It's a Good Life (The Twilight Zone)

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"It's a Good Life"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 8
Directed by James Sheldon
Written by Rod Serling from the story "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby
Featured music Stock plus "Moonglow" and "Stardust"
Production code 4801
Original air date November 3, 1961
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Twilight Zone episodes

"It's a Good Life" is episode 73 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It is based on the 1953 short story "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby and is considered by many, such as Time Magazine and TV Guide, to be one of the best episodes of the series. It originally aired on November 3, 1961.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot summary[edit]

Six-year-old Anthony Fremont looks like any other little boy, but looks can be deceiving: he is a monster, a mutant with godlike mental powers, including mind-reading. Years before, he isolated his town of Peaksville, Ohio from the rest of the universe. Everybody is under his rule, even his parents. Since he's begun isolating the town, the people must survive by growing their own food, and supplies of common household items, such as bar soap, have been dwindling. He has blocked television signals and caused cars not to work.

The children and adults, including his own parents, tiptoe nervously around him, constantly telling him how everything he does is "good," since displeasing him can get them wished away into the cornfield from which there is no return. At one point, a dog is heard barking angrily. Anthony thinks the dog is "bad" and doesn't "like [him] at all," and wishes it into the cornfield. His father and mother are horrified, but they dare not show it.

That night, Anthony gives the townsfolk a treat -- one hour of television, which he creates and projects onto the family TV set. The adults gather around in the Fremonts' living room, squirming uncomfortably as Anthony shows them a vision of screaming dinosaurs, engaged in a vicious battle. Unable to voice their real feelings, they tell Anthony that it was far better than what used to be on TV.

After the program is over, the adults celebrate Dan Hollis' birthday. He gets two presents from his wife: a bottle of brandy and a Perry Como record. Dan is eager to listen to the record, but he's reminded by everyone that Anthony does not like singing. Getting slightly drunk from the brandy, complaining about not listening to the record, and no one singing "Happy Birthday" to him, Dan cannot take the strain anymore and confronts Anthony, calling him a monster and a murderer. While Anthony's anger grows, Dan yells for someone to attack Anthony from behind and end his reign of terror. Aunt Amy (who isn't able to sing anymore because of Anthony) tentatively reaches for a fireplace poker, but no one has the courage to act. Anthony cries out to Dan, "You're a bad man! You're a very bad man! And you keep thinking bad thoughts about me!" Dan is transformed into a jack-in-the-box, causing his wife to break down. The adults are horrified at what Anthony had done, and his father asks him to wish it into the cornfield, which he does.

Because of Amy's earlier complaints about the heat, Anthony causes snow to begin falling outside. His father observes that the snow will kill off at least half the crops and the town will face starvation, and he is about to confront Anthony about this, but his wife and the other adults look on with worried smiles on their faces. The father then smiles and tells Anthony in a horror-tinged voice, "...But it's good you're making it snow. A real good thing. And tomorrow... tomorrow's gonna be a... real 'good' day!"

Closing narration[edit]


Reception and Legacy[edit]

Time Magazine named this the third-best Twilight Zone episode, behind "Time Enough At Last" and "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street".[1]

Rod Serling's map background intro which is seen at the beginning of this episode, was recycled and edited with a sound-alike voiceover artist to place him within the library preshow introduction for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attractions at Disney theme parks. The library room also contains other numerous episode artifacts from The Twilight Zone TV series such as Serling's name engraved on a shelf, books titled with all the episode names from the series, and a broken pair of glasses from "Time Enough At Last," among many other things.

In 1997 TV Guide ranked the episode number 31 on its 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time list.[2]


In a 1974 interview with Marvel Comics, Rod Serling said "I'm on my third draft of a feature film based on Jerome Bixby's short story, 'It's a Good Life'. We did it originally on Twilight Zone but now we're doing a full-length version. Alan Landsburg, who produced 'Chariots of the Gods?', is producing it. It's in the fantasy-horror genre."[3] This was one of Serling's last interviews before his death in 1975.

An updated remake of this episode with a lighter ending written by Richard Matheson and directed by Joe Dante, was featured as the third segment of 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie. Bill Mumy also made a cameo appearance in the segment.

This episode was also remade as a parody in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror II" in 1991.

The episode was referenced in an episode of American Dad (s. 2 ep 17) "I Can't Stan You" where Stan listened in on his neighbors private conversations. Anyone who was heard criticizing him had their house seized by the CIA and was summarily banished to The Cornfield Motel.


In the 2002 revival series, a sequel to this episode was broadcast, entitled "It's Still a Good Life". In the episode, Anthony is a middle-aged man who now has a daughter Audrey who has inherited his powers.[4] Bill Mumy and Cloris Leachman reprised their roles from the original episode.[5] Anthony Fremont's daughter, Audrey, is played by actor Bill Mumy's real life daughter Liliana Mumy.[5][6]

A commercial for Me-TV airing on that channel in 2015 and available on Vimeo features an adult Bill Mumy as adult Anthony intercut with scenes from the original episode, apparently interacting as the adult Anthony uses his powers to beam Me-TV to little Anthony's set.


  1. ^ "Top 10 Twilight Zone episodes". Time. 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  2. ^ TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes and Noble. 2004. p. 667. ISBN 0-7607-5634-1. 
  3. ^ Rod Serling Recalls—'Marvel Planet of the Apes' UK Issue 12 (1975)
  4. ^ "Bill Mumy—Biography". Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  5. ^ a b "The Twilight Zone". Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  6. ^ "The Twilight Zone Special Remake Episodes". Sci Fi Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-06-22. Played by Mumy's real life daughter, Liliana Mumy 


  • 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
  • Diaz, Junot. Penguin Books New York (2007) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao p.g 224

External links[edit]