The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 18 – Dead Man’s Shoes

A few gangsters dump a body out of their car into an alley.  The body, wearing a pair of fancy two toned shoes, belongs to a recently deceased partner in crime of theirs named Dane.  The car takes off and a bum named Nate Bledsoe, who was sleeping on a fire escape, comes down and sees the body.  He takes the fancy shoes and puts them on.  Later, walking down the street, his fellow winos notice his fancy shoes and start demanding a share in his good fortune.  Suddenly Nate’s timid attitude changes and he menacingly, warns them to back off.  Now Nate walks determinedly toward a destination.

In the next scene he walks into a swank apartment where a woman in flashy clothes named Wilma is waiting for the missing Dane.  She yells at the derelict who has broken into her apartment and shouts for him to leave.  But Nate answers her in the familiar mannerisms and diction of the gangster Dane and orders her to make him a drink, at which she is somewhat cowed.  He goes into the bathroom to clean up and decides to shave.  When he appears ready to take a shower, he removes the shoes and becomes confused.  Suddenly he is Nate Bledsoe again and doesn’t know where he is or how he got there.  He walks out of the bathroom with the shoes in his hands and is confronted by Wilma with a revolver pointed at him.  She threatens to shoot him unless he explains where he got Dane’s shoes.  He tells her he found them in an alley but really can’t make a coherent story out of it.  She tells him to put on the shoes and get out before Dane returns and kills him.

But as soon as he puts the shoes back on his feet, he’s Dane again.  Smiling he takes the gun from Wilma and tells her to make his favorite drink, tequila with a sugar cube in it.  She is utterly confused by his knowledge of Dane’s personal details and even allows him to kiss her until it frightens her too much and she runs from him.  He takes the gun and heads out from the apartment.

In the next scene he shows up at the bar where his old partner and recent murderer Bernie Dagget is holding court.  Nate orders his trademark drink and sits watching Bernie until he gets called over to Dagget.

Nate tells Dagget that he has a message from an unnamed party that Dagget knows well.  They go into a private office after Dagget’s boys frisk Nate and take his revolver.  Sitting facing Bernie’s desk he comments on how the rug doesn’t even show the blood that was all over it just a few hours ago.  When Dagget feigns ignorance of what he means Nate tells him all the details of the murder.  At that point a gunman appears behind Nate’ s back but he quickly and skillfully pulls a second gun from his ankle and shoots the gunman down.  He looks at Bernie and says, “you didn’t think the same trick would work twice?”  But as he says it a gun flash comes from a bookcase behind Bernie’s desk and Nate slumps to the floor.  Bernie grabs Nate’s gun but as Nate lies dying, he says to Bernie that he’ll be back again and again until he finally gets Bernie.

In the next scene it looks like Bernie and the boys are dumping Nate in the same alley where they dumped Dane.  One of the two winos that accosted Nate earlier in the show finds his body and takes his shoes and of course we know how that will end.

This is a goofy fantasy with an easily predictable plot and stereotyped characters.  But I must confess I enjoyed it quite a lot.  Maybe it’s the film noir set up and swift action.  More likely I enjoyed the style of the main character.  Nate was played by Warren Stevens who I remember as the ship’s physician from Forbidden Planet.  Even as the gangster Dane he has an easy style that is fun to watch.  B+