025 – People Are Alike All Over

Original air date – 3/25/60

Based on the Short Story by Paul W. Fairman |  Directed by Mitchell Leisen

Starring Roddy McDowall, Susan Oliver, Paul Comi, Byron Morrow, Vic Perrin, Vernon Gray

Instead of enjoying their last moments on earth before a long journey to Mars, astronauts Sam Conrad (Roddy McDowall) and Mark Marcusson (Paul Comi) spend their final night loitering around the launchpad, gazing at the spaceship that they will call home for months to come. They discuss the mysteries of unexplored Mars, and what may lie ahead. Conrad, stares at the spaceship wide-eyed and is petrified of the unknown possibilities they may find at their destination. Unlike Conrad, Marcusson is unafraid and optimistic, believing that if there is life on Mars, it will be human just like the kind they know on earth.

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Cut to the spaceship as it lands on Mars, or crash-lands to be exact. The violent impact injures Marcusson so severly that he dies before he has a chance to see planet that was the whole reason for his journey.

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Now left alone, Conrad is terrified to open the spaceship’s door to face the unknown planet Mars and what may be waiting for him outside.

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But when the rocket ship’s door automatically slides open, Conrad sees what appears to be a group of humans waiting to greet him. But these are Martians –they walk and talk just like earthlings, but their fashion sense seems a bit behind that of earth, since they all wear togas.

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One beautiful female Martian, Teenya (Susan Oliver) catches Conrad’s attention. And we can see by the way she returns his gaze that Teenya has a thing for Conrad too.

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The very human-looking Martians lead Conrad to his new lodgings which looks like a set from Mad Men. This art of replicating a mid-century interior comes from the Martians unearthly ability to read minds, and they read Conrad’s to find out his 60s era idea of home.

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After they leave him to settle in, Conrad comes to realize that he is  locked in from the outside. Conrad frantically looks for the way out. But behind him, the wall of the living room slowly slides open to reveal the Martians curiously looking in at him from the outside. He’s caged in like an animal at a zoo.

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In front of the cage displays a sign, “Earth Creature in HIs Native Habitat.” Remembering his last discussion with Marcusson on the last night on earth, Conrad screams, “You were right! People are alike. People are alike everywhere!”

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People Are Alike All Over (watch it here on YouTube) is a fantastic episode with an equally fantastic Roddy McDowall. Like Third from The Sun, it delves into the question concerning who the aliens and humans are and it all boils down to what perspective you are looking at it from. Mancusson’s belief that “people are all alike” cannot be more true. Our only hope is that the day we meet our extra-terrestrial neighbors, we will only find our good traits in them.

This episode was based on a short story by Paul W. Fairman called Brothers Beyond the Void.

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It’s exhilarating every time when I find an original short story published on the internet (thank you unz.org for providing the free library). So if you have some time, read it here.

Personally, I think this episode deserves a sequel where Teenya breaks the cage to set Conrad free. Conrad then runs away only to find the wreck of the Statue of Liberty indicating he has never left earth after all. There he sinks to the ground and yells, “Damn you all!”

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