A Nice Place to Visit
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|"A Nice Place to Visit"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||John Brahm|
|Written by||Charles Beaumont|
|Original air date||April 15, 1960|
"A Nice Place to Visit" is episode 28 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone first aired on CBS on April 15, 1960. The title comes from the saying, "A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."
In 1965, a slightly modified version of this story was broadcast on the radio program Theater Five. The episode (number 154), "The Land of Milk and Honey", retained all of the important aspects of this episode, including the innuendos and the surprise ending. On November 14, 1935 the radio program The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour hosted by Rudy Vallee broadcast a play titled: The Other Place starring Colin Clive and written by John Balderston which dealt with a similar theme.
|“||Portrait of a man at work, the only work he's ever done, the only work he knows. His name is Henry Francis Valentine, but he calls himself "Rocky", because that's the way his life has been – rocky and perilous and uphill at a dead run all the way. He's tired now, tired of running or wanting, of waiting for the breaks that come to others but never to him, never to Rocky Valentine. A scared, angry little man. He thinks it's all over now but he's wrong. For Rocky Valentine, it's just the beginning.||”|
After robbing a pawn shop, Henry "Rocky" Valentine" is shot by a police officer as he tries to flee. He wakes up to find himself seemingly unharmed by the encounter, as a genial elderly man named Pip greets him. Pip explains that he has been instructed to guide Rocky and give him whatever he desires. Rocky becomes suspicious, thinking that Pip is trying to swindle him, but Pip proves to have detailed information on Rocky's tastes and hobbies. Rocky demands that Pip hand over his wallet; Pip says that he does not carry one, but gives Rocky $700 directly from his pocket and says that he can provide as much money as Rocky wants.
Thinking that Pip is trying to entice him to commit a crime, Rocky holds him at gunpoint as the two travel to a luxurious apartment. Pip explains that the apartment and everything in it are free, and Rocky starts to relax. However, his suspicions rise again when a meal is brought in, and he demands that Pip taste it first to prove that it is not poisoned. When Pip demurs, Rocky shoots him in the head, only for the bullets to bounce off harmlessly. Rocky realizes that he is dead, and he believes that he is in Heaven and Pip is his guardian angel.
Rocky visits a casino, winning every bet he makes as beautiful girls gather around him, and enjoys being able to pick on a policeman after Pip shrinks him. Later, Rocky asks Pip if he can see some of his old friends who have also died, but Pip says that this world is for Rocky alone. Except for the two men, no one in it is real. When Rocky wonders what good deeds he could have done to gain entrance to Heaven, Pip takes him to visit the Hall of Records. Rocky looks through his own file and discovers that it only contains a list of his sins, but decides not to worry about it since God apparently has no problem with his being in Heaven.
One month later, Rocky has become thoroughly bored with having his whims instantly satisfied. He calls up Pip and asks for a challenge in which he might run the risk of losing. Pip offers to set up a bank robbery, but Rocky abandons the idea, saying that a pre-planned outcome would take the fun out of the crime. He tells Pip that he is tired of Heaven and wants to go to "the other place," to which Pip retorts, "Heaven? Whatever gave you the idea you were in Heaven, Mr. Valentine? This is the other place!" Horrified, Rocky tries in vain to open the apartment door and escape his "paradise" as Pip laughs malevolently at his torment.
|“||A scared, angry little man who never got a break. Now he has everything he's ever wanted – and he's going to have to live with it for eternity – in The Twilight Zone.||”|
Mickey Rooney was the first choice to play Valentine. In a memo to Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont suggested, should Rooney not be available, that Serling himself consider playing the part. Serling declined and Rooney ended up being unavailable. (He guest starred in a later episode.)
Guest star Cabot had to bleach his hair white for the role; it took three months for the actor's hair to return to its original dark color.
One version of this episode has Valentine throwing an apple at a table which changes into a pool table – although another version has this scene cut out.
"A Nice Place to Visit" was also singled out for its brazen sexual innuendo. Program Practices requested that Valentine not refer to a girl as "a broad [...] really stacked", even though the crudity was essential to establishing the unsavory qualities of the character. Nor could the protagonist refer to a party as "a ball", since that word had more than one meaning. In another sequence, a voluptuous young lady tends to Valentine's every need, then says "is there anything else I can do for you?" CBS's comment: "Please be certain that the girl's third speech be delivered in a sweet manner, as described."
Elliott Murphy alludes to this episode in the song "Sacrifice" from his "Unreal City" album. The lyrics to the song's bridge are as follows: "On TV was a petty thief shot by the police, he came to in Las Vegas in a penthouse suite, he had a magic butler gave him all that he desired, a feast of wine and women 'til his passions were expired. He couldn't understand why a crook like him had died and gone to heaven when his life was full of sin, and when he shot pool and every ball quickly fell, he saw his butler was the devil and the penthouse was in hell."
This episode is referenced in two episodes of The Sopranos. In "Chasing It", this episode is explicitly mentioned when it is described to Tony Soprano. In the episode "Kennedy and Heidi", Tony Soprano visits Las Vegas and basically lives the episode, having an unprecedented string of success with gambling, drugs, and women.
- Theater Five internet archive
- Zicree, Marc Scott (1989). The Twilight Zone Companion (second ed.). Hollywood: Silman James. pp. 114–115. ISBN 1-879505-09-6.
- Erikson,Hal(October 1985). "Censorship: Another Dimension Behind the Twilight Zone", The Twilight Zone Magazine.
- Weiskopf, Myke (1996). "Early Years Handbook". TMBG.org.
- Wayne Barrett, The Deals and the Downfall. New York: Harper Collins, 1992, pp. 31-32.
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
- 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