An aging boxer finds himself the winner of a match he thought he had lost, the result a six year old's frantic wish. But can a world-weary, embittered man still believe in miracles, or will he turn his back on it?
Bolie Jackson is a professional boxer whose best years are behind him. He's well-liked in his neighborhood and adored by Henry, a young lad who lives next door. He hurts his hand in an altercation with sleazy boxing manager and as a result is badly beaten in a televised boxing match. He's apparently down and out for the count but young Henry has a special ability - something his mother calls the big wish - that changes the outcome of the match. When Bolie learns what he's done he refuses to believe in what Henry's done with the inevitable consequences. Written by
Little boys. Little boys with their heads full up with dreams. When do they find out, Frances? When do they suddenly find out that there ain't any magic? When does somebody push their face down on the sidewalk and say to them, "Hey, little boy, it's concrete. That's what the world is made out of, concrete." When do they find out that you can wish your life away?
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Less an ironic tale, more just an interesting case study.
Rod Serling had an affinity for boxing in his stories--in particular, the life of an old and haggard journeyman boxer. In addition to "The Big Tall Wish", he penned the gritty and sad script for "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (which was both a made for TV movie and feature film). It's obvious that Serling must have hated what this 'sport' did to men and he had a deft touch with such stories.
This particular tale is about Bolie Jackson (actor/director Ivan Dixon)--a sad man whose face show the scars indicating a man who has stayed too long in the fight business. He has a special friendship with a young neighbor boy who looks up to him and adores him. Though Bolie is all washed up, to Henry he is somebody to admire.
Oddly, Henry seems to believe that if he wishes hard enough, that ANYTHING can come true--even Bolie winning a match he has no chance of winning. Like the movie PINOCCHIO, if you wish hard enough anything can happen. Through a twist like you might expect in "The Twilight Zone", this wish seems to come true...as long as you believe.
Overall, this episode lacks much of the weirdness and strange twists that I loved from the show. However, at the same time, it also had wonderful acting and a superb script about people--something you often did not see in other episodes. While not a great installment, it had heart and was sad but well-written and worth seeing. It also was nice that for once in this era a Black man and cast be featured in a mainstream TV show.
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