The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 16 – A Penny for Your Thoughts

Hector Poole is a bank clerk who while walking one day to work bought a newspaper and when he threw the quarter into the newsie’s cash box it landed on its edge and stayed there.  The newsie tells him he’s never seen that happen before and when Hector sees what he happened he realizes he now can read the minds of the people near him.

Unfortunately, almost everyone whose mind he reads are thinking of doing something bad.  One of the bank’s customers is planning to use a loan to bet on the horses in an attempt to pay back money he embezzled previously.  His boss is planning to cheat on his wife.  And one of the other clerks is planning to steal a briefcase full of money and run off to Bermuda.

The only positive is that the secretary Helen is secretly in love with him.  As the day progresses Hector gets deeper and deeper in trouble.  When he tells his boss about the embezzler his boss assumed he was cracking up.  When he tells him about the clerk who planned to rob the bank he convinces the boss to confront the clerk and when no money is found in the clerk’s bag Hector is fired.  As he’s packing up he gets up the courage to tell Helen he likes her too and that he can read minds.  But when Bagby finds out that the embezzler has been exposed he rehires Hector.  Helen telepathically tells Hector to confront Bagby and demand a promotion and new office.  Bagby refuses but Hector lets him know he knows about the affair he is having.  Bagby relents and gives in to Hector.

Hector asks Helen to walk home with him and on the way he buys another newspaper and this time his quarter knocks over the one that was still standing on edge.  And at once he could no longer hear the thoughts of those around him.

This episode is a fantasy take on the Jack Lemon movie “The Apartment.”  Hector Poole was played by Dick York who was Darrin Stephens on Bewitched.  He has the face of a beleaguered honest shnook.  Here’s a Twilight Zone with a goofy plot and a happy ending.  A.

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War Pig
War Pig
1 year ago

Author and mathematician Stanislaw Lem did a vignette on this subject in his book “The Cyberiad”.

I liked Dick York as an actor.