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"The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"Time: the mid-twenties. Place: the Midwest - the southernmost section of the Midwest. We were just witnessing a funeral, a funeral that didn't come off exactly as planned, due to a slight fallout - from The Twilight Zone."
In the mid-1920s in a small rural town in the "southernmost section of the Midwest," a man, Jeff Myrtlebank, returns to life at his own funeral. The townspeople believe that the man must be possessed by a haint (a wandering demon), even though the town doctor declares it was more than likely a medical condition that imitated death. Jeff seems normal enough, yet he has changed: he has suddenly become a hard worker with exceptional strength, and he wants to marry his longtime girlfriend, Comfort. Comfort is loyal, but she is concerned about Jeff's changed personality. As Comfort is about to respond to Jeff's marriage proposal, angry townspeople arrive to confront the demon they believe is possessing Jeff. Myrtlebank makes an inspired speech in which he tells them that they are wrong and have nothing to fear from him. He also slyly threatens that if he "just happened to be a demon," it might be in their best interests to be nice to him. They accept the wisdom of this, and promise to attend Jeff and Comfort's wedding. After they leave, Jeff pulls out a pipe and produces a lit match from the air. When Comfort asks how he lit the match, he laughs and says "Comfort, you have got to stop imaginin' things." He puts his arm around her shoulders to take her inside. As they walk toward the house, the fence gate closes behind them on its own. In his closing narration, Rod Serling says that Comfort and Jeff are still alive and bore a son who grew up to become a shrewd politician and US Senator. Serling says that the son is suspected to have earned his education in the Twilight Zone.
"Jeff and Comfort are still alive today, and their only son is a United States Senator. He's noted as an uncommonly shrewd politician, and some believe he must have gotten his education - in The Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next week, we burrow deep into the most inner confines of Kook Land and hopefully wind up dead center of the oddest portion thereof. We'll bring you a story called "To Serve Man", written originally by Damon Knight. Now if you've ever wondered how we'd react to the arrival of some honest-to-pete saucers, next week's diet should be your meat. On The Twilight Zone, "To Serve Man".
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series