Based on the short story by Frederick Brown the story starts and ends with “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…”
The show’s announcer begins by saying “Tonight, we have a strange story to tell, a sweet, bloodcurdling little story that is really only two sentences long — ‘The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door…’” The story goes on and elaborates on those two sentences and builds a more complete story around them.
The story is about Walter Phelan, associate professor of anthropology at Nathan University, the last man on Earth. An Immortal space faring race, from Planet Seven in the Third Galaxy in the Fourth Quadrant, calling themselves the Zan have invaded the earth and have killed off all life other than pairs of animal specimens for their zoo.
As their are two of each of the animals there is also a woman named Grace Evans. Grace is the last woman and she is not overly impressed with Walter and maintains her distance.
The Zan become disturbed when one by one the other animals begin to die. The Zan who are immortal don’t know what natural death is, turn to Walter as the probable cause of the animals dying.
He finally convinces George (what Walter calls the aliens because they all look the same) that that is the way it is here on earth. He explains that on earth all beings require love and affection. He explains further that the animals perished from lack of affection and suggests that they pet the survivors regularly to keep them alive. He demonstrates with one of them.
When the Zan begin dying, and their total lack of understanding of the concept of death, they depart the planet in fear. You will just have to listen to the story to find out why they died.
Walter discusses the future of the human race with Grace and how they will have to rebuild the human race. She is shocked by his proposal and flees.
The announcer ends with the “You see? I told you. It wasn’t really so horrible, our story. Remember how it goes? ‘The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. And then, there was a knock on the door…’”
Walter says “come in.” Door slides open … Grace’s footsteps toward Walter. Walter says lovingly “come in, grace. My dear.”
Versions of this story also appeared on the series 2000x (not to be confused with 2000 Plus), Dimension X, 1950-05-06 (available in our Dimension X series here at Spacemens Luck), and more recently on the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Channel’s Seeing Ear Theater.
Broadcast Date: 55-05-22
– Walter: Alex Scourby
– Grace: Lori March
– The Zan George: Luis Van Rooten
Written By: Frederick Brown
Publication Source: December 1948 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories.
Adapted for Radio: Ernest Kinoy
Directed By: Fred Weihe
Announcer: Don Pardo
Listen below to X Minus One Episode 05 Knock