"A Short Drink From a Certain Fountain" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"Picture of an aging man who leads his life, as Thoreau said, 'in a quiet desperation.' Because Harmon Gordon is enslaved by a love affair with a wife forty years his junior. Because of this, he runs when he should walk. He surrenders when simple pride dictates a stand. He pines away for the lost morning of his life when he should be enjoying the evening. In short, Mr. Harmon Gordon seeks a fountain of youth, and who's to say he won't find it? This happens to be the Twilight Zone."
A wealthy old man married to a younger woman is exhausted by his wife's youthful lifestyle. Seeking to keep up the pace, he asks his scientist brother to inject him with an experimental youth serum (if he doesn't, he claims he'll find out which one of them "reaches the pavement first"). Reluctantly, his brother agrees. The serum works wonders; the old man grows younger by the hour. Unfortunately, it does not stop when he hopes, and the regression continues until he is a toddler. His wife tries to leave him, but his clever brother forces the wife, whom he abhors, to stay and raise him, else she will be cut off from his fortune—and she will receive nothing else. He will take legal action against her and battle her to the death. Now she is stuck. Forever. He reminds her, "As he grows older, you'll be growing...old." And he caustically predicts that when his brother does grow old enough, another woman is sure to take him away from her. "It's not fair, Raymond," she shudders to her brother-in-law. "Everything...is on his side!" "Well, you see, Flora?", Raymond Gordon responds somewhat sarcastically. "As you get older...see how wise you get?"
"It happens to be a fact: as one gets older, one does get wiser. If you don't believe it, ask Flora. Ask her any day of the ensuing weeks of her life, as she takes note during the coming years and realizes that the worm has turned - youth has taken over. It's simply the way the calendar crumbles... in the Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next time, a new author joins the ranks of the elves and gremlins who supply the imaginative material on The Twilight Zone. His name is Richard DeRoy and his story is in the best tradition of the program. It stars one of the gentlest, and certainly the most able of America's actors, a beloved little fixture on the American scene named Ed Wynn. Next time out on The Twilight Zone, Ed Wynn stars in "Ninety Years Without Slumbering".
Notes and Annotations
Initially, the Raymond Gordon character was to be a typical family physician. Disturbed by the character's willingness to experiment on a fellow human (Harmon, his brother), CBS asked that his occupation be changed to that of a research scientist. Serling complied.
This episode (because of a lawsuit filed by someone claiming they had the idea for the story first) was not included in the Twilight Zone syndication package until 1984. When this and other long-unseen episodes became available, a series of short introductions were shot featuring commentary from the cast and crew of the original episodes.
In the segment with Patrick O'Neal for this episode, O'Neal remarked on how accurately the show's makeup effects artists had aged him, as he now very closely resembled his older appearance in this episode. O'Neal was actually only eight years older than Lee.
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series