A Nice Place to Visit

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"A Nice Place to Visit"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 28
Directed by John Brahm
Written by Charles Beaumont
Production code 173-3632
Original air date April 15, 1960
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) (season 1)
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"A Nice Place to Visit" is episode 28 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. The episode 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.[1] "The Land of Milk and Honey", episode number 154, 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 Leo G. Carroll. It was written by John Balderston and dealt with a similar theme.[2][3]

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

After robbing a pawn shop, Henry Francis "Rocky" Valentine (Larry Blyden) 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 (Sebastian Cabot) 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 up again when a meal is brought in, and demands that Pip taste it first to prove it isn't poisoned. When Pip demurs, claiming he hasn't eaten for centuries, Rocky shoots him in the head, but sees that the bullets have no effect. 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 torment 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 because God apparently has no problem with him being in Heaven.

One month later, Rocky has become bored with having his whims instantly satisfied. He calls 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 then 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 now-locked apartment door and escape his "paradise" as Pip laughs malevolently at his torment.

Closing narration[edit]

Production[edit]

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 consider playing the part. Serling declined and Rooney became unavailable. (He guest starred in a later episode.)[4]

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.[4]

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.[citation needed]

"A Nice Place to Visit" was 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" because 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."[5]

Popular culture[edit]

Elliott Murphy alludes to this episode in the song "Sacrifice" from his album Unreal City. 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."

The unreleased They Might Be Giants song "Hell Hotel" is based on "A Nice Place to Visit". According to producer Bill Krauss, the song references the episode's plot and lead actor Sebastian Cabot.[6]

President Donald Trump has said that this episode of The Twilight Zone inspired him in his efforts to succeed.[7][8]

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.

In the Futurama episode "I Dated a Robot", a parody of the Twilight Zone called The Scary Door mimics this episode by having a gambler who always wins. He realizes quickly that he must be in hell. A character similar to Pip arrives, only for the episode to suddenly shift to the plots of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and "The Man in the Bottle".

The plot of the 1979 pornographic film For the Love of Pleasure, starring Jamie Gillis and Annette Haven, is a broad rewrite of this episode.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Old Time Radio Researchers Group. "Theater Five - Single Episodes" – via Internet Archive. 
  2. ^ "Boris Karloff - OLD HOLLYWOOD IN COLOR". oldhollywoodincolor.com. 
  3. ^ ""A Nice Place to Visit"". twilightzonevortex.blogspot.ca. 
  4. ^ a b Zicree, Marc Scott (1989). The Twilight Zone Companion (second ed.). Hollywood: Silman James. pp. 114–115. ISBN 1-879505-09-6. 
  5. ^ Erikson,Hal(October 1985). "Censorship: Another Dimension Behind the Twilight Zone", The Twilight Zone Magazine.
  6. ^ Weiskopf, Myke (1996). "Early Years Handbook". TMBG.org.
  7. ^ Rosenmann, Alexandra (6 May 2016). "Watch: Donald Trump's Philosophy on Success Was Inspired by a 'Twilight Zone' Episode" – via AlterNet. 
  8. ^ Wayne Barrett, The Deals and the Downfall. New York: Harper Collins, 1992, pp. 31-32.
  9. ^ "For the Love Of Pleasure Movie Review by Oddobsessionmovies - Adult DVD Talk - Porn Movie Shopping Guide". www.adultdvdtalk.com. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]