The Twilight Zone: Season 1 Episode 8 Time Enough at Last

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

A bank worker who loves to read finds himself with all the time in the world to enjoy his hobby.

Series Index

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)


Narrator - Rod Serling

Henry Bemis - Burgess Meredith

Mr. Carsville - Vaughn Taylor

Helen Bemis - Jaqueline deWit

Mrs. Chester - Lela Bliss

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Henry Bemis is at his bank teller window. He counts out money to Mrs. Chester and then starts to read the book he has on his lap. He asks her if she has ever read David Copperfield. He starts to describe the plot of the book to Mrs. Chester who realizes that he shortchanged her some money. He continues to describe the book and Mrs. Chester walks away and Henry puts the Next window Please sign up. Mr. Carsville walks up to Henry and tells him to come to his office. Mr. Carsville tells Henry that he is not an efficient or a proficient employee. He calls Henry a reader and tells him that he knows about Henry going into the bank vault during lunch to read. He threatens to fire Henry if he doesn't focus on work and Henry tells him that Helen Bemis won't let him read at home. Mr. Carsville reminds Henry of the time when a young female customer was offended when he stared at her voter pin on her chest and orders him back to work.

After work, Helen takes the newspaper out of Henry's hands and tells him to change his shirt so they can play cards with the Phillips. Henry pulls out a book he hid under his chair cushion and puts it in his jacket. As he goes to the door, Helen stops him and asks him what is in his jacket. She pulls out the book, A Book of Modern Poetry, and asks him to read to her from it. She smiles as he opens the book and sees all of the pages are marked up in pencil. She snatches the book from him and starts ripping pages out of it, calls Henry a fool, and walks away. Henry gathers the ripped and marked pages of his book and makes a pile out of them.

At work, Henry goes to lunch and sneaks into the vault. He looks at a newspaper headline about the H-Bomb and a loud boom and shaking hits the vault, knocking Henry unconscious. He regains consciousness and finds Mr. Carsville dead and the bank destroyed. He walks outside of the bank and sees that the town has been destroyed. He walks through the ruins of the town and walks to his house, which is also in ruins. He realizes everyone else is dead and wonders if he still wants to be alive. He finds some food and realizes that he will never starve and then falls asleep after realizing how lonely he will be. The next day, he wakes up and continues to walk through the rubble and becomes increasingly lonely. He finds a revolver in a sporting goods store and as he is about to commit suicide, he sees the ruins of the Public Library. He walks to the ruins and finds a large amount of intact books scattered around the building. He stacks a large amount of books into piles he plans on reading in the coming years and as he walking towards a book, he trips and his glasses fall to the ground. He picks up his glasses, and the shattered glass falls out of his frames.