Musings in the Dark: My Twilight Zone Tribute: S4E14


My Twilight Zone Tribute: S4E14

 "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville"

William Feathersmith is the 75-year old head of a powerful conglomerate.  One evening, he is sitting in his office when Mr. Hecate, the janitor, comes in to clean his office.  Feathersmith laments that he has achieved the pinnacle of success and now has nothing else to conquer or prove.  He wants to go back to his hometown of Cliffordville and start over.  Mr. Hecate informs Feathersmith that he is also from Cliffordville.  Feathersmith insults Mr. Hecate for achieving nothing more than being a janitor for 40+ years.

On his way out of the building, the elevator Feathersmith is on stops suddenly at the 13th floor.  The only office located on the floor is a travel agency that was not there before.  Feathersmith enters the office and encounters the Devil, in the form of Miss Devlin, played by Julie Newmar.  Miss Devlin tells Feathersmith that she can grant his wish to return to 1910 Cliffordville for a fee.  Feathersmith agrees with the following terms: that he looks the way he did in 1910 and that his memory be unaltered. The transaction costs Feathersmith almost all of his liquidated wealth, leaving him with $1412.  Miss Devlin tells Feathersmith that in 1910 Cliffordville, $1412 will go a long way.  Feathersmith knows which stocks have succeeded and which have failed, so he accepts the $1412 and is transported back to 1910 Cliffordville.

From the time Feathersmith arrives in 1910 Cliffordville, things don’t go his way. He purchases 1400 acres of land for $1400 because he knows that the land contains oil deposits that haven’t been discovered yet.  But he forgot that the drill required to access the oil won’t be invented until 1937.  He goes to visit the young woman he was interested in only to discover that she is nothing like he remembered.  He goes to a mechanic and tells him to invent a self-starter for automobiles, but doesn’t know how to design one or is able to explain how it works.  He gets clowned by the locals and the ridicule causes him to have heart palpitations.  Feathersmith realizes that Miss Devlin honored his contract exactly; he looks 30 but is still biologically 75.  

Miss Devlin appears and Feathersmith accuses her of altering the past, but she informs him that everything is as it was; he just chose to recall differently.  Miss Devlin roasts Feathersmith for being a robber baron who lives off the labor of others and cannot create anything himself.  Feathersmith begs her to return him to 1963, but she informs him that the changes he made in 1910 Cliffordville will alter 1963, and will not be the 1963 he remembers.  She tells him she will do it for $40, but all Feathersmith has is the deed to the land he purchased.  He runs upon the young Mr. Hecate and convinces him to purchase the deeds for $40.  Feathersmith leaves 1910 Cliffordville with his ass in his hands.  

In the new 1963, Mr. Hecate is now the multimillionaire businessman and Feathersmith is now the janitor.  Mr. Hecate mocks Feathersmith for being a janitor for 44 years and all Feathersmith can do is stand there and take it; recalling that he did the same to Mr. Hecate when the tables were turned.

Excellent episode!  The sequences where Feathersmith runs smack dab into reality while in Cliffordville are hilarious.  He’s such an arrogant asshole that can’t help but brag when he thinks he gets one over on the landowners.  When they gathered his ass right together and told him that the oil may as well have been on the moon, he looked like the fool he is.  He had no original ideas; everything he conquered was invented by someone else and it ended up biting him in the ass.  Julie Newmar as Miss Devlin is terrific.  Check this ep out if you get a chance. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, well, well. This is what you get for messing people over.


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