★★★1/2 June 3, 1960 Season 1 Episode 33
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This episode is one of the light hearted Twilight Zones. Some TZ reviewers have a problem with them but I never have…although I would not rate them as the best. Mr. Bevis played by Orson Bean is an oddball but in 2021 he would probably be considered a hipster. He seems to be happy with his lot in life despite his struggles.
He is given a chance at success by his all business like guardian angel J. Hardy Hempstead played by the character actor Henry Jones. Mr. Bevis will find out that with success comes responsibilities. Are physical comforts and security worth losing yourself over? Personally I think you can have both and we will see what Mr. Bevis will do. The episode borrows a portion from It’s A Wonderful Life.
This episode served as a pilot for a spin-off series where Burgess Meredith was to play Bevis, but the series was not ordered once Rod Serling learned he declined the role.
This episode features 4 prolific and noticeable character actors in the history of TV and motion pictures. According to IMDB, Henry Jones, William Schallert, Charles Lane and Vito Scotti combined have a total of 1200 acting credits.
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
In the parlance of the twentieth century, this is an oddball. His name is James B. W. Bevis, and his tastes lean toward stuffed animals, zither music, professional football, Charles Dickens, moose heads, carnivals, dogs, children, and young ladies. Mr. Bevis is accident prone, a little vague, a little discombuberated, with a life that possesses all the security of a floating crap game. But this can be said of our Mr. Bevis: without him, without his warmth, without his kindness, the world would be a considerably poorer place, albeit perhaps a little saner…Should it not be obvious by now, James B. W. Bevis is a fixture in his own private, optimistic, hopeful little world, a world which has long ceased being surprised by him. James B. W. Bevis, on whom Dame Fortune will shortly turn her back, but not before she gives him a paste in the mouth. Mr. James B. W. Bevis, just one block away from The Twilight Zone.
James B.W. Bevis is, by almost any definition, eccentric. He drives a car that once was Henry Ford’s dream, he likes zither music and makes model ships. He’s a bookkeeper by profession and his desk at work is always cluttered. He likes to bring in children at Christmas-time to sing carols. It all leads to him being fired. While drowning his sorrows at a nearby bar, he meets none other than his guardian angel who shows him that life can be considerably different for him if he wishes it….but is he prepared to make the changes necessary to obtain that lifestyle?
***Note…this is not a great clip and doesn’t tell you a lot but on youtube it’s hard to get a decent clip of the TZ because of a strong copyright hold by CBS I would presume.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
Mr. James B. W. Bevis, who believes in a magic all his own. The magic of a child’s smile, the magic of liking and being liked, the strange and wondrous mysticism that is the simple act of living. Mr. James B. W. Bevis, species of twentieth-century male, who has his own private and special Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Orson Bean … James B.W. Bevis
Henry Jones … J. Hardy Hempstead
Charles Lane … Mr. Peckinpaugh
Horace McMahon … Bartender
William Schallert … Policeman at Accident
Florence MacMichael … Margaret
Dorothy Neumann … Landlady
Vito Scotti … Peddler
House Peters Jr. … Policeman Writing Ticket
Colleen O’Sullivan … Michelle (as Coleen O’Sullivan)
Timmy Cletro … Boy