A Kind of a Stopwatch

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"A Kind of a Stopwatch"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 4
Directed byJohn Rich
Written byRod Serling
(based on an unpublished story by Michael D. Rosenthal)
Featured musicNathan Van Cleave
Production code2609
Original air dateOctober 18, 1963
Guest appearance(s)

Richard Erdman: Patrick Thomas McNulty
Roy Roberts: Mr. Cooper
Leon Belasco: Potts
Herbie Faye: Joe Polucci
Doris Singleton: Secretary
Dick Wessel: Charlie (as Richard Wessel)
Ray Kellog: Fred
Ken Drake: Daniel
Sam Balter: TV Announcer
Robert McCord: Man in Bar Doorway

Episode chronology
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"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"
Next →
"The Last Night of a Jockey"
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) (season 5)
List of The Twilight Zone episodes

"A Kind of a Stopwatch"[1] is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. In this episode, a man acquires a stopwatch which can stop time.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Patrick McNulty is a self-important, annoying boor in his 40s. One day, he is summoned by his boss. He is delighted, believing that his frequent contributions to the suggestion box have earned him recognition. His boss, however, says that all of McNulty's suggestions deal with fields of enterprise in which the company is not involved. The boss fires McNulty for wasting his time.

McNulty goes to a bar, where he drives away the other patrons with his opinions about a sporting event. The bar owner requests that McNulty patronize another establishment. McNulty ignores him and buys a drink for the sole remaining patron, a drunk, who spews various phrases from times long past ("54°40' or Fight", "E Pluribus Unum", et al.). The drunk gives McNulty his stopwatch. Thinking it an odd gift, McNulty quickly discovers that it pauses the passage of time for everyone and everything, except the watch holder.

McNulty tries to show his former boss the power of the stopwatch. McNulty says it can be used to make their company the largest in the world, but forgets that he cannot be heard when time is stopped. His boss does not understand and dismisses him. Before leaving, McNulty uses the stopwatch mischievously to rearrange random things in the office. Returning to the bar, he tries to demonstrate the power of the watch to the customers, but again does it in such a way that they do not understand.

Next McNulty uses the stopwatch to break into a bank vault, but while carting out a pile of cash he drops the watch. It breaks, leaving time permanently frozen. With no way to repair it, McNulty runs around in a panic, begging the frozen people to talk or move.

Closing narration[edit]

Adaptation[edit]

The television episode was later adapted as an episode of The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas series—under the title "A Kind of Stopwatch"—featuring Lou Diamond Phillips in the lead role.[2]

Related works[edit]

Ideas from this episode were used in "A Little Peace and Quiet", an episode in the 1985 revival of The Twilight Zone.

The episode has been parodied by a number of animated series, including in the Johnny Bravo episode "The Day the Earth Didn't Move Around Very Much"; the Simpsons 2003 Halloween episode "Treehouse of Horror XIV"; and The Garfield Show episode "Time Master."

See also[edit]

References and further reading[edit]

  1. ^ "A Kind of Stopwatch" is the title on the script, two versions of which were published in As Timeless as Infinity: The Complete Twilight Zone Scripts of Rod Serling, Volume 3, edited by Tony Albarella (Gauntlet Press, 2007). The original scripts (both versions) are part of The Rod Serling Archives at Ithaca College.
  2. ^ "The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas: A Kind of Stopwatch". Twilightzoneradio.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  • 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
  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)

External links[edit]