In the classic Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life", six-year-old Anthony Fremont (played by child star Billy Mumy) has the power to wish for anything. He often gets angry at other people, punishing them by sending them to "the cornfield". The other people in his town fear him, and do what they can to please him.

Was the cornfield an actual place that physically existed? Or was it a metaphor for oblivion?

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    Depends on your point of view. Anthony probably thought of it as a cornfield because that's how him or someone else he heard of was punished. The 2000s revival had a sequel episode (with the return of Bill Mumy) where Anthony had a daughter, who it turned out, was stronger than him and could bring things back from the cornfield, with just as little explanation as to where that actually was.
    – Radhil
    Jan 3, 2019 at 17:35
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    BTW, In the sequel, Anthony's Daughter was played by Billy Mumy's daughter Lilliana. Jan 3, 2019 at 18:41

3 Answers 3


The original short story describes the cornfield as a literal place where he sends the bodies (and this something that his family convinces him to do rather than leave the twisted remains of what was once human on the carpet), so I believe it was likely literal in the TV presentation as well.

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    I keep forgetting a lot of the original show was adapted from other short stories.
    – Radhil
    Jan 3, 2019 at 17:47
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    Wasn't the only part of the world that still existed the town and the cornfield? Jan 4, 2019 at 14:29
  • @MichaelRichardson: Yes, and it was hinted that this created massive infrastructure issues, particularly when him toying with weather patterns resulted in poor crop yield.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 21, 2021 at 18:25

From the point of view of the inhabitants, they may not know whether the "cornfield" is real. It's just where they tell Anthony to send things when they need to be gotten rid of.

From the opening narration:

On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Peaksville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away.

So the people living there don't know anything about what exists beyond the small confines of their town. It's not clear specifically by what means Anthony keeps them from exploring—whether it's merely out of fear that they don't try to get away, or whether he has placed some kind of barrier between the village and whatever else remains of existence. However, they seem to have no way of knowing where, if anywhere, the stuff sent to the "cornfield" actually ends up.


I always assumed that "The Cornfield" was, a real place, one of the many cornfields and other fields surrounding Peaksville that grew the food to keep the people there alive. I assume that Anthony transports his victims - living or dead - into the ground below "The Cornfield", thus helping to fertilize it.

Of course if Anthony transported the dead bodies of his victims onto the surface of "The Cornfield" the Peaksville people would avoid it and it would be abandoned and disused.

Coincidentally, all persons interested in the US Civil War recognize the phrase "the Cornfield" as referring to Mr. Miller's cornfield near Sharpsburg, Maryland, scene of some of the bloodiest fighting at the Battle of Antietam. This may have suggested "The Cornfield" as the phrase to described where Anthony sends his victims.

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