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The Twilight Zone: "One for the Angels" (October 9, 1959)

The second episode of The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) is a marked improvement over the first installment, "Where is Everybody?" and, more than that, a remarkably affecting and sweet tale. It's amazing to consider that this fledgling series manages to hit its stride just two weeks into its run, but that's pretty much exactly what happens with this tale by Rod Serling, the first to introduce the series' recurring character: Mr. Death.
"One for the Angels" opens with Rod Serling's staccato narration about "summer in the present." His words introduce us to Lou Bookman (Ed Wynn), a "pitch man whose life is a tread-mill," a character aged about 60. Today, Lou lives alone on a bustling city block, and is well-loved by the local children, who take an interest in the toys he sells on his stoop.

Then, one day, Mr. Death (Murray Hamilton) shows up in Lou's one-room apartment, and tells Mr. Bookman that the old man's departure from th…

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