The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street was part of the first season of the Twilight Zone and aired on March 4, 1960. It was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 10 episodes of the series.
The opening narration goes like this:
“Maple Street, U.S.A. Late summer. A tree-lined little world of front porch gliders, barbecues, the laughter of children and the bell of an ice cream vendor. At the sound of the roar and the flash of light, it will be precisely 6:43 p.m. on Maple Street. This is Maple Street on a late Saturday afternoon. Maple Street – in the last calm and reflective moment – before the monsters came.”
In my sixth-grade English class we read the screenplay of the episode almost 40 years after it first aired. Yes, I’m a baby, but hey I do social media for a startup company. I remember loving the story. I thought it was the deepest thing I had ever read in my young adult life.
If you are unfamiliar with the episode or the story, a neighborhood is going about it’s little idealistic neighborhood business when the power goes out. The neighbors gather outside to talk about what is going on. A young boy named Tommy says he’s heard about an alien family living in neighborhoods, disguised as humans to create havoc and isolate neighborhoods. The neighbors begin turning on one of their neighbors. The perpetrators indeed end up being aliens trying to mess with the humans and get them riled up.
The underlying symbolism of this episode was a comment on McCarthyism, but the symbolism is timeless that communities are stronger together.
I remember our teachers trying to explain to us that we should not ever fear our neighbors (or in our case classmates) and that our neighbors are instead our support system.