A Penny for Your Thoughts
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|"A Penny for Your Thoughts"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||James Sheldon|
|Written by||George Clayton Johnson|
|Original air date||February 3, 1961|
Hector Poole, a sensitive, insecure bank clerk, gains telepathic powers after tossing a coin that miraculously stands on its edge. He discovers that he is able to "hear" other people's thoughts, and is surprised to hear the things people are thinking around him.
He first "hears" his boss thinking about a weekend affair he is planning with his mistress. Then a businessman, Mr. Sykes, thinks about taking out a large loan to pay for a run at the horse track to win back money he has embezzled from his company. Hector informs his boss, Mr. Bagby, and thwarts the businessman's plans. Hector also "hears" the thoughts of Miss Turner, a co-worker who admires him from afar and wishes he would be more assertive.
Shortly afterwards, Hector hears an old, trusted employee, Mr. Smithers, apparently planning to steal cash from the bank. He takes Miss Turner into his confidence and reveals his psychic abilities to her, and tells what he heard. She urges him to tell Mr. Bagby, which he does. Smithers proves to be innocent of the plan, but he privately admits to Poole that he had fantasized for years about stealing money from the bank but would never go through with such a plan because he is too much a coward.
Mr. Bagby fires Hector, but reinstates him when he discovers that Mr. Sykes has been arrested for gambling with company money. With Miss Turner's telepathic encouragement, Hector makes the case to Mr. Bagby that he deserves to be accounts manager, but when the bank manager resists reason, Hector uses his knowledge of his boss's adultery to blackmail him into granting the promotion and into giving Mr. Smithers a long-overdue vacation.
After work, as Hector returns home with Miss Turner, he inadvertently knocks the standing coin over. His mind-reading ability is gone, but he is a man changed for the better.
This is one of the rare episodes that concludes with the protagonist's life ending happier and fulfilled for his experience in the Twilight Zone.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0