A good Mixture of Episodes
gobirds2 | New England | 02/23/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"CAVENDER IS COMING seems to have some inspiration from Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" as angel Jesse White must earn his wings by aiding a screwball human played by Carol Burnett. This is one of the few episodes that I saw for the first time ever on this DVD. My original expectations were low, but I was pleasantly surprised by some innovative photography, stunts and Burnett's excellent performance. Rod Serling actually wrote a very good comic episode from which the viewer can actually make parallels to real life situations thanks in part to Burnett's energetic approach to her part. Greatly underrated. PASSAGE ON THE LADY ANNE credited to writer Charles Beaumont from the 4th Season is an interesting story of a troubled couple's (Joyce Van Patten and Lee Phillips) attempt to rekindle their marriage aboard an antiquated ocean liner the Lady Anne. However, the antiquated ship's passengers consist solely of the elderly. The cast really makes this an enjoyable episode. It includes Wilfred Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper, Cecil Kellaway and Alan Napier. THE BRAIN CENTER AT WHIPPLE'S written by Rod Serling for the 5th Season seems to tread familiar territory which had been previously visited and done much better. It focuses on industry, man and machines. It features Richard Deacon, Paul Newlan, Ted DeCorsia and Burt Conroy. I never met an episode of the "Twilight Zone" that I didn't like. I just like some more than others. I am sure that for some people this episode holds some endearment. And that is the magic of the "Twilight Zone.""
CAVENDER IS COMING is one of the best "feel-good" stories in
Tom Brody | Berkeley, CA | 11/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"TWILIGHT ZONE VOL. 40. Vol. 40 contains three episodes, CAVENDER IS COMING, a comedy featuring Carol Burnett, PASSAGE ON THE LADY ANNE, a mild-mannered drama about a ship voyage, and BRAIN CENTER AT WHIPPLE'S, an Orwellian drama that takes itself a bit too seriously.
CAVENDER IS COMING begins with a mediocre angel who is given one more chance by his supervisor to do some good for the mortals. The angel is given one day to bring happiness to a mortal. In this case, the mortal is an unemployed young woman who really has no job skills and is slow at learning technical skills. At any rate, the comedic aspects of this drama feature involve ineptitudes of the angel and ineptitudes of Carol Burnett. For example, the angel tries to make Carol Burnett happy by making the city bus, carrying both of them, change into a limousine. However, the angel flubs up, and instead it turns into a horse and carriage. Carol Burnett tries to learn simple hand signals during her first day on the job as an usher in a movie theater. But she finds herself confused and treats the viewer to an array of amusing expressions found in greater quantities in only one other film, namely, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF. FIVE STARS for CAVENDER. And hurray for Carol Burnett and her great repertoire of charming expressions.
The theme of an angel coming down to earth to help mortals is frequent in TWILIGHT ZONE. This theme occurs in SHOWDOWN WITH RANCE MCGREW (vol. 26), where the angel of a real gunslinger teaches an actor playing the same gunslinger a lesson. This theme also occurs in A PASSAGE FOR TRUMPET (vol. 4), where an angel convinces Jack Klugman that he has things to live for. The theme occurs in A GAME OF POOL (vol. 3), where an angel (Jonathan Winters) returns to earth to play a game of pool with Jack Klugman, only to lose the game. Also, the theme occurs in A NICE PLACE TO VISIT (vol. 29), where a petty thief is escorted to heaven by an angel (Sebastian Cabot). The thief finds the heaven to be quite heavenly, but instead it is hell. This story takes the same twist as Jean Paul Sartre's NO EXIT. Most charming of all is ONE FOR THE ANGELS (Vol. 14) where Ed Wynn plays a salesman who sacrifices himself to save the life of a little girl by playing a clever trick on an angel who's original job was to escort Ed Wynn to the promised land. The Twilight Zone episode closest to CAVENDER is MISTER BEVIS (vol. 39). MISTER BEVIS features a Pee-Wee Herman character who is unable to keep a job, not because he is unskilled, but because he goofs off too much. The Pee-Wee Herman character is visited by an angel. The angel proudly educates Mr.Bevis about Mr.Bevis' successful and accomplished ancestors but, is unable to convince Mr.Bevis to get serious about any career.
PASSAGE ON THE LADY ANNE is a typical Twilight Zone episode. The hour passes by pleasantly enough. There is a surprise ending. Much better shipboard stories in the Twilight Zone series are JUDGEMENT NIGHT (vol. 13) and THIRTY FATHOM GRAVE (vol. 20). THREE STARS for PASSAGE.
BRAIN CENTER AT WHIPPLE'S, which stars Richard Deacon, is an Orwellian story much like THE OBSOLETE MAN (vol. 13), starring Burgess Meredith. In BRAIN CENTER AT WHIPPLE'S, Richard Deacon is busy automating his manufacturing plant, installing computers. We are all familiar with electronic card readers for unlocking doors at work. In this Twilight Zone episode from 1964, we are treated to a light-activated card reader for opening a door. The story focuses on arguments and complaints between Richard Deacon and a former elderly supervisor of the plant, regarding the ethics of firing workers and replacing them with computers. Richard Deacon is a fascinating actor and, in his hands, his character is believable and always of interest.
In case you were expecting a bunch of humorous twists to this story, forget it. The plot is not a comedy, but a tirade against automation. BRAIN CENTER AT WHIPPLE'S does have a humorous surprise ending. The story might be fun to watch more than once. But BRAIN CENTER AT WHIPPLE'S is not quite in the eternally-charming league of certain other as T.Z. episodes, such as, CAVENDER IS COMING, ONE FOR THE ANGELS, TIME ENOUGH AT LAST, NICK OF TIME, KICK THE CAN, STEEL, A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS, or MISTER BEVIS. THREE STARS for BRAIN CENTER.