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"It's a Good Life"
It's A Good Life
Series:The Twilight Zone (Original Series)
Episode:Season 3, Episode 73 (S03E08)
First Aired:November 3, 1961
Teleplay:Rod Serling
Story:Jerome Bixby
Director:James Sheldon
Music:Stock
Guest Stars:Bill Mumy, John Larch, Cloris Leachman, Don Keefer, Casey Adams, Jeanne Bates
Lead Character:Anthony Fremont
Previous Episode:The Grave
Next Episode:Death's Head Revisited

"It's a Good Life" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.

Opening Narration

"Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there's a little town there called Peaksville. On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Peaksville left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. They were, on the other hand, sure of one thing: the cause. A monster had arrived in the village. Just by using his mind, he took away the automobiles, the electricity, the machines - because they displeased him - and he moved an entire community back into the dark ages - just by using his mind. Now I'd like to introduce you to some of the people in Peaksville, Ohio. This is Mr. Fremont. It's in his farmhouse that the monster resides. This is Mrs. Fremont. And this is Aunt Amy, who probably had more control over the monster in the beginning than almost anyone. But one day she forgot. She began to sing aloud. Now, the monster doesn't like singing, so his mind snapped at her, turned her into the smiling, vacant thing you're looking at now. She sings no more. And you'll note that the people in Peaksville, Ohio, have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion. Oh yes, I did forget something, didn't I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Anthony Fremont. He's six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you'd better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone."

Episode Summary

Six-year-old Anthony Fremont looks like any other little boy, but looks are deceiving. He is a monster, a mutant with godlike mental powers. Early on, he isolated the small hamlet of Peaksville, Ohio. In fact, the handful of inhabitants do not even know if he destroyed the rest of the world or if it still exists. Anthony has also eliminated electricity, automobiles, and television signals. He controls the weather and what supplies can be found in the grocery store. Anthony creates and destroys as he pleases, and controls when the residents can watch the TV and what they can watch on it.

The adults tiptoe nervously around him, constantly telling him how everything he does is "good", since displeasing him can get them wished away "to the cornfield", where they are presumably met by a less-than-happy ending. Finally, at Dan Hollis' birthday party, Dan, slightly drunk, can no longer stand the strain and confronts the boy, calling him a monster and a murderer; while Anthony's anger grows, Dan begs the other adults to kill Anthony from behind -"Somebody end this, now!"- but everyone else is too afraid to act. Before Dan is killed, he is shown, indirectly by his shadow, transformed into a Jack-in-the-box.

His widow breaks down, but no matter what happens, the people of Peaksville make sure to think only good thoughts and repeat "That's a real good thing what Anthony did!" and "It's a good life."

Closing Narration

"No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville in a place that used to be Ohio. And if by some strange chance you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony you can be sure of one thing: you have entered the Twilight Zone."

Preview for Next Week's Story

"This the lobby of an inn, in a small Bavarian town, and next week, we'll enter it with a former S. S. officer. It's the first stop on his road back to relive a horror that was Nazi Germany. Mr. Joseph Schildkraut and Mr. Oscar Beregi demonstrate what happens to the monster when it is judged by the victim. Our feeling here is that this is as stark and moving a piece of drama as we've ever presented. I very much hope that you're around to make your own judgment."

Response and analysis

Critical response

Antecedents

Influence

  • The first sentence and a half of the Opening Narration from this episode is used in Disney's The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attractions, in the pre-show video. The shot of Serling is cut short, and impersonator Mark Silverman does the voice-over. The original shot of Serling that is used reads "Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a m..." it then cuts away from Serling to a "maintenance service elevator, still in operation, waiting for you." The shot of Serling is cut out of the original environment, and onto a shot of one of the Tower of Terror's Maintenance Service Elevators.
  • "It's a Good Life" was parodied in "Bart's Nightmare (It's a Bart Life)", a segment of "Treehouse of Horror II", a third season episode of The Simpsons. In the parody, Bart plays the "monster" character who turns Homer into a jack-in-the-box when he has thoughts of murdering him. The segment ends on a much more upbeat (though more cynical) note than the original. Bart and Homer bond through counseling with Marvin Monroe, and Bart wakes up from his nightmare with a scream after sharing an uncharacteristically loving moment with Homer.
  • This episode was also parodied in the Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny Real Good", in which Johnny, in order to gain money for a new car, babysits a toddler with godlike powers, and is put through complete and utter torture when he doesn't speak to the toddler nicely.

Notes and annotations

Cast

Crew

Production Companies

Distributors

  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)

Other Companies

Trivia

  • This episode contains the longest opening narration of the series (or any The Twilight Zone series).

Cast Connections

Memorable Quotes

Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series

See also

Notes and References

Notes

References

External Links


Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at It's a Good Life. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with A Fifth Dimension: The Twilight Zone Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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