The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

One For The Angels

One For The Angels
A pitchman is visited by Mr. Death and is forced to get his priorities in order.

Opening Narration

Summer. The present. Man on a sidewalk named Lew Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Lew Bookman, a fixture of the summer, a rather minor component to a hot July, a nondescript, commonplace little man whose life is a treadmill built out of sidewalks. And in just a moment, Lew Bookman will have to concern himself with survival – because as of three o'clock this hot July afternoon, he'll be stalked by Mr. Death.

Themes in 'One for the Angels'

  • Survival
  • Mortality
  • Death
  • Five Stages of Grief

Cast and Crew for 'One for the Angels'

Director: Robert Parrish

Writer: Rod Serling

Starring:

  • Ed Wynn as Lou Bookman
  • Murray Hamilton as Mr. Death
  • Dana Dillaway as Maggie Polanski

Episode Summary for 'One for the Angels'

The Stoop - Scene 1

The episode opens on a hot July summer day with Lou Bookman standing with a large trunk full of robots and various lotions attempting to sell his good to folks as they walk through the bustling streets of a major metropolitan city.

In the background a man in a sharp black suit (Mr. Death) is watching Lou and taking notes as Lou attempts to peddle his wares.

A Busy Sidewalk - Scene 2

Lou closes up his trunk and heads home for the day, as he walks through on a busy sidewalk filled with storefronts, he is greeted by many adults and children who are all very friendly.

Lou attracts a lot of attention from the neighborhood, he hands out several robot toys to children as he sits on the steps of his apartment.

Specifically he gives one to a little girl named Maggie Polanski, who we will see plays a significant role later in the episode.

Lou's Apartment - Scene 3

Lou enters his apartment, his place is definitely the home of a tinkerer. We see a stack of old newspapers and trinkets next to tools laying on the table.

Lou's apartment seems rather simple and small, but pleasant and welcoming. He has a record player and a cabinet filled with china.

Lou fills up a canister and begins to water his plants. Suddenly Lou notices Mr. Death sitting in the corner of his home on an old chair.

Mr. Lou recognizes him from earlier that day.

Lou says:

You're the man I saw on the sidewalk, you were writing in a book.

Lou immediately asks Mr. Death if he would like to buy something, he tries to propose that he buy some collar stays. Mr. Death abruptly stops Lou by telling him he doesn't want to buy anything.

Mr. Death rattles off a series of facts about Lou, at first Lou thinks he is a census taker.

List of Facts Mr. Death Knows About Lou

  • Full Name - Louis J. Bookman
  • Age - 69
  • Occupation - Pitchman
  • Born - New York City 1890
  • Father - Jacob Bookman
  • Mother - Flora Bookman
  • Father's Place of Birth - Detroit, Michigan
  • Mother's Place of Birth - Syracuse, New York

Lou begins to become unsettled as Mr. Death begins to tell Lou facts about himself that only Lou himself would know.

At this point Mr. Death says:

Today is the 19th of July, and your departure is at midnight tonight.

Lou is very surprised, he says "My departure?".

At that point the young girl that Lou gave a robot to earlier, Maggie, knocks on Lou's door with her robot.

Lou goes about fixed her robot by winding it up.

Lou tells the girl he would introduce her to the gentleman in the room, but he doesn't know his name.

The girls says "which gentleman?", then Lou say while pointing "that gentleman".

The camera pans to the chair where Mr. Death was sitting, but Mr. Death is no where to be found, seeming to vanish into thin air.

Then Mr. Death tells Lou that she can't see or hear Mr. Death, the girl explains that she can't see him.

Mr. Death explains:

Only those that are to accompany me can see me. Now don't you think you should start making your arrangements.

Mr. Death explains that life cannot go on forever, and that Lou should be lucky to be taken by "natural causes".

At this point Mr. Death touches a flower and wilts, at this point Lou realizes that the man is Death.

Mr. Death explains to Lou that he is expected to die in his sleep that night.

Mr. Death explains 3 exceptions that would allow Lou to escape death: Hardship Cases, Priority Cases, and Unfinished Business of a Major Nature.

At this point Lou Bookman begins to bargain with Mr. Death, grasping for any Unfinished business that he may have.

Lou tries to convince Mr. Death that he:

Mr. Death explains that those 2 things aren't of a "major nature".

Mr. Death explains something of a "major nature" as:

Something a man has yearned for, and something that he might accomplish given an extension.

Lou goes into explaining that he has never given a big pitch:

Well, between me and you, I have never made a truly big pitch.

I mean a big pitch, a pitch big enough for the skies to open up.

You know a pitch For the Angels.

Of course, that wouldn't mean very much to you, but it would mean a great deal to me. It would mean that for one moment in my whole life I would have done something successful.

It would mean that maybe the children would be very proud of me. I've always had quite a fondness for children.

Mr. Death explains that that would require a delay, until he makes a pitch.

Lou says, exactly until I make a pitch that I was just talking about.

Mr. Death says, "you mean one One For the Angels".

Lou says, "that's right, One For the Angels".

Mr. Death says he says that he is sorry, but no. He tries to explain that the pitch is not of a major nature.

Then Mr. Death starts to question himself, he states "it would mean a great deal to him".

Then Mr. Death says that he can grant him a delay until he makes the pitch.

Lou explains that he won't be able to give the pitch for a year or 2.

Lou tries to run away but Mr. Death keeps showing up.

At this point Mr. Death tries to explain that what he has done something much more serious by essentially double crossing Mr. Death.

Mr. Death explains there will be consequences, Lou explains that Mr. Death will have to wait for his pitch.

Mr. Death states that because Lou won't come with him, he's been forced to select an alternative.

The Street Outside Lou's Apartment - Scene 3

Just after Mr. Death states that he's been forced to select an alternative, we hear the sudden sound of tires screeching and screaming in the street outside of Lou's apartment.

Lou runs over to the little girl that was hit by the car, it's Maggie.

The driver tries to explain that he had no chance to stop at all.

As Maggie lies in the street Lou takes off his jacket and puts it under her head.

Maggie asks Lou, "who is that man?" as Mr. Death looms in the entrance to the apartment above.

Lou asks "Do you see him?", she sees "yes Lou".

It's at this point that we realize Mr. Death's alternative is little Maggie.

Lou tries to bargain with Mr. Death, saying "You can't take her, I'll go. I don't even have to make a pitch".

Mr. Death ignores Lou and keeps walking.

Apartment Complex and City Street - Scene 4

The next scene opens with Maggie laying in bed sleeping.

The shadow of a doctor can be seen through the window from the street below.

The doctor leaves the apartment to a crowd of people asking him how she is doing.

Lou is on the step of the apartment, Lou asks the doctor how she is doing.

The doctor states:

It is hard to tell, she's a very sick little girl but we'll know soon. It should hit a crisis by midnight.

By midnight Lou asks?

Lou then states that he won't let him (Mr. Death) in, he says "I won't let him in".

Lou nervously waits on the stairs as we see Maggie still sleeping in bed.

City Street - Scene 5

Mr. Death appears, he says he has business here at midnight.

At this point it is 11:45 PM, Lou tries to tell Mr. Death that the little girl is only 8 years old.

Mr. Death explains that the plan is already in place, and he will be in Maggie's room at midnight.

At this point Lou opens up his trunk and begins to give a major pitch to Mr. Death.

At this point Lou goes into an epic tie pitch attempting to sell Mr. Death a tie.

Ladies and gentleman if you will feast your eyes on probably the most excited invention since atomic energy. A simulate silk so fabulously conceived as to mystify even the ancient Chinese silk manufacturers.

Mr. Death leans back with a grin, taking in every word of Lou's pitch.

An almost unbelievable attention to detail. A piquant inner weaving of gossamer softness.

Mr. Death holds the tie, feeling it's softness.

Lou pulls out a spool of string, and asks Mr. Death to feel it one of the pieces of string.

Witness if you will a demonstration of tensile strength. Feel that, if you will, sir.

At this point Mr. Death begins to look a little bit disheveled, mesmerized by Lou's pitch.

Unbelievable, isn't it? As strong as steel, yet as fragile and delicate as shantung silk.

We get a glimpse of the clock as it approaches 11:50 PM.

Lou continues his pitch.

Picture, if you will, 300 years of back breaking research and labor to develop this. The absolute ultimate in thread.

And what would you expect to pay for this fabulous, I say fabulous, incredible, amazing development of the tailor's art?

Would you pay $30 a spool? $25? $20? $10? Well very well you might sir if you were trying to purchase this in the stores.

But this fantastic thread is not available in stores. It is smuggled in by oriental birds especially trained for ocean travel, each carrying a minute quantity in a small satchel underneath their ruby throats.

It takes 832 crossings to supply enough thread to go around one spool. And tonight, at my special get-acquainted introductory mid-July hot summer sale, I offer you this fabulous thread not at $20 a spool, not at $10, not at $5. But at the ridiculously low price of 25 cents a spool.

Mr. Death is overwhelmed by Lou's Pitch as he reaches into his pocket and says "I'll take all ya have".

Lou continues his pitch offering additional items from his trunk as get a glimpse of the clock moving slightly passed 11:55 PM.

Sewing needles, yarn, blocks of leather, marvelous plastic shoelaces, genuine static eradicator will fit any standard radio, suntan oil, eczema powder, razors, athlete's feet destroyer. How about some nice simulated cashmere socks?

At this point Mr. Death has a brown bag full of things that he has bought from Lou.

Mr. Death says: "All right. All right. All right. I'll take it all, all of it, right here."

Mr. Death Ends Up Buying Everything From Lou Bookman in his pitch for the Angels

Lou fills Mr. Death's brown bag with almost everything from his trunk!

Lou is almost at the end of his pitch for the ages, as we see the clock closing into midnight at about 11:58 PM.

And now for the piece de resistance an item never before offered in this or any other country. One guaranteed live human manservant.

Mr. Death is completely confused, he says "How's that?".

Lou continues:

For what I ask, you, sir, receive a willing, capable, worldly, highly sophisticated wonderfully loyal right-hand man to use in any capacity you see fit.

Mr. Death says again "How's that?".

Me, Louis J. Bookman, the first model of his kind. He comes to you with an absolute guarantee, all parts interchangeable, with a certificate of 4 years serviceability. He eats little, he sleeps little, he rests only occasionally and there he is at your elbow, at your beck and call whenever needed.

Mr. Death says "Mr. Bookman you are a persuasive man".

I challenge any other store, wholesale house or industry to even come close to matching what I offer you here, because my dear man, I offer you... I offer you..

Suddenly a bell tolls, signaling midnight.

Mr. Death suddenly comes out of the Lou's pitch "spell".

Mr. Death exclaims "It's midnight, it's midnight. And I've missed my appointment!"

A slight grin comes across Lou's face as we see a short clip of Maggie waking up as the doctor is walking out explaining to Maggie's mom (Mrs. Polanski) that she (Maggie) is going to be alright. She just needs a lot of rest now.

The Ending of 'One for the Angels'

Mr. Death tells Lou:

A most persuasive pitch, Mr. Bookman. An excellent pitch.

Lou explains:

The best I've ever done, it's a kind of a pitch I always wanted to make, a big one. A pitch so big that the sky would open up.

Mr. Death asks, similar to at the beginning of the episode:

A pitch for For the Angels?

Lou agrees:

That's right, a pitch For the Angels.

Lou agrees that he is ready to go, as per their agreement.

As the two get ready to leave, Lou says that he forgot something.

He closes up his trunk and brings it with him saying:

You never know who might need something up there.

Lou Bookman's Full Pitch to Mr. Death

Ladies and gentleman if you will feast your eyes on probably the most excited invention since atomic energy. A simulate silk so fabulously conceived as to mystify even the ancient Chinese silk manufacturers.

An almost unbelievable attention to detail. A piquant inner weaving of gossamer softness.

Witness if you will a demonstration of tensile strength. Feel that, if you will, sir.

Unbelievable, isn't it? As strong as steel, yet as fragile and delicate as shantung silk.

Picture, if you will, 300 years of back breaking research and labor to develop this. The absolute ultimate in thread.

And what would you expect to pay for this fabulous, I say fabulous, incredible, amazing development of the tailor's art?

Would you pay $30 a spool? $25? $20? $10? Well very well you might sir if you were trying to purchase this in the stores.

But this fantastic thread is not available in stores. It is smuggled in by oriental birds especially trained for ocean travel, each carrying a minute quantity in a small satchel underneath their ruby throats.

It takes 832 crossings to supply enough thread to go around one spool. And tonight, at my special get-acquainted introductory mid-July hot summer sale, I offer you this fabulous thread not at $20 a spool, not at $10, not at $5. But at the ridiculously low price of 25 cents a spool.

Sewing needles, yarn, blocks of leather, marvelous plastic shoelaces, genuine static eradicator will fit any standard radio, suntan oil, eczema powder, razors, athlete's feet destroyer. How about some nice simulated cashmere socks? And now for the piece de resistance an item never before offered in this or any other country. One guaranteed live human manservant.

For what I ask, you, sir, receive a willing, capable, worldly, highly sophisticated wonderfully loyal right-hand man to use in any capacity you see fit.

Me, Louis J. Bookman, the first model of his kind. He comes to you with an absolute guarantee, all parts interchangeable, with a certificate of 4 years serviceability. He eats little, he sleeps little, he rests only occasionally and there he is at your elbow, at your beck and call whenever needed.

I challenge any other store, wholesale house or industry to even come close to matching what I offer you here, because my dear man, I offer you... I offer you..

A List of All The Items Lou Pitched to Mr. Death

  • A Neck Tie
    • So fabulously conceived as to mystify even the ancient Chinese silk manufacturers.
  • Thread
    • Smuggled in by oriental birds especially trained for ocean travel.
  • Sewing Needles
  • Yarn
  • Blocks of Leather
  • Marvelous Plastic Shoelaces
  • Genuine Static Eradicator
    • Will fit any standard radio.
  • Suntan Oil
  • Eczema Powder
  • Razors
  • Athlete's Feet Destroyer
  • Cashmere Socks

Lou Dealing with the 5 Stages of Grief Throughout the Episode

  • Denial
    • Around the 7:45 timestamp, Lou attempts to tell Mr. Death that he is a healthy man, and that he doesn't want to go.
    • This shows us that Lou is in denial about his own mortality.
  • Anger
    • Lou says outside of a slight cold and slivering fester in his finger, he hasn't had a sick day in the past 20 years, he says this in about as "angry" of a way as we will see Lou throughout the episode.
  • Bargaining
    • Mr. Death explains to Lou that departure time is midnight, Lou replies with "Well, do I have anything to say about that?".
    • Mr. Death explains that there are 3 major categories of appeals:
      • Hardship Cases
        • Mr. Death asks Lou if he has a wife or someone that would suffer beyond a reasonable point with your demise?
        • Lou replies, "No, no family".
      • Priority Cases
        • Mr. Death asks if Lou "is a stateman, scientist, or man on the verge of discoveries".
        • Mr. Death says "I take it you're not working on any major scientific pursuit at the moment" as he points to Lou's workbench that contains broken toys such as a doll, and helicopter
        • Lou shakes his head saying solemnly, "no...no", then Lou exclaims "what's the third choice?"
      • Unfinished Business of a Major Nature
        • Lou scrambles for "unfinished business that he may have", he sees the toy helicopter and says that he has never flown a helicopter.
        • Mr. Death says "insufficient Mr. Bookman".
        • Lou tries to convince Mr. Death that he needs to see a Zulu War Dance.
        • Mr. Bookman explains that it isn't sufficient enough.
        • Lou finally explains that he wants to make a pitch "For the Angels".
        • Mr. Death reluctantly agrees.
  • Depression
    • Maggie, Lou's little friend that he gave a robot to, is suddenly struck by a car.
    • Lou goes into a depression, realizing that Death waits for no one.
  • Acceptance
    • After Lou realizes that he does not want Maggie to take his place at midnight, he tells Mr. Death that he is ready to go now.
    • Finally, after giving his final pitch Lou accepts happily that he gave his life for a child that he so dearly loved. He accepts his fate, he accepts that he must now go to heaven with Mr. Death.

Questions and Answers

Who played Lou Bookman in 'One for the Angels?'

Ed Wynn starred as Lou J. Bookman in the 1959 Twilight Zone episode.

Who played Mr. Death in 'One for the Angels?'

Murray Hamilton starred as Mr. Death in the 1959 Twilight Zone episode.

How old was Lou Bookman in 'One for the Angels'?

Lou is 69 years old, and his birthday is in the month of September 1890. This is revealed in the 3rd scene of the episode when Lou first meets Mr. Death.

What was Lou's full name in 'One for the Angels'?

Louis J. Bookman

What day did 'One for the Angels' take place?

The fictional date for the episode is July 19th, 1960. One for the Angels aired on October 9th, 1959.

How long did Lou Bookman live in his apartment in 'One for the Angels'?

21 years. Mr. Bookman explains this to Mr. Death when he is searching for 'Unfinished Business of a Major Nature' that will allow him to escape death.

How old is Maggie in 'One for the Angels'?

Maggie is only 8 years old in the Twilight Zone episode, this is revealed when Lou pleads with Mr. Death to take him instead of Maggie.

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Closing Narration

Louis J. Bookman, age 60-ish, occupation pitchman, formerly a fixture of the summer, formerly a rather minor component to a hot July, but throughout his life, a man beloved by the children, and therefore a most important man. Couldn't happen you say? Probably not in most places, but it did happen in The Twilight Zone".