The Twilight Zone Hall of Fame

Tools    





Rather than the Scrooge connection, this episode reminded me more of the movie The Gunfighter (1950). The idea that others will always want to challenge him to prove that they are better than the best. And that they will find out what the "reward" is for being the best.


There's a song by Bobby Bare called "The Winner" that plays on this theme too. It's about everything that you get by being "the winner".

That makes sense. I'll have to watch that movie. I was struck by how empty the pool hall is, how lonely Cardiff likely is and that he doesn't have much going for him besides pool, which really influenced my viewing. That, and the Cardiff/Fats dynamic reminded me of Salieri and Mozart in Amadeus and Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe in the documentary King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (I know that Billy has a family, but it seems like he's surrounded by more sycophants than actual friends).

Looks like this episode was remade in the '80s reboot with Esai Morales as Cardiff and Maury Chaykin as Fats. Has anyone seen it and how does it compare?
__________________
Last Great Movie Seen
Mad God (Tippett, 2021)



A Game of Pool Season 3 Episode 5

I'll kick this HoF off with one of my own noms. From my time spent at MoFo I've learned people enjoy a good film story. It makes sense too, I mean who wants to invest time watching a film that has a mediocre or poorly done story. But I'm a bit different, in that what often interest me most in a film is the acting. Actors who have the ability to transcend the moment with a performance thats invibed with the character's very soul...that impresses me. The original The Twilight Zone was chalked full of amazing performances by up and coming talented actors who would later go on to become acting legends.

People often refer to TV in the 1960s as the beginning of the 'boob tub era' with dumbed down shows that were designed to appeal the masses. What's not so well know today, is that the 1950s, the golden age of TV, saw weekly anthology series that featured writing by some of the most talented writers of the time. These 'TV plays' were performed by actors who had cut their acting teeth on the stage. Shows like Playhouse 90, The Philco Television Playhouse and Four Star Playhouse and a plethora of others, were often performed live on TV and featured some of the best work ever seen on TV or movies...Out of that tradition of stellar writing with acting to match came an amazing little show called The Twilight Zone. I love that show!



Allow me to kick us off:

"A Game of Pool" CONTAINS SPOILERS
This is a tense and thought-provoking episode for how it asks, "what if Jacob Marley didn't make Ebenezer Scrooge meet three ghosts on Christmas Eve? What if they played pool instead?" I say this because I see Scrooge in Jesse Cardiff, a man who put his ambition to be the best pool player at the expense of what's best in life - just like what Scrooge did to succeed at business - and Fats as Marley, who realized the folly of this approach much too late...or did he? Whether that's Fats' true story or not is what I like the most about the episode: that it leaves this question and others up to the viewer. Did Fats really get to enjoy pleasures in life that Cardiff did not like romance, travel, etc., or is he just expressing regrets he's had while dwelling in his own personal hell? Did Fats let Cardiff win so that he'd pass his afterlife burden on to him or is Cardiff really that good? Whatever the answers may be, the episode works for how it made me think about what's worth sacrificing in the pursuit of being the best at something and what isn't...
Sorta like Whiplash...I liked your take on this, nicely written too.
Being open ended allows us to participate in the story in a personal way. Yes, I could see this being a pool hall version of A Christmas Carol, though it occurs in the Twilight Zone and so happy endings are far and few between.

Rather than the Scrooge connection, this episode reminded me more of the movie The Gunfighter (1950). The idea that others will always want to challenge him to prove that they are better than the best. And that they will find out what the "reward" is for being the best...
I like that idea too. It did seem that when Jesse became the best at pool he was cursed to be an beckon call to every two-bit pool hustler that evoked his name.



A Game of Pool Season 3 Episode 5

I'll kick this HoF off with one of my own noms. From my time spent at MoFo I've learned people enjoy a good film story. It makes sense too, I mean who wants to invest time watching a film that has a mediocre or poorly done story. But I'm a bit different, in that what often interest me most in a film is the acting. Actors who have the ability to transcend the moment with a performance that's invibed with the character's very soul...that impresses me. The original The Twilight Zone was chalked full of amazing performances by up and coming talented actors who would later go on to become acting legends.

People often refer to TV in the 1960s as the beginning of the 'boob tub era' with dumbed down shows that were designed to appeal the masses. What's not so well know today is that the 1950s, the golden age of TV, saw weekly anthology series that featured writing by some of the most talented writers of the time. These 'TV plays' were performed by actors who had cut their acting teeth on the stage. Shows like Playhouse 90, The Philco Television Playhouse and Four Star Playhouse and a plethora of others, were often performed live on TV and featured some of the best work ever seen on TV or movies...Out of that tradition of stellar writing with acting to match came an amazing little show called The Twilight Zone. I love that show!

I agree with everything you said here, but it seems to be a lot of generic thoughts about TV and "The Twilight Zone" series as a whole, but not the specific episode you watched. Would you like to expand your thoughts on this and how it relates to this episode?
__________________
.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
OPEN FLOOR.



Allow me to kick us off:

"A Game of Pool" CONTAINS SPOILERS

Whatever the answers may be, the episode works for how it made me think about what's worth sacrificing in the pursuit of being the best at something and what isn't...
Sorta like Whiplash...I liked your take on this, nicely written too.

I didn't really see the connection to Whiplash while I was watching it, but I can definitely see it now that you mentioned it.



I'm finishing up a few films for the 2021 Film Challenge, but I am really excited to start this HoF, possibly this weekend. It's been way too long since I've done a Twilight Zone deep dive.



I'm finishing up a few films for the 2021 Film Challenge, but I am really excited to start this HoF, possibly this weekend. It's been way too long since I've done a Twilight Zone deep dive.

I'm in a similar situation. I'm still watching movies for the 2000s countdown, but as soon as I submit my list for that, I will start watching episodes for this HoF. (I've already watched a few of the ones that I didn't remember so I don't have to worry about reading spoilers, but I won't be writing any reviews until after I'm done with my countdown watches.)



I'm in a similar situation. I'm still watching movies for the 2000s countdown, but as soon as I submit my list for that, I will start watching episodes for this HoF. (I've already watched a few of the ones that I didn't remember so I don't have to worry about reading spoilers, but I won't be writing any reviews until after I'm done with my countdown watches.)
No spoilers for me either - I think I've seen every episode (and I don't have a boxed set or anything).
A couple years back I think I came across one I'd never seen before (or just didn't remember seeing)... but now I can't remember which it was!



I agree with everything you said here, but it seems to be a lot of generic thoughts about TV and "The Twilight Zone" series as a whole, but not the specific episode you watched.

Would you like to expand your thoughts on this and how it relates to this episode?
Nope

Oh, I do have one observation: comedians often make excellent dramatic actors. I'm thinking of John Candy in JFK and Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, Robin Williams in One Hour Photo and here we have Johnathan Winters who was a mentor to Robin Williams doing a fine job in a serious role as Fats Brown.



Season 1 Episode 28: A Nice Place to Visit

(SPOILER WARNING)

Having everything you want is a dream that a lot of people strive for. Whether that may be money or luxury goods, the general impression is that acquiring this will lead to a life of happiness. If you work hard to obtain this, it may lead to great results. However, what happens if nothing about your riches are genuine? That's what Rocky, a small-time hoodlum, receives after he's killed by the police. After coming to, he's brought to a luxurious apartment and is told he can have anything he desires. Though he enjoys this lifestyle at first, he eventually grows bored with his surroundings since his wealth seems ingenuine and manufactured - only to learn that he was in hell all along. Unlike Rocky, we won't have everything handed to us on a silver platter and we'll have to work to obtain a stable income, a house, food, etc., but given Rocky's outcome, we have it much better off. Overall, this is among my favorite episodes in the show as the themes and Rocky's arc are all top notch.

Next Up: A Passage for Trumpet



Season 1 Episode 28: A Nice Place to Visit

Having everything you want is a dream that a lot of people strive for. Whether that may be money or luxury goods, the general impression is that acquiring this will lead to a life of happiness. If you work hard to obtain this, it may lead to great results. However, what happens if nothing about your riches are genuine? That's what Rocky, a small-time hoodlum, receives after he's killed by the police. After coming to, he's brought to a luxurious apartment and is told he can have anything he desires. Though he enjoys this lifestyle at first, he eventually grows bored with his surroundings since his wealth seems ingenuine and manufactured - only to learn that he was in hell all along. Unlike Rocky, we won't have everything handed to us on a silver platter and we'll have to work to obtain a stable income, a house, food, etc., but given Rocky's outcome, we have it much better off. Overall, this is among my favorite episodes in the show as the themes and Rocky's arc are all top notch.

Next Up: A Passage for Trumpet
Love this one!
Especially because it's got Sebastian Cabot (and who doesn't love seeing "Mr. French" in a different role?).

Probably about 6 years ago or so I saw the one with the bomb shelter: just called "The Shelter" - which I realized I'd never seen before.
It's okay, but definitely not a favorite. Notable actor: Jack Albertson (of Chico and the Man fame and The Poseidon Adventure!).

I just realized while reflecting on this - there is absolutely nothing supernatural, mystical or paranormal about "The Shelter" - it's just about human nature during a false alarm.



Love this one!
Especially because it's got Sebastian Cabot (and who doesn't love seeing "Mr. French" in a different role?).

Probably about 6 years ago or so I saw the one with the bomb shelter: just called "The Shelter" - which I realized I'd never seen before.
It's okay, but definitely not a favorite. Notable actor: Jack Albertson (of Chico and the Man fame and The Poseidon Adventure!).
Sebastian Cabot was excellent in this episode. His laugh at the end creeped me out quite a bit, especially since he seemed friendly up until that point.



Also, you guys have three days left to join this HoF. If you're still interested, I recommend joining pretty soon.

I've noticed a couple lurkers in this thread who may be interested in it. One of them has the word "Captain" in their username...



Sebastian Cabot was excellent in this episode. His laugh at the end of it creeped me out quite a bit, especially since he seemed friendly up until that point.
It's definitely a re-watch episode whenever it's on just for the sheer enjoyment of the story and the performances.

Love Sebastian's white suit, the telephone with the three numbers (or is it letters?) and the scene with the staircase leading to the afterlife files is pretty cool!

Somewhat humorous & light-hearted while being very dark-themed.



Season 1 Episode 28: A Nice Place to Visit

(SPOILER WARNING)

Having everything you want is a dream that a lot of people strive for. Whether that may be money or luxury goods, the general impression is that acquiring this will lead to a life of happiness. If you work hard to obtain this, it may lead to great results. However, what happens if nothing about your riches are genuine? That's what Rocky, a small-time hoodlum, receives after he's killed by the police. After coming to, he's brought to a luxurious apartment and is told he can have anything he desires. Though he enjoys this lifestyle at first, he eventually grows bored with his surroundings since his wealth seems ingenuine and manufactured - only to learn that he was in hell all along. Unlike Rocky, we won't have everything handed to us on a silver platter and we'll have to work to obtain a stable income, a house, food, etc., but given Rocky's outcome, we have it much better off. Overall, this is among my favorite episodes in the show as the themes and Rocky's arc are all top notch.

Next Up: A Passage for Trumpet

This is a great episode. You would think that Rocky would be happy just getting everything handed to him, but it makes you think about the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for.".



Probably about 6 years ago or so I saw the one with the bomb shelter: just called "The Shelter" - which I realized I'd never seen before.
It's okay, but definitely not a favorite. Notable actor: Jack Albertson (of Chico and the Man fame and The Poseidon Adventure!).

I just realized while reflecting on this - there is absolutely nothing supernatural, mystical or paranormal about "The Shelter" - it's just about human nature during a false alarm.

"The Shelter" always makes me think of the Happy Days episode when Mr. C wants to get a bomb shelter, but the rest of the family is against it because he won't allow their friends in the shelter.



This is a great episode. You would think that Rocky would be happy just getting everything handed to him, but it makes you think about the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for.".
I don't know if I would ever get tired of having different "dames" (however I chose them to be and willing to do whatever I chose them to do). Provided I could remain eternally young, of course. If you know what I mean?



I don't know if I would ever get tired of having different "dames" (however I chose them to be and willing to do whatever I chose them to do). Provided I could remain eternally young, of course. If you know what I mean?

It sounds like something that you would like, until you think about it and you realize that these people would just do whatever you ask them to do. They would be like mindless robots, with no thoughts of their own. You can't really hold a conversation with them, so eventually you would just want to find someone to talk to, rather than someone who would basically just be "eye candy".



It sounds like something that you would like, until you think about it and you realize that these people would just do whatever you ask them to do. They would be like mindless robots, with no thoughts of their own. You can't really hold a conversation with them, so eventually you would just want to find someone to talk to, rather than someone who would basically just be "eye candy".
I don't want to start a whole philosophical discussion, but at one point Mr. Pip offers Rocky the idea that he can choose not to know outcomes (Pip can arrange for Rocky to lose). Rocky can basically choose whatever he wants - even if it's negative like experiencing pain, etc. The problem for Rocky seems to be his inability for creative thinking - which is REALLY his own created Hell (if you really think about it).

So I could choose for the "dames" not to be like mindless robots at all, but rather choose for them to be however I wanted: like exiting, spontaneous, unpredictable, surprising, or whatever other trait I'd want so as to never grow bored of patterned behavior.

It kind of harkens back to the eternal religious & philosophical paradoxes about free will, choice & destiny: if God is omnipotent and wills that we have free will - then do we really have free will if we really have no choice in the matter - which means we can't really have free will? If our destiny is pre-determined then aren't our choices also predetermined? = We ultimately can't choose anything but the choices we are destined to make, which means we really have no choices at all, but are following a program of predetermined outcomes.


Sorry, I'm just being overly analytical as usual - symptom of a boring life - like Rocky's afterlife - but maybe I'm predestined to be overly analytical and if I chose not to be it wouldn't really be my choice... OH NO! Another paradox!