Twenty Two (The Twilight Zone)

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Barbara Nichols: Liz Powell
Jonathan Harris: The Doctor
Fredd Wayne: Barney Kamener
Arlene Martel: morgue nurse/stewardess
Mary Adams: Day Nurse
Norma Connolly: Night Nurse (Miss Jameson)
Wesley Lau: Airline Agent

"Twenty Two" is an episode of the American television series The Twilight Zone. It is an adaptation and modernisation of the urban legend commonly known as "Room for one more".

Contents

Opening narration

In one uninterrupted shot, Liz Powell runs through the corridor of the hospital basement, pushes the elevator button and, as the doors open, lurches into the elevator. The elevator descends to the basement level; she exits and walks down the hall. She sees doors swinging, revealing the entrance into Room 22, the hospital morgue, as the nurse steps out and says, "Room for one more, honey." Liz screams and runs back into the elevator as the camera slowly pans to the left to reveal Rod Serling standing and speaking in front of the entrance.

Synopsis

While in a hospital, recuperating from stress, Liz Powell—whom her agent Barney describes as "the best little stripper-dancer that ever came down the pike"—has a strange nightmare. Every night, she awakens at midnight; she turns and breaks a drinking glass full of water, then hears strange footsteps outside her door; it's always the same person, a nurse who beckons Liz to follow her; when Liz does, she goes down into an elevator and nervously approaches room 22.

The strange nurse then emerges from the dark shadows of the room and says: "Room for one more, honey." Liz screams and runs back to her room, where she falls back to sleep. Her doctor claims that the dream is impossible, as there's no nurse who resembles the woman in the dream working in the hospital. The doctor suggests that Liz change her actions in the dream, such not reaching for the glass of water. Liz does this that night and is happy to hear no footsteps, but when she turns to pick up her lighter which she dropped with one hand, her other hand absentmindedly shatters the glass. The dream goes on in the same way, but this time Liz realizes that the room is a morgue.

The next morning, the doctor is shocked: Liz has never been downstairs to the morgue, yet describes it with remarkable accuracy. Discharged from the hospital, Liz is at the airport, preparing to go home. She begins fearing the worst after hearing her flight announced as "Flight 22", leaving immediately. While nervously twitching in the terminal, she bumps into a woman carrying a vase; it falls, making the same noise as the drinking glass in the dream. In a long, slow shot, Liz walks up the runway, climbs the stairs, and approaches the plane...and a stewardess who looks just like the dream-nurse appears, intoning her same terrifying message, "Room for one more, honey."

Screaming, Liz runs back down the stairs and into the airport, falling to the ground. A moment later, as the concerned airport staff rush towards the hysterical Liz, the plane explodes immediately after take-off, (presumably) killing everyone aboard. Liz's dream has warned her of her impending death, thus saving her life.

Episode notes

As the Twilight Zone's second season began, the production was informed by CBS that, at about $65,000 per episode, the show was exceeding its budget. By November 1960, 16 episodes, more than half of the projected 29, were already filmed, and five of those had been broadcast. It was decided that six consecutive episodes would be videotaped at CBS Television City in the manner of a live drama and eventually transferred to 16-millimeter film for future syndicated rebroadcasts. Eventual savings amounted to only about $30,000 for all six entries, which was judged to be insufficient to offset the loss of depth of visual perspective that, at the time, only film could offer. The shows wound up looking little better than set-bound soap operas and, as a result, the experiment was deemed a failure and never tried again.

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