★★★½ October 9, 1959 Season 1 Episode 2
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This is a good episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s the first time we meet Death. He comes in different forms in the Twilight Zone. 73 year old Ed Wynn does a superb job as a salesman and a Santa Claus figure in the neighborhood. He is beloved by people but especially kids.
Murray Hamilton also is great as Mr. Death. He is very business like and he treats the job like any other job with deadlines and commitments. I must wonder what people thought in 1959 watching a show with Death stalking someone so businesslike.
Murray Hamilton is probably better remembered for his role playing Mr. Robinson in the 1967 film The Graduate.
Dana Dillaway who played Maggie: The scene where I was hit by the car was kind of morbid… I remember they kept spritzing the actor who was driving the car with a water spray bottle, who came around to see if I was okay while laying in the street… there is a publicity shot of me laying there and it’s kind of morbid!”
This show was written by Rod Serling
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
Street scene: Summer. The present. Man on a sidewalk named Lew Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Lew Bookman, a fixture of the summer, a rather minor component to a hot July, a nondescript, commonplace little man whose life is a treadmill built out of sidewalks. And in just a moment, Lew Bookman will have to concern himself with survival – because as of three o’clock this hot July afternoon, he’ll be stalked by Mr. Death.
Lou Bookman is a street vendor; a pitchman, making a living selling what he can from his valise – radios, toys, ties and the like. After a long day, he returns to his shabby apartment to find someone waiting for him, someone he saw near where he had been selling that day. That person turns out to be Mr. Death who is there to tell Lou that his time on Earth has come to an end and that his “departure” will be at midnight. Lou tries to forestall his death by asking for a delay until he’s able to make a big sales pitch. It’s all a ruse however and Mr. Death shows him that his actions have consequences. As a result, Lou makes the pitch of his life.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
Lewis J. Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Formerly a fixture of the summer, formerly a rather minor component to a hot July. But, throughout his life, a man beloved by the children, and therefore, a most important man. Couldn’t happen, you say? Probably not in most places – but it did happen in the Twilight Zone.
Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Ed Wynn … Lou Bookman
Murray Hamilton … Mr. Death
Dana Dillaway … Maggie Polanski
Jay Overholts … Doctor
Merritt Bohn … Truck Driver