The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 3

Mr. Denton on Doomsday

Aired Unknown Oct 16, 1959 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
194 votes

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Episode Summary

A has-been, drunk gunslinger finds his fast-draw abilities magically restored.

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Good Episode

    There are some light, humorous moments, good suspense, likeable characters, and a good twist at the end. Not an A+ episode, but a solid, enjoyable A-.
  • Watch Just for Martin Landau!

    I always hope for more whenever I watch this episode. It has plenty of elements to really make it a cracker, but it just seems to fall short. Martin Landau is great. :)
  • A washed up gun-slinger is given a second chance.

    Things moves along at a pretty steady pace so there's plenty of time to attach ourselves to the main character. Al Denton who starts off an alcoholic wollawing in self pity, who takes abuse and sings his dingnity away for dregs of beer. Becomes a respected figure in the town when his gun-slinging abilities sunddenly return after finding a mysteriously abandoned gun. The transition is enetertaining and believable; when Al can shoot well enough to kill anyman, everyman gives him respect. When we learn why Denton laid down his weapons in the first place things get more intresting as we know this isn't the way he would like to earn his respect. There's no honour for him in blowing away strangers who challenge his quick draw, killing day after day until he takes a bullet instead. When the first of said challenges comes his way the mysterious Mr Fate gives him an elixer that will give Al an edge in the shoot out. But theres an intresting twist due to more of Mr Fates medling and a nice morale to boot.

    There's some good characterisation and some nice plot elements, however I did find it odd when he lost the ability to shoot again. Pretty solid stuff, but not amazing.moreless
  • About a drunk in the old west who gets a reprieve--only to be caught in a gunfight with someone else who got the same reprieve--and winds up never being able to shoot again.moreless

    It's a good episode with a good message, but it's kinda slow compared to the episodes I really liked. Martin Landau shows why he was a premiere actor and that he plays a good badguy. A young Doug McClure shows his penchant for old west shows. The writing is average, the plot is average, but the actors do shine. But what really makes this episode interesting is Henry J. Fate, the mysterious old codger with the wagon full of elixirs. "Fate" stepped in, according to one of the townsfolk. This episode is good, but could have been even better than that.moreless
  • A town drunk tries to regain his respect with the aid of a mystical gun and magic potion.

    "Mr. Denton On Doomsday" is another fascinating episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. This time the story takes place in the old west as a town drunk is given the chance to reclaim his respect by becoming a gunslinger. The story briefly talks about why Al Denton turned to alcohol, but does not develop this theme fully. Furthermore, Denton finds it incredibly easy to stop drinking considering he's been an alcoholic for so long. However, while Denton's personal demons would have made for an interesting story, Rod Sterling decided to create an interesting tale around the magical gun, as well as other tricks, that Denton uses to reclaim his quick-draw skills. Dan Duryea provided a good portrayal of his character and reminded me of William H. Macy. Like so many other Twilight Zone's, this episode features a fine twist at the end that adds just the right mix of tension and uncertainty to the story. Overall, while this is not one of The Twilight Zone's great excursions, it is a good average episode. And an average 'Twilight Zone' is still very much worth watching. I gave it 7.5 out of 10.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Portrait of a town drunk named Al Denton. This is a man who's begun his dying early - a long, agonizing route through a maze of bottles. Al Denton, who would probably give an arm or a leg or a part of his soul to have another chance, to be able to rise up and shake the dirt from his body and the bad dreams that infest his consciousness. In the parlance of the times, this is a peddler, a rather fanciful-looking little man in a black frock coat. And this is the third principal character of our story. Its function: perhaps to give Mr. Al Denton his second chance.

    • Liz: Al, I think everything's gonna be all right now, understand? Charlie says you're as good with a gun now as you ever were.
      Denton: That's what Charlie says? I was good. I was real good. I was so good that once a day someone would ride into town to make me prove it, and every morning I'd start my drinking a few minutes earlier, until one morning the guy who asked me to prove it turned out to be sixteen years old. I left him there on his face, right there in front of the saloon. I left him there bleeding to death with my bullet in him. I guess it'll start all over again now. Every fast and fancy man who owns a gun will come riding in down that street, only this time it'll be me face down, bleeding to death. I think I'll go in and get a shave. I want to look proper on the day I die.

    • Denton: How much do I owe you?
      Fate: Oh, there's no charge for this. You might call this.. just a service. That's what it is. Just a service of Henry J. Fate. Just so you might remember sometime the night Fate stepped in.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Mr. Henry Fate, dealer in utensils and pots and pans, liniments and potions. A fanciful little man in a black frock coat who can help a man climbing out of a pit - or another man from falling into one. Because, you see, fate can work that way in the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This episode originally had the lagoon opening used by most of the first season episodes, but the blinking eye opening was dubbed over when they aired this episode as a summer repeat.

    • This is one of a few episodes that feature a different opening title sequence (the camera zooms in on a large, live human eye) and narration.


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