The Twilight Zone (episode #2) -- "One for the Angels" (airdate 10/09/59)
The Plot: An aging street salesman has a war of wits with one of the afterlife's more persistent minions.
The Goods: A quick and sweet little tale about the innate goodness of the human spirit, this episode focuses on a lovable "pitchman" who has reached the end of his life, but convinces a not-so-angelic visitor to give him one extra chance. In typically Twilight Zone fashion, our colorful old hero achieves a sweet dose of success, only to have it met by a sharply ironic twist. Even at this early stage, Rod Serling was doling out bittersweet observations about humanity, and he gives both of the nemeses a good deal of insightful dialogue. The two leads are simply superb, effortlessly turning 25 minutes of virtual chit-chat into a surprisingly exciting story.
Sweet, funny, slightly dark, and smoothly entertaining, "One for the Angels" earns a solid A minus on the report card.
The Trivia: The pitchman is played by the always likable Ed Wynn, whose voice you'll recognize from countless Disney productions. "Mr. Death" is played with delicious dryness by Murray Hamilton, a late, great character actor best known for playing Mayor Vaughn in Jaws and Jaws 2.
On the Next Episode: The Twilight Zone visits the Old West, and (of course) brings two cool actors along for the ride.
We're running through all
138 156 * of the original Twilight Zone episodes over the next several weeks, and we won't be doing it alone! Our friends at Film School Rejects
will be entering the Zone as well, only on alternating weeks. So
definitely tune in over at FSR and feel free to also follow along on
twitter accounts @ScreenAnarhcy and @rejectnation.
* Corrected. Thanks to commenter Craig Beam.