The Last Night of a Jockey
|"Last Night of a Jockey"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
Mickey Rooney in "The Last Night of a Jockey"
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Joseph M. Newman|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Featured music||Stock from "The Big Tall Wish" (by Jerry Goldsmith) and cues from "The Lonely" by Bernard Herrmann|
|Original air date||October 25, 1963|
Mickey Rooney: Michael Grady
"The Last Night of a Jockey" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. In this episode, a diminutive jockey's wish to be tall is granted. The only actor in this entire episode is Mickey Rooney. Rod Serling wrote this episode specifically for Rooney.
|“||The name is Grady, five feet short in stockings and boots, a slightly distorted offshoot of a good breed of humans who race horses. He happens to be one of the rotten apples, bruised and yellowed by dealing in dirt, a short man with a short memory who's forgotten that he's worked for the sport of kings and helped turn it into a cesspool, used and misused by the two-legged animals who've hung around sporting events since the days of the Coliseum. So this is Grady, on his last night as a jockey. Behind him are Hialeah, Hollywood Park and Saratoga. Rounding the far turn and coming up fast on the rail—is the Twilight Zone.||”|
A jockey named Grady is lying alone in his room after being banned from horse racing for life for fixing races by horse doping. He drinks in his depression, and rues his five-foot height, which horse riding had served to compensate for. He then hears a voice. The voice introduces himself as "the alter ego" and claims to live in Grady's head. He argues with the alter ego, trying to justify his life and his actions, even lying about his crimes, but the alter ego knows all about him. Grady is offered the chance to change his life with one wish. Grady says his greatest wish is to be big. After Grady wakes from a nap he finds his wish has been granted; he is now close to eight feet tall.
Ecstatic, Grady calls his ex-girlfriend over the phone, but she dismisses him. He boasts that he can find more girls who will appreciate him because of his newfound height. The alter ego remains unimpressed, feeling Grady hasn't made good on any of his promises. He derides his dumb and "cheap" wish, and says that Grady could've wished to win the Kentucky Derby fairly, or perform a heroic act.
A telephone call from the racing commission informs Grady that he has been reinstated and can jockey again. Grady joyfully thanks everyone who petitioned to give him a second chance, but the alter ego laughs at him. Grady realizes he has become even larger, about 10 feet tall — too tall to ride a horse, or properly fit in his own apartment. Devastated, the now-giant Grady wrecks his room and pleads with the alter ego to make him small again. The alter ego denies the request, and instead replies, "You are small, Mr. Grady. You see, every time you won an honest race, that's when you were a giant. But right now, they just don't come any smaller."
|“||The name is Grady, ten feet tall, a slightly distorted offshoot of a good breed of humans who race horses. Unfortunately for Mr. Grady, he learned too late that you don't measure size with a ruler, you don't figure height with a yardstick, and you never judge a man by how tall he looks in a mirror. The giant is as he does. You can make a parimutuel bet on this, win, place, or show, in or out of the Twilight Zone.||”|
- 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
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
- Hal Erikson. "Censorship: Another Dimension Behind the Twilight Zone", published in the October 1985 edition of The Twilight Zone Magazine