"Five Characters in Search of an Exit" is an episode of the television series The Twilight Zone.
Clown. Hobo. Ballet Dancer. Bagpiper. And an Army Major. A collection of question marks. Five improbable entities stuck together into a pit of darkness. No logic, no reason, no explanation. Just a prolonged nightmare in which fear, loneliness, and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows. In a moment, we'll start collecting clues as to the whys, the whats, and the wheres. We will not end the nightmare, we'll only explain it, because this is the Twilight Zone.
Finally, the ballet dancer suggests forming a tall tower on each other's shoulders to escape. The plan almost works, but a loud sound and vibration shakes the cylinder and sends the five tumbling to the ground. Now even more determined, the Major fashions a sort of grappling hook by tying together loose bits of clothing and attaching the links to his sword. By reforming the tower, he manages to escape, but tumbles to the ground....
The scene then cuts to a little girl picking up a doll in the snow- a doll in the dress of an Army Major. A kindly woman tells her to "put it back in the barrel with the rest of them." It is revealed that the cylinder is a toy collection bin for a girls' orphans home, and that all five characters are nothing more than dolls. The loud noise was the kindly woman shaking her bell to attract people to give more toys.
The final shot is one of the five characters, now seen as dolls with painted faces and glass eyes. The ballet dancer, though, moves her hand and cries.
Just a barrel, a dark depository where are kept the counterfeit, make-believe pieces of plaster and cloth, wrought in the distorted image of human life. But this added, hopeful note: perhaps they are unloved only for the moment. In the arms of children there can be nothing but love. A clown, a tramp, a bagpipe player, a ballet dancer and a major. Tonight's cast of players on the odd stage known as the Twilight Zone.
Next week, Mr. Dean Stockwell makes his journey into The Twilight Zone playing the role of a platoon lieutenant on Corregidor during the last few hours of World War II. What happens to him provides the basis of a weird, and yet, we think, haunting excursion into the shadowland of imagination. On The Twilight Zone next week, Mr. Dean Stockwell stars in "The Quality of Mercy."
I Played Five Characters across Three Decades, but Pobol Ignored Me; Actor's Anger at Being Left out of Soap's Celebrations
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