Lou Bookman is a street vendor; a pitchman, making a living selling what he can from his valise - radios, toys, ties and the like. After a long day, he returns to his shabby apartment to find someone waiting for him, someone he saw near where he had been selling that day. That person turns out to be Mr. Death who is there to tell Lou that his time on Earth has come to an end and that his "departure" will be at midnight. Lou tries to forestall his death by asking for a delay until he's able to make a big sales pitch. It's all a ruse however and Mr. Death shows him that his actions have consequences. As a result, Lou makes the pitch of his life.Written by
Rod Serling - Narrator:
Street scene: Summer. The present. Man on a sidewalk named Lew Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Lew Bookman, a fixture of the summer, a rather minor component to a hot July, a nondescript, commonplace little man whose life is a treadmill built out of sidewalks. And in just a moment, Lew Bookman will have to concern himself with survival - because as of three o'clock this hot July afternoon, he'll be stalked by Mr. Death.
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One for the Angels, or: At midnight I'll take your soul
This is exactly the type of stuff I was hoping to find when I purchased the full series of "The Twilight Zone" on DVD! Stories of the macabre that are familiar and rather basic, but nevertheless oddly unsettling and atmospheric. "One for the Angels" is such a typical tale that makes you chuckle but simultaneously gives you goosebumps when you contemplate about the concept more thoroughly. The always optimistic and beloved street vendor Lou Bookman finds himself stalked by a rigid and stoic man in a black suit. When this man also suddenly appears in his home, it takes Lou some time before realizing this man is Death himself and he's coming to announce that Lou's life on earth terminates at midnight. Lou understandably doesn't agree to die and misleads Mr. Death by begging to still receive the time to make one last big sales pitch before dying. When Mr. Death realizes he's been fooled, he sets in motion a very dramatic alternative I can easily understand why an episode such as "One for the Angels" wouldn't appeal to younger audiences and/or fans of nowadays Sci-Fi and mystery cinema. After all, the plot is quite silly and doesn't contain a lot of action. But for fans of old-fashioned supernatural cinema, this episode is a joy to behold thanks to Rod Serling's ingenious narrative structure and the sober ambiance. This particular episode is also very endearing, but I believe this is largely the achievement of Ed Wynn who fantastically depicts the protagonist Lou Bookman. Personally I'm not too familiar with Wynn's work as a comedian, but his appearance in "The Twilight Zone" here at least proves that he was able to mix his comical talents with genuine drama and mystery. Murray Hamilton, probably best known for his role as the obnoxious mayor in "Jaws", also gives a stellar performance as the stern and (almost) unemotional embodiment of Death. A fabulous episode!
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