The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
31 user 6 critic

Escape Clause 

A hypochondriac man sells his soul to the devil, exchanging it for several thousand years of immortality.


Mitchell Leisen


Rod Serling

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Episode complete credited cast:
Rod Serling ... Narrator (voice)
David Wayne ... Walter Bedeker
Thomas Gomez ... Cadwallader
Virginia Christine ... Ethel Bedeker
Raymond Bailey ... Doctor
Wendell Holmes Wendell Holmes ... Cooper
Dick Wilson ... Jack
Joe Flynn ... Steve
Nesdon Booth Nesdon Booth ... Guard (as Nesden Booth)


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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis








Release Date:

6 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escape Clause See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The cast includes two actors each best known for starring in a long-running TV commercial: Virginia Christine (Mrs. Olson for Folgers Coffee) and Dick Wilson (Mr. Whipple for Charmin Bathroom Tissue). See more »


The french dub mistakenly translates "story" in the "fiction" sense instead of "floor". See more »


Cadwallader: [Walter Bedeker is in his cell about to face an eternity in prison] Mr. Bedeker, about that escape clause, you care to utilize it now?
[Bedeker nods yes]
Cadwallader: That's a wise man. Odd thing: you look like a man having a heart attack. Just like a man having a heart attack.
[Bedeker falls over, dead]
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Referenced in Weird Science: Sci-Fi Zoned (1995) See more »


Soldiers on Strings
Music by Bruce Campbell
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User Reviews

Flawed, but still fun.
1 September 2011 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Hypochondriac Walter Bedeker (David Wayne) makes a deal with the devil: immortality and indestructibility (with no discernible signs of aging) in exchange for his soul. The novelty of eternal life quickly wears off, however, and Walt starts to take risks that see him playing right into the devil's hands.

As much as I love this episode for it's great performances, morbid humour, and cool twist, I can't help feeling that, with its theme of escaping death/achieving immortality, it's just a little too similar to several of the previous tales in the first season, most notably 'One for the Angels' (and this being only the 6th episode, that's not a great thing).

The story also suffers from one glaring plot hole that it is hard to ignore: just what did Walter Bedeker think would happen to him when he survived the electric chair? Wouldn't life imprisonment be the obvious alternative?

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