Twilight Zone First Season

"Portrait of a town drunk named Al Denton. This is a man who's begun his dying early - a long, agonizing route through a maze of bottles. Al Denton, who would probably give an arm or a leg or a part of his soul to have another chance, to be able to rise up and shake the dirt from his body and the bad dreams that infest his consciousness. [Shot of Henry J. Fate.] In the parlance of the times, this is a peddler, a rather fanciful-looking little man in a black frock coat. [Shot of a six-gun appearing next to Denton.] And this is the third principal character of our story. Its function: perhaps to give Mr. Al Denton his second chance."

Al Denton, once a feared gunslinger, now the town drunk, is forced to draw against Hotaling, a sadistic bully. That day, Henry J. Fate arrives in town. Fate's glance gives Denton's hand a life of its own, and Denton disarms Hotaling, and he regains the respect of the town. His new reputation soon attracts a young hotshot that challenges him to a duel. Denton, his gunslinging ability once again gone, buys a potion from Mr. Fate. It will give him ten seconds of deadly accuracy. As soon as the young gunslinger enters the saloon, Denton downs the potion. To his horror, he sees the young man doing the same thing. They shoot the guns out of each other's hands, each sustaining an injury that will end both of their gunslinging careers. Denton tells his adversary that they've both been blessed.

"Mr. Henry Fate, dealer in utensils and pots and pans, liniments and potions. A fanciful little man in a black frock coat who can help a man climbing out of a pit - or another man from falling into one. Because, you see, Fate can work that way... in the Twilight Zone."

Notes: The first "portrait" narration. The word "portrait" appears in eight intros and three outros, always as the first word of the narration. A foreshadowing of the "Night Gallery" series, perhaps. Interestingly, though, it appears in only one more narration in a Serling episode (intro to "He's Alive"), and its next two appearances in narrations were in Charles Beaumont episodes. Rod sometimes wrote or edited the narrations in episodes written by others, and sometimes the narrations were wholly the work of the episode authors.

Pronunciation note: Here and in the "Hitch-Hiker" intro, Rod pronounces "route" so that it rhymes with "snout." In the narrations following "The Hitch-Hiker," he would pronounce all forms of the word to rhyme with "snoot." (In the phrase "en route," which occurs often in the narrations, the latter pronunciation is the only correct one anyway, but in "Long Distance Call" and "Night Call" he could have used either pronunciation, and chose to say "oo" rather than "ow".)

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


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