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A classic episode from the series's first season, The Hitch-Hikertakes a cue from the American urban legend, in which a motorist continually sees the same hitchiker over and over again for up to thousands of miles, finding out toward the trip's end that the hitchhiker really is death calling them to the afterlife.

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"The Hitch-Hiker" The Twilight Zone episode
Leonard Strong as the Hitch-Hiker Episode no. Season 1
Episode 16 Written by Rod Serling (story by Lucille Fletcher) Directed by Alvin Ganzer Guest stars Inger Stevens : Nan
Leonard Strong : The Hitch-Hiker
Adam Williams : Sailor
Russ Bender : Counterman
Lew Gallo : Mechanic
George Mitchell : Gas Station Man
Eleanor Audley : Mrs. Whitney (voice) Production no. 173-3612 Original airdate January 22, 1960 Episode chronology ← Previous Next → "I Shot an Arrow Into the Air" "The Fever" List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Hitch-Hiker" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.


[edit] Opening Narration

[edit] Part One

" Her name is Nan Adams. She's twenty-seven years old. Her occupation: buyer at a New York department store, at present on vacation, driving cross-country to Los Angeles, California, from Manhattan. "

[edit] Part Two

" Minor incident on Highway 11 in Pennsylvania, perhaps to be filed away under accidents you walk away from. But from this moment on, Nan Adams's companion on a trip to California will be terror; her route - fear; her destination - quite unknown. "

[edit] Synopsis

The story begins with a woman, Nan Adams, who has been in a car accident on a cross-country road trip from New York to Los Angeles. A mechanic puts a spare tire on her car, and then leads her to the nearest town to fix it properly. Just before she leaves, she notices a strange-looking man hitchhiking. Unnerved, she drives away quickly. As it turns out, this is the first of many times that she will see the same man, always hitch-hiking and wanting her to pick him up. She becomes increasingly frightened of him, and when she is stuck on a railroad crossing and nearly hit by a train, she becomes convinced that the hitch-hiker is trying to kill her. She continues to drive, becoming more and more afraid, stopping only when necessary; but every time she does, the man is there.

When she ends up stranded in New Mexico, she meets a different man, a sailor on his way back from his leave and returning to his ship in San Diego. Eager for protection from the hitch-hiker she's been seeing, she offers to drive the sailor to San Diego herself. However, she is still paranoid about the hitch-hiker, and when she sees him on the road and tries to run him over, the sailor, who can't see him, begins to fear for her sanity and leaves her. In Arizona, Nan stops to call her mother. However, the woman who answers the phone, Mrs. Whitney, says that Mrs. Adams is in the hospital: She had a nervous breakdown after finding out that her daughter, Nan, was killed in an auto accident in Pennsylvania six days ago, when the car she was driving blew a tire and overturned. At this point, Nan realizes the truth: The hitch-hiker is not a man who wants her to die, but rather, the personification of death itself, just patiently and persistently waiting for her to realize that she has been dead all along.

"I believe you're way?" he inquires from the back seat, almost friendly.

As Nan accepts her fate, Rod Serling narrates the final lines.

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Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Drama, Suspense
TV Show:  The Twilight Zone
Genre:  Science Fiction
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3 Ratings: +5.0
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More The Hitch-Hiker reviews
review by . May 25, 2009
Inger Stevens as Nan Adams
    Of all realities, one's own mortality is the most exacting though equally inscrutable. "The Hitch-Hiker" tells the tale of an individual who dies in a car accident, the fact of which for some inexplicable reason goes unnoticed by the deceased. If ever there were a modern folktale; this is one of Twilight Zone's finest tales if but for the revelatory performance of Inger Stevens. The story is not some April Fool where one laughs at the end or where even irony has the last word. …
review by . August 29, 2009
This was a great tv series from the 60's created and hosted by a unique guy named Rod Serling. This show was innovative and very well written ( a lot of them were written by Rod Serling) and the stories always had a twist at the end. Kind of hard to watch them today because the pacing and unfolding of the stories is from another time (meaning very slow) and once you've seen them and know what's coming it kind of spoils the fun. All in Black & White, very little in the way of visual effects, …
Quick Tip by . December 01, 2009
Definitely in my top 5 favorite TV shows ever. It's so existentialist and weird!!
review by . September 09, 2009
posted in Pass The Remote!
   This review is of the Definative Twilight Zone Collection:      This collection is the best television collection out there. All the stories were written by the top writers. Most had actors who later went on to big careers either in movies (Robert Redford as Mr. Death) and TV (Elizabeth Montgomery as a last remaining rebel in an interplanetary war.). I especially love the episode Time at Last where a bookworm finally finds what he has been waiting for only to lose …
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