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Twilight Zone: A Penny for Your Thoughts (1961)

Reviewed by Geno McGahee

 Hector B. Poole (Dick York) is on his way to his job at the bank, but stops for a newspaper prior to work.  He tosses a quarter into the change box and grabs his paper, not realizing that the quarter had landed on its side.  The Newsboy began telling him that it was a one in a million shot for that to happen and soon, other odd things begin to happen to Poole, making this a very interesting and funny TZ entry.

Immediately after the strange occurrence with the quarter, Poole begins to hear voices.  He can actually read the minds of the people around him and it’s pretty funny to watch the expressions of people as they shake their head and growl while calling him a “low life” in their minds.  The actors really did well in giving the facial expressions that they were pissed off and I was really amused at how nearly everyone that came into contact with Poole called him an idiot in their mind.  I’m guessing that in 1961 the network approved the word “idiot” for use and Serling took full advantage of it.  

Initially this new power seems to confuse Poole, but he discovers the Helen (June Dayton) has a thing for him.  She wants Poole’s “Dick York” if you know what I mean.  You don’t? How about this…she wants York’s skyscraper.  I think that I have made my point, and I have to say that York did a fantastic job in this and really brought the same sympathetic character that we saw in the classic “Inherit the Wind.”  In my opinion, you can never get enough Dick (York).  
The new power is very useful as he gets dirt on his boss, finds out how much of a prick his co-worker is and even dumps a glass of water on his head after he hears the negative words he had to say about Helen, but it is coming with a price.  There is no peace and he doesn’t know if he is really hearing what they are thinking or if he is going crazy.  His mindreading even costs the bank 200 thousand dollars when he angers a businessman and claims that he is going to take the money and gamble and not invest it into the business as promised.  If Poole is right, he saved the bank some money.  If he’s wrong, he’s lost the bank a great deal.  
The truth comes out and although this is a very tame TZ, I did really enjoy it.  The best parts were certainly the expressions of the actors that just stood there with looks on their faces as they played the negative lines.  I do recommend this.

RSR Rating: 7.5/10

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