Twilight Zone – The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross

★★★★ January 17, 1964 Season 5 Episode 16

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

Don Gordon who plays Salvadore Ross a troubled young man who has fits of rages. He soon finds out that human characteristics can be bought, sold, and exchanged like stock. There is one thing though…it’s a price steeper than money. Salvadore starts out as another Serling low life. A small-time man looking for shortcuts who only want things without giving back. His newfound power has no explanation, but I didn’t mind.

This is an episode about getting what you want and how essential it is to be true to yourself in attaining it. Sometimes it’s not about having it but how you get it. The acting is top-notch. Don Gordon went on to have 134 acting credits in 6 different decades. He also appeared in the Twilight Zone appearance since The Four of Us Are Dying. The character here is similar…cocky, slightly cruel, and short-tempered.

From IMDB Trivia: Based upon a short story of the same name, written by Henry Slesar and first published in the May 1961 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction by Mercury Press, Inc.

Kathleen O’Malley plays the nurse and J. Pat O’Malley played the older patient in the hospital. They were not related, however, when he began his career, he was known as Pat O’Malley, but when he arrived in Hollywood, he became known professionally as J. Pat O’Malley to avoid confusion with the actor Pat O’Malley who was, in real life, the father of Kathleen O’Malley.

The character of Salvadore Ross is 26, but the actor playing him, Don Gordon, was 38.

The $100,000.00 offer in 1964 would be the equivalent of about $896,000.00 in the year 2022.

This show was written by Jerry McNeely, Henry Slesar, and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Confidential personnel file on Salvadore Ross. Personality: a volatile mixture of fury and frustration. Distinguishing physical characteristic: a badly broken hand, which will require emergency treatment at the nearest hospital. Ambition: shows great determination towards self-improvement. Estimate of potential success: a sure bet for a listing in Who’s Who in the Twilight Zone.


Salvadore Ross is a volatile mix of violence and frustration. He’s not very bright and hasn’t made much of himself so far. He is very much in love with Leah Maitland though she has told him she doesn’t want to see him anymore. He thinks she won’t see him because her father doesn’t approve and that they both think she can do better. When he realizes he can actually exchange parts of himself, like his age, with others he sets out on a path to make himself more acceptable to both of them.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

The Salvadore Ross program for self-improvement. The all-in-one, sure-fire success course that lets you lick the bully, learn the language, dance the tango and anything else you want to do. Or think you want to do. Money-back guarantee. Offer limited to…the Twilight Zone.


Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Don Gordon…Salvadore Ross
Gail Kobe…Leah Maitland
Vaughn Taylor…Mr. Maitland
J. Pat O’Malley…Old Man
Douglass Dumbrille…Mr. Halpert
Douglas Lambert…Albert Rowe
Seymour Cassel…Jerry (uncredited)
Ted Jacques…Bartender (uncredited)
Kathleen O’Malley…Nurse (uncredited)



Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

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