T is for Time Enough At Last
Season 1, Episode 8
Time Enough at Last
(20 Nov. 1959)
Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith) loves to read. The only problem is that he can find neither the time nor the place to enjoy his pastime. At work, his boss imforms him he is not to read during working hours. At home, his shrewish wife won't even let him read a newspaper, let alone a book. They both complain that he wastes far too much time reading. One day while reading in the bank's vault, there is a huge explosion. He emerges to find the world destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. Finding himself totally alone, Bemis succumbs to despair. As he prepares to commit suicide he sees the ruins of the public library in the distance. Investigating, he finds that the books are still intact and readable; all the books he could ever hope for are his for the reading, and (as he gazes upon a huge fallen face of a clock) learns that he has all the time in the world to read them without interruption. Except for one small unintended event. Watch the full episode HERE.
- Out of the 92 episodes of Twilight Zone (1959) written by Rod Serling, this was his personal favorite.
- Rod Serling's closing narration for this 1959 episode begins, "The best laid plans of mice and men..." a quote from John Steinbeck's classic novel. Exactly 20 years earlier, actor Burgess "Harry Bemis" Meredith starred in the film adaptation of "Of Mice and Men."
Musings: I find it interesting that this episode was one of Mr. Serling's personal favorites. I'd like to think that it has to do with him having a passion for reading similar to Mr. Beemis, but I have a funny feeling it has more to do with the ironic ending. I also find it intersting that Mr. Beemis's boss, Mr. Carsville, berates him with this statement, "You are neither an efficient bank teller nor a proficient employee. You, Mr. Beemis are a READER." Having been in positions where I needed people to do the job they were hired to do, I can empathize with Mr. Carsville. However, I have never berated my employees for being readers and hope that words like that, uttered with such negativity, are never spoken anywhere outside the Twilight Zone.
Are you as obsessed with reading as Mr. Beemis? Have you ever been berated for reading when you should have been doing something else? I'm obessively reading The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. What are you reading?