Cavender Is Coming
|"Cavender is Coming"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Christian Nyby|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Featured music||Horst Jankowski's A Walk in the Black Forest|
|Original air date||May 25, 1962|
Agnes Grep is a clumsy theater worker in a group of several costumed "showgirl"-looking female employees. In a gathering of angels, Harmon Cavender is summoned and assigned to her. He's supposed to improve her life in 24 hours so he can earn his wings (in other words, become a fully vested angel). However, his fellow angels express uncertainty he can do it. Agnes doesn't last long at her theater job when she doesn't understand the confusing hand signals for each theater worker, and ending with her running through a mirror and breaking through it.
She runs to catch the bus home, bumping into a woman getting off, and Cavender appears beside Agnes. He tries to prove her he's her guardian angel by making a little miracle, though he admits that once in a while he has a tendency to "louse things up". He changes the bus into a horse and buggy, then a convertible, and finally back to a bus. The frazzled bus driver resigns and Agnes is confused though not necessarily convinced (even when she turns to see Cavender writing "guardian angel" in thin air). Once at home, Agnes is greeted by cookie-loving kids and neighbors who sympathize with her ongoing work woes. When she gets into her apartment, she finds Cavender on her couch and is rather nonplussed to see him (offering him tea or alcohol). He makes a bank book appear out of thin air and provides her a mansion, high society friends, and a large bank account to fund it all. Instead of bowling (her former social "high point"), she finds herself trudging through a lavish party.
Cavender wakes up on her mansion couch, convinced he succeeded (and having enjoyed the party a little too much). He doesn't see Agnes anywhere and zaps himself to her old apartment where she glumly tells him that none of her old apartment neighbors recognized her; people she considered her friends. She tells him she doesn't want to go back to the mansion and wants her old life back. Cavender argues that she was "unstable, unresolved, and unemployed" but she insists she was happy that way so he zaps her back to her normal clothes and life. With excitement, she greets and jokes with all her old friends. She thanks Cavender and he realizes that she's "the richest woman I know" and money doesn't necessarily equal happiness.
Sure that he didn't earn his wings, Cavender goes up to see his boss who rattles off a list of things he did wrong (most of them including the various gin cocktails he drank) when they look down to see what she's doing. The boss realizes how happy Agnes is bowling, despite not being very good at it. He realizes Cavender did complete his mission to make Agnes happy and instead of being demoted, he'll help "other deserving subjects" who'll need his assistance in the future. With that, Cavender takes out a cigar and happily leaves the 3rd Celestial Division Angel Placement.
- Jesse White as Harmon Cavender
- Carol Burnett as Agnes Grep
- Howard Smith as Polk
- Frank Behrens as Stout
- John Fiedler as Field Rep #3
- Sandra Gould as Woman
- Donna Douglas as Woman #1
- Adrienne Marden as Woman #2
- Maurice Dallimore as Man
- William O'Connell as Field Rep #1
- John Fiedler as Field Rep #3
- Pitt Herbert as Field Rep #2
- Stan Jones as Field Rep #4
|“||Submitted for your approval, the case of one Miss Agnes Grep, put on Earth with two left feet, an overabundance of thumbs and a propensity for falling down manholes. In a moment she will be up to her jaw in miracles, wrought by apprentice angel Harmon Cavender, intent on winning his wings. And, though, it's a fact that both of them should have stayed in bed, they will tempt all the fates by moving into the cold, gray dawn of the Twilight Zone.||”|
|“||A word to the wise now to any and all who might suddenly feel the presence of a cigar-smoking helpmate who takes bankbooks out of thin air. If you're suddenly aware of any such celestial aids, it means that you're under the beneficent care of one Harmon Cavender, guardian angel. And this message from the Twilight Zone: Lotsa luck!||”|
This episode was originally broadcast with a laugh track – the only Twilight Zone episode to feature one – because this episode was intended as a backdoor pilot for a regular comedy series featuring the Cavender character. The version included in The Twilight Zone – The Complete Definitive Collection DVD set has the laugh track removed. Reruns airing in the U.S. on Sci Fi Channel and ME-TV also have the laugh track removed, as does the version on Netflix.
The essential premise of this episode is exactly the same as the first-season Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Bevis". Both episodes are comedies about well-meaning guardian angels who try to help kind-hearted but hapless human beings by magically giving them everything they think they desire – only to discover the humans are happier with the way life had been previously. Both episodes were written by Rod Serling.
- 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