The Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 5

A Game of Pool (13 Oct. 1961)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 926 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 3 critic

A frustrated pool champ has beaten everyone. Everyone except one man; the legend, Fats Brown. Brown is dead, and the champ can only curse his name. But guess who just walked in.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dee Sharon ...
Brown's Girlfriend (scenes deleted)


Jesse Cardiff is a frustrated pool player. He's very good at his game but his frustration comes from the fact that no matter how well he plays or how often he wins, onlookers always conclude that he's not as good as the late, great James Howard "Fats" Brown. He says he would give anything to have had the chance to play Fats and his wish comes true when the man himself suddenly appears. They agree to a game but Fats warns his eager opponent that winning has its consequences as well. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

13 October 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Manolete rose to prominence shortly after the Spanish Civil War and is considered by some to be the greatest bullfighter of all time. See more »


[last lines]
Narrator: [Closing Narration] Mr. Jesse Cardiff, who became a legend by beating one, but who has found out, after his funeral, that being the best of anything carries with it a special obligation to keep on proving it. Mr. Fats Brown, on the other hand, having relinquished the champion's mantle - has gone fishing. These are the ground rules - in The Twilight Zone.
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Remade as The Twilight Zone: A Game of Pool (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Champions live as long as people talk about them
11 November 2013 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

This game of pool is a very good analogy for any ambitions of becoming the best at anything. The bulk of this episode is such a game, but the characters of Jesse Cardiff and Fats Brown keep it widely interesting. The afterlife aspect featured here from which Fats Brown is called is often criticized. However, I think it's just a spooky fun way to present a story that could elsewhere have been about calling on a retired champion to play the current number one. The afterlife that this episode is really concerned with is one of fame continuing in the memory of the living. Death, it would appear, has made Brown philosophical in contrast to the single-minded Cardiff. What sort of mind game is Brown playing? When Jonathan Winters materializes in the pool room it's classic Zone stuff. Well played by four-time TZ actor Jack Klugman too.

I will say nothing of the ending except to say there's an interesting feature on DVD where Jonathan Winters reads the alternative ending that the writer, George Clayton Johnson, wanted.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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