I've always wondered how come I still love this episode, even though I'm a 13-year old boy, and there are many episodes that should appeal to me more. I think it's the basic idea behind it. An old man is told that he's going to die, he gets a reprieve, but the little girl will die instead, and the old man uses his reprieve to save her. This is definitely Death's best appearance. Instead of resorting to trickery (as in Nothing in the Dark), or being way too creepy (The Hitch-Hiker), Death is a clan-cut, no-nonsense business man who has appointments that cannot be missed. This Death has personality, and we can sense that he is fond of the people he takes. There is no bad part to this episode. It's also Dana Dillaway's finest performance in the Twilight Zone.
Lewis J. Bookman, or Lew to people who know him, is a 69 year old street pitchman who is a close friend to the children in his neighborhood. One day, he notices a man in a black suit watching him and writing in a notebook. When he gets home, the same man is waiting there. The man reveals that he is Death and it is time for Lew to die. Of course, Lew dosen't figure it out at first. Natuarlly, Lew doesn't Lew then tricks Death into letting him live until he makes a last great pitch: a pitch for the angels. Because Lew won't go with him, Death has to take Maggie, a little girl, instead. Death is scheduled to take Maggie at midnight. Lew learns from Death that if he dosen't take her by midnight, she won't die. So, Lew sets up a final pitch that keeps Death busy until midnight finally comes around and he misses his appointment. Since Lew did his last great pitch, he goes with Death.
Ed Wynn does a fine job playing an elderly salesman, who must cheat death twice: Once to save his own life and then later to save that of a young girl. This second episode of the series is another strong entry. The greatest strength of the episode is Ed Wynn's performance. Wynn, who worked on Rod Sterling's TV version of Reqeium For A Heavyweight, was a great choice to play the aging pitchman here. He makes his character likable and engaging in the short time he has available to him. Of course, the writing is strong, as it is in most Twilight Zones. Overall, I rated it 7.7 out of 10.
kind of a jerk move by death to take the life of the little girl. He couldn't find some old dude to take his place? I don't care that eventually the oldie righted things. I got the feeling that death was just tired of hearing the man talk. At the end they tried to make the episode about how much the children loved the old man, but that didn't come across. All I saw was an old man complaining about how hot he was and selling 0 robots, which is a double whammy.
I enjoyed the banter between Ed Wynn and Murray Hamilton. It's a simple tale, and really stretching the truth to expect that Mr Death would be so taken in by a pitchman, but it works well as a charming and harmless tale.
Goofy and formualic. None of the visual appeal of the pilot either. At first I thought I was going to get a dry humoured crude business man take on Death. Similair to the potrayal of The Devil in Reaper. But by the end, he was as goofy as the main character, dissapointing. Alot of enjoyement from the show comes from trying to guess the final twist, I was racking my brain trying to think of something clever that could turn the episode on it's head. Instead I got the most obvious conclusion, which was enfuriating in it's simplicity and ability to undo all of the merits of the only intresting character from the get go.
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