Twilight Zone First Season

"This is Gart Williams, age thirty-eight, a man protected by a suit of armor all held together by one bolt. Just a moment ago, someone removed the bolt, and Mr. Williams' protection fell away from him and left him a naked target. He's been cannonaded this afternoon by all the enemies of his life. His insecurity has shelled him, his sensitivity has straddled him with humiliation, his deep-rooted disquiet about his own worth has zeroed in on him, landed on target, and blown him apart. Mr. Gart Williams, ad agency exec, who in just a moment will move into the Twilight Zone--in a desperate search for survival."

Gart Williams is a very unhappy man. He has a terrible boss and a shrewish wife. Riding home on the train one day he falls asleep, and dreams it is 1880, and he is entering a small town called Willoughby. The conductor tells him Willoughby is a town where "a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure." Williams realizes this is the place for him, but he receives only ridicule from his wife. The pressure of his job being too great, he finally cracks. He calls his wife to tell her he is quitting, but she hangs up on him. On the train home, he suddenly finds himself back in Willoughby. The townsfolk all greet him by name. He's there for good this time. Meanwhile, the train has stopped. A Mr. Williams has jumped from the train yelling something about "Willoughby." The body is loaded in a hearse that bears the name "Willoughby Funeral Home."

"Willoughby? Maybe it's wishful thinking nestled in a hidden part of a man's mind, or maybe it's the last stop in the vast design of things - or perhaps, for a man like Gart Williams, who clmbed on a world that went by too fast, it's a place around the bend where he could jump off. Willoughby? Whatever it is, it comes with sunlight and serenity, and is part of the Twilight Zone."

Notes: Rod's use of "Williams' " as a possessive, without adding a second "s" at the end, has not traditionally been considered standard usage (although some grammatical authorities now accept it). Zicree and Cregg have it as "Williams' s"; this may be more grammatically correct, but it is not a correct record of what Rod actually says. Also see the intro to "The Hitch-Hiker".

Notes and corrected narrations courtesy of Twilight Zone Cafe Moderator, Matt Vandermast (aka "James B.W. Bevis")


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