Of Late I Think of Cliffordville

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"Of Late I Think of Cliffordville"
The Twilight Zone episode
Julie Newmar Albert Salmi The Twilight Zone.JPG
Julie Newmar as Miss Devlin and Albert Salmi as William Feathersmith
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 14
Directed by David Lowell Rich
Written by Rod Serling (from the short story "Blind Alley" by Malcolm Jameson)
Production code 4867
Original air date April 11, 1963
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The New Exhibit"
Next →
"The Incredible World of Horace Ford"
List of season 4 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Of Late I Think of Cliffordville" is episode 116 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on April 11, 1963 on CBS. In this episode, an elderly, sadistic business tycoon buys the opportunity to enjoy amassing his fortune a second time.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

William J. Feathersmith, the 75-year-old president of a large corporation, is a sadistic man who has made his fortune by financially predating on others. One night, a drunken Feathersmith confesses to the janitor Mr. Hecate that, having reached the height of success, he is left feeling empty and purposeless, and dreams of returning to his small hometown of Cliffordville, Indiana and start life anew. Hecate says that Cliffordville happens to be his hometown as well.

Attempting to go home for the night, Feathersmith is instead taken by the elevator to the 13th floor, where he finds a travel agency that wasn't there the day before. Feathersmith quickly realizes that the agency's head, Miss Devlin, is a devil. She offers to fulfill his wish to return to 1910 Cliffordville, agreeing to his terms that he will look the same as he did then but retain all memories of his first life, in exchange for almost all his liquidated worth, leaving him with $1,412. Because he knows which investments have succeeded and which have failed in the last 50 years, Feathersmith agrees.

Back in 1910 Cliffordville, he uses $1,403 to buy 1,403 acres of land which he knows to contain deposits of oil. He forgets, however, that the drill needed to access oil so far beneath the ground will not be invented until 1937. Feathersmith tries to woo the daughter of a bank owner but is startled that, rather than being the charming girl he remembers, she chatters incessantly and insists on entertaining guests with her shrill singing. Many of the stocks he invests in drop. He tries to "invent" devices such as a self-starter for automobiles but doesn't know how to design them. The townspeople's ridicule at this causes Feathersmith to suffer palpitations. He realizes that following the strict letter of his terms, Miss Devlin has made him appear 30, but he is still biologically 75. Feathersmith accuses Miss Devlin of altering the past but she says that all is as it was; he just chose to remember it differently. She needles him that he has lived off the work of others and is unable to create anything himself.

He pleads with Miss Devlin to send him back to 1963, even after she warns him that his actions in 1910 have changed things, and it can no longer be the 1963 he knew. Feeling some measure of sympathy for him, she agrees to fulfill his wish for just $40. Having no money left, Feathersmith sells the deed to his land to Mr. Hecate for the $40.

Feathersmith is transported back to the present. Because of the profit he made from the oil, Hecate is now the president of the corporation, while Feathersmith is the janitor.

Closing narration[edit]

Production[edit]

In the scene in which Feathersmith negotiates his way out of Cliffordville, there are several crates in the alley marked "This End Up", which were used as shipping crates for the wax figures in the previous episode, "The New Exhibit."

References[edit]

  • 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]