By Cat Eldridge: On this day in 1960, “The Hitch-Hiker” aired as the sixteenth episode of The Twilight Zone’s first season. It is based on Lucille Fletcher’s “The Hitch-Hiker” radio play. It is frequently listed among the series’ greatest episodes by fans and critics alike.
Its opening narration is:
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…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’ companion on a trip to California will be terror. Her route: fear. Her destination: quite unknown.
The primary cast is Inger Stevens as Nan Adams and Leonard Strong as The Hitch-Hiker with a number of others in supporting roles. In the original radio play by Fletcher, the character of Nan was a man named Ronald Adams. Orson Welles would play that character in on The Orson Welles Show, Philip Morris Playhouse, Suspense and The Mercury Summer Theater, all of which aired in the early Forties. Hitch-hikers, of all persuasions, have a long tradition in SFF with one of our favorite ones being Rose Marshall of the Sparrow Hill Road duology.