The Twilight Zone: Season 1 Episode 6 Escape Clause

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

A hypochondriac sells his soul to the devil for immortality.

Series Index

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)

Characters/Groups

Narrator - Rod Serling

Walter Bedeker - David Wayne

Cadwallader - Thomas Gomez

Ethel Bedeker - Virginia Christine

Doctor - Raymond Bailey

Cooper - Wendell Holmes

Jack - Dick Wilson

Steve - Joe Flynn

Guard - Nesden Booth

Subway Guard - Allan Lurie

Judge Cummings - George Baxter

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Walter Bedeker is getting his temperature taken by the Doctor who after running a series of tests tells him that his pains and illness are psychosomatic. Walter calls the Doctor a quack and Ethel Bedeker walks into the room and asks what Walter's condition is. Walter blames Ethel for part of his condition and again calls the Doctor a quack. As the Doctor is leaving, he notices that Ethel seems tired and writes her a prescription for vitamins. Walter calls for Ethel and complains that the window is open letting in germs. He accuses Ethel of wanting him dead and notices the prescription. He assumes it is for him, and then calls the Doctor a quack again when he finds out the prescription is for Ethel.

Walter starts complaining about the shortness of life and Cadwallader suddenly appears in his room. He offers Walter a deal, immortality for his soul. Cadwallader adds the ability to never perceptibly age, and also includes Article 93, an escape clause, allowing Walter the ability to choose to die whenever he wants. The deal is made and Cadwallader disappears. Walter tests his new abilities and places his hands on the radiator and suffers no damage. He goes to the subway and jumps in front of the subway train, but survives. He then tells the Subway Guard to get his claims adjuster. Jack offers Walter $1,000 and as he is leaving, Steve walks into the apartment and offers Walter a check for $1,500 for a bus accident. Walter complains to Ethel that he is getting bored with getting in accidents. He mixes bleach and ammonia and drinks it, but complains that it tastes like weak lemonade. He tells Ethel that he is immortal and Ethel thinks he has gone crazy.

Walter goes to the roof and as Ethel is trying to stop him, she falls to her death. He wonders what it felt like and calls the police and says he killed Ethel. He assumes he is going to get the electric chair and meets with his lawyer, Cooper. Cooper is frustrated with Walter's attitude and warns Walter he might get the electric chair. He is brought before trial in front of Judge Cummings who sentences Walter to life in prison with no hope for parole. Walter is stunned, but Cooper celebrates their victory. Walter is brought his final meal before he is to be transferred by Guard who reminds Walter that a life sentence at his age should be relatively short. Walter uses his escape clause and Guard comes by to check on him and finds Walter dead of a heart attack.