Original Air Date: October 2nd, 1959
Director: Robert Stevens
Writer: Rod Serling
The Story: Mike Ferris is a man with no memory; a man who finds himself stumbling through a virtual ghost town. The buildings stand erect, properly assembled. The expected outlets are all present and accounted for. Vehicles line the roads… but there isn’t a single soul in sight, and the discovery of complete and total isolation sends Mike tumbling over the edge. When he’s finally drawn from his strange universe he learns he’s not quite as alone as he’d come to believe.
Thoughts: This was a strong launching point for Rod Serling’s most famed creation. The Twilight Zone aired new episodes for five seasons, and it all started with a man, thrust into an experimental Hell, alone and unstable. It’s a chilling concept worked up for the official arrival of the greatest television show in history.
Actor Earl Holliman faces a frightening challenge: Lead the entire episode in solo fashion. The man gets no support to work from, and at moments his insecurity in specific scenes shines through. But the beauty of his showing is, those shaky spots are quite rare, and Holliman himself adds a commentary track in which he admits he didn’t deliver as powerfully as he could have at times. As it is, he’s a convincing enough lead to hold the attention.
The sets carry a fine vintage feel and the ultimate twist is both startling a little cruel. It also sticks to you, just as the series as a whole has managed to do for decades.
Verdict: There’s no doubt that superior episodes of The Twilight Zone exist. In fact, despite being the inaugural episode of this classic broadcast, Where is Everybody? isn’t even recognized as one of the true fan favorite stories. Knowing such facts, it’s obvious that this is a fine piece of film. It’s an eerie tale that proved strong enough to suck viewers into The Twilight Zone.