For those who’ve been reading the last few of these reviews you will have noticed that I prefer humorous and upbeat Twilight Zone episodes. So of course Rod Serling comes back with an episode so goofily silly and so ridiculously upbeat that he makes me eat my words.
Orson Bean plays the part of James B. W. Bevis. He’s a man-child who enjoys zither music, model ships, dogs, sliding down bannisters and playing football with the neighborhood kids. Unfortunately, he’s not as good at getting to work on time, paying his bills, owning a reasonable automobile or maintaining bureaucratic decorum.
His idiosyncratic lifestyle leads him to lose his job, car and apartment all in the same morning. While drowning his sorrow at the local watering hole he chances to notice in the bar mirror, a man seated in a chair behind him. When the man speaks to him he turns and realizes the man isn’t there. Or rather he’s visible only in the mirror. This is how he meets his guardian angel.
The angel, named J. Hardy Hempstead, explains that he has been the guardian angel to the Bemis family for hundreds of years and he has been responsible for saving James from the consequences of many of his careless and clumsy actions for many years. Furthermore, he is about to reverse the unfortunate results of the present day and restore his life to prosperity. In order to affect this change, he will alter Bevis in various ways to avoid the behaviors that have caused his problems.
Hempstead dresses Bevis in a suit, puts him three weeks ahead on his rent, gives him a sports car and when they arrive at work his bizarre desk decorations are gone and his boss is praising him for his efficient and diligent work habits and providing him with a ten dollar raise. But when Bevis tells Hempstead that he wants to celebrate his success by going home and playing ball with the kids on the street he is told that they won’t play with him anymore. Bevis is not that guy anymore.
It’s too much for Bevis. He insists that Hempstead returns things to the way they were previously. Immediately he gets fired again and he heads out the door uplifted to have gotten his priorities straightened out again. As he reaches the street his car is restored to working order, so he knows that Hempstead is still looking out for him. In fact, a fire hydrant that he is parked next to magically moves over a spot just as a cop is going to write him a ticket.
Let’s just say that there is such thing as too much of a good thing. I do prefer the sunnier side of the street and all that but this is a bit much. I’d give it a C but Orson Bean is on our side of the aisle (he was Breitbart’s father-in-law) so I’ll give it a B-.