"The Twilight Zone" The Rip Van Winkle Caper (TV Episode 1961) Poster

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Excellent use of foreshadowing
Daniel R. Baker29 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This enjoyable little yarn is classic Twilight Zone. What I enjoy most about it is the dialogue and its use of foreshadowing.

"That's the going rate today, Mr. Farwell. It may change tomorrow; I haven't checked the market." This is a beautiful little piece of double irony, intended ironically by the speaker but also unwittingly reflecting the real problem he doesn't know about. By itself, it makes the whole third act worthwhile. Even if you've already figured out what's coming, as I had, you don't expect one of the characters to pronounce his own sentence.

The only thing I would change would be Farwell's murder of De Cruz, because it partly spares De Cruz the consequences of his own actions. Every one of those gold bars weighs a good fifteen or twenty pounds. By extorting gold from Farwell, De Cruz is adding to his own burden and reducing his chance of survival. Leaving Farwell to die of thirst when he runs out of gold to buy water with, only to have De Cruz collapse because he's carrying twice his share and has sold half his water - now that would have been a true character-is-destiny moment.
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Economics 101
dougdoepke23 June 2006
Mastermind Beregui leads three other crooks in gold bullion heist, planning to come back 100 years hence through use of suspended animation.

Interesting episode with several nice twists. Still and all, why would anyone risk life and limb in a gold bullion heist when he's got a blueprint for suspended animation that's easily worth millions. Oh well, this is the twilight zone. Episode benefits from Death Valley locations and expert make-up that makes mastermind Beregui's face almost crack open with thirst. Futuristic car lends authenticity to time passage; however more imagination should have gone into the futuristic humans. They look too much like suburbanites from the 1960's. Even so, it's an entertaining half-hour with a nice slice of economic wisdom included.
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All About The Gold
AaronCapenBanner27 October 2014
Simon Oakland, Oscar Beregi, Lew Gallow, and John Mitchum play four thieves who have successfully made off with 1 Million dollars worth of gold bullion, and one of them has invented four suspended animation capsules for them to hide in for about a hundred years, where they will no longer be wanted men(So they think). The plan works, and they do wake up a century in the future, but one of them has died in an accident, and the other three learn that there is no honor among thieves... Entertaining episode despite some glaring plot holes and oddities(like why they didn't get rich from selling the suspended animation technology itself!) Still, a good cast makes a big difference.
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47 years till they wake up by my watch.
darrenpearce11121 January 2014
Enjoyable caper that wont send you to sleep. Farwell (Oscar Beregi) is a scientific and criminal genius who leads of gang of four men in a bullion robbery. His masterstroke is putting himself and the gang into suspended animation for one hundred years after the heist so as to enjoy their wealth without fearing the long arm of the law.

A very pleasing tale from Rod Serling. There's a kind of cynical and eccentric nature about the gang of crooks, a little bit like in the classic British comedy 'The Lady Killers'. This lot don't trust each other but are ultimately equally stupid. I could guess the twist before the end but not right away. Nice story development, once again in Death Valley also the filming location for 'The Lonely' and 'I Shot An Arrow In The Air'.
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All That Glitters Is Not Water.
Robert J. Maxwell27 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Four miscreants rob a train of millions of dollars worth of gold bullion, but how to spend it? It's hot stuff. Fortunately, the group's leader, Oscar Beregi, has worked out a plan. They simply drive into the desert and put themselves into a state of hibernation for a hundred years. When they emerge, in 2061, the heist will have been long forgotten.

Of course things go wrong. One of the men dies accidentally during the hundred years. Simon Oakland, the greediest and least thoughtful of the remaining three, runs over one of the others. Now only Beregi and Oakland are left to pack their knapsacks full of stone-heavy gold and set off along a desert road, hoping to find a town.

Beregi runs out of water. Oakland, all evil grins, offers to sell him a drink of water for one bar of gold, later raised to two bars. The deranged Beregi beans Oakland and makes off with the little bit of gold he's still able to carry.

He's finally spotted by a tourist couple and with his dying breath offers them a bar of real gold to drive him to town. Ironically, in the preceding hundred years, the alchemists have found a way to manufacture gold and it is now as cheap as plastic.

Nobody can be as villainous as Simon Oakland at his best. Even when he plays an ordinary role, he comes across as bossy. And Beregi is just as good an actor, although in his career he was largely constrained to the tube. Happily, make up didn't squirt oil all over everyone, as they did in "The Lonely", in order to suggest perspiration. You don't really sweat in the desert because of the low vapor pressure. I drove though this filming location, Death Valley, in the middle of summer with a guy who drank beer after beer and never urinated. He didn't have to. He sweated it out and it evaporated at once.
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Economics 101 indeed...
cephyn17 January 2008
The above poster displays a fundamental misunderstanding about the value of gold and how inflation works. Gold has a static "value" - you invest in gold during times of inflation because when you cash back out, that gold will have the same amount of buying power it started with. It's the dollar that loses value, not the gold.

The plan in the episode is sound. The million dollars worth of gold would have bought the criminals roughly the same amount of stuff in 2061 as it would have in 1961.

It is of course still a plot hole in that suspended animation technology would be worth far more than $1M of gold, but it's a TV show, one that has a specific story and point to it, like all Twilight Zones had. It's simply a plot device.
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A very good episode with a nice twist at the end
MartinHafer9 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The best episodes of THE TWILIGHT ZONE are the ones that have a wonderful and unexpected twist at the end. This one, then, is one of the best because it has one of those perfect endings that make you love the show.

A group of crooks heist a huge shipment of gold--making them immensely wealthy. However, the gang's leader is smart--so smart that he has devised a way to get away with it. They will go into suspended animation until they are no longer wanted and they can spend the loot any way they wish. Unfortunately, instead of waking up just after the statute of limitations is up, they end up many years in the future and their transportation out of this desert cave is useless, so they are forced to trek to civilization with the treasure. Along the way, greed sets in and the group is reduced again and again by murder and dehydration until it's evident that even the "brains" of the operation is destined to die of thirst.
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"One hundred years gentlemen, we shall walk the Earth again"
classicsoncall30 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
If I were a betting man, I'd bet against this episode of The Twilight Zone. Back in 1961, gold went for thirty five dollars an ounce; today it closed at around eleven hundred eighty. Fifty more years, who knows? But the safe bet is that nothing that exists fifty years from now will resemble anything that's around today with the pace of technology on the one hand, and the burgeoning debt problems of countries all around the world on the other, including our own. The Rip Van Winkle of 2010 wouldn't need a hundred years to cash in, but might not want to wake up in a future devastated by today's turbulent economies.

For the principals of this story, the one that made it to the end (and the one who almost did), I ponder which finale was more ironic, the one shown here, or that of Bogart in " The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", who's ill fortune was simply borne away on the wind. Unintended consequences are always at the center of man's most brilliant plans.

Speaking of which, how is it that a truck sitting idly in a Death Valley cave manages to start up after a hundred years? Even if the gas didn't evaporate. I know the Sixties were a simpler time, but I think Serling should have given that some thought. Yes I know, too much to consider for a twenty five minute show, but reliance on that kind of suspension of disbelief was a hallmark of the series.

So what was more remarkable than the twist ending here? How about Rod Serling hawking Oasis cigarettes during the commercial break. It was the first time in sixty episodes that he personally plugged a product, but even with his endorsement, the brand didn't last long. In fact, I don't even remember it.
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On the off chance you're in a position to try this at home...
frannywentzel19 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Here's a short list of things to consider...

1 - find out what the statute of limitations is on the crime of ruffieing an entire train and robbing it of the gold its transporting.

2 - also find out the statute of limitations for boofing that sleeping beauty in the club car - you know you're going to want to...

3 - set your suspended animation machine for maybe a year or two after said limit

4 - ask yourself - do you really need glass on the top of your suspended animation machine?

5 - look up at the ceiling whilst pondering

6 - ask yourself if a motor vehicle would be operable in the time you plan to wake. A motor vehicle that needs oil, gas, coolant and air-filled tyres that's been sitting in a hot desert cave?

7 - pack hand trucks - with solid tyres - for everybody and an extra for just in case

8 - on second thought pack some mountain bikes - why schlep all that gold when you can pack a bar each, cycle to the nearest town and get yourself a chrome-plated hover-truck from The Future

9 - pack plenty of bottled water - I think Apollonaris was one of the brands you could get in 1961.

10 - on the off-chance some nimrod finds a way to manufacture gold... steal some silver and/or platinum and if you see some gemstones, you might as well load up on them. Vintage currency should have a market in the future. Even that American-made transistor radio that sleeping beauty was listening to could fetch a boodle on eBay nowadays if you think to take out the batteries... What you've never heard of eBay Mister 1961? Oh right...

If everything you swiped is now worthless, don't lose heart. You'll still clean up once people find out YOU INVENTED A WORKING SUSPENDED ANIMATION MACHINE.

What? They have those now? Ahh crap. Oh, just write a book about your exploits and go on the holographic talk show and interstellar-lecture circuit.
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the reality of the gold
lazur-219 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In answer to the reviewer who questioned the wisdom of taking a "mere" million dollars of gold through time: The price of gold averaged $35.25 per ounce in 1961. On May 18, 2011, (today, one-half the one hundred years in the story), it's valued at $1492.60 per ounce, over forty-two and a third times as much: That million dollars of gold would now be worth $42,343,262,40. Too bad they couldn't sleep for fifty years instead of one hundred. Inflation across the board has been 6.5472. Thus the gold will purchase 6.647 times in 2011 what it would in 1961, $6,647,384.84 in purchasing power as these men would understand it. Let's put aside the twist ending in the story: The reality is inflation will only get worse, and gold will only get higher. If the next fifty years repeat the first fifty, this gold will have *fourteen*! times the purchasing power that it had in 1961,(and that was already plenty).
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