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Hypochondriac Walter Bedeker has once again had his doctor come to his bedside but he can find absolutely nothing wrong with him. The doctor tells him his aches and pains are psychosomatic but he refuses to accept it. Later that night, a Mr. Cadwallader suddenly appears in his room and has a proposition for him: in return for his soul, he will give him immortality. He even has an escape clause in that if he ever gets tired of living, Cadwallader will provide him with a hasty demise. He accepts the deal and soon collects 14 insurance claims over a variety of accidents. He finds it all very boring however but his quest for a thrill brings results with an unexpected outcome. Written by
In several places on the internet this episode is described as a hypochondriac selling his soul for one million years of immortality, however nowhere in the episode is one million years mentioned. The most that is ever mentioned is "live as long as you want" and "several thousand." See more »
I swear, he's cheated me. Immortality. What's the good of it, if there isn't any kicks, any excitement?
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You're about to meet a hypochondriac. Witness Mr. Walter Bedeker (David Wayne), age forty-four, afraid of the following: death, disease, other people, germs, draft, and everything else. He has one interest in life, and that's Walter Bedeker. One preoccupation: the life and well-being of Walter Bedeker. One abiding concern about society: that if Walter Bedeker should die, how will it survive without him?
'Escape Clause' is, for some strange reason, one of the least respected episodes of the early 'Twilight Zone' episodes. This is a baffling notion seeing how entertaining, disturbing, and well written it is. The episode, which is quite definitely one of the darkest of the series, features a fantastic performance by David Wayne ('House Calls') as Walter Beddeker, the self-absorbed hypochondriac who can't get through a day without his doctor by his side treating his nonexistent illnesses. His world is changed when Cadwaller (Thomas Gomez) appears in his room offering the ultimate gift: Immortality. The only stipulation? Beddeker must forfeit his soul to an eternity in Hell.
Beyond the fine performance David Wayne and the solid direction by Mitchell Leisen, Rod Serling's telescript is extremely interesting. Perhaps the only real issue comes from something beyond the control of the crew. Due to the short runtime and limited resources, it is a bit disappointing not to have a larger scope of the story or more focus on the deaths & legal proceedings. Perhaps as a feature-length film, the story would have been able to fully show the great story and experiment more with the pacing. However, as a single television episode, it is still very entertaining, very thought-provoking, and very well done.
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