The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 17 – One More Pallbearer

Paul Radin is a very rich man with a NYC skyscraper with his name on it.  In the sub-basement of this building (300 feet below the surface) he’s built a nuclear bomb shelter with eighteen-inch-thick concrete walls encased in six inches of lead.  And he’s installed an audio-visual system that can mimic the experience of a nuclear explosion outside of the bunker.  Mr. Radin is a devious man who has conquered the business world without any need for honor or a conscious.

He has invited three people to his shelter.  They are one of his old high school teachers, Mrs. Langsford, his former pastor Mr. Hughes and his commanding officer from the war, Col. Hawthorne.  When they arrive, he reminds each of them of the time when each had humiliated him.  His teacher had berated him for cheating and then trying to blame the incident on someone else.  Col. Hawthorne had him court-martialed for refusing to follow a direct order to join a battle.  And Mr. Hughes had exposed the fact that a girl committed suicide over Radin.

Then Radin reveals why they were invited.  He claims that he has classified information that a Russian nuclear attack will occur in a few minutes and New York will be obliterated, all except him in his shelter.  And he has invited them to share his bomb shelter and survive.  The proviso is that each beg his forgiveness for the offenses they committed against him.  When they ask to leave, he demands that they stop the pretense and realize that as soon as they leave, they will panic and come running back.  They leave undeterred and when he holds open the elevator door to give them one last chance the school teacher basically tells him that he is the one to be pitied because he will be trapped with himself.

After they leave, Radin feels the detonation of the nuclear bomb.  He takes the elevator to the surface and sees that the city is in rubble.  He breaks down and mourns for his own loneliness in the empty world that is left.  But then we see that all of this scene is in his imagination and that the city is untouched.  Radin is lying by the fountain in front of his building crying hysterically.  He’s gone insane from frustration and fear.

Between this episode and the earlier third season episode called “The Shelter,” I get the idea that Rod Serling is miffed that some people had bomb shelters.  I suppose he felt it wasn’t egalitarian that some would survive.  All that aside, this is a pretty weak episode.  It doesn’t seem very likely that a narcissist would crack up because some people didn’t like him.  I’ll go with a C.