Cavender Is Coming
|"Cavender is Coming"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|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|
|“||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.||”|
Angel Harmon Cavender is assigned to Agnes Grep, a clumsy woman routinely fired from work for her antics. He is supposed to improve her life in 24 hours so he can earn his wings. As he has taken longer than any other angel to earn his wings, failure in this case means demotion.
Cavender appears beside Agnes on her bus ride home. He tries to prove he is her guardian angel by changing the bus into a horse and buggy, then a convertible, and finally back to a bus. Once at home, Agnes is greeted by cookie-loving kids and neighbors who sympathize with her ongoing work woes. When she enters her apartment, she finds Cavender on her couch.
He 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 hosting a lavish party. She is uncomfortably overwhelmed by the high society chatter, largely incomprehensible to her, and by the obsequious affections of the men. Cavender, meanwhile, indulges himself in the alcoholic drinks.
Cavender wakes up on her mansion couch. He does not see Agnes anywhere and zaps himself to her old apartment where she glumly tells him that none of her old apartment neighbors recognized her. She tells him she does not want to go back to the mansion and wants her old life back. Cavender argues against the idea, but finally gives in and zaps her back to her normal life. With excitement, she greets and jokes with all her old friends. She thanks Cavender and he realizes that she is "the richest woman I know" and that money does not necessarily equal happiness.
Cavender goes up to see his boss, who rebukes him for his behavior at the party and for making no change to Agnes' life. However, looking down on Earth the boss sees that though her circumstances are unchanged, Agnes is now happy. He realizes Cavender did complete his mission by making Agnes appreciate what she had, and instead of being demoted, he will help "other deserving subjects". Cavender takes out a cigar and happily leaves the 3rd Celestial Division Angel Placement.
|“||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!||”|
- Jesse White as Harmon Cavender
- Carol Burnett as Agnes Grep
- Howard Smith as Polk
- Frank Behrens as Stout
- 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
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 guardian angels who try to help kindhearted but hapless human beings by giving them everything they think they desire, only to discover that the humans are happier with the way life had been previously. Both episodes were written by Rod Serling.
The plot is somewhat comparable to The Horn Blows at Midnight, the Warners 1945 feature that starred Jack Benny and Alexis Smith.
- 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