"People Are Alike All Over" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.
You're looking at a species of flimsy little two-legged animals with extremely small heads whose name is Man. Warren Marcusson, age thirty-five. Samuel A. Conrad, age thirty-one.
They're taking a highway into space, Man unshackling himself and sending his tiny, groping fingers up into the unknown. Their destination is Mars, and in just a moment we'll land there with them.
piloted by two astronauts heads out on a mission to Mars
. One of them, Marcusson, is a positive thinker who believes that people are alike all over, even on the Red Planet. The other astronaut, Conrad, has a more cynical view of human interplanetary nature. The impact of landing on Mars is so severe that Marcusson dies. Now alone, Conrad is consumed by fear when he hears a rhythmic sound reverberating upon the ship's hull. Expecting some unnameable evil, he finds his apprehension turning to joy when, upon opening the hatch, he sees Martians that indeed appear human, have mind-reading abilities and give the impression of being most amicable, especially the beautiful Teenya, who welcomes and reassures him. The hospitable locals lead their honored guest to his residence—an interior living space furnished in the same manner as one on Earth would have been. Conrad briefly relaxes, but soon discovers that his room is windowless and the doors cannot be opened. Momentarily, a wall slides upward, leading to Conrad's realization that he has become a caged exhibit in a Martian zoo - an Earth Creature in its native habitat. In the episode's closing lines, Conrad yells to the heavens, "Marcusson! Marcusson, you were right! People are
alike.... people are alike everywhere!"
Species of animal brought back alive. Interesting similarity in physical characteristics to human beings in head, trunk, arms, legs, hands, feet. Very tiny undeveloped brain; comes from primitive planet named Earth. Calls himself Samuel Conrad. And he will remain here in his cage with the running water and the electricity and the central heat for as long as he lives. Samuel Conrad has found the Twilight Zone.
Preview for Next Week's Story
This may look like some kind of kooky greenhouse. Actually, it happens to be a conveyance, a mode of travel - time travel. And next week you'll see Albert Salmi take an extended journey from 1880 to 1960. I hope then, next week, you'll be able to take another walk with us into The Twilight Zone. (Serling disappears from the time machine) Hey! Where'd everybody go?
- This episode was based on Paul W. Fairman's Brothers Beyond the Void, published in the March 1952 issue of Fantastic Adventures and also included in August Derleth's 1953 anthology collection Worlds of Tomorrow. In this renowned short story, Sam Conrad remains on Earth and it is the lone pilot Marcusson who has the too-close encounter with smaller, more alien Martians. In adapting the tale, Serling made key changes that would deepen the irony and heighten the impact. He installed the apprehensive, defeatist Conrad as the protagonist, easing his fears, only to have them ultimately confirmed, and he presented the Martians as a human-sized, handsome, superior race whose apparent benevolence would make their climactic treachery seem even more shocking.
- The original pilot of Star Trek (The Cage, later reworked into the two-part episode The Menagerie) had a plot which bore a striking resemblance to People Are Alike All Over. That pilot also co-starred Susan Oliver.
- Marcusson is portrayed by Paul Comi, a frequent guest star in TV shows of the 60s and 70s. His other TZ work was in the second season's The Odyssey of Flight 33, where he played the co-pilot, and the fourth season's The Parallel.
- The planet exteriors are taken from the oversize painted background dioramas seen in the 1956 MGM film Forbidden Planet.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090