One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty
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|"One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty"|
|The Twilight Zone (1985 series) episode|
scene from One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Don Carlos Dunaway|
|Written by||Alan Brennert
(Based on the short story by Harlan Ellison)
|Original air date||December 6, 1985|
|“||He had to go back; it was that simple. Back to the place where his anger had first taken root. Back to find the turning point which had set him on the road to success . . . and loneliness. Because here, in a small Ohio town, lived the shadows of the boy he used to be and the man he could have become. Gus Rosenthal is returning home . . . to the Twilight Zone.||”|
Gus is an angry middle aged man, very dissatisfied with his life. One day, one of his old collectible toy soldiers breaks and Gus knows he must go back to his old house in Ohio and bury his toy soldier like he did when he was a child. While Gus sits under a tree, he is transported back to the 1940s where he is able to see himself as a child.
Older Gus begins to follow his younger self. One day, when Gus saves his younger self from bullies, they start to be friends. He tries to be a go-between for young Gus and his father. He tells young Gus how he decided he would show the kids in his day that he would be successful and famous when he grew up. Older Gus also starts getting young Gus reading. Young Gus's dad, Lou, confronts the older Gus, telling him he is jealous of the relationship he has with young Gus. Lou tells older Gus that he tries to understand young Gus but he can't. Older Gus tries to explain that he only needs to listen to his son and let him know that he loves him. He tries to explain to Lou that he and his father didn't have a good relationship and his father died before he had a chance to make him proud of him. Older Gus admits he was the same way when he was a kid and he wanted to give young Gus a different chance. Lou tells older Gus that he is a good man for doing what he did and he is happy he has been a part of their lives, for young Gus' sake.
Older Gus tells younger Gus he has to leave and go back to his life in Los Angeles. Apparently, being in the past has made older Gus sick and he tries to explain that to younger Gus. Younger Gus becomes angry and runs away, claiming to be "a big something" and show the older Gus. Older Gus remembers that this is the time that he does meet his older self and makes the claim that he will make himself into "a big something" and show him. Gus then returns to his own time. Gus hails a cab and the driver happens to be one of the kids that used to bully Gus. Gus then realizes that although he did not have the greatest childhood, he is now happy.
|“||It's rather bittersweet how we spend so much time trying to justify ourselves to the shadows of those who are long gone. And even if they were alive, would they remember? Would they recall what they had said or done that made you spend the rest of your life proving yourself? And if you could go back, wouldn't you learn that you were always the master of your fate?
And if you learned that great truth, wouldn't it free you of a useless burden. Dead cargo...from the Twilight Zone.
This episode is based on the short story "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty", by Harlan Ellison. The story was first published in the anthology Orbit 8 in 1970.
This episode is similar to the original series episode "Walking Distance", where Gig Young plays a man, escaping from his adult rat-race life, who finds himself in his hometown, during the time when he was a boy.