The Twilight Zone (1985–1989)
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Examination Day/A Message from Charity 

Puritan Charity Payne in the year 1700 and modern teenager Peter Wood, residents of the same Massachusetts town, are psychically connected due to delirium induced by a bacterial infection, and can see the world through each other's eyes.



(created by), (teleplay by) (as Philip DeGuere) | 4 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Jordan (segment "Examination Day")
Dickie Jordan (segment "Examination Day")
Elizabeth Norment ...
Ruth Jordan (segment "Examination Day")
Clerk (segment "Examination Day")
Ed Krieger ...
Clerk #1 (segment "Examination Day")
Myrna White ...
Clerk #2 (segment "Examination Day")
Kerry Noonan ...
Gerald Hiken ...
Squire Jonas Hacker (segment "A Message from Charity")
Obadiah Payne (segment "A Message from Charity")
Aunt Beulah (segment "A Message from Charity")
Tom Carter (segment "A Message from Charity")
Ursula Miller (segment "A Message from Charity")
Jack Wells ...
Dr. Maxwell (segment "A Message from Charity")
Mr. Wood (segment "A Message from Charity")


It's in the not-too-distant future in "Examination Day." A young boy is about to take a very important test. His parents are more nervous than he is. The boy tells his parents not to worry because he knows he'll do well. His parents are worried because they fear he may do too well. Written by Good2Go

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Release Date:

1 November 1985 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"A Message from Charity" takes place in 1700 and 1985. See more »


Charity refers to 1700 as being the first year of the 18th Century. However, it was the last year of the 17th Century. See more »


Narrator (segment "A Message from Charity"): [closing narration for "A Message from Charity"] He reached out with his mind, searching for some trace of her... but found only silence. Peter Wood was alone...
Peter Wood (segment "A Message from Charity"): [one year later at school, Peter is finishing his talk to his friends] I got to go. I got trig at one. I'll see you later
Narrator (segment "A Message from Charity"): A new year with new friends and a new confidence and, in time, he began to doubt whether it had ever really happened. Until, one day...
Charity Payne (segment "A Message from Charity"): Peter
Peter Wood (segment "A Message from Charity"): Charity.
Charity Payne (segment "A Message from Charity"): Hi. For a minute, please Peter. Only for a minute. But I had to ...
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User Reviews

Good viewing - that doesn't need a message
26 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

This a good episode of The New Twilight Zone that actually includes interesting ideas and clever stories (I note both of them are based on short stories). "Examination Day" is set in the future, year unknown but at a point where they have cake candles that light themselves, huge TV-looking "phones" that double as numerous other entertaining machines and distributed only to those of a certain age...and the Examination Day, a point where 12-year-olds must undergo a government-required IQ test. The kid is this story, Dickie Jordan (David Mendenhall) is just celebrating his own 12th birthday and is a smart kid, so is calm, even eager to take the test that he has seen friends pass easily and knows he will excel at based on his school grades. His parents (Christopher Allport and Elizabeth Norment), on the other hand, say he shouldn't have used his birthday wish on getting a good score, and while their reason includes that they believe he's capable and he should have no need to worry, it's pretty obvious they are worried. I won't give anything away in the ending, but I will say this - there's a point where we get a glimpse of what's to come as far ass why the test is such a heavy subject: that evening (or another?) his parents ask Dickie whether he'd prefer to watch TV all night. By today's standards, we'd be pleased he'd say he'd rather read and not just because there's nothing worth watching...but why would his family ask this? The flavor of what's encouraged and discouraged in the future reminded me a bit of the atmosphere from Harrison Bergenon (which I hear hasn't received a great adaptation to the screen). I only wish they could've provided an opening and closing narration to make this theme as powerful as The Obsolete Man was. I found it to be better than the short story it was based on. I haven't read the one that "A Message from Charity" was based on, but would like to since it was interesting - a 16-year-ld boy, Peter (Robert Duncan McNeill) is suffering a fever from unclean water, that has always been common in his Massachusetts hometown...but he is able to see through the eyes of a young Puritan woman suffering the same type of fever, Charity Payne, (Kerry Noonann) who also finds herself able to experience what goes on around him. They both recover, especially since it's common for that to happen in 1985, but the connection doesn't go away. Charity is curious about the sights and sounds she records of 1985 and they each enjoy each other's company, especially Peter, who has promoted grades in school enough to always have felt isolated from other students, even at the college he's been staying in one place at. Things take an unexpected turn, though, when Charity reveals some of these experiences to a friend who take her claims that the 13 colonies will breach from England as a sign of bewitchment, added to the fact that she was spared death from the fever (not so common in 1700). The two try to learn a way to save her. The ending is sad but has an interesting final moment that makes it touching. Both segments of this episode include a lot of pain but both times, through a lesson/warning that sounds like something Rod Sterling would've cooked up and entertainment, make cheerful watching as reminders that friendship, love, and wisdom do a great deal. Probably 3/4 of this has no theme, but somehow I think it all would have been approved by Sterling's crew.

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