Twilight Zone – Escape Clause

★★★★ November 6, 1959 Season 1 Episode 6 (Episode 5 is Walking Distance which I covered in my top 10)

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

In this episode we meet the Devil for the first of many times in The Twilight Zone. We also meet the sad little man…hypochondriac Walter Bedeker. This guy is so unlikable that you have no feeling for him whatsoever. You actually root for the devil.

David Wayne does a great job playing Mr. Bedeker and Virginia Christine is very good as his put upon wife. Thomas Gomez is a very business like devil who lays it out straight for Bedeker. I had it at 3 1/2 stars until I watched it again…the ending is worth it.

Saying that a Twilight Zone episode has a great twist is like saying the sun will rise but this one…is wonderful…and you feel some justice.

A couple of facts about this episode: The cast includes two actors each best known for starring in a long-running TV commercial: Virginia Christine (Mrs. Olson for Folgers Coffee) and Dick Wilson (Mr. Whipple for Charmin Bathroom Tissue).

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

You’re about to meet a hypochondriac. Witness Mr. Walter Bedeker age forty-four. Afraid of the following: death, disease, other people, germs, draft, and everything else. He has one interest in life and that’s Walter Bedeker. One preoccupation, the life and well-being of Walter Bedeker. One abiding concern about society, that if Walter Bedeker should die how will it survive without him?

Hypochondriac Walter Bedeker has once again had his doctor come to his bedside but he can find absolutely nothing wrong with him. The doctor tells him his aches and pains are psychosomatic but he refuses to accept it. Later that night, a Mr. Cadwallader suddenly appears in his room and has a proposition for him: in return for his soul, he will give him immortality. He even has an escape clause in that if he ever gets tired of living, Cadwallader will provide him with a hasty demise. He accepts the deal and soon collects 14 insurance claims over a variety of accidents. He finds it all very boring however but his quest for a thrill brings results with an unexpected outcome.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

There’s a saying, “Every man is put on Earth condemned to die, time and method of execution unknown.” Perhaps this is as it should be. Case in point: Walter Bedeker, lately deceased. A little man with such a yen to live. Beaten by the devil, by his own boredom, and by the scheme of things in this, the Twilight Zone.


Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
David Wayne … Walter Bedeker
Thomas Gomez … Cadwallader
Virginia Christine… Ethel Bedeker
Raymond Bailey … Doctor
Wendell Holmes … Cooper
Dick Wilson … Jack
Joe Flynn … Steve
Nesdon Booth … Guard (as Nesden Booth)

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

23 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Escape Clause”

  1. I’ve met a few people along the way who have seemed to cheat death again and again. Now I have to wonder…. 😉 I’m intrigued by this plot and wish I knew what happened next!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m finding that one of my favorite parts of every episode is the opening – they are written so well and set up the episode so well – this one really foreshadows how unlikeable Bedeker is. Yes great twist. I like too the whole be careful what you wish for vibe. My favorite part though is the suit after all the accidents – and he just keeps wearing it around!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah man I never thought of that…but YES the suit…good catch.
      I could hear Rod Serling talk through the phone book. The way he words things was perfect.


    1. The first one I did when I started my top ten…I left the opening and closing out…I then realized…those are some of the best parts. They tell the story.


  3. David Wayne is superb in this! (Also loved him as the Mad Hatter on Batman!) This is one of my top 10 Twilight Zone episodes. I know we’ve talked about this before, but one of the things I loved about the Twilight Zone is those endings….they remind me so much of the Old Radio Shows (Suspense, The Mysterious Traveler, and The Whistler) of the 30’s and 40’s. You know it is coming and are always blown away by it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first time I watched these…the ending would get me everytime…and still do! No one has matched this kind of show yet.


  4. I saw this yesterday… I kinda guessed the ending …well the jail not the final bit…but it was good. Like you said, given his ‘prey’ the devil didn’ t seem too bad in this one

    Liked by 1 person

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