The Twilight Zone: Season 2, Episode 21

The Prime Mover (24 Mar. 1961)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 678 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

A compulsive gambler cajoles his friend to use his telekinesis to affect the results of the gambling tables in Las Vegas.



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Title: The Prime Mover (24 Mar 1961)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Ace Larsen
Jimbo Cobb
Christine White ...
Kitty Cavanaugh
Nesdon Booth ...
Big Phil Nolan
Jane Burgess ...


Ace Larson owns a roadside diner. It's a dreary existence for him, his girlfriend, Kitty Cavanaugh and his friend and employee Jimbo Cobb. When there's a serious accident just outside the diner, Ace learns for the first time that Jimbo has telekinetic powers. Ace the gambler sees an easy way to make his fortune and the three of them set off for Las Vegas. Jimbo has little trouble making roulette balls fall on the right number of making any point with a pair of dice. Ace learns the hard way however that there can be too much of a good thing. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

24 March 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title refers to the propulsion unit for a transportation system, such as the locomotive on a train, the tractor unit of a semi-tractor-trailer, the motor on a locomotive or railroad engine or the truck that tows a artillery gun. Also, in philosophy, a self-caused being that is the cause of all things. See more »


Ace, realizing Jimbo has special powers, asks him for a quarter which he flips and asks Jimbo to change to flip. Ace then rolls a pair of dice, one of which comes to rest about 6 inches from the quarter with the second die stopping on the edge of the bed about 18 inches from the quarter. In the close up a pair of dice are visible about 6 inches apart, and the second one is no where near the edge of the bed. See more »


[closing narration]
Narrator: Some people possess talent, others are possessed by it. When that happens, the talent becomes a curse. Jimbo Cobb knew, right from the beginning. But before Ace Larsen learned that simple truth, he had to take a short trip - through The Twilight Zone.
See more »


References Little Caesar (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

Some people possess talent, others are possessed by it...
8 July 2008 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

Interesting that I happen to watch this episode while midway through a 5-part documentary series about the history of the mafia in America. It's well known that organized crime has had a heavy hand in the history of Las Vegas so the third act of this episode makes sense as far as the biggest gambler in town being a gangster, although there are plenty of the usual super hero problems with the rest of the episode.

As always when a character is endowed with some kind of superhuman ability, it is not just underused or misused, but the writers don't seem to have any idea of how to present the character who holds them. Buddy Ebsen plays Jimbo Cobb, a mental midget with telekinetic abilities but without the slightest understanding of his ability or even the simplest understanding of the world around him.

When Ace, our gambling hero, asks him how he has the power, Jimbo responds something like "I don't know why or how come or anything," and when asked why he never said anything, you may find yourself shocked out of your seat as Jimbo responds that he never knew there was anything unusual about it, he thought everyone could do it, like breathing.

Like breathing! A more entertaining twilight zone episode might deal with how Jimbo managed to live to this age without ever having seen or met or talked to another human being before.

At any rate, this is another episode that makes clever commentary about greed and gambling, and while the greed immediately takes control and takes away from the believability of Ace's character, it's still a fun and interesting warning about the dangers of gambling, even when things are going good.

But I will tell you one thing, I doubt that there were ever many high-powered gangsters in Vegas who answered calls from strangers and went up into hotel rooms to bet tremendous amounts of money while squatting on the floor tossing dice across the rug...

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