The Lateness of the Hour

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Inger Stevens: Jana
John Hoyt: Dr. Loren
Irene Tedrow: Mrs. Loren
Tom Palmer: Robert (the butler)
Mary Gregory: Nelda (the maid)
Valley Keene: Suzanne (the maid)
Doris Karnes: Gretchen (a maid)
Jason Johnson: Jensen (the handyman)

"The Lateness of the Hour" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone that was originally broadcast in the United States on the December 2, 1960.



Jana, the sensitive daughter of a creative genius, Dr. Loren, is distraught over her parents' reliance on her father's five seemingly perfect robot servants. She implores her father to dismantle the robots before he and her mother become completely dependent on them. After he complies, she reveals to her parents that she plans to start a new life by leaving the stifling confines of the house, getting married and having children. Seeing their dismayed expressions, she comes to the shocking realization that she, too, is a robot, albeit much more emotionally sophisticated than the ones that were dismantled (it also turned out that she was created because the Lorens could not bear any children). The discovery causes Jana such anguish that her "father" is forced to erase the memory of her former "identity" and ultimately use her as a replacement for Nelda, the maid skilled at giving Mrs. Loren her most pleasurable activity, a shoulder massage.

Episode notes

By November 1960, The Twilight Zone's second season had already broadcast five episodes and finished filming sixteen. However, at a cost of about $65,000 per episode, the show was exceeding its budget. As a result, six consecutive episodes were videotaped at CBS Television City, eventually transferred to 16-millimeter film ["kinescoped"] for syndicated rebroadcasts. Total savings on editing and cinematography amounted to around $30,000 for all six entries, not enough to justify the loss of depth of visual perspective, which made the shows look like stagebound live TV dramas (i.e. Playhouse 90, also produced at CBS). The experiment was therefore deemed a failure and never attempted again.

Even though the six shows were taped in a row, through November and into mid-December, their broadcast dates were out of order and varied widely, with this, the first one, shown on December 2, 1960 as episode 8. The second one, "Static", was shown on March 10, 1961 as episode 20; the third, "The Whole Truth", appeared on January 20, 1961 as episode 14; the fourth was TZ's sole Christmas entry, "The Night of the Meek", shown as the 11th episode on December 23, 1960; the fifth, "Twenty Two", was seen on February 10, 1961 as episode 17 and the last one, "Long Distance Call", was transmitted on March 31, 1961 as episode 22.

See also


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