The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 5

A Game of Pool

Aired Unknown Oct 13, 1961 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
140 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Championship pool player Fats Brown returns from the grave for one last game.

Watch Full Episode

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
  • better epsiodes

    One of the better epsiodes the great pool shark alive vs the great pool player dead! Too bad the series went on too long and had such sterotypical epsidoes such as "The Queen of the Nile" of Femme fatles" or flawed ones such as "A quality of Mercy" {gung ho} or "Death's Head revisited" {War Criminals}. Th eonlr compliant i have on this is that they did a remake on the "New" Twightl Zone" in which Cardiff loses and Brown doesnt kill him-he just snears that Cardiff will be a second rate pool shark and that's it!moreless
  • Good

    This is one of the best Episode of The Twilght Zone.

    this Episode starts out with a Pool shark whanting to play the best of all time well he gets his chance as the greatest of all time comes back from the dead to play one last game on earth dearing the game it heats up being time for both players if the alive one loses he dies and if he win then is put on top of the world as the greatest of all time and when he does it we see him do the same the as the one before him does but at a different place the endmoreless
  • Pool Legend

    This is a lite and endearing episode. This one is really about character and conversation, no monsters and any scary tactics involved. This is in the same vein as the film "The Hustler" just like that film two contenters chalange one another to a game of pool. Jesse Cardiff is an up and commer who currently now is a legend in his own mind. And Fat Brown a deceased pool legend comes down to meet Jesse's demand to win the title from Fat's. What's interesting is you actually like the Fat's Brown charcter not just from the fact that he's played by Johnathan Winters (one of my favorate comedians) but he seems to be a well rounded individual that desires more than just to play pool. Pool to him is just a game, it's all the other things he did outside of pool that mattered the most to him.

    We easily see he doesn't care whether he wins or loses it's really how the game is played that matters.

    Contrasted with Jesse who comes off as brash, arrogant, and sometimes spiteful. He doesn't see Fat's as an individual to be friends with, just a king who has served his term and must be dethroned.

    The conversation constantly going on keep the pool game interesting. It's phylosophical and soulful, Fat's is giving Jesse the best advice he's probably going to get. But of course Jesse is so busy with his own determination that he doesn't care. And of course in the end, Jesse was unable to learn the easy way so he learned the hard way once he himself is chalanged.

    It just goes to show victory for the victor doesn't last forever because their will always be another victor that will take one's place. And winning truely isn't everything it's how you live your life that counts and is the true victory.moreless
  • Wonderful Episode

    I think that episode of The Twilight Zone is a wonderful episode. The first time I saw this episode was yesterday on the Scifi channel and I loved it. The characters were good and the ending to this episode is one of the best ones I have ever seen. I liked the characters of Jesse and Fats because Jesse always wanted to be the best and he didn't know what Fats knew about being a true legend. At the end of this episode Jesse learned what it was like to be the best and realized that no one is the best at something.moreless
  • My favorite Twilight Zone episode bar none.

    This great Twilight Zone episode appears to have been inspired by The Hustler starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason which was released around the same time. As with the film, you have a confrontation between two great pool players--the legend who is considered the best and the up and comer who aspires to be the best. Only this time its the legend who emerges from the hereafter in order to give the up and comer his shot.

    Jonathan Winters, in a rare dramatic appearance, plays the legendary Fats Brown who returns from the great beyond in order to give up and comer Jesse Cardiff, played by Jack Klugman, his shot at becoming hailed as the greatest pool player of all time. As with many Twilight Zone there's a twist at the end. Jesse Cardiff defeats the legendary Fats Brown but his reward isn't what he thought it would be. Credit both Winters and Klugman for doing fine work here and creating two memorable characters.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • At the end of the episode, when Fats misses what would be his last shot, the cue ball is at the spot mark on the table. Then, when Jesse goes to sink that shot after an interruption by Fats, suddenly the cue ball is much farther away.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Jesse Cardiff, pool shark, the best on Randolph Street, who will soon learn that trying to be the best at anything carries its own special risks in or out of the Twilight Zone.

    • Fats: It takes more than skill to be a champion. It takes equal parts of talent, luck, work, nerve. A quality you sadly lack.
      Jesse: Nerve. You mean insanity. Risk my life on a game of pool.
      Fats: Insanity if you prefer. I'm just a pool player. There's probably no less important thing on the face of the earth. But mark this in your book: I'm the best. It's proud thing to be the best at anything. But you wouldn't know anything about that.

    • Jesse: I had an eye for this game. (misses his shot)
      Fats: What happened to it?
      Jesse: I almost made it.
      Fats: A funny thing. In geometry, "almost" isn't enough.
      Fats: Pool is geometry, in its most challenging form. A science of precise angles and forces.

    • Fats: You know something, Jesse. There's more to life than this pool hall. It isn't right you're being all cooped up in here like this. Get out a little, see what's gong on.
      Jesse: You didn't get to be the best sitting on a park bench. You spent a lot of time with that cue in your hand.
      Fats: Of course I did. But I took time out to live, too. I've been places where they've never heard of billiards.
      Jesse: Fifteen ball in the corner pocket.
      Fats: I may not look the part, Jesse, but I made love, walked uphill, swam in the ocean. When I think of the wonderful things there are to see and do. It hurts me. Yeah, see you rotting your life away in this miserable dark hall.
      Jesse: You're lying, you're trying to distract me. That's a lousy thing. Fifteen ball in the corner pocket. (Fats starts tapping his chalk, then drops his cue, Jesse misses) You made me do that, you made miss!
      Fats: Oh come on. A little gamesmanship, a little fun, and you came apart. Kids stuff to make you break your concentration, go wild.

    • Jesse: Couldn't be a nice friendly little game, huh?
      Fats: I take them as I find it. To you, pool is not a nice friendly game. It's a win at any price affair. I acted accordingly.

    • Fats: Believe me, I've only been doing my job. Someone has to keep the flame. Someone has to weed out those who haven't got what it takes. You see the champions, the legends, they serve as a purpose. A challenge, an incentive.
      Jesse: I don't need a challenge.
      Fats: Everyone needs a challenge, Jesse. Someone great out of the past to say, "Match what I've done, boy, and make it better." That's true in all walks of life. Music, politics, sports, you name it. Me, I'm only a pool player. But I'm the best.
      Jesse: You were the best.

    • Fats: You called?
      Jesse: But you're...?
      Fats: Dead? Not really. As long as people talk about you, you're not really dead. As long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn't die just because the man does.
      Jesse: It's impossible!
      Fats: Nothing's impossible. Some things are less likely than others, that's all.

    • Fats: Look, I've come a long way, boy, and not to be fooled with. I've seen your kind before - a little skill, a knack, a style, but when the heat's on, you fold.
      Jesse: That isn't fair! You've never seen me play. Maybe I can beat you. It's possible, isn't it?
      Fats: It's possible. Things change. Records get higher. But you'll never get the job done with your mouth.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Mr. Jesse Cardiff, who became a legend by beating one, but who has found out after his funeral that being the best of anything carries with it a special obligation to keep on proving it. Mr. Fats Brown, on the other hand, having relinquished the champion's mantle, has gone fishing. These are the ground rules in the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (2)

    • George Clayton Johnson originally wrote a second ending for the episode - one where Jesse loses and "dies" - the death any second-stringer gets when he doesn't measure up and fades into obscurity. There was some debate on which ending to use. The 1985 remake of this episode used this alternate ending.

    • Included on volume 3 of Image-Entertainment's DVD collection.