A World of His Own
|"A World of His Own"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Ralph Nelson|
|Written by||Richard Matheson|
|Original air date||July 1, 1960|
"A World of His Own" is episode thirty-six of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It was the last episode of the show's first season and essentially comedic in tone. It originally aired on July 1, 1960, on CBS.
The home of Mr. Gregory West, one of America's most noted playwrights. The office of Mr. Gregory West. Mr. Gregory West—shy, quiet, and at the moment, very happy. Mary—warm, affectionate...And the final ingredient: Mrs. Gregory West.
Coming home, Victoria West (Phyllis Kirk) spots her husband, playwright Gregory West (Keenan Wynn), through the window sharing a drink, and flirting in his study with Mary (Mary LaRoche), an attractive, affectionate young woman. Mr. West quickly destroys a tape, which displeases Mary. When Victoria barges into the room, Mary is nowhere to be found.
Victoria looks around the room for hints of where she might have gone but does not yet confront him. Soon, she questions him. Gregory denies everything until Victoria throws in a trick, which causes Mr. West to admit the truth. Victoria is furious, but Gregory explains to his wife that any character that he describes into his dictation machine will appear according to his description. To make the character disappear, all he has to do is cut out that portion of the tape and throw it into his fireplace. Victoria doesn't believe him and is ready to divorce him and commit him to an asylum. Gregory demonstrates his power, summoning Mary again and "uncreating" her, but not before Mary requests that Gregory not bring her back again, as she has grown weary of her segmented existence. Appalled, Victoria tries to escape, but Gregory uses his power to summon an elephant to stop her. Gregory discovered this talent when a male character he had put a great deal of effort and attention into approached him as a real flesh-and-blood person with his own independent will, shook his hand and thanked him.
Believing none of this (despite seeing and hearing the elephant), Victoria tells Gregory that he is insane and she is going to have him committed. In response, Gregory pulls a section of tape from his safe and explains that it contains her description, revealing her to be one of his creations, but that recently she has begun to exert her own independence from him. Refusing to believe him, Victoria snatches the tape away from him and throws it into the fire, and promptly begins to feel faint. "You don't mean you were telling the truth?! You were right!" she cries, and disappears as the flames consume the tape. Frantic, Gregory rushes to his dictation machine and begins to re-describe Victoria. He quickly reconsiders and instead describes Mrs. Mary West as his wife. Mary reappears and fixes her husband a drink, apparently lacking any memory of her previous interval of existence.
Rod Serling then appears on the set and says, "We hope you enjoyed tonight's romantic story on The Twilight Zone. At the same time, we want you to realize that it was, of course, purely fictional. In real life, such ridiculous nonsense could never—"
"Rod, you shouldn't!" interrupts Gregory, who walks over to his safe and pulls out a tape marked "Rod Serling". "I mean, you shouldn't say such things as 'nonsense' and 'ridiculous'!" he continues as he throws the envelope into the fire.
"Well, that's the way it goes," observes Serling in a resigned tone as he fades away.
Nevertheless, as Gregory joins Mary in a drink, Serling's voice comes in at the epilogue as usual.
Leaving Mr. Gregory West—still shy, quiet, very happy... and apparently in complete control of The Twilight Zone.
Writer Richard Matheson had previously written a short story, "And Now I'm Waiting," where a male narrator visiting an author discovers that he is an invention of the author. The story had a much darker tone and finish in its original form, and ultimately, Matheson chose to rework it into a domestic comedy when he pitched it as an episode to the series. Previously unreleased, the original story was ultimately published in Twilight Zone magazine in April 1983.
Although Serling appeared on-screen at the end of most first season Twilight Zone episodes to plug the following week's show, this is the only episode in the first season in which Rod Serling appears on-screen within the episode itself (i.e., not in a separate "coming next week" segment) and directly interacts with a character from the episode. This is also one of only three episodes of the entire series where Serling appears on camera at the conclusion of the episode—the others were "The Obsolete Man" and "The Fugitive." From the second season onward, Serling began to appear on-screen at the start of each episode.
At the end of the first season, Kimberly-Clark discontinued their alternate sponsorship of the series. A new sponsor began alternating with General Foods that summer, Colgate-Palmolive, primarily on behalf of Colgate Dental Cream, as well as some of their other products (including "Veto" deodorant).
Keenan Wynn is the son of vaudeville comedian Ed Wynn, who played Bookman in "One for the Angels" and Sam Forstmann in "Ninety Years Without Slumbering". Mary La Roche also starred as Annabelle Streator in the Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll".
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
- Bradley, Matthew; Stuve, Paul; Wiater, Stanley (2009). The Twilight and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson. Stan Wiater, Matthew R. Bradley, Paul Stuve. New York: Citadel Press/Kensington Pub. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-8065-3113-7. OCLC 302292027.
- Melbye, David (2015). Irony in The Twilight Zone : how the series critiqued postwar American culture. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-4422-6031-3. OCLC 920453722.