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Twilight Zone: Of Late I think of Cliffordville

Reviewed by Melissa McGahee

“He cried because he had no more worlds to conquer.” – Hecate (Wright King)

William Feathersmith (Albert Salmi) is a ruthless old tycoon who lacks decency and conscience.  He gained his riches and powers with conniving methods and deceitful ways.  All who work for him despise him, and talk behind his back.  Still, it bothers him none.  He enjoys winning and strategizing against others to get ahead.   

The episode opens with Feathersmith calling a meeting with Diedrich (John Anderson), a man he had known and rivaled against for years.  As Diedrich walks into the office, the secretaries discuss what they know the poor man is in store for.  He’s about to be told that all that he has worked for is being stripped of him.   It was a common occurrence with Feathersmith, and something that the crew had obviously seen many times before.  Just as they had predicted, William offered his rival a cigar and gloating all the while, told Diedrich how he was now bankrupt.  As Diedrich walks out of the office, Feathersmith calls into the speakerphone and laughs obnoxiously as the beaten man leaves. 

William then celebrates with liquor.  When everyone else goes home for the evening he sticks around.  Soon, the janitor Hecate (Wright King) appears to clean his office.  The two begin talking and Hecate reveals that he had grown up in the same small town as Feathersmith.  Cliffordsville was where William had made his mark, and discussing the place, made the old man nostalgic.  He discloses to Hecate that if he could he would return to that town to do it all again.  When he discusses his power and assets , he states that “getting it, that was the kick.  Getting it – not having it.”   

Feathersmith then exits to the elevator but instead of bringing him to the lobby, the elevator stops at an unknown floor.  A single door displays “Devlin’s Travel Agency.”   Being that William owned the building he didn’t quite understand how this place existed.  Nonetheless, he enters. 

Ms. Devlin (Julie Newmar) strikes a deal with Feathersmith.  She agrees to send him back to Cliffordsville to do everything again.  Of course, like everything in the “Twilight Zone,” things don’t go as the lead character had planned.  When he is placed back into the field as a novice and is forced to make a name for himself, he trips up.  He makes foolish mistakes and soon it is apparent that instead of ending up the rich man he was, fate had something else in store for him. 

Rod Serling always captivates.  His ability to tell a story and give depth to characters who are on for such a short period of time still astound.  Though this doesn’t pack the punch that many of the other episodes do, it still delivers an interesting tale and offers a lesson in decency. 

“The Twilight Zone” always cast remarkably.  Serling understood the importance of having great actors, and this was no exception.  Albert Salmi was fantastic in the lead and played the part perfectly.   

Overall, “Of Late I Think of Cliffordsville” is a fun episode with a just conclusion.  Though the ending is expected, it is always good to see a villain get what is coming to them, and this does not disappoint. 

RSR Rating: 7/10

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