As most fans know, Rod Serling, the host of The Twilight Zone, was a frequent writer of the show. The psychological anthology made him a screen-side legend and helped him earn three of his four Primetime Emmys. Because he was so involved in the series, you’d think he’d have a hard time choosing a favorite episode. One in particular, however, always stood out to him: Time Enough at Last.
‘Time Enough at Last’ is Among the Most Ironic Stories
Time Enough at Last is perhaps one of the most devastating and ironic of all The Twilight Zone episodes. The story aired during the first Season and starred Oscar-winner Burgess Meredith as the lead character, Henry Bemis.
Bemis is an introverted bank teller who wants nothing more than to escape society and get lost in books. He is painfully quiet and liked by no one—not even his wife. However, fans can sympathize with him because he doesn’t necessarily deserve the hate. He’s just misunderstood and terribly awkward. In fact, it’s easy to feel his suffering as he stumbles through conversations and gets bullied nearly every waking moment.
Each morning, Bemis plods to work, books in tow, wearing his pair of coke-bottled glasses. One of those days he just happens to survive a nuclear apocalypse, which appears to be the worst day for civilization and the best day for Henry Bemis.
On the day the world seemingly ends, Bemis takes his break inside the bank’s vault. When he emerges, he finds that everything—but the library—has been destroyed. He is the only survivor. No one is left to torment or judge him, and he can live the rest of his days sitting with books. Bemis believes the fates have finally done him a favor.
However, everything takes an abrupt turn when his glasses break. Bemis is practically blind without them. He can longer read, and there is no one to help. Henry Bemis cries, and the infamous The Twilight Zone episode ends.
Rod Serling Co-Wrote His Favorite ‘The Twilight Zone’ Stories
Rod Serling wrote or co-wrote 92 of the 156 The Twilight Zone installments. He perfectly adapted the story from Lynn Venable’s short story by the same name, both in plot and special effects.
In 1970, Serling interviewed with James Gunn and shared that Time Enough at Last was “sheer, pure, beautiful irony.” He also said that, on its best day, the series only got a $70,000 budget, which was a lot when the episode was filmed in 1959, but not by Hollywood standards. Using the MGM backlot, the crew was able to create a cinematic look. Serling mentioned that he was somewhat disappointed because many other installments looked cheaply produced.
You can watch Time is Enough and the rest of The Twilight Zone on Paramount +.
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