One for the Angels

related topics
{film, series, show}
{son, year, death}
{company, market, business}
{god, call, give}
{day, year, event}
{album, band, music}
{build, building, house}

Ed Wynn - (Lew Bookman)
Murray Hamilton - (Mr Death)
Dana Dillaway - (Maggie)
Jay Overholts - (Doctor)

"One for the Angels" is the second episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.


Plot summary

A salesman, Lew Bookman, is told by Death that he is to die at midnight. Mr. Bookman argues that his life's work as a salesman is not quite complete, and convinces Death to give him a stay of execution until he can give one last, great sales pitch - "a pitch for the angels", as Mr. Bookman puts it. Once Death agrees, Bookman then announces his intention to quit selling and find another line of work. He is proud of having outsmarted Death and virtually assured himself of immortality.

What Bookman hasn't counted on is that someone has to die at midnight. Because of this, Death has to take one of Bookman's many young friends, a little girl who lives in the same building, who is hit by a truck. As she lies comatose, he comes to claim her. However, as they wait for the appointed time, Bookman distracts Death with a sales pitch aimed at him. In fact, he is so compelling that Death is too enthralled to claim the girl, instead purchasing all of Bookman's goods. Midnight passes before Death even realizes that he has missed his appointment.

In saving the girl's life, Bookman has willingly sacrificed his own; he has now made that last great sales pitch - "one for the angels", one that could even persuade Death, thus fulfilling the original agreement. Before leaving with Death, Bookman packs up his case of wares, hoping he'll be making his sales "up there", and Death assures him that he made it "up there".


  • A somewhat similar premise had already been used in the 1934 film, Death Takes a Holiday, which would in itself be later remade in 1971 under the same name as the original. The most recent such big screen adaptation is 1998's Meet Joe Black.
  • Death is also referred to as "Mr. Death" in "Nothing in the Dark", another episode of the series. This arguably makes "Mr. Death" the Twilight Zone's only reoccurring character.

This is one of several episodes from Season One with its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for Season Two. This was done during the Summer of 1961 as to help the season one shows fit in with the new look the show had taken for the following season.


  • 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 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

External links

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