Twilight Zone – Mr. Denton on Doomsday

★★★★1/2  October 16, 1959 Season 1 Episode 3

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

I think very highly of this episode. The more I watch it the more I enjoy it. We travel to the old West for this episode. We meet the town drunk Al Denton who was brilliantly played by Dan Duryea. A gunfighter named Dan Hotaling played by a young Martin Landau is making a fool of Denton by making him sing “How Dry I Am” for whiskey. He picks on Denton one too many times.

The show also has a mystical character (but of course…it’s the Twilight Zone) named Henry J. Fate and he tries to help Denton to redeem himself. I can’t say enough about Dan Duryea’s acting in this episode. The transformation of Denton and the nice twist at the end  makes this a great episode.

You get to know Al Denton and feel for him as he was an old gunfighter and it drove him to drinking…will he be forced into that line of work again?

This episode was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

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. [A revolver mysteriously appears on the ground next to Denton] And this is the third principal character of our story. Its function: perhaps to give Mr. Al Denton his second chance.


In the Old West, the drunkard Al Denton is bullied by the gunman Dan Hotaling to get some booze. The mysterious Henry J. Fate observes the humiliation and Al Denton finds a revolver on the street. When Dan sees Al Denton with a revolver in his hand, he challenges the drunk to a gunfight. Fate observes again and makes a movement with his hand that will change the life of Al Denton.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

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.


Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Dan Duryea … Al Denton
Martin Landau … Dan Hotaling
Jeanne Cooper … Liz
Malcolm Atterbury … Henry J. Fate
Ken Lynch … Charlie
Arthur Batanide … Leader
Bill Erwin … Man
Robert Burton … Doctor
Doug McClure … Pete Grant

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Mr. Denton on Doomsday”

  1. Wow, good one! As a young kid growing up in Germany, I loved to watch Western movies. There was a time when every Saturday they would show one on TV. I knew all they key actors back then. It’s been forever I’ve watched a Western. Now all I can come with are John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Glenn Ford. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started to like Westerns around 5 years ago or so a lot. The Clint Eastwood trilogy and some old western tv shows…of course this one has a mystical twist being in the Twilight Zone.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pam…it’s going to take a year to get through all of them with 3 a week…but I love the homework that goes with it. This one has been under appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate to keep agreeing all the time- but yes 4 1/2 stars- a great twist there at the end and Dan Duryea was perfect for that part- and I like Marty Landau in about anything…. this series makes great use of Hollywood character actors. Even though I had seen this a few times- I forgot about the twist at the end- which was perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry Hans… I’m sure Ill have plenty that you disagree with lol… rating these is very hard. I want to know the ones you think I miss on.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great summary. I really liked the twist at the end where Henry J. Fate may have also had a conversation with the other gunfighter at some point as well. And then Fate on to the next town….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I grew up on cowboys, TV & movies – I think it was the 20th century harking back to times when they felt free and life was untamed and dangerous, all through the haze of very rose-tinted spectacles. Nowadays science-fiction like Star Wars is essentially the wild west, so it’s appropriate it crops up in sci-fi series too – I love the movie Cowboys & Aliens for example, or old shows like Wild Wild West and The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr, or even Star Trek, Back To The Future and much more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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