: In "The Parallel", while orbiting Earth in his space capsule Phoebus 10, Major Robert Gaines is sent to a parallel universe which is highly similar to his own but with some important differences, both major and minor. In terms of his personal life, he is a full colonel, his house has a white picket fence which was never there before and he takes sugar in his coffee. In terms of wider history, John F. Kennedy is not the U.S. President in 1963 and no one has even heard of him, a man named Anderson supervised the construction of the Panama Canal rather than George Washington Goethals and the World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker was never found after his B-17 disappeared in October 1942. Gaines also mentions that he has determined from looking at the encyclopedia that there are numerous other differences between the two universes but he does not elaborate.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: In "The Little People", after astronaut Peter Craig becomes mad with the power he has over the tiny aliens on the planet on which he and his now departed fellow astronaut William Fletcher have landed, another group of aliens who are as large to him as he is to the planets' natives land to repair their spaceship; one of them picks him up out of curiosity and accidentally crushes him to death.
  • Ambiguous Clone Ending: Subverted in "In His Image". In the penultimate scene, the android Alan Talbot and his creator Walter Ryder, Jr. get into a fight. Shortly afterwards, one of them visits Alan's fiancée Jessica's apartment in New York City and reassures her that everything is okay. The scene then cuts to Alan's body lying on the floor of Walter's lab with his inner workings exposed.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: In "The Incredible World of Horace Ford", the title character acts like a small child and often has No Indoor Voice, but he's a brilliant designer. Also, he keeps bouncing around and never seems to focus on one subject.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • In "Eye of the Beholder", Rod Serling's ending narration raises the questions of this world and why it is, before saying the answers make no difference.
    • In "Two", the episode takes place in the aftermath of a nuclear war that devastated the world but the time period is left vague. In his opening narration, Rod Serling says that it is "perhaps a hundred years from now. Or sooner. Or perhaps it already happened two million years ago."
  • Amnesiac Costume Identity: In the episode "Where is Everybody?", a man finds himself walking along a road wearing a green jumpsuit, with no idea who he is. When he later sees a movie poster with a U.S. Air Force crewman wearing a similar suit, he realizes that he's in the Air Force.
  • Amnesia Episode: In the very first episode "Where is Everybody?", a man finds himself walking along a road with no idea who he is. The episode shows him discovering and exploring a deserted town, trying to find out his true identity and what's going on.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • In "Mr. Denton on Doomsday", the town bully Dan Hotaling forces the alcoholic Al Denton to sing "How Dry I Am" for a drink. The episode is set in the Old West, but the song as we know it probably didn't come into existence until around 1919 or so.
    • Deliberately used in "Two". The man wears what appears to be a Confederate uniform but military posters showing tanks and planes are seen in the ruined city. Nuclear weapons were responsible for destroying the city and the world. The woman wears what appears to be a Soviet uniform. The discarded rifles that he and the woman find are Ray Guns.
    • In "The Incredible World of Horace Ford", a poster for the 1938 film The Toy Wife is seen on Randolph Street in 1935.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In "The Passersby", the sergeant lost half of his left foot in The American Civil War not long before he was killed.
  • Ancient Keeper: In "Elegy", Jeremy Wickwire, a Ridiculously Human Robot, has been the caretaker of the cemetery asteroid Happy Glades since it was founded in 1973, 213 years earlier.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • In "The Silence", Jamie Tennyson wins the bet that he made with Colonel Archie Taylor to remain silent for a year in exchange for $500,000. However, Taylor does not have the money. Tennyson then reveals that he had the nerves to his vocal cords severed, leaving him not only unable to speak or scream but near bankrupt.
    • In "A Kind of a Stopwatch", Patrick McNulty uses the stopwatch that can freeze time to rob a bank, only to drop the watch and break it, leaving him frozen in time forever.
  • And Then What?: In "The Shelter", as they're gathering supplies for the shelter, Grace Stockton wonders what the point is if they're destined to live in a ruined world surrounded by the bodies of their friends and neighbors. Her husband Bill tells her that their son Paul is their reason because even if that's the world he inherits, he's still only twelve years old.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
    • In "The Grave", the only people in town who are sorry about the outlaw Pinto Sykes' death are his sister Ione, their father and Conny Miller, who wanted to kill him himself.
    • In "The Little People", after their "god" Peter Craig is killed by a giant spaceman, the little people gleefully pull down the statue of Craig, which he had forced them to make, on his body.
    • In "The Masks", Jason Foster's relatives Emily, Wilfred, Sr., Wilfred, Jr. and Paula Harper are absolutely delighted when he finally dies as they are the sole heirs to his vast fortune. However, their happiness is short-lived as they soon remove their masks and discover that their faces have been transformed.
  • And You Were There: In "I Dream of Genie", George P. Hanley's co-workers Ann and Roger Hackett and his boss E.L. Watson appear in each of his three fantasies in different roles. In the first fantasy, Ann is the glamorous film star Ann Alexandra and George's unfaithful wife, Roger is her co-star and lover and Watson is the film director. In the second fantasy, Ann is George's secretary, Roger is his chauffeur and Watson is the president of his alma mater. In the third fantasy, Ann is a woman who wants President Hanley to pardon her son for following asleep on duty, Roger is a three-star general who warns him that he must attack the approaching alien ship and Watson is a member of his staff.
  • Angel Unaware: In "A Passage for Trumpet", Joey Crown, a down-on-his-luck trumpet player, meets a mysterious stranger after his suicide attempt, who convinces him that life is worth living. As the stranger is leaving...
    Joey: I didn't get your name!
    Stranger: How's that?
    Joey: Your name, I didn't get your name!
    Stranger: My name? Call me Gabe.
    Joey: "Gabe"?
    Gabe: Gabe; short for Gabriel. [shows off his trumpet] Goodbye, Joey. [walks off into the shadows and disappears]
  • Animate Inanimate Object:
    • In "The After Hours", the department store mannequins have the ability to come alive. Every month, one of them leaves the store and goes to live as a human.
    • Played with in "The New Exhibit". Emma Senescu, her brother Dave and Ernest Ferguson are seemingly killed by the wax figures of Jack the Ripper, Albert Hicks and Henri Landru respectively but the ending raises the possibility that Martin Senescu himself may have killed them.
  • Another Dimension: In "Little Girl Lost", the six-year-old Tina Miller falls out of bed and into another dimension.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: In "Valley of the Shadow", Dorn tells Philip Redfield that an alien scientist came to Peaceful Valley, New Mexico in 1859. He provided the townspeople with numerous equations which allowed them to create devices that could perform a variety of feats such as replicate any object provided that they had its atomic structure, teleport objects, revive the dead and erect impenetrable barriers.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: In "The Midnight Sun", a radio report warns people to be careful outside due to widespread looting and wandering maniacs on the streets.
  • Argentina Is Nazi Land: In "Deaths-Head Revisited", Alfred Becker asks why Gunter Lütze has returned to Dachau as he was "quite safe down there in South America."
  • Art Shift: In "Once Upon a Time", the story partly takes place in 1890, where the format changes to that of a Silent Movie, complete with cutaways to subtitles and an overlaid piano track. This is also an Actor Allusion as the protagonist Woodrow Mulligan is played by Buster Keaton.
  • Artificial Family Member: In "I Sing the Body Electric", the widower Mr. Rogers purchases a robotic grandmother for his children Anne, Tom and Karen from Facsimile Ltd.
  • Artistic License: To be expected, given the nature of the show. Examples include:
    • In "The Fever", there's no way a man as visibly agitated as Franklin Gibbs would be allowed to continue to play. Especially in the 1960 climate of Las Vegas. He certainly wouldn't have been able to push down the machine without getting tackled by 3-4 security guards.
    • "The Rip Van Winkle Caper" would have us believe that gold bricks are no more heavy than concrete bricks. Not true. Each one weighs around 30 pounds. Not only could the men not carry them in the backpack (it would rip open), but even the vehicle wouldn't have been sufficient to transport the whole stash. Not to mention that two middle-aged men couldn't possibly carry around 400 pounds in a desert for any length of time.
  • Artistic License – Geography: In George P. Hanley's fantasy about being U.S. President in "I Dream of Genie", the Capitol Building can be seen out the window of the Oval Office. This is not the case in reality. It also appears to be much closer to the White House than it actually is.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • In "The Last Flight", Flight Lieutenant William Terrance Decker, who has traveled forward in time from March 5, 1917, mentions the disappearance of the French flying ace Georges Guynemer. In reality, Guynemer disappeared on September 11, 1917.
    • In "Long Live Walter Jameson", the immortal title character reads an excerpt from the diary of Major Hugh Skelton (one of his previous identities) in which he recounts how he participated in the Burning of Atlanta as a member of the 123rd Illinois Infantry on September 11, 1864. He did so reluctantly as he believed that General William Tecumseh Sherman's suppression of the Confederates was too brutal. In reality, the Confederate General John Bell Hood destroyed munitions to prevent them from falling into Union hands as his forces evacuated Atlanta on September 2, 1864. General Sherman ordered Atlanta to be burned on November 15, 1864 at the start of his march to the sea.
    • In "Back There", Clara Harris refers to Henry Rathbone as her husband shortly before they go to Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865. In reality, they were only engaged at the time. They eventually married on July 11, 1867.note 
    • In "The Odyssey of Flight 33", after Flight 33 arrives in what is later revealed to be 1939, the crew make contact with LaGuardia Airport. In reality, the airport was established in that year under the name Glenn H. Curtiss Airport and did not become known as LaGuardia Airport until 1953.
    • In "A Quality of Mercy", the United States forces are depicted trying to recapture Corregidor on August 6, 1945, the day that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. In reality, Corregidor was recaptured on February 26, 1945.
    • In-Universe in "Showdown with Rance McGrew". The actor playing Jesse James objects to a scene in which James attempts to shoot Marshal Rance McGrew in the back as his research indicates that the real James would have never done anything of the sort. This was done to appeal to the actor Rance McGrew's ego as he claims that fighting dirty is the only way that anyone could hope to defeat his character.
    • In "The Thirty-Fathom Grave", it is mentioned that the submarine 714 was sunk during the First Battle of the Solomon Sea on August 7, 1942. In reality, the battle took place from August 8 to 9, 1942.
    • In "Sounds and Silences", Roswell G. Flemington tells his psychiatrist that if he had been at Trafalgar, Horatio Nelson would have kept both his eye and his arm. In reality, Nelson lost the sight in his right eye (but not the eye itself) during the invasion of Corsica on July 12, 1794 and his right arm in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife on July 23, 1797. The Battle of Trafalgar, in which Nelson was killed, was fought on October 21, 1805.
    • In "The Encounter", Arthur Takamori admits to Fenton that his father, the foreman of a construction gang at Pearl Harbor, was a traitor as he signaled the Japanese planes that attacked the base on December 7, 1941. In reality, there were no Japanese-American traitors at Pearl Harbor. The resulting controversy meant that this episode was not rerun in the United States until 2016.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • Lampshaded in "Shadow Play". In trying to prove that it is all part of his dream, Adam Grant points out to the district attorney Henry Ritchie that he was convicted and sentenced to death on the same day, which doesn't happen in reality. He is also executed very shortly after his conviction, which is highly unusual in the United States.
    • In "I am the Night - Color Me Black", Jagger is publicly executed on May 25, 1964. The last person to be publicly executed in the United States was Rainey Bethea in Owensboro, Kentucky on August 14, 1936.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamit language is essentially treated like English run through a cipher, to the point of being translated by codebreakers instead of linguists. (This was averted in the original short story by Damon Knight, where the dignitary Gregori who makes the big discovery had been working in the Kanamits' embassy and learned their language in secret by stealing books.)
  • Asshole Victim:
  • Astral Projection: In "Ring-A-Ding Girl", Bunny Blake is seemingly able to astrally project herself to Howardsville while her physical body is on a plane. She does so in order to save as many townspeople as possible when the plane crashes during the Founders Day's picnic.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: In "The Hunt", when he returns home, Hyder Simpson finds that his wife Rachel, Reverend Wood and the Miller brothers are preparing to bury him. He sees his own coffin being taken outside. Unlike most applications of this trope, Hyder is actually dead and attends the burial as a spirit.
  • Author Avatar:
    • According to biographies, "A Stop At Willoughby" was Serling's favorite episode, and he identified with the main character. The stops on the Northeast line were the same stops on the commute he made into Manhattan daily.
    • "Walking Distance" was another of Serling's favorite episodes. The old-fashioned town in the story is based on the town he grew up in and the main character (as an adult and a little boy) was based on him.
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • In "Spur of the Moment", Anne Henderson eloped with her childhood sweetheart David Mitchell on the night of her engagement party to the investment banker Robert Blake on June 13, 1939 but their marriage proved to be a disaster. David turned into an abusive wastrel who ran the Henderson family estate into the ground and drove Anne to alcoholism. In 1964, the two of them despise each other.
    • In "What's in the Box", Joe and Phyllis Britt insult and berate each other at every opportunity. On occasion, they even throw things at each other. After Joe confesses that he is having an affair but has decided to stay with Phyllis, she is furious and packs her things to leave. This leads Joe to physically attack her. He kills her by knocking out the window, as he saw himself do on television shortly beforehand.
    • In "Sounds and Silences", Roswell G. Flemington's wife Lydia leaves him after 20 years of marriage as she can no longer cope with his obsession with the Navy and loud noises.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: In "Passage on the Lady Anne", Alan and Eileen Ransome book a cruise on the titular ship in order to save their troubled marriage. By the next morning, they are already at each other's throats and decide to get a divorce as soon as possible. However, after hearing the various romantic stories of the elderly passengers, Eileen begins to cry and both she and Alan realize that they are still in love. When Eileen briefly goes missing, Alan is devastated at the thought that something might have happened to her. When he finds her safe and sound, he is overjoyed and decides to give up his Workaholic lifestyle. Ian Burgess' comment that people always seem to be rushing nowadays also strikes a chord with him.

     B 
  • Back from the Dead:
    • In "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", the title character comes back from the dead in the middle of his funeral and demands to know why someone put him in a coffin. Due to the strange changes in his behavior, the townsfolk begin to worry that it was not actually Jeff that came back but a demon. It is never made clear whether this is actually the case but he certainly Came Back Wrong in some way.
    • In "Valley of the Shadow", Philip Redfield's dog Rollie is killed when Philip's car impacts against the Invisible Wall surrounding Peaceful Valley, New Mexico. However, he is almost immediately revived and appears none the worse for wear.
    • In "Mr. Garrity and the Graves", the peddler Jed Garrity claims that he can resurrect the dead. After performing the resurrection ceremony, he swindles the townspeople of Happiness, Arizona out of their money by promising that he will not bring the people buried in Boot Hill Cemetery back to life since most of them were holding grudges when they died. It turns out that the ceremony had actually succeeded in resurrecting the dead.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: In "The Masks", Jason Foster mentions that he has seen his grandson Wilfred Harper, Jr. kill small animals in the past. He later says that Wilfred, Jr. sees humanity as an animal caught in a trap to be tormented.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Spur of the Moment", Anne Henderson chooses to remain with her fiancé Robert Blake instead of running away with her ex-fiancé and childhood sweetheart on June 13, 1939. After a Time Skip to 1964, Anne is a miserable alcoholic who blames her husband for running her family estate into the ground and ruining her life. David then walks in, revealing that she married him rather than Robert. A Flashback reveals that they eloped during her engagement party, only hours after she rejected him.
  • Balancing Death's Books:
    • In "One for the Angels", Lou Bookman tries to outsmart Death by asking for time enough to put together a truly great sales pitch - "one for the angels" - before he dies, then declaring his retirement from the sales profession. Death tells him that he's taking someone's life tonight, and if it isn't Bookman, it will be a gravely ill young girl who lives on the street on which Bookman peddles his wares.
    • In "In Praise of Pip", when Max Phillips finds that his beloved son Pip has been mortally wounded in combat in South Vietnam, he begs God to take his life and let Pip live. God obliges.
  • Baleful Polymorph: In "Jess-Belle", the title character obtains a Love Potion from Granny Hart. As she does not have any money to pay for it, she has to pay a price of a different sort: she turns into a leopard every night at twelve o'clock.
  • Banana Republic: "The Mirror" begins with Ramos Clemente having seized power in an unnamed country in Central America, which had been ruled by General De Cruz for the previous ten years.
  • Bandaged Face: The Reveal of a few episodes involved one of these, perhaps most famously in "Eye of the Beholder".
  • Barred from the Afterlife: In "The Hunt", Hyder Simpson does this to himself. He's allowed into what appears to be heaven, but he isn't allowed to take his dog Rip with him. He decides that an afterlife without his dog is a fate worse than death (so to speak), so he refuses to enter and will just wander the path in between heaven & hell forever. Subverted when the angel comes to bring him to Heaven after the gatekeeper (of Hell) turned him away. The angel mentions that while some people walk into Hell with both eyes open, the Devil can't fool a dog, who warned his master of the danger. Turns out that a life without his trusty dog wasn't heaven, it was hell. Heaven allows dogs in.
  • Baseball Episode: In "The Mighty Casey", Dr. Stillman creates a robot named Casey and offers his services as a pitcher to the Hoboken Zephyrs, an extremely unsuccessful major league baseball team. Casey's amazing pitching abilities turn the team's fortunes around, at least until he has a heart installed and cannot bring himself to hurt the feelings or damage the careers of the players on the opposing teams.
  • Based on a True Story: "The Fever", to a degree. When Rod Serling's Twilight Zone contract was renewed, he and his wife went to Las Vegas to celebrate. Much like Franklin Gibbs, Serling got hooked on the slot machines, and took a real beating.
  • Battering Ram: In "The Shelter", Dr. Bill Stockton's neighbors fashion one together to break into his bomb shelter. Immediately after they break the shelter's door down, they learn from a CONELRAD broadcast that the unidentified objects were satellites as opposed to missiles.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Many. A few examples include "The Chaser", "The Last Night of a Jockey", "A Game of Pool", and "Jess-Belle".
    • The advice is followed in "I Dream of Genie". George P. Hanley thinks out several wishes he could make and realizes that they would all end in him being miserable. After discarding love, wealth, and power, he finally wishes to be a genie himself so he can help the needy.
    • "Time Enough at Last" plays with this trope: Henry Bemis never wishes for what eventually happens to happen, but he's always griping about never having enough time for his true love, reading. Then a nuclear apocalypse happens. Then his glasses break, just as he's settling down with his books.
  • Be Yourself:
    • In "Mr. Bevis", Mr. James B.W. Bevis learns this Aesop after his Guardian Angel J. Hardy Hempstead makes him a Slave to PR.
    • In "Cavender is Coming", the Guardian Angel Harmon Cavender turns Agnes Grep into a very wealthy woman and a member of high society. After all of her old friends and neighbors fail to recognize her, she tells him that she was happy as she was, even though she was unemployed and behind on her rent. Cavender returns things to normal, telling Agnes that she is the richest woman that he knows and that money does not guarantee contentment.
  • Becoming the Costume:
    • At the end of "The Masks", Jason Foster's worthless heirs discover their faces have conformed to the hideous shapes of the masks he has made them wear for the last several hours.
    • "The Night of the Meek" concludes with department store Santa Henry Corwin becoming the real thing, leaving for the North Pole with an elf in a reindeer-drawn sleigh to get a start on next year's Christmas.
  • Becoming the Genie: In "I Dream of Genie", George P. Hanley wishes to become a genie as he knows that he can find happiness in helping others. Unlike most versions, this is an entirely voluntary example.
  • Benevolent A.I.: In "I Sing the Body Electric", Facsimile Ltd. specializes in creating robotic grandmothers to care for children and guide them through life.
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: Subverted in "To Serve Man". The Kanamits come to Earth with all sorts of new and miraculous gifts to end war and want... so that they can keep us as docile, happy feeding stock.
  • The Bet: In "The Silence", Colonel Archie Taylor makes a bet with Jamie Tennyson that he can remain silent for a whole year in exchange for $500,000. Taylor believes that he will last a few months at most but Tennyson fulfils his part of the bargain. The humiliated Taylor is forced to admit that he lost his fortune a decade earlier and therefore cannot pay Tennyson the $500,000. Tennyson is extremely distraught and writes a note for Taylor, which the colonel reads aloud: "I knew that I would not be able to keep my part of the bargain so one year ago, I had the nerves to my vocal cords severed!" Tennyson then reveals the surgical scar on his neck.
  • Betty and Veronica: In "A World of His Own", Gregory West is married to a Veronica and has just created a Betty.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: In "The Hitch-Hiker", Nan Adams is driving from New York to Los Angeles and having her car repaired after a near-fatal accident. After the repairs, she keeps seeing a strange man trying to hitch-hike, and becomes convinced he is trying to kill her when she almost ends up in the path of an oncoming train. It turns out her accident was more than near-fatal, it was fatal, and the hitch-hiker is the personification of Death, trying to guide her to the afterlife.
  • Big Brother Is Watching:
    • Implied in "Third from the Sun". William Sturka and Jerry Riden are plotting to steal an experimental spacecraft and settle on another planet in order to avoid an impending war. When Riden comes over to Sturka's house to discuss their plan, Sturka turns on the machinery in his workshop so that the authorities won't be able to pick up on their conversation with the listening devices that they have presumably placed in his house.
    • In "Eye of the Beholder", when Dr. Bernardi wonders aloud why Janet Tyler and the others with her deformity can't simply be allowed to be different, the nurse warns him to be careful as he is speaking treason.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: In "The Prime Mover", Ace Larson bosses the much larger and nicer Jimbo Cobb around so that he will use his telekinesis to help Ace's gambling. However, Jimbo eventually fakes the loss of his power so that Ace loses and moves on from his Greed.
  • Bigotry Exception: In "He's Alive", Peter Vollmer is a committed neo-Nazi but the only thing in the world that he loves is Ernst Ganz, a survivor of The Holocaust. He even says that Ernst is like a father to him. However, after Ernst disrupts a public meeting and puts the growth of his organization at risk, Peter murders him at the urging of his Mysterious Benefactor, who turns out to be Adolf Hitler.
  • Binary Suns:
    • In "Elegy", the cemetery asteroid Happy Glades' star system has two suns.
    • In "The Little People", the planet on which the astronauts William Fletcher and Peter Craig land to repair their ship has two suns.
    • In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", V9-Gamma's star system has two suns. As a result, the planet experiences Endless Daytime. A young boy named Jo-Jo has no concept of what night is.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break:
    • In "The Shelter", Dr. Bill Stockton's birthday party turns into a mad scramble for survival when a nuclear alert is announced—and Bill's fallout shelter has only enough room for himself and his family.
    • In "It's a Good Life", Dan Hollis receives a Perry Como record at his surprise birthday party. Although he wants to play it on the Fremonts' record player, the others talk him out of it because of Anthony's hatred of singing. Dan later gets drunk on whisky, another of his presents, and starts making noise, much to Anthony's annoyance. While Pat Reilly is playing "Moonglow" on the piano, Dan starts singing "Happy Birthday" and tries to convince Pat to play the song. However, he is too afraid to do so. Dan finally loses his cool and tells Anthony that he is a monster. He implores the others to attack Anthony from behind but none of them have the courage to do so. Anthony then turns Dan into a jack-in-the-box before sending him to the cornfield.
    • In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", Somerset Frisby is abducted by aliens on his 63rd birthday. They plan to bring Frisby back to their own planet as the most impressive specimen that humanity has to offer. As they have no concept of lying, the aliens believe all of his outrageous tall tales about his past accomplishments.
    • In "The Incredible World of Horace Ford", the title character is fired from the toy company by Mr. Judson on his 38th birthday after he refuses to take a leave of absence because of his increasingly erratic behavior. That night, Horace returns to Randolph Street where he turns into a 10-year-old boy. His childhood friends then beat him up for not inviting them to his birthday party.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In "Back There", Peter Corrigan was never able to stop Abraham Lincoln's assassination, but his actions resulted in the cop who believed him becoming a millionaire, and his descendant William (who in the original timeline was an attendant at a club) inheriting his fortune.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology:
  • Black Magic:
    • In "Still Valley", Teague uses a book of black magic to freeze Union soldiers in time. He would like to use it to defeat the entire Union Army but he can't as he is dying.
    • In "The Jungle", the Kekouyu put a curse on Alan Richards using a form of black magic known as Umchawi in revenge for his company building a hydroelectric dam that will result in the loss of their homes. It first manifests in the form of a dead goat being dumped outside of his apartment. In the early hours of the following morning, Richards is haunted by sounds of the jungle and tribal drums in the street. When he returns home, he finds that his wife Doris has been killed by a lion, which then pounces on him.
    • In "The Bard", a hack writer named Julius Moomer buys a book of black magic called Ye Book of Ye Black Arte at a second hand bookshop in order to research a pilot script. He accidentally summons the ghost of William Shakespeare, who writes a television film script for him entitled The Tragic Cycle.
  • Bland-Name Product: In "Living Doll", Talky Tina is based on the wind-up doll Chatty Cathy and is even voiced by the same actress, June Foray.
  • Blatant Lies: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits say "There is nothing ulterior in our motives. Nothing at all." It turns out that they're trying to lure humans to their planet in order to eat them.
  • Blind Date: In "Miniature", Charley Parkes' sister Myra Russell sets him up on a blind date with her co-worker Harriet Gunderson as she believes that he needs a girl to bring him out of his shell and make him less introverted. It does not go according to plan as Charley thinks that Harriet is being too forward, accidentally knocking her to the ground when she kisses him.
  • Blind Musician: In "The Gift", the guitarist Ignacio is blind.
  • Book-Ends: In "In His Image", Alan Talbot comes to Jessica Connelly's apartment and jokes that he belongs to the Junior Woodchucks in the first scene after the prologue. In the final scene, Walter Ryder, Jr. does the same thing.
  • Born in the Wrong Century:
    • In "A Stop at Willoughby", Gart Williams is not temperamentally suited to the stress that being an advertising executive entails. He begins to dream about an idyllic small town named Willoughby in 1888 where he can live his life full measure at a slower pace. When Gart tells his wife Janie about Willoughby, she retorts that he was born too late and that it was her mistake to marry a man whose ambition in life is to be Huckleberry Finn.
    • Subverted in "Once Upon a Time". Rollo, a scientist from 1962, goes back to 1890 with Mulligan expecting simpler times, only to realize that they also didn't have the simple pleasures of his time such as spring mattresses, TV dinners and bikinis. Mulligan sends him back to 1962 as he has begun to annoy him.
    • Subverted again in "No Time Like the Past". After thrice failing to fix history, Paul Driscoll decides to go back to 1881 where none of the modern world's problems exist. After inadvertently causing a fire he intended to stop, he accepts that history has always had disasters none of which he can stop, so he decides to return to his own time and to work to make a better future.
  • Bothering by the Book: Death does this in "One for the Angels", at least partially to get some mild revenge on the pitch-man that had duped him.
  • Bottle Episode: Several, including "The Whole Truth". A good tell is if the episode is on tape instead of film.
  • The Boxing Episode:
    • In "The Big Tall Wish", the washed up boxer Bolie Jackson has a comeback fight against Joey Consiglio. After Bolie is knocked down, his young friend Henry Temple makes a big tall wish for the two boxers to switch places. The wish is granted and Bolie ends up winning the fight. However, Bolie does not believe that a wish could have allowed him to win and its effects are undone.
    • In "Steel", the boxing promoter Steel Kelly, disguised as his malfunctioning B2 robot Battling Maxo, fights a B7 robot in Maynard, Kansas on August 2, 1974.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Rod Serling not only provides narration, frequently on-camera, but he actually becomes part of the story in "A World of His Own". Temporarily, at least.
    • In "One for the Angels", Mr. Death suddenly looks up at the camera as Serling identifies him in his opening narration.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", just as Rod Serling mentions being beautiful, Marilyn Cuberle, who up until this point had been a free spirited young girl and is now a conformist looking exactly like her friend Val, looks directly into the camera when Serling muses if this might be possible in the near future.
    • At the end of "To Serve Man", Michael Chambers directly talks to the audience, asking if "[we're] still on Earth, or on the ship with [him]," following it up by saying, "Really doesn't make very much difference, because sooner or later, all of us will be on the menu... all of us."
    • A brief example: after Fats' ghost leaves in "A Game of Pool", Jesse Cardiff asks the audience if they saw him sink the winning shot, before going off on a spiel not directed to the audience but rather to himself about how now he's the greatest.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: "The Trouble With Templeton", focusing on a washed-up old actor who still clings to the memory of his dead wife while the present and future seem horrendously bleak. He seems to have finally reunited with his wife, but she acts strange and old, before telling him to leave a party they're attending, filled with actors he used to know. It turned out it was part of a play staged by the dead to get him to move on and focus on the present. It works: he demands a bigger role, tells off a jerk co-actor, and takes a younger actor under his wing.
  • Brown Note: In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", the sound of Somerset Frisby's harmonica paralyzes the aliens with extreme pain and he manages to escape.
  • The Butler Did It: In "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", a group of people get off a bus and gather at a cafe where they are served food and drinks by the local counter jerk and dine. It is later revealed by the police that one of the people on the bus seems to have been an alien. Ten Little Murder Victims ensues, the resolution of which is only a half-subversion of The Butler Did It: one of the people from the bus was The Mole, but the cafe worker who served them all and remained very much in the background throughout the story was also an enemy alien from a different planet, and was two steps ahead of The Mole the whole time.
  • Butter Face:
    • "Eye of the Beholder" (aka "A Private World of Darkness")". What the surgery is supposed to correct, and everyone else in the episode.
    • Toyed with in "The Masks". Only after Fosters' relatives remove their masks do they become this.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Henry Bemis of "Time Enough At Last". This man cannot catch a break.
    • Burgess Meredith was kind of the master at this; see also "Mr. Dingle the Strong".
    • Also, the titular "Mr. Bevis".
  • But What About the Astronauts?: In "Probe 7, Over and Out", Colonel Cook has already crashlanded on the strange planet by the time that the war that destroys his homeworld starts.

     C 
  • The Caligula: In "The Mirror", as soon as he comes to power, Ramos Clemente proves himself to be extremely irrational, paranoid and blood-thirsty. He sees enemies all around him. As well as ordering mass executions, he becomes convinced that his lieutenants D'Alessandro, Garcia, Tabal and Cristo are plotting against him due to having seemingly foreseen it in the mirror. Clemente throws D'Alessandro off the balcony of his mansion, has Garcia and Tabal executed as enemies of the state and shoots Cristo as he believed that the wine that he offered him was poisoned. When he looks in the mirror and sees only his own reflection, Clemente shoots himself. His reign lasted for only a week.
  • Calling Your Shots: In the episode "A Game of Pool", Fats and Jesse call their shots in a game of pool. The most impressive shot is when Jesse calls the side pocket after bouncing off three banks and making it.
  • Came Back Wrong: "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" plays with this. Although Jeff came back to life, he doesn't seem that off. But then again, he lit a match without striking it...
  • Cannot Tell a Lie:
    • In "The Whole Truth", after buying the Model A, Harvey Hunnicut finds out to his horror that he can't tell a lie. Since he's a used car dealer who specializes in selling junk cars, his business is ruined. He eventually sells it to Nikita Khrushchev.
    • In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", the aliens mistake Somerset Frisby's tall tales about his own past for an incredible variety of impressive accomplishments because they have no idea what lying is.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality:
    • In "Execution", the temporally displaced Joe Caswell mistakes a scene from a TV Western for reality. When the TV cowboy pulls his gun, Caswell shoots the television.
    • In "Once Upon a Time", the likewise temporally displaced Woodrow Mulligan sees a man on television, which he mistakes for a window, while in Jack's Fix-It Shop. Believing that the man is talking to him when he warns another character that someone can't be trusted, he becomes concerned that the repairman is up to something. Rollo sets him straight, though Mulligan still does not understand what television is.
    • Discussed in "What's in the Box". Dr. Saltman believes that Joe Britt seeing himself kill his wife Phyllis on television is a delusion caused by an inability to distinguish between TV and his own life.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Carling, the villain of "Third from the Sun", does not appear in the short story by Richard Matheson.
    • Teenya, the female Martian to whom Sam Conrad is attracted in "People Are Alike All Over", does not appear in the short story "Brothers Beyond the Void" by Paul W. Fairman.
    • Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Lucas and FBI Agent Hall, the three supporting characters in "Four O'Clock", do not appear in the short story by Price Day.
    • In "Death Ship", Lt. Ted Mason sees his wife Ruth and daughter Jeannie in the afterlife while Lt. Mike Carter sees Kramer and Mrs. Nolan. None of these characters appear in the short story by Richard Matheson.
    • Julia, the wife of the protagonist Bob Wilson in "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", does not appear in the short story by Richard Matheson.
    • "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" features three supporting characters who did not appear in the short story "The Beautiful People" by Charles Beaumont: Val, Uncle Rick and Professor Sigmund Friend.
  • Canon Sue: In-Universe in "Showdown with Rance McGrew". The fictional Marshal Rance McGrew is the Fastest Gun in the West and a brave and universally admired hero who never loses.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: In "The Mind and the Matter", Archibald Beechcroft initially revels in his solitude after he makes everyone else disappear. However, after several hours, he becomes incredibly bored.
  • Captivity Harmonica:
  • Caption Contest: In "The Fever", Flora Gibbs enters a caption contest and wins an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas.
  • Cargo Cult: In "The Old Man in the Cave", Major French tells Mr. Goldsmith that there is a cult in what used to be Chicago that worships a statue made of fissionable lead as its god.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • In "The Time Element", Peter Jenson attempts to warn the authorities about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor on December 6, 1941. However, they do not believe him and come to the conclusion that he is delusional. Jenson does not help his case when he is asked to identify the President of the United States and he initially says Dwight D. Eisenhower.
    • In "And When the Sky Was Opened", Colonel Clegg Forbes frantically attempts to convince everyone that Colonel Ed Harrington has disappeared and they have all forgotten that he ever existed but to no avail. Major William Gart finally realizes that he was telling the truth when Forbes disappears and he is the only one to remember him.
    • In "Back There", Peter Corrigan is arrested for disturbing the peace on April 14, 1865 when he goes to Ford's Theatre and starts banging on the stage door and yelling that Abraham Lincoln is going to be assassinated during the performance of Our American Cousin that night. The police believe that he is either drunk or a Union soldier who is emotionally disturbed.
    • In "Person or Persons Unknown", David Gurney awakes one morning to discover that no one recognizes him or has even heard of him. He desperately tries to convince everyone that he meets of his identity and, in most cases, that they know him very well but without success.
    • In "The Dummy", Jerry Etherson desperately tries to convince his agent Frank that his dummy Willie really is alive. At Frank's insistence, he has gone to see numerous psychiatrists and tried to convince them of the same thing but they all diagnosed this belief as a symptom of schizophrenia.
    • In "No Time Like the Past", Paul Driscoll attempts to warn a Hiroshima police captain about the impending atomic bombing on August 6, 1945 and the captain of the RMS Lusitania about its impending sinking by the U-20 on May 7, 1915 but both of them believe that he is insane.
    • In "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", Bob Wilson frantically attempts to convince everyone that there is a gremlin on the wing of the plane but no one believes him. His credibility is severely suspect since he has just been released from a sanatarium after having a nervous breakdown on a plane six months earlier. However, Rod Serling says in his closing narration that the damage to the plane's engine will be discovered and Bob will be vindicated.
    • In "The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms", Sgt. William Connors and Private Michael McCluskey, both of whom are extremely knowledgeable about the Battle of Little Bighorn, believe that they have gone back in time to June 25, 1876. Corporal Richard Langsford thinks that it is nothing more than an illusion but he eventually realizes the truth of the situation. When they return to base camp, Captain Dennet does not believe them either but he is later convinced when he sees the three soldiers' names on the Custer Battlefield National Memorial.
    • In "Black Leather Jackets", Scott tells Ellen Tillman that he is an alien whose race intends to exterminate humanity by poisoning their water supply with deadly bacteria. She does not believe his story and tells her parents Stuart and Martha. Stuart then calls the police to report that Scott is mentally disturbed and needs help. Deputy Sheriff Harper turns out to be an alien and Scott is taken away, presumably to be killed.
    • In "Caesar and Me", Jonathan West attempts to prove to his landlady Agnes Cudahy and the police that his ventriloquist's dummy Caesar is alive and convinced him to rob both the delicatessen and the nightclub. However, Caesar refuses to speak in front of them and Jonathan, who is presumed to be insane, is arrested.
    • In "Come Wander With Me", Mary Rachel is unable to convince Floyd Burney that they have experienced the events surrounding the death of Billy Rayford many times before.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Almost every opening and closing narration features the phrase "the Twilight Zone."
    • In "A Kind of a Stopwatch", Patrick Thomas McNulty says "You think about that, now" every time that he makes one of his invariably ignored suggestions or observations. Rod Serling says it himself in his opening narration.
    • In "Ring-A-Ding Girl", Bunny Blake's catchphrase is "Ring-A-Ding!"
    • In "Sounds and Silences", Roswell G. Flemington says "In a manner of speaking" whenever he uses a sea metaphor. His wife Lydia uses it three times to mock him as she leaves him.
  • Caustic Critic:
    • In "A Thing About Machines", Bartlett Finchley is a misanthropic critic for a gourmet magazine who never misses an opportunity to denigrate people to their faces or humanity in general. He is ultimately destroyed by the very machines that he hates.
    • In "A Piano in the House", the drama critic Fitzgerald Fortune is a cruel, callous man. He takes delight in humiliating his much abused wife Esther, his friends Greg Walker and Marge Moore and his butler Marvin by using the piano player to force them to reveal their most private thoughts and feelings. The tables are turned when Esther uses the piano to force Fitzgerald to admit that he is essentially a frightened little boy who lacks emotional maturity.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross", the title character mocks Mr. Maitland for displaying his collection of guns on the wall of his apartment as he was injured in World War II. After trading his compassion to Ross for $100,000, Mr. Maitland shoots him with one of those guns.
  • Chess with Death: The climax of "One for the Angels". Lou Bookman convinces Death to let him make one last pitch before he takes him, one for the angels. He then decides to retire... at least until Death decides to go after a little girl. As such, to make sure he misses his appointment, Lou decides to distract him by making a big pitch, ultimately selling him all of his wares. Thus making his big pitch...
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Deconstructed in "Spur of the Moment". Anne Henderson and David Mitchell were childhood sweethearts who always knew that they would get married when they were older. They were engaged but Anne broke it off and became engaged to the investment banker Robert Blake. However, she has a change of heart and elopes with David on June 13, 1939, in the middle of her engagement party. This proves to be the worst decision of her life as David becomes an abusive alcoholic who bankrupts her family's estate and turns her into an alcoholic as well.
  • Children Are Innocent: In "The Gift", Pedro immediately becomes friends with Williams because, as a mistreated orphan with no friends, he can relate to the stranger. Other than the doctor, he is the only person in Madeiro who believes that Williams is no threat to the village.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • "The Night of the Meek" is set on Christmas Eve, and involves alcoholic, despairing department store Santa Henry Corwin wishing he could help the poverty-stricken residents of his neighbourhood, then finding a mysterious bag which produces gifts on request. He spends the night giving gifts to children and adults alike, and when the bag is empty, he wishes he could do the same thing every year. At which point a reindeer-drawn sleigh appears, and an elf sitting in the sleigh tells "Santa" that they need to get a start on next year's Christmas...
    • In "The Changing of the Guard", Professor Ellis Fowler, who has taught at the Rock Spring School for Boys for 51 years, is forced to retire at Christmas and plans to commit suicide as he believes that his life has been a failure.
  • Chromosome Casting:
  • Cigarette of Anxiety:
    • In "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room", Jackie Rhoades tries to light up to relieve the stress of being called on to kill someone for the first time. He can't because he's out of matches. His reflection, on the other hand, happily puffs away while berating him.
    • In "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", as soon as he takes his seat, Bob Wilson starts to light up a cigarette to calm his nerves. However, his wife Julia reminds him that he can't smoke until the plane has taken off.
    • In "Stopover in a Quiet Town", Millie Frazier almost has a breakdown when she and her husband Bob discover that one of the trees outside of the Centerville church is fake. Bob lights up a cigarette for her in order to calm her nerves.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In "Ninety Years Without Slumbering", Sam Forstmann is convinced that he will die if his grandfather clock, which was given to his parents on the day that he was born, ever winds down as his father and grandfather had always told him as much. He becomes so obsessed with winding the clock that his granddaughter Marnie Kirk and her husband Doug send him to a psychiatrist named Dr. Mel Avery. Shortly afterwards, Sam collapses when the pendulum briefly stops swinging. Several weeks later, Sam's spirit appears to leave his body after the clock winds down. However, he has come to realize that Marnie, Doug and Dr. Avery were right all along. He tells his "spirit" that he doesn't believe in him and therefore he doesn't exist. Sam then tells Marnie that when the old clock wound down for the last time, he was born again.
  • Clingy MacGuffin:
    • In "Living Doll", Erich Streator cannot rid himself of the doll Talky Tina no matter what he tries. He throws it in the trash and it reappears in his stepdaughter Christie's bed. He then attempts to destroy it using a vise, a blowtorch and a circular saw but it is completely undamaged. Erich later trips over Tina on the stairs and falls to his death.
    • In "The Encounter", Fenton tells Arthur Takamori that he took the samurai sword from a Japanese officer whom he was forced to kill on Okinawa in order to save his own life. He claims that it keeps turning up in spite of his numerous attempts to get rid of it over the years. It bears the inscription "The sword will avenge me." As soon as he picks it up, Arthur experiences a strange sensation and says "I'm going to kill him. I'm going to kill him. Why?" He later appears to be come under the supernatural influence of the sword and attacks Fenton with it. From this experience, Arthur realizes that Fenton killed the Japanese officer and took the sword after he had already surrendered. The former owner of the sword eventually has his vengeance when Fenton falls on it and is impaled.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: In "Mr. Bevis", Mr. James B.W. Bevis is an eccentric, accident prone man who loves zither music and stuffed animals and drives a 1924 Rickenbacker. He is beloved by the neighborhood children and many other locals but his idiosyncrasies mean that he has had eleven jobs in the last eleven months.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation:
  • Commune: In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", in order to keep control over "his" people once they return to Earth, Captain William Benteen intends to obtain a land grant from the US government so they can set up their own community isolated from the outside world. He takes it for granted that the other survivors will follow him unquestionably. However, when Colonel Sloane advises him to discuss the matter with them, Benteen discovers that they all intend to go their separate way and settle in different states. Benteen is devastated.
  • Composite Character:
    • In "Third from the Sun", William and Eve Sturka have only one child, a daughter named Jody. In the short story by Richard Matheson, the unnamed equivalent characters have two children.
    • In "Elegy", Peter Kirby is a composite of four characters from the short story by Charles Beaumont: Lt. Peterson, Chitterwick, Goeblin and Milton.
    • In "Passage on the Lady Anne", Ian Burgess is a composite of Burgess and Colonel Van Vylman from the short story "Song for a Lady" by Charles Beaumont. In the story, it is Van Vylman who makes the speech lamenting that the Lady Anne's time has gone due to people spending most of their time rushing about.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: In "Four O'Clock", Oliver Crangle calls the government to alert them that all the evil people in the United States are going to shrink...
    Crangle: ...although that call probably won't even go through. It's my understanding that the Reds are in complete control in Washington now. They've probably taken over the switchboard too.... It's a complete conspiracy, you know.
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: In "A Penny for Your Thoughts", Hector B. Poole gains the ability to read minds, and hears a disgruntled bank employee named L.J. Smithers planning to rob the bank. After he denounces him, though, it turns out that Smithers has been idly thinking about robbing the bank for years, but he'd never actually go through with it.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: In "The Gift", an alien who calls himself Williams brings a message to humanity. Williams is killed and the message is burned. Then the doctor reads the message, which says "Greetings to the people of Earth. We come as friends and in peace. We bring you this gift. The following chemical formula is...a vaccine against all forms of cancer..." The rest is burned away.
  • Cool Old Lady: In "The Bewitchin' Pool", Aunt T is a sweet, kind-hearted elderly woman who adores children and is endlessly patient with them. Her realm is a paradise for children such as Sport and Jeb Sharewood whose parents are neglectful and do not deserve them. Although the children have to do chores, they spend a great deal of their time playing and helping Aunt T to make cakes.
  • Cool Teacher: In "The Changing of the Guard", Professor Ellis Fowler is a well respected and excellent teacher. Although he is a bit sarcastic, he means it in good fun. His students call him "Old Weirdbeard"; Fowler knows about this and is proud of the nickname.
  • The Corrupter: The aliens in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", of the exacerbate-preexisting-character-flaws variety. They qualify as Magnificent Bastards because their corrupting of the people is all done by suggestion and playing on fears; they never show themselves.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: William J. Feathersmith in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville" (He is even called a Robber Baron in the opening), Wallace V. Whipple in "The Brain Center at Whipple's" and Alan Richards in "The Jungle".
  • Cosmic Horror Story: "And When the Sky was Opened" concerns three astronauts after a mission where they fly the X-20 DynaSoar, during which they briefly disappear off of radar. Afterwards, they each disappear one after the other (and nobody remembers that they even existed after) until finally, the X-20 vanishes as well.
  • Crazy Memory: In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", Somerset Frisby tells outrageous lies to his friends about his past... and is promptly kidnapped by aliens, who think his lies are true.
  • Creator Cameo: In "Person or Persons Unknown", the patient who believes himself to be Winston Churchill is played by the director John Brahm.
  • Creepy Child:
    • In "Nightmare as a Child", Markie is a strange, demanding child with a deadly serious manner. She tells Helen Foley that she knows every detail of her life. It turns out that Markie, a manifestation of Helen's Repressed Memories concerning the murder of her mother by Peter Selden, has good intentions but she is still creepy.
    • In "It's a Good Life", the six-year-old Anthony Fremont has extensive powers which allow him to read people's minds and make those who are not thinking nice things about him to disappear. As such, everyone in Peaksville, Ohio, including his parents Bill and Agnes, lives in mortal fear of him.
  • Creepy Children Singing: In "Nightmare as a Child", Helen Foley hears Markie creepily singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in her mind.
  • Crippling the Competition: In "Mr. Denton on Doomsday", the title character Al Denton, a washed up Retired Gunfighter faces off against a young wannabee named Pete Grant in a duel, both using a potion granting quick draw abilities. Both men manage to inflict hand injuries preventing each other from ever using guns again. Denton sees this as a blessing, as it will prevent either from engaging in any more reckless duels.
  • Crime of Self-Defense:
    • In "The Lonely", James A. Corry was convicted of murder but claims that he killed in self-defense. He is eventually pardoned.
    • In "I am the Night - Color Me Black", Jagger killed a racist man in self-defense, which the presence of powder burns on the victim's body indicated. However, a committee of townspeople convinced Sheriff Koch to ignore this evidence. Koch did so as he wanted to be re-elected sheriff. Jagger was therefore convicted of murder and is executed on the morning of May 25, 1964.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In "The Mirror", Ramos Clemente intends to have his predecessor General De Cruz put to death by being covered with honey and eaten alive by ants. Whether he went through with it is never revealed.
  • Cruel Twist Ending:
    • "Time Enough at Last" ends with Henry Bemis, the lone survivor of an apocalypse, finally having time enough to read all the books he likes... only to break his glasses, leaving the pages an indistinct blur.
    • In "The Purple Testament", a soldier gains the ability to see which of his comrades will die when they begin emitting a strange glow. His superiors decide he needs to be sent away to recuperate, and he sees the glow on his own face in a mirror, and again on the driver assigned to collect him. Sure enough, they are killed by a land mine.
    • "Young Man's Fancy" opens with newlywed couple Alex and Virginia Walker preparing Alex's late mother's house to sell. However, Alex becomes so engrossed in childhood memories that Virginia feels she is competing with his mother for his attention. At the end of the episode, Alex has regressed to childhood and his mother has returned from the dead, and both of them dismiss Virginia.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", Marilyn Cuberle rebels against the Transformation, a surgical process which all humans undergo as adolescents so that everyone looks like one of a small number of standard "models", having been inspired by her father, who gave her banned books about the pre-Transformation years and committed suicide out of regret over his Transformation. Her attempts to persuade her family and friends that Transformation is morally wrong go unheeded, and when she finally undergoes the process, she is also mindwiped into blind, blissful acceptance of the status quo, implying that Transformation is now more than just a physical alteration.
    • "Black Leather Jackets" features three aliens tasked with poisoning Earth's human and animal population so that their race can colonise the planet. The youngest alien falls in love with the girl next door and tries to persuade her to run away with him to escape the mass death that will soon take place. Terrified, she calls the police, and the policeman who arrives turns out to be another alien sent to punish the would-be defector, and it is implied the poisoning will go ahead unimpeded.
    • "What's in the Box?" features unhappily married couple Joe and Phyllis, the former of whom berates the repairman working on their television. After the repairs, Joe discovers that the television now gets a station which broadcasts the past, present, and future, and he sees himself killing Phyllis, being tried and convicted for her murder, and executed by electrocution. When he tries to tell Phyllis what he has just seen, she taunts him, and in his anger he attacks her and accidentally kills her, and is taken away by the police.
    • "Caesar and Me" features ventriloquist Jonathan West, whose dummy, Caesar, has a mind of his own and persuades him to turn from their unsuccessful stage act to a life of crime. One such conversation is overheard by Susan, a little girl in the same boarding house as Jonathan who taunts him for his lack of professional success. After overhearing a second conversation, Susan tips off the police about Jonathan and Caesar's crime spree, and when Jonathan tries to get Caesar to confess, Caesar remains silent, leading the police to suspect Jonathan has lost his mind. He gives himself up and is led away, at which point Caesar turns his attention to recruiting Susan as a partner in crime.
  • Crush. Kill. Destroy!: In "In His Image", the android Alan Talbot frequently experiences uncontrollable urges to kill. He attacks his creator Walter Ryder, Jr. with a scissors and pushes an extremely persistent evangelist under a subway train.
  • Cry Cute: In "Two", after taking a shot at the man, the woman spends the night in the barber's shop and cries slightly because of her loneliness.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: In "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?", Avery accuses Mr. Ross of being the "most suspicious of the bunch." He also suggests that they check under Ross's coat for wings. Had they done so, they would have seen his third arm and known he was the real Martian.
  • Cue the Billiard Shot: "A Game of Pool" starts with one of these. The camera follows the ball's trajectory, then focuses on Jesse Cardiff's reaction to it.
  • Culture Police:
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", when Orgram Gatewood warns him to stay away from his sister Comfort, the title character manages to beat him up with little effort. Before Jeff's death and resurrection, Orgram had been whupping him ever since they were children.
  • Cure for Cancer: In "The Gift", Williams came to Earth in order to provide humanity with a vaccine against all forms of cancer.
  • Cut Phone Lines: In "The Fear", Charlotte Scott and Robert Franklin attempt to phone for help after discovering evidence that Earth is seemingly being invaded by giant aliens but they are unable to do so as the phone lines have been cut.

     D 
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: "The Hitch-Hiker".
    "I believe you're going my way..."
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • In "One for the Angels", Death is simply doing his job when he insists on taking Lou Bookman (and later a little girl named Maggie Polonski when Lou refuses to go). In fact, it's implied that he deliberately bought into Lou's big pitch in order to spare Maggie. He even lets Lou know that yes, he is in fact going to Heaven.
    • In "Nothing in the Dark", Death takes the form of Harold Beldon, a young cop who is injured outside of the apartment of a reclusive elderly woman named Wanda Dunn in order to show her that dying is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: In "Miniature", the doll girl's suitor resembles this type of villain, complete with cartoonishly evil mannerisms and musical cues.
  • Dead All Along: Episodes "Judgment Night", "The Hitch-Hiker", "The Passersby", (one possible interpretation of) "The Thirty-Fathom Grave", "Deaths-Head Revisited", "Death Ship", and "Ring-a-Ding Girl".
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • In "Escape Clause", the severe hypochondric Walter Bedeker makes a deal with the Devil, calling himself Mr. Cadwallader, for Immortality in exchange for his soul.
    • Subverted in "Still Valley". Making a deal with the Devil is necessary to access all of the spells in the warlock Teague's book of Black Magic. However, the Confederate soldier Sgt. Joseph Paradine burns the book as he would rather let the Confederacy die and be buried in hallowed ground than renounce God.
    • In "Jess-Belle", after buying a Love Potion from Granny Hart, Jess-Belle Stone learns that her soul has been extinguished and that she has been become a witch.
    • In "Printer's Devil", Douglas Winter, the editor of the failing newspaper The Dansburg Courier, hires a reporter and linotype operator named Mr. Smith, who lends him $5,000 to keep the paper going. Winter eventually discovers that Smith is the Devil who wants his soul in exchange for saving the newspaper.
    • In "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", William J. Feathersmith is approached by the Devil in the form of a beautiful young woman named Miss Devlin. She agrees to send him back to his home town of Cliffordville, Indiana in 1910 with all of his memories of the intervening 53 years intact in exchange for $1,412.14. Feathersmith initially believes that the price will be his soul but Miss Devlin reveals that his unscrupulous business practises mean that he is already going to Hell.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • At the end of the radio adaptation of "Four O'Clock", the shrunken Oliver Crangle is killed and eaten by his parrot Pete as he has mistaken him for a nut.
    • In "Passage on the Lady Anne", Ian Burgess' wife Cynthia died several weeks before the Lady Anne's last voyage. In the short story "Song for a Lady" by Charles Beaumont, she is still alive and accompanies him on the cruise. This change is as a result of Burgess' character being merged with Colonel Van Vylman.
  • Death from Above: In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", the V9-Gamma survivors are forced to take shelter from a meteor storm in a large cavern after the funeral of the woman who committed suicide. The rescue ship Galaxy 6 arrives as soon as the storm is over.
  • Death of a Child: In "You Drive", Oliver Pope kills a 12-year-old boy named Timmy Danbers in a hit-and-run accident.
  • Death of Personality:
    • In "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room", a cowardly criminal named Jackie Rhoades is confronted by his better self, on the other side of a mirror. Eventually the other personality takes over. This is a rare example of this trope being a Happy Ending.
    • In "The Lateness of the Hour", Jana Loren discovers that she is actually a robot. Unable to cope, she goes mad and her "parents" reprogram her as a maid, effectively destroying her personality.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", it's revealed that the Transformation is one of these when the formerly free-spirited and rebellious Marilyn Cuberle is forced to go through the process and becomes an empty-headed conformist who loves being pretty more than anything else.
  • Death Trap: In "The Jeopardy Room", Commissar Vassiloff traps Major Ivan Kuchenko in a hotel room with a hidden explosive booby trap. If Kuchenko finds the bomb in time, he will be allowed to go free. If not, he will die when it detonates. Kuchenko eventually determines that Vassiloff has connected the bomb to the telephone and has rigged it to explode when it rings and someone picks up the receiver. After escaping from the hotel room, Kuchenko rings the phone. Vassiloff's assistant Boris absentmindedly answers the phone and both of them are killed in the resulting explosion.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", Marilyn Cuberle deeply loved her father Jack, who committed suicide five years earlier, and bases her decision not to undergo the Transformation on what he taught her about individuality and inner beauty.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In "No Time Like the Past", Hanford, one of Paul Driscoll's fellow boarders in Homeville, Indiana in 1881, expounds at length on his views regarding American imperialism at dinner. He believes that the United States will remain isolated and weak if it does not expand its sphere of influence by conquering the Orient and Australia before going back across the Pacific to South America. Hanford repeatedly says that they must plant the American flag as they go. He also believes that the US government was too conciliatory to the Native Americans during the Indian Wars five years earlier, describing them as "savages" and "Redskins" who should have been wiped out by 20 George Custers leading 100,000 men.
  • Demonic Possession: In "Jess-Belle", the vengeful spirit of Jess-Belle Stone possesses her love rival Ellwyn Glover soon after her wedding to Billy-Ben Turner.
  • Depopulation Bomb:
    • In "Time Enough at Last", Henry Bemis may be the last survivor in the aftermath of the nuclear war.
    • In "The Old Man in the Cave", a nuclear war devastated Earth in 1964, killing millions of people in the process. Major French tells Mr. Goldsmith that there are approximately 500 people alive between Buffalo, New York and Atlanta, Georgia. In the ten years since the war, many people have died as a result of eating food contaminated with Strontium-90 or from the plague.
    • In "Probe 7, Over and Out", Colonel Cook's people are wiped out in a devastating war within less than a day. The entire coast of Cook's country was destroyed in only 12 minutes, after which they responded in kind.
  • Destination Defenestration: In "What's in the Box", during his brutal attack on his wife Phyllis, Joe Britt punches her in front of an open window and she falls to her death. Although he had not intended to kill her, the glimpses of the future shown on his television indicate that he will be convicted of murder and executed for his crime.
  • Determinator:
    • In "Dead Man's Shoes", the dead gangster Dane will not let even death stop him from getting revenge on his treacherous partner Bernie Dagget, even if his shoes have to be worn by host after host after host.
    • In "Steel", Steel Kelly never concedes that his boxing robot Battling Maxo should be retired, despite Maxo's condition having remained at the breaking point for three years and robotics having continued to advance in that time. When Maxo breaks down, he goes into the ring himself and gets beaten practically to a pulp trying to earn repair money.
    • In "Uncle Simon", Barbara Polk is so determined to get her hands on her uncle Simon's money that she sees to his every need for 25 years in spite of the fact that he berated her and insulted at every opportunity. However, Simon has the last laugh since he stipulated in his will that she is to take care of all of his experiments, including a robot with the same personality as him.
  • Devil in Disguise: The Devil usually appears in the guise of a regular person. In "The Howling Man" he appears to be some poor guy who's been imprisoned by a madman, but when someone takes pity and releases him his horns and tail reappear.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • In "Still Valley", Teague dies off-screen of natural causes. In the short story "The Valley Was Still" by Manly Wade Wellman, Sgt. Joseph Paradine decapitates him with his saber after he suggests using the book of Black Magic to defeat the Union.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", Marilyn Cuberle's father Jack committed suicide as he bitterly regretted undergoing the Transformation and his family covered up his death by claiming that he was killed in the Ganymede Incident. In the short story "The Beautiful People" by Charles Beaumont, he actually did die in the Ganymede Incident.
  • Dirty Old Man: In "Twenty-Two", the doctor is very lecherous, telling his patient Liz Powell, a professional dancer, that she makes an old doctor wish that he were a young intern. He then laughs creepily. As she is leaving the hospital, he says that he hopes that she will be performing the next time that he sees her and that she will throw a wink in his direction.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: In "Death Ship", Captain Paul Ross, Lt. Ted Mason and Lt. Mike Carter discover their own bodies in a crashed duplicate of their ship, the E-89, shortly after landing on the thirteenth planet of Star System 51. Mason and Carter eventually accept that they are dead but Ross refuses to do so and they remain trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop for all eternity.
  • Disposing of a Body: In "The New Exhibit", after his wife Emma is killed by Jack the Ripper's knife, Martin Senescu buries her body under the basement floor.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In "Time Enough at Last", Henry Bemis is Innocently Insensitive and inattentive at work due to his obsession with reading. After the End, he finds a public library with more books than he could ever read but his glasses are broken before he can even read a single word.
    • "Printer's Devil"
    Douglas Winter: But why Jackie, what did she ever do to you?
    Mr. Smith She slapped me.
  • Ditto Aliens: In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits are all identical in appearance. The ambassador has a goatee and white robes to distinguish him from the others.
  • Divide and Conquer: In the final scene of "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", it is revealed that aliens were responsible for shutting off all of the power on Maple Street. Within hours, the residents of the street turn on each other and start rioting. The aliens have previously conducted many similar experiments and the result is always the same. Their overall plan is to travel to numerous small communities one by one and gradually cause humanity to destroy itself.
  • Diving Save: In "I Sing the Body Electric", the robot grandmother pushes Anne Rogers out of the way of an oncoming car and is hit herself. She gets better.
  • Divine Intervention: Possibly in "I am the Night - Color Me Black". The Sun fails to rise on the day of Jagger's execution, and, once Jagger's been hanged, the darkness starts spreading elsewhere.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: In "The Midnight Sun", Norma is barefoot for the entire episode. Justified because the story's premise is the Earth heating up as it moves closer to the sun.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: In "The Little People", one of the giant spacemen accidentally crushes Peter Craig to death when he picks him up to examine him. He feels guilty about it.
  • The Doll Episode:
    • In "The Dummy", Jerry Etherson is haunted by his dummy Willie, whom he is convinced is alive and is trying to take over the act.
    • In "Living Doll", Erich Streator is tormented by his stepdaughter Christie's doll Talky Tina, who continually tells him that she is going to kill him.
    • In "Caesar and Me", Jonathan West's ventriloquist's dummy Caesar manipulates him into performing several robberies instead of finding honest work while they are waiting for their big break. He later abandons him, leading everyone to believe that Jonathan is insane, and teams up with an evil little girl named Susan.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • In "The Last Night of a Jockey", Michael Grady threatens to slap his old girlfriend's face off when she refuses to go on a date with him now that he is big.
    • In "A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain", Flora Gordon verbally abuses her much older husband Harmon at every opportunity, belittling him over his age and correspondingly slower lifestyle. She mockingly refers to him as "Big Daddy" and says that if they ever visited Egypt, she might leave him for a mummy. Harmon says himself that she can barely stand to be around him but he tolerates her treatment of him as he loves her deeply.
    • In "Spur of the Moment", in 1964, David Mitchell is verbally abusive towards his long-suffering wife Anne and takes delight in mocking her for marrying him for love 25 years earlier, which she now bitterly regrets.
    • In "Mr. Garrity and the Graves", the town drunk Gooberman's wife Zelda broke his arm six times. After she returns from the dead, she plans to do so again.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper:
    • "Nothing in the Dark" features elderly shut-in Wanda Dunn, who lives in fear that Death will take her if she leaves her basement apartment. A policeman named Harold Beldon (played by a young Robert Redford) is shot during an altercation outside her door, and she eventually agrees to let him in. He is revealed to be a gentle, well-meaning version of The Grim Reaper, sent to show her that death is nothing to be afraid of, and they leave together.
    • In "The Hitch-hiker", department store buyer Nan Adams has had a near-fatal car crash while driving from New York to Los Angeles, but begins seeing a mysterious hitch-hiker everywhere she goes. In fact, the car crash was fatal, and the hitch-hiker is Death, trying to gently guide her toward the afterlife.
  • Doting Grandparent: In "Long Distance Call", the extremely frail Grandma Bayles adores her grandson Billy. She gives him a toy telephone for his fifth birthday so that he will always be able to talk to her on it. She dies later that day, after mistaking Billy for her son (and his father) Chris. She begins to communicate with him over the toy phone from beyond the grave and convinces Billy to commit suicide so that they can be Together in Death. When Billy is on the brink of death after being found face down in the family pond, Chris talks to his mother over the toy phone and persuades her to let Billy live if she really loves him.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Printer's Devil" refers to both the Devil (as Mr. Smith) being employed as the reporter and linotype operator of The Dansburg Courier and an old term for a printer's apprentice.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: In "The Bewitchin' Pool", Sport and Jeb Sharewood are able to enter Aunt T's realm through a portal in their swimming pool which can't be seen by their parents Gil and Gloria. In the past, other children have been able to travel there through chimneys or by going through doors.
  • Downer Ending: A number of episodes leave on a bad note.
  • Dramatic Unmask: In "The Masks", the Harpers - Emily, Wilfred, Sr., Wilfred, Jr. and Paula - remove their masks to find that their faces now match the grotesque features of said masks. Later, Dr. Sam Thorne removes Jason's mask. He has retained his normal face but it has an expression of contentment in death.
  • Dream Apocalypse: In "Shadow Play", the District Attorney Henry Ritchie and newspaper editor Paul Carson become concerned that Adam Grant is telling the truth and they will cease to exist when he is executed as their reality is nothing more than his dream. It turns out that their fears are justified.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In "Twenty-Two", Liz Powell, who is in hospital for exhaustion, has a recurring nightmare in which she wakes up in her hospital room, accidentally breaks a glass of water and hears the sound of footsteps in the corridor. The footsteps belong to a nurse. Liz then takes an elevator down to the basement and arrives at the morgue, Room 22. The nurse comes out and says, "Room for one more, honey." Liz's doctor and her agent Barney Kamener try to convince her that it is nothing more than a delusion. After Liz is released from hospital, she is going to fly to Miami Beach for her next gig. However, she is startled when she is told that she will be flying on Flight 22. In her confusion, Liz bumps into a woman and breaks the vase that she is carrying, just as she broke the glass in her nightmare. As she prepares to board the plane, she notices that the stewardess is identical to the nurse. She says, "Room for one more, honey." Liz screams and races to the terminal. The plane takes off but explodes within seconds.
  • Dream People:
    • In "Shadow Play", several of the people in Adam Grant's Death Row nightmare are drawn from his real life. For instance, the priest who visits him before his execution is Father Beaman, an actual priest who died when he was ten years old, and the newspaper editor Paul Carson is the younger priest who replaced him. Adam is uncertain where he got the District Attorney Henry Ritchie, speculating that he may have been a teacher or a friend of his father's. Outside of his own life, he got his harmonica playing fellow prisoner Coley from a bad movie that he once saw.
    • Discussed in "Five Characters in Search of an Exit". The bagpiper speculates that they are nothing more than characters in someone else's dream.
  • Drink Order:
    • In "Dead Man's Shoes", after trying and failing to convince his girlfriend Wilma of his identity several times, the gangster Dane, in control of the body of homeless man Nate Bledsoe, is finally recognized by his order of "tequila...with a cube of sugar." He later uses the order to get Bernie Dagget's attention at their nightclub.
    • In "Uncle Simon", Simon Polk frequently has his niece Barbara make him hot chocolate served in an English bone china cup. The robot that he invented later makes the same order.
  • Dripping Disturbance: In "Sounds and Silences", Roswell G. Flemington is disturbed by the sound of water dripping in the middle of the night. This is the first indication that every sound has been magnified.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In "The Changing of the Guard", after being forced to retire by the board of the Rock Spring School for Boys, Professor Ellis Fowler becomes convinced that he has accomplished nothing in his life and plans to shoot himself. However, the ghosts of seven of his former students intervene and assure him that his teachings made a real difference in their lives.
    • The fate of Chief Bell in "The Thirty-Fathom Grave". Seeing ghosts of his dead crewmates from a sunken submarine which he served on in World War II and experiencing massive Survivor Guilt, Bell flings himself off the side of the ship and drowns.
    • In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", nine people have committed suicide in the last six months in order to escape the hellish conditions of V9-Gamma.
    • In "A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain", Harmon Gordon has reached the point where he is contemplating suicide as he is madly in love with his much younger wife Flora but she can't stand to be around him. He tells his brother Raymond that he will jump off the balcony if he does not inject him with the experimental youth serum.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", Marilyn Cuberle's father Jack committed suicide five years earlier as he believed that the Transformation had robbed him of his identity.
  • Dropped Glasses: "Time Enough at Last". The man who wanted nothing but time to read finally gets all the time he wants, the rest of his life—everyone else being dead in a nuclear holocaust—only to drop his glasses, which shatter.
  • Drunk Driver: In "Stopover in a Quiet Town", Millie Frazier had several drinks at a party and drives drunk. Her husband Bob, who was far more drunk than she was, was passed out in the back seat. On the way home, they are abducted by a giant alien and taken to another planet to be his daughter's pets.
  • Dumb Blonde: In "A Penny for Your Thoughts", Hector B. Poole hears the thoughts of anyone standing near him. When tries to read the mind of a blonde woman in the bank, he can't hear anything.
  • Dutch Angle:
    • In "Where Is Everybody?", they are used throughout the sequence in which Mike Ferris flees in terror from the movie theater into the town square.
    • In "Perchance to Dream", the carnival Dream Sequence features them prominently.
    • "Third from the Sun" makes extensive use of Dutch angles.
    • In "The Fever", one is used for a shot of Franklin Gibbs at the slot machine after he's become obsessed and screamed at his wife Flora to leave him alone.
    • In "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", there are multiple such shots in the final scene when the residents of Maple Street go berserk and start rioting.
    • They are used throughout "The Howling Man".
    • In "A Game of Pool", two are used during tense moments in the pool game.
    • In "Deaths-Head Revisited", numerous Dutch angle shots are used during Gunter Lütze's trial at Dachau.
    • In "Little Girl Lost", they are used throughout the sequence set in the other dimension.
    • In "The Dummy", they are used extensively after Jerry Etherson starts hearing Willie and seeing his shadow while leaving the theater.
    • In "Mute", several such shots are used when Miss Frank tries to force Ilse Nielsen into saying her name in front of her class for the first time.
    • In "Death Ship", one is used to represent the E-89 being thrown off-course by Lt. Mike Carter's attempt to prevent Captain Paul Ross from landing the ship again.
    • In "The Parallel", several are used to represent Gaines' disorientiation upon hearing radio signals immediately before he is sent back to his own universe.
    • In "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", multiple Dutch angles are used during the sequence in which William J. Feathersmith unsuccessfully tries to convince the people of Cliffordville, Indiana to invest in his ideas for new inventions in 1910, all of which are commonly available in 1963.
    • In "In Praise of Pip", multiple Dutch angles are used during both the Good-Times Montage of Max and Pip Phillips in the amusement park and their subsequent confrontation in the Hall of Mirrors.
    • In "From Agnes - With Love", one is used in the opening scene in which James Elwood and his supervisor find Fred Danziger frantically arguing with Agnes.
  • Dying Dream: "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", the Academy Award-winning short, based on the Ur-Example of the trope, the Ambrose Bierce story.

     E-F 
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first season had neither the iconic theme nor Rod Serling appearing in the beginning to introduce the episode; instead it had a shorter theme, and Serling introducing the episode by voiceover. The familiar theme and Serling's onscreen presence both started in Season 2.
  • Earth All Along: "I Shot an Arrow into the Air", "Probe 7 - Over and Out". Inverted in "Third from the Sun" and "The Invaders".
  • Eldritch Location: In "Little Girl Lost", the other dimension to which Tina Miller is sent is a bizarre, abstract realm which distorts perceptions. For instance, Tina's father Chris believed that he was standing upright in spite of the fact that his legs were still on the other side of the portal.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: In "Uncle Simon", the robot repeatedly says "According to plan" soon after it is first activated.
  • Emergency Broadcast: In "The Shelter", the Stocktons and their neighbors learn from a CONELRAD broadcast that unidentified objects believed to be missiles have been detected heading towards the United States. A later CONELRAD broadcast reveals that they were in fact satellites which pose no danger.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: In "He's Alive", Peter Vollmer's Mysterious Benefactor, who has advised him on how to increase his neo-Nazi group's support, emerges from the shadows and it is revealed that he is none other than Adolf Hitler.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing:
    • In "Long Live Walter Jameson", the more than 2,000-year-old title character is shot by Laurette Bowen, one of the many wives that he has abandoned over the centuries. He rapidly ages and turns to dust. Professor Samuel Kittridge and his daughter Susanna find nothing but an empty pile of clothes on the floor of Walter's study.
    • In "Queen of the Nile", Jordan Herrick quickly turns to dust, leaving only his clothes, after Pamela Morris steals his Life Energy using a scarab beetle in order to maintain her eternal youth and beauty.
  • Enclosed Extraterrestrials: In "The Invaders", a woman living alone on a farm is menaced by two small aliens in form-concealing armor. At the end of the episode, we learn that the 'aliens' are actually human astronauts and the woman is a giant alien.
  • Endless Daytime: In "The Midnight Sun", Earth's elliptical orbit suddently changed and it is moving closer and closer towards The Sun. After a month, there is no darkness and humanity is facing imminent extinction due to the heat. It turns out that this is a fever dream being experienced by Norma. In reality, the Earth is moving further away from the Sun and the world has at most three weeks before it freezes to death.
  • Enfant Terrible: In "Caesar and Me", Susan is an evil little girl who takes delight in tormenting and insulting Jonathan West at every opportunity. After she overhears him arguing with Caesar about robbing the nightclub, she reports him to the police. Susan does so out of sheer vindictiveness as opposed to it being the right thing to do. When Caesar speaks in front of her, she plans to keep it to herself even though it could prove that Jonathan is perfectly sane. It takes very little effort on Caesar's part to convince Susan to run away with him. It is even implied that she will kill her aunt Agnes Cudahy in order to escape her.
  • Engineered Public Confession: In "The Obsolete Man", Romney Wordsworth, who has been convicted of owning books and believing in God, chooses a televised execution with his own personal assassin. At the eleventh hour, he summons the Chancellor into his room, where he plans to destroy himself and the Chancellor by suicide bombing. Wordsworth calmly reads passasges from the Bible, and the Chancellor begs to be let go "in the name of God." Wordsworth relents, dying by suicide bombing, and releases the Chancellor. When the Chancellor leaves Wordsworth's room, he is put on trial and declared obsolete for the crime of invoking God's name in an authoritarian dictatorship whose totalitarian, atheistic government has decreed that God does not exist.
  • Episode on a Plane:
  • Equivalent Exchange:
    • In the final scene of "The Dummy", Jerry Etherson and Willie have switched places so that Jerry has become the dummy and Willie the ventriloquist. In his closing narration, Rod Serling says that he has gone from "boss to blockhead."
    • In "The Parallel", Major Robert Gaines loses contact with Earth and is accidentally transported to a parallel universe in which he is a colonel. At the end of the episode, shortly after he returns home, the space program receives a transmission from Colonel Robert Gaines.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", Miss Devlin is a manipulative devil, and ordinarily maintains a charming persona when dealing with William J. Feathersmith. However, during her final dressing down of Feathersmith and his faults, she allows herself to slip into some genuine anger.
  • Everybody Smokes: What with the show being made in the 60's.
  • Every Episode Ending: Nearly every episode ends with a short commentary from Rod Serling, usually to deliver An Aesop, almost always ending with "...in the Twilight Zone."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In "One More Pallbearer", Paul Radin sets up a fake nuclear war scenario and expects Mrs. Langsford, Reverend Hughes and Colonel Hawthorne, who all of whom humiliated him in the past, to apologize to him in exchange for their lives. He seems mystified that they would rather spend their last moments with their loved ones than try to save themselves.
  • Evil Debt Collector: In "In Praise of Pip", the gangster Moran has one of his henchmen beat up George Reynold, who owes him $300, after Max Phillips took pity on George and allowed him to keep his money.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog:
    • In "The Hunt", an agent of the Devil is trying to lure a recently-deceased Hyder Simpson into entering Hell. Hyder's dog Rip growls, warning him not to enter, and he avoids the trap. Later, an angel remarks "...a man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But not even the Devil can fool a dog!"
    • In "Little Girl Lost", the Millers' dog Mack starts barking after Tina vanishes. When he's let inside, Mack runs under the bed and finds her in the other dimension.
  • Evil Laugh: In "The Jeopardy Room", the Soviet commissar Vassiloff uses a particularly nasty laugh at the end of the taped message that he leaves for the defector Major Ivan Kuchenko.
  • Evil Mask: In "The Masks", the dying Jason Foster forces his daughter Emily Harper, son-in-law Wilfred, Sr. and grandchildren Wilfred, Jr. and Paula to wear grotesque masks on Mardi Gras. If they don't, they will not inherit any of his vast fortune. The masks were created by an old Cajun and are imbued with certain properties. Jason tells his relatives that it is a Mardi Gras custom to wear masks that are the antithesis of one's true personality. However, all of the masks reflect the personalities of the wearer: the cowardly Emily, the self-obsessed Paula, the miserly Wilfred, Sr. and the dull-witted Wilfred, Jr. When they take the masks off at midnight, they find that their faces have been transformed so that they now match the masks. Their appearance therefore finally reflects their true personalities.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: In "A Penny for Your Thoughts", using his newfound powers of Telepathy, Hector B. Poole hears Mr Sykes thinking that he plans to use his $200,000 loan to bet on horses so that he can win back the money that he has embezzled. He later learns that Mr. Smithers plans to rob the bank and go to Bermuda, though this turns out to be nothing but a fantasy that Smithers has on an almost daily basis.
  • Exact Words: To Serve Man. Also from the titular episode, the Kanamit ambassador, when subjected to a polygraph test, states that he sincerely hopes humanity will believe that their motives are benevolent, not that said motives actually are.
  • Explosive Stupidity: In "The Jeopardy Room", Commissar Vassiloff and his assistant Boris are killed when Boris absentmindedly answers the phone that Vassiloff has turned into a bomb.
  • Exposition of Immortality: In the episode "Long Live Walter Jameson", the titular character is a history professor who knows his stuff, has a close friend and colleague named Professor Samuel Kittridge who comments on his appearance and who is seen in an American Civil War period picture, revealing just how he knows that period so very well.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In "The Masks", Jason Foster accepts his impending death with calm and dignity. After he dies, Dr. Sam Thorne notes that he has an expression of peace and contentment.
  • Failed Execution, No Sentence: In "Dust", Luís Gallegos survives his execution by hanging because the rope breaks at the precise moment that he falls. This is the moment that everybody in town decides (on top of everything else that has happened throughout the episode that was making them undecided about whether following through with this whole charade was actually a good idea) to let him go.
  • Fake-Out Opening: "Showdown with Rance McGrew" begins with what appears to be two cowboys in The Wild West discussing whether a man will show up, seemingly for a gunfight. Rance McGrew then drives up in his Ford Thunderbird with longhorns, revealing that the cowboys were actors who were wondering when the star of the show was going to turn up for shooting.
  • Faking the Dead: In "Queen of the Nile", on the last day of shooting for the Silent Movie version of Queen of the Nile in about 1920, Constance Taylor was supposedly killed in a cave-in in Egypt. In reality, the immortal woman faked her death. She had re-emerged as the stage actress Gladys Gregory by 1923 and assumed her latest identity of Pamela Morris by 1935.
  • False Flag Operation: In "He's Alive", the neo-Nazi Peter Vollmer has his lackey Nick Bloss murdered on the advice of Adolf Hitler and blames it on his enemies in order to attract more support to his growing organization.
  • False Innocence Trick: "The Howling Man" is basically one of these from start to end.
  • Fantastic Anthropologist: In "Mr. Dingle, the Strong", both the Martians and the Venusians conduct experiments on Luther Dingle to see how he'll react when he gains Super Strength and then Super Intelligence.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: In "The Fugitive", Mrs. Gann shows hints of this during this exchange with Jenny:
    Mrs. Gann: Who were you talking to?
    Jenny: Myself.
    Mrs. Gann: Cut it out. You can go crazy that way.
  • Fate Worse than Death: "A Kind of a Stopwatch" ends with the entire world except for McNulty being frozen in time forever, when the stopwatch breaks.
  • Fattening the Victim: In "To Serve Man", Michael Chambers discovers the alien Kanamits eat the humans they take to their planet as "ambassadors", he is taken prisoner aboard their ship. In the last scene, a Kamamit is exhorting him to eat his dinner. More terrifying is the idea that everything the Kanamits did was a form of this—they put nitrates in the soil to end world hunger and shared technologies that made weaponry obsolete, which removed all of humanity's problems and allowed them to become fat and complacent, like cattle.
  • Fever Dream Episode: In "The Midnight Sun", the world moving closer towards The Sun turns out to be nothing but a fever dream being experienced by Norma. The world is in fact moving further away from it.
  • Fictional Sport: In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", Marilyn Cuberle mentions electronic baseball and super soccer.
  • Finger Snap Lighter:
    • In the final scene of "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", the title character demonstrates this ability when he lights a match without striking it. He tells his fiancée Comfort Gatewood that it was just her imagination.
    • In "Printer's Devil", Mr. Smith, being the Devil, has the ability to create fire. He snaps his fingers to light his cigar while Douglas Winter isn't looking.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The lead characters of the Time Travel episodes, especially "Execution".
  • 555: "Night Call" used the KL-5 variant. Miss Elva Keene's phone number is KL5-2368.
  • Fixing the Game: In "The Silence", as he knew that he couldn't remain silent for a year, Jamie Tennyson hoped to ensure that he would win the bet by having surgery to have his vocal cords severed. Since Colonel Taylor is broke, it ends up not making a difference.
  • The Flapper: In "The Trouble with Templeton", Booth Templeton's late wife Laura was one during The Roaring '20s.
  • Flawed Prototype: In "In His Image", Walter Ryder, Jr. shows Alan Talbot the two failed prototypes in his quest to create an android: Alan Talbot 1 and Alan Talbot 2. It turns out that Alan is flawed himself due to his frequent homicidal urges.
  • Flying Dutchman:
    • In the final scene of "The Odyssey of Flight 33", it appears that Flight 33 is destined to become a time traveling Flying Dutchman as it is uncertain whether its next attempt to return to 1961 will be successful, especially since its fuel is running low.
    • In "The Arrival", Flight 107 mysteriously disappeared in a thick fog in the early 1940s. In his closing narration, Rod Serling describes it as an airborne Flying Dutchman.
    • In the closing narration of "Death Ship", Rod Serling refers to the spaceship E-89, whose crew is destined to relive the same few hours over and over again, as a latter day Flying Dutchman.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In "Still Valley", Rod Serling notes in his closing narration that Sgt. Joseph Paradine and the other Confederate troops were ordered to move up north to an obscure little place in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg.
  • Fortune Teller: In "Nick of Time", there is a little coin-operated fortune-telling machine in a diner, that answers yes-or-no questions. A superstitious Don Carter starts to think it's giving out accurate answers and gets obsessed, and his wife tries to talk sense into him. This is a definite case of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane, and a lot of questions if it is magic. All of the following are possible: the machine accurately predicted the future as it was meant to, it was designed for/attempted to trap people (which would be a lot of trouble for a few pennies), its only ability was to make you think it made accurate predictions, or it was in fact an ordinary machine and the seemingly accurate predictions were a series of improbable coincidences.
  • Fountain of Youth:
    • In "Kick the Can", Charles Whitley convinces the other Sunnyvale Rest Home residents, with the exception of his lifelong friend Ben Conroy, that playing kick-the-can in the street is the key to recapturing their lost youth. When he and the superintendent Mr. Cox investigate, Ben finds that Charles and the others have regressed to young children. After this transformation, the young Charles fails to recognize Ben.
    • In "A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain", Harmon Gordon is desperate to keep up with his wife Flora, 40 years his junior, and asks his brother Raymond to test an experimental cellular serum on him in the hope that he will become young again. Although it has been successfully tested on animal subjects and human glands and organs, Raymond says that it will be 20 years before it is ready for human testing. However, he reluctantly agrees to inject Harmon with the serum after his brother threatens to commit suicide. The next morning, Harmon has the appearance of a man of about 40 and regresses to 30 in front of Flora and Raymond. It soon becomes clear that the effects of the serum are out of control. Within hours, Harmon has become a toddler.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: In "In His Image", Alan Talbot and Jessica Connelly got engaged after knowing each other for only four days. Jessica never learns that Alan was an android or that his identity was assumed by his creator Walter Ryder, Jr.
  • Fresh Clue: In "Where is Everybody?", a man finds himself all alone in a deserted town with a case of amnesia. While he's exploring a police station he finds a lit cigar smoldering in an ashtray. When he looks in a cell he finds a sink with the water running and shaving equipment (including a brush with wet shaving cream) sitting around. All of this is evidence that someone was there not too long ago. The Twist Ending is that he's actually in a hallucination caused by isolation.
  • Friend to All Children: In "The Grave", Johnny-Rob says that all children and animals love him as they always follow him around.
  • The Fundamentalist: In "In His Image", Alan Talbot meets an evangelist in a subway station who tells him that God sees and hears everything and that Satan plans to have him. He only manages to shut her up by pushing her under a train.
  • The Future Is Shocking: In "A Hundred Yards over the Rim", after arriving in 1961, Chris Horn is shocked by the sight of a truck, which almost runs him over. He thinks that it is a monster.
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     G 
  • Gag Censor: In "Once Upon a Time", after Officer Flannagan tells him to watch his step, Woodrow Mulligan mutters in irritation. The intertitle reads "Censored!" Immediately afterwards, Mulligan is knocked into a pig trough by a man on a penny farthing and shouts something after him. This time, the intertitle is "Also Censored."
  • Gang of Bullies: In "A Nice Place to Visit", it is mentioned that Rocky Valentine started a street gang called the Angels when he was eight years old.
  • Gaslighting:
    • Discussed in "Person or Persons Unknown". David Gurney believes that someone is attempting to drive him crazy by buying off everyone who knows him, including his wife Wilma, his best friend Pete and his own mother, so they will pretend not to know him.
    • Again discussed in "What's in the Box". Joe Britt accuses his wife Phyllis and the TV repairman of plotting to drive him crazy after his recently fixed TV shows him incriminating scenes from his life.
  • Gender Flip:
    • In "The Hitch-Hiker", the protagonist is a woman named Nan Adams. In The Orson Welles Show radio play by Lucille Fletcher on which it was based, the protagonist is a man named Ronald Adams. Fletcher was not pleased by this change. Furthermore, in the radio version, Ronald picks up a woman and briefly gives her a lift but she leaves after he tries to run over the hitch-hiker. In the television version, Nan gives a lift to a male sailor, who leaves for the same reason.
    • In "To Serve Man", a translator named Betty discovers the true meaning of the Kanamit book To Serve Man. In the short story by Damon Knight, it is a man named Gregori.
    • In "Four O'Clock", Oliver Crangle's parrot is a male named Pete. In the short story by Price Day, the parrot is a female named Pet.
    • In "Mute", the telepathic child is a girl named Ilse Nielsen while the Wheelers have lost their daughter Sally. In the short story by Richard Matheson, the telepathic child is a boy named Paal Nielsen while the Wheelers have lost their son David.
    • In "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", Satan appears to William J. Feathersmith in the form of Miss Devlin. In the short story "Blind Alley" by Malcolm Jameson, Satan (most commonly called His Nibs) assumes a male form with the conventional appearance of "the vermilion anthropoid modified by barbed tail, cloven hoofs, horns and a wonderful sardonic leer."
  • Genre Anthology: A science fiction / fantasy anthology series.
  • Genre Blindness: Some of the protagonists are a bit slow to realize they're in a paranormal situation.
    • In "Walking Distance", Martin Sloan meets himself as an 11-year-boy but he does not realize that he has traveled back in time until a teenager tells him that his 1934 roadster is brand new.
    • In "A Penny for Your Thoughts", Hector B. Poole spends half an episode reading people's minds before realizing that no, they're not talking out loud while somehow keeping their mouths closed.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!:
    • In "Dead Man's Shoes", when Wilma loses control over not knowing what's going on, Dane (in Nathan Bledsoe's body) slaps her to calm her down.
    • In "Death Ship", when Lieutenant Ted Mason starts to freak out over their bizarre experiences, Captain Paul Ross punches him in the face and knocks him down.
  • Get Back to the Future: In "The Odyssey of Flight 33", Flight 33 is sent millions of years back in time after breaking the sound barrier. The crew try to return it to 1961 by reversing the process. However, they do not travel far enough forward in time as they arrive over New York City in 1939. Another attempt is made but Flight 33 is running low on fuel so there is no guarantee of success.
  • Ghost City: In "The Midnight Sun", New York City has been mostly evacuated due to the extreme heat as people are looking for cooler regions elsewhere.
  • Ghost Ship: In "The Thirty-Fathom Grave", the submarine 714, which was sunk by the Japanese in 1942, is seemingly haunted by its crew.
  • Girl Next Door: In "Black Leather Jackets", Ellen Tillman is a nice, sweet girl who lives next door to the house that the aliens have rented. Scott soon falls in love with her.
  • Glassy Prison: In "The Silence", Jamie Tennyson lives in a glass cell in the basement of his club for a year to prove that he is fulfilling his part of the bargain and remaining silent.
  • A God Am I:
    • In "The Little People", after the astronauts William Fletcher and Peter Craig stumble across a civilization of the titular miniscule aliens, Craig goes power-mad and declares himself their god. He gets killed by some even bigger aliens when he attracts their attention by screaming that there's only room for one god here, and gets accidentally crushed.
    • In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", Captain William Benteen, a man who has become the leader of a group of previously stranded settlers on V9-Gamma, is very protective of his position, and Colonel Sloane, who comes to rescue them, accuses him of thinking himself a god.
  • God Is Good: In "The Hunt", though unseen, the Christian God takes multiple measures to help the deceased along; even offering nonchristians a test of morality to keep them out of the devil's clutches. Heaven isn't just a fluffy place with hymns in the clouds, but a paradise for everyone as it takes the form of a beautiful back-country with coon hunts and square dances for a deceased woodsmen. And yes, dogs are more than welcome into Heaven.
  • Gold Digger: In "A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain", Flora worked in a chorus line when she met the wealthy Harmon Gordon, 40 years her senior, who soon fell in love with her. It is clear that she married him for his money as she has no affection for him and bullies him at every turn.
  • Gold Fever: In "The Rip Van Winkle Caper", DeCruz, even after he arrives in the future, can only think about how they can profit off the gold. Later, he kills Brooks and extorts Farwell's share in exchange for water.
  • Greek Chorus: Rod Serling starting with "A World of His Own". He picked a bad time to start appearing on screen.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: In "A World of His Own", the playwright Gregory West, who has the ability to rewrite reality using his dictaphone, created a perfect, impeccable and flawless wife for himself named Victoria. At the beginning of the episode, she comes back to Gregory's house against his will. This is the first time that she has demonstrated independence, indicating to Gregory that she has grown beyond the parameters that he set when he created her.
  • The Grim Reaper:
    • In "One for the Angels", Death appears to the pitchman Lou J. Bookman and tells him that his scheduled time of departure is midnight that night. Lou convinces him to wait until he makes his greatest sales pitch and then decides never to make another pitch as long as he lives. In order to balance his books, Death arranges for a little girl named Maggie Polonski, a friend of Lou's, to be hit by a truck. In order to save her life, Lou makes that great sales pitch, sacrificing his own life in the process.
    • In "The Hitch-Hiker", Nan Adams is frightened by the fact that she sees the same strange hitchhiker at every stop no matter how fast and how far she drives. She eventually learns that she has been Dead All Along, having been killed in a car accident six days earlier, and the hitchhiker is Death.
    • In "Nothing in the Dark", Wanda Dunn is so terrified of being taken by Mr. Death that has not left her apartment in years. After a young police officer named Harold Beldon is shot, she very reluctantly brings him inside so that she can care for him. It turns out that Beldon is Death and that he tricked her into letting him into her apartment to prove to her that she had nothing to fear from him.
  • Griping About Gremlins: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is the Trope Codifier. Bob Wilson sees a gremlin on the wing of the plane attacking one of its engines but can't get anyone else, including his wife Julia, to believe him or see the gremlin.
  • Grumpy Old Man: In "Static", Ed Lindsay is a bitter bachelor in late middle age who despises television and longs for the days when radio was the most popular form of entertainment in the home. His ex-fiancé Vinnie Brown does not believe that he is really hearing radio transmissions from the 1930s and 1940s. She instead thinks that it is all a product of his imagination as they used to the listen to those programs together and he regrets not marrying her when he had the chance in 1940.
  • Guardian Angel:
    • In "Mr. Bevis", J. Hardy Hempstead has been the guardian angel of multiple Bevis family members since one of them, hundreds of years before, performed an unspecified heroic act that earned such an angel as a reward.
    • In "Cavender is Coming", Harmon Cavender is assigned as Agnes Grep's guardian angel to see whether he can improve her life in 24 hours and finally earn his wings.
  • Guinea Pig Family: In "Mute", Ilse Nielsen's parents Holger and Fanny made her the subject of an experiment from the time that she was born: to induce telepathic ability in her by never speaking to her. Three other German couples, the Werners, the Elkenbergs and the Kalders, did the same thing with their children. All of their attempts were successful, with Ilse being the most powerful telepath of the group.

     H 
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Simon and Barbara in "Uncle Simon", especially to each other.
  • Hall of Mirrors: In "In Praise of Pip", Max Phillips follows the 10-year-old version of his son Pip into the amusement park's hall of mirrors after he runs away. Pip then explains that he is dying and disappears.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: In "Two", the man speaks English (with an American accent, of course) and the woman speaks Russian.
  • Hanging Up on the Grim Reaper:
    • In "One for the Angels", Death comes for pitchman (street salesman) Lou Bookman, but Lou doesn't want to go and argues with him. Death finally agrees to postpone Lou's departure until he makes "a pitch for the angels". Lou then says that he's going to give up being a pitchman and never make the pitch again, allowing him to literally cheat Death.
    • In "Nothing in the Dark", Wanda Dunn saw Death kill a woman just by touching her many years earlier. Ever since she has hidden inside her apartment, refusing to come out in fear of the same thing happening to her. One day she reluctantly allows a wounded police officer inside. She eventually learns that he is Death, finally come for her. She initially refuses to go, but he eventually convinces her to take his hand and pass on.
  • Happily Married:
    • In "The Hunt", Hyder and Rachel Simpson have had a very happy life together since their marriage almost 50 years earlier.
    • In "The Trade-Ins", John and Marie Holt have been married for 50 years and remain very much in love and completely dedicated to each other. They wish to have 100 more years together by transferring their minds into new, younger bodies. However, they only have enough money for one of them to do so. As John is in near constant pain, Marie convinces him to go ahead with the transformation. When he does so, however, John can't bear the thought of Marie still being old when he is young and strong. He has the process reversed so that he and Marie can spend the rest of their lives together. John tells her that she is worth the pain.
    • In "Passage on the Lady Anne", all of the couples who have traveled aboard the Lady Anne have had extremely happy marriages. Millie McKenzie credits the ship with enhancing her love for Toby, her husband of 53 years, and believes that every other couple onboard owes the Lady Anne a similar debt.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory:
    • In "It's a Good Life", everyone in Peaksville represses negative thoughts and emotions for fear that if Anthony Fremont senses unhappiness, he will either lash out in anger at the thinker for being dissatisfied with the world he has made or make a misguided attempt to help.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", the Transformation alters people's minds so that the only emotion that they are capable of experiencing is happiness.
  • Harassing Phone Call: In "Four O'Clock", Oliver Crangle tells FBI Agent Hall that he calls the supposedly evil people in the middle of the night to accuse them of various crimes.
  • Haunted House: In "Young Man's Fancy", Henrietta Walker's house is a non-malicious example. Things in the house shift and turn between modern day and older appliances. A grandfather clock that doesn't work suddenly works again, a non-functioning radio suddenly turns on and plays older music, and eventually, Henrietta Walker's ghost appears.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: In "Caesar and Me", unsuccessful ventriloquist Jonathan West breaks into a nightclub at the insistence of his evil dummy, Caesar. While there, they are found by the night watchman, who starts asking them questions. Caesar's response: "Who are you, the house dick?" At the time, "dick" was slang for a detective, but today, the idea of a "house dick" in a nightclub might bring something else to mind.
  • Heads, Tails, Edge: In "A Penny for Your Thoughts", when Hector B. Poole pays for a newspaper, the coin lands on its edge and he gains the power to read minds. In the final scene, Hector accidentally knocks over the first coin with a second one and thereby loses his new ability.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: In "Black Leather Jackets", Scott, Steve and Fred wear the titular attire as part of their disguise as Greaser Delinquents.
  • Hell of a Heaven: In "The Hunt", as far as Hyder Simpson is concerned, a Heaven where his dog Rip isn't permitted in and there's no coon hunting allowed is no Heaven at all. Subverted in the end as that actually was Hell.
  • Henpecked Husband:
    • In "Time Enough at Last", Henry Bemis' wife Helen, who clearly despises him, refuses to allow him to read, snatching the newspaper from him as soon as he picks it up. He tells his boss Mr. Carsville that he has been reduced to reading the contents of condiment bottles at home. She later destroys Henry's poetry book and takes delight at her husband's distress at her having done so.
    • In "Young Man's Fancy", Alex Walker is continually pressured and prodded by his new wife Virginia to sell his mother Henrietta's house, of which he has many very fond memories. However, he finally stands up to her in the final scene when the power of his nostalgia turns him into a young boy again and he stays in the house with the ghost of his mother.
  • Here We Go Again!:
    • In "Judgment Night", U-Boat captain Carl Lanser is doomed to endlessly relive the sinking of a ship which he ordered torpedoed, but as a passenger on the ship with only a vague sense of impending disaster.
    • In "Mr. Dingle the Strong", Luther Dingle's superhuman strength has been revoked by his Martian benefactors, who found his use of it disappointing - but a group of Venusians have just given him superhuman intelligence, beginning the cycle anew.
    • In "Shadow Play", convicted murderer Adam Grant tries to persuade everyone around him that his impending execution by electric chair is just his own nightmare. At the end of the episode, he is executed, and wakes up from the "nightmare" to be sentenced to death again, but with the "roles" in his dream rotated among those who played them.
    • In "Dead Man's Shoes", the homeless man Nate Bledsoe who put on the dead mobster Dane's shoes and was taken over by his spirit to avenge his death is shot and killed - and another homeless man named Chips finds his body and puts on the shoes.
    • In "Person or Persons Unknown", David Gurney wakes up to find that all evidence that he ever existed, including other people's memories of him, seems to have vanished. The episode ends with Gurney waking up from a nightmare - to discover that his wife, though she acts and talks as she has always done, looks nothing like he remembers.
    • In "Death Ship", a trio of astronauts, Captain Paul Ross, Lt. Ted Mason and Lt. Mike Carter, land on a barren planet to discover a wrecked copy of their ship and their own dead bodies in the cockpit. Eventually, they decide that it must be a hallucination to discourage them from landing and collecting samples, but at the end of the episode, they find themselves reliving their original decision to land on the planet to explore it.
    • In "Uncle Simon", Barbara Polk looks after her rich but cruel inventor uncle, Simon, purely because she is his only heir and aims to inherit his fortune when he dies. When he does die, she is freed from his cruelty, but his will requires her to look after his final invention, a robot which eventually takes on his voice and personality, and she ends the episode as she began it, listlessly bringing hot chocolate to her ungrateful, now robotic, uncle.
    • In "From Agnes - With Love", computer programmer James Elwood tries to fix a bug in Agnes, an office computer, which his predecessor could not solve. However, Agnes falls in love with him and begins breaking her programming - just as she did with his predecessor Fred Danziger. At the end of the episode, Elwood is told to go on leave by his supervisor, and it is implied that Agnes will fall in love with his replacement Walter Holmes as well.
    • In "Spur of the Moment", Anne Henderson sees a woman in black screaming her name from a hilltop and flees in terror. She later determines that the woman was her older self, trying to warn her against marrying the wrong man. Eventually, she sees her younger self and tries to give her the same warning, but her younger self flees in terror.
    • In "Queen of the Nile", columnist Jordan Herrick interviews actress Pamela Morris, who has somehow remained youthful despite her long screen career. He learns the hard way that she feeds off the life of young people around her using an Egyptian scarab - she is, in fact, Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, now over two thousand years old. As the episode ends, another columnist arrives for an interview.
    • In "The Time Element", bartender Peter Jenson tries to warn the personnel at Pearl Harbor of the impending Japanese attack - which he knows will happen as he was killed in the attack and has been reliving it ever since.
    • Implied in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," as the aliens state that this will happen again, and again on other streets, much like the first.
    • Rod Serling states the oh-so-familiar Big Bad of "He's Alive" will continue to "offer advice" again and again indefinitely in his closing speech.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: In "Kick the Can", Charles Whitley and Ben Conroy, both residents of the Sunnyvale Rest Home, have been friends for almost their entire lives.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: "He's Alive" has Adolf Hitler hijacking a neo-Nazi campaign.
  • Hilarity Ensues: In "The Whole Truth", the fact that Harvey Hunnicut Cannot Tell a Lie after buying the haunted Model A Ford causes him some problems such as losing sales, getting into a fight with his wife and being punched by his employee Irv when he reveals that he never gives any of his employees raises in spite of all of his promises. However, he manages to avoid any serious consequences until he sells the car to Nikita Khrushchev.
  • Historical Domain Character:
  • Historical Rap Sheet: In "The Howling Man", Brother Jerome tells David Ellington that the Devil is responsible for the great wars, the overwhelming pestilences and the wholesale sinning that is regularly inflicted on the world. After Ellington releases him, he causes World War II, The Korean War and the development of atomic weapons.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: In "No Time Like the Past", Paul Driscoll is determined to use a time machine to avert historical catastrophes, but when he goes back to August 1939 to assassinate Hitler, he is interrupted by a hotel housekeeper and two SS guards. His attempt to prevent the sinking of the Lusitania is similarly thwarted when no-one on the ship believes his story.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In "The Jeopardy Room", Commissar Vassiloff, the assassin sent to kill the Russian defector Major Ivan Kuchenko, is killed by the bomb he set up to kill his target.
    • In "The Brain Centre at Whipple's", a leader in a factory replaces all his men with machinery...and is himself replaced by a robot.
  • Honest John's Dealership: In "The Whole Truth", the used car salesman Harvey Hunnicut is a wheeler and dealer who is willing to tell any and every lie necessary to sell one of the dilapidated cars in his lot. However, an elderly man sells him a haunted Model A Ford for $25 which renders him incapable of telling a lie.
  • Hope Spot:
  • Hot as Hell: "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville" starring Julie Newmar as Satan.
  • How We Got Here:
    • "To Serve Man" opens with Michael Chambers in a sparse cell on a cot being commanded to eat by a voice through a loudspeaker. The rest of the episode is his reminiscence of meeting a race of ostensibly benevolent aliens for whom humans are a dietary staple.
    • "The Bewitchin' Pool" opens with Gil and Gloria Sharewood telling their children Sport and Jeb that they plan to divorce, which is a scene from towards the end of the episode. This was because the production was short of usable footage.
  • Human Aliens: The majority of aliens that appear in the series look exactly like humans. Probably due to the low budget.
    • Part of the plot of "People Are Alike All Over." The protagonists of "Third from the Sun."
    • "Probe 7, Over and Out".
  • Human Ladder: In "Five Characters in Search of an Exit", the title characters form one in an attempt to escape from the large metal cylinder in which they are trapped. However, the ballet dancer is unable to reach the top as they are still several inches too short. The major then fashions a grappling hook from his sword and strips of clothing. He, the clown, the hobo and the bagpiper form another human ladder and he manages to reach the top. It is then revealed that the five of them are nothing more than dolls in a collection barrel.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: In "The Fugitive", Ben belongs to a race of shapeshifters but their default form is entirely human.
  • Human Popsicle:
    • In "The Rip Van Winkle Caper", after stealing $1 million worth of gold bars, Farwell, DeCruz, Brooks and Erbie place themselves in suspended animation for 100 years so they can evade the authorities and spend the gold when they awaken in 2061. Erbie died when a rock broke his suspended animation animation. As it turns out, it was All for Nothing as a way to manufacture gold was discovered during their long sleep.
    • In "The Long Morrow", the astronaut Commander Douglas Stansfield is placed in suspended animation when he is sent on a mission to a solar system 141 lightyears from Earth on December 31, 1987. He removes himself from suspended animation in June 1988 so that he will be the same age as his love Sandra Horn when he returns to Earth in 2027. When he does eventually come home, he discovers that Sandra had herself placed in suspended animation shortly after he left. As such, he is now 71 and she is still 26.
  • Humanity Came From Space: The final scene of "Probe 7, Over and Out" suggests that humanity is descended from Colonel Adam Cook and Norda Eve, a pair of technologically advanced aliens whose respective homeworlds were destroyed.
  • Human Pet: In "Stopover in a Quiet Town", Bob and Millie Frazier discover that they have become the pets of a young girl belonging to a race of giants.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    • In "I Shot an Arrow Into the Air", one of the astronauts kills the other two after they apparently crash on a distant asteroid.
    • In "The Invaders", it turns out that the "aliens" stalking the woman throughout the episode are actually U.S. astronauts on a planet with gigantic Humanoid Aliens.
    • In "The Gift", the benevolent alien Williams is killed by the paranoid and suspicious people of Madeiro, Mexico, who believe him to be either Satan or a practitioner of Black Magic.
    • In "The Shelter", Dr. Bill Stockton's friendly neighbors turn into a hostile mob when an alert goes out to get to their shelters, and he's the only one on the block who has one.
    • In "I am the Night - Color Me Black", darkness appears all over the world in places where hate abounds.
    • Most famously, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street". Aliens plan to utilize humanity's own self-hatred, loathing, and fear to destroy the Earth, block by block.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu:
    • "The Little People" tells the story of two astronauts, William Fletcher and Peter Craig, repairing their spacecraft on a planet populated by a tiny alien race. Craig proclaims himself the god of the tiny aliens and makes them build a life-size statue of him. The power he holds over them due to his size immediately goes to his head, and he begins bullying them into obeying him. In an example of Laser-Guided Karma, another group of spacefarers land on the planet, and they are as large to Craig as he is to the natives; one of them picks him up to look at him and accidentally crushes him to death.
    • Played With in "The Fear". The tiny aliens are terrified of the "giant" humans but they still seek to conquer Earth.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Even when the main character(s) aren't straight up bastards, many episodes still focus on them dealing with a flaw or psychological problem.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: The twist ending of "The Invaders" reveals that the strange creatures in the flying saucer who have terrified the old woman in a remote cabin are American astronauts, and the old woman is an alien on a distant planet.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: In "Black Leather Jackets", Steve uses his eyes to hypnotize Stuart Tillman into thinking that he, Scott and Fred are nice young men, though the effect is short-lived.
  • Hypochondria: In "The Masks", Emily Harper is a severe hypochondriac. After she arrives at her dying father Jason Foster's home, the first thing that she does is complain to his doctor Sam Thorne about a pain in her arm. Over the last 25 years, Emily has claimed to be suffering from a different ailment practically every month. Jason comments that she has been at death's door so often, she must have worn a hole in the welcome mat.
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