Exploring The Twilight Zone, Episode #52: "A Penny For Your Thoughts"
Darrin from Bewitched can suddenly read minds! But he might be wishing he really was a witch's husband before the lighter-than-usual episode concludes.
The Twilight Zone, Episode #52: "A Penny For Your Thoughts" (original airdate 02/03/61)
The Plot: A man buys a newspaper, drops a coin in the vendor's box, the coin lands on its edge -- and the man is suddenly gifted with the ability to read minds.
The Goods: Mr. Hector B. Poole (Dick York) makes all the typical mistakes made by a beginning mind reader: He stares at people, he replies to what they're thinking rather than what they're saying, and he thinks busts (the artistic kind, not the womanly physical sort) are talking to him.
When Hector stares at a bust on top of a file cabinet in the bank where he works, thinking that he can hear the thoughts of a piece of art, we know we've entered the lighter side of The Twilight Zone. There's a bit of a crazy dance to Hector's eyes, a burgeoning energy in his body language; watch the way he stares at his hand after raising it, as though it had a life of its own.
Hector "overhears" old Mr. Smithers (Cyril Delevanti) planning to rob the bank that afternoon. He hesitates about saying anything, but after consulting with fellow accountant Miss Turner (June Dayton), on whom he has a crush, Hector tells Mr. Bagby (Dan Tobin), the bank manager. Things don't turn out the way Hector anticipated, however.
"A Penny For Your Thoughts" is a delightful, if minor, fantasy, one in which the little guy wins. Kudos to writer George Clayton Johnson and the great Dick York. The episode merits a rating of B.
The Trivia: This marked the second TZ appearance of Dick York, who starred in "The Purple Testament" in Season 1. He joined fellow TZ alumni Agnes Moorehead in Bewitched a little more than three years later, leaving the sitcom after playing Darrin Stevens for 156 episodes due to a severe back ailment.
Hayden Rorke, who appears as a devious loan applicant, later played a suspicious doctor in the long-running sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.
Two TZ episodes in Season 1 were adapted from short stories by George Clayton Johnson; this episode was the first of four that he wrote directly for the screen.
On the Next Episode: "While in the hospital recovering from overwork, Liz Powell keeps dreaming about going down to the morgue."
We're running through all 156 of the original Twilight Zone episodes, and we're not doing it alone! Our friends at Film School Rejects have entered the Zone as well, only on alternating weeks. So definitely tune in over at FSR and feel free to also follow along on Twitter accounts @twitchfilm and @rejectnation.