★★ May 18, 1962 Season 3 Episode 36
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This is not a good episode. Cavender Is Coming has one redeeming quality…and her name is Carol Burnett. The episode borrows from It’s A Wonderful Lie and season one Twilight Zone episode Mr. Beavis in particular. This episode was meant to serve as a pilot, the same as Mr. Beavis did…and like Mr. Beavis it didn’t make it as a series. The episode is more like a sitcom than a Twilight Zone and it is the only TZ with a laugh track.
As the guardian angel, Jesse White does the best he can but the problem is with the writing. Carol Burnett could ony do some much also. It is one of the lowest rated episodes on IMDB and in various polls. It’s not my my lowest rated episode…that is coming in the 4th season. It does have it’s funny parts but it doesn’t feel like a Twilight Zone.
In writing Cavender Is Coming, Serling used material from Burnett’s own life for certain sequences. At the beginning of the episode, Agnes is employed as an usherette. This was actually taken from one of Burnetts personal experiences.
The first day she went to work as an usherette, the manager ran through a list of silent signals. Three fingers slapped on the wrist meant take a thirty-minute break. Opening your mouth like a fish and pointing to it meant you were thirsty. And when the manager poked his finger into the center of his palm, that meant he wanted a girl to stand in the center of the lobby to direct the patrons to the available seating.
One of the girls worked up her own signal in reply to the bosss gestures. She poured a bag of buttered popcorn on his head and told him, That means I quit.
One good thing is the original laugh track has been removed in syndication.
Buck Houghton (Producer of the Twilight Zone) on the laugh track: That was CBS’s idea, because they were in a pilot mood and they wanted to get a Jesse White thing going. I refused to go to the dubbing session with the canned laughter man there. I thought it was a dreadful idea.
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
Submitted for your approval, the case of one Miss Agnes Grep, put on Earth with two left feet, an overabundance of thumbs and a propensity for falling down manholes. In a moment she will be up to her jaw in miracles, wrought by apprentice angel Harmon Cavender, intent on winning his wings. And, though it’s a fact that both of them should have stayed in bed, they will tempt all the fates by moving into the cold, gray dawn of the Twilight Zone.
Inept guardian angel Harmon Cavender is given a chance to finally earn his wings by helping an unconventional big city woman, the young, awkward Agnes Grep, who has just been fired. Cavender doesn’t ask her wishes, instead he puts her in posh clothes, provides her with a fortune, and moves her uptown to a fancy Park Avenue address
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
A word to the wise now to any and all who might suddenly feel the presence of a cigar-smoking helpmate who takes bankbooks out of thin air. If you’re suddenly aware of any such celestial aids, it means that you’re under the beneficent care of one Harmon Cavender, guardian angel. And this message from the Twilight Zone: Lotsa luck!
Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Jesse White … Harmon Cavender
Carol Burnett … Agnes Grep
Howard Smith … Polk
Frank Behrens … Stout
Roy N. Sickner … Bus Driver
Sandra Gould … Woman
Donna Douglas … Woman #1
Adrienne Marden … Woman #2
Maurice Dallimore … Man