"The Big Tall Wish" is the twenty-seventh episode of the The Twilight Zone.

Episode Details

Opening Narration

"In this corner of the universe, a prizefighter named Bolie Jackson, one-hundred and eighty-three pounds and an hour and a half away from a comeback at St. Nick's Arena. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who, by the standards of his profession is an aging, over-the-hill relic of what was, and who now sees a reflection of a man who has left too many pieces of his youth in too many stadiums for too many years before too many screaming people. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who might do well to look for some gentle magic in the hard-surfaced glass that stares back at him."

Episode Summary

Bolie Jackson is a washed-up boxer who accidentally breaks the knuckles of his hand right before his big comeback fight. He is knocked down and just about to be counted out when he suddenly, magically switches places with the other boxer. Bolie is now standing over his vanquished opponent. Bolie celebrates his victory, though he cannot understand what happened. He remembers being knocked down and has no memory of getting back up to win, nor can he figure out why his knuckles feel fine. His manager tells Bolie that he must be crazy, that he was never knocked down at all. Bolie figures his knuckles must have only been bruised. However, there is one other person who knows Bolie lost. Henry, the young son of Bolie's girlfriend, not only remembers, he also has an explanation for what happened. Henry tells Bolie that he made "the biggest, tallest wish" he could come up with for Bolie, for the two boxers to switch positions, and it came true. Bolie cannot accept this. Henry warns him that the only way the wish can have its power is if you believe in it. If Bolie doesn't believe, the wish will not work. But ultimately Bolie is unswayed. As soon as he finally rejects the idea that a wish could have been responsible for what happened, he is returned to the fight, on the canvas. This time the referee finishes counting Bolie out. Neither Bolie or Henry have any memory of the alternate outcome. Henry remembers making the biggest wish he possibly could for Bolie, but obviously it did not work, so he declares with resignation that he will not be making any more wishes. "There ain't no such thing as magic, is there?", he asks Bolie. "I guess not, Henry", Bolie replies sadly. "Or maybe...maybe there is magic. And maybe there's wishes, too. I guess the trouble is...there's not enough people around to believe..."

Closing Narration

"Mr. Bolie Jackson, a hundred and eighty-three pounds, who left a second chance lying in a heap on a rosin-spattered canvas at St. Nick's Arena. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who shares the most common ailment of all men, the strange and perverse disinclination to believe in a miracle, the kind of miracle to come from the mind of a little boy, perhaps only to be found in the Twilight Zone."

Preview for Next Week's Story

Greetings from the Low Rent District. Next week, we follow the fortunes and misfortunes of Mr. Larry Blyden, who plays the role of one Rocky Valentine, an itinerant second-story man who's shot dead in an alley one night, then goes to his just rewards, this little item being one of them. This one you can watch with a tongue in your cheek. It's called "A Nice Place to Visit", next week on The Twilight Zone.

Preview for Another CBS Show

"Kimberly-Clark invites you to watch Steve McQueen in Wanted: Dead or Alive, Saturday nights over the most of these same stations!"


Critical Response

Background Information


  • Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
  • Ivan Dixon as Bolie Jackson
  • Stephen Perry as Henry Temple [Credited as Steven Perry]
  • Kim Hamilton as Frances Temple
  • Walter Burke as Joe Mizell
  • Henry Scott as Thomas
  • Charles Horvath as Joey Consiglio; uncredited
  • Mike Lally as Handler; uncredited
  • Carl MacIntire as Announcer; uncredited
  • Dan Terranova as Call Boy; uncredited
  • Frankie Van as Referee; uncredited


  • 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)
  • Kurt Neumann (assistant director)
  • Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
  • Philip Mitchell (sound)
  • Van Allen James (sound effects editor; uncredited)

Production Companies


  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1960) (USA) (TV) (original airing)


  • Pacific Title (titles and opticals)


  • The all-black principal cast was a novelty for television in 1960. However, Rod Serling defended the decision. He was quoted in The Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott Zicree: "Television, like its big sister, the motion picture, has been guilty of the sin of omission... Hungry for talent, desperate for the so-called 'new face,' constantly searching for a transfusion of new blood, it has overlooked a source of wondrous talent that resides under its nose. This is the Negro actor."
  • A few other Twilight Zones would follow the example of this episode and cast blacks in significant roles, including the pastor in "I Am the Night—Color Me Black", with Ivan Dixon, and the electrician in "The Brain Center at Whipple's". These inclusions, though seemingly insignificant by modern standards, were so revolutionary at the time that The Twilight Zone was awarded the Unity Award for Outstanding Contributions to Better Race Relations in 1961.
  • Originally cast in the lead role was champion boxer Archie Moore, who would later exclaim, "Man, I was in the Twilight Zone!" when describing the knockout punch delivered by his opponent Yvon Durelle in a 1961 match.
  • This is one of several episodes from Season One with its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for Season Two. This was done during the Summer of 1961 as to help the season one shows fit in with the new look the show had taken during the following season.
  • They use the same hallway shown in this episode in "Mr. Bevis", but slightly altered. However, the door and stair railings remain the same.
  • The boxing match takes place at "St. Nick's Arena" which was the name of a boxing arena in New York City, the St. Nicholas Rink.

Cast Connections

Memorable Quotes

Notes and References

External Links

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