The After Hours

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Anne Francis: Marsha White
Elizabeth Allen: Saleswoman
James Millhollin: Armbruster
John Conwell: Elevator Operator
Nancy Rennick: Miss Keevers
Patrick Whyte: Mr. Sloan

"The After Hours" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Contents

Synopsis

Marsha White, a woman browsing for a gift for her mother in a department store, decides on a gold thimble. She is taken by the elevator man to the 9th floor, a floor beyond that shown by the elevator gauge. She enters the 9th floor, and turns to complain to the elevator operator that there is nothing there, but the door closes abruptly leaving her to pursue her reality. She is approached by a saleslady who guides her to the only item on the floor—the gold thimble Marsha is longing to possess. During the sales transaction, she grows increasingly puzzled by the comments and actions of both the male elevator operator who transported her to the barren, seemingly deserted floor, and the aloof and clairvoyant female salesclerk behind the counter who sells her the thimble. As Marsha rides the elevator back down from the 9th floor, she notices that the thimble is scratched and dented; she is directed by the elevator operator to the Complaints Department on the 3rd floor.

When she tries to convince Mr. Armbruster, the sales supervisor with enough energy to activate the inanimate, and Mr. Sloan, the store manager, that she bought the item on the 9th floor, she is told that the 9th floor doesn't exist. Marsha then becomes distraught after she spots the back of the salesclerk who sold her the thimble, and is shocked to discover that the woman isn't really a salesclerk at all; she's one of the department store's display mannequins. While resting in an office following her frightening discovery, Marsha finds herself accidentally locked inside in the now-closed store. She attempts to find a way out, and becomes alarmed by mysterious voices calling to her and by some subtle movements made by the supposedly lifeless mannequins around her. Moving about aimlessly, she topples the sailor mannequin, who was the somewhat frustrated elevator operator in earlier scenes.

Becoming hysterical, she flees backward to the elevator, which once again transports her up to the unoccupied 9th floor. There, she gradually realizes the mannequins have come to life, one-by-one, and that she too, is a mannequin. Each one in turn has the opportunity to go out into the world to live among the humans for one month, but Marsha enjoyed her stay among "the others" so much that before the day of her return, when she was supposed to revert, she lost her identity; she had forgotten her true nature. Being with the other mannequins, she realizes that she is back in her natural place, which allows the next mannequin in line—the female salesclerk who sold her the thimble—to go out and live among the humans for thirty days. As the other mannequins see off the salesclerk, the sailor, alone with Marsha, asks her if she enjoyed her time among the humans. She says she had "ever so much fun, ever so much fun." As Marsha fondly recalls her brief sojourn out among the humans, and with a passing expression of regret, confusion, and a small sigh, she and the sailor assume their natural mannequin postures, grow rigid, and become statues.

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