The Mind and the Matter
|"The Mind and the Matter"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Buzz Kulik|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||May 12, 1961|
|“||"A brief if frenetic introduction to Mr. Archibald Beechcroft. A child of the 20th century, a product of the population explosion, and one of the inheritors of the legacy of progress. Mr. Beechcroft again, this time Act Two of his daily battle for survival, and in just a moment our hero will begin his personal one-man rebellion against the mechanics of his age, and to do so he will enlist certain aides available only in the Twilight Zone."||”|
Mr. Archibald Beechcroft, who has had an insufferable time getting to work, becomes annoyed when an errand boy named Henry spills coffee all over his suit. Taking some aspirin in the bathroom, he encounters his boss, Mr. Rogers, who advises him that he needs to keep fit to avoid headaches. Annoyed, Beechcroft says he's fed up with the crowded conditions at the office and wants to eliminate all the people of the world.
Later, in the cafeteria, Henry saves Beechcroft a seat, because he's still feeling guilty about spilling the coffee. He also presents Beechcroft a book titled The Mind and the Matter, which deals with the ultimate in concentration. The book intrigues Beechcroft as he starts to leaf through it in the cafeteria, and he continues to read it on the subway ride home. In his apartment, he reads the last page, and then concludes that the authors are indeed correct that concentration is the greatest power in the universe. It then occurs to him that he can use concentration to realize his dream of eliminating people. He tests his theory out on his landlady, whom he successfully makes disappear.
The next day, Beechcroft concentrates while in the subway and all the other commuters disappear. Beechcroft walks into the office to find it totally empty. Though he takes satisfaction in his newfound peace and quiet, he soon grows extremely bored with being the last person in existence. After trying out diversions such as an earthquake or electrical storm, Beechcroft goes home for the night. To overcome his loss of purpose, Beechcroft comes up with the idea of repopulating the world in his image. This proves to be an even bigger mistake, since everybody else ends up being as anti-social, rude and cranky as Beechcroft. The people even look and sound like him.
Beechcroft returns the world to the way it used to be, now convinced that, for all its nuisances, it is the best of all possible worlds. Henry spills coffee on Beechcroft again, then asks him if he enjoyed reading The Mind and the Matter. Beechcroft pretends to dismiss the book as "totally unbelievable."
|“||"Mr. Archibald Beechcroft, a child of the twentieth century, who has found out through trial and error – and mostly error – that with all its faults, it may well be that this is the best of all possible worlds. People notwithstanding, it has much to offer. Tonight's case in point – in the Twilight Zone."||”|
- Shelley Berman as Archibald Beechcroft
- Jack Grinnage as Henry
- Chet Stratton as Mr. Rogers
- Robert McCord as Elevator Operator
- Jeane Wood as Landlady
- 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