5 things you never noticed in the Twilight Zone classic ''The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street''
Find out about the recycled props, behind-the-scenes talent, and original darker ending to this iconic episode.
This chilling first-season tale from The Twilight Zone remains one of the greatest episodes from the franchise. It continually ranks near or at the top of Top 10 lists. Because this morality tale unfortunately remains so relevant.
Rod Serling wrote this screenplay himself, casting the versatile Claude Akins in the lead role.
Sixty years after it first aired, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" continues to captivate fans. There might be some things even diehard denizens of the Fifth Dimension might have missed. Let's take a closer observation.
1. This alien wrote the lyrics to the "George of the Jungle" theme song
One of the observer aliens, the on with the technical equipment, is played by Sheldon Allman. The actor has many interesting little achievements, but none as fascinating as his musical credits. For starters, he was the singing voice of Mister Ed, recording the songs "The Pretty Little Filly with the Ponytail" and "The Empty Feedbag Blues." He also penned the lyrics to the George of the Jungle theme. Yep, this guy wrote, "Watch out for that tree!"
2. The episode recycled props and costumes from 'Forbidden Planet'
With their distinctive shoulder pads and ribbed breastplates, these uniforms are unmistakably the ones worn by Leslie Nielsen the crew in the 1956 science-fiction classic Forbidden Planet. The only difference being that the patch seems to have migrated from the epaulet to the upper arm. This is not the only piece recycled from Forbidden Planet. The flying saucer itself was used in the film.
3. Amzie Strickland (briefly) appeared in the '80s reboot
Keen-eyed Mayberry fans recognize Amzie Stickland as several characters from The Andy Griffith Show — Myra Tucker, Miss Rosemary, Mrs. Ralph Campbell and Lila Sims. On "Maple Street" she was merely "Woman." Strickland worked steadily from 1937 to 2001, alongside everyone from Abbott and Costello to the cast of ER. She also is the rare actor to appear in two iterations of The Twilight Zone! In 1985, she popped up — in a tiny, tiny role — as a cleaning lady in "But Can She Type?" alongside Pam Dawber, better known as Mindy from Mork & Mindy.
4. The Maple Street location appeared in the season five episode "Stopover in a Quiet Town"
Four seasons later, "Maple Street" would return as Centerville, the eerie setting of "Stopover in a Quiet Town." Here you can see the same house in both episodes. In reality, the location was the MGM studio back lot, in particular the "New England Street" made famous in the Andy Hardy film franchise with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. It can also be seen in Jailhouse Rock.
5. Rod Serling wrote a much darker ending to the story
The episode ends with the aliens looking down upon the town from a distant hill. They board their spacecraft and soar into the night sky. But this is not the end of the tale, at least not as Rod Serling wrote. His written epilogue described Maple Street the following morning. Corpses and charred ruins filled the quiet hamlet. "When the sun came up on the following morning Maple Street was silent. Most of the houses had been burned. There were a few bodies lying on sidewalks and draped over porch railings," Serling wrote in the short story version featured in his 1960 book Stories from the Twilight Zone. "By Wednesday afternoon of the following week, a new set of residents had moved into Maple Street," Serling typed. "They were a handsome race of people." The aliens did not leave at all. They moved in.