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"Mr. Bevis" is the thirty-third episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"In the parlance of the twentieth century, this is an oddball. His name is James B. W. Bevis, and his tastes lean toward stuffed animals, zither music, professional football, Charles Dickens, moose heads, carnivals, dogs, children, and young ladies. Mr. Bevis is accident prone, a little vague, a little discombobulated, with a life that possesses all the security of a floating crap game. But this can be said of our Mr. Bevis: without him, without his warmth, without his kindness, the world would be a considerably poorer place, albeit perhaps a little saner.
[continued narration subsequent to extensive character dialogue] Should it not be obvious by now, James B. W. Bevis is a fixture in his own private, optimistic, hopeful little world, a world which has long ceased being surprised by him. James B. W. Bevis, on whom Dame Fortune will shortly turn her back, but not before she gives him a paste in the mouth. Mr. James B. W. Bevis, just one block away from The Twilight Zone."
A kindly fellow's life is turned topsy-turvy when he receives "help" from his guardian angel. Mr. Bevis loses his job, gets tickets on his car (which has tipped over) and gets evicted from his apartment, all in one day. Bevis then meets and gets assistance from his guardian angel, one J. Hardy Hempstead. Bevis gets to start the day over again, except now he is a success at work, his rent is paid and his personal transportation is now a sportscar (Austin-Healey) instead of Bevis' previous jalopy, a soot-spewing 1924 Rickenbacker. But of course there's a catch. In order to continue in his new life, Bevis must make some changes: no strange clothes, no loud zither music, no longer can he be the well-liked neighborhood goofball. Realizing all these things are what makes him happy, Bevis asks that things be returned to the way they were. Hempstead obliges, initially warning him that he'll still have no job, car or apartment—but, perhaps moved by his kindness and the warmth people have for him, arranges for Bevis to get his old jalopy back. In the final scene of the episode, Mr. Bevis is shown finishing his fifth shot of whiskey, and he pays his total tab of $5.00 with one bill. He then leaves the bar, where his Rickenbacker was parked in front of a fire hydrant. When Bevis is about to be ticketed for this infraction, the hydrant suddenly disappears and then reappears next to the officer's motorcycle. 'J. Hardy Hempstead' is still watching over him after all.
"Mr. James B. W. Bevis, who believes in a magic all his own. The magic of a child's smile, the magic of liking and being liked, the strange and wondrous mysticism that is the simple act of living. Mr. James B. W. Bevis, species of twentieth-century male, who has his own private and special Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next week, you'll see our friends here along with Anne Francis and Elizabeth Allen in one of the strangest stories we've yet presented on The Twilight Zone. It's called "The After Hours" and concerns the shadowy time when normal people go back to their homes and concurrently what happens to those who are perhaps not quite so normal or perhaps not quite so human. Intriguing? I think you'll find it so next week on The Twilight Zone.
- Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
- Orson Bean as James B.W. Bevis
- Henry Jones as J. Hardy Hempstead
- Charles Lane as Mr. Peckinpaugh
- Horace McMahon as Bartender
- William Schallert as Policeman
- Forence MacMichael as Margaret
- Dorothy Neumann as Landlady
- Vito Scotti as Peddler
- House Peters Jr. as Policeman
- Colleen O'Sullivan as Michelle [Credited as Coleen O'Sullivan]
- Timmy Cletro as Boy
- Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
- Buck Houghton (producer)
- George T. Clemens (director of photography)
- Bill Mosher (film editor)
- George W. Davis (art director)
- Merrill Pye (art director)
- F. Keogh Gleason (set decorator; credited: Keogh Gleason)
- Henry Grace (set decorator)
- Ralph W. Nelson (production manager)
- Donald C. Klune (assistant director; credited: Don Klune)
- Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
- Philip Mitchell (sound)
- Van Allen James (sound effects editor; uncredited)
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1960) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
Home media release
- Served as a pilot for a spin-off series where Burgess Meredith was to play Bevis, but a series was not ordered once Rod Serling learned he declined the role.
- One of three episodes to include an eye, not a spiral, at the introduction.
- The 1924 Rickenbacker automobile that Mr. Bevis is seen driving away in was built by the same family that invented the electric guitar in 1931. John Lennon bought his first Rickenbacker guitar in Hamburg, Germany around the time this episode was filmed.