November 2006: Colonel Wilder flies a solo return mission to Earth, hoping to find survivors or some remnants of civilization, but nuclear war has wiped out the birthplace of the human race. The only surviving humans now live on Mars, and no further supply missions from Earth are coming. Wracked with guilt, Wilder returns to Mars.
As the human settlers eke out a meager existence trying to live off the Martian land, though some are seemingly oblivious to Earth’s fate. Wilder lands near the home of a brilliant scientist who, in despair, has turned his talents toward recreating his dead family members with robots. Returning to the Martian ruins that drove Spender mad, Wilder encounters a Martian – or perhaps a recorded message from one – who urges him to make peace with the destruction of Earth and accept that people from Earth are the new Martians.
teleplay by Richard Matheson
based on the novel by Ray Bradbury
directed by Michael Anderson
music by Stanley Myers / electronic music by Richard Harvey
Cast: Rock Hudson (Colonel John Wilder), Gayle Hunnicutt (Ruth Wilder), Bernie Casey (Maj. Jeff Spender), Christopher Connelly (Ben Driscoll), Nicholas Hammond (Arthur Black), Roddy McDowall (Father Stone), Darren McGavin (Sam Parkhill), Bernadette Peters (Genevieve Seltzer), Maria Schell (Anna Lustig), Joyce Van Patten (Elma Parkhill), Fritz Weaver (Father Peregrine), Linda Lou Allen (Marilyn Becker), Michael Anderson Jr. (David Lustig), Robert Beatty (General Halstead), James Faulkner (Mr. K), John Finch (Christ), Terence Longdon (Wise Martian), Barry Morse (Peter Hathaway), Nyree Dawn Porter (Alice Hathaway), Wolfgang Reichmann (Lafe Lustig), Maggie Wright (Ylla), John Cassady (Briggs), Alison Elliott (Lavinia Spaulding), Vadim Glowna (Sam Hinston), Richard Heffer (Capt. Conover), Derek Lamden (Sandship Martian), Peter Marinker (McClure), Richard Oldfield (Capt. York), Anthony Pullen-Shaw (Edward Black), Burnell Tucker (Bill Wilder)
Notes: Producer Milton Subotsky was one of the founders of ’60s British horror powerhouse Amicus Films, which also released the two ’60s big-screen adaptations of Doctor Who starring Peter Cushing. (Since the Amicus name was associated so closely with horror films, a fictitious production company called AARU Films was credited for the Doctor Who films.) Amicus also released the first filmed adaptation of the Tales From The Crypt comics, predating the HBO series by 17 years.